Be wary of which road you take home

TREVOR BUNKE -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:26 AM ET

After opining last week about how well home teams were doing straight up this season, they went out and had an 11-3 showing.

That improved home teams' records to an impressive 78-38 (.672 winning percentage, up from .657 the previous week).

So, what kind of wrench do the oddsmakers throw us this week?

How about 10 of the 14 road teams being the favourite in Week 9.

If we follow the straight-up trend, not only will six or seven of this week's road favourites fail to cover the spread -- they'll lose outright.

Want a different perspective on teams' road woes? Out of the NFL's 32 teams, 21 have losing records away from home. Eight of those 21 are winless, while the other 13 have one road victory.

With those kinds of odds, I think I'll keep playing things, for the most part, straight.

On to Week 9:

Detroit (-1.5) at Minnesota: Here's one that puts the theory to the test. The Lions are road favourites because Vikings QB Daunte Culpepper (MCL) is done for the year. But if you consider the Lions are a mess themselves, have only one road win and will be facing QB Brad Johnson (the only QB in the last four years not named Tom Brady to lead his team to a Super Bowl win), things don't look so bad for the dysfunctional Vikings. VIKINGS

San Diego (-6) at NY Jets: The Jets, coming off a bye week, should be pumped up for this one. They beat the Chargers twice last season, including a playoff matchup. I don't expect the Jets to win, but to battle to the end. JETS

Tennessee (+3) at Cleveland: The Browns lost to the Texans. What else is there to say? TITANS

Oakland (+4.5) at Kansas City: Take the over. The Chiefs and Raiders will put up a lot of points. As for the outcome, I can't see the Raiders winning their third straight game. CHIEFS

Chicago (-3) at New Orleans: Here's a road team I like this week. The Bears' defence should have no trouble controlling this game. BEARS

Cincinnati (-3) at Baltimore: Despite overwhelming the porous Packers last week, the Bengals only managed to beat Green Bay 21-14 -- and that was at home. The Ravens put up a spirited fight vs. the Steelers in Pittsburgh. Baltimore's season is on the line, expect them to put up a vicious fight. RAVENS

Carolina (-1) at Tampa Bay: As long as the Buccaneers stick with Chris Sims as their QB, bet against them. PANTHERS

Houston (+13) at Jacksonville: The Texans have their win, and it may be the only victory they earn this season. It's safe to assume the Jaguars will win, but giving up 13 points to a team averaging 18.4 points a game is too much. TEXANS

Atlanta (-2) at Miami: The Dolphins' defence can keep Falcons QB Michael Vick in check. DOLPHINS

NY Giants (-10.5) at San Francisco: The Giants don't have too many easy ones left on the schedule. This is an easy one. GIANTS

Seattle (-4) at Arizona: And speaking of easy ones ... SEAHAWKS

Pittsburgh (-3.5) at Green Bay: This line started at about a touchdown and fell yesterday after Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger had knee surgery, which will shelve him this week. Good week to have surgery. STEELERS

Philadelphia (+3) at Washington: The Eagles, who already can't run the ball, could face the Redskins without QB Donovan Mc-Nabb and receiver Terrell Owens (ankle). That makes the Redskins worth taking. REDSKINS

Indianapolis (-3.5) at New England: Those numbers just don't lie: Colts QB Peyton Manning is 0-7 all time in New England, while Pats QB Tom Brady is 6-0 all time vs. Indy. What does it all mean? New England is getting points at home vs. a QB who has never won there. PATRIOTS

Byes: Buffalo, Dallas, Denver, St. Louis.

Last Week: 7-7.

Season: 55-58-3.

Best Bet: Kansas City.

Best Bets: 3-5 after 10-point favourite Pittsburgh only beat Baltimore 20-19.

Suicide Pick: Jacksonville.

Suicide Picks: 8-0 after Dallas beat Arizona 34-13.


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