Time for underdogs to
prove ’05 was fluke

Sep 5, 2006 2:52 AM

No more fooling around. The NFL is officially here, meaning win often or wind up somewhere inside Giants Stadium with Jimmy Hoffa.

And we’re not ready yet for CSI: The Meadowlands!

NFL 2006 in Las Vegas will be about proving 2005 was a fluke in terms of the favorites’ huge edge over the underdogs. David Stratton’s Page 1 story featured last week in GamingToday provided a five-year account of how favorites and underdogs fared against the spread. Last year’s 147-107 figure was a big time bad beat the books don’t wish to see repreated.

Most of the sports book directors believe this year will be a return to the norm, where underdogs again produce more winners than losers and the house doesn’t take a big hit

We’ll see.

Last year, I went with five NFL plays (hitting 61 percent) and will continue that pattern.

Sunday, Sept. 10

Bills +9 at Pats (41): New England owns the weapons to make this a blowout. Buffalo is the perfect opponent to exploit. Brady should have a field day by air and RB Maroney enjoys his NFL debut. In Foxboro, Bills carry a higher interest rate. PATS.

Jets +3 at Titans (37): The Jets entered the old AFL as the New York Titans. The two franchises have something else in common. They’re not very good! Pennington mostly throws 4-yarders and the Titans don’t trust Vince Young at QB yet. UNDER.

Vikings +4½ at Redskins (37): I can’t believe this line. Ageless Brad Johnson is playing with the confidence and accuracy he showed winning a Super Bowl for Tampa Bay. The Skins are overpayed with a backfield full of potato chips. VIKES.

Bears -3½ at Packers (35): The Bears won 24-17 at Green Bay and 19-7 at Soldier Field last year. This first matchup is all about defense. A long day for Favre. BEARS.

Eagles -4 at Texans (42): This is a put up year for the Texans with Gary Kubiak now coaching. Philly made a terrific deal with the Saints to acquire WR Dante Stallworth to fill T.O. void. Houston must protect David Carr against the aggressive pass rush. Look for Carr to be on his back a lot. EAGLES.