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the bettor’s edge

The Patriots will be a good pick this week

Thinking about gambling on the Patriots makes me think of my friend who bets on them every week.

It’s no joke. He proudly takes them every game, no matter the circumstances. As I looked at this week’s board, I wondered how he was faring because, like many gamblers, he tends to embellish his success.

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Recent history shows that New England has been a decent bet. In the previous three seasons, the Patriots are 31-22-1 (including playoffs) against the spread, with their best mark during that span — 11-7 — coming last season.

In 2013, the Patriots are 5-4 against the number, and to this point, a weekly $110 bet to win $100 on New England would have netted gamblers $60. With seven weeks remaining, and then playoffs, my friend still has a chance to increase that number. I’m betting that happens after Monday night’s game.

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

New England (+2½) over CAROLINA: The Patriots have been favored in eight of their nine games by an average of almost 6 points per contest (they were underdogs in Week 4 at Atlanta), and by game time, I expect this line to be at least even. Here’s why I’m backing New England: I watched the Panthers-49ers contest and I couldn’t believe how many receivers San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick missed. Tom Brady won’t make those mistakes. New England will be prepared to handle the upstart Panthers (five straight wins and covers). Risking $110 to win $100.

Washington (+3½) over PHILADELPHIA: The Eagles are 5-1 against the spread on the road, but 0-4 at home. I’ll ride that trend and expect Washington to score on a defense that allows 417 yards per game (second-worst number in the league). Risking $110 to win $100.

HOUSTON (-7) over Oakland: Oakland has competed but is about to fall apart. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor, already a below-average passer, is hobbled. He’ll play right into the hands of Houston’s top-ranked defense. Risking $110 to win $100.

Green Bay (-5) over NEW YORK GIANTS: The Giants remains a mess, even after three straight wins. I’ll take this inflated head start despite Green Bay having to use its third-string quarterback (Scott Tolzien) or a quarterback off the street (Matt Flynn). Risking $110 to win $100.

Last week: 2-1, plus $190. Season: 15-20-1, minus $890.

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