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Behind the Bets: Picks for this weekend's unpickable games

Insider

Updated: January 8, 2009, 2:03 PM ET

Because you're a loyal Insider, you read last week's column about how NFL postseason lines are so tight even the wiseguys won't bite. However, if you're still undeterred, if you still have a jones for some action, if you just can't imagine watching the games for the sake of a good time and you have to get some greenbacks down, I offer some advice. Remember, I'm generally a loser. And anyone who ever says they have superior powers of prediction should use their skills for good, like keeping me from going to see Benjamin Button. But, if you insist, here are two reasons why you should bet on the Ravens, the Panthers, the Giants and the Chargers:

Ravens, plus-3, against the Titans:
  1. When these teams met in Baltimore in October, it took a Kerry Collins TD pass with less than two minutes left to get the Titans a three-point win. Back then, Joe Flacco didn't know which way the Chesapeake was, making the Ravens a one-dimensional team. Now he's throwing 40-yard lasers and the Ravens have been on fire. They play just like the Titans, only with a younger QB and more playmakers on D.
  2. The hardest thing to figure out in the postseason is which wins and losses mattered most at the end of the year. Well, including the playoffs, the Ravens have won five of their past six games. The one loss: A heartbreaker to the Steelers. That's a lot of quality. The Titans, in their past six, went 3-3, including legit losses to the Jets and Texans and a throwaway to the Colts. Meanwhile, they had just one quality win, against the Steelers.

Panthers, minus-10, against the Cardinals.
  1. First, the obvious: The Cards can't travel. They're 0–5 on the east coast this season. Everyone is talking about it. Sure, you say, a good reason to think they'll lose, but not enough to lose by more than 10. How about the fact that Anquan Boldin, who is better at playing defense on Kurt Warner's inevitably errant passes than any Cardinal receiver, is lamer than a Dane Cook roast. When the Cards are down by five points with three minutes left and Kurt Warner fires an out-pattern that Ken Lucas is sitting on, do you really want to have the Cards? You'll be tossing your Tostitos as Lucas makes his way to the end zone for a spread-covering score.
  2. The Panthers are 5-2-1 at home against the spread (ATS). The Cards are 3-5 ATS on the road.
 
 
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