I found this week’s card very difficult to find something I like which of course makes sense when we get to this part of the season where the card is just 4 games and lines are very sharp. As a result, I am going to play something a little different for my first bet.
Game 1: 2 Team ML Parlay – LAR @ GB (ML) and TB @ NO (ML) +130
Game 1 of the parlay is the Packers ML, this line opened at 7 and has been bet down so clearly there is some sharp money that likes LA. Last week I fully expected to be on the Rams in this game if they beat Seattle but the injuries to Aaron Donald and Goff and the weather in Green Bay have me off that side. The Rams defense has been terrific and is probably as tough a matchup as the Packers will face, Jalen Ramsey vs Devante Adams is the premiere matchup of the week and then Aaron Donald vs Aaron Rodgers. Aaron Donald got hurt in the 2nd half last week but is expected to be near 100%. What I wonder is how that defense holds up in the snow and cold in GB, in week 16 the Packers played the Titans in a snowy, cold game and while nobody thinks the Titans defense is any good the Packers seemed to have a major advantage when on offense.
On the flip side Jared Goff has to play in his first winter game with a thumb 3 weeks out of surgery and things did not look great for him most of the game last week. I see the case for the Rams defense to play tough and get the Packers offense to play under their regular level but I don’t see how their offense keeps up.
Game 2 is the Saints ML. I like the Saints to win this game because I think you can make the case that this is the healthiest they have been all year, they finished the year #1 in DVOA despite missing Drew Brees for 3 weeks and Michael Thomas for most of the season, Covid impacted a number of their guys including Kamara.
Tampa finished the season #2 in DVOA and had a really interesting season where the season started with the defense playing great and the offense starting slow and ended with the offense playing great and the defense playing really poorly. Last week Taylor Heineke started for Washington and passed for 300 yards in his WFT debut, the Falcons scored 27 in both their games in December against the Bucs. The Saints won the first two matchups but in this game both teams feel very different and I don’t think the “it’s really hard to win 3 straight times” fits here because this is a very different Saints team. The line feels right at 3 but I think the Saints win and we’ll see if this parlay pays off because I haven’t made this type of bet this year.
Game 2: Cle @ KC -9
I think this bet comes down to what you think of the Chiefs 2nd half of the season. KC did not cover a game in November or December, straight up they were the typical Chiefs outside of when the platyed the Raiders but they did not look dominant as last years team. The defense finished 22 in DVOA but generally it seems to have played at a similar level to last year, the difference is on offense. The question then is, have the Chiefs taken a step back on offense that they can’t get back or can they turn it on in the playoffs? For me I believe the Chiefs had little to play for in the regular season, when you have the best QB and the best coach it is Superbowl or bust so the fact that the team doesn’t go out looking to dominate week in week out isn’t surprising. We get the Chiefs now fully rested, Andy Reid off a bye is nearly mythical at this point and the matchup is a great one for the Chiefs offense.
In Cleveland the Chiefs get the perfect team to make a statement against, the Browns finished 25th in DVOA on defense, 25th vs the pass and that is aided by a 3 week stretch where the weather (wind) made passing nearly impossible. Last week the Browns got he perfect game script, literally everything went right and they found themselves up 2 TDs in a blink and up 48 in a few more. I think Cleveland is a league average type team that is coming off of the biggest win in decades and while this is a lot of points to give, this is also the highest total of the week.