Three weeks to go in the NFL regular season. It's incredible how fast it moves every year. The last three weeks when you're making picks, be cognizant of two things: motivation and weather. The latter should be fairly obvious, but it can change quickly in the winter months and we're going to see some situations that simply don't favor certain teams. Giants-Dolphins feels like a shootout situation, but if there's 17mph wind in New York, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Eli Manning are not going to be cutting through the wind with laser rocket arms.
Also, with motivation, you've got to remember why teams are playing and what they're playing for. It's not as big as bowl season or anything, but don't assume the Ravens are mailing in the rest of the season because it looks like the No. 1 seed is locked up.
Baltimore has the tiebreaker over the Patriots right now, but the Ravens still lose a tiebreaker to the Chiefs, who are lurking around the bend. Hence, Lamar Jackson should still see plenty of snaps in Week 16. You saw what he did against the Jets in a blowout, tossing TD passes to Mark Ingram when everyone and their brother thought he would/should/could be sat down to make sure he's healthy come the postseason. So much for that quad injury.
It was a break-even week in Week 14 and hopefully you didn't go to big on that Dolphins/Jets over, because it was a burner thanks to 10 field goals. Fortunately we've got a couple of totals to get it back this week. Make sure and check out the Pick Six Podcast in the player below for every single one of our picks/leans/best bets and scroll down for a couple parlays as well.
Texans-Titans Over 50
If you listen to the Pick Six Podcast you already bet on this and you bet on it at 48 or 49 instead of having to jump on it now and get it at 51, which is a pretty huge difference. You could have also watched our Week 15 Early Look YouTube Exclusive and found out on SUNDAY that you should take the over (check it out below, sweet hair, me). This is the Jim Nantz/Tony Romo game in Nashville this week and it might be for all the marbles, because Ryan Tannehill and the Titans need to sweep the Texans to win the AFC South. Fortunately they've been lights out the last few weeks, scoring piles and piles of points. The Texans got blasted by the Broncos last week, but we should look at that and get excited for the over -- Houston is more than willing to give up a lot of points. Tennessee allowed 21 first-half points to the Raiders last week. The Texans are more explosive than the Raiders, especially if they get Will Fuller back (TBD as of Friday afternoon, but Kenny Stills can supplement nicely). Tennessee is first overall in red zone scoring this year, capitalizing on a ridiculous 73 percent of their trips. The Texans are fifth at 67 percent. This isn't something that's trailing off, because the Titans and Texans are third and fifth, respectively, over the last three games in terms of red zone conversions. I would take this up to 52 if I happened to read this on Friday (it's 51) or over the weekend (it probably won't close much higher than 52 -- seven touchdowns and a field goal).
Broncos-Chiefs Under 46
Again, if you watch our weekly Sunday "Early Look" YouTube exclusive (in the giant player above featuring my head) you heard me saying to take the under in this game at 47. It might not have been on the board everywhere because of Patrick Mahomes' injury, but it was widely available at 46 by the middle of the week. It's currently 44.5, which is slightly less appealing, but it needs to be snared before it crosses the key number of 44. The Chiefs are -10 in this game (although you'll notice it's 9.5 for our picks podcast because of where the lines lock) and that is important for #trends, because Andy Reid coached teams are 11-5 to the under in December games at home in Kansas City. Additionally, when Reid is a touchdown or more favorite, the under in December home games is 5-1. Patrick Mahomes' hand isn't right, so I expect the Chiefs to try and run the ball or work the short passing game instead of challenging the Broncos downfield. Drew Lock looked fantastic against the Texans, but the Chiefs are a much better defense than people understand and he won't challenge vertically. This should be a grinder of a game that could feature a bunch of snow, 28-degree temperatures and 11 mph of wind. We could get burnt by defensive touchdowns but I think this is a molasses game.
Philly is looking like they might be missing a bunch of players for this game. Alshon Jeffery is done for the season, Nelson Agholor is going to be limited at best, Jordan Howard could still be missing. Lane Johnson is a longshot to play this week. The Eagles needed overtime to take care of the Giants last week and it was in large part because of Pat Shurmur's unwillingness to be aggressive in the second half. The Giants defense had to face 84 plays (84!) from the Eagles and just folded like a cheap suit in the second half and overtime. The Redskins defense is a little more stout, and I can see them grinding this thing out in ugly conditions -- cold, some decent wind, etc., in D.C. More importantly, I love the idea of Dwayne Haskins and Terry McLaurin hooking up deep in this game against a VERY questionable Eagles secondary. I don't think it becomes a shootout or anything, but McLaurin put up some numbers (five catches, 125 yards, one touchdown) the first time these teams played. I could see the Redskins stealing this game, honestly.
