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Spread: Bengals minus-3
Public consensus pick: 52 percent picked Bengals
Public perception: Both teams have climbed into the playoff hunt. Both teams have frustrated bettors. Both are candidates for the "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" award, as they can look like fine, upstanding citizens one week and monstrous the next, especially the Cowboys, which are 4-8 ATS.
Wiseguys' view: These teams are viewed as pretty much equal; the Vegas NFL Bettors' Poll that I compile on Tuesdays has the Bengals rated just a half-point better than the Cowboys. There are some indications that this line could move to 3.5 by the weekend, and that's when you can expect the wiseguys to jump in on the Cowboys.
Tuley's Take: I bet the Bengals more earlier in the season when they were underdogs more often (4-3 ATS as 'dogs). I don't like them as much as a favorite, though they have covered their past two as chalk over the Chiefs and Raiders. The pick: Pass (pool play: Bengals, though I would flip to the Cowboys at plus-3.5, which shows how lukewarm my support is).
Play on any conference road underdog coming off of a road game (170-108-5, 61.2% ATS): The logic behind this angle is the same as the previous angle with two exceptions, as it does not matter if the team playing its second straight road game won or lost its previous game, and also it is restricted to conference games only as now facing a familiar foe lessens the travel effect since the team usually knows how to attack that foe and what to expect on defense. This angle swept 2-0 in Week 13. Qualifiers: Arizona +10, New Orleans +4.5, Philadelphia +9 and Houston +3½ (Monday).
Dal-Cin: Cin followed up a 4 game stretch of being bad with a 4 game stretch of being really good (albeit against bad teams), as always the truth is somewhere in the middle. Dal is what they are, a team with some pieces but ultimately just not talented enough to be a true playoff team when fully healthy, much less when some injuries (or death and prison) strike. They have been falling behind and then scoring against looser defenses, with Bryant in particular playing well. Cin seems a bad matchup for them with their interior pass rush, but Dal will move the ball at times. Line value on Dal at 3.5, they are worth some consideration there but they have some problems here.
Spread: 49ers minus-10
Public consensus pick: 54 percent picked Dolphins
Public perception: I'm thinking that the public perception on PickCenter is getting sharper with this pick, as other bet-tracking sites have the 49ers getting more support and we're seeing some 10.5ss out there. The Dolphins have turned some heads with their upset of the Seahawks and covering last week against the Patriots.
Wiseguys' view: The sharps are also seeing that the 49ers aren't as strong as they were once considered, and the consensus is that Colin Kaepernick cost them the game against the Rams last week with two mistakes that Alex Smith was very unlikely to have made: the scramble backward into the end zone and intentional grounding for a safety and the wayward pitch on an option play near his own goal line that ended up as a St. Louis touchdown.
Tuley's Take: Let's not forget that the Dolphins beat the Rams, the same team that is 1-0-1 against the 49ers, yet we're still getting 10 points. The pick: Dolphins.
Spread: Giants minus-5
Public consensus pick: 54 percent picked the Saints
Public perception: The public is all over the Saints this week, and I don't really know why. It can't be because of their two straight losses, so it must be an anti-Giants play, as they've lost three of four.
Wiseguys' view: This is the highest over/under of the week at 53 points, so it's expected to be a shootout. Wiseguys are split. The Giants have more to play for, but others feel the Saints might play better with all the pressure off and just reduce it to a sandlot game.
Tuley's Take: The Giants have fallen short of expectations and are 2-4 SU and ATS at home, but I still can't trust the Saints' defense. The pick: Pass (pool play: Giants).