The NFL Lines: Week 16

Filed in NFL, NFL Tips by on December 22, 2011

Week 15 was one of the most bizarre on record. The Packers lost. The Colts won. A pair of 10-3 sides were badly beaten by teams below .500 (one beaten in such a fashion on home turf). Unsurprising then that it was not a good week for punters, not least Nick Tedeschi and Cliff Bingham, who return for a look at the week 16 games.

CB – What a disaster. I don't even regret any of my tips – picking 5 sides with a combined record of 42-23 to beat 5 sides with a combined record of 17-48 is a sensible play. Who knew that 4 of the big dogs would get pounded by 14 or more points?

Summary of Week 15 results

NT – 7 selections, 10 units bet, return of 5.76 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -42%

CB – 5 selections, 6 units bet, return of 1.93 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -68%

Total – 12 selections, 16 units bet, return of 7.69 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -52%

Summary of Overall results

NT – 82 selections, 119.5 units bet, return of 102.35 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -14%

CB – 51 selections, 63 units bet, return of 57.22 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -9%

Total – 133 selections, 182.5 units bet, return of 159.57 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -13%

(Please note – all times are American ‘Eastern Time’ – add 16 hours to get to AEDST)


Houston @ Indianapolis, 8.20pm
Bookmakers Line: +6

NT-Indianapolis have been playing a lot stronger recently, covering three straight and downing Tennessee last week. TJ Yates came back to earth last week and with the division wrapped up, I doubt Houston will be jacked to the eyeballs. A lean on the plus for 1 unit.

CB-A week ago I'd have happily tucked into the -6 here, but with TJ Yates having to go on the road off a short week and the Colts seemingly trying to shoot themselves in the foot regarding Andrew Luck, things get a bit more dicey. The kicker though is that Houston are my gambling kryptonite in 2011 – backed them twice, taken them on 3 times, lost all 5 bets. Pass.

Denver @ Buffalo, 1:00pm
Bookmakers Line: +1.5 to +3

NT-Those who believe in organised religion will be well aware of God’s love for the Broncos and his disdain for the Bills. That has me close to betting the Broncos. But I can’t lay points on the road, even against Buffalo. No action.

CB-My Bills look well and truly cooked as Ryan Fitzpatrick does his best 'Willie Mason post contract swoon' impersonation. Now is not the time to piss off the gambling gods by taking on my own side though – no play.

Tampa Bay @ Carolina, 1:00pm
Bookmakers Line:
 -7.5 to -9

NT-Yeah, pass. The Bucs season has headed south incredibly quickly.

CB-Apparently Josh Freeman no longer wins football games. That's a shame. Still, Josh and Raheem Morris will always have that one magical season where they exceeded all expectations…. and just missed a wild card berth. No play.

St Louis @ Pittsburgh, 1:00pm
Bookmakers Line: No Line

NT-Question marks over Ben have no line up for this game. So now to my three favourite all-time Christmas TV specials: (1) Are You Being Served (The Minstrel episode), (2) Family Ties and (3) 30 Rock (Ludichristmas).

CB-No lines up as yet pending the injury concerns around Big Ben, although you'd suspect that in cold weather outdoors, the Rams will be hard pressed to reach double digits against this defiant defence (a little alliteration for your Christmas stocking there – don't go spending it all at once).

Minnesota @ Washington, 1:00pm
Bookmakers Line: -6.5

NT-The Redskins start favourites for only the third time this season and for the first time since week four. That suggests they are not a good team. I prefer not to get too involved in laying almost a touchdown on bad teams. And obviously, Minnesota aren’t betting propositions.

CB-Can we please have Donovan McNabb back for this game so that Redskins fans can get a definitive before/ after picture of who they were better off with – McNabb or Rex Grossman? As my community service announcement for Christmas, I'd like to point out that this game means approxinately nothing to both sides and urge you not to wager in it.

Oakland @ Kansas City, 1:00pm

Bookmakers Line: -1 to -2.5
NT-Oakland have been beaten 80-30 in their last two road games while I imagine the Chiefs are in for a letdown after the huge upset of the Packers. I am considering the Chiefs now Kyle Orton is under centre but I don’t really want to play this game.

