Week 14: A Scrooge McDuck Sunday!

Welcome to week 14. Injuries are starting to pile-up and Super Bowl contenders are starting to separate from the pack. It’s about this time of year that teams start mailing it in. Always makes for interesting games in December. Good luck!

TENNESSEE (6-6) -4.5 vs. Jacksonville (4-8)

After tough losses to Pittsburgh and Buffalo, Jacksonville defense responded with a 6-0 win over the Colts. I can’t give the offense any credit as all they could muster was two field goals. Many, me included, thought that Jacksonville’s defense would mail it in last week essentially quitting on the season. Maybe the news that Bortles was benched and the offensive coordinator was fired was the motivation the defense needed to win the game. Basically, with Bortles out, the defense knew that the offense wouldn’t screw up their strong performance.

No doubt this game will be a very close, ugly field goal fest.  I’m thinking something like 12-11 or 15-13. As far as who wins, who cares. We just want that cover.

Jacksonville +4.5
3 Fireball Shots

HOUSTON (9-3) -4.5 vs. Indianapolis (6-6)

Since losing to the Giants in week 3, Houston has reeled off 9 straight wins. According to Vegas Insider RJ Bell, NFL Teams (since 1997) on 9+ game win streak (same season) are 35-63-1 against the spread (36% ATS) in their next game. Even if the Texans can pull out the win in this one, it won’t be by more than 4 points.

Indianapolis +4.5
3 Fireball Shots

BUFFALO (4-8) -3.5 vs. NY Jets (3-9)

The Bills dropped WR Kelvin Benjamin this week. After a promising rookie season, Benjamin has been a bust. A former first round pick, Benjamin is now closer in size to a defensive end than a wide receiver.

This is a great move for the Bills. They have been shedding “dead” weight all season and Benjamin definitely fits that bill. Head coach Sean McDermott deserves coach of the year votes. His no-name defense is the 2nd best defense in the league and aside from LeSean McCoy the offense is devoid of big name talent and somehow this team is 4-8. They beat the Jets 41-10 in week 11 on the road. This time the teams meet in Buffalo. I see the Bills stepping up in front of the Bills Mafia and the Jets not showing up on the road.

1 Fireball Shot

New England (9-3) -7.5 @ MIAMI (6-6)

Tom Brady struggles when playing in Florida. Brady has a career record of 232-68. However, in games played in the state of Florida, Brady is 12-10 including a loss in week 2 in Jacksonville. I don’t think the Patriots lose this game, but I’m taking the 7.5 and hoping for the backdoor cover.

1 Fireball Shot

KANSAS CITY (10-2) -6.5 vs. Baltimore (7-5)

Since Lamar Jackson took over at QB, the Ravens have won 3 games in a row. During which, they have rushed for 207, 242 and 267 yards. Of course, those three games were against three of the five worst rushing defenses per DVOA (Falcons #29, Raiders #31 and Bengals #28). This week they face the Chiefs, the worst rushing defenses in the league.

But, even though they should have a good game on the ground, Baltimore does not have enough offensive fire power to keep up with Kansas City. Even if the Ravens D holds the Chiefs to under their league leading 37 pts per game, I don’t think they can score more than 20. I see this as a 28-20 Chiefs win. 

2 Fireball Shots

GREEN BAY (4-7-1) -5.5 vs. Atlanta (4-8)

Aaron Rodgers succeeded in his quest to get McCarthy fired. It was time for the change and losing to the Cardinals as a 14-pt. home favorite was the last straw. Joe Philbin takes over at head coach which should do nothing to improve the Packers who have been ravaged by injuries this year, specifically on the offensive line. Aaron Rodgers has been sacked 35 times already this season. Ironically, Rodgers has also filmed 35 State Farm commercials this season.


The Packers have been bad this year. They only have 4 wins, none of which are very impressive.  

1.     Beat Bears via miracle comeback in the season opener by one point

2.     Destroyed the Josh Allen-led Bills at home

3.     Squeaked by the C.J. Beathard-led 49ers by three

4.     Defeated the injury-ravaged Dolphins at home 

This line is so out of whack. I get the home field advantage, but this game should be Packers -2.5. These teams are both having similar down seasons, but the Falcons have Deion Jones back to help the defense.

