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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Oh, the 'dogs dwindle down to a precious few

Before we reveal this week's lines in our charity pro football underdog game, let us point out that this week, because we are entering the playoffs and half the games are on Saturday, all picks are due by Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

Repeat: This week, all picks are due by Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

That said, here are the options -- including a playoff home 'dog to consider. It is now win-or-go-home for the Big Daddies:

9.5 MINNESOTA at Green Bay
6.5 INDIANAPOLIS at Baltimore
4.5 CINCINNATI at Houston
2.5 WASHINGTON vs. Seattle

Here's a reminder of what our players are competing for -- minimum prizes as follows:

First prize: $475 to player's favorite charity
Second prize: $150 to player's favorite charity
Third prize: $100 to player's favorite charity
Fourth prize: $70 to player's favorite charity
Fifth prize: $45 to player's favorite charity

We also have a generous sponsor who will add $500 to the pot, but on the condition that her match go only to charities whose primary function is to provide "food, school, or medicine." And so all told, our top five will steer $1,340 to their favorite charities. The fine print is here.

Good luck with your 'dognostication, players!

(One more time: All picks are due by Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time.)

Comments (1)

Wild Card Edition

Best Bets

INDIANPOLIS (+6.5) at Baltimore -- Yeah, flipped this one where you would normally expect it as the "Upset Special." But, the Ravens look weaker vs. the Colts than the Texans do against the Bengals. The Ravens defense isn't what it used to be and the offense is just two very good players: RB Ray Rice and WR Torrey Smith. Flacco is a statue back there and inconsistent. Two very good games in this wildcard round. I'm sticking with Pagano & Ariens' Colts' in their miracle year.

Upset Special

CINCINNATI (+4.5) at Houston -- Two defense that almost mirror each other, except that the Texans are weaker at LB & the backfield due to injuries to their original starters during the year. Should be a great shootout with Cinci's QB Andy Dalton and great WR A.J. Green, and Texans' QB Matt Shaub throwing to his standout WR Andre Johnson. Key to the game will be the performance of the Bengals' DL. If they can handle Texans powerful RB Arian Foster, and pressure Shaub well, they can force turnovers and allow their very good offense opportunities to win. Houston enters the playoffs on a slide. They'll hit the sandpile today. Watch Bengals' defensive lineman Geno Atkins outperform the TExans' J.J.Watt in this game.

Gamblers' Corner

MINNESOTA (+9.5) -- If Vikings coach Leslie Frazier loses this one, he won't be offered a contract for next year. Vikes QB Christian Ponder is hurt and may not last if he even starts. Packers too much at Lambeau, but, turnovers could mess with Packers plans. That's Minnesota's only chance. Offense not versatile enough beyond the great RB Adrian Peterson. Very long shot.

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