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Good week to take the low road With few bargains, keep investments small; On the line


Every once in a while a schedule comes along in the NFL that has little to recommend, from a betting perspective. This is such a week.

Nearly all the teams I like are favored and, at the numbers, they're no bargains. So I'll be content to dabble with some mythical minimum $100 investments and hope for the best.

This week's picks

Steelers at Dolphins (-2 1/2 ): I had Pittsburgh penciled in for a mythical $250 against Miami. But the Dolphins' resourcefulness beat me out of $100 last Sunday at Houston and there's always the possibility that Jimmy Johnson will steal another victory in this situation. Take Pittsburgh for a mythical $100.

49ers (-3 1/2 ) at Redskins: A mythical $250 investment was considered briefly on Washington. Then word came through that Steve Young, not Elvis Grbac, would be starting at quarterback for the 49ers. Take San Francisco for a mythical $100.

Broncos (-5 1/2 ) at Vikings: The Broncos are 9-2 against the spread, they're healthy, and they're playing with supreme confidence. The Vikings are difficult to handicap. Defensive tackle John Randle can pose a matchup problem, and so can the wide-outs. But backup Brad Johnson is still starting at quarterback. Take Denver for a mythical $100.

Colts at Patriots (-6 1/2 ): is based as much on Indianapolis' poor performance over the last month as it is on New England's resurgence. The Colts' offensive line continues to struggle and the defensive secondary has sprung a leak or two. Take New England for a mythical $100.

Chargers at Chiefs (-5 1/2 ): Kansas City often performs just well enough to get the job done. The Chiefs' defense is one of the best, however, and can play much better than it did in the 22-19 loss at San Diego on Sept. 29. This could be payback time. Give the 5 1/2 and tell Marty Schottenheimer the game isn't over when his team takes a 3-0 lead. Take Kansas City for a mythical $100.

Panthers at Oilers (-4 1/2 ): The Oilers have a soft schedule the rest of the way but, at 6-5 (8-3 against the spread), they can't afford the kind of mistakes they made in losing to Miami after leading 14-0. A big edge in the running game goes to Houston. Take Houston for a a mythical $100.

Saints at Buccaneers (-5 1/2 ): It must be about five years since I selected the Buccaneers to do anything positive. So give new coach Tony Dungy full credit. The fact that Dungy has the Bucs' defense playing so smartly is no surprise. The fact he has Trent Dilfer beginning to look like a professional quarterback is a miracle. Take Tampa Bay for a mythical $100.

Thanksgiving games

Thanksgiving Day wouldn't be complete without having a team or two to root for on the tube. Take Kansas City (at Detroit) and Dallas (at home vs. Washington) for a mythical $100 each.

Last week's picks

Denver, getting 2 1/2 , beat New England, 34-8, plus $250; Houston, giving 3 1/2 , lost to Miami, 23-20, minus $110; Philadelphia, giving 6, lost to Washington, 26-21, minus $275; Dallas, giving 4, beat Green Bay, 21-6, plus $250; the New York Jets, getting 6, lost to Indianapolis, 34-29, plus $100; Oakland, giving 6 1/2 , lost to Minnesota in overtime, 16-13, minus $110; Atlanta, giving 4, beat New Orleans, 17-15, minus $110.

B6 Net for week: minus $5. Net for season: minus $85.

Pub Date: 11/22/96

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