The 2010 edition of the New England Patriots just might be better than the 2007 team that came within 35 seconds of immortality when the Pats lost their only game that season in the Super Bowl against the New York Giants.
OK, maybe the standings don't support such a notion, but the Patriots' performance against the point spread makes a strong case.
The 2007 Pats had a legendary run against the point spread, beating the line the first eight games of the season, and for a while it seemed impossible to set a line that Tom Brady couldn't outscore. But the '07 Patriots went just 2-6 down the stretch against the spread.
Meanwhile, the current Patriots are not only 11-2 in the AFC East, they also happen to be 7-2-1 against the line in their last 10 games after hammering the Bears, 36-7, in snowy Chicago on Sunday.
Even more impressive, New England nearly single-handedly beat the over/under line following a forecast so foreboding that the O/U line at Caesars Palace was bet down from 431/2 points early in the week to 37 by kickoff. By halftime, the Patriots led, 33-0, virtually dooming all that public wagering money.
"We'll just have to see what we can do with the Patriots' line," said Caesars Palace sports analyst Todd Fuhrman. New England plays Green Bay next Sunday night with the status of Packers QB Aaron Rodgers uncertain after he suffered a concussion in Sunday's loss to Detroit.
"You just have to try to get the line to the point where some sophisticated bettors will [bet against] Brady," Fuhrman said.
Weird Redskins happenings. Hard to imagine that Washington, now 5-8 in the NFC East, has made any of its fans happy lately, but the professional bettors loved the Skins against Tampa Bay Sunday, according to MGM Resorts sports and race book director Jay Rood. Early in the betting week, the Buccaneers began as three-point favorites, but the sharp money came in heavy on Washington and took the line down to Bucs minus-1 by kickoff.
Tampa Bay's 17-16 victory made winners of everyone who took the Redskins as plus-3 to plus-11/2 underdogs and created a push on the Washington plus-1 money.
Helping that happen, though, was the Redskins' botching an extra-point try on a mishandled snap with 9 seconds left. Of course, had the Skins made the conversion kick, that would have given Tampa Bay a chance to cover the spread by going into overtime.
Rood explained that the pro bettors apparently were reacting to the return of Redskins running back Ryan Tourain, who finished with 172 rushing yards, and the rainy weather in Washington that figured to work against the Bucs.