The Commish Online                                                                                
Finally!  Some sanity returned to the NFL the past weekend.  Last week I had two special “biggest underdog” picks and six best bets.  Both of the underdog picks scored and the Jets missed covering by a scant half point.  This was a week where most of the favorites won, but many didn’t cover.  The spreadbuster theory had a big week and with the very tight lines set by Vegas, these things happen.  At least the games made sense for a change.

The previous two weeks consisted of one underdog after another winning straight up.  Some people bet the underdog no matter what, and this is not necessarily a bad strategy.  As previously mentioned, the lines are set very tight with the intention of getting the most money bet on both sides.  That way Vegas cleans up on the “juice,” the amount they take out of each win for their commission.  They try to make sure that there is a 50-50 split on bets made.  Figure it out.  Sports gambling is a multi-BILLION dollar, with a b, industry.  10% of every winning bet plus 100% of every losing bet and it is easy to see why all those beautiful hotels and casinos can stay in business.  I personally have my own wing named after me at the Sahara.

Here we go again…

Best bets:

Oakland (+11½) at Kansas City  O/U  46
The biggest underdog of the week theory in play here.  The big dog is now 10-2 against the spread on the season.  So here we have the team playing the best football in the league at home against one of the most disappointing.  KC should roll, but a trend is a trend.  Take the RAIDERS and the points.  Right now the forecast calls for rain and snow in KC Sunday so I would lean to the UNDER.

Carolina (+3) at Dallas  O/U  33
New England last week and Tampa before that seemed to come up with a plan against Dallas.  Play zone and force Quincy Carter to make plays.  The Dallas defense will make sure the Cowboys stay in the game till the end, but I see CAROLINA getting the cover and just enough points being scored to top the OVER.

Seattle (+3) at Baltimore  O/U  37.5
Let’s see.  Both teams are in a dogfight in their divisions, so they both have something to play for, so scratch the disinterest theory.  I have played this game over and over in my mind and I can’t see any other result than Seattle winning, and they are GETTING three points.  That makes SEATTLE the LOCK OF THE WEEK.  This game will be right around the number, but strong defense and running games says play the UNDER as well.

Jacksonville at N.Y. Jets (-4)  O/U  43
Finally Vegas gives the resurgent Jets some respect.  This is a different team with Pennington at QB.  I like the JETS at home and I’m giving a very slight nod to the UNDER.

Tennessee (-7) at Atlanta  O/U  44.5
Atlanta has taken the bold step of starting Doug “Stand in the pocket like a statue till the defense buries me” Johnson at quarterback.  I’m sorry.  Even at home, I can’t play the Falcons under those circumstances.  Play the TITANS and lean to the UNDER.

San Francisco (+4½) at Green Bay  O/U  42
Rain, snow and 45 degrees predicted in Green Bay Sunday.  That makes it tough on Favre’s broken thumb.  It won’t be a classic, but I think the NINERS can stay inside 4½ points.  I also think the weather will keep the game UNDER the total.

N.Y. Giants at Tampa Bay (-5)  O/U  37
I’ve been waiting for the Super Bowl champs to re-emerge with the dominant defense of last year.  It may not actually happen, but the Giants will make it appear that way.  Go with the BUCS, and as always on Monday night, take the OVER.

The rest of the story:

New England at Houston (+5½)  O/U  35.5
Houston has shown time and again that they are a gutty team that can hang with all but the elite of the NFL, especially at home.  Take the TEXANS and the points and lean to the OVER.

Detroit at Minnesota (-10½)  O/U  46
Is it finally time to come to the conclusion that no matter how marvelous an athlete Daunte Culpepper is, his penchant for turning the ball over loses games?  Not against the hapless Lions.  With fear and trepidation I am going to give the Vikes one more chance to stop the bleeding at home against a truly horrible team.  Take MINNESOTA and (gulp) lay the 10½, and even though the Vikes may have to do all the scoring, I still like a slight lean to the OVER.

Indianapolis (-3) at Buffalo  O/U  37
Buffalo is really banged up and has underachieved all year.  Indy has played well on defense and should cover easily.  My play is on the COLTS.  I like the UNDER in this game and if the weather gets ugly I like it even more.

Pittsburgh at Cleveland (-3)  O/U  41
An age old rivalry between two teams fighting it out in the most mediocre division in the AFC.  Pittsburgh has let me down too many times this year to pick an upset here.  Take the BROWNS at home and as long as there aren’t a slew of turnovers (think Tommy Maddox) this game should stay UNDER.

New Orleans (+5 ½) at Philadelphia  O/U  39.5
Philly has won five in a row.  Nothing New Orleans has done gives any indication that the trend will change, but I think this number is too many.  Take the SAINTS plus the points and go with the OVER.

St. Louis at Arizona (+8)  O/U  43
There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to pick the Cardinals in any game, especially against a team that has playoff aspirations.  But I felt that way about them against Green Bay, Cincinnati and San Francisco, and Arizona pulled unfathomable upsets at home.  Go with the CARDINALS plus the eight points and give a slight edge to the UNDER.

Chicago at Denver (-10½)  O/U  40.5
10½ is a LOT of points in any NFL game to cover, but the Bears just don’t have the firepower to cover this number.  Ride the BRONCOS to the house.  The weather could get nasty, so I’m sitting on the UNDER.

Cincinnati at San Diego (+3)  O/U  43
Cincinnati has a lot more to play for, but Flutie won’t let the Chargers roll over and die.  Denver thumped them last week, but the Bengals aren’t Denver.  Take the CHARGERS plus the three and I’m going to say UNDER on this one.

Washington at Miami (-6)  O/U  35
I may regret this one, but I think  Miami can cover the 6 at home.  I wouldn’t put a huge amount on it, but I would take the FISH and the OVER.

For The Record:
Dana Harris' Best Bets ATS:
Week 11:    (4 - 4 - 0)
YTD:           (6 - 11 - 2)

Questions/comments/tomato throwing may be directed to
Week 12
November 21, 2003
by Dana Harris