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bettor’s edge

Giants’ end-of-game strategy leaves some mumbling to themselves

The Giants and quarterback Eli Manning didn’t look to score at the end of the game, a move that surely left some bettors upset.

Kathy Willens/Associated Press

The Giants and quarterback Eli Manning didn’t look to score at the end of the game, a move that surely left some bettors upset.

If you see a team lining up in “victory formation” at the end of a close game, with the quarterback taking a knee and the clock running toward zero, you can be sure there is a gambler out there, muttering and staring blankly at nothing in particular.

I didn’t have the Giants Sunday, but if I had, I would have been the person described above. With 3:21 remaining and New York leading, 24-20, the Giants — 7-point favorites — took over at Oakland’s 45. A late New York field goal would have allowed Giants backers to exhale with a push, but instead New York ran the ball inside the Raiders’ 20, picked up a couple of first downs, and let the clock run out because Oakland was out of timeouts.

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The conclusion of the Detroit-Chicago game was even more maddening for gamblers. The Bears, 1-point home underdogs, trailed Detroit, 21-19, with 40 seconds to play and a 2-point conversion pending. Executing the conversion would have pushed the game into overtime and provided Chicago a chance to cover. Instead, the Bears received two opportunities to score on the conversion (Detroit roughed the passer on the first attempt), failed at both, and the Lions escaped with a 2-point victory. For Chicago backers, that was the Bad Beat of the Week.

Elsewhere on the board:

Jacksonville defeated Tennessee, 29-27, despite being a 13½-point underdog, despite having covered only once this season, and despite having lost outright in 20 of its previous 21 games.

The Bears have failed to cover in five of their last six.

Philadelphia, a 27-13 winner in Green Bay, is 5-1 on the road against the spread.

Keep your eye on the Packers. They were 3-0-1 against the spread in the four games before quarterback Aaron Rodgers was injured, and are 0-2 against the spread since.

Inside the numbers:

Favorites: 6-7

Home underdogs: 0-3

6 overs, 7 unders

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