CB-Now that the Chiefs have stopped plucking fans from the crowd to play QB for them (wait… what? Tyler Palko is a paid professional athlete? Wow, you learn something every day….) they have some serious spoiler potential at home against an ill-disciplined Raiders outfit. Yes, I know, ill-disciplined is already implied any time the Oakland Raiders are mentioned, but it bore repeating. The Raiders have more to play for but after they coulda/ shoulda/ woulda/ didn't win at home last week against Detroit, I'm loathe to play here.

Cleveland @ Baltimore, 1:00pm
Bookmakers Line: -13

NT-The Ravens have been favoured by double figures three times this season and haven’t made the number once. I will be happy just to see them win and keep the division lead. No bet.

CB-Amazingly, the Ravens survived last week's stinkbomb with the AFC North lead and a decent shot at a first week bye both still intact. I feel like they'll trust their defence to protect any decent lead against the underwhelming Browns offensive unit, and thus the 13 point line is a little big to entice me.

Miami @ New England, 1:00pm
Bookmakers Line: -9.5
NT-I know my colleague C.B Bingham will be all over the Pats here but I quite fancy the Dolphins plus. The Patriots will be hurting following the loss of Andre Carter, another key defensive injury, and the Miami defence ismore stout than they are credited with. They can keep this close, particularly with Reggie Bush finally coming of age. Bet the Dolphins for 1 unit.

CB-Here we go, a play! Team protecting a 1-seed and home field throughout the playoffs against a team out of the race entirely? Check. Cold weather team hosting a warm weather team? Check. Brady/ Bellichick against Matt Moore and an interim head coach? Check. Laying less than 10? Check. 1.5 units on the Pats -9.5 will do me nicely.

Jacksonville @ Tennessee, 1:00pm

Bookmakers Line: -7 to -7.5

NT-I am sick of both these teams. I have been on the Jaguars sinking ship for too long and I missed the Titans train, somehow climbing aboard just as it crashed. No action.

CB-Again, last week I'd have been happy to lay the 7.5 points against Blaine Gabbert on the road. However, after (a) the awful effort the Titans submitted in being smoked by the previosuly 0-13 Colts out them in a precarious playoff chase position and (b) the fact that Gabbert's effort against Atlanta surely sees him benched for this, I'm a little scared to give away more than a touchdown. No play.

New York Giants @ New York Jets, 1:00pm
Bookmakers Line: -3
NT-This is a fascinating match-up between two wildly inconsistent teams in a cross-town match-up played out of state. Not much in this makes sense. The Giants have won only one of their last six and were thumped by the Redskins last week. The Jets took a caning at the hands of Philadelphia after a nice win over Kansas City. I do like the Jets here though. With the Giants unable to run the ball, they will need to throw and the Jets pass defence is usually quality. All we need is a competent performance from Mark Sanchez. 1 unit.

CB-The first of 3 matches on the week 16 slate that make up what I'm coining 'The Enigma Bowl Series'. Fans of Seinfeld may recall the episode where George claims to have excellent vision if he squints, spotting a dime on the ground metres away but biting into an onion which he thinks is an apple. The Giants and Jets are both experts at shifting between 'spotting dimes' mode and 'eating onions' mode. Needless to say, while it is tempting to take the 3 points and side with the Giants at what is essentially a 'neutral' venue, I'll pass.

Arizona @ Cincinnati, 1:00pm
Bookmakers Line: -4

NT-I know the Bengals have been a strong punting team but the Cardinals have been hot lately and could still sneak a playoff berth. I think the number is about right here.

CB-The Bengals have a winning record at home, while the Cards are 2-5 on the road and took forever and a day to take care of Cleveland at home last week. Moreover, the Cards need a huge amount a help to sneak an NFC wild card berth (currently 2 games off the Lions who currently hold the 6-seed) while the Bengals control their own destiny in the AFC as the current 6-seed through 15 weeks. Give me Andy Dalton at home over Kolb/ Skelton on the road any day – 1.5 units on the Bengals -4.

San Diego @ Detroit, 4:15pm
Bookmakers Line: -1.5 to -2.5

NT-I don’t know how you don’t come into the Chargers here. San Diego have been one of the hottest teams in the NFL the last three weeks, playing as they should have all year. With the division still well and truly alive and Detroit only 4-5 in their last nine, I am taking the +2.5 for 3 units.

