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Old 12-03-2015, 10:31 AM   #1
Anthony
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Cool Anthony's Week 13 NFL Pointspread Picks

Last week: 8-8. Season totals: 76-95-5, Pct. .446. Best Bets: 11-23-2, Pct. .333.

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



THURSDAY NIGHT

DETROIT
30 (+5), Green Bay 20 - The 2015 NFL season is distinctive for two features: First, its "pyramid" pattern of a small number of teams at the top and a broad base at the bottom (the exact opposite of what typically happens when there are expansion teams in a league); and second, it is like a horse race run over a very soft turf course: All the early speed horses are falling apart - including the Packers in general, and Aaron Rodgers in particular. The Lions broke their long December hex with a 3-1 record in the month last season, and also have the durable long-term trend of having already won in Green Bay earlier this year in their favor, making them a best bet in this spot in this so far logic-defying season.


SUNDAY

N.Y. GIANTS
24 (P), N.Y. Jets 13 - Some of the proposals for extending the regular season to 17 or 18 games include provisions for local inter-conference "rivalry" matchups like this and Ravens-Skins and Raiders-49ers to be held every year; but you can count Woody Johnson among the "No" votes on that - because his Jets have lost their last five against the Giants, both ways, and figure to make it six here in another best bet.

BUFFALO 17, Houston 10 (+3) - Neither team has a quarterback, but the Bills have a decided edge at running back, and will also have the weather in their favor. That's good enough for me.

TAMPA BAY 24, Atlanta 14 (+1) - They should be renamed the Atlanta Arsonists, as they have burned the money seven consecutive times - plus they, like the Packers, are on the road facing a team they have already lost to at home this year. And it's also on grass, upon which the Falcons are 3-9 straight up since 2013, and outdoors, where Atlanta is 4-12 straight up since that same year.

Baltimore 23 (+4 1/2), MIAMI 10 - Sean Payton is rumored to be on the hot seat in New Orleans, and Miami is reportedly highly interested - and lately the Dolphins have always been on the hot seat against the Ravens, to whom they have lost and non-covered in their last five, and have been outscored 134-68 doing it. Best bet.

Cincinnati 13, CLEVELAND 6 (+12) - Don't even think of laying this ridiculous number on the Bengals, when they will be absolutely, positively looking ahead to next week's home game against the Steelers, where a win clinches the AFC North title regardless of what either they or Pittsburgh do this week. And how many points will Cincinnati need to score to beat Austin Davis?

Jacksonville 17 (+2), TENNESSEE 13 - The Titans have lost a league-high 11 in a row at home (4-7 against the spread) and have also non-covered five straight against the Jags (albeit winning two straight up). I suppose that both streaks, especially the first one, have to end sometime, but in this racket you get no style points for having picked a team to win the day they ended such a losing streak.

CHICAGO 31, San Francisco 14 (+7) - The 49ers have not a won at Soldier Field since the 1988 NFC Championship game, having been outscored 118-63 in the four games they've played there since, and San Francisco is 8-15 straight up and 9-12-2 against the line since 1998 as a visitor in cold weather. One NFC North team (as already alluded to) broke an much longer December drought a year ago than the 4-14 slide since 2011 that the Bears will be seeking to halt this December - and look for Chicago's quest to be "so far, so good" following their first December game in 2015.

MINNESOTA 28 (P), Seattle 16 - Another weather-intensive game - and the Seahawks are even worse than the 49ers in cold weather, and over an even longer period of time: 15-40 outright and 23-32 pointwise dating all the way back to 1986! And I'm simply not buying into the narrative of Russell Wilson, who has never finished higher than 26th in the league in net passing yards per game in his career (but he is 22nd so far this year - wow, man!), bailing out Seattle's offense in Marshawn Lynch's absence, based on the outcome of one game - last week, at home, against the 30th-ranked pass defense. Home team's also won and covered the last three in the series by a combined 106-49.

Arizona 27, ST. LOUIS 13 (+6) - Chip Kelly may get all the ink, and rightfully so, for this, but the Rams players seemed to have quit on Jeff Fisher too - and Fisher will probably go back to proven no-hoper Case Keenum, who should be ready here after missing last week's game in Cincinnati with a concussion. Yes, St. Louis won at Arizona in Week 4 - but that was with the 19-16 Nick Foles at quarterback. Keenum is 2-9.

Denver 24, SAN DIEGO 10 (+4 1/2) - With the red-hot Chiefs keeping the AFC West race alive, there is no room for any letdown on the part of the Broncos, for whom Brock Osweiler kept their road-grass winning streak, now at 19 (and 17-2 against the spread) alive in his first NFL start two weeks ago. Osweiler will also be seeking to provide Denver with a fifth straight win, and cover, at Santiago de California.

OAKLAND 27 (+3), Kansas City 21 - From 1999 through 2011 Andy Reid was 39-15 straight up in December. Since then, he's 5-9. Upset special.

NEW ENGLAND 31, Philadelphia 20 (+9 1/2) - Tom Brady is 4-0 straight up lifetime against the Eagles, but only 2-2 against the spread. Brady is also 48-8 straight up lifetime in December, but a rather ordinary 30-25-1 versus the points, including 26-3 outright but just 17-12 pointwise at home. So be very careful with this game - especially with Gronkowski out.

Carolina 28, NEW ORLEANS 13 (+6) - Like the idea that the Panthers won the first meeting but didn't cover, at least for most people (Carolina won 27-22 in Week 3; the game originally opened at 3, but was taken off the board due to an injury to Drew Brees and the line re-opened at 7 1/2 once it was determined that Brees wasn't going to play, and he didn't). Can't see the Saints doing anything heroic the rest of the way, already having fired defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, with head coach Sean Payton widely believed to be following him out the door - and the unbeaten Panthers have already won, and covered, two for two this year on artificial turf, with one of the games also having been indoors (on Thanksgiving Day at Dallas; the roof was closed).

PITTSBURGH 27, Indianapolis 14 (+6 1/2) - Forget about "Concussiongate" (it turns out that Ben Roethlisberger may not have had one in the closing minutes of the Seattle game), and focus instead on Matt Hasselbeck's 5-14 straight-up career record as a visitor in cold weather, and 7-12 against the line. This the last realistically loseable game this year for the Colts (three currently 4-7 or worse teams along with a home outing against the Texans, to whom they have never lost to at home, await after this one - and Andrew Luck actually practiced on Wednesday), while the Steelers have back-to-back killers next up (at Cincinnati, Denver at home) and therefore must win this.


MONDAY NIGHT

WASHINGTON
14, Dallas 6 (+4) - Kirk Cousins, of course, has never won two in a row. Yet interestingly, every time Cousins has sought that elusive second straight victory, he has had to do it on the road - until now. And hasn't Dallas lost nine in a row (including seven this year) without Tony Romo? Hard to like the Cowboys in cold weather either: They're 21-32 straight up and 21-29-3 against the spread on it going back to 1995; and this one's at night, making the task at hand all the more difficult.


BEST BETS: DETROIT, N.Y. GIANTS, BALTIMORE
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