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Spread to bet on now
Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots (-7)
“Front of the line bettors” are on Baltimore in this one, but it appears they may be shooting at shadows. Yes, the Ravens looked good in taking care of the Steelers in Pittsburgh. And yes, Baltimore has had recent success against the Patriots in Foxboro. And yes, the Patriots lost their last regular-season game. But like a spin of the roulette wheel, this is an independent trial.
New England has been in dry dock for a week and has had time to handle some needed repairs to its offensive line, which was a bit shoddy over the final month. And when the Pats played Baltimore over the last few years, New England was crippled by injuries to Wes Welker or Rob Gronkowski. This time Gronk is ready to go. Whoever you like in this one, books probably won’t budge off seven.
Spread to wait on
Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay Packers (-6.5)
These aren’t the Dallas Cowboys football bettors have been accustomed. The old Boys would have figured out a way to throw away a playoff spot with poor play in December, or Tony Romo would have done something – anything – to turn a win into a loss. But now Dallas takes a five-game winning streak into Green Bay on Sunday, and Cowboy backers will be able to get nearly a full touchdown in what figures to be a grind-it-out taffy pull.
Temperatures in Green Bay are expected to moderate a bit by Sunday, but it’s possible that the game will finish in single digits, which could be a shock to the Cowboys. Not “Ice Bowl II” stuff, but still nasty enough. Early money is on Green Bay, but Dallas money may flood in late and move the line. Hang on a bit here and check out the variables later in the week.
Total to watch
Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks (40.5)
Plenty to offer here for both Over and Under aficionados. Under players can make an argument that Seattle’s defense is every bit as good now as it was at this time last season, and that Carolina can easily hang with the Seahawks because the Panthers haven’t given up more than 17 points in a game in more than a month.
But some Over players will jump at anything under 41 points (24-17) and figure all that’s needed is a couple of well-placed pass interference call to make dust of the Under. Either way, it’s hard to see the books adding a half-point to the scale.