The bettor’s edge

Road underdogs bringing it home

We have 14 NFL weeks in the books, so let’s continue to analyze the numbers and hunt for winners.

Last Thursday’s matchup in Oakland had the Raiders getting 11 points by kickoff against the Broncos. Earlier in the evening,’s RJ Bell tweeted that, in the last 22 games with a home underdog getting more than 8 points, the home underdog was 21-1 against the spread. Who wouldn’t want information like that and who wouldn’t take the Raiders after reading that tweet? Of course, the Broncos made that 21-2 by drilling Oakland by 13.

I avoid over/unders because I never have a feel for them, but it’s worth noting that to date, 104 games have gone over the number and 103 have gone under this season.


Home favorites against the spread continue to struggle — they’ve come in at just 41 percent (54-77).

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This weekend’s Raiders/Chiefs matchup should be billed as the “Avoid At All Costs Bowl.”

They’re a combined 8-18 against the spread and a combined 2-6 against the spread in the AFC West.

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

San Francisco (+5½) over NEW ENGLAND: The Patriots are on a roll and submitted a fantastic performance against Houston. But the view from my couch told me the following: If a couple of early plays went toward the Texans (Matt Schaub ignoring Arian Foster over the middle in Patriots territory and instead forcing a pass that was intercepted by Devin McCourty; the bogus defensive pass-interference call on a third-down throw to Wes Welker that otherwise would have given the Texans the ball back but quickly resulted in a 21-0 New England lead), the game would at least have been competitive. I’m betting San Francisco doesn’t get rattled on Sunday night. Risking $165 to win $150.

BALTIMORE (+2½) over Denver: I’m not ready to dismiss the Ravens because they are coming off losses to a divisional rival (Pittsburgh) and a regional rival (Washington) by a combined 6 points. Risking $165 to win $150.


ATLANTA (-1½) over New York Giants: The Giants are nearly impossible to figure, but we do know this: They don’t make things easy on themselves. Atlanta’s seemingly endless quest to be taken seriously will receive an adrenaline shot by knocking off the Super Bowl champions. Risking $165 to win $150.

Last week: 2-2, plus $30. Season: 25-28-1, minus $388.

Ed Ryan can be reached at