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the bettor’s edge

Late-night Sunday game was a bonus for bettors

The NFL finally provided gamblers with a benefit that college football has always furnished: the late-night bailout.

I learned an important lesson years ago from a veteran gambler who noticed I was getting clobbered during a college football Saturday.

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“Don’t worry,” he assured me. “You can always bet on Hawaii. Take the Rainbows and go to bed. Figure it out in the morning.”

How right he was. The Hawaii Rainbows’ home games typically start at 11:30 p.m. Eastern time, providing a final chance to right your Saturday wrongs without knowing what happened until the next day.

Which brings us to Oakland last weekend. Because of the Athletics’ participation in the baseball playoffs Saturday, the O.co Coliseum needed time to be changed over for Sunday’s Raiders-Chargers game. As a result, that Sunday kickoff was moved from 4 p.m. Eastern to 11:30 p.m. Eastern.

The regularly scheduled Sunday night game (between the Texans and 49ers), then, was not the final opportunity for gamblers to bail themselves out or cap a big weekend. That opportunity came much later in the Oakland-San Diego contest, giving those of us who like to play the odds one last chance to post a bet, go to bed, and “figure it out in the morning.”

Someone start a petition to make this late game a weekly occurrence. I’ll sign.

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

NEW ENGLAND (-2½) over New Orleans: The Saints are undefeated, but this is their second straight road game, and their defense is overrated. The Patriots’ loss of Vince Wilfork along the defensive line won’t be felt as much against a weak Saints ground attack. Risking $165 to win $150.

SEATTLE (-13½) over Tennessee: The Titans, with shaky Ryan Fitzpatrick under center (he was a high-wire act in a home loss to Kansas City), are in big trouble at CenturyLink Field, where the Seahawks have won their two games by an average of 27 points. Risking $165 to win 150.

Washington (+5½) over DALLAS: Washington is coming off a bye and would like to think the last month has been quarterback Robert Griffin III’s training camp (he did not play in games during the preseason). I’ll buy that sentiment and take the points in a division game between two teams more evenly matched than perception would indicate. Risking $220 to win $200.

Last week: 2-1, plus $135. Season: 8-9-1, minus $250.

Ed Ryan can be reached at ed_ryan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @EdzoRyan
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