What’s better than watching your team turn a 24-0 halftime lead into a historic 35-24 loss, as your (former) Pro Bowl quarterback channels his inner Ryan Leaf? Watching it while sitting two rows from the field. As if witnessing the Monday Night Meltdown in San Diego in person wasn’t bad enough, it came after yet another losing wagering week (my bankroll is plummeting faster than Felix Baumgartner).
The worst part? The Chargers follow up their Denver debacle with a bye, meaning I can’t recoup a huge chunk of my recent losses by wagering against them this week (in what would’ve been a classic letdown spot). Maybe somebody around town will give me 10-to-1 odds that the Chargers’ front office will spend the bye week working out a three-year contract extension for Norv Turner—I’d take some of that sweet action.
On to this week’s selections (note: all point spreads are as of Oct. 16) …
$330 on Redskins +6½ at Giants: 12-2. That was the point-spread record for NFL underdogs last week. 2-0. That was Washington’s record against the Giants last year, blowout wins of 28-14 and 23-10 with Rex Grossman under center. Zero. That’s the number of times New York’s defense has faced the electrifying Robert Griffin III, who shook off a concussion last week and lit up a quality Vikings defense in a 38-26 victory.
Washington catches the Giants in a tough sandwich spot here. New York is coming off a 26-3 beat-down of the 49ers in San Francisco (guess whose “best bet” was the Niners minus-5½?) and has another divisional game on deck at Dallas. And while the Giants did rally from a 14-0 hole at home against Cleveland two weeks ago (winning 41-27 as a 7½-point chalk), they’re still just 6-15-1 against the spread in their last 22 regular-season home games. In fact, you have to go back to November 2008 for the last time New York cashed in consecutive contests in the Meadowlands.
$110 on Wake Forest +3½ at Virginia: This is the third straight week that Virginia will take the field as a favorite. That’s notable because the Cavaliers haven’t covered all season. In fact, they haven’t covered in 11 months, a span of nine games. Hell, forget about the spread: Virginia has just two wins since November, against Division I-AA Richmond and Penn State (17-16, only because Penn State’s kicker did his best Charlie Brown impersonation).
Since beating Penn State, the Cavaliers have dropped five in a row by the combined score of 196-102. And they’ve scored more than 20 points just twice all season. I repeat: Virginia is favored for the third week in a row!
$110 on Boise State -28 vs. UNLV: Speaking of epic collapses last week, the Rebels were extremely Charger-like in fumbling away the Fremont Cannon once again, squandering a 31-14 halftime lead to UNR and losing 42-37. Now they head to Boise State, which has won five in a row and held five of six opponents to 17 points or less. After blowout losses at Utah State (35-13 as a 21-point underdog) and Louisiana Tech (58-31 as a 27-point underdog), Bobby Hauck is now 0-16 on the road, losing by an average of more than 30 points per game. And you can count on no hands how many times the Rebels have brought home the money during that 16-game road losing streak.
$110 on Buccaneers +3 vs. Saints: Let’s see, the Saints needed a furious second-half rally to beat San Diego (which we now know can’t hold a lead) in an emotional Sunday-night home game (which their exiled coach and general manager were allowed to attend) to avoid going 0-5 … and now they’re favored on the road in a divisional game? As the kids like to say: WTF? The Bucs, who beat New Orleans 26-20 at home last year (one of their four victories in 2011), are coming off a 38-10 thrashing of the Chiefs (whose only victory to date came in New Orleans). Tampa, one of the two favorites to cover in Week 6, has cashed in four of its five games this season.
BEST OF THE REST: College: BYU +13½ at Notre Dame ($66); Purdue-Ohio State OVER 62½ ($66); Michigan State +10 at Michigan ($55); Wyoming +15 at Fresno State ($55); Utah State -30 vs. New Mexico State ($44); Kansas State +2½ at West Virginia ($33). NFL: Jets +10½ at Patriots ($66); Bengals +1½ vs. Steelers ($55); Texans -6½ vs. Ravens ($55); Browns-Colts OVER 45 ($44); Ravens-Texans OVER 48½ ($44); Cardinals-Vikings UNDER 40 ($44).