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The bettor's edge

The back door was locked

By Ed Ryan
Globe Staff / December 9, 2011
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It was either the third offensive pass interference call on Nate Burleson or the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Brandon Pettigrew - all occurring in the second half of Detroit’s 31-17 loss to New Orleans Sunday night - that prompted me to wish an NFL official had fired a yellow flag in my direction when I typed, “Detroit (+9) over NEW ORLEANS’’ last week.

Wishing for a back-door cover in that game was like wishing I could close my eyes and reverse my balance. No chance for either. But time remains for the Lions, and for The Bettor’s Edge. I’m 9-5-1 in my last 15 and have no plans to do anything but finish strong.

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

New England (-8) over WASHINGTON: Prior to Washington’s game against the Jets, quarterback Rex Grossman motivated his team by declaring that the Redskins barely had a chance at the postseason. They promptly fell apart against New York and lost by 15. The Patriots were susceptible to the back-door cover against the Colts, but no such threat exists against Washington. Risking $110 to win $100.

Houston (+3) over CINCINNATI: Even if receiver Andre Johnson (hamstring injury) can’t play, Houston has the defense and the running game to survive with a rookie quarterback (T.J. Yates) on the road. The Bengals are good at two things: beating inferior opponents and losing to playoff-caliber teams. Risking $110 to win $100.

DALLAS (-3.5) over NY Giants: Here is the perfect opportunity to bet against New York. While the Cowboys are maddening because they allow inferior opponents to remain too close, the Giants are a group that will come close to beating the league’s best team (Green Bay) and make you believe they’ve turned the corner, only to fall apart the next week. This is next week. Risking $110 to win $100.

BALTIMORE (-16 1/2) over Indianapolis: The Ravens will methodically dominate the Colts and their banged-up defense, but unlike when Indianapolis lost to New England, the final score will reflect that domination. Risking $110 to win $100.

Chicago (+3 1/2) over DENVER: The Broncos have won five straight as underdogs, an impressive feat that has thrust polarizing quarterback Tim Tebow into the spotlight. Finally installed as favorites, they’re in for a close game against a Bears team that - before Jay Cutler was injured - had a five-game winning streak of its own. Risking $110 to win $100.

Last week: 2-2, minus $75. Season: 20-25-3, minus $1,025.

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