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NFL Week 9 Best Bets: Ravens, Colts, Raiders to cover small spreads

I'm back, for more mediocrity!

I went 1-2 last week after getting on a minor roll, and I'm going to try to focus on games that, at least from a spread standpoint, should be close. There is no shortage of potential blowouts out there this week, but where's the fun in that? I'm over these 18-point spreads, man. Give me parity or give me death.

Anywho, here are three games I'm looking at this week:

Ravens (-2½) at Browns: These are the Super Bowl champs. They are coming off a bye, and John Harbaugh has always had them ready in those spots. They are playing the Browns, who they always find a way to beat. The Bengals stumbled Thursday night, leaving the Ravens some hope in the AFC North entering the second half of the season. The offense probably won't be smooth but Ray Rice is as healthy as he has been all year. This is must-win territory for them in many ways -- I say they take advantage.

Colts (-2½) at Texans: Indy (to me) is the best team in the AFC, fresh off the bye, motivated to get the top seed if possible. The Texans are reeling and Case Keenum is just learning at the pro level. I like Robert Mathis on the fast track to cause some problems here and all the injuries to the Texans' running backs give me pause. The Colts have the kind of big, press-man corners to handle the Texans' receivers out wide and I don't see them taking a division rival lightly.

Raiders (-2½) vs. Eagles: I loved this game early in the week. Loved it. Of course, at that point Oakland was GETTING 2½ points. What happened there?? Obviously a lot of other people loved the Raiders in that spot, too, with the Eagles going from favorite to underdog. I'm sticking with the Raiders here, with the Eagles in turmoil, forced into another quarterback change and suffering on offense. Oakland is tough at home and I expect the Raiders to get to Nick Foles some here. If they take away LeSean McCoy -- and they have been good against the run -- the Eagles will be in trouble.

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