Dawg Pound Daily bettor’s guide to the NFL – Week 17
By Roger Cohen
It is Week 17, which presents some problems for NFL gamblers. But our resident prognosticator is up to the task.
Like at the neighborhood poker game, you win your biggest pot just as the other guys are about to call it a night.
Our picks were smoking in the penultimate week of the NFL regular season, starting with our “Upset Special” call of the Atlanta Falcons (+7) to beat the previously undefeated Carolina Panthers. The New York J-E-T-S beat the New England Patriots, and our trio of double-digit dogs (the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens and St. Louis Rams) easily covered their spreads – and if Johnny Manziel could have completed the Browns’ second-half comeback each would have won outright.
Our only straight loss was when the New York Giants failed to show up in the Twin Cities against the Minnesota Vikings.
Incredibly, after four full months of handicapping selected NFL games against the spread — 35 wins, 35 losses, two “pushes” – if I were risking real money, I’d be out the 10 percent “vig” or “juice” commission on losing bets.
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On teasers, where you get an extra six points, we kept up our 70-plus percent clip as the Washington Redskins, Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals covered, while the Green Bay Packers got burnt in the desert.
With so many teams already packing it in for the season, and others like the Indianapolis Colts forced to start a quarterback they picked up off the street this week, betting Week 17 games, like pre-season wagering, screams “problem gambler.”
With that caveat and for recreational purposes only, here are our picks for the final weekend:
- Giving Tom Coughlin a proper send-off, the New York Giants (-3) put the capper on former head coach Chip Kelley’s stink bomb year in Philadelphia against the Eagles.
- The Browns exposed but couldn’t exploit Kansas City’s flaws: the Oakland Raiders (+7) will have no such problem against the Chiefs.
- In maybe their last game representing America’s finest city, the San Diego Chargers (+8) go down fighting in Denver against the Broncos.
Only two teasers, but we love them both: the Jets win in Buffalo to deny the Pittsburgh Steelers a Wild Card spot, and Green Bay bounces back against the Vikings on Sunday night.
As for the Browns in what will be another anti-climactic and thankful end to the 2015 season, if Pettine were assured of staying and if Manziel were starting, I kinda’ liked the Browns to keep it close against the Steelers. With a banged up roster, just can’t see Austin Davis putting up more than 10 points, but tease the Steelers at your own risk since last score will determine whether the Browns cover the 11-point spread 0r the Steelers win the five-point teaser.
Season record: Straight 35-35-2; Teaser 47-18.