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The Bettor's Edge

It’s a real parity scene

By Ed Ryan
Globe Staff / December 17, 2010

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A few facts to consider with only three weeks remaining in the regular season:

Favorites are 98-104-5 against the spread, according to closing lines from profootballlocks.com. Those results are trending differently in the last five weeks, though, with favorites coming in at 42-36-0.

In Week 15 last season, there were four double-digit spreads. This week, there are none, but potentially one if Aaron Rodgers doesn’t play for Green Bay. This discrepancy tells us more parity exists, and no teams (aside from New England lately) have been consistently dominant.

According to spreadtrends.com, the season’s best bets have been Detroit, Jacksonville, St. Louis, and Atlanta. All are 9-4 against the spread. The worst team against the number is Carolina, at 3-10.

This week’s picks (home team in caps):

OAKLAND (-6 1/2) over Denver: The Broncos, who have problems with personnel and effort that won’t be fixed until next season, are playing their third straight road game; the first two produced a total of 19 points, 396 rushing yards allowed, and a pair of losses. What are the Broncos expected to do against Oakland’s Darren McFadden, who has rounded into form and has 220 rushing yards in his last two games? Risking $110 to win $100.

CAROLINA (-2 1/2) over Arizona: Carolina’s futility is documented above, but Arizona hasn’t been much better. The Cardinals are bringing a rookie quarterback — John Skelton of Fordham — on the road for his second start, so I’m taking the home team, which will be able to run the ball. Risking $110 to win $100.

SEATTLE (+6) over Atlanta: On paper, and on the field, Atlanta is superior. And this space is no fan of the Seahawks. But the Falcons are playing their third straight road game — the first two were victories and covers — and there is enough of a cushion in those 6 points to side with the home underdog. Risking $110 to win $100.

NEW YORK GIANTS (-3) over Philadelphia: The Giants have won three in a row, their last loss coming against the Eagles. First place in the NFC East is at stake, and while these squads seem evenly matched, I’m on the home team because of this statistic: In its last seven games, Philadelphia has allowed 26.8 points per game. Is that a championship defense? Risking $110 to win $100.

Last week: 3-1, plus $240. Season: 29-23-1, plus $277.

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