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THE BETTOR’S EDGE

Not against taking some risks

By Ed Ryan
Globe Staff / December 30, 2011
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When Kenny Loggins sang about the “danger zone,’’ he may have been referring to the perils of gambling during the final weekend of the NFL regular season.

Perhaps it would be wise to hold our money on Sunday because of all the complicated unknowns. Who wants to wade through the postseason scenarios for Tennessee and Oakland? Who wants to bet on teams eliminated from the playoffs, not knowing if their players have already dusted off their Xboxes or waxed their skis? And who wants to risk money on a 4 o’clock game only to realize at 4:20 that an earlier outcome has rendered that game meaningless (see the Dallas-Philadelphia matchup from last weekend)?

We do. We want to take those risks, get the best of it, and make some money. Last year, The Bettor’s Edge went 4-0 in Week 17, so it’s time to stack up, not back up.

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

MINNESOTA (-1) over Chicago: The Vikings are wrapping up a dreadful season, but showed heart at Washington and can run effectively with Toby Gerhart. The Bears have nothing left and will close out the season with their sixth straight loss. Risking $110 to win $100.

MIAMI (-2 1/2) over New York Jets: The Jets need a lot of help to make the postseason; it’s not their year. Miami is a better team but the line will still tantalize those who feel the Jets have to win. New York had to win other games, too, and couldn’t. Risking $110 to win $100.

OAKLAND (-3) over San Diego: This contest will mean something when it kicks off at 4. A Raiders win and a Broncos loss (Denver also plays at 4) will clinch the AFC West for Oakland. San Diego will act like it wants to be a spoiler but will no longer care by the time the third quarter begins. Risking $165 to win $150.

Baltimore (-2) over CINCINNATI: A lot at stake for both clubs, but in three games against the iron of its division (the Ravens and Steelers) Cincinnati is 0-3 and has been outscored, 90-48. Risking $110 to win $100.

Carolina (+8) over NEW ORLEANS: The Saints have a first-round bye at stake but the Panthers have won four of five and can move the ball. A division game pitting two of the NFL’s better teams against the spread (combined record of 20-9-1), this is no layup for New Orleans. Risking $165 to win $150.

Last week: 3-1, plus $190. Season: 28-29-3, minus $565.

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