Monday Night Chaser: Bears-Lions 

October, 10, 2011

It's too late. You already missed it. It was gone last night, in a flash, like dollars in a dying stock market -- and most of us never knew it was there. I'm talking, of course, about the best of the number. It's a topic I've harped on in this column and on the podcast, oh, about 1,000 times the past few years.

Every wiseguy will tell you one of the keys to making any money (along with bankroll management and shopping for reduced juice) is getting the best of the point spread. That means, for example, if you like the Ravens over the Texans this weekend, you better be prepared as soon as lines are posted on Sunday night. Because that game opened as Ravens minus-5.5 at CRIS before the Sunday night game reached halftime. And before it was over the line had moved to Ravens minus-7.

That point and a half matters, and I can give you two examples from this weekend to prove it. Two examples, by the way, I am sure most people suffering from bad beats will never forget.

First, the Pats versus the Jets. All week this game had been at Pats minus-9.5 or minus-9. If you believed from the get-go that the Jets, wounded, embarrassed, struggling and full of pride, would get themselves up for a moment against their most hated rivals, then you had to jump on that as soon as it was posted. But, as game time approached, the line moved, almost all the way down to Pats minus-7. Lots of late, public money coming in on the J-E-T-S. Why? Why would someone be so silly as to wait all week to bet a game they could have bet on Monday for a better price? Well, they learned their lesson.

After a fourth-quarter Jets TD made the score 27-21, the Pats got the ball on their own 30 with 7:14 left. On a 13-play drive, the Patriots ran the ball on 12 of the plays, with BenJarvus Green-Ellis getting it 10 times. The spread came down to one play. The Pats had third-and-1 at the Jets' 8-yard line with 1:09 left. If the Pats get a first down, but no TD, the Jets would cover all the numbers from the week. Instead, Green-Ellis was stopped. The Pats kicked a field goal and won 30-21. Congrats to those who bet the Jets plus-9.5 early in the week; so long to the suckers who took the plus-7.

There was a similar story with the Broncos and the Chargers. That game opened at San Diego minus-6. By midweek it had moved to San Diego minus-4.5. And by the game it was San Diego minus-3.5. What happens? The Tim Tebows come back to within two points, 26-24, late in the game. But, with less than a minute left, the Chargers increase the lead to 29-24 on a field goal. Think those three points mattered to all the people who bet the game down from six? I do. But there's someone out there who saw that Broncos plus-6, bet it and didn't sweat the end of the game at all. Good for him.

Chances are, he's not chasing the Monday night game.

Matchup: Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions

Spread: Opened at Lions minus-6, now Lions minus-5.5
Over/Under: Opened at 47.5, now 47