Week fourteen is upon us and the plot thickens. Last week’s 3-4 record on best bets was deceiving. I have to admit that my picks of the Giants, Cowboys and Niners were just plain WRONG, but I am still trying to figure out how John Kasay missed 3 field goals AND an extra point to cost me the Panther’s game. That just doesn’t happen. On the bright side, the Texans came through with flying colors and Doug Flutie, bless his little mullet headed heart, threw a TD pass on the last play of the game to get the cover against the Chiefs. Those are the moments that make me drag my tail out of bed each week and keep trying.
OK. Thanksgiving week is over. The playoff picture is starting to take shape. The games from here on out will take on a different meaning. Some teams will be fighting for the post season. Some will be looking to the future. Some will give up and roll over. All of it adds up to make this an even more challenging quest. Picking best bets does not mean picking the most meaningful games. It means trying to find the ones that are most winnable for those of you trying to add a few bucks so little Johnny can have that Playstation he has been screaming for the last three years.
Let’s get to it…..
Arizona (+10) at San Francisco o/u 41½
Our big doggie trend gets a severe test this week. The biggest underdog moved to 13-1 ATS last week with the Lions surprising the Pack on turkey day. The Cards have been absolutely DREADFUL on the road this year. I don’t see them staying within two touchdowns, and I would not advocate anybody laying serious money on this game, but this trend is the hottest thing I have seen this year. I have to respect it for that reason. Take ARIZONA plus the 10, and pray for a low scoring game, which would indicate the UNDER.
Carolina at Atlanta (+1) o/u 40½
Mike Vick makes his first start. Falcons fans will get a taste of what could have been. Get that one point while you can. FALCONS and OVER.
Chicago at Green Bay (-7) o/u 39
Kordell Stewart cannot play well enough to start for the Bears over the fragile Chris Chandler, but he looked like an MVP candidate the last two weeks in an understudy role. Look for the PACKERS to bring Chicago back to reality on the not quite frozen tundra and cover the seven. A good weather forecast tells me to lean OVER in this one as well.
N.Y. Jets (+3) at Buffalo o/u 36
Drew Bledsoe got his brain scrambled last week and may still be feeling the effects. Chad Pennington just gets better and better. I LOVE the JETS getting points in this one. UNDER seems like a decent play as well.
Indianapolis (+3½) at Tennessee o/u 46
The spread for this game is probably just about right, and since people can’t score half a point, I have to decide which side I go with. I’m going to say it is going to be closer to a three point difference than a four point difference, which means take the COLTS. 46 is a lot of points, but I expect a shootout so play OVER.
Kansas City at Denver (-2½) o/u 45½
This is do or die for Denver. The game will probably be another shootout, but I’ll take the BRONCOS at home and the OVER.
The rest of the story:
Oakland (+5½) at Pittsburgh o/u 40½
Early in the season I took the Raiders and got screwed week after week. I swore off them and they came back and won a few. Last week I went back with them and got screwed again. Why do I keep playing these guys? Well, this week it is because they are playing the Steelers, who have underwhelmed me all year as well. I think 5½ is too many points. Give a very slight lean to the RAIDERS to cover and play OVER.
Washington (+3) at N.Y. Giants o/u 37½
I picked the Giants at home as a 3 point favorite last week and they turned in a very uninspired performance and lost to a hapless Buffalo team that didn’t even have Drew Bledsoe for half the game. The Capper does not appreciate being embarrassed. Take the SKINS plus the points in a squeaker and lean UNDER.
Cincinnati (+3) at Baltimore o/u 40
I still don’t believe in Anthony Wright. I do, however, believe in the Ravens defense. Take BALTIMORE and this should be an easy UNDER.
Dallas (+5½) at Philadelphia o/u 36½
This could be the defining game for Dallas this year. Win, and they continue their road to the playoffs. Lose, and maybe start a tailspin that could ruin a remarkable season. Sadly for Cowboys fans, I think Philly will get the victory, but I think DALLAS covers the number and if the weather holds I will play the OVER.
Houston at Jacksonville (-6) o/u 38½
I hate this game. If David Carr was healthy, the Texans would be my lock of the week. Of course, if Carr was healthy, the Jags wouldn’t be a six point pick. I think Houston is one of the most underrated teams in the NFL, but if Carr can’t play, untested rookie Dave Ragone has to fill in. Smart money says stay away from this one, but for the purpose of making a pick, I’ll give an ever so slight edge to the JAGUARS and the UNDER.
Seattle (+1½) at Minnesota o/u 51½
Minnesota’s defense has given me no reason whatsoever to believe they can win this game, but Seattle has been horrible on the road. One plus a hook isn’t many points to lay, so I’ll take the VIKINGS at home and OVER the total.
Tampa Bay (+1½) at New Orleans o/u 40
The defending Super Bowl champs GETTING points against a 6-6 team? Something is wrong here. Oh yeah. Tampa forgot how to play defense. I’m on the SAINTS and I’d give a slight lean to the UNDER.
Miami (+3) at New England o/u 36½
The forecast calls for snow in New England Sunday. Miami just doesn’t perform well in cold weather. Take the PATS and despite the weather, I’m going to say it will go OVER the 36½.
San Diego (+3) at Detroit o/u 43½
Chargers coach Marty Shottenheimer is making noises about the future and waffling on the starting QB situation again. Flutie gives San Diego the best chance to win the game, but these teams are playing for nothing more than a paycheck this week. I won’t make this game a best bet, so I can afford to waffle myself. If Flutie is still the QB come Sunday, take the CHARGERS to pull the upset. If Brees gets the nod, go with the Lions. And since there is no ice or wind in a dome, play the OVER.
St. Louis (-4) at Cleveland o/u 43½
YEESH! I don’t like this line. Two would be great. Three would be passable, but four? Man! I dunno about that. I have to be nuts to bet against a home dog on Monday night, but the Rams still have something to play for. Lay the points with the RAMS. The total? This is going to shock you, but Cleveland has had a miserable time scoring this year so I’m going to make an exception to my Monday Night rule and go with the UNDER.
For The Record:
Dana Harris' Best Bets ATS:
Week 13: (3 - 4 - 0)
YTD: (11 - 18 - 4)