The amount of each bet was left out of Gerald Strine's Playing Football column in yesterday's editions of The Washington Post. Strine is betting an imaginary $250 each on Washington, getting 3 1/2 points at Atlanta; Minnesota, giving 2 1/2 at Detroit, and San Diego, giving 2 1/2 at home against Seattle.
Being right for the right reasons. That is what the football bettor seeks, knowing a solid approach is necessary if he is to enjoy long-term success.
It is equally important, of course, to realize when you have been right for the wrong reason, wrong for the right reason, or wrong for the wrong reason. Last Sunday's experience offered several cases in point.
The afternoon began calmly enough, with Miami covering by shutting out Washington while Minnesota defeated Philadelphia but failed to beat the spread. Now it was time for the three big pushes, New England getting 661/2 at Dallas, Houston giving Pittsburgh 11/2, and Oakland a four-point favorite at home against Denver. New England outgained Dallas by more than a 2-1 margin on the ground, as anticipated. John Hannah beat up on Randy White, Leon Gray neutralized the injured Harvey Martin, and the right side of New England's offensive line did a good job of doubling Too Tall Jones.
The Pats coulda, shoulda and woulda been ahead of the Cowboys by at least 16-3 at halftime given anything resembling their fair share of luck over the first 30 minutes. But three field goals were blown-two were blocked-and a touchdwon scramble by Grogan was called back because of a penalty.
Dallas managed to make it into the locker room at halftime down by only 10-3. Nobody manhandles the Cowboys for four quarters. They regrouped, shut down New England's running in the second half, and gaind a 17-10 victory. But Dallas was terribly fortunate to have beaten the 61/2 point spread. New England was a smart selection.
What again was obvious, however, is how shaky New England's kicking game is. Posey is a petunia. He could well keep the Patriots from reaching the Super Bowl.
During the first quarter of the New England-Dallas game, the television commentator announced that Lynn Swann had been hurt and taken out of Pittsburgh's lincup at Houston. "Wonderful." I muttered to myself. "there goes 40 percent of Bradshaw's offense."
Not that anyone wanted the great receiver to be seriously injured; just banged up enough to miss the remainder of the game. Then, a few moments later, came word that Earl Campbell had been taken to the Oilers' bench with a rib injury-and Swann was back in for the Steelers!
The moral here is that it never pays to cheer an injury. With Campbell sidelined, Dan Pastorini could not find his way out of the Houston huddle. Pittsburgh won, 13-3, although not too convincingly. The jury is still out as to whether Houston was the right pick.
Finally, there was Oakland against Denver. A bad selection, even though the Raiders dominated the early going and with a little luck or imagination, might have forced Craig Morton and the Broncos out of their peek-a-boo offense.
It is terribly important to get the jump on Denver. Once down, 14-6, early in the second half, the Raiders were dead. They are the disappointment of the season. John Madden, a good coach, has turned in a pathetic job with this transition squad. Many coaches have been fired for less.
That was last Sunday. A disaster. The season's bankroll plummeted from $1.775 to minus $50, and this weekend's schedule is not too attractive. I will string along with Washington getting 31/2 at Atlanta, Minnesota giving 21/2 at Detroit and San Diego giving 21/2 at home against Seattle.
The Redskins' defense has played professionally despite the offense's disappearance, and the Atlanta offense is ordinary. All Joe Theismann has to do is to keep from making costly mistakes.
Minnesota's offense should put enough points on the board to shake off the Lions. San Diego is one of the seven best teams in the NFL, even though its 7-7 record might suggest otherwise.