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Spread: Seahawks minus-10
Public consensus pick: 57 percent picked the Cardinals
Public perception: I'm again pleasantly surprised that the public is taking the points with a horrible team despite the fact the Cardinals have lost eight straight games. One would think that the Seahawks would get more support after knocking off the Bears.
Wiseguys' view: The Seahawks have long been a strong home team and are 5-0 SU and ATS this season, but the most points they've had to lay was 5 points against the Jets.
Tuley's Take: It's hard to back a team on such a slide, but the Cardinals have to be the play at this number. I do like that John Skelton is back at starting quarterback and should be able to stretch the field instead of having opponents stack the line and jump the short routes -- as long as his offensive line gives him time, which isn't a given. The pick: Cardinals.
Bet against any home team coming off of five or more straight up wins (61-42-3, 59.2% ATS): Very few angles epitomize our contrarian mindset as well as this one does! Bettors love to play hot teams, especially at home, but the oddsmakers know this and this angle looks to take advantage of teams that are becoming overvalued. Yes, fading these teams may take some courage at times, but check out the winning percentage of this angle over a nice-sized sampling. This angle pushed its only play in Week 13. Qualifier: Houston +3½ at New England (Monday).
RG3 is off back-to-back nationally televised division games and his combined numbers vs the Cowboys and the Eagles were eye catching (252 ypg, 79%, 8-1) before last week’s 13-21-163 performance vs the Giants. The Ravens make this short trip down I-95 losing a potential AFC North clincher to their rivals and has fallen behind for homefield edge. They will still be looking for Parkway superiority as these players cross paths often. December football brings a different mentality and the Ravens have a veteran team led by a veteran QB who has led his team to 4 road wins this year throwing only 2 int in the L/5 games and has led them to the playoffs in each of his 4 seasons. The Ravens injury maligned D allowed 23 ppg their first 7 but since the bye and the return of Suggs they are #1 in the NFL the L5W allowing only 16.2 and also may see Ray Lewis in some spot duty. This is an example of learning to win versus knowing to win.
PHIL’S FORECAST: BALTIMORE 27 WASHINGTON 24
Spread: Packers minus-7
Public consensus pick: 52 percent picked the Packers
Public perception: This line has been wavering between 6.5 and 7, so the public Packers get more support at the lower number.
Wiseguys' view: The sharps are taking the Lions at plus-7. The Lions have lost four straight games, but their one cover in that span was against the Texans on Thanksgiving Day. They should have covered the last meeting with the Packers, giving up a late, spread-covering field goal after being forced to go for it on fourth-and-15 deep in their own territory, and outplayed the Colts for 90 percent of the game last week.
Tuley's Take: Detroit running back Mikel Leshoure is no Adrian Peterson, but the Lions should learn something from last week's game film and have a more balanced attack. The pick: Lions.
This is one of 2 games with zero playoff implications this week and will likely be forgotten as it doesn’t have the story line of KC/CLE. STL does have a slight stat edge with the #25 and #12 units (-2 TO’s) vs a top 5 sked while BUF has the #17 and #24 units (-6 TO’s) vs the #21 sked. This is a battle between 2 teams trending in opposite directions. BUF is on a 6-15 run as Fitzpatrick has tossed a 30-28 ratio over that span while the defense has allowed a 41-16 ratio. BUF’s strength is their #4 ground game that has churned out 163 ypg (5.0) at home but they’ve only played 2 top 10 def this year (SF/ARZ). STL has their own issues at WR/OL but this is a welcome step down for Bradford after 4 games vs physical defenses. The only bad true road game he’s played this year has been vs CHI and in the others he’s tallied 248 ypg (64%) with a 5-1 ratio. The Rams under Fisher have become a run first team (#12) that is top 5 in sacks (32 this year) which has hold their foes on the road to 322 ypg and 3.6 ypc which spells victory at BUF in December.
PHIL’S FORECAST: ST LOUIS 23 BUFFALO 17