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The Bettor's Edge

Patriots have us covered

By Ed Ryan
Globe Staff / September 30, 2011

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Next week, the regular season will already be 25 percent complete, affording us a helpful opportunity to examine some numbers and trends. This week, though, there’s only one number on my mind, and it’s at the bottom of this article.

I’m referring to the number that reflects my balance, and it’s disturbing. I can’t hide from it, and I don’t plan on staying on the wrong side of the ledger for very long, so it’s time to lock in, stop falling in love with bad teams, and get the best of these spreads.

This week’s picks (home team in caps): New England (-4 1/2) over OAKLAND: Oakland, like Buffalo and San Diego, can move the ball, and the Patriots allow the most yards per game (468), by a wide margin. But New England’s top-ranked offense is relentless and is matched against an Oakland defensive unit that is quite leaky. Traveling cross-country to play a decent team is no bargain, but the Patriots, coming off a loss, should be sufficiently motivated and aren’t likely to repeat last week’s turnovers. Risking $110 to win $100.

Detroit (+1 1/2) over DALLAS: Ailing Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has been on the run behind an inconsistent offensive line, and his problems are about to worsen. Detroit’s Ndamukong Suh is a fearsome anchor along the Lions defensive front, and the Cowboys are going to have to extend themselves just to protect Romo. The Lions, at 3-0, have a tremendous opportunity to let everyone know what their team clearly believes: They are for real. Risking $110 to win $100.

Pittsburgh (+4) over HOUSTON: A win over the Steelers would signify that Houston has finally turned the corner, and that may happen, but in the meantime I’m siding with the Steelers defense and the generous head start. Risking $110 to win $100.

BALTIMORE (-3 1/2) over New York Jets: We always hear about the Jets in this region, but we’re not hearing much about their defense, probably because they’ve allowed an average of 136 yards per game on the ground. This is not good news for Rex Ryan’s crew, because the Ravens are solid not only rushing the ball but in all phases of the game. With Buffalo emerging as a possible factor in the division and the Patriots not going anywhere, New York may be in for a laborious season. Risking $110 to win $100.

Last week: 1-2, minus $275. Season: 4-6-1, minus $415.

Follow Ed Ryan on Twitter @EdzoRyan.

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