Four spreads of note:
Falcons +6.5 @ Saints, 8:30PM ET, Monday
The spread opened at 7.5 but has dropped a full point to 6.5 at most sports books, although some places still list the line at a touchdown. For as unbeatable as the Saints have been at home this year (both literally and figuratively), 7.5 points was too high. Quite frankly, I think 6.5 points is too high considering this is a divisional game and the fact that the Falcons are 11-5 against the spread in their last 16 trips to New Orleans but 6.5 makes more sense than 7.5. Again, Drew Brees and New Orleans has been a juggernaut at home this season but there has been a different feel to this Atlanta team the past two weeks. Ever since they trailed Carolina 23-7 at halftime a couple of weeks ago, the Falcons have played perfect football. That’s not to say Atlanta will pull off the upset on Monday night, but their no-huddle attack has looked very efficient these past six quarters and even though the competition (Carolina and Jacksonville) hasn’t been good, the Falcons appear to have finally found some consistency on offense. It’s not a stretch to think this game will be tight throughout.
Giants +3 @ Jets, 1:00PM ET, Saturday
What on God’s green earth do you do with this game? This isn’t really a true home game for the Jets since the Giants play in the same stadium, but it’s not like the G-Men have played well at home this year anyway. They lost to Seattle at home, barely beat Buffalo and Miami at home, and lost to Philadelphia, Green Bay and Washington at home as well. Their signature victories this year came on the road against New England and Dallas, respectively, so I’m not sure there’s an advantage for the Giants to play a home “road” game versus the Jets this weekend. Given how bad both of these teams looked last week, I wouldn’t touch this game with your money. The over is 4-0 in the Giants’ last four games as an underdog and 4-0 in the Jets’ last four home games overall, so maybe I would toy with the total. But in my eyes there’s little to no value in the side.
Rams +15.5 @ Steelers, 1:00PM ET
Make no mistake the Rams are a horrendous football team. If they were to play the Colts on a neutral field tomorrow, I’d have no qualms about taking Indianapolis. That said, the Steelers’ offense has been in a funk of late and there’s a good chance that Ben Roethlisberger will be held out for Saturday’s game. He clearly didn’t look right on Monday night in San Francisco and seeing as how the Steelers could beat the Rams with Charlie Batch under center, there’s no sense in playing Big Ben. That said, even if the Steelers could win with Batch it doesn’t mean that St. Louis can’t stay within two touchdowns of Pittsburgh (even on the road). Kellen Clemens had some success last week versus the Bengals because Josh McDaniels scaled back the playbook and kept things simple. McDaniels is likely to do that again this week, especially against a nasty Pittsburgh defense. Thus, if both teams are playing things close to the vest, 15.5 points is a little high for what could be a 10 or 13-point game.
Eagles +1 @ Cowboys, 4:15PM ET Saturday
With this being a divisional game that has impact on the NFC East race, there’s already plenty of interest in this matchup. But throw in the fact that Dallas opened as a 3-point favorite and is now down to –1 makes this game even more intriguing from an odds standpoint. It’s rare when oddsmakers open a line at 3 and move off that number, unless it’s to go up to 3.5. It’s not often that a spread opens at 3 and drops all the way down to 1 unless there’s a significant injury, which isn’t the case here. Methinks there may have been some heavy action on Philadelphia when the line opened, forcing bookmakers to adjust right away. Either way, I’m extremely interested in seeing how much this line dances over these next couple of days.
2011 NFL Week 16 Odds:
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