Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, December 15

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, December 15

Jeff Scott Sports

4 UNIT PLAY

Pittsburgh/ Cincinnati Over 43: Both teams come in rolling a bit right now and so do both QBs as Dalton and Big Ben have both thrown 9 TD passes in their last 4 games. The Bengal offense has averaged a solid 33.3 ppg in their last 3 games and will be facing a Pittsburgh defense that is down this year, having allowed 342.5 ypg and 24 ppg on the year. At home they have allowed just 303 ypg, but 23.8 ppg. This is not a good Steeler defense this year. The Steeler offense, though, has really picked up the pace of late, having averaged 27.8 ppg in their last 6 games. Now I know the Bengal defense has been tough this year, but this is a must win game for the Steelers, so I expect them to go all out on offense and get their fair share of points here, while the Bengals will put up plenty on a struggling Pittsburgh defense. This should be a fun one on Sunday night football.

3 UNIT PLAYS

Washington +6 over ATLANTA: The Skins have a good shot to get the outright win here. They are playing a bad Atlanta team and have switched QB's to Kirk Cousins, plus getting out on the road and away from the pressure of home should help as well. Kirk Cousins played well in the preseason this year, but never took the job away from RG3. This is a big chance for him to show what he can do. The Skins are already out of the playoff race, so no pressure on him as he can just go out there and play. It also helps him that he will be taking on one f the worst defenses in the NFL, as the Falcons come in ranked 27th overall, 0th vs the pass, 30th vs the run and 29th in points allowed, giving up 27.8 ppg. Yes the Washington defense is bad, but the Atlanta offense has been hit by injuries all year and the result has been an average of just 21.7 ppg for the year. Both teams are bad and both teams are at 3-10, but I feel that the QB change in Washington will spark this team and give them a very nice road win here.

New Orleans/ St Louis Under 48: The Saints are a beast on offense at home, but on the road they have averaged just 18.8 ppg and in their only other road dome game they were able to score just 17 points, and that was vs a bad Atlanta defense. Today they will not be playing a bad defense as the Rams come in allowing just 23.7 ppg overall and 24.7 ppg at home. The Ram offense has been poor all year as they have averaged just 22.2 ppg and have score 21 points or less in 5 of their last 7 games. The Rams will face the most improved defense in the league, as the Saints have allowed just 313.6 ypg and 18.7 ppg on the year. On the road this year they have allowed just 22.5 ppg and their road games have averaged just 41.3 ppg. I see this one finishing right around that 41 point mark, giving us a comfortable play on the Under.

San Francisco/ Tampa Bay Under 41: Just don't see a whole lot of points here. 2 years ago this game saw the Niners put a beating on Tampa Bay, with a 48-3 win. %1 points were scored in that game, but this has really been a low scoring series, with the under going 6-1 in the seven games prior to the 48-3 thrashing and all 7 of those games had put up no more than 40 points. The Niners offense had a nice stretch during the middle of the season, but they now come in having scored just 19.6 ppg in their last 5 games. One constant for this team all year has been their defense and they have really stepped it up of late, allowing just 14.2 ppg in their last 6 games. 4 of their last 5 games have failed to put up more than 36 points, and their road games have averaged just 40.4 ppg. The Tampa offense has not been that good all year and they come in having averaged just 227 ypg and 19 ppg in their last 3 games and lets note that 2 of those games were vs Buffalo and Detroit's bad defenses. At home the Bucs have put up just 299.1 ypg and 21 ppg, but I don't see them hitting that point total vs this defense. Defensively, the Bucs are 12th overall and 8th vs the run, which is key vs the Niners. They also allow just 22.4 ppg overall and 20.6 ppg at home. They are more than capable of Keeping the Niners offense under wraps in this one. I expect 34 points or less in this one.   

