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NFL Betting Action – Week 16 Free Picks
New York Giants (9-5) vs. Buffalo Bills (7-7)
Sunday, December 23rd — Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park — 1:00pm EST
NFL Opening Line: NYG -2.5 (34.5)
I apologize profusely for picking the Giants over the Redskins last week. I completely forgot that it was December, and that Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning properly collapse during the festive month. The Giants have averaged only 16.0 points in their last five games, while splitting those games 3-2 SU. There playoffs are dwindling and Plaxico’s ankle looks worse and worse every week. Manning and the Giants average 201.6 passing yards, but the Bills secondary is strong. They may give up 242.7 passing yards per game, but they are stiff in the red-zone, where it counts the most.
Trent Edwards and the Bills were held scoreless last week, but largely due to the insane snowfall that smacked Cleveland right in its face. Even with that loss, the feisty Bills are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games and are 6-1 ATS when playing at home. Despite the Giant’s statistical advantage on paper, the savvy betting player will take a shot with the underdog Bills as the Giants continue to let this season slip away.
NFL Betting Free Picks: NYG 13 Buffalo 20
Philadelphia Eagles (6-8) vs. New Orleans Saints (7-7)
Sunday, December 23rd — Superdome, New Orleans — 1:00pm EST
NFL Opening Line: New Orleans -3 (46)
The Eagles roped in a huge win as Brian Westbrook slid in to the first-yard line to the chagrin of a horde of fantasy managers. Westbrook will again have his way with a shoddy New Orleans defense that lacks speed at the line-backer position to stop Westbrook as a receiver out of the backfield. The Eagles average 122.9 rushing yards and Westbrook has a startling 4.7 yards per carry.
The constant rushing attack of the Eagles will set up Donovan McNabb with the play-action pass that Andy Reid loves to death. All of the Eagles receivers have the ability to scorch this weak secondary, which has been the ultimate cog in the failing engine of the Saints. New Orleans gives up 249.6 yards through the air.
Philadelphia defense was brutish last week in defeating Dallas and, while they won’t be able to get to Drew Brees as much as they would like to, they can certainly eliminate Aaron Stecker from the game with ease. That leaves Marques Colston as the only viable threat. Bet on Colston making Lito Sheppard look like the over-hyped fool he is. But that won’t be enough for the balanced passing-rushing attack of the Eagles who are getting things together far too late in the season. The Eagles are a fairly strong road team, so their betting investors should not shy away from them this weekend.
NFL Betting Free Pick: Philadelphia 23 New Orleans 20
Green Bay Packers (12-2) vs. Chicago Bears (5-9)
Sunday, December 23rd — Soldier Field, Chicago — 1:00pm EST
NFL Opening Line: Green Bay -9 (40)
Two words: Kyle Freaking Orton. Ok, that was three, but you get my drift. The Bears have gone 6-14 ATS in their last 20 games, and have given their foolish betting benefactors nightmares all season long. With Kyle Orton at the helm, there is no reason to bet on the Bears this weekend. The Packers sound secondary only gives up 215.4 yards to begin with.
The day will belong to Ryan Grant as the wind will make it difficult for the aerial assault of Brett Favre. Grant is a strong, heads-up runner who has great field vision. The Packers only average 89.6 rushing yards per game, but that is largely due to the fact that Brett gets it done through the skies so efficiently. Chicago’s defense allows an ugly 22.6 points per game and this game will be sweet revenge fort he loss the Bears pulled off earlier this year in Lambeau.
NFL Betting Free Pick: Green Bay 27 Chicago 13
Kansas City Chiefs (4-10) vs. Detroit Lions (6-8)
Sunday, December 23rd — Ford Field, Detroit — 1:00pm EST
NFL Opening Line: Detroit -5 (43)
Oh my word. Seriously? This is a game this weekend? Holy cow. Both teams have horrific five game losing streaks going on right now and both are only 1-4 ATS in their last five games. Detroit’s defense had 51 points dropped on their foreheads last weekend by San Diego. Kansas City, fortunately, only averages 14.0 points per game while their defense gives up 21.2 points on average.
Detroit has completely fallen out of the playoff picture and the injury to Roy Williams ended any reason for their betting faithful to think they could get in to the playoffs. Detroit is 6-12 in their last 18 games at home and Kansas City has actually played well at Ford. They are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games in Detroit. Brodie Croyle is putting together some good passes for KC, while Detroit continues to stink up the joint. The Lions are simply so unimpressive right now that it’s hard to take them in any game, even one against the Kansas City Chiefs.
