Las Vegas – There are just 10 picks left to be made in the Las Vegas contest, and I’ve spent the last two days studying the lines like they were a Comm 400 Final at UMass Amherst. This was a really, really hard week to pick games because each selection means so much more now.
Team Gamenight (managed by the author of the post) is now 41-29-5 on the season, and I’m currently tied for 195th out of nearly 2700 teams. I’m in a big need of big score this week to get into the top 50 and to cash in this year’s tournament. I’m 12-1-2 over the past three weeks, and those 13 points that I picked up have vaulted me into contention.
Let’s get to the games, because one of the hardest things for me to do this week will be to press send to submit my picks. So much second and third guessing this week!
Falcons +5.5 vs. Saints
What I’ve learned over the course of the last 15 weeks is that lines like this one are normally set as traps for the public. The Saints at home will be an extremely popular pick for the public this week, but I think this number sets up perfectly to take the Falcons. Atlanta just beat the Saints two weeks ago, and there is so much riding on this game for the NFC South. New Orleans is 10-4, the Falcons are 9-5, and the Panthers are 10-4. The Falcons play Carolina next week to end the year, and losses in both those games mostly likely send Atlanta home for the playoffs. For the Saints, they have the Bucs in Week 17 and control their own destiny. I’m just not in love with the Saints’ offense right now, and they had trouble putting away the Jets last week. This is a massive rivalry game, and while the Saints might win, I will take the Falcons plus the points. Our fellow Action Network site SportsInsight.com also has this great stat that helped inform this pick: Games in this series tend to be close, and the underdog has had success against the spread since 2009 (13-4).
49ers +4.5 vs. Jags
After a six-week run of taking the Jags, I’m going against them this week and am flipping my pick from my Monday Week 16 preview story. The reason, much like the first pick this week, is that the line is the driving force. I think the Jags could win this game, but I think this is a field goal game. The Jags have been awful vs. the AFC West (1-11 ATS), and I’m going to learn my lesson from taking them to beat the Cardinals on the road a few weeks back. Some teams just aren’t used to success, and some teams struggle with cross country trips. Jacksonville will get RB Leonard Fournette back this week, but they actually have been more explosive without him on the field in the second half of the season. I am a big believer in QB Jimmy Garoppolo, and his 3-0 start as San Francisco’s starter has turned around the entire season for the 49ers. Watch below and tell me that Jimmy GQ doesn’t sound like the guy who he studied under for 3.5 seasons in New England. At home, I think they keep this game close, so I’m taking the points.
The traits displayed by Jimmy Garoppolo in this video is the stuff #NFL front offices spend countless hours searching for in a quarterback, football player and person. Many never find it. The #49ers did, and might have pulled off the trade of the decade:pic.twitter.com/jyh12B9uV9
— Rob Lowder (@Rob_Lowder) December 21, 2017
Cowboys -4.5 vs. Seahawks
I know this looks like a square pick, and there has been tons of public money placed on this game for the Cowboys, but who are the Seahawks right now? Seattle got throttled at home last week against the Rams, and RB Todd Gurley scored four times against a defense that looked like a shell of its former self. A lot of people are saying take the Seahawks and the points here, but I think the return of RB Zeke Elliott is going to be a major lift for the Dallas offense. The Cowboys still are alive for a playoff berth, and this is their last guaranteed game at home for 2017. I believe they will be focused and come out firing against a Seattle team that has a lot of problems. Dallas will get after QB Russell Wilson, and I don’t think the Seahawks will have much success in Big D. I will lay the points with Dallas here.
Eagles -8.5 vs. Raiders
The Raiders are playing for nothing, and they have to fly across the country to play on the road inside a crazy environment at The Linc. This is a lot like the game last week for Chiefs at home against the Chargers. The atmosphere at Arrowhead had a lot to do with my pick of the Chiefs, and Philly is going to be just as crazy on Sunday night. QB Nick Foles is playing well in place of Carson Wentz, and I don’t believe Oakland has any desire to be competitive in this game. On Christmas night, in front of drunk Eagles fans, give me the birds all night long. Philly wins this game big.
Bengals +4.5 vs. Lions
This is Marvin Lewis’ last home game as the head coach in Cincy. While we all make fun of his record in the postseason, there is no denying that he had a great run with the Bengals. He will get another job somewhere in the league, and his players really do love playing for him. Detroit is still alive for the playoffs, but it’s really not likely that they make it. The Lions have lost five straight games (1-4 ATS) against the Bengals, and Cincy is 7-0 ATS in week 16 over the last seven years. QB Matthew Stafford played well last week in the win over Chicago, but the Lions are just 0-4-1 ATS after a win the week prior. Detroit may win this game, but I think the Bengals will want to send their head coach out in style after looking pathetic last week. I will take the points here.
Just Missed The Cut
Man, I looked at nearly every game as an option at one point this week. There are too many close calls to list here, but I will tell you that I was EXTREMELY close to taking the Rams -6.5 at the Titans, the Patriots -11.5 against the Bills and the Ravens -13.5 against the Colts.
The Rams are a huge public play this week, and the sharps love the Titans. I hate the Titans and I think they are toast. However, I dodged the game because the Rams could have a big letdown after hearing how great they are following their blowout of Seattle. I just thought it was wise to pass on the game.
Same thing can be said for the Patriots against Buffalo. I expect the Pats to play well and win, but I could see a late score to cover the big line for the Bills. I’d rather not sweat out the final two minutes of that game. That’s also why I passed on the Ravens; the line was just too big to play with so much on the line this week.
Other Sports Action Team Picks
Team Bet The Process is taking the Packers (+9) at home against the Vikings, the Bengals (+4.5) against the Lions, the Jags (-4.5) at the 49ers, the Giants (+3.5) at the Cardinals and the Seahawks (+4.5) at the Cowboys.
Team Sports Action also likes the Packers (+9), the Rams (-6.5) at the Titans, the Panthers (-10) against the Bucs, the Jags (-4.5) at San Fran, and the Raiders (-8.5) at Philly.