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2011 NFL Week 13 Odds & Point Spreads

Chicago Bears quarterback Caleb Hanie celebrates a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers during the fourth quarter of the NFL NFC Championship football game in Chicago, January 23, 2011. REUTERS/John Gress (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Four odds of note:

Colts –20.5 @ Patriots, 1:00PM ET, Sunday
I about fell over when I first saw the opening line for this game, which was actually New England –21. But the spread makes sense. First of all, the Colts haven’t covered in seven straight weeks so oddsmakers have to push the envelope to see what price bettors will be willing to pay in order to keep fading Indy. Secondly, New England is just two weeks removed from covering a 17-point spread against the Chiefs on Monday Night Football, so oddsmakers realize that bettors are at least willing to lay that number when it comes to wagering on the Pats. But 20.5? For a NFL game? Dear, Barbara.

Falcons –1.5 @ Texans, 1:00PM ET, Sunday
There’s an unwritten rule when it comes to wagering: If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. The Texans are starting T.J. Yates at quarterback against a Falcons team that has won two straight games and is chasing down a playoff berth in the NFC. Why wouldn’t you lay the 1.5 points on Atlanta? All they have to do is win, basically. That said, the Texans knew as soon as Matt Schaub went down for the season that no matter who was playing quarterback, their defense and running game would have to carry them. The Falcons have been inconsistent on offense all season and while their run defense has been stout, they will be tested by the Texans’ excellent rushing attack. Plus, Atlanta could be without two of its top three cornerbacks as Brent Grimes (knee) and Kelvin Hayden (toe) are both expected to miss this Sunday. Beware the trap.

Raiders +2.5 @ Dolphins, 1:00PM ET, Sunday
Speaking of traps, the 3-8 Dolphins are a 2.5-point favorite against the 7-4 Raiders who are battling the Broncos for the AFC West crown? Hello, Oakland and the points! Again, beware the bet that looks too good to be true. Miami’s defense has been a rock over the past couple of weeks and the Fish were one big play/stop away from beating the Cowboys last Thursday. Miami clearly hasn’t given up on the season despite its record and will probably enjoy playing the role of spoiler from here on out.

Chiefs +9 @ Bears, 1:00PM ET, Sunday
Who is going to lay nearly 10 points on a Caleb Hanie-led Chicago team after his performance last Sunday in Oakland? The Chiefs failed to cover as a 17-point underdog two weeks ago in New England but they nearly came from behind and beat the Steelers last Sunday night. I think there’s going to be plenty of Kansas City backers come Sunday, so it’ll be interesting to see if the line moves, and by how much, come Sunday. The Bears are much tougher at home than they are on the road, plus they have Matt Forte, Devin Hester and a (usually) stingy defense. But Hanie radically changes what Mike Martz wants to do on offense and it’s tough envisioning them covering a 9-point spread.

2011 NFL Week 13 Point Spreads

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2011 NFL Week 9 Odds & Point Spreads

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick waves for members of his defensive to join him during a timeout in the second quarter of the Pittsburgh Steelers 25-17 win at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on October 30, 2011. UPI/Archie Carpenter

Four spreads of note:

Buccaneers +9 @ Saints, 1:00PM ET, Sunday
For the record, I think this line is set right. The Saints have proven to be much better and much more explosive at home than they have on the road this season. But the Bucs just beat the Saints three weeks ago, are coming off a bye and didn’t just lose to the previously winless Rams. So why are they 9-point underdogs? It’s a revenge game for New Orleans in more ways than one but will the betting public be willing to lay nine points in order to take the Saints? It’ll be interesting to see where this line winds up but either way, it’s not falling to the key number of 7 or rising to the key number of 10 so bettors have a tough decision to make if they choose to wager on this game.

Giants +9 @ Patriots, 4:15PM ET, Sunday
I’m starting to develop a very general, very subjective take when it comes to betting on Giants games. If they’re not expected to win, jump on them and be glad to take any points oddsmakers throw your way. If they’re expected to win, either fade them or run like hell. In Week 1 they were expected to beat the Redskins and lost outright as a 2.5-point favorite. Two weeks later when they were 9-point underdogs on the road against the Eagles, they won 29-16. When they were expected to beat the Seahawks in Week 5, they lost outright at home. And when they were expected to run all over the hapless Dolphins last Sunday, they needed a fourth-quarter comeback to win but failed to cover the 9.5-point spread. Granted, they did cover against the Rams in Week 2 and the Cardinals in Week 4 when they were expected to win. But both of those games were a little too close for comfort. What’s my point? I like the G-Men getting 9 points this Sunday, even with Bill Belichick and New England’s win-after-a-loss streak on the line. New York just has a habit of showing up when nobody thinks they will.

Rams +4 at Cardinals, 4:15PM ET, Sunday
I smell a trap. The Rams are coming off a huge upset of the Saints and now they’re 4-point underdogs against a brutal Arizona team? Why isn’t this a 1 or 2 point spread? Even 3 points I can see but 4? This one doesn’t make sense and when a spread doesn’t make sense you either go the opposite way of conventional thinking (in this case, take the Cardinals), or you lay off entirely. I just don’t see how the Cardinals could be favored by anything more than 3 points in a game where both teams are 1-6. Especially seeing as how Kevin Kolb will be a game-time decision with turf toe.

Ravens +3 @ Steelers, 8:20PM ET, Sunday
This game opened at 3.5 but is already down to 3. I think if oddsmakers left the spread at 3.5 they would get more three-way action but I have to believe that public bettors would be all over Pittsburgh with the line sitting at 3. Baltimore has looked like a speedboat without an engine the past two weeks while Pittsburgh has won four in a row, which includes its win over New England last Sunday. The Steelers might suffer a hangover from the Patriot game but I highly doubt it. They’re playing the Ravens; these two teams always get up to play each other. It’ll be interesting to see where this line winds up at kickoff.

2011 NFL Week 9 Point Spreads:

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