A 5-1 week turned into a 2-4 disappointment on a few unlucky plays late in games.
Winners: Brady made easy work of Buffalo and easily covered the two-score chalk. The DAL-Was Over cashed comfortably, despite the first and third quarter being scoreless.
Loser: The TEN-Hou Over never stood a chance and stayed under the number by 5 when the dust settled.
The three swing games (losers): Houston stayed in the money for 59+ minutes of the game when Titans, up 17-13, was just trying to run out the clock. But an inexplicable blunder on the Houston defense gave Titans a garbage time tack-on 60+ yard TD score and made them cover the -7 line. Steelers dug themselves a too big of a hole in the first half (down 0-17) at the Bungles before they (predictably) came roaring back for a victory – but a FG (1-2 points actually) shy of a cover. The ARI-LaR Under was close to the end but a meaningless tack-on FG pushed the number Over. A little snake-bit this week, if I may bitch just a little…
Oh well. Shake it off. Bizarro season continues. Deal with it. I am way overdue for some lucky breaks and bounces going our way, so here we go…
Week 14 is intriguing, and full of quality matchups. This week I have plays on three proven winners (with 29 wins between them), all at a great price. One is even installed as a dog, if you can believe it. I also have a solid Under play and a pair of games with low totals that will “sneak” Over.
Call me insane, but I also like Cleveland this week as a home pup to Hundley’s Pack. The play narrowly didn’t make my “Best-3” cut here, so consider it my unofficial 7th pick this week. I will go even bolder, double down, and say; Browns win their first game this week. You heard it here first – BROWNS WIN!
Saints -1.5 over FALCONS
Brees and company righted the ship with a solid 30-burger vs division foe Carolina to create some badly needed separation in their NFC South race. Here, they do the same some more to wild card hopefuls Atlanta. Falcons had a huge chance at knotting up the South last week, but fell short to the Vikings and are now 7-5 and in full desperation mode.
Saints are simply the hotter, more consistent team here. 9-1 in their last ten games. If NO are gonna have an impact in the playoffs, they turn up the heat on Minny and Philly with a sound road victory here.
There are heavy stats backing my play here: Saints are 8-1 on the road vs teams with a winning record, 12-2 against division foes, 9-2 on grass, and 13-3 on the road. The cream rises to the top here, with a 31-20 routing.
Vikings -2.5 over PANTHERS
This is the week when Saints and Vikings take control of their divisions and relegate the Falcons and Panthers to the wild card tier. It starts with another solid win here by Keenum’s purple people eaters as Cam Newton’s cryptonite. Minnesota simply is the better, more complete (and consistent) team of the two. The spread won’t be a factor as long as it stays below a FG.
Minny is solid in the stats as well: 23-7 off a straight up win and 37-17 off an ATS win, 19-7 in December, 36-16 vs NFC teams, 7-3 on the road vs teams with a winning record, and 40-15 overall against the number.
Atlanta might clean up the score a little late in the game. Figure on something like 27-20.
Eagles +2 over L.A. RAMS
This is the prime matchup of the week. Don’t be surprised if these two meet again in the playoffs. Both teams are sound and damned near flawless so far. Rams are balls deep in a battle for the West with Seattle while Philly, who lost a step with last week’s loss, have the East sewn up and is fighting with Minnesota to retain the NFC top seed and home field in the playoffs. To many, this matchup is a coin flip, and as such I always take the dog and grab the points (albeit only +2 here). But, by my Power Rating, Eagles should be a -1 point road chalk here, so there’s about a FG of added value on the 10-2 puppy here.
Rams are just 1-4 in the month of December. Philly is 6-1 vs NFC teams, 7-0 on grass and 8-1 in their last nine games. They are also 4-0 in matchups with the Rams. A tight affair; 27-23 Wentzylvania!
PANTHERS/Vikings – OVER 41
This number is way too low. Sure, both have played sound defense of late, but many times that adds up to an Over anyway (just look at Jacksonville). And both teams have a proven ability and track record to routinely put up 20 points or more per game on offense. So we go Over here. It will probably start out a bit tight, but by the end of the first half i expect some fireworks. And it will continue unabated in the second half.
Carolina is 6-2-1 at home to the Over vs teams with a winning record playing on the road. They are also 7-3 to the Over in their last ten games. I prognosticate cloudy with a chance of rain, and somewhere in the high 40’s…
CHIEFS/Raiders – UNDER 47.5
Back in the day, this affair would routinely end up 37-34, 34-31 or 31-28. But things have changed, and given the circumstances with both teams knotted up at 6-6 and fighting for the AFC West division title (along with the Chargers, also 6-6), I expect this to be a close, tight-to-the-vest type of game. That means a lot of conservative calls, fighting for field position supremacy, heavy emphasis on the run game (which chews up clock), and a lot of field goals. For that kind of game, 47.5 points is a bushelful of points and way too many.
Kansas City is 8-3-1 to the Under off scoring 30+ points and 17-7 Under off allowing 30+ points previously. They have cashed the Under 41-19 in games at Arrowhead stadium, and 37-18-1 to the Under in their last 56 games off a spread loss. Oakland has hit the Under 6-1 vs division foes. Matchups have stayed Under as well; 8-1 in games played in K.C., and 18-7 in their last 25 meets. High 30’s, like 23-13, feels right here.
GIANTS/Cowboys – OVER 40.5
This is an interesting game given everything that went down in New York City this week. Eli Manning will be back under center after being benched last week. And you can bet he has a chip on his shoulder and nothing to lose here. With Coach McAdoo gone, former DC Steve Spagnuolo, now interim head coach, has a potential permanent head coaching job to lobby for. Dallas, too, has much at stake here at a fragile 6-6 and with wild card hopes quickly waning. This is a must win and a statement game for the Boys if they want to contend. I think it all adds up to a fairly high-scoring affair. And with the total at just 40.5 the Over here is a no-brainer play.
Both games went Under the number last year and Dallas 19-3 win on opening day 2017 stayed well below the number, but 7 straight Overs between the clubs before that. The Over has cashed 10-4-1 in meetings played in the Big Apple, and 12-5 their last 17 meetings. This one sneaks Over by early 4th quarter.
As customary, we give you a three-team 8.5-point (+100, even money) TEASER:
JAX/Sea – OVER 31
NYG/Dal – OVER 32