It’s demoralizing when you realize a team is useless after you bet on them.

Exhibit A, the Atlanta Falcons. I convinced myself prior to last week’s home tilt with Baltimore that Atlanta needed a win and this game was winnable. No chance.

The Falcons’ offense looked like it had learned the rules of football two days earlier, and Atlanta got manhandled, 26-16.

I’m in a lively group text with fellow gamblers on Sundays, and during this game, one guy piped in, “Is there a support group dedicated to people who have bet on Atlanta over the years? I need assistance.” Amen.


Exhibit B, the Minnesota Vikings. I thought Minnesota could compete in Foxborough. What a miss.

Almost immediately, it was apparent that New England was on its way to a comfortable win (and cover), and during the proceedings, another friend joked that Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo must be wearing a Patriots sweatshirt underneath his Minnesota jacket.

Perhaps the New England defense is suddenly that good, but if I were in DeFilippo’s shoes, I probably would have tried to give Dalvin Cook more than nine carries.

So what’s the lesson here? Should you expect me to keep figuring out that I bungled my picks after the games kick off? No. Unlike the Falcons’ and Vikings’ coaching staffs, the Bettor’s Edge knows how to adjust and knows how to finish strong.

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

CLEVELAND (+1½) over Carolina: Playing outside of Charlotte is not working for the Panthers, who are 0-3 against the spread as an away favorite and 1-5 against the spread overall on the road. Risking $110 to win $100.

ARIZONA (+3) over Detroit: At home, Arizona has limited opponents to 14.3 points per game — the best mark in the league — and it also loves to blitz the quarterback. That’s bad news for the Lions’ Matthew Stafford, who has been sacked an outrageous 23 times during Detroit’s last five games. Risking $165 to win $150.


Indianapolis (+4½) over HOUSTON: A lowlight in the Colts season occurred on Sept. 30, when coach Frank Reich decided to go for it on fourth down in his own end, late in overtime. That unsuccessful decision led to Houston’s first win of the season, and the Texans haven’t lost since.

Houston is a good-but-not-great 6-3 against the spread during its nine-game winning streak, and I expect another close divisional battle within this number. Risking $110 to win $100.

LA CHARGERS (-14) over Cincinnati: After they dropped games at home (and didn’t cover in either), let’s not kid ourselves into thinking the outmanned Bengals will provide any resistance on the road once they fall behind. Risking $110 to win $100.

Last week: 1-4, minus $340. Season: 29-28-1, minus $345.

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