Atlanta +5.5
1 Fireball Shot

Carolina (6-6) -1.5 @ CLEVELAND (4-7-1)

Carolina is 1-5 on the road this year, both straight-up and against the spread (ATS). Cleveland is 3-2-1 at home straight-up and 4-2 ATS. I was picking against Carolina no matter what, so it’s great to find an angle to support it.

2 Fireball Shots

New Orleans (10-2) -8.5 @ TAMPA BAY (5-7)

New Orleans has had 10 days rest to get over the 13-10 loss at Dallas. That’s enough time for Drew Brees to forget about his terrible performance last Thursday. And hopefully enough time for Alvin Kamara to recover from this vicious helmet to helmet hit.

Not only did Smith lead with his helmet, he left his feet. This should have been a 15-yd penalty at a minimum. In college, that play is text-book targeting resulting in an ejection. No call though. Good job trying to make the game safer NFL.  

It’s no secret that I don’t like the Saints. In fact, I wrote a whole piece last season accusing Drew Brees of wearing Mom Jeans. But I must give them credit for what they have done this year. Given that the Saints lost to the Bucs in week 1, I think they come out looking for revenge. Ryan Fitzpatrick lit up the Saints in week 1 throwing for 417 yds., 4 TDs and 0 INTs. Don’t expect a similar performance from Jameis Winston. Winston has not thrown an INT in 2-weeks. So, he’s very due.  

New Orleans -8.5
3 Fireball Shots

NY Giants (4-8)  -3.5  @ WASHINGTON (6-6) 

The book is begging you to take the Redskins by offering the extra half-point at home. When someone tries so hard to make you see how good a thing is, you should pick the other thing. Do you want to be the guy/gal at the bar who put money on Mark Sanchez?

Giants -3.5
3 Fireball Shots

Denver (6-6)  -5.5  at  SAN FRANCISCO (2-10)     

Another one. 5.5 seems like a lot more than 3 or 3.5. You’re getting extra victories if the Niners lose by 4 or 5 points. Fact is, only about 8% of NFL games are 4 or 5 point margins. Cut that in half since you’re only betting on one team, and you’ve improved your odds by about 4% by taking 5.5 instead of 3.5. It’s not nothing, but it’s not as good as it looks. (Be warned ….. the pro betters love the Niners in this situation, and the public is all over Denver.)

Substitute “49ers” for “pork bellies” in this video and you’ll understand. Give the points and buy your kid the GI Joe with the Kung Fu Grip.

Broncos -5.5
1 fireball shot

LA CHARGERS (9-3)  -13.5  vs  Cincinnati (5-7)     

Michael Jackson’s Thriller video turned 35 last week. Many of our readers will remember how much of a thing that video was. It was a 23 minute music video starring Michael Jackson (who was still the #1 MJ in 1983, at least for a few more years), narrated by Vincent Price (look him up), with a group of dancing zombies whose moves have been copied and sampled all over the place. Think if The Walking Dead met an episode of Soul Train.

chargers 2.jpg

OK I’m back. Just watched a whole bunch of Soul Train videos. I encourage you to do the same.

Anyhoo, point is …… I’m not saying take parenting advice from the man, but listen to Michael about betting on this game.


How high would this line need to be for you to take the Bengals? 17? 20? 41.5?

Chargers -13.5
2 fireball shots

Detroit (4-8)  -2.5 @ ARIZONA (3-9)     

Short home underdog rules apply. The home team wins a lot in this series. Cardinals are 17-12-2 since 1930 against the Lions, and they lost the first two way back in ‘30 and ‘31 when they were the Chicago Cardinals and the Lions were the Portsmouth Spartans. A history that stretches to 1930 makes the Cardinals the oldest institution in the Greater Phoenix area.

The Portsmouth Spartans became the Detroit Lions in 1934. In 1931 they lost 9-0 to the Bears in the first playoff game in NFL history. This began the Lions’ long tradition of getting their asses handed to them by the Bears.

The Portsmouth Spartans became the Detroit Lions in 1934. In 1931 they lost 9-0 to the Bears in the first playoff game in NFL history. This began the Lions’ long tradition of getting their asses handed to them by the Bears.

But we digress. This is a terrible game between two teams who aren't playing for anything. Well, one thing. Matthew Stafford is still trying to throw a screen pass so hard that it passes through his receiver’s body. In the dry Arizona air it’s more likely. But still, don't watch. It’ll be all over the internet if he succeeds.

