Normally, the Colts at -3.5 on the road against a struggling team with no QB would be a foolish line and money in the bank for Indy backers.
But while many are still betting on Peyton Manning to get it together, it's far from a sure thing when the Colts visit Tennessee tonight in the Thursday Night NFL odds battle.
Sportsbook betting analyst Frank Doyle makes his picks for Week 14 of the NFL.
There are lots of ways to make picks. Sometimes, you get a feeling for a team. Sometimes, you can exploit the gap between public perception and reality.
And sometimes, the number is just too good to resist. We have three of irresistible numbers this week – two ‘dogs and a favorite, all on the road.
Sportsbook makes St Louis a +9.5 point underdog at New Orleans at Sportsbook. Underdog certainly. Six, seven points maybe. But +9.5 is a bet you have to make.
For two reasons. The Rams aren’t that bad, and the Saints aren’t that good. Statistically, the Rams are in the bottom third of NFL teams in nearly all categories that matter.
But the Rams, from a 1-15 record last year, are 6-6 now, top the (admittedly weak) NFC West, are on a sharp upward curve and are feeling better about themselves for the first time since New England stunned the Greatest Show on Turf in Super Bowl XXXVI, probably.
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New Orleans has recovered from its post Super Bowl lethargy and is poised for a return to playoffs but the Saints are not playing well enough to justify a 9.5 point start. They let Dallas come back to cover on Thanksgiving and had to rely on the Bengals to bungle – again – for the win last week.
Home field counts, of course, but gosh, 9.5 points is a lot. St Louis +9.5 at New Orleans with Sportsbook is the first pick of the week.
The other tempting ‘dog is Kansas City +7 at San Diego at Sportsbook. The Chiefs have been poor on the road and this a must-win game for the Chargers, a popular pre-season Super Bowl pick – hence the touchdown start for San Diego.
But San Diego has a lot of bad straight-up defeats on the ledger now, including a pounding at home last Sunday from Oakland. So that goes either way – either the Chargers bounce right back with a statement win, or they find out there’s a new boss in the AFC West.
The problem here is this makes Sunday a playoff game for San Diego, and San Diego has been poor in the playoffs in this century, going back to the Marty Schottenheimer era. I think the Chiefs have arrived and San Diego’s train has left the Sportsbook – Kansas City +7 at San Diego with Sportsbook is the second pick of the week.
Finally, Atlanta as -7.5 favorite at Carolina is a bet that you owe it to yourself to make. Atlanta is the best team in the League, Carolina is the worst. The math does itself. Atlanta -7.5 at Carolina with Sportsbook is the final pick of the week.