2 UNIT PLAYS

Cleveland/ Chicago Over 43: Jay Cutler heard all week how it is a mistake to start him over McCown, so you can bet he will come out firing. He does have two of the best WR's to throw to in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, who have combined for 2,283 receiving yards, the most of any WR combination in the NFL. The Cleveland defense is good statistically, but they still have allowed 24.9 ppg and I feel the Bears can at least get that. The Cleveland offense has not been that great this year, but they have averaged 433 ypg in their last 3 games and 27 ppg in their last 2 games. They will be going up against a Chicago defense that is 28th overall and 28th in points allowed, giving up 27.7 ppg. I expect both teams to put up at least 24 points each in this one.

Carolina/ NY Jets Under 41: Hard to see allot of points here. The Jets put up 37 points on the Raiders last week, but that game was at home and now they are on the road, where they have scored just 13.2 ppg this year. They are also up against one of the best defenses in the league, especially on this field, where the panthers have allowed 10.5 ppg. I see a long day for Geno Smith in this one. Cam Newton's offense has slipped a bit of late, averaging just 18.8 ppg in their last 5 games. Yes the Jets have allowed 30.7 ppg on the road this year, but really will Carolina go all out to blow this team away, especially with the Saints on deck. I can see them have a good first half and then using their ground game for much of the second half to stay healthy for the big game vs the Saints next week. Mid 30s at best here. 

1 UNIT PLAYS

Philadelphia/ Minnesota Over 50.5: Last week the Eagles offense put up a ton of points in very poor conditions and in this one their offense will have a chance to shine once again on this fast track and in perfect dome conditions. The Eagles have averaged 25.7 ppg on the year, while ranking 3rd in total offense and 1st in rushing, and will face a horrid Vikings defense that is 31st overall and 30th vs the pass, while allowing 30.4 ppg on the year, which is 31st in the league. The Viking offense has been inconsistent this year, but they do average 25.5, while the Eagles have allowed 25 ppg on the road. Eagle road games have averaged 58.2 ppg, while Viking home games have averaged 56.4 ppg. I expect no less than that in this one.   

Houston +5 over INDIANAPOLIS:  The Colts may be just a bit flat after grabbing the South crown last week and they will be taking on a Houston squad that wants to end this losing skid. also getting out on the road should help ease some pressure from this team, plus Wad Philips has made it known that he wants the head job here, so you know he will go all out to win this one. The Colts have struggled down the stretch, winning just 2 of their last 5 and really have won the AFC South crown by default. This is not a team that is all that good as they are below average on offense and even worse on defense. I look for Houston to be fired up for this one and get the outright win here.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, December 15

ASA

Oakland +5

We’re siding with the Oakland Raiders to cover against their AFC West rival this Sunday. Oakland’s 1-3 record over the last four weeks looks poor, but they’ve been competitive in all three of the losses and they’ve played encouraging football over that span. They won at Houston, lost by just four points vs. Tennessee, lost by seven points at Dallas on Thanksgiving, and lost by 10 points at NY Jets last week. Undrafted QB McGloin has six touchdowns and just three interceptions in four starts this season. He manages the game well and has made some impressive throws since being inserted in the starting lineup. He’s been assisted by a strong rushing attack that ranks 4th in the NFL in rush yards per game. It doesn’t matter who’s rushing the ball either. Last week, with Darren McFadden and Rashad Jennings out, Marcel Reese became the fourth Raider to achieve 100+ rush yards in a game. The Raiders catch this KC defense that has been in a free fall over the last month. Kansas City has allowed an average of 427.5 yards per game and 28.3 PPG over the last four (1-3 SU & ATS). The Raiders return to Oakland after back-to-back roadies for this revenge game against Kansas City. The Chiefs beat Oakland in the first meeting this season, 24-7, but the game was much closer than the final score indicates. KC was outgained and had fewer first downs and held just a seven point lead with under 3:00 remaining in the game. The Chiefs scored 10 points in the final 2:09 to win by 17 points. QB Alex Smith completed just 14-of-31 passes against this Oakland defense and KC rushed for just 111 yards. This has been a tough travel schedule for KC. The Chiefs played at home on December 1, traveled to the east coast for a game at Washington on December 8, now have to travel to the west coast for this roadie at Oakland. KC is just 3-6 SU & ATS in the last nine games against Oakland and we expect another Raiders cover here.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, December 15

