The Bettor's edge

An interesting cover story

By Ed Ryan
Globe Staff / October 1, 2010

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After three weeks, here are three facts you may find interesting:

1. Only two teams — Kansas City and Pittsburgh — have covered the spread each week. The Chiefs were underdogs all three times and the Steelers were a ’dog twice.

2. Only one team — Carolina — has yet to cover. The Panthers were an underdog in all three of their games.

3). Favorites are 21-25-2 against the spread.

On to Week 4 and four picks (home team in caps):

TENNESSEE (-6 1/2) over Denver: The Titans were one of the best teams in the league down the stretch last season but no one noticed because they rallied too late and missed the postseason. This year they’re rolling again; Tennessee has a tough loss to Pittsburgh under its belt but has allowed only 295 yards per game. And the Titans also have Chris Johnson. Isn’t that a formula for success? Denver is erratic; there’s no shame in losing to the Colts, as it did last week, but it also lost at Jacksonville. Tennessee has more balance and the superior squad. Risking $110 to win $100.

Baltimore (+1) over PITTSBURGH: The Steelers have made things work without Ben Roethlisberger by allowing 11 points per game and averaging 150 yards rushing. Their matchup with the Ravens should be incredibly physical, but Baltimore has more offensive weapons and Pittsburgh’s reliance on Charlie Batch at quarterback will finally catch up to them. Risking $110 to win $100.

ST. LOUIS (+1) over Seattle: I’m no fan of the Seahawks but they have been tough at home. This game, however, is in St. Louis’s Edward Jones Dome. The Rams provided me with a nice outright win last week over Washington and I’m staying with them, especially as a home ’dog. Risking $110 to win $100.

Washington (+6) over PHILADELPHIA: Michael Vick is a starting quarterback again and suddenly the Eagles are favorites by nearly a touchdown in this grudge match between division rivals. Washington’s quarterback, after all, is former Eagle Donovan McNabb. He certainly has something to prove, as do all of the Redskins, who were slapped around in St. Louis last weekend. Vick is grabbing headlines, and he’s been terrific, but with him as a starter the Eagles barely hung on against Detroit and they pummeled Jacksonville. Big deal. Risking $165 to win $150.

Last week: 3-0, plus $300. Season: 6-4-1, plus $82.

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