Pats 31, Colts 28
The sky may be the limit as far as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are concerned, though some pro football observers and analysts say they have "lines" drawn in the sands of their minds they won't cross.
Any good handicapper is also a solid linesmakers, so folks in the business usually share some similarities in the way they fashion personal power ratings.
Everyone knows, for example, that home-field advantage typically is worth a field goal.
Still, there's as much as a 10-point difference in those lines, even when it comes to Mr. All-American Brady and his happy bunch of warriors.
Sports gaming insiders began a public debate recently over "How high is too high?" when the number on last week's New England at Miami game reached Pats minus 17 1/2.
Miami money then bought the number back down by game time.
Las Vegas Sports Consultants sent the Patriots out as a two-touchdown favorite, but most Sin City books opened at minus then watched the number inch up before hitting reverse.
This week, New England giving 16 to Washington in one Las Vegas football handicapping contest and 16 1/2 in another.
Bodog had the number at 17 Thursday afternoon.
Professional Handicappers League member Russel Joseph says the number of points he'd lay on a game isn't written in stone.
"This past Sunday we saw the New England Patriots crush Miami 49-28 and easily cover the spread as a 15 1/2-point favorite," Joseph said.
"Some thought it was ludicrous how high the line was, but obviously those people were wrong.
"The Pats covered and then some.
"Double-digit faves can be dangerous or they can be valuable.
"One has to first seriously consider the teams involved, as the final decision certainly can overtake the fear of having to win by doubles."
PHL member Jimmy Boyd also doesn't have a set number.
"It depends on too many factors," said Boyd, who "didn't touch" New England-Miami.
"My lean was on Miami, though," he admitted.
"It was only the second time since 2001, I believe, that a team had been favored by more than two TDs on the road.
"That kind of makes you smell a rat.
"Obviously in this case, Miami's QB situation and the fact that New England has covered every game this season while blowing out its opponents gave bookmakers no choice but to post a big spread because they knew the money would be rolling in on the Pats."
PHL Commissioner Brian Gabrielle doesn't like to lay more than two touchdowns (14 points) -- and this is where he and White part company, as the oddsmaker can see hitting 24.
"There is just no incentive to run up the score, so even if a team is capable of winning by 30, there is no motivation for them to do so," Gabrielle said.
"That's not the case in college football, where a soft opponent in the later stages provides a nice environment for a strong team's starters to tee off on in preparation for an upcoming stronger opponent."
LVSC's White could see going as high as a four-posession game -- a trio of TDs plus a field -- with these particular Pats.
He insists certain conditions would have to prevail, however.
"If you got to the end of the season (Dec. 23 actually) and Miami is going to New England with the Pats needing the game, I could see New England being favored by 21 1/2, 23 to 24," White revealed.
"I don't think the Dolphins will go to New England with the Pats needing anything.
"I think we'll start tying things up in a few weeks."
White, like many, is biding time until the NFL regular season's Game of the Year: New England versus reigning Super Bowl champion Indianapolis -- the loop's two remaining unbeatens -- Nov. 4 on the road.
He believes the Colts' impressive victory over Jacksonville Monday night should have lowered the potential spread a notch or so from New England minus 4 to 4 1/2 to Pats minus 3 1/2 to 4.