I was rooting for the Patriots to win big against the Jets. Having correctly selected New England against the spread in the two previous weeks, I felt confident laying 10½ points. I was on to something. I had a good read on the Patriots and it was time for a statement game against a bitter rival.
As the game moved deep into the fourth quarter, I changed my mind. I began rooting for the Patriots to lose outright.
Why not? By then, my bet was assuredly lost and so was my hard-earned cash. With money on the line, I don’t owe any team — local or otherwise — my loyalty. So when the Jets mounted their fourth-quarter comeback and went ahead with under two minutes to play, I was all-in with Gang Green. It felt natural to root against the team that was too inept to cover my bet.
Perhaps that’s a frivolous outlook, but if you’ve placed money on enough games, you know exactly how I felt.
This week’s picks (home team in caps):
PHILADELPHIA (-2) over Atlanta: It doesn’t seem wise betting against an undefeated team that is getting points coming off a bye, but I like this spot for the Eagles. Philadelphia is also off a bye, it’s home, and Atlanta’s last three wins have been decided by a total of 12 points. The Falcons have been steamrolling toward this loss. Risking $165 to win $150.
DETROIT (-1½) over Seattle: This is an overlooked game because no one knows what to make of Detroit and no one truly believes in Seattle. In that case, I’ll take the home team with the capable offense over the road team with the rookie quarterback. Risking $110 to win $100.
New Orleans (+6) over DENVER: Do the Broncos have any business being favored by nearly a touchdown over an NFC opponent? It remains difficult to gauge New Orleans, especially on defense, but look for the Saints to use last week’s breathtaking win in Tampa Bay as a launching pad for the rest of their season. Risking $110 to win $100.
Miami (+2) over NEW YORK JETS: The Jets don’t have enough character to build off last week’s emotional loss, and Miami comes to play every week. Risking $110 to win $100.
Last week: 0-4, minus $440. Season: 12-16, minus $463.