Mike Carlson's NFL Betting: Back The Cardinals To Hit The Road With Style

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope you had a good one, and you had a lot to be thankful for, including some luck at sorting through last week's suggestions. It's been a crazy season so far in the NFL: and it doesn't appear to be getting any better if the holiday troika of games was any indication.

I'd picked the Lions to beat the Eagles, but despite Philly's struggles against Tampa last week, I couldn't believe how inept they look as they were trampled. The short week and its lack of prep time hurts lots of teams, but it really seemed as if the Eagles had made no adjustments since the Bucs' loss, and they were playing like a team already on their way home. I don't know how the ownership feels about Chip Kelly's contract: but they went all-in on giving him complete control and he is starting to look more and more like Steve Spurrier all the time. There are college teams that would barf up millions of taxpayers' dollars to hire him (Texas? USC?) and I wouldn't be surprised to see him back with the scholar-athletes of the NCAA soon.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Philadelphia Eagles : News Photo

Then the Cowboys kicked off with the perception of Romomentum making them favourites (they started out Monday giving a point, then were getting one, then were giving one again) which even on the road in a short week was odd when a 3-7 team takes on a 10-0 team. Romo threw three picks, two of them pick-sixes, then re-injured his clavicle, as the Panthers destroyed the Cowboys. There may be no better shot in sport than Jerry Jones looking unhappy in his owner's box at the Jerrydome, unless it's when Chris Christie is sitting next to him. The Panthers are the team with momentum.

Finally, the Packers retired Brett Favre's number and then contrived to lose 17-13 to the Bears in a game that might have been my best bet. Eddie Lacy had ball-control issues, the Pack had a bad snap kill a drive, and the refs turned a TD on what should have been a free play into a five-yard penalty with an 'unabated' offsides call against a Bear lineman who was being totally abated. It was classic 'what you saw happened didn't happen please reset the playclock by six seconds'. The Bears played just well enough to win, with Tracy Porter turning in his best game at corner since the 2009 Super Bowl. And yes, Jay Cutler is having a decent season. Unlike, say, me. 


BEST BET: ARIZONA (-10.5 AT 2.02) at San Francisco. Much as I hate to go with a team on the road, I don't see how to avoid picking the Cards to put up enough points to cover against a Niners team that hasn't quit but is struggling. They scored 39 in Seattle, and the Niner D isn't as good as Seattle's, and with Green Bay slumping, all of a sudden Bruce Arians is in the running again for coach of the year and the Cards-Panthers would be an entertaining NFC Championship.

Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers : News Photo

VALUE BET: CLEVELAND (-3.5 AT 2.00) vs Baltimore. Betting on the Browns may be a mug's game, but despite the controversy over the demotion of Johnny Football (aka Manziel) to Johnny Clipboard, they have been a better team when Josh McCown is at QB. The question is whether a rusty McCown, just back from injury, is better than a cob-webbed Matt Schaub, now the starter for the Ravens after Joe Flacco's injury. Baltimore are also without top runner Justin Forsett. I don't expect a lot of points here so it could be close but the Browns by a TD gets you the win.


OUTSIDE BET: TAMPA (+2.5 AT 2.00) at Indianapolis: It's tough to go against the Colts at home, and Matt Hasselbeck has been winning games (3-0 as a starter) by managing them, unlike Andrew Luck's spectacular if streaky play. But Tampa is playing solid defense, and Jameis Winston (5 touchdown passes) and Doug Martin (235 yards running without a TD, the second-highest total in NFL history, after Barry Sanders' 237 without a score) could both do some damage to a shaky Indy D. KANSAS CITY (-6.5 AT 2.00) vs Buffalo is worth a shot too: you never know which Bills' offense will show up, and I'd consider the DENVER VS NEW ENGLAND OVER 43.5 AT 1.98 worth a flutter too, unless it gets all wintry and Lambeau-like at Mile High.