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The Bettor's edge

You can bet we'll never say never

By Ed Ryan
Globe Staff / October 21, 2011

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Occasionally in this endeavor, you’ll have a “never again’’ moment. It’s when you get burned so badly at the end of the game that you tell yourself you’ll never bet again.

The quintessential “never again’’ moment occurred Saturday in college football. South Carolina, winning by 4 and favored by 3, took a safety as time expired, moving the final to 14-12. If you took South Carolina, you probably found yourself dazed and muttering something about never gambling again.

Similarly, last Sunday in the NFL, the hapless Colts seemed on their way to covering as 7-point underdogs against the Bengals, and possibly winning outright. Trailing, 20-17, with the ball and 2:22 remaining, the Colts fumbled after a completed pass and the Bengals returned the gift for a touchdown. Thus, a 27-17 final, and a Bengals cover.

Fortunately, we avoid “never again’’ moments here.

This week’s picks (home team in caps): CAROLINA (-2 1/2) over Washington: The Panthers may be just 1-5, but it’s clear they made the right move by handing Cam Newton the controls from Day One. Carolina is 4-1-1 against the spread and has been in every game. Win No. 2 comes in this matchup. The Redskins have tried to improve things by naming John Beck their starting quarterback over Rex Grossman, but that won’t matter. Washington lost its starting left guard and its starting left tackle to injuries against Philadelphia, and those personnel issues will affect the game much more than the Redskins coach taking a flyer on Beck. Risking $165 to win $150.

San Diego (-2) over NEW YORK JETS: The Jets have scrapped their way to a 3-3 record, and in their last seven home games are a much more impressive 6-1 straight up. But nothing about the Jets makes me think they are playoff-caliber, and nothing about them makes me think they are better in any phase against a well-balanced San Diego squad. Risking $110 to win $100.

OAKLAND (-3 1/2) over Kansas City: With or without Carson Palmer, it seems the Raiders are on to something. Defensively there are issues, as Oakland surrendered big yardage in games against Buffalo and New England. But the Raiders can run the ball, and you have to think Palmer will feel liberated now that he can play without getting screamed at by diva receivers Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens. Risking $110 to win $100.

Last week: 2-1, plus $90. Season: 9-11-2, minus $520.

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