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The bettor's edge

Gobbling up the leftovers

The bye weeks have concluded, but for The Bettor’s Edge, the six teams in action yesterday may as well have been off, because you can’t pick winners for a Thursday game in the Friday newspaper.

No matter. Thirteen winners remain up for grabs this weekend, and before we release three, here are a few trends to consider before risking your hard-earned cash.

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The Chargers have lost five straight and have not covered the spread once during that streak.

Kansas City is streaky. The Chiefs didn’t cover in their first two games, covered in their next five, and then failed to cover in their last four.

Seattle has failed to cover in just one of its last eight games, going 6-1-1 against the spread during that span.

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

Houston (-3 1/2) at JACKSONVILLE: We’re backing the Matt Leinart experiment. Houston’s defense, offensive line, and running game are stellar, and Andre Johnson returns to give Leinart another option in the passing game (although didn’t Leinart have Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin at his disposal in Arizona?). Jacksonville hasn’t played at EverBank Field since Oct. 24 (a Monday night win over Baltimore), where they are a pedestrian 2-2 straight up and 2-2 against the spread. The Texans have faced three teams without winning records on the road and have won and covered in all three. A 20-13 final seems appropriate. Risking $110 to win $100.

NY JETS (-9) over Buffalo: Both teams are slumping, which is not unusual at midseason, but the Bills are in real trouble. Buffalo is buckling under critical injuries, and despite how locals think, the Jets have enough talent and a favorable enough schedule to become factors in the AFC playoff race. Risking $110 to win $100.

ATLANTA (-9 1/2) over Minnesota: The Falcons, playing their third straight in the Georgia Dome, are 4-5-1 against the spread because of some confusing and uneven performances, but they should win this contest handily. Minnesota has an erratic rookie at quarterback, running back Adrian Peterson is hurting, and it allows too many passing yards and too many points to hang around. Risking $110 to win $100.

Last week: 2-1-1, plus $90. Season: 16-22-3, minus $1,040.

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