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.
Seattle Seahawks -10.5 vs. Arizona Cardinals
This is obviously a pretty big point spread for a division game, considering the Cardinals are 9-5 and need a win to stay in playoff contention. Seattle has already clinched a playoff spot, but still needs a win to lock up the #1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. While Arizona has looked good in recent weeks, it has not been against the level of competition they will face in Seattle, who may be the best and most complete team in the league. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is never shy about keeping the pedal to the metal, as evidenced by their 21-7 record against the spread (ATS) over their last 28 games, including 15-2 ATS vs. teams with winning records. Cardinals QB Carson Palmer has had a mini-resurgence in Arizona recently, but the Seahawks defense will consistently collapse the pocket and force Palmer into critical and crippling mistakes. And outside of CB Patrick Peterson, the Cardinals secondary won’t be able to stop the savvy Seattle signal caller Russell Wilson.
Denver Broncos -10 at Houston Texans
Another huge point spread, this one even more dangerous as it’s on the road. But, as obvious as it may look, this should be a complete blowout. The Texans have been an absolute mess and at this point are simply playing out the string, possibly in hopes of landing the #1 overall pick in next years draft. Injuries have ended the seasons of both RB’s Arian Foster and Ben Tate, and now force Houston to turn back to Pick-6 king Matt Schaub. Meanwhile, the Broncos still find themselves fighting with KC to wrap up the division and secure the top seed in the AFC so they wont be taking this game lightly. Some may be scared off by the fact that Peyton Manning in road games in December or later is 11-19 ATS, but this game will be indoors against a bad Texans team that has only covered the spread in 3 of their last 18 games. The Broncos not only come off an embarrassing home loss on national TV, they’ve had a few extra days of rest. He’d never admit it, but Manning will also be going full throttle as he approaches a few statistical milestones and records, so look for him to light up the scoreboard early and often as the Broncos roll, 38-17.
New England Patriots +2.5 at Baltimore Ravens
Everyone saw the Ravens win at Detroit last Monday night, and remember that a late-season surge pushed them to a Super Bowl championship last year. But I’m still not buying the Ravens. Over the last 24 years, teams that score 0 TDs and their opponents score 2 or more TD’s were 0-349 straight up and 10-338-1 ATS before the Ravens beat the Lions (and they needed a 61-yard field goal to do it). I think Tom Brady and the Patriots, suddenly desperate off their loss at Miami last week, remember that the Ravens knocked them out of the playoffs last season so they will have revenge on their minds. New England is 16-2 ATS as an underdog following a loss, and 17-3 ATS as a ‘dog for a second straight game. But beyond the trends, I just trust Tom Brady over Joe Flacco. Even if the Ravens manage to pull another victory out of their ass (as they are known to do), then taking the 2.5 points with the Patriots will come in handy if this ends up as one of those weird close games like 24-23.
San Francisco 49ers -13 vs. Atlanta Falcons
Well this week’s theme seems to be laying lots of points with the big favorites, but I just don’t see how this game doesn’t end up as a lopsided victory for the Niners. With the Falcons out of contention since early in the season, the big draw for Monday Night Football will be the final regular season game at storied Candlestick Park in San Francisco. That intangible magic alone will only provide so much of a boost, but the 49ers have such a talent edge over their former division rivals from Atlanta (as well as still being in a must-win situation to secure a playoff spot) that San Fran should have no problem covering this spread. Seems like Matt Ryan is the only good player left standing for the Falcons. While he still has aging RB Steven Jackson and future Hall-of-Fame TE Tony Gonzalez, they will only have so much success against this fierce defense on the road in front of an amped up crowd on a Monday night. On the other side of the ball, Atlanta is decimated on defense. They barely beat a bad Washington team at home last week despite being gifted 7 (7!) turnovers. Look for this one to get ugly as the 49ers send Candlestick out in style, 31-9.
Tags: Against The Spread Arizona Cardinals ATS Baltimore Ravens Best Bets Candlestick Park Denver Broncos Free NFL Picks Houston Texans MNF Monday Night Football New England Patriots NFL Picks Against The Spread Nfl Picks Ats Pete Carroll Peyton Manning Picks Against The Spread Russell Wilson San Francisco 49ers Seattle Seahawks Tom Brady Week 16 NFL Picks Against The Spread