Still riding New England’s wave
We have four weeks in the books, so let’s consider these four facts and hope they can help us get the best of the weekend lines:
1. Favorites are only 27-35-2 against the spread. Three of the weeks have seen a fairly even split between favorites and underdogs, but in Week 3 (when the Bills beat the Patriots ), favorites went 4-12 against the number.
2. The Rams were the darlings of this space for the last year and a half, but after picking them in Week 1 (as underdogs against Philadelphia), I’ve avoided the Rams, and that’s a good thing. St. Louis is the NFL’s only 0-4 team against the spread.
3. No team is perfect against the number, but three - Carolina, Detroit, and San Francisco - are 3-0-1.
4. In their last 19 games, the Cardinals are 6-13 against the spread.
This week’s picks (home team in caps):
NEW ENGLAND (-9) over New York Jets : I usually don’t select a game involving the Patriots three times in one season, never mind three times in a row, but I’ve nailed New England’s last two games and feel confident laying such a big number. The Jets are battered after their slugfest with the Ravens and aren’t consistent enough to turn it on when necessary, even in a rivalry game. Risking $110 to win $100.
NEW YORK GIANTS (-10) over Seattle: Are the Seahawks’ lines finally reflecting their inability to perform on the road? In its last eight losses away from home (six last season, two this season), Seattle has been pummeled by an average of just over 20 points per game. We’re riding that trend. Risking $110 to win $100.
Chicago (+6) over DETROIT: The Lions have covered eight of their last nine, while the Bears haven’t managed to beat the number since their opener against Atlanta. These facts don’t exactly provide a road map directing us to the Bears, but Chicago defeated Detroit twice last season and has to be wondering what all the noise is about. It’s a divisional game and I’m gambling on the puzzling Bears having enough pride to hang in against a team on the rise. Risking $110 to win $100.
INDIANAPOLIS (-2) over Kansas City: All of these prime-time appearances by the Curtis Painter-led Colts have me convinced that Indianapolis is about to figure out how to win a game or two without Peyton Manning. Risking $165 to win $150.
Last week: 3-1, plus $190. Season: 7-7-1, minus $225.