Cardinals +2.5
1 fireball shot

DALLAS (7-5)  -3.5 vs Philadelphia (6-6)     

As a Giants fan I hate that this game matters. Dallas is playing really well but the NFC Least is destined to have an 9-7 champion this year. Eagles must win to make that unavoidable. Dallas has won 4 in a row so of course they think they can never lose again. That streak started with a 27-20 win in Philly. This week the Iggles return the favor. If Dallas wins, you’ll have a chance to make your money back betting against them in the first round of the playoffs.

Eagles +3.5
1 fireball shot

Pittsburgh (7-4-1)  -10.5  @ OAKLAND (2-10)

Oh, Pittsburgh! Why do we forget every year that your team is a total basket case mentally, and prone to losing in new and interesting ways. You’re the Chargers of the East. You’re the male models in Zoolander. No matter how nice it is to watch you play offense, we all know you’re going to die in a tragic gasoline fight accident.


Oh, Oakland! Why are you still showing up for games? You know that if you take the field you accidentally may win one of the next 4 games and the Niners and Jets could wind up with worse records that you. Take the day off Raiders. Protect that #1 pick, whoever that poor kid is.

Oakland’s two wins are by a combined 5 points, over the Browns and Cardinals. 7 of their losses have been by 14 or more. The book wants you to look at that 10.5 and say “that’s too many points at home”. It’s not. The Steelers are pissed off, maybe because they lost 2 close games but probably because they know they’ll finish 11-5-1 and implode early in the playoffs.

Pittsburgh -10.5
2 fireball shots

LA Rams (11-1) -3.5 @ CHICAGO (8-4)
“Batshit Crazy Theory” Pick of the week.

It’ll be a Scrooge McDuck Sunday night for the Vegas oddsmakers.

It’ll be a Scrooge McDuck Sunday night for the Vegas oddsmakers.

Stay with me here. There are lots of really crappy games this week. As of Thursday AM the betting is really light on 6 games. Giants/Washington, Jets/Bills, Chargers/Bengals, Lions/Cardinals, Packers/Falcons, and surprisingly, Dallas/Philly. That’s a lot of public money sitting on the sideline. With no college games on the schedule except Army/Navy, that money’s going to wind up somewhere.  

All that money is going onto the Broncos and the Texans. We are unashamed bandwagon fans of both teams, and frankly it’s kind of working out. But here’s the thing. When a high scoring offense is in the Sunday night game, everyone and their brother throws the favorite into their parlay and teaser bets.

(For our new readers: A parlay is when you bet more than one game together. Win all the bets and you win much more than betting each one individually. A teaser is when you bet on multiple games as well, and you get extra points in each game. If you win all the games you win normal money. You’re welcome.)

So what’s going to happen is there’s going to be a ton of money on the Rams here, and in all kinds of crazy parlays and teasers because people will be in Vegas with no college FB to bet on. There already is a virtual avalanche of money going against Chase Daniels, and we think the public teams (Broncos and Texans) are going to win and cover earlier in the day.

So the books will go into Sunday night needing the Bears to save their weekend. And it’s not going to end well for the betting public. Rams by 3.

Bears +3.5
2 fireball shots

Bonus pick: Army -7

SEATTLE (7-5)  -3.5 vs Minnesota (6-5-1)

Nobody likes the Vikings plus the points here. The math:

  • The number of moneyline bets on each team is pretty even, but 4x as many dollars are being bet on Seattle, meaning larger bets and presumably pros taking Seattle at home.  

  • The point spread bets are 2/3 on Seattle, but the dollars bet is pretty even, meaning bigger bets are being put on Minnesota +3 or +3.5.

The implication is that the general consensus is a Seattle win by a small amount. It doesn’t make sense to us. If everyone is betting Seattle to win straight up, then this point spread is too low and you should give the points. Seattle is on a 4 game winning streak and averaging almost 33/game. We commented in the Results page that teams may be coming into form later and later in the year. Seattle will keep showing up.

And Minnesota is Minnesota. Their wins this year: Niners, Eagles, Cardinals, Lions, Jets, Packers. 1 quasi-good team in there . They lose when they play good teams. Plus, Seattle owns them. 10-5 series edge, 6-2 at home.

This line implies that on a neutral field they’re about even. They are not.

Seahawks -3.5
3 fireball shots