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Old 12-27-2013, 03:44 AM   #1
Anthony
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Cool Anthony's Week 17 NFL Pointspread Picks

Last week: 4-12. Season totals: 112-120-8, Pct. .483. Best Bets: 23-23-2, Pct. .500.

Home team in capital letters; point spreads (opening line) in parentheses after underdog team; selections with point spreads in bold.



SUNDAY

N.Y. GIANTS
27, Washington 14 (+3 1/2) - While I am a harsh critic of the procedure, now in its fourth year, of all season-finale games being within the same division, it does mean that an important trend will often come into play in that week - as it does this year, in no less than ten of the games: Teams having to play, on the road, an opponent they lost to at home earlier in the season. Such teams have won at just a 33.3% clip dating back to 1997, while all other road teams since then have won 42.3% of the time. A win will give the Giants the second-best finish in NFL history of any team that started 0-6 (the 2009 Titans finished 8-8 after losing their first six) - and shouldn't this line be closer to a TD than a field goal?

MIAMI 20, N.Y. Jets 10 (+6 1/2) - The trend alluded to above also applies here; and I guess it's appropriate that none of the four teams battling for the last wild card in the AFC - of which Miami is one - controls their own destiny; and oddly enough, the Dolphins would have to have one of the other three - San Diego - win, along with them winning their own game, to get in The Jets have been grounded on the road pretty much all season.

Carolina 24, ATLANTA 21 (+7) - This is one of the six games in which the "Road Rematch Theory" does not apply. But two other things do: Since 2008, Carolina is 5-19 straight up and 8-16 against the line as a visitor on the carpet, and 5-15 outright and 7-12-1 pointwise inside NFL domes. Add in the letdown factor and the Falcons' refusal to throw in the towel that was palpably on display Monday night in San Francisco, and the indicated course becomes clear: Take the points - at least.

PITTSBURGH 28, Cleveland 7 (+6 1/2) - Don't the Steelers always end the year with a blowout win over the Browns, usually at home? With Pittsburgh being one of the four teams still alive in the AFC wild card race, this season should be no different. And yes, the Steelers won by 16 at Cleveland in Week 12.

CINCINNATI 21, Baltimore 17 (+5) - Just guessing that Marvin "The Greek" Lewis figures that no way will the Patriots lose to Buffalo at home later in the day, and no one not named Chip Kelly ever abuses his players to get a possible third seed as opposed to a fourth. So take the points because the Ravens are actually fighting to get into the dance, while the Bengals are not only already in, but in as AFC North champs.

INDIANAPOLIS 23, Jacksonville 14 (+11 1/2) - The Colts won 37-3 at Jacksonville back in September - but even in Week 17, into each life some underdogs must cover, and Chuck Pagano will probably be thinking the same thing as Marvin Lewis.. And could a former AFC South rival; i.e., Matt Schaub, find himself under center for the Jags in 2014? Stranger things have happened - especially since Teddy Bridgewater will likely be gone by the time they pick, and any other quarterback would be a colossal reach.

TENNESSEE 28, Houston 10 (+6) - Who would have thought four months ago that Houston's Week 17 "playoff scenario" would read: "Can clinch #1 pick in 2014 draft with a loss OR a Washington win"?

MINNESOTA 35, Detroit 13 (+3) - Major changes are on the way in the Motor City, and resistance is futile. Who stays and who goes will be up to the new head coach - who isn't likely to be a big-name candidate like Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden.

NEW ENGLAND 41, Buffalo 14 (+8 1/2) - Blowout of the week. Then again, that's the way it generally goes for the Pats in Week 17, in which they've won their last three by 28-0, 49-21 and 38-7.

CHICAGO 28 (+3), Green Bay 17 - Even with Aaron Rodgers due back (he hasn't played since breaking the collarbone in the first quarter when these teams met at Lambeau, and the Bears won), no way should the Packers be road favorites; and while we're on the subject of odds, I wonder what the line is for Rodgers not even being able to finish the game?

NEW ORLEANS 37, Tampa Bay 13 (+12 1/2) - Unless the Saints throw themselves the great-grandmother of all pity parties after blowing the NFC South lead last week, this one will be nowhere near as close as Week 2 in Tampa, when New Orleans won on a walk-off field goal.

ARIZONA 20 (+1 1/2), San Francisco 17 - The 49ers were very lucky to send Candlestick off with a win over lowly Atlanta on Monday night, and have already clinched a playoff spot while the Cardinals need a win plus a loss by the Saints (in a game that will be going on concomitant with this one) to make it. Instead, Arizona seems in line to become the second 11-5 team to miss out on the postseason since the current alignment was established in 2002 (the '08 Patriots, who were without Tom Brady, were the other such team). Also note that the retractable roof figures to be closed, and San Francisco is 16-27 straight up indoors since Steve Young retired.

SEATTLE 13, St. Louis 6 (+10) - It looks as if the Seattle offensive machine, such as it exists, is broken down and running on fumes at the worst possible time, mainly due to injuries up front. And even last year, when the Seahawks went 8-0 straight up and 7-1 against the spread at home, their lone non-cover was against the same team, in the same week.

Denver 33, OAKLAND 17 (+13) - I'm glad that the Broncos need a win to wrap up home field throughout the AFC playoffs. And why is that? Because they need 28 points to become the first team ever to score 600 or more in a season, and if this was a "Siesta Bowl" they probably will not have done that.

SAN DIEGO 38, Kansas City 14 (+10) - And speaking of "Siesta Bowls," if you recall the way Fat Boy handled those in Philly, then neither the number nor the fact that the Chargers will likely be eliminated from playoff contention by a Miami win before this game even kicks off, or within minutes after it does, should scare you off. San Diego also won the first meeting in KC, by the way.

DALLAS 23 (+6 1/2), Philadelphia 21 - The usual outlets have been focusing tirelessly on the troubles that Tony Romo, whose very status for this game has been the week's top story at those same outlets, has had in big games. But how about the monumental struggles that Chip Kelly had in big games at Oregon? In addition, not only did the Cowboys win the first meeting on the road in Week 7, but held Kelly's allegedly unstoppable offense to three points, and did it without DeMarcus Ware, and the Eagles haven't been close in any of their last three dome-stadium games (as at Arizona, the roof is almost certain to be closed here), losing 48-30, 28-13 and 27-6. Just a hunch Romo pulls a Willis Reed and starts after all - and if he's able to finish, gets Dallas off the schneid in games of this kind.


BEST BETS: N.Y. GIANTS, PITTSBURGH, NEW ENGLAND
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Last edited by Anthony; 12-27-2013 at 08:22 AM.
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