Beating the Book
By Christopher Liss
RotoWire Managing Editor
Last week, I listed the games we felt strongly about: Philly, Miami, Detroit and Seattle, and we went 3-0-1, but the Eagles cover was pretty lucky, so really we should have been 2-1-1. The games I was worried about were the Rams, Chiefs, Titans, Texans and Jaguars - we went 3-1-1 on those, and on the games I was lukewarm about, the Raiders and Saints, we went 1-1. (So 4-2-1 total for the games on which I said I'd settle for 3-4). In other words, at least in Week 8, how we felt about the games had no correlation to how we did. Overall, we were 8-4-2, which we'll take, of course.
This week has five home dogs - the Bengals, Chiefs, Rams, Raiders and Seahawks, and we backed them all. We particularly like Seattle and Oakland of that group, and we also feel strongly about the Bills, for what it's worth.
The game that gave us the most trouble was the Vikings-Texans - we'd both rather root for the Texans, and we think they're just as good as the Vikings. But taking Minnesota seemed like the contrarian thing to do. Sometimes it's hard to tell whether a pick is so sucker, it's genius, or it's just a garden variety sucker bet that we're overanalyzing, and the public isn't even smart enough to do the obvious and take Houston. Sixty-eight percent took the Vikings on one betting site, but that's actually a modest number for a favorite.
Jets +5.5 at Bills
We sold the Bills high last week after their win against San Diego, and now we'll buy them back again low after their loss to Miami. Brett Favre looks more like the erratic version of two and three years ago than the Hall-of-Fame one we saw last season. Expect Buffalo to bounce back and win easily.
Bills 30 - 13
Lions +13 at Bears
The Lions have played tougher of late, and being desperate for a win at this stage of the season is cause for continued focus. The Bears annihilated them in Detroit, but we think the Lions will hang in there this time. Back Detroit.
Bears 24 - 20
Jaguars -8 at Bengals
The Jaguars could bounce back after last week's debacle, but if any team is a good value right now, it's the Bengals who are winless and were just blown out in Houston. Back the home dog who keeps it close.
Jaguars 20 - 17
Ravens +1.5 at Browns
We get the Ravens wrong every week, so you might want to just do the opposite of what we recommend here, but we're going Cleveland laying less than the full three at home.
Browns 19 - 13
Buccaneers -9 at Chiefs
We just don't see how you can turn down these big home dogs that no one else wants any part of. Back the Chiefs and don't think twice.
Buccaneers 20 - 16
Texans +4.5 at Vikings
We both hate the Vikings who were so overhyped heading into the season, and we especially can't stand Brad Childress who strikes us as a fearful, stiff and inept. Still, the Texans are such an obvious play that we have to go the other way. Back the Vikings at home in the dome against a soft defense.
Vikings 24 - 19
Cardinals -3 at Rams
Another home dog we feel compelled to take. The Rams have played well of late, and Arizona, despite a good effort in Carolina, doesn't travel well. Back St. Louis.
Rams 24 - 23
Packers +5.5 at Titans
The Titans are a good team, but this is a good spot to take the Packers, coming off a bye and facing Tennessee off a short week and a big division win. Back Green Bay.
Packers 23 - 20
Dolphins +3 at Broncos
Damon's favorite team is the Dolphins, and there's reason to be optimistic this year. But we're going to sell them high off their win over the Bills and buy Denver low after its awful loss to New England. Mike Shanahan will get his team to bounce back. Back the Broncos.
Broncos 27 - 19
Cowboys +9 at Giants
I'm letting Damon make all the Giants picks lately, and he thought Dallas was the play getting nine. I can't argue too much - the Giants' stock is probably a bit inflated now, and the shine is off Dallas' star. Back the Cowboys who keep it close.
Giants 20 - 19
Falcons -3 at Raiders
It's home dog day, and as much as the Falcons have competed all year, even against good teams, we've got to take Oakland with the points at home. Expect the Raiders to win outright.
Raiders 21 - 17
Eagles -7 at Seahawks
The Seahawks are playing better football the last two weeks, and the Eagles are like one of those pitchers with great K:BB ratios, but few wins and a mediocre ERA, i.e., they look better on the stat sheet than on the field. It could just be bad luck, but in Week 9, we're no longer going to give them the benefit of the doubt. Take the Seahawks and the points at home.
Seahawks 19 - 17
Patriots +6 at Colts
One could argue this is a must-win for the Colts, but we could have said that last week, and they weren't able to pull it off. Still, we like Indy as a buy-low after the Titans loss, and it's probably a good time to sell New England after a couple wins. Back the Colts.
Colts 28 - 17
Steelers +1.5 at Redskins
The Steelers and Redskins strike us as essentially equal teams, and the game's in Washington, but the line is less than three. Back the Redskins.
Redskins 20 - 17
We were 8-4-2 in Week 8, to put us at 65-46-5 on the season. We were 127-120-9 last season. From 1999-2007, we were 1184-1018 - not including ties - (53.8 percent).
Article first appeared 10/29/08