NFL Betting Free Pick: Kansas City 17 Detroit 13
Houston Texans (7-7) vs. Indianapolis Colts (12-2)
Sunday, December 23rd — RCA Dome, Indianapolis — 1:00pm EST
NFL Opening Line: Indianapolis -9 (48)
The Colts have clinched the second spot in the AFC playoffs, so they have absolutely nothing to play for. With a plethora of various injuries plaguing the squad, do not be surprised to see Dungy give a slew of starters a rest on Sunday. The Colts have gone 8-6 ATS this season, and should slow things down with nothing to play for with two weeks remaining.
The Texans, however are a terrible road team. They are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games and are 1-10 SU in their last 11 games playing Indianapolis. However, with all that being said, the Texans and Sage Rosenfels will do their best to stretch the field using Andre Johnson to open up lanes underneath for Owen Daniels and Darius Walker. Houston averages 242.7 yards per game through the air and a strong 96.4 rushing yards.
Houston lost a close one earlier this season, and will come to play in this game. They will have trouble winning this game as Addai and Wayne terrorize the scoreboard, but Andre Johnson will keep it close behind the arm of Sage. Even as close as Houston stays to Indy in this one, Peyton won’t let them escape with an upset victory.
NFL Betting Free Pick: Houston 20 Indianapolis 24
Oakland Raiders (4-10) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (10-4)
Sunday, December 23rd — Jacksonville Municipal Field, Jacksonville — 1:00pm EST
NFL Opening Line: Jacksonville -13 (39.5)
The Jags have been running away with a Wild Card spot in spite of a stiff loss to Indianapolis in Week 13. Fred Taylor, the biggest Pro Bowl snub of the AFC roster, is averaging an impressive 5.1 yards per carry and completely decimated a vaunted Steelers rushing defense. Saying that Taylor won’t run roughshod over a defense that allows 143.8 yards per game on the ground is like saying that Britney Spears has proud parents.
David Garrard has evolved in to a dangerous sniper in the pocket. The Jags average 200.5 yards per game through the air, but those throws are deliberate and accurate. Jacksonville is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games and the score has gone OVER in their last five matches. Instead of squatting on leads like they used to, the Jaguars are doing their best to put points up on the board. Bet on the same happening when they trounce the Raiders this weekend.
For those betting investors wanting to take a flier on the Raiders this weekend, Justin Fargas has been placed on the injured reserve meaning the lack luster Lamont Jordan will be cranking up the suck for Oakland’s strong rushing attack. The Jags only give up 94.4 yards per game and the Raiders 132.4 rushing average is about to plummet.
NFL Betting Free Pick: Oakland 10 Jacksonville 31
Atlanta Falcons (3-11) vs. Arizona Cardinals (6-8)
Sunday, December 23rd — University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale — 4:05pm EST
NFL Opening Line: Arizona -10.5 (43)
The Battle Of The Birds has the Cardinals up as double-digit home favorites. Chris Redman took a massive step backwards for the Falcons last week, completing just 4-of-15 passes for 34 yards and two picks. The Falcons are falling apart from top to bottom right now and have also gone 0-5 ATS in their last five games.
The Cardinals have gone 4-2 ATS in their last 6 home games and play feverishly strong at home. Anquan Boldin and Fitzgerald are both hobbled by injuries, but rest should allow them to rip Atlanta’s defense to shreds. The Cardinals average 242.6 yards through the air while Atlanta gives up 210.9.
The defense for the Cardinals is very suspect, allowing 232.4 passing yards, but Redman isn’t ready for the NFL. It doesn’t help that the Falcons receivers seem allergic to the football.
NFL Betting Free Pick: Atlanta 6 Arizona 24
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-5) vs. San Francisco (4-10)
Sunday, December 23rd — Monster Park, San Francisco — 4:05pm EST
NFL Opening Line: Tampa Bay -7 (37)
The Bucs head in to this matchup as the new NFC South Champs and will look to solidify their playoff preparations by facing Jeff Garcia’s first team in the NFL. The Niners edged out Cincinnati, much to the delight of everyone who didn’t want Darren McFadden to end up with the Patriots (New England gets San Francisco’s first-round pick in 2008).
The Bucs edge San Fran in every important statistical category. They average 20.9 yards per game, while the Niners surrender 23.2. A strong secondary for the Niners has been mistake prone all season long without a viable safety to protect over the top. Joey Galloway is simply too fast for Walt Harris or Nate Clements and will be able to burn the secondary for at least a score. The Bucs average 199.6 passing yards, and Gruden will cut Garcia loose against his old team. The Niners secondary gives up 220.0 yards per game.