OC Dooley

Patriots / Dolphins Under 46.5

You will see at the bottom of this analysis that today’s total is an outstanding percentage wager.  But the key has to do with the absence of three different RECEIVING options for New England including star Rob Gronkowski who once again has suffered a season-ending mishap.  In late breaking news THIS MORNING the Patriots officially announced that a pair of wideouts (Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thomkins) also will be OUT which puts severe limits on the options that superstar Tom Brady has.  It was one week ago when almost all early NFL kickoffs played in severe cold and snowy weather sailed above the total.  One of those games was played in Pittsburgh where a warm-weather franchise (Miami) defied the odds winning outright in a 34-28 shootout.  However it is worth noting that last Sunday’s early kickoff that was played in the state of FLORIDA (Tampa to be exact) stayed UNDER the number, so warm conditions do not automatically mean multiple points being put on the scoreboard.  The oddsmakers had no choice but to inflate this number since New England scored twice in the final minute last week, while the offense put a combined 68 points on the board in the prior pair of outings.  But in the long reign of head coach Bill Belichick when the Patriots are shaking off consecutive “spot” losses, New England has gone 22-12 UNDER.  In the past two years when facing a poor defensive opponent who on average allows at least 350 yards per game, Miami has played UNDER THE TOTAL TEN IN A ROW

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, December 15

The Real Animal

Arizona / Tennessee Over 42.5

This Arizona/Tennessee total looks low to me.  Carson Palmer might not be throwing much in practice these days because of an elbow injury but he certainly is still effective on Sundays. In the last four games the Cardinal passing attack has erupted for 262, 260, 290, and 402 yards in the air.  That Tennessee defense was exposed by Peyton and company last week allowing 397 in the air.  It’s possible the Titans just ‘ran out of gas’ playing their third consecutive road game last Sunday at Mile High yielding 51 points. We know the Arizona defense isn’t the same on the road yielding 23 points a contest.  Plus the Cards are now without Tyrann Mathieu after the versatile corner (second on team w/ 68 tore his ACL last week.  Palmer completed 27-of-32 last week against the Rams.  Bet you’d never know it but the Titans have been a very solid ‘OVER’ team. Since week #4, Tennessee is 7-2-1 ‘OVER’ in their last 10.  The Titans have allowed 26 or more points in four straight home games.  Arizona 8-0 ‘OVER’ in the second half of the season the last three years facing teams that average 60 or more penalty yards a game.  But what’s key in terms of this total is simple: It’s a non-conference game.  That’s it.  Believe it or not, non-conference games are 44-14 ‘OVER’ this year including 23-4 ‘OVER’ the last seven weeks.  How about this trend?  Since 1980 all non-division home teams that scored 28 or more and allowed 45 or more in their last game are 7-0 ‘OVER’ when the opponent is off a straight-up win and the posted total is 44 or lower.  Plus NFC West teams are 6-0 ‘OVER’ this year on the road versus AFC South teams!  Plus since 2005 when the total is 44 or less, that divisional scenario of teams has gone 13-1 ‘OVER’.  Arizona has tallied 27 or more points in 5/6 games recently.  Tennessee officially eliminated last week. I don’t know where the defensive motivation comes from here.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, December 15

Wunderdog

Wyoming at Denver
Pick: Denver -2.5

Wyoming has a winning record overall, but is 1-2 on the road, and the Cowboys are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 road games. Wyoming was a big favorite the last game and needed OT to win at South Dakota, 67-66. They got beat on the boards for the game, including a whopping 13-5 on the offensive glass. The Cowboys are 3-9 ATS following a win, and 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games following a spread loss. Denver is home from a two-game trip, and quietly won three of the last four games. The Pioneers are 12-4-1 ATS following a win and 9-3-1 ATS in their last 13 games following a spread cover. When these teams meet, the home team is 7-2-1 ATS in the last 10 meetings, and the Cowboys are 1-5 ATS in the last six meetings in Denver. Play Denver.

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