Colts-Saints Over 46
No Sheldon Rankins. No Marcus Davenport. Kiko Alonso and Cam Jordan on the injury report. The Saints defense, which has been very good this season, is not healthy and is coming off a game where the 49ers showed you can score on them. The Colts should be able to do that as well, with Jacoby Brissett looking pretty good against the Buccaneers, even without a bunch of his weapons. T.Y. Hilton is trying to force his way back, but it's TBD on if he actually plays. Even if he doesn't, we'll see Zach Pascal and Marcus Johnson (again, a lack of weapons) able to get deep on some plays. I think the Saints will be willing to put up 30+ themselves and the Colts secondary will let you score on them and in quick fashion. This game has moved up to 47, which isn't ideal, but I think this game goes over barring a total clog of these offenses in the red zone.
Patriots -9.5 at Bengals
I hate this pick already, haha. But I don't care. Just in a vacuum, the Patriots shouldn't be a 10-point favorite over anyone. Their pass defense is very good, but their offense is just bad at this point. Tom Brady isn't on the same page with his receivers. The run game can't get cooking -- but there's a chance this is the week they can make something happen. There's a sneaky double revenge game angle here with Mohamed Sanu and Rex Burkhead. Don't sleep on it. I'm not joking. The Patriots since 2015 are 6-1 against the spread as a favorite of 10 points or more. Yes, I know they're a nine-point favorite here, but they are currently -10 (-115) on the market so this game will qualify assuming it doesn't shoot back down before kick. More importantly perhaps? The UNDER when the Patriots are double-digit favorites on the road since 2015 is 7-0 and when they are seven-point or more faves is 14-4. The total here is climbing for some reason. If it gets to 42, you should jump all over the under. Oh yeah and I forgot ... the Bengals reported the Patriots to the NFL for videotaping their coaches. Bill Belichick angry? I'll take the Pats minus the points for sure.
This line should end up going over the key number of seven at some point. It's a total donkey play, like the Pats on the road, but it doesn't matter. The Seahawks are not a dominant team, but they are a team that needs to win. The Panthers? Not so much. They're working with an interim coach, with key defensive players missing and other defensive players calling out the coach. The Panthers' biggest weakness is stopping the run and no one likes to run the ball more than Seattle. Chris Carson might go for 200 rushing yards in this game with Rashaad Penny out for the year with an ACL injury. I also wouldn't rule out a shocking Russell Wilson explosion here. The last time Russ threw interceptions in four straight games, he bounced back in Week 15 of 2016 with a 350-yard, four-touchdown passing game. Granted it was at home against the Cardinals, but the Seahawks have been good in Carolina and in 1 p.m. games recently. Russ is 3-1 straight up in Charlotte for his career and the Seahawks are 9-3-1 against the spread since 2015 in those early games. The weather looks good in Carolina for Sunday -- mid 50's, sunny, no wind -- so Russ and Carson should eat. This will probably be a monster Tyler Lockett game with every fantasy footballer benching him.
Browns -2.5 at Cardinals
Pure revenge play here for Baker Mayfield. Are the Browns a good football team? No, no they are not. But Baker has shown a proclivity in his career to elevate his game against coaches who burnt him. Remember when Hue Jackson was fired and left to coach the Bengals? Baker completed 65 percent of his passes for 542 yards, seven touchdowns and zero interceptions in two matchups against Cincinnati down the stretch. The Browns have, over the last two years, been substantially better against bad defenses. No one is going to want to back them after seeing them struggle with the Bengals last week. The Cardinals have been frisky and Kyler Murray has looked sharp for stretches of the season. If Josh Jacobs doesn't play the rest of the year (TBD on that), Murray can steal the OROY. But Kliff is coaching him and Baker will be seeing red. I'm not sure who the Cards put Patrick Peterson on -- do they even bother with Odell Beckham?? -- but I think we can see a nice little effort from David Njoku here. Again, a pure spite play.
Week 14 best bets ATS record: 2-2-1, +0u
2019 best bets ATS record: 49-34-3, +16u
Pick Six Parlay of the Week
We need to find another winner and this might be a good spot, with us only finding a consensus in three spots total. I really like these two overs, especially in Oakland where I can't imagine Jon Gruden won't bring out the kitchen sink for this game. The Raiders' defense isn't good enough to slow down Jacksonville completely. I was on the Vikings at first, but as noted in the podcast, the public is loving the Vikes this week and they're road favorites against a Chargers team playing with a little bit of December YOLO. See above for Colts-Saints.
Chargers +2.5 vs. Vikings
Jaguars-Raiders Over 45.5
Colts-Saints Over 46
.5u to win 3u
Season record: 1-14, -1.0u
Moneyline Parlay of the Week
I thought I was done messing around with chalk after losing a bunch of favorites last week, but I lied. I think we're gonna work the Chargers in here and then add some shorter favorites. Looks like Jameis Winston is a full go for Tampa, so we can back Tampa before that line gets up to 5 or 6 and makes the ML prohibitive. Look at that! A couple of road favorites and a Packers team I don't even love. This is so bad it's definitely going to win.
Chargers +105 vs. Vikings
Packers -210 vs. Bears
Buccaneers -217 at Lions
Seahawks -290 at Panthers
.5u to win 2.47u
Season Record: 1-13, -1.38u