By Art Aronson
Game to bet now
New York Giants at Green Bay (-3.5)
Since mid-October the Giants have been one of the best teams in the league, going 9-2 SU and 8-3 ATS. The surge started, coincidentally, after New York went into Lambeau and laid an egg in Week 5 – being held without a touchdown until late in the game and passing for only 178 yards against a Packers defense that gives up 270 yards per game through the air.
NY’s problem is that the Packers are also playing better.
The NFC North champs come in with six straight wins (three of which came against playoff teams), and the Packers have scored more than 30 points in each of their last four games. This one could tilt toward the Giants if they can get to Aaron Rodgers, but NY was just middle of the pack in total team sacks this season (34).
With equal money on both teams, the 3.5 line is unlikely to budge.
Game to wait on
Miami at Pittsburgh (-10)
Early betting has favored the Dolphins, with the public perhaps thinking that any time a playoff team is getting double-digits, it’s worth a sniff. Yes, Miami did look awful against the Patriots in their final regular-season game – but the Patriots (8-0 on the road this season) tend to do that to opponents. And Pittsburgh’s defense is nowhere near as good as New England’s, so Miami should at least be able to move the ball against the Steelers’ mediocre D.
Pittsburgh will no doubt be game-planning all week in an effort to prevent a repeat of their Oct. 16 game in Miami, when Jay Ajayi went off for 204 yards and Miami won easily. There are rumblings that starting QB Ryan Tannehill might be back for this one, and there might not be a decision until late in the week, or even just prior to kickoff. So unless you’re a huge Matt Moore fan, it might be a good idea to hang on for a bit before wagering.
Total to watch
Oakland at Houston (37)
Anyone with a spare quarterback is asked to contact the Raiders or Texans immediately. Oakland is down to QB #3 (rookie Connor Cook) after Sunday’s injury to backup Matt McGloin. Houston is somewhat better off, with backup Tom Savage apparently OK after suffering a head injury on Sunday.
Oddsmakers don’t figure any QB will light it up too much this weekend and have set one of the lowest totals of the year. One book has the number as low at 36.5, which is unheard of in today’s NFL.