Come all ye office-pool players, casual bettors, wiseguys, and degenerate gamblers: the NFL Picks Against The Spread column is here to help you win mountains of cash and/or bragging rights. They say you need to win at least 53% of your games to actually make a profit betting on NFL games. Well you and I know that I’ll probably only hit about 45% at the most, so go ahead and play the opposite of all my recommended Best Bets and you’ll be sure to make some money.
Baltimore Ravens -6.5 vs. Minnesota Vikings
I don’t think this Ravens team is all that great, and their offense is still struggling. But after consecutive games facing the Jets and Steelers defenses, Flacco/Rice and the gang should be happy to see the awful Vikings defense that’s given up 30 points per game this year. Some possible sleet and freezing rain could be the great equalizer, so this should be an ugly game. Minnesota is coming off two consecutive division games that went deep into overtime, and now they go on the road where they’ve been winless this season to face a team coming off extra rest. Also, the Vikings are forced to turn back to Matt Cassel at QB, and the Ravens know they must handle this winnable game before facing a stretch of difficult opponents, so Baltimore should play well enough at home to win by 7 or more.
Buffalo Bills at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, OVER 42.5
Regular readers of this column will probably remember I picked the Bills game to go Over last week, and sure it enough Buffalo and Atlanta sailed way over the total in Toronto, 34-31. Similar to that game, I will once again point out that inter-conference games have gone 41-13 Over for the season, including 20-3 Over the last 6 weeks. In fact, the last 4 seasons when the NFC has been the home team, the Over-Under is 70-27-2. And let’s not forget the Bills have dynamic offensive talent in and around EJ Manuel and C.J. Spiller. The Bucs have a decent defense, and are playing better in general since their horrific start. But while they sometimes rise up and play the game of their lives at home and keep a lid on the likes of Drew Brees in a narrow loss, the Bucs games have gone Over the total 3 out of 4 times against teams with losing records this year (and 12-4 Over vs losing teams the last 3 years). Meanwhile, Buffalo is 7-4 to the Over this season, including all 3 of their inter-conference games going Over. Depsite key injuries on offense for both teams all year, the Bills score 26 ppg and the Bucs have averaged 24. The public perception of this game might be two crappy teams with a pretty low Total set at 42.5, but a meaningless game with two decent young QB’s with nothing to lose playing in good weather should yield at least a 24-21 or 28-20 game that easily goes Over the Total.
New England Patriots -10.5 vs. Cleveland Browns
This has not been the year for the Pats to annihilate all comers and blow teams out to the bettors delight. In fact they are just 6-6 against the spread, and probably shouldn’t be favored by so much against what’s thought to be a Cleveland defense. But can’t you just smell a blowout in the air? Jason Campbell has been upgraded to probable to start at QB following a recent concussion. He’s a serviceable veteran, but Captain Checkdown won’t be able to get it done on the road against the Pats in potentially bad weather. Look for the Browns to start dreaming of warm-weather vacations this offseason while the Patriots tune up for the playoffs. And just how good is this Browns defense? In their last 3 games, they’ve given up 32, 27, and 41 points to the Jaguars, Steelers, and Bengals. None of those teams are offensive juggernauts and 2 of those games were at home. Now they play Tom Brady on the road. Patriots roll, 31-10.
*Inter-conference Over/Under trend stats courtesy of Victor Kings NFL Totals Tip Sheet.
Tags: Against The Spread ATS Baltimore Ravens Best Bets Buffalo Bills Cleveland Browns EJ Manuel Free NFL Picks Jason Campbell Minnesota Vikings New England Patriots NFL Picks Against The Spread Nfl Picks Ats Picks Against The Spread Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tom Brady Week 14 NFL Picks Against The Spread