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The Bettor's Edge

Setting sail with high aspirations

By Ed Ryan
Globe Correspondent / September 9, 2011

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Two years ago, our profit was modest ($243). Last season, it was solid ($822) and borderline significant if you count the $700 earned on a Super Bowl prop bet (Jordy Nelson to score the first touchdown at 14-1).

The goal this year is the same: make as much money as possible. It’s never easy in this endeavor, but we’re trending upward and ready to break out.

One of my favorite gambling sayings, mentioned here before, is, “Columbus took a shot.’’

It worked out for Columbus, and it’ll work out for us.

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

ST. LOUIS (+4 1/2) over Philadelphia: Based on returning personnel and offseason moves, the Eagles are a legitimate threat to win the NFC. But if you’ve read this space before, you know the Rams - 10-6 against the spread last season - are held in high regard. Philadelphia has something to prove and is excited to show off its new toys, but St. Louis has an advantage on the sideline with coach Steve Spagnuolo and a quarterback in Sam Bradford who is not going to flinch. The number is begging you to take the Eagles, but the smart money will go toward St. Louis. Risking $110 to win $100.

Tennessee (+2) over JACKSONVILLE: The Titans had several things working against them last season, which necessitated coaching and quarterback changes. They have figured out how to rebuild and remain competitive. The Jaguars, though, are about to discover what it’s like to embark on a lost season. Risking $110 to win $100.

CLEVELAND (-6 1/2) over Cincinnati: If you’re banking on the Bengals to bottom out this season, you’re not alone. Cincinnati has held things together and maintained respectability of late, even making the playoffs in 2009, but those days are undetectable in the rearview mirror. The Bengals have a rookie quarterback, a rookie wide receiver, and a running back who just got out of prison. Cleveland has slowly developed from laughingstock to respectable and should be able to lock down a Cincinnati unit that, in Week 1, is getting nearly a touchdown against a non-playoff division rival. Talk about a lack of respect. Risking $110 to win $100.

Buffalo (+6) over KANSAS CITY: Are the Chiefs still improving, or have they peaked? We say the latter, and while Buffalo isn’t close to the upper crust of the AFC, it did lose by only 3 points (13-10) at Arrowhead last October. Risking $110 to win $100.

Last season: 43-31-1, plus $822.

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