CB-Enigma Bowl Match No. 2! If it feels like we've been here before with the Chargers, it's because we have – you only have to delve back a couple of years to find a once 4-8 Chargers squad running the slate in the final 4 weeks to reach 8-8 and somehow steal the AFC West from the once 6-0 Broncos. 2 weeks to go, trailing the Broncos by 1 win in the AFC West…. manifest destiny would suggest the Chargers win this on the back of 119 Lions' penalties (including 43 personal fouls and at least 3 incidents involving the injury cart being driven into unsuspecting bystanders) and create some real week 17 drama. My gambling record in Enigma Bowls is poor, so I'll skip this one.

San Francisco @ Seattle, 4:15pm
Bookmakers Line: +1 to +2
NT-Seattle have been winning lately but they have been the beneficiaries of a pretty easy schedule and a good deal of luck, playing teams without their starting quarterback. The 49ers, meanwhile, just smashed Pittsburgh on a nationally televised game and have only missed number twice this year. San Fran for 2 units.

CB-I really want to tip the Niners laying only 1 point here. Seattle's last 5 games: 2 wins against the Rams, wins at home against a Vince Young-led Philly and on the road to Caleb Hanie and the Bears, a loss at home to the Redskins. Not exactly a tough set of opponents – feels like a reality check should be headed their way soon. But here are the 2 sticking points: (1) With this game being played on a Saturday, it becomes a very short week for the Niners to prepare after MNF; and (2) home field advantage at Seattle is huge – one of the best in the league. Ordinarily home field is worth around 3 points, but in Seattle I'd argue it's closer to 5. Would you lay 6 points about the Niners at a neutral venue (or 9 points in San Fran) coming off a short week to prepare? I wouldn't – no play.

Philadelphia @ Dallas, 4:15pm
Bookmakers Line: -1 to -1.5
NT-When handicapping this game, I cannot get past the hammering the Eagles gave the Cowboys only eight weeks back. The final was 34-7 but the thumping was arguably even bigger. The Cowboys cannot stop LeSean McCoy, who has run for 334 yards in his last two against Dallas. Bet the Eagles for 1.5 units.

CB-The final match of the Enigma Bowl Series. It's incredulous to think that if the Eagles win out, the Jets beat the Giants and then the Giants beat the Cowboys in week 17, the Eagles could steal the NFC East in a 3-way tiebreaker at 8-8. The NFC East has been just crazy enough this year for that kind of outcome to eventuate. I will not be wagering in this game and instead just be thankful if 3 Enigma Bowl matches on the one day fails to bring about the apocalypse.


Chicago @ Green Bay, 8:20pm
Bookmakers Line: -13

NT-The Packers are 16-6 ATS at Lambeau the last three years and the Bears are again switching quarterbacks, this time going with Josh McCown. The Packers still need to wrap up the No.1 seed in the NFC and should bounce back in style this week. 1 unit.

CB-I want no part of backing Caleb Hanie here, but if the Packers break out to an early lead, will they just look to play conservative football, lock up the 1-seed for the playoffs and keep all of their big plays out of the sights of potential playoff opponents? It's the smart play, right? Thus the 13 points is a few too many for me to take part here.


Atlanta @ New Orleans, 8:30pm
Bookmakers Line: -6.5
NT-A great game to finish off the week but I think the number is right on here. The last four between these two have been decided by a field goal including two overtime winners. I lean to the minus because of the great form of the offense but I won’t be playing.

CB-I think this is one of the easier games to figure out of the week, but sadly finished with a line almost identical to that on offer from bookmakers. The Saints have the slightly superior team and while home field advantage is relevant (New Orleans are unbeaten at home this year), playing in a dome again suits Matt Ryan and the Falcons better than an outdoor setting would. I marked this game as New Orleans -6 and thus while I have the barest of leans to taking the points, this one can go around without me.

Recommended Bet Summary

NT- 1 unit on Indianapolis +6 at $1.95 (Sportingbet), 1 unit on Miami +9.5 at $1.95 (Luxbet), New York Jets -3 at $2.05 (Sportsbet), 3 units on San Diego +2.5 at $1.94 (Luxbet), 2 units on San Francisco -1 at $1.83 (Sportingbet), 1.5 units on Philadelphia +1.5 at $1.91 (Luxbet) and Green Bay -13 at $1.91 (Flemington Sportsbet).

CB- 1.5 units on New England at $1.92 (Luxbet) and 1.5 units on Cincinnati -4 at $1.92 (Luxbet).


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