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Beating the Book: 2009 Beating the Book-Week 5

Chris Liss

Chris Liss

Chris Liss is RotoWire's Managing Editor and Host of RotoWIre Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio.

Beating the Book

By Christopher Liss
RotoWire Managing Editor



Betting Tips

A .500 week isn't the exact antidote I was looking for, but considering the five biggest favorites covered, and I only backed one, and favorites overall went 9-5, it could have been worse. Put simply, the public's been cleaning up the first four weeks, and that rarely bodes well for me. The question is not whether the correction is coming - it always does - but how soon it'll get here and how sharp it'll be. I don't know the answer to that, but I'm hoping the answers will be: "this week" and "devastatingly so." One reason to be optimistic is that Vegas seems to have adjusted its lines with two of 15-plus, and three nine-plus road favorites this week.


EARLY GAMES

Bengals +9 at Ravens

The Ravens might be the best team in the NFL this year, and we saw the Bengals come back to earth last week in Cleveland. But the Bengals play the Ravens twice a year, and I don't expect them to be overwhelmed by the venue or the quality of the opponent. Nine points is too much. Back Cincy.

Ravens 23 - 17


Browns +6 at Bills

Maybe the Bills get it together this week and make use of their big play receivers that make them appear better than the Browns, at least on paper. But after four weeks, I'm going to have to see it first. Back Cleveland.

Bills 20 - 19


Redskins +3.5 at Panthers

Don't tell anyone this, but I've bet the Redskins every week. They came through on a backdoor cover against the Giants, but let me down three straight weeks against the Rams, Lions and Bucs. The time to sell was two weeks ago - and I wish I had - but at this point, I might as well ride it out. Back the Redskins in a close game.

Panthers 20 - 17


Steelers -10.5 at Lions

This is a massive line for a road favorite - if it were in Pittsburgh it would be about 16.5. Perhaps rightfully so, but I think Daunte Culpepper gives Detroit a better chance to win, so long as Calvin Johnson plays. The Steelers benefit from Willie Parker's turf toe injury - instead of useless carries that give the defense a breather, it has to tackle the fast, bruising Rashard Mendenhall. In the end, I'm going to take the home dog in cases like this and not worry about the "how." Back Detroit.

Steelers 27 - 17


Cowboys -9 at Chiefs

I get that the Chiefs are bad, but laying nine on the road should be reserved for elite teams, not 2-2 ones with below average coaching, no established big-play threat and a quarterback whose confidence seems to ebb and flow with every series. Back the Chiefs.

Cowboys 27 - 20


Raiders +16 at Giants

I'm as appalled by the Raiders offense as anyone, but I don't see the value in laying a huge number in a game where Eli Manning either won't play, or might be limited by a foot injury. Moreover, after the Raiders, the Giants play at New Orleans, vs. Arizona, at Philadelphia and vs. San Diego, so it's going to be hard not to overlook Oakland. Back the Raiders.

Giants 19 - 10


Buccaneers +15.5 at Eagles

The Bucs played a close game in Washington last week, but given the way the Redskins have played lately, that's almost meaningless. The Eagles are good on both sides of the ball and should have Brian Westbrook and Donovan McNabb back. Expect them to roll at home. Back Philly.

Eagles 37 - 10


Vikings -10 at Rams

Legendary investor Sir John Templeton urged people to buy at the moment of maximum pessimism and sell at the moment of maximum optimism, and rarely do you get a game that allows you to do both at once. The Rams just lost 35-0 and are terrible in all phases of the game while the Vikings just won a thrilling Monday nighter against their archrival. Moreover, Brett Favre served notice that he's back, and Minnesota suddenly has a dangerous passing attack to go along with Adrian Peterson. It's telling that this line already moved from 11 to 10, despite 97 percent of the public taking the Vikings. That means someone - likely a sharp - placed a big bet on the Rams. I'd rather have it at 11, but 10 should be enough. Expect a letdown from Minnesota coming off the emotional win and back the Rams.

Vikings 24 - 17


LATE GAMES

Falcons +2.5 at 49ers

The 49ers annihilated the Rams last week, but that game was close for the entire first half until the Rams botched a punt return that resulted in San Francisco's first score. Once they were ahead, it was easy to roll, but without Frank Gore, there's not a lot of punch to this offense. The defense is for real, but I expect the Falcons to move the ball, and the 49ers to ugly it up and hope to claw their way to a close win. Back the Falcons who cover unless they're at least minus two in turnovers.

Falcons 19 - 13


Texans +5.5 at Cardinals

These are two teams you don't see matched up against each other very often. At first glance the line seems inflated, but the O/U is 50, so the teams are expected to exchange touchdowns more often than field goals. I could go either way here, but I usually like Arizona at home, their 0-2 record there thus far notwithstanding, and the Cardinals have the better defense. Back Arizona.

Cardinals 31 - 23


Patriots -3.5 at Broncos

Maybe the Patriots are back, and the Broncos are 4-0 with smoke and mirrors, but if either one of those assumptions is false, I don't see how New England can lay this line on the road. At best, this line is fair, and at worst, it's a gift for the Broncos. Back Denver.

Patriots 20 - 19


*Jaguars +1 at Seahawks

It's unclear whether Matt Hasselbeck will play at this point - hence the made-up line. The Jaguars strike me as the obvious play - they're playing well, the Seahawks aren't, and this is basically a pick 'em. But don't forget the Seahawks won 28-0 in Week 1, and then played the Bears even in Week 3, but were let down by their kicking game. I'm not going to dock them too much for a loss in Indy or one in San Francisco when their starting quarterback went down mid-game. Back Seattle who pulls it out.

Seahawks 24 - 21

*no line - made it up


SUNDAY NIGHT

Colts -4 at Titans

Like the Redskins, the Titans are a team I've backed every week, netting me a Week 1 win and losses ever since. While it would have been great to get off that bandwagon after the Week 2 loss to the Texans, I think it's time to buy back in after the drubbing by the Jaguars. The Colts look unstoppable right now, but like the Jaguars, the Titans know how to play them, and I expect this game to be close. Back Tennessee.

Titans 27 - 24


MONDAY NIGHT

Jets -1.5 at Dolphins

The Jets defense affirmed its status as one of the league's best, holding the Saints to just 10 offensive points in New Orleans last week, and one can only imagine the problems it'll present for Chad Henne. But the Dolphins are an unconventional team, and laying points on the road against a division rival is always tough. I can't quite see it, but I'm going to back the Dolphins here because my ability to imagine an outcome isn't a prerequisite for it coming to pass. Back the Dolphins.

Dolphins 13 - 10

We went 7-7 last week to go 25-37 on the season. We were 124-122-10 on the regular season last year. From 1999-2008, we are 1308-1140 - not including ties - (53.4 percent).

Article first appeared 10/7/09