Last week was a frustrating week and another example of how thin the margins are between winning weeks and losing weeks when betting the NFL. I split my total plays without anything out of the ordinary happening in either game, but it was the Chiefs-Saints game that decided our fate.
To summarize, the Chiefs dominated the game, outgaining the Saints 411 yards to 285. They led by two scores for a lot of the game, including early in the fourth quarter when a Le'Veon Bell score gave them a 29-15 lead. Then, after a couple of scores made it a 32-22 lead for the Chiefs, the Saints scored a touchdown with two minutes left to make it 32-29. It proved futile for the Saints in their bid to win the game, but it killed our cover, and we were left with a push.
That was the difference between a 2-1 week and a 1-1-1 week. Let's hope the holiday weekend is a bit kinder.
Jon Gruden has said there's a chance Derek Carr will play and that he's been taking reps in practice. Maybe he's telling the truth, but my gut tells me he just wants to make the Dolphins prepare for both Carr and Marcus Mariota. I'm betting the Dolphins see through that and are prepping for Mariota.
Now, Mariota came in to replace Carr against the Chargers and balled out. This led to a lot of talk about Mariota being in line for a possible starting job somewhere else next year. I'm not so sure. We see this a lot: a backup QB who is a lot different than the starter comes in unexpectedly and has success because the opposing defense prepared for the starter. Derek Carr is not the running threat Mariota is. Mariota caught the Chargers defense -- which isn't very good to begin with -- off guard and had a great night. The Raiders still lost. Now the Dolphins will be ready for Mariota, and odds are he won't be nearly as successful. I like the Dolphins against the spread, but I'm more comfortable attacking the Under because I don't want to trust a rookie QB as a road favorite.
Projected score: Dolphins 24, Raiders 20
Best bet: Under 47.5 (-110)
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Yeah, I'm not falling for it. When the Jets won last week, the world reacted by crowning the Jaguars the lucky recipient of the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. This reaction ignored the fact the Jaguars were playing the Bears this week, and the Bears are suddenly back in the playoff hunt after winning two straight against mediocre teams. My lifetime as a Bears fan lets me know that the Bears are more than capable of losing this game.
That said, the Jags do stink, so I'm not going to pick them to win. Instead, I'll take the points as the Bears are not the kind of team anybody should be trusting as more than a touchdown favorite on the road. Not with Mitch Trubisky at the helm.
Projected score: Bears 27, Jaguars 21
Best bet: Jaguars +7.5 (-110)
Panthers at Washington
Honestly, I just love betting on Teddy Bridgewater as an underdog. He's rewarded me plenty of times before. As a starter, Bridgewater's teams are a ridiculous 24-6 ATS as an underdog. This season the Panthers have gone 7-3 ATS as dogs with Bridgewater, and that 7-3 record is his worst single-season performance. To take this a step further, when he's a road dog, Bridgewater's teams are 19-2.
Nineteen. And. Two.
That includes six straight covers this season against teams like the Saints, Chiefs, and Packers, just to name a few. Washington's been playing better in recent weeks, but they're nowhere near as good as those teams. If Teddy can cover against them, he can cover against Washington.
Projected score: Washington 23, Panthers 21
Best bet: Panthers +2.5 (-110)