Beating the Book
By Christopher Liss
RotoWire Managing Editor
It's late, and I'm too tired to write anything substantial or coherent. There's not a lot to say about a 6-6-1 week - we're glad our best bet, the Cardinals won, but we were stupid to take the bait with the Chiefs. That was a cowardly move. We also should have avoided the Ravens. What an overrated bunch of has-beens! Right now our three best bets are the Raiders, Chiefs and Redskins, though I'll pick an official best bet in the Staff Picks tomorrow. Damon particularly likes the Browns, which I like a little bit, too. (Just realized we took 12 underdogs and Cincinnati... that's extreme).
Panthers +3 at Bengals
I could go either way on this. The Panthers look like the better team and are getting the full three on the road, so the value lies with them. But Cincy has to play better, and Carolina is coming of a grueling road win last week. The loss of Levi Jones could be a problem against the Carolina defensive line, but the game isn't played on paper. Carson Palmer gets back on track, and the Bengals who win in a shootout.
Bengals 31 - 27
Lions +3.5 at Jets
I don't see a whole lot of difference between these two teams. Detroit played close games against the Rams and Vikings, while the Jets played a close one against the Dolphins. Take the three and a half here and back the Lions.
Lions 21 - 20
Packers +4.5 at Dolphins
Damon likes the Packers here, but I'm not so sure. The Dolphins have lost to Houston and nearly lost at home to Tennessee, so the line offers value, but it feels like a trap, just like the Kansas City-Pittsburgh one last week. Still, with Joey Harrington under center, we've got to take the bait and the points. Back Green Bay.
Dolphins 23 - 20
Jaguars -9.5 at Texans
The Jaguars showed they're capable of blowing a team out two weeks ago, so we can't rely on the "Jacksonville plays everyone close theory," but nine and a half is a lot to part with on the road against a division rival. Back the Texans who make it a game.
Jaguars 24 - 20
Patriots -5.5 at Bills
After getting annihilated by Chicago and losing to Detroit, the Bills aren't going to be a popular choice among your average bettor, and that makes them a good value against a division rival they played well against in Week 1. Back the Bills.
Patriots 27 - 23
Eagles -5 at Buccaneers
This was the hardest game for me to pick as I like Philly coming off a loss and getting Tampa after it got a win under its belt. But I also think Tampa is improving every week, and five points at home is a lot. Damon likes the Eagles a little bit, but not enough to go to the mat for them if I were to insist on Tampa. The value is with the Bucs - they nearly beat Carolina and the Saints, and are coming off a win over Cincinnati. But it's hard to see Bruce Gradkowski surviving Jim Johnson's blitzes if the Eagles get ahead. In the end, I don't have a great read on this game, but I'd rather lose with the home dog if it comes to that. Back the Bucs who keep it close.
Eagles 21 - 17
Steelers -2.5 at Falcons
The Steelers are the sucker play as road favorites, but we both think they'll do what it takes to turn their season around and win this game outright. Is there a way to pick Atlanta nonetheless? I think so. Back Atlanta who loses by a point.
Steelers 21 - 20
Chargers -5.5 at Chiefs
The Chargers have been blowing teams out this season, but laying this number in Arrowhead against a desperate Chiefs team coming off a blowout in Pittsburgh is a lot to ask. This game will go down to the wire with either team capable of getting the win. Back the Chiefs.
Chiefs 20 - 19
Broncos -4.5 at Browns
We like the Browns at home getting points and coming off a bye week against a team with a struggling offense. Denver defense is good, but they've managed to keep teams out of the end-zone without completely dominating the line of scrimmage. We think Cleveland will put up a good fight. Back the Browns.
Browns 19 - 17
Cardinals -3 at Raiders
With all the Matt Leinart hype and the near win over the Bears on Monday night, the disastrous Raiders have to be a great value this week. Arizona is likely to suffer a major letdown with a short week, and a steep drop in its competition. Back the Raiders who get their first win.
Raiders 20 - 17
Vikings +6.5 at Seahawks
Without Shaun Alexander, we're not sure Seattle is an elite team, and Minnesota has been able to hang around against almost everyone, thanks in part to an improved pass defense. We don't see the Seahawks having huge success running the ball, so we're backing the Vikings who keep it close enough.
Seahawks 23 - 17
Redskins +9 at Colts
The Redskins were embarrassed at home by the Titans last week, and we expect them to play with some urgency against the undefeated Colts. The Colts meanwhile have just squeezed by against the Jets and Titans, so we'd like to see them blow a couple teams out before we part with big points again. Back Washington.
Colts 23 - 20
Giants +3 at Cowboys
Damon likes the Giants here, but I'm less sure. While New York's pass rush could give Drew Bledsoe a lot of problems, this is a big Monday night road game, and there's a chance the Giants will be out of sync and start slow under the pressure. I could go either way on this, but I'll default to Damon here since he feels more strongly than I do about it. Back the Giants.
Giants 27 - 24
We were 6-6-1 against the spread in Week 6, to put us at 44-36-7 on the season. From 1999-2005, we were 918-790 - not including ties - (53.7 percent).
Article first appeared 10/18/06