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Beating the Book: Chris Liss Handicaps Week 9

Chris Liss

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

First, the good news - I went 8-5 last week, winning two out of three best bets and going 2-2 on coin flips - exactly how it should be for the second week in a row. And it could have been better but for some tough losses (MIA-NE, WAS-DEN, PIT-OAK).

The bad news is I have no feel whatsoever for this home-dog-heavy slate. Not only have the sharps been getting crushed going against the public, but most of the major stat-based prediction sites have too.

But given all the big favorites won outright last week, and all but two (Seattle and Kansas City) covered, I think it's time to dig in and take the sides that historically offer value - however unsuccessful that strategy might have been so far. As such, I took five of the six home dogs (a few of which are missing their quarterbacks), laying the points only with the Colts, and 10 of 13 dogs overall.

I particularly like the Panthers, Jets and Steelers. The Bengals-Dolphins, Titans-Rams, Chiefs-Bills, Chargers-Redskins, Bucs-Seahawks, Colts-Texans and Packers-Bears are coin flips.


Bengals -3 at Dolphins

The Bengals are far and away the better team, but the set-up is poor after a blowout win at home and a short week with a road game against a desperate Dolphins squad. The Bengals should get to Ryan Tannehill, but if they don't we could see the first sign of Leon Hall's injury costing them. Back the Dolphins.

Dolphins 20 - 19


Falcons +7.5 at Panthers

The Falcons are awful on defense, can't run the ball and have below average receivers now that Julio Jones is done and Roddy White is less than 100 percent if he suits up at all. Lay the points here.

Panthers 34 - 17

Vikings +10.5 at Cowboys

The Cowboys have a bottom-five coach, and that probably costs them 2-3 points per game. (Not that the Vikings have a genius in their employ, either). Expect to see Adrian Peterson get going, and Jason Garrett to call an unnecessarily conservative game. Back Minnesota.

Cowboys 24 - 17

Saints -6 at Jets

The Jets are Jekyll and Hyde, so who knows, but I don't like laying six on the road with the Saints against a stout defense. Back New York.

Jets 23 - 20

Titans -3 at Rams

The Rams defense looked good at home against Seattle on Monday night, and I have a hard time laying points on the road with Tennessee. Back the Rams.

Rams 19 - 17

Chiefs -3.5 at Bills

I don't like not knowing who the Bills quarterback will be, and I'd strongly prefer it were Thad Lewis. Either way, the Chiefs are dealing with a Jamaal Charles injury, and the three and a half at home is enough for me. Back the Bills.

Bills 20 - 17

Chargers -1 at Redskins

The Chargers seem like the slightly better team to me and coming off the bye, but the Redskins are at home, and I expect RGIII to play better against San Diego's defense. A true coin flip, but I'll take Washington.

Redskins 27 - 24


Eagles +1.5 at Raiders

Nick Foles will be back, but it remains to be see whether we get the version that torched the Bucs or the one that got destroyed by the Cowboys. The Raiders don't so many things well, and it's probably time to sell them off the Pittsburgh win. Back Philly.

Eagles 23 - 17

Buccaneers +16.5 at Seahawks

Had the Rams scored that final TD to win last week, I'd be taking Seattle here, but because they didn't, the Seahawks don't need to treat a home game against a doormat with any particular urgency. Seattle wins easily, but Tampa covers.

Seahawks 23 - 7

Ravens -2.5 at Browns

I think the Ravens are so well coached they're likely to get it together before the year ends, but I can't lay points on the road against one of the league's best defenses. Back the Browns.

Browns 17 - 16

Steelers +7 at Patriots

I think Tom Brady will pick it up, but Rob Gronkowski's now nursing a hamstring injury, and I don't see this being an easy game against a desperate Steelers squad that's still sound defensively. Back the Steelers.

Steelers 24 - 23


Colts -2.5 at Texans

I really want to take the Texans in this spot at home as a buy low, but without Matt Schaub, possibly Arian Foster, Brian Cushing and Owen Daniels, it's a depleted team. If the Colts stick with the run - as I'm sure they will - I expect this game to go down to the wire, but even then I'd probably not want to bet on Andrew Luck laying less than three. If the Colts don't cover, it might be because they win by one or two. But that's too narrow of a window for me to take the Texans. Back Indy.

Colts 23 - 20


Bears +11 at Packers

I usually take the points in these rivalry games, but with Jay Cutler and Lance Briggs out, and the Bears defense one of the worst in the league, I expect the Packers to roll. Back Green Bay.

Packers 37 - 20

Last week we went 8-5 to go 53-63-4 on the year. Last year we went 121-129-6 on the regular season. From 1999-2012 we've gone 1,810-1,641 (52.4%), not including ties.