This week’s bets: Patriots, Falcons, Chiefs, Vikings, Panthers

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I began analyzing the weekend lines on Monday and realized that Dallas and Oakland didn’t have to be considered. Without having placed a bet, I felt like I was ahead.

Both the Cowboys and Raiders (along with the Lions and Buccaneers) are on byes, and Dallas has — at least temporarily — joined Oakland as a team I will no longer consider. I figured the Cowboys were a good bet against Chicago Monday night, but five Tony Romo interceptions later, it was obvious I figured wrong.

The Bears won outright as 3-point underdogs, continuing a trend that has developed during the first four weeks: Favorites are just 23-38-2 against the spread. In fact, we have yet to experience a week in which chalk came in more than underdogs.

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It’s time for the favorites to catch up (with one exception).

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

NEW ENGLAND (-7) over Denver: New England has improved since its last home game (a loss to Arizona) and should have its way with an overrated Denver team that appears on its way to a .500 season. The threat of a back-door cover always looms when facing Peyton Manning, but the Patriots will squash that notion by winning in a romp. Risking $110 to win $100.

Atlanta (-3) over WASHINGTON: The Redskins have endured significant injuries defensively, and for a team that allows more than 30 points and 415 yards per game, there’s no easy fix. Now the undefeated Falcons arrive at FedEx Field fresh off a miracle win against Carolina, which features a quarterback (Cam Newton) with a skill set similar to that of Robert Griffin III, the Redskins rookie. Atlanta will be well-prepared. Risking $110 to win $100.

KANSAS CITY (+5) over Baltimore: The Chiefs have a home run hitter in Jamaal Charles and are unlikely to turn the ball over six times at home two weeks in a row. Risking $83 to win $75.

MINNESOTA (-5½) over Tennessee: This will be Minnesota’s fifth straight contest in a dome, while Tennessee plays on the turf for the first time. Risking $83 to win $75.

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CAROLINA (-3) over Seattle: We all know Seattle should be 1-3, not 2-2. Regardless, the Seahawks (3-11 straight up in their last 14 road games) are away from home with a struggling rookie quarterback. Risking $110 to win $100.

Last week: 1-2, minus $120. Season: 5-10, minus $553.

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