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Old 12-20-2012, 03:36 AM   #1
Anthony
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Cool Anthony's Week 16 NFL Pointspread Picks

Last week: 8-8. Season totals: 112-107-5, Pct. .511. Best Bets: 20-24-1, Pct. .456.

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



SATURDAY NIGHT

Atlanta
33, DETROIT 17 (+3) - So long as the oddsmakers continue to morbidly overvalue the Lions, feel free to continue to bet against them with the utmost confidence.


SUNDAY

San Diego
20 (+2), N.Y. JETS 0 - Like father, like son: During a 1990 wild card playoff game, Buddy Ryan benched Randall Cunningham in favor of Jim McMahon, and was fired the next day (the Eagles lost to the Redskins 20-6). And while I can understand Rex's Ryan's frustration with Mark Sanchez, why not start Tim Tebow here instead of someone who just plain doesn't belong in the NFL? I don't care that the Chargers are 1-7 both ways on artificial turf since 2010 - San Diego has become a lock in this spot.

N.Y. Giants 24, BALTIMORE 21 (P) - I'm well aware of the fact that teams getting shut out since 2007 are 9-23 straight up in their next game - but the Ravens are already in the playoffs, even though they can still win the AFC North as opposed to getting a wild card, while the Giants almost certainly need to win their last two to get in. Therefore this is a "necessity over luxury" pick.

Washington 31, PHILADELPHIA 16 (+4 1/2) - Is Kirk Cousins the new Matt Flynn? The Redskins could probably defray much of the cost of the RGIII trade by dealing him next spring, when one considers how slim the pickings will be at quarterback in both the draft and free agency. But first things first: Win the NFC East - which they will do with wins here, and next week, at home, over a team they have already beaten on the road this year.

CAROLINA 28, Oakland 17 (+9 1/2) - The Panthers probably have no business being favored by this much, but I'm 3-11 when picking underdogs to cover the spread but not win outright over the last seven weeks, and Cam Newton is fashioning a career out of directing meaningless scoring drives late in games to cover - and winning meaningless games late in seasons.

New England 30, JACKSONVILLE 10 (+14) - Does anybody out there want a 14-point home underdog? You can have the Jaguars - and lose.

St. Louis 23 (+3), TAMPA BAY 17 - Like the Giants (and the Chiefs), the Bucs were shut out last week - but unlike in the case of the Giants, there is no overriding reason for making an exception in their case, especially given that disgraceful scene of a Tampa Bay linebacker physically attacking an assistant coach on the sidelines during the blanking in New Orleans.

MIAMI 24, Buffalo 14 (+4) - The Dolphins have far and away the better Ryan at quarterback - and of the 36 hitters in baseball to have won league batting titles since 1995, 26 had higher batting averages than Buffalo's straight-up winning percentage on natural grass since that same year (.341).

PITTSBURGH 28, Cincinnati 7 (+4) - The week's best bet. The Bengals have dropped their last five to the Steelers both ways, and have lost nine in a row to Pittsburgh and Baltimore combined, covering in only two. Losses here, and next week at home to the Ravens, will extend Cincinnati's streak of not having had back-to-back non-strike winning seasons since 1976 and '77.

GREEN BAY 27, Tennessee 13 (+11 1/2) - For no particular reason, other than my new-found aversion to taking the points unless I believe that the underdog can win the game outright.

Indianapolis 17, KANSAS CITY 16 (+6) - But here there is a valid reason to take the points. Two in fact: Vick Ballard, the Colts' leading rusher, is 25th in the NFL with a paltry 667 yards, placing the Colts and an added disadvantage in the cold weather - where they don't need any added disadvantages in that they have lost six straight games therein. And I wouldn't be overly shocked if KC did win outright; but more likely Andrew Luck - who was blown out by 35 in his lone cold-weather NFL start - will find a way to pull it out in the final minute and propel Indianapolis to an implausible AFC playoff appearance.

DALLAS 34, New Orleans 27 (+3) - Tony Romo can't possibly win four in a row in December, can he? The Saints would actually be better off tanking their last two games and finishing last in the NFC South, which would give them Philadelphia and Detroit on next year's schedule.

HOUSTON 23, Minnesota 10 (+9 1/2) - True, the necessity-over-luxury theory does apply in this game, but here the talent gap is considerably wider than in the Giants game - and if Houston's fifth-ranked run defense can contain Adrian Peterson at least reasonably well, that will force Christian Ponder to put it up 40 times - and as Billy Joel sang of the Edsel in We Didn't Start The Fire, that's a no-go.

DENVER 42, Cleveland 14 (+11 1/2) - If Cleveland's defense could allow 38 points to Kirk Cousins at home, then how many will it give up against Peyton Manning on the road? And the Browns in their present incarnation have never beaten Denver (0-5 straight up and 1-4 against the spread) and are 4-13 straight up, albeit 8-8-1 against the spread, in road games contested in the Mountain and Pacific time zones; omit their six games at Oakland and those respective records become 1-10 and 4-7.

Chicago 20, ARIZONA 13 (+5) - After having been six-point home underdogs to the Lions, the Cardinals are now five-point home underdogs to the Bears? And don't be misled by the 38 points they scored last week; Arizona managed just 196 yards of total offense, returning two interceptions for TDs outright, running a third back to the 3-yard line leading to another touchdown, and also scoring on a five-yard "drive" following a muffed punt. Only one team in the wild card era (the '96 Redskins) has ever neglected to make the playoffs after starting 7-1 - a fate that awaits this year's Bears unless they win out and get some help.

SEATTLE 17, San Francisco 14 (+1) - I couldn't decide what I was going to do about this game until the 49ers shocked the Patriots last Sunday night. That put them in the playoffs for the second straight year - and all they have to do to win the NFC West is to beat Arizona at home next week; yes, they are battling Green Bay for a first-round bye - but remember, necessity over luxury.


BEST BETS: ATLANTA, PITTSBURGH, DENVER
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