Beating the Book
By Christopher Liss
RotoWire Managing Editor
It was another subpar week (7-9), but at this point, we're just happy to have won the Monday Night game. Somehow winning the last game of the weekend sets a more positive tone for the upcoming week. It's like hitting a layup, and suddenly the outside shot starts to fall - let's see if there's any truth to that.
Bengals +11 at Steelers
The Bengals have played well lately, beating the Jaguars and tying the Eagles. Pittsburgh's tough at home, but we think Cincy will show up and keep it close enough. Back the Bengals.
Steelers 23 - 13
Eagles +1 at Ravens
In our opinion, these are roughly equal teams, but the line is saying the Eagles are better since they're getting less than the standard three points on the road. Back the Ravens. (Note that we always get the Ravens wrong, so you might be inclined to do the opposite. Or should you do the opposite of the opposite, now that we've suggested it? That's why you can never profit off a cold handicapper - you don't know whether he's priced in his cold streak.)
Ravens 21 - 19
Texans +3 at Browns
The Browns played decently on Monday night, and we think they should keep it rolling at home against the Texans. Houston's got the weapons to win this game, but Sage Rosenfels makes too many mistakes. Take Cleveland.
Browns 27 - 23
49ers +10.5 at Cowboys
It felt to us like the 49ers had turned a corner in the Cardinals game, and the blowout win over the Rams suggests that even more. The Cowboys were able to outmuscle the Redskins last week, but until they get their downfield passing game together, we don't like laying the double-digits. Back San Francisco.
Cowboys 24 - 20
Buccaneers -9 at Lions
The Lions haven't won a game yet, but they've covered two of the last three and four of the last six against the spread. Tampa Bay is a tough, opportunistic team, but they're far better at home than on the road. Back Detroit who keeps it close.
Buccaneers 20 - 17
Vikings +2.5 at Jaguars
The Jaguars haven't been the smashmouth team they were in years past, and they don't have enough finesse to win like that. Still, we expect them to play well at home against a middle-of-the-road dome team. Back Jacksonville.
Jaguars 24 - 16
Bills -3 at Chiefs
We'd ordinarily like the Bills as a buy-low here, but they're laying three on the road, so they clearly haven't hit bottom yet. We'll pass until they show some improvement, or come cheaper than this. Back the Chiefs at home.
Bills 17 - 16
Patriots +1 at Dolphins
Damon and I both wanted to take the Dolphins - after all they crushed the Pats in New England earlier this year and always seem to give them trouble. But both of us have a turn-the-tables feeling - that somehow the Patriots, after losing the Jets game, will be up for this one. Back New England.
Patriots 27 - 20
Bears -9 at Rams
Both teams had terrible games last week, but to St. Louis' credit, it kept playing in the second half despite futile prospects. That's enough for us to take the big points at home. Back the Rams.
Bears 19 - 17
Jets +5 at Titans
The Jets are playing better of late, and it's time we let our early season impression of them go. Still, the Titans are an elite team, playing at home, and five points, for all practical purposes, isn't all that different than three. Back Tennessee.
Titans 27 - 17
Raiders +10 at Broncos
The Raiders have had some fight in them of late, and we expect them to play better against Denver after an embarrassing Week 1 Monday night loss at home. Plus, it's a good time to sell the Broncos high. Back Oakland.
Broncos 21 - 17
Panthers +1 at Falcons
These teams strike us as rough equals despite the two-game discrepancy in their records. As such, Atlanta, laying just one point at home, is a good value. Back the Falcons.
Falcons 26 - 23
Giants -3.5 at Cardinals
The Giants are playng great football, especially considering their recent schedule, but now's the time to sell high as the Book knows that most of the money is going on Big Blue. Back the Cardinals.
Giants 27 - 24
Redskins -3.5 at Seahawks
We keep going to the well on Seattle and coming up short. But Matt Hasselbeck will have another week to regain his timing, and the Redskins aren't playing well enough to lay more than a field goal on the road. Back Seattle.
Seahawks 20 - 16
Colts +2.5 at Chargers
Initially we liked the Colts - after all, what have the Chargers done to impress in 2008? But the more we thought about it, we liked San Diego's chances. The Chargers always seem to give the Colts trouble, and this is a must-win game at home. Back San Diego.
Chargers 29 - 24
Packers +2.5 at Saints
The Packers looked awfully good last week against the Bears, but traveling to play in the dome on Monday night is a totally different circumstance. Back the Saints.
Saints 30 - 27
We were 7-9 in Week 11, to put us at 81-74-5 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 11/19/08