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Wild-card line discussion

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Recent posts by Mike Wilkening

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Updated Oct. 06, 2010 @ 7:27 p.m.
By Mike Wilkening

Jacksonville is now a three-point road favorite vs. Pittsburgh, which isn't all that surprising, given that the "Steelers have no chance" angle is so popular this week. I doubt it will get to 3½; Pittsburgh is vulnerable, but I'd have to think that the extra half-point would attract much more Steelers money than Jags money. Minus-3 seems like it would draw action on both sides.

If the line exceeds a field goal, that would make the Steelers the second-biggest wild-card round home 'dog since 2000, when the Saints were, I believe, something like 6½-point underdogs to a Rams team that had beaten them in New Orleans the previous week. New Orleans won, 31-28, and was then dispatched by Minnesota in Round Two.

Another interesting trend: The Redskins-Seahawks number has been bet down to Seattle minus-3. I thought the Seahawks would get more play at home. But the Redskins are a great story playing so well right now. Seattle? Not so interesting, and easy to discount: The running game isn't what it was. QB Matt Hasselbeck has his share of skeptics. The defense is good but not filled with a lot of household names. I can't say for sure, but I suspect the bookmakers are hoping for more Seattle money.  

Giants-Bucs is another three-point game, with host Tampa laying three. Just a hunch, but if the public trusted Giants QB Eli Manning more, I think this would be closer to Bucs minus-1 or -2. Yes, the Giants have some injuries, but I don't know if those are material to most handicappers. But Manning's reputation for erratic play? There's no getting around that. 

In the weekend's final game, the Chargers are 10-10½ point favorites against sixth-seeded Tennessee. The game opened at San Diego minus-9 and could finish in the 11-11½ range. Titans QB Vince Young is a game-time decision because of a quad injury; if he's out, the public may side even more with popular San Diego. However, if Kerry Collins is under center, the underdog Titans may hold some appeal to Tennessee observers who've seen Collins play well in three road appearances this season.   

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