The Commish Online                                                                                
Do you remember that scene from Indecent Proposal where Demi Moore is lying on a bed wallowing in a huge pile of cash?  Well, after last week’s 12-4 against the spread performance, you can picture me….  Ummmm…..  On second thought, maybe you shouldn’t go there.

What a great week.  Just when you start to feel like putting a gun in your mouth, suddenly the favorites start to win by the right numbers and the home dogs cover just like they are supposed to.  But just as your arm starts to ache from patting yourself on the back, you remember that the Vikings, an offensive juggernaut destined for the playoffs, couldn’t figure out how to score against a Bears team with a first time starting QB.  You also see Mike Martz and the Rams eschew the chance to put the game away with a touchdown in favor of a four point lead.  Last week’s 4-2 on best bets was pleasing, but it could have oh so easily been 6-0.  Still, this was the kind of week that makes you actually anxious to come back to the table the next Sunday.

Week 16 is here and the season is winding down.  Look for a few things.  First and foremost, look for teams that have cushions in their divisions to rest some stars.  This will be more prevalent next week, but teams like Kansas City and New England won’t want to take chances on getting people injured in otherwise meaningless games.  Secondly, if a team has a shot at the playoffs and is playing late Sunday or Monday night, and if circumstances in the early games knock them out, look for a major letdown.  This could severely affect whether somebody covers or not.  And finally, there are many games that mean absolutely nothing this week.  Some players play for pride (Da Bears) some just phone it in and wait to go home (Giants.)  These are all little things that can put dollars in your pocket.

How’s that?  Clear as mud?  OK. Let’s go make some money.

Best bets:

Kansas City at Minnesota (+3)  o/u  54½
I sure hope this game is on TV in my area.  KC is playing for home field advantage and a first round bye.  Minnesota is scrambling to clinch a playoff spot.  Both teams have a reason to be here.  Both have high powered offenses.  Both have suspect defenses.  That says shootout to me.  Minnesota needs the game worse, and they are at home.  Take the VIKES.  If the OVER wasn’t the play, the total wouldn’t be so high.  Watch out for turnovers that could kill it, though.  That’s a lot of points for an NFL game.

New England (-3) at New York Jets  o/u  35
Interesting trends in this game.  The Pats have covered 11 of 13 games this season, while the Jets are 2-6 the last eight games where they were listed as the dog.  The game means more to the PATRIOTS, so I’ll go with them in a squeaker.  The total should be right on the number, so I will guess OVER.

Miami at Buffalo (Pick)  o/u  34
A few weeks ago Miami traveled to New England and got shut out.  Buffalo is a little farther South, but it will still be a graveyard for the Dolphins’ playoff hopes, as well as Dave Wanstedt’s head coaching career.  Go with the BILLS and I really like the OVER in this one.

New York Giants at Dallas (-10)  o/u  35½
The coach has been fired.  Three quarters of the starting lineup is on injured reserve and what is left of the Giants is pretty damned poor.  Kerry Collins is questionable again and if Jesse Palmer starts again the Cowboys will blitz him into oblivion.  Dallas can clinch a playoff spot with a win and they are at home.  Look for DALLAS to dominate and possibly get a second consecutive shutout.  With that possibility I will make a slight lean to the UNDER.

Arizona (+13½) at Seattle  o/u  43½
All year we have been following the big doggie trend, where the biggest underdog of the week has only lost three times against the spread for the entire season.  Ever wonder who the teams were that lost as the big doggie?  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Arizona Cardinals. TWICE!   This team scares the hell out of everybody at home, but on the road they play like a high school team.  Take the SEAHAWKS in a blowout and they may beat the total by themselves.  Play the OVER.

Denver (off) at Indianapolis  o/u  ???
That whimpering sound you hear is me contemplating my fantasy football championship hopes as I watched Clinton Portis being helped off the field last week.  I don’t feel anywhere near as bad as Jake Plummer will if Portis can’t perform this week.  Does anybody remember how mediocre Plummer was without a running game in Arizona?  I do.  This game is also off the board at press time.  If Portis can’t go, the COLTS are my lock of the week up to a spread of 5-6.  Anything above that is no play.

The rest of the story:

Detroit (+10) at Carolina  o/u  37½
Lions’ GM Matt Millen seems to be concerned with the sexual orientation of an opposing receiver.  The way his team has played this year, they should probably be wearing pink tutus themselves.  Still, this number is too high considering the Panthers have clinched the division and can’t get a first round bye.  They should play well enough to win, but I like DETROIT to stay inside the number.  The total is another coin flip, so I’ll go with the OVER again.

Washington at Chicago (-4½)  o/u  35
This game has all the appeal of a December lakeside picnic.  Da Bears played well against a division rival last week.  The Redskins got shut out at home by Dallas.  I think the ‘Skins have quit, so I would probably play CHICAGO, but I don’t like the spread.  The pick stands, but I won’t be playing this game.  If I had to choose a total, I’d go UNDER.

Atlanta (+7) at Tampa Bay  o/u  38½
Not completely meaningless, as Tampa still has a faint pulse for a playoff spot, but the scenario is highly unlikely.  The numbers say Tampa should cover the seven, but I just have a hunch that Mike Vick will get ATLANTA inside the spread.  I also like the UNDER here.

Baltimore at Cleveland (+3)  o/u  36½
The Ravens need this game to keep their playoff hopes alive, but I don’t like them giving 3 on the road in the city they abandoned.  Take the BROWNS to pull the upset and lean UNDER.

Tennessee (off) at Houston  o/u ???
Well, I have waited until press time trying to get a line on this game and it is still off the board.  Tennessee needs the win, but they will not take chances with McNair, IF he plays.   If the spread is more than three, I like the TEXANS plus the points.

New Orleans at Jacksonville (-1)  o/u  43
This game could go either way.  For the sake of my fantasy team I hope the Saints light it up, but I’m not going to predict that.  Bad game.  No value.  For the sake of the pick I’ll go with the JAGS and UNDER.

Cincinnati at St. Louis (-6½)  o/u  53
Cincy is safely in the playoffs.  St. Louis is still fighting for home field advantage, which could be HUGE if they get it.  My guess is the Bengals will coast a bit and the RAMS will win easily.  I think there will be a few points in this game, but I’m not sure it will topple 53, so I’m playing UNDER.

San Diego at Pittsburgh (-6)  o/u  40
Let’s talk about one really meaningless piece of crap game.  At least with Flutie at QB we could root for the geezer to try to pull off a miracle.  Alas, Brees is back in the saddle and the Chargers are about as appealing as a bucket of warm spit.  This game is a complete dog, but I’ll go with the STEELERS to cover the six at home and give a small yawn to the OVER.

San Francisco (+7½) at Philadelphia  o/u  39½
Niners are 0-7 on the road, but the numbers say 7½ is too many points to lay.  Philly may get the win, but SAN FRANCISCO gets the money with a small nod to the OVER.

Green Bay (-5) at Oakland  o/u  43.5
The Raiders finally covered a spread last week.  Is this a trend?  I don’t think so.  Green Bay needs this game and depending on what the Vikes do, it could be to clinch the division.  Play the PACKERS and the usual Monday Night OVER.

For The Record:
Dana Harris' Best Bets ATS:
Week 15:    (4 - 2 - 0)
YTD:           (19 - 22 - 4)

Questions/comments/tomato throwing may be directed to
Week 16
December 19, 2003
by Dana Harris