Week 15: 8-5-2
Apologies for my absence last week. I know dozens upon dozens of you were upset not to have my picks in your stocking. I made quite merry over the holiday weekend and was subsequently incapable of focusing my energy into lines-related wordsmithing.
So I hope your holidays were as enjoyable as mine, and let’s get 2012 off to a good start.
Washington +8.5 @Philadelphia – Washington. I never like betting a team giving more than a touchdown with nothing to play for. But better than that, consider this: since 2007, the visiting team is 8-1 against the spread in this match-up. Since 2009, the visitor is 5-0 against the spread. Divisional data can be so profitable.
Tampa Bay +10 @Atlanta – Atlanta. The Falcons can jump into the 5th spot in the NFC with a win and a Detroit loss. The Bucs can’t keep up with anyone right now. I’ll take Atlanta but reserve the right to change my pick at 3:00 central in the event that Detroit wins and locks Atlanta into the 6 seed before they play.
San Francisco -11 @St. Louis – San Francisco. They’re 11-3 against the spread this year. 8-2 as the favorite. Only 1-2 as the road favorite, but that includes last week, when they won by 2, narrowly missing the 2.5 point cover. Frankly, in some books that number was 1.5, so you could call them 2-1 as the road/fave if you want. Bottom line is that they need a win to hold on to the first round bye. This could be ugly for the Rams.
Chicago +2.5 @Minnesota – Minnesota. Against the spread since 2008 in this match-up, the home team is 6-1, the favorite is 5-2, and the home/favorite is 4-0. Again, I love divisional trends.
Detroit -6.5 @Green Bay – Detroit. No numbers matter here. Detroit wants it bad, Green Bay can’t really care. Detroit can score at will, Green Bay couldn’t stop my 11-month-old son and I by ourselves. OK, so that’s over-stating it, but I think it would be silly to not expect the Lions to win this one decisively.
Dallas +3 @NY Giants – NY Giants. I’m going against my numbers here. The road team, underdog, and road/underdog have an overwhelming edge in this match-up over the last couple years. HOWEVER, the Giants have the same kind of upper-hand over all. I just think the Giants are a much better team. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see this line at 6. I can’t shake the feeling that Dallas just isn’t that good.
Carolina +7 @New Orleans – New Orleans. Carolina is scary here, they’ve been okay against the spread on the road this season and have a very favorable record against the spread versus New Orleans in the last couple years. But I’m not betting against the Saints. They’re fighting for a wild-card bye.
Tennessee -1 @Houston – Tennessee. Houston has the three seed locked up and can’t afford any more injuries. A win keeps the Titans in the playoff hunt. Pretty cut and dry.
Baltimore -2.5 @Cincinnati – Baltimore. This one should be fun to watch. Baltimore needs a win to clinch the first round bye, Cincy wants a win to secure a playoff spot without having to back in. Cincy(8-5 ATS) has been more trustworthy than Baltimore (7-7 ATS) this year, but not by much. They also hold a 4-2 edge head-to-head ATS versus Baltimore since 2008. However, this line is closer than it should be because of the playoff implications, and I believe Baltimore wins this game, so I don’t mind giving the 2.5 one bit.
Pittsburgh -7 @Cleveland – Pittsburgh. There’s still an outside chance for the Steelers to grab the number one seed, but more realistic than that is the shot at the number two seed and a bye if they win and Baltimore loses. I think they lay the smack down in Cleveland this afternoon.
Indianapolis +3 @Jacksonville – Jacksonville. Time to sell the Colts while the price is high.
NY Jets +3 @Miami – NY Jets. Not sure I understand this line. Jets need a win to have a hope and are a better football team than Miami.
Buffalo +10.5 @New England – New England. Playing at home for home field advantage. I feel like I’m putting too much weight on the playoff picture here, but let’s face it: it’s important to New England and doesn’t matter to Buffalo. This could be ugly.
San Diego +3 @Oakland – Oakland. 10-foot-pole award winner this week. I don’t know who San Diego is and I’m not sure who Oakland is. However, since 2009 Oakland is 5-0 ATS versus the Chargers. They were the underdog in each of those games, but they’ve also still got a shot at the playoffs, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.
Kansas City +2.5 @Denver – Kansas City. The Chiefs are a better team right now. The Tebow ‘magic’ ends today. Wishful thinking? Maybe, but I feel good about this one. Need more? Denver is 1-5 ATS this year at home, 1-3 ATS this year as the favorite, and 0-2 ATS this year as the home favorite. Kansas City is 8-3 ATS this year as the dog and now they have a better QB than they’ve had most of the year.
Seattle +3 @Arizona – Arizona. The Seahawks are 4-2 ATS as the road dog this year and are playing some good ball. The Cardinals are 2-1 ATS as the home fave this year and are playing some good ball. I hate qualitative calls, but I’m taking the Cardinals because they just look a tiny bit better right now.
See you in the playoffs!