Straight home with pool picks

TREVOR BUNKE -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:27 AM ET

If home is where the heart is, so, too, are the victories in NFL this season.

Through the first seven weeks of 2005, the homers have won nearly two-thirds (65.7% or 67 out of 102) of their games. To put that in perspective, in an average season, home teams win about 56% (or a percentage a middling NFL guesser would love to have) of their games straight up.

So if you play in a weekly bar pool, go straight home -- no, not before having a drink, but when making your check marks.

On to Week 8, unfortunately against the spread:

Washington (+2) at NY Giants: In you include the Giants' road game vs. the Saints at Giants Stadium, they're 4-0 at home. The Redskins have played well of late, but New York QB Eli Manning is too hot to bet against right now. GIANTS

Green Bay (+9) at Cincinnati: I wrote last week how the Bengals are awesome against weak-kneed opponents. Here come the 1-5 Packers, who are now down RB Ahman Green and WR Donald Ferguson. BENGALS

Chicago (+3) at Detroit: The Bears crushed the Lions 38-6 at home earlier in the season. This week's game should be closer thanks to Detroit playing QB Jeff Garcia, but the Bears' defence against a beat-up offence is too good to pass up. BEARS

Minnesota (+8) at Carolina: Hey, Vikings fans, don't get too excited. Your team may have roared back on the Packers, but that was at the Metrodome. On the road, where Minny is 0-3, they're losing by 25 points a game. PANTHERS

Oakland (-1.5) at Tennessee: With the Titans getting QB Steve McNair back this week and the fact they're 6-0 ATS in their last six home meetings vs. the Raiders, I'll take the points. TITANS

Arizona (+9) at Dallas: The bewildered Cowboys need a top-notch effort following last week's meltdown in Seattle. And if there's an opponent that can help get your coach off your back, it's the Cardinals. Dallas is 6-1 ATS the past seven meetings at home. COWBOYS

Cleveland (+2) at Houston: No team has gone 0-fer a season since the Buccaneers were expansionists in 1976. That means the law of averages says the Texans have to win sooner or later. The Browns stunk real bad last week vs. the Lions. TEXANS

Miami (+2) at New Orleans: Baton Rouge is only the Saints' adopted home. It was Nick Saban's home when he coached the LSU Tigers, who he led to a national title in 2003. The Dolphins coach is revered in Baton Rouge, so it will be interesting to see how much support the fans throw Miami's way. Anyway, if there's a place where Saban knows how to win (or at least keep things close), it's Baton Rouge. DOLPHINS

Jacksonville (-2.5) at St. Louis: Already without coach Mike Martz, the Rams could be missing offensive stars Marc Bulger, Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt vs. the Jaguars. You might beat the Saints without those guys, but not Jacksonville. JAGUARS

Kansas City (+6) at San Diego: The Chargers are in desperate need of a victory, but by a touchdown? I'll play it safe and take the points. CHIEFS

Tampa Bay (-11) at San Francisco: Expecting Buccaneers inexperienced QB Chris Simms to win by more than 11 points is probably too much to ask. The 49ers are 9-1 all-time at home vs. Tampa Bay. 49ERS

Philadelphia (+3.5) at Denver: The Broncos are 4-0 at home this season, but have had a penchant for blowing leads late in games the past few weeks. The Eagles are the NFL's best road team since 2000. Add it up, and I think you have a close Denver victory, but closer than four points. EAGLES

Buffalo (+9) at New England: Whether Patriots LB Tedy Bruschi plays is immaterial. Just his presence, not to mention the Bills' porous run defence, should carry the day in a big New England win. PATRIOTS

Baltimore (+10) at Pittsburgh: We all know about the Ravens' flaccidity on offence, but now the defensive side of the ball is in huge trouble, too. Baltimore heads to Heinz Field minus stalwarts Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. It's lights out. STEELERS

Byes: Atlanta, Indianapolis, NY Jets, Seattle.

Last Week: 8-5-1.

Season: 48-51-3.

Best Bet: Pittsburgh.

Best Bets: 3-4 after 12.5-point favourite Washington beat San Francisco 52-17.

Suicide Pick: Dallas.

Suicide Picks: 7-0 after Washington beat San Francisco 52-17.

trevor.bunke@ott.sunpub.com


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