The Commish Online                                                                                
In the third installment of the Capper’s Corner, I may try some new methods.  Let’s see….  heads for the favorite, tails for the underdog…….

Week 10 was a continuation of the maddening trend of underdogs winning straight up.  Las Vegas sets point spreads that are very close to where the game ought to actually be, and hopes games get bet equally on both sides.  Theoretically, the game should fall a few points to either side of the original spread.  That is where my job comes in.  I have to divine in some way who is going to get that unexpected punt return or turnover that will turn the spread in favor of one team or another.  I like to call those occasions “spreadbusters.”  Figuring out which team will get a spreadbuster is, of course, impossible, so I look at the matchups and tell you what SHOULD happen.  Then, if Tiki Barber fumbles 3 times and the Giants implode against an Atlanta team that would have difficulty beating Miami U, much less the Miami Dolphins, I just swear under my breath and keep trudging along.

So here is the week 11 trudge:

I am going to start with an interesting trend.  The biggest underdog of the week has gone 9-1 against the spread this season.  Jacksonville and Detroit are both 10 point dogs this week, so I will start with those games.

Best bets:

Jacksonville (+10) at Tennessee  o/u  45.5
Tennessee demolished the Colts last week and is playing as well as any team in the NFL.  They are at home and healthy.  The Jaguars are still trying to find their way with a rookie under center.  Are the Jags the team that will extend the biggest underdog trend?  Why not?  Take JACKSONVILLE and lean to the OVER.

Detroit (+10) at Seattle   o/u  41
This game has more to do with why I picked the Jags to be the dog to beat the spread this week.  Detroit managed 12 points in last week’s “loser bowl” against the Bears.   They are a bad team going nowhere and are traveling cross country to play a pretty good team fighting for a playoff spot.  This one SHOULD be a blowout.  Take the HAWKS and give a VERY SLIGHT nod to the OVER.

More Best bets:

St. Louis (-6) at Chicago  o/u  43.5
Here we have Chicago, who lost to Detroit last week going against the high scoring Rams and the spread is only 6.  Hmmmmmmm…..  What does Vegas know?  Bulger had a horrible game last week.  I don’t see a repeat.  The weather and the grass field may keep the total down, so I would play the UNDER, but the RAMS should win by two scores.  

Houston (+7) at Buffalo  o/u  37.5
Buffalo is not playing like a contender and Houston’s talent is better than their record indicates.  I like the TEXANS and the points with the UNDER being the play in the chilly weather.

Washington at Carolina (-6)  o/u  37
Stephen Davis gets back into the mix this week and the Carolina defense won’t allow Patrick Ramsey to breathe, much less throw.  Go with CAROLINA and the OVER.

Kansas City (-6) at Cincinnati  o/u  46.5
I don’t care if Chad Johnson has guaranteed a Bengal victory.  Until KC gives me a reason, I’m going to continue to ride them.  The CHIEFS get the money and although the number is high, I still have to play the OVER.

N.Y. Jets (+6½) at Indianapolis  o/u  43
The Jets continue to improve with Pennington back.  Peyton Manning looked lost after Marvin Harrison left the game last week.  Harrison is doubtful this week.  JETS JETS JETS!!! and OVER.

Dallas  at New England (-4)  o/u  36
The Cowboys have seven wins.  I would have laid very good odds that they would not reach that total for the entire season.  Bill Parcels has worked miracles, but I just can’t go with the Boys this week.  Give the nod to the PATS at home in a squeaker and I would go UNDER.

The rest of the story:

Baltimore at Miami (-6)  o/u  35
Miami is allowing 81 yards per game on the ground and the Ravens don’t have a competent passer.  Jamal Lewis and Ricky Williams will find tough sledding in this game.  This one sets up as a defensive struggle, so it will probably end up 35-31, but logic won’t let me play that.   I wouldn’t play this game, but for the purpose of this column, I will take the DOLPHINS in a VERY SMALL lean because they are at home.  For the total, even at 35 this looks like an UNDER.

Atlanta at New Orleans (-8½)  o/u  44
The spread bugs me in this game. 8½ is a lot of points for a mediocre team like the Saints to cover.  Atlanta’s win last week was more of a witness to the Giant’s ineptitude than their own talent.  Is Michael Vick back yet?  No?  OK, I’ll take the SAINTS and the UNDER.

Arizona (+6½) at Cleveland  o/u  39
Neither of these teams impress me, and they are both on the fast track to a high draft pick. I believe the William Green suspension might provide just enough of a distraction to allow the CARDINALS to get inside the number and I would probably play the UNDER.

N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia (-3½)  o/u  38
The Giants are very depleted in the secondary.  McNabb has a field day.  Take the EAGLES and the UNDER

San Diego at Denver (-8)  o/u  44
Much as I would love to ride the Flutie bandwagon again this week, I have to think that Jake Plummer’s return will open things up for Clinton Portis.  Take the BRONCOS and lay the 8.  Flutie should provide enough offense to get the OVER.

Minnesota (-4½) at Oakland  o/u  44.5
Minnesota has lost 3 straight.  So what?  The Raiders are just plain AWFUL this year.  Take the VIKES and lean to the OVER.

Green Bay at Tampa Bay (-4)  o/u  40
This game is usually pretty tight, but Favre really had problems with his broken thumb last week.  Maybe the Florida weather will cure his ills.  I expect this to be a very tight contest, but IF I had to put my money on it, which I won’t, I’d take the BUCS at home to cover (barely).  I also expect the game to go UNDER.

Pittsburgh (+3½) at San Francisco  o/u  42
Boy.  Monday night football where I always play the over.  The Niners are 7-2 UNDER this year and Pittsburgh still has a decent defense.  Do I break my tradition?  Of course not!  This is Monday Night Football, after all.   Who gets the cover?  As I have said the last two weeks, sometimes the NFL just doesn’t make sense, so I am going to go with the STEELERS  in a shootout and play my usual OVER.  Watch the weather carefully in San Fran as the Niners stadium tends to turn into a swamp if there is a lot of rain.  That could have an adverse effect on the outcome. 

For The Record:
Dana Harris' Best Bets ATS:
Week 10:    (0 - 3 - 2)
YTD:           (2 - 7 - 2)

Questions/comments/tomato throwing may be directed to
Week 11
November 14, 2003
by Dana Harris