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Old 12-20-2017, 10:16 AM   #1
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Cool Anthony's Week 16 NFL Pointspread Picks

Last week: 8-7. Season totals: 108-109-4, Pct. .498. Best Bets: 26-18-1, Pct. .589.

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


37, Indianapolis 13 (+13 1/2) - "For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: 'It might have been'." Chuck Pagano can dwell on Tennyson's iconic quote as he prepares for the axe to fall - a fate that could have been avoided had Pagano gone to the politically left-leaning Colts owner Jim Irsay and persuaded him to sign Colin Kaepernick once it became obvious that Andrew Luck wasn't going to play at all in 2017, which was probably in August. Indianapolis is allowing 30 points per game on the road this year, and wins here and over another lame-duck head coach at home next week will send the Ravens to the playoffs.

Minnesota 13, GREEN BAY 10 (+9) - As expected, after Monday night's win by the Falcons mathematically eliminated them from the playoffs, the Packers shut Aaron Rodgers down for the season - but that doesn't mean that Green Bay isn't still steaming over the hit on Rodgers by Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr that the Packers insist was dirty, plus Barr directed an obscene gesture at Rodgers as Rodgers was being carted off the field. And since moving their home digs indoors in 1982, Minnesota is 12-37-1 straight up and 18-29-3 against the line in "Triple Witching Hour" games - outdoors, natural grass, cold weather, all in the same game - and a 10-degree kickoff-time temperature is on the agenda. An upset in the making?


L.A. Chargers 17, N.Y. JETS 13 (+7) - That was a nice piece of "Petty" larceny that the Jets committed against favorite bettors last week - and with the Chargers getting handed their sixth straight cold-weather loss by the Chiefs last Saturday night, the Jets just might do it again. Take the points.

NEW ENGLAND 24, Buffalo 17 (+13) - Bringing up the fact that the road team has covered seven in a row in this series might look good in a column of this sort, but has little to do with why the Bills are such a good bet in this spot: First, New York State's Only Team is still very much in the playoff hunt in their own right, and second, there is the matter of Gronk's dirty hit on Tre'Davious White in the first meeting three weeks ago, which landed White on the concussion protocol. This one could get ugly, and should be close.

WASHINGTON 23, Denver 21 (+4) - The Team That Dares Not Speak Its Name can reach .500 with wins this week and over the 2-12 Giants next week, which is more than Denver can do - but the Broncos have looked a lot better the last two weeks, and go back to Paxton Lynch at quarterback.

CAROLINA 34, Tampa Bay 27 (+10) - When a quarterback with 13 screws in his collarbone goes 26-for-45 for 290 yards and three touchdowns (albeit also with three interceptions), your defense couldn't be much - and that defense will be even less this week because one of its mainstays, linebacker Thomas Davis, is gone for the remainder of the regular season, suspended for head-hunting Green Bay wide receiver Davante Adams in that game. But Davis can return for the playoffs, to which the Panthers can punch their ticket with a win here, even if they don't cover - which they won't in one of the higher-scoring outings of the week.

Detroit 28, CINCINNATI 17 (+3 1/2) - How do you tell your players not to quit when you have already announced that you're quitting yourself at the end of the season? Lions get the call despite having lost five in a row to the Bengals (1-4 against the spread) and eight of their last nine (2-7), and their being 10-40 straight up and 18-30-2 against the spread in cold-weather games dating all the way back to 1994 (they are 2-1 outright and 1-1-1 pointwise this year however). Detroit, still being overlooked as a playoff hopeful, has won all seven of its games against teams with non-winning records in 2017, has gone 6-0-1 against the spread in those seven games, and has outscored the seven opponents 198-129.

L.A. Rams 24, TENNESSEE 20 (+7) - Not even having had so much as a winning season since 2003 until this year, the Rams are exactly the kind of team that is vulnerable to a letdown following such a signature win, and the Titans, despite their back-to-back losses at Arizona and San Francisco, are still very much in the AFC playoff picture, and are 5-1 straight up at home. Look for The Team That Should Be Known As The Nashville Oilers to at least cover.

CHICAGO 31, Cleveland 13 (+7) - With both of their remaining games on the road where they have lost 19 in a row (covering in only five) and have been outscored by 146 points, there is no stopping the Browns on their march toward 0-16. It won't even be close.

NEW ORLEANS 27, Atlanta 24 (+5 1/2) - The winner clinches at least a wild card - and if it's the Saints and the Panthers lose, New Orleans clinches the NFC South. The first meeting was decided by a late unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that allowed the Falcons to run out the clock. This one figures to be decided by a made, or missed, field goal by either Will Lutz or Matt Bryant.

KANSAS CITY 21, Miami 14 (+10) - Even with their 6-8 record, the Dolphins actually have a realistic shot at the playoffs because they will finish ahead of Buffalo if they win their last two and the Bills lose their last two (Buffalo is at Miami next week), they beat the Titans and Chargers head-to-head, and while they lost to Baltimore, the Ravens will almost certainly win at least one and probably both of their remaining games, and both AFC wild card spots are in play. So that makes this a battle between two playoff-contending teams (the Chiefs lock up the AFC West with a win) and therefore makes the double-digit spread worth taking.

ARIZONA 23, N.Y. Giants 20 (+4 1/2) - Blaine Gabbert has been benched because, according to Bruce Arians, he "takes too many sacks." But Drew Stanton is no improvement - in fact, he is even worse; and if the Giants show even half the spunk they showed last week against the Eagles again here, they will certainly cover and could even win outright.

DALLAS 35, Seattle 13 (+4 1/2) - Ezekiel Elliott makes his long-awaited return - and what's the over/under on the number of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and ejections the sore-losing Seahawks will incur this week?

Jacksonville 20, SAN FRANCISCO 16 (+5 1/2) - Jimmy Garoppolo's career-opening winning streak has to end sometime. But at least he'll cover!


Pittsburgh 24, HOUSTON 19 (+10) - Only once since Week 7 have the Steelers won by more than five. So why now, with no Antonio Brown? The Texans are another team that should have gone to the Nevele, so to speak - by signing Kaepernick, after Deshaun Watson went down.

PHILADELPHIA 30, Oakland 23 (+9) - Throw out last week's 504-yard yield to the Giants last week, as it was on artificial turf, upon which the Eagles have struggled mightily under Dig Doug, and Oakland is 1-11 straight up and 4-8 against the line since 2012 as a visitor in cold weather (the forecast calls for 31 degrees at kickoff time with a wind chill of 19). But the Raiders are 9-3 against the spread in the lifetime series - so after clinching a first-round bye by winning a game in which they didn't cover, look for the Eagles to compound the felony by clinching home field throughout the playoffs in the NFC with another non-covering victory.

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