Beating the Book
By Christopher Liss
RotoWire Managing Editor
Even though we knew our ridiculous run wasn't going to last forever, it's still disappointing to see it come to such an abrupt end. We were 4-2-2 in the morning games and feeling great before we lost all three afternoon games and then both Sunday and Monday night. Of the losses, the Seahawks was an idiotic pick - a product of trying to mix it up more during a tough week. It's kind of like mixing up your play in poker and making the right reads, and then subtly, the mixing it up shifts to playing bad hands. It's one thing to be adaptable and crafty and quite another to outsmart yourself. We love to make the plays that are so sucker they're genius, but the Seahawks pick was so genius it was sucker. No, we're not going to take the desperate home dog looking to save it's season. Let's take the sorry home favorite mailing it in in a weak division. The sharps won't think of that. Only the true morons will understand. The other sucker pick that didn't pan out was Arizona, but given Kurt Warner's injury, we're not as annoyed about that.
This week, we're going back to our dog-heavy ways, taking 11 out of 14 teams with the points. Our best bets are probably Denver, Philly and Detroit.
Cardinals +9 at Redskins
We're not sure yet who's playing quarterback for the Cardinals, but after taking a beating at the hands of the Panthers last week, Arizona should play better. Also, even if Tim Rattay gets the nod, he'll at least have had a chance to practice with the first team all week. Plus, the Redskins offensive skill players and offensive line are banged up. Back the Cardinals.
Redskins 20 - 16
Falcons +9 at Saints
The Saints looked good last week in Seattle, and I can't stand Byron Leftwich - he's lumbering, slow and not very accurate - but I can't help but think that the Falcons are the right play here getting nine against a team that everyone wants to embrace again. Back the Falcons who keep it close enough.
Saints 27 - 20
Ravens -3 at Bills
The Ravens killed the Rams last week, but you can't make much of that. Essentially, Baltimore's not the type of team you want to be laying points with on the road, and the Bills should be able to stay in this one at home. Back Buffalo.
Ravens 17 - 16
Patriots -16.5 at Dolphins
We didn't put a whole lot of thought into this. The Book knows everyone's going to be backing New England, so they made the line huge for a road favorite. Plus, for whatever reason, the Pats have struggled somewhat against the Dolphins the past couple years. Back Miami.
Patriots 27 - 17
49ers +9.5 at Giants
We've gone against the Giants the last couple weeks, and it's burned us, but the 49ers are the kind of pesky defensive team that will hang around, and with Eli Manning forcing passes occasionally, we wouldn't be surprised to see Nate Clements take one to the house. Back San Francisco who keeps it close.
Giants 23 - 19
Buccaneers +2 at Lions
The Bucs are clearly the better team, but something about this line feels fishy - instead of Bucs plus two, maybe it should be a pick 'em or even minus one. It seems like the Book is steering us toward the Bucs because it knows that for this one game in the dome, what we've figured out about the NFL so far this year will temporarily be suspended. Neither of us can explain it much better than that, but we both have a strong Detroit hunch, and we're going with it. Next week, Tampa will probably be a buy-low and Detroit a sell-high. Back the Lions.
Lions 27 - 23
Titans -1 at Texans
Vince Young might or might not play, but either way, both Damon and I felt a strong pull to take the Titans because they're good, the Texans are bad and the game is essentially a pick 'em. And we assume everyone's feeling the same way. So we're backing Houston.
Texans 19 - 16
Chiefs +3 at Raiders
We like the Chiefs, and they're usually a good value against the spread. Still, it's time to sell high off their easy win against the Bengals and buy the Raiders, who have played about as well as the Chiefs this year, off a loss at San Diego. Back Oakland.
Raiders 24 - 20
Jets +6 at Bengals
We know the Jets are terrible, but Cincy can't credibly pull off six-point favorite status with the way it's played. Until the Bengals shore up their defense, find more weapons on offense or lose the public's respect, we'll keep going against them. Back the Jets.
Bengals 27 - 24
Vikings +9.5 at Cowboys
We went back and forth on this a few times. The Vikings pass defense is atrocious, and Dallas could hang 50 on them. But Dallas is out of sync of late, and we wonder whether Tony Romo's lost a little confidence like he did last year after his strong start. And Dallas' defense isn't particularly good, so we'd expect another big day from Adrian Peterson. Back the Vikings.
Cowboys 30 - 23
Bears +5 at Eagles
The Bears were lucky to beat Green Bay, and they lost at home last week to Minnesota. Granted the Eagles didn't impress much against the Jets, but at least they got the road win. In our opinion the Eagles are a contender, and the Bears are not. Chicago's got Brian Griese quarterbacking the team, and its defense has taken a huge step back from last season. Back the Eagles who win fairly easily at home.
Eagles 27 - 16
Rams +9 at Seahawks
This game was the hardest of all to pick because both teams are contrarian plays. Seattle laying nine after getting killed at home against a winless team? But the Rams are easily the worst team in the league, and Seattle should be more focused. In the end, we're taking the Rams because when in doubt, you should always take the points. Plus Marc Bulger should be back, and if Steven Jackson returns, consider it an added bonus. Back St. Louis.
Seahawks 23 - 20
Steelers -3.5 at Broncos
The Broncos have burned us before, but we have to take them on national television at home and getting more than three after a bye week. Their season is on the line right now, and Pittsburgh struggled at Arizona a few weeks ago, i.e., we're not sold on them as a dominant road team. The public will be all over the Steelers, but we're going the other way. Back the Broncos who win outright.
Broncos 27 - 13
Colts -3 at Jaguars
We've been winning with the Colts the last couple weeks, and let me tell you, it feels great finally to be backing Peyton Manning and that well-oiled machine of an offense rather than constantly rooting against it and gnashing our teeth. But this week, we're taking the Jags who beat up on the Colts in Jacksonville last year and who will absolutely be up for this game. It's the physical teams that give Indy trouble, and Jacksonville's as rough as they come. Back the Jaguars.
Colts 21 - 20
We went 4-7-2 against the spread in Week 6 to go 46-35-8 on the season. We were 139-108-9 last season. From 1999-2006, we were 1057-898 - not including ties - (54.1 percent).
Article first appeared 10/17/07