Road teams have fared very well so far this season, going 23-25. In September, of course, weather rarely is a factor, negating some of the home-field advantage.
The same should hold true for much of October, which means four home teams are underdogs this weekend out of 14 games (Arizona, Atlanta, Carolina and Philadelphia are idle). Three others are just 3-point favorites, which is the edge usually given a team for playing in its stadium.
Of those home underdogs, one stands out in particular: the Broncos. Denver is 3-0, a better record than most of the preseason favorites, including Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh, New England, San Diego, Philadelphia and Super Bowl loser Arizona.
Yet the Dallas Cowboys, who have been sloppy in splitting their last two home games -- the first at Jerry Jones' billion-dollar palace -- are giving 3 points. What's up with that?
A deeper look should indicate why.
Denver has beaten Cincinnati, Cleveland and Oakland. The Broncos needed that ``immaculate deflection'' touchdown pass to Brandon Stokley in the final seconds at Cincinnati. The Browns and Raiders combined might not be able to beat a decent opponent right now.
Plus, Dallas remains a marquee team with the bettors, and its only loss is to the unbeaten Giants.
What we have, how we've practiced, what we've assembled here and the way we go about our business has never changed. And we feel good about that,'' Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said.We've always had confidence regardless of anybody else's opinion.''
One opinion is that the Cowboys, despite injuries in the backfield, will be better off getting away from home for this one.
N.Y. Giants (minus 9) at Kansas City=
We'd love to make the Best Bet the Seahawks-Colts game, but there's no line because of Matt Hasselbeck's injury woes. And these picks have not been kind so far. We must choose, so:
BEST BET: Giants, 20-3
Baltimore (plus 3) at New England=
If anyone can put heat on Tom Brady the way the Jets did, it's Baltimore, where Rex Ryan left some strong vibes.
UPSET SPECIAL: Ravens, 17-13
Green Bay (plus 3) at Minnesota (Monday night)=
Brett's back, fresh off that down-to-the-wire TD pass to beat San Francisco. The Pack wants to put Brett on his back. Sorry ...
Seattle (OFF) at Indianapolis=
Hasselbeck's broken rib forces this game off the board. We love the Colts regardless.
Oakland (plus 91/2) at Houston=
Is there a more unpredictable team than the Texans? They should be up this week.
Tennessee (minus 1) at Jacksonville=
If the Titans can't get a win here, they might be headed for one of worst turnarounds in NFL history.
Cincinnati (minus 4) at Cleveland=
Of all the bad teams in the league, the Browns might be the worst.
Tampa Bay (plus 61/2) at Washington=
Or maybe it's the Bucs.
St. Louis (plus 10) at San Francisco=
But not the Rams, who should keep this close with Frank Gore out of Niners' lineup.
Detroit (plus 12) at Chicago=
Fresh from victory, can the Lions win again? More apt, can they cover again?
N.Y. Jets (plus 61/2) at New Orleans=
We've been burned by the Jets three times. We've learned -- a little.
Buffalo (plus 11/2) at Miami=
If T.O. doesn't get a catch this week, he might just head to South Beach and stay there.
San Diego (plus 5) at Pittsburgh=
There's something amiss in Steel City, and the Chargers could steal this one.
Versus spread, 7-8 (24-22-1 season); Straight up, 12-4 (35-13 season)
Best Bet: 0-3
Upset Special: 3-0 (all outright winners)