In December,
home teams step forward

Dec 9, 2003 7:12 AM

Just stay home for the holidays!

That’s the holiday cheer coming from the NFL lately as home teams have delivered the goods over the past five weeks to the tune of 44-27-4 (61.9 percent).

Last Sunday it was more of the same as the home teams finished 11-4 (73.3 percent). Of course, success in the "friendly confines" usually means an empty bankroll for "dawg" players. The moral of the story is, a dog punter better have a great reason for betting against the home team once December and the bad weather kick into play.

Jags (+7) at Pats: Tough pick to have on the top of the board. Both teams have been good to their backers this season. Pats already have double digit wins against the spread and sport a nine game winning streak. Should make for a couple of bonus points on the Jags side. Jacksonville hasn’t lost the money in several weeks and has the running game and D to keep it close. JAGS.

Steelers (+3) at Jets: Can’t think of any great reason to wager against home team here. Jets have won their last two home games. Steelers have lost three of last four on the road and should have lost them all if it weren’t for Browns turnovers. JETS.

Cowboys (—1) at Skins: Strictly a defensive pick here. Cowboys’ D is better and Parcells will not be out-coached by Spurrier. Dallas came out on top 21-14 six weeks ago. Look for the same margin of victory here. COWBOYS.

49ers (+3) at Bengals: Pattern has been established. Niners are the killer of teams at home but strictly "killed" on the road. Bengals have won four straight at home and have been on the road for three consecutive weeks. That makes for one hungry cat! BENGALS.

Falcons (+5) at Colts: The Colts made a statement by beating Titans, one of the NFL elite, for the second time this season. Falcons might be wondering what hit them after Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison and the Edge finish with them. Could receive bonus points with all the Michael Vick hoopla after OT win. COLTS.

Vikings (—1½) at Bears: Vikes have been great at home and pathetic on the road. Might be able to squeak out a road game if Bennett and Moss turn in performances like they did against Seattle. Kordell Stewart coming back to planet Earth with 3 INTs versus Pack. Is it time for Rex Grossman? Yikes! VIKINGS.

Texans (+7) at Bucs: The Bucs don’t score many points, which is scary. But betting on Dave Ragone would be scarier. Throw in the Bucs D and this pick is easy. BUCS.

Bills (+7) at Titans: Now that the Titans have amazingly lost two games in a row, can they make it three? I don’t think so. Tennessee will shut down Travis Henry and make life miserable for Drew Bledsoe, who has struggled five of the last six weeks. TITANS.

Seahawks (+4½) at Rams: These two team match up evenly. You will have to lay points to bet Rams because of the home turf. When the talent and stats are this close I’m on the take! SEAHAWKS.

Lions (+13½) at Chiefs: KC is no longer a feared team. In fact, the Chiefs haven’t won the money or been the same team since Cincinnati broke the golden goose egg four weeks ago. But Detroit is bad. On the road, you might even call them cowardly Lions! CHIEFS.

Browns (+8) at Broncos: The Broncos play back-to-back home games for the third time this season. First time, they were lucky to beat Detroit by 4. The next time, they lost to Bears by 9. Be wary of Broncos suffering another letdown after big win over Chiefs. BROWNS.

Ravens (—5½) at Raiders: Oakland cut down on the dumb penalties and passed for a total of 65 yards. They might be better off going back to holding on every down. Ravens formula for success seems to be same as it was two years ago when they won the Super Bowl. Only now they have the same super D and a QB that won’t lose the game. And, they have added a better Jamal Lewis. RAVENS.

Panthers (—3) at Cards: The Cards are another team that plays very competitive at home but doesn’t show up when they leave Arizona. The two latest losses to Bears and Niners will carry over into this game against a probable division winner. PANTHERS.

Packers (—5½) at Chargers: Green Bay is one of many teams on the card this week that seems to stray from the cashiers’ window when away from Lambeau. Chargers have seen their backers’ bankrolls bulge the last two weeks. CHARGERS.

Giants (+4) at Saints: G-men have lost 5 straight. QB Collins physically left game because of sprained ankle. Mentally, he’s been gone for weeks! Team playing like they know Fassel is history and they’ve thrown in the towel. SAINTS.

Eagles (+1½) at Dolphins: Miami showing too many weaknesses lately. Struggled for home wins over Ravens and Skins. Lost important road game last week at New England. Eagles have won eight straight and I’m not betting against them until they lose a game and/or the money. EAGLES.