Underdog Lions hoping to bite Packers on Sunday night
College football's regular season comes to an end this weekend with one of the great rivalries in the sport, while the pro football field heads into the home stretch as NFL teams jockey for playoff positioning with just four games to go.
Here's a quick take on some of this weekend's football betting action, with lines current as of Friday morning.
This Pearl Harbor weekend features just one college football game but the matchup is an appropriate one as Army and Navy get it on for the 113th time, Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia (3 pm ET, CBS). The Middies are 7-4 and already headed to San Francisco in three weeks for a bowl date with Arizona State.
The Black Knights, meanwhile, have struggled through a disappointing 2-9 campaign and will be trying to break a 10-game losing streak in this rivalry vs. Navy. But the Cadets still have a chance to do something they haven't done since 1996; win the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy, possession of which will be determined by Saturday's game.
In the early Army-Navy betting many books opened the Middies at upwards of -9, but had since lowered that spread to -7.
Moving on to Sunday's professional festivities:
RG III and his 6-6 Washington Redskins, coming off their big win Monday night over the Giants, host the 9-3 Baltimore Ravens who just got beat at home by rival Pittsburgh (1 pm ET, CBS). In the early betting this game began as a pick 'em, but through the week the 'Skins had been bet into two-point favorites.
Speaking of the Steelers, after three games away it appears QB Ben Roethlisberger will be back in the saddle when 7-5 Pittsburgh hosts the 4-8 San Diego Chargers (1 pm ET, CBS). As of Friday the Steelers, who own the second AFC Wild Card spot at the moment, were favored by eight points over the Bolts who after a 3-1 start to this season have lost seven of their last eight games.
In a Black-and-Blue matchup of two teams who would like to stem the bleeding the 8-4 Chicago Bears visit the 6-6 Minnesota Vikings (1 pm ET, Fox). As of Friday the Bears, who have lost three of their last four games, were favored by three points over the Vikes who have lost four of their last five.
In another NFC East vs. AFC North inter-conference bout the 7-5 Cincinnati Bengals, winners of four games in a row, host the 6-6 Dallas Cowboys (1 pm ET, Fox). As of Friday Cincy, which sits outside of the AFC playoff picture just a tie-breaker behind Pittsburgh, was favored by three points over the Cowboys who are a game behind the first-place Giants in the NFC East race.
Speaking of the G-Men, after falling to Washington Monday night they get to contend with Drew Brees and the Saints' offense when they host 5-7 New Orleans (4:25 pm ET, Fox). As of Friday New York, which would be the four seed in the NFC if the playoffs started today, was favored by five points over the Saints who have lost two straight games to put themselves behind the eight-ball as far as making the playoffs goes.
For Sunday night the 8-4 Green Bay Packers, winners of five of their last six games, were favored by seven points at home over the 4-8 Detroit Lions (8:30 pm ET, NBC).
And Monday Night Football finally offers up a real heavyweight matchup as the 9-3 New England Patriots host the 11-1 Houston Texans (8:40 pm ET, ESPN). In the early betting on this game the AFC East-champion Patriots were favored by five points over the AFC South-leading Texans, but as of Friday morning that spread had been bet down to three points at most NFL betting outlets.