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Oddsmakers can’t give Cowboys enough points versus Patriots
By Colin Kelly
This was supposed to be the week that a franchise quarterback would have to sit out a big game between the New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys.
As it’s turned out, that will be the case – except the quarterback will be Tony Romo for Dallas, rather than New England’s Tom Brady, who would have been serving the final game of his four-game suspension if that hadn’t been overturned.
The Cowboys (2-2 SU, 1-3 ATS), just hoping to tread water as Romo continues recovering from a broken left clavicle, were dealt a 26-20 overtime loss as 3-point underdogs at New Orleans Sunday night.
Along with a big edge at QB, the Patriots also come in rested after having their bye in Week 4. New England (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS) is coming off a 51-17 swamping of Jacksonville as a 14.5-point chalk on Sept. 27.
John Lester, senior lines manager for Bookmaker, held off on the opening line, since the Cowboys were playing Sunday night – in a game in which they lost star linebacker Sean Lee to a concussion. He expects to make the Pats healthy road favorites.
“This was going to be a massive handle with all of the superstars involved before the injuries,” Lester said, also alluding to Dallas being without Dez Bryant (foot). “But this is still a big-impact game for the books, with a ton of appeal for the bettors.
“We’ll look to make the Pats at minimum touchdown chalk if nothing strange happens Sunday night. We should get good two-way action with the Cowboys as rare, sizeable home dogs.”
Johnny Avello, executive director of race and sports for Wynn Las Vegas, echoed Lester’s sentiments.
“Dallas isn’t playing too bad since Brandon Weeden took over for Romo. But against this Patriots group, you want your team at full strength, and the Cowboys are not,” Avello said. “Expect the Cowboys to be getting a full touchdown at home for this one.”
Seattle Seahawks at Cincinnati Bengals (N/A)
The two-time defending NFC champion Seahawks look to continue righting this season’s ship after they lost their first two games. Seattle (1-2 SU and ATS) is hosting Detroit in the Monday nighter this week, after posting a 26-0 rout of Chicago as a 16.5-point fave in Week 3 for its first win of the season.
The Bengals are perfect on the field and against the oddsmakers at 4-0 SU and ATS. On Sunday, Cincy had no trouble in dispatching Kansas City 36-21 giving 3.5 points at home.
“I think the folks who thought Cincinnati was smoke and mirrors are now convinced, maybe,” said Lester, who again had to hold on the line due to the Seahawks’ Monday night affair. “This matchup will be a good test for the teams and the oddsmakers. The Seahawks will probably have trouble keeping Russell Wilson upright against this ferocious front seven of Cincinnati. I’m looking closer to a pick ‘em here, with the way the Bengals have played at home.”
Avello noted the Seahawks need to find their form away from Seattle, while Cincy can show whether it has a legitimate top-tier team.
“Seattle lost its first two road games this year and can’t afford another one,” he said. “The Bengals are off to a great start, but this is where we can tell if they belong in the after-party that starts in January. The game will be near pick ‘em.”
Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders (+5.5)
As ugly as it may have looked, Denver (4-0, 3-1 ATS) won its first three games SU and ATS. On Sunday against Minnesota, the Broncos uglied it up a little more, yet won again 23-20 on a late field goal, though they failed to cash as 7-point favorites.
Oakland (2-2 SU and ATS) looks to be an improving squad and was on the verge of a 3-1 SU start. But the Raiders allowed the Bears to drive for a last-second field goal Sunday, losing 22-20 as 3-point road favorites.
“The Broncos are another of the undefeated teams, but I can’t tell you exactly why, except that Peyton Manning loves playing football with less than two minutes in a game,” Avello said. “Oakland is surely improving the quality of its team, but unlike Manning, the Raiders are still finding ways to lose. They have a seven-game losing streak (0-6-1 ATS) to the Broncos, but I sense there is a belief that they can win this.”
Said Lester, “Both of these West division squads have played on par with expectations this season, so we feel comfortable with this number. Obviously, the public is going to be eager to get on the visitors, and we’ll certainly have a ton of teaser money involved with Denver. But this will be the biggest game at the Coliseum in quite a while, so there should be a good home-field edge for Oakland.”