Pats 3.5-point faves, plus NFL line moves 

December, 3, 2010

I did something yesterday I've done only once all NFL season: I changed a pick.

From the moment the lines for this week's games came out I had been eyeballing the Houston Texans plus-8.5 against the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night. I've watched a lot of both teams this season and felt that the line was inflated in favor of the Eagles. They're a public team right now and bookmakers knew that the majority of bets would be on Michael Vick and his gang. For the record, the game closed with 63 percent of wagers coming in on Philly.

But my impression was that the Texans have such a complete offense they'd be able to move the ball. And even if Houston's D is so bad my two boys could play pitch and catch against it, the game was ripe for Houston to be down by double digits late in the game only to score a garbage-time TD. As the Sports Guy -- whose picks are so sharp this season he's half a wiseguy -- tweeted yesterday: "I'm afraid of the backdoor cover."

Then, yesterday afternoon, I traded e-mails with Geoff Kulesa of wunderdogsports. If you read the column you know how smart I think he is. And he pointed out that, "The Eagles have gone 31-16 against the spread in their last 47 games against bad defenses -- those allowing more than 5.7 yards per play." The Texans allow 6.1. Then I was trolling through some forums -- handicapping ones, relax -- to see what the public was saying and I came across another piece of logic that pointed out Houston's record as a road 'dog.

Now I was flummoxed. And I have no doubt this is what every amateur 'capper feels every single Sunday when examining their picks. Certainty leads to research leads to confusion leads to uncertainty leads to guessing.

So I changed my pick, from the Texans to the Eagles. Then I spent the last half of the fourth quarter with my heart beating so loudly it set off my house alarm. After that game, as I brushed my teeth before bed, I felt throbbing in my lower back from the tension that was finally being released.

Why does one game mean so much? I don't know. But I'm glad it does; it keeps you reading.

For this week's rundown of line moves I called Mike Merlet of American Sports Analysts.