Sunday offers us 11 games on the NFL betting menu to chose from, plus 1 game on Monday Night.
Let's examine this "Dirty Dozen" of possibilities and make a few betting recommendations.
Note that all point spreads and totals are current as of Saturday night, listed at SPREADS.CA
NY Giants at Baltimore: It looks like the bet is either Baltimore or nothing in this game given the recent direction of both teams. Giants offense looks like a dumpster fire, and facing the Raven's in Baltimore isn't the place to start scoring points. Even though the Giants are very much alive to win the dreadful NFC East by default, they simply don't have the personnel to be competitive here. Consider laying -9.5 with the favourites, which are certainly capable of an easy blowout win. Recommendation – Baltimore minus 9.5
Cleveland at NY Jets: Hard to predict how the NY Jets will react to the rare phenomenon of coming off a win. Believe it or not, taking the +9.5 is probably the right side. It's easy to see the Browns taking their opponent lightly, and for whatever reason, the Jets seem determined to show they're not as bad as their 1-13 record indicates. Jets have covered in 4 of their last 6. Definitely a play at +10, and a marginal play at +9.5. Recommendation – NY Jets plus 9.5
Cincinnati at Houston: Bengals are coming off a huge upset win over Pittsburgh on MNF and are primed for a huge emotional letdown in this meaningless road game at Houston, a team that's under-performed all season. I don't see how we can lay a touchdown with the Texans. However, the UNDER 46.5 looks tempting; Houston has gone under in 5/6 and Cincinnati has gone under in 4/5. That's enough for me to fire on the UNDER in this game. Recommendation – UNDER 46.5
Atlanta at Kansas City: Be wary of the obvious play on the popular favourite here, since the Chiefs haven't covered the spread in their past six games (last week at New Orleans was a push). Laying -10.5 seems just a bit much given how Kansas City has performed in the later half of the season. Add the fact Kansas City is certain to be the AFC's #1 seed, and the Chiefs have no reason to bring their "A game" here. Meanwhile, the feisty Falcons are coming off a heartbreaking loss to Tampa Bay. However, in each of their last four games, they've been within 5 points. Consider betting Atlanta here which likely won't win, but has enough talent to get the cover. Recommendation – Atlanta plus 10.5
Chicago at Jacksonville: The Bears are laying more than a touchdown on the road? Really? Well, Chicago has looked much better in recent weeks, rolling over Houston and Minnesota. Meanwhile, the Jaguars have mailed it in for the season and are in the running for the top draft pick. Neither side inspires much confidence, but the UNDER 47.5 looks tempting, especially with Jacksonville's offensive woes. Recommendation – UNDER 47.5
Indianapolis at Pittsburgh: Here's the game of the week, featuring two of the teams sporting among the best records in the AFC, but headed in completely opposite directions. Steelers look very average at the moment, having lost three straight. Rushing game is non-existent. Passing game is struggling. And despite earlier talk of an undefeated season, now the goal in Pittsburgh is to get back some confidence. But here, they run into one of the NFL's hottest teams, winners of 5 of their last 6 games. Laying -1 with the team that's in better form looks like the right side. Recommendation – Indianapolis -1
Denver at LA Chargers: Chargers enjoyed a huge OT win last week in Las Vegas and return home hoping to establish a 3-game winning streak. Laying -3 seems reasonable here. But I'm wary of laying points on teams with losing records coming off big wins. Total at 49 appears about right. Recommendation – PASS
LA Rams at Seattle: Here's another "game of the week." Maybe the Rams were caught in a look-ahead situation last week in the inexplicable loss at home to the NY Jets. Who knows? What does look compelling as a wager in this game is the UNDER 47.5. The Seahawks defense has very quietly turned things around from an NFL's worst ranking statistically to a unit that's now healthy again and can stifle opponents. Also, consider these stats which are overwhelming: (1) Seattle has gone UNDER in six straight games. (2) LA Rams have gone UNDER in 9 of their last 11 games. Recommendation – UNDER 47.5
Philadelphia at Dallas: Usually, this is a premium rivalry game, and despite the W-L records of these two mega-disappointments, the NFC East division title and a playoff berth could be on the line. So, expect lots of intensity from both teams. We shall see if the Eagles have found a new QB this week, as a win makes a strong case he's the future in Philadelphia. Dallas is the home dog here because of reports RB Elliott might not suit up (he's overrated anyway, and having a miserable season, so not sure why this is such a big deal). Cowboys have won two straight games and have a legitimate shot here to get back into the hunt for real, so if you bet this game, I think Dallas is the right side, especially getting points in what's expected to be a close contest. Recommendation – Dallas plus 3
Carolina at Washington: This is a huge game for the outcome of the NFC East. The three rivals are all desperately cheering for a Panthers victory. However, a Washington win puts them at 7-8 for the season, and in total control of their destiny (vs. Eagles next week). Carolina is capable of pulling off the upset. Very difficult game to predict with the game line at Washington -1. But the key in this game is the Washington defense, which is totally carrying this team and have held last five opponents to 20 points or less. With so much on the line, a good defense, a well-coached team that believes in themselves, and a unit that somehow wins games they shouldn't, I think it's reasonable to lay this small number with the favourite. Recommendation – Washington minus 1
SNF – Tennessee at Green Bay: Two of the NFL's most intriguing teams match-up here in a fantastic SNF view feast. Expect lots of scoring with two veteran offensive units, led by Aaron Rodgers having an astounding season (40 TD passes, 118 QB rating) and a Titans team that scores points but also gives up lots of yards and points – 10 OVERs, 3 UNDERs, 1 push this season. Game total at 55 looks breakable, and weather in Green Bay in the mid-20's won't be cold enough to slow down the passing games. Recommendation – OVER 55
MNF – Buffalo at New England: This is lump of coal in the NFL's Christmas weekend stocking. This AFC East rivalry game looked like a great match-up a few months ago. Now, it's almost meaningless for both teams given the AFC playoff seeds. Nonetheless, I'm calling for an outright upset here as the Patriots have almost nothing to play for – except pride. I expect New England will show up at home on MNF and catch Buffalo in a rare emotional and prep letdown situation. Bills have been on fire lately, but can certainly be forgiven to going through the motions one week. On paper, betting the Patriots makes no sense. But the NFL is funny sometimes and those who foresee unusual outcomes end up doing the laughing and counting the money. Recommendation – New England +7
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