Sometimes this season I have felt like one of the Three Wise Men, only I've lost the other two, and I'm in the Desert of Parity trying to find my way to the place where I can count on some return on my gold (I haven't yet found a way to wager myrhh or frankincense).
My camel got headed back in the right direction last week, but now with just two weeks left, it's still harder to separate the sheep from the fold, if I may mix my Biblical metaphors.
Last week, if you'd been able to bet on the odds of Odell Beckham escaping ejection for the litany of goodwill unto men he visited on Josh Norman, I would have made that an outside bet, though betting on the one-game suspension he received afterwards was a stone-certain best bet. Let's hope cooler heads prevail, though in this week of peace on earth and goodwill to men, it's always a question as to which hard-hitters will show up, and which will be showing the after-effects of too much turkey. But until the NFL begins testing for tryptophan, there's no real downside to Christmas dinner. Hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a successful Christmas weekend. There are some great matchups this week, lines and best bets apart.
BEST BET: BUFFALO (-6.5 AT 2.00) vs Dallas: I can describe in two words here why I'm picking the Bills: Kellen Moore. Moore gets the start at QB and while I loved him in college, he doesn't really have the arm to start in the NFL, nor to take advantage of the Cowboys' downfield receiving threats. Darren McFadden has run well for Dallas lately, but Buffalo is tough to run against, they will likely pressure Moore into mistakes, and with Tyrod Taylor and Sammy Watkins will likely put some points on the board themselves. If for some reason global warming would decide to take a weekend off and it snowed in Buffalo, things might be different, but even without Shady McCoy, I like the Bills. Plus Rex Ryan makes the NFL's best Santa Claus, Andy Reid notwithstanding. Or Vince Wilfork.
VALUE BET: CAROLINA (-6.5 AT 1.88) at Atlanta: Every game is a potential trap game for the Panthers now, and the Falcons have weapons to put some points on the board, but at this stage I think they will find a way to win by a full touchdown in the Bubbadome. Matt Ryan has misfired late in too many close games for me to think the Panthers' secondary won't punish him, and despite the attempt by Julio Jones to begin a mini-Odell Beckham feud with Josh Norman I'd discount that. If you'd like to consider a big road dog covering the spread, ST LOUIS (+13.5 AT 1.92) at Seattle would seem in with a shout. The Rams play tough inside their division, and though their offense isn't going to worry a suddenly resurgent Legion of Boom, their D could keep them within two touchdowns.
OUTSIDE BET: I have the feeling the NFC East goes right down to the wire, which means you might look at NY GIANTS (+5.5 AT 1.98) at Minnesota as a good possibility for a cover, if not an upset. The Giants came back from 28 points against Carolina, though they lost, and they won't have Beckham this week, but that could fire them up and Tom Coughlin is probably using the 'no one likes us' motivational speech sometime after Christmas dinner. Who do they think they are, the Pats?