Do not be fooled by Shaun Hill’s performance last weekend. It was a fluke. The Niners are still 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games, while the Bucs have been playing well with a 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games. They are only 3-4 SU on the road, but that should not deter their betting faithful. Shaun Hill will not be so lucky as Gruden unleashes the hounds as the Bucs prep for the playoffs and look to secure a home field game.
NFL Betting Free Pick: Tampa Bay 27 San Francisco 13
Miami Dolphins (1-13) vs. New England Patriots (14-0)
Sunday, December 23rd — Gillette Stadium, Foxboro — 4:15pm EST
NFL Opening Line: New England -23 (46.5)
This much is true about New England lately: decimating the spread is easy against good teams (Buffalo, Pittsburgh), but against weaker teams, they have beat the Jets, Ravens and Eagles by an average of 5.3 points. Still, this is Miami, which is starting Cleo Lemon again against the Patriots, who love nothing more than to pretend the 2007 Dolphins are the 1972 team and smack them around all day.
The weather on Sunday looks to call for snow, so hold off on placing a bet until Sunday when you will know what the weather will be like. If it’s clear skies, take the Patriots without hesitation. Brady’s bunch is still 15-5 ATS in their last 20 games and undefeated this season. The Pats love crushing the Fins and are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games.
If the weather calls for snow, or impaired vision, this becomes a stay-away game. When Laurence Maroney becomes the focal point of the Patriots’ offense, the score will be close because he simply can’t break off big runs. Miami gives up 155.9 yards on the ground, while the Patriots rushing attack pounds for a modest 114.9 yards.
With good weather and mild visibility for Brady, this becomes a blowout. Something tells me that Belichik would love nothing more than to smoke the Dolphins as a Christmas present to himself, and a slap in the face for the 1972 Dolphins.
NFL Betting Free Pick: Miami 6 New England 31
Baltimore Ravens (4-10) vs. Seattle Seahawks (9-5)
Sunday, December 23rd — Qwest Field, Seattle — 4:15pm EST
NFL Opening Line: Seattle -10.5 (39)
The other Battle Of The Birds will pit the Ravens against the Seahawks. Baltimore handed Miami their first loss, while Seattle showed its true colors as a one-dimensional offense that was defeated by the Panthers. The line is massive for the simple reason that quarterback Troy Smith looks like he will be starting for the embattled Ravens, who remain 2-12 ATS this season.
The Ravens have a strong rushing defense, which will effectively eliminate Shaun Alexander and Maurice Morris from the game. The Seahawks average 93.4 rushing yards per game, but their offensive line has looked weary in the past few weeks. The Ravens pin teams to only 77.0 yards on the ground against, which points to the idea that the Seahawks will become one-dimensional again.
The secondary has been far from good for the Ravens. They allow 224.8 yards through the air, and will be facing Matt Hasslebeck, who leads an offense that averages 245.6 yards in passing. The Seahawks will pick apart this secondary, while the Ravens do their best to control the game by deploying Willis McGahee as a clock killer.
Both teams are so tremendously uninspiring, but the Seahawks usually play well at home. In the expected rain, there is no way they run away with the score. Baltimore can keep this game close, especially by dropping more men in to coverage so that Hasslebeck can’t take the game over.
NFL Betting Free Pick: Baltimore 14 Seattle 20
New York Jets (3-11) vs. Tennessee Titans (8-6)
Sunday, December 23rd — LP Field, Nashville — 4:15pm EST
NFL Opening Line: Tennessee -9.5 (38)
The Jets stunned the betting community by not getting blown out by the Patriots last week. Meanwhile, the Titans resurrected their playoff chances by crushing KC last week. Vince Young continues to look like a questionable threat at quarterback. His stats are being padded, but he has thrown only 9 scores and 16 interceptions this season. The Jets are hardly a team that poses a serious threat defensively as they allow 203.0 passing yards and an absurd 141.1 rushing yards against.
The Titans must return to the ground for their success. LenDale White and Chris Brown will never take a game over, but they can grind this weak Jets front-seven in to dust, just as Laurence Maroney did last week. The Titans average 134.6 rushing yards, and will grind out a victory with a plowing rushing game.
Hesitation will surely arise since the Titans are 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games at home. The deal breaker here, however, is Chad Pennington, who is awfully easy to game plan for. The Jets will struggle against a strong rushing defense and the passing game will falter as Chad gets annihilated by Haynesworth and Vanden Bosch all day long.
NFL Betting Free Pick: NYJ 6 Tennessee 20
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