The Steelers, Falcons and Buccaneers all obliged on the handicap market last weekend to leave us with a nice 13/2 treble winner. That was the 4th winning treble out of 13 tipped this season(albeit it one with a void settled as a double) meaning we are in very healthy profit entering the last few weeks of the regular season. Here’s hoping for another winning trio in week 15.
Arizona Cardinals -3 @ Evens vs New Orleans Saints (9.05pm)
Normally at the business end of the season I actively try to avoid picks in ‘dead rubber’ games were neither side are in the running for a playoff spot. That would certainly seem to be the case here with both teams needing to win out and also get a great deal of other things to fall their way in order to make the postseason. However I like where the line has been set in this so much that I’m going with it anyway! The Saints and particularly Quarterback Drew Brees are in a really bad place. The offence has put up just 24 points total over its past two contests while Brees has thrown 3 interceptions in back to back games for the very first time in his career. He has also failed to register a scoring TD for two consecutive games for the first time in 7 seasons.
These offensive struggles are bad news considering they are on the road this week to an Arizona Cardinals team giving up less yardage than any other defence in the league. While the Cards have been hard to trust this season they do seem to match up quite well in this one. They have clearly a much better defence and on the flip side Carson Palmers has enough big targets in his receiving core to do plenty of damage against a Saints D ranked 29th against the pass. To top it all off they have one of the league’s premier running backs in David Johnson who should be able to get it done both on the ground and receiving here. The visitors have been 0-6 against the spread in the last 6 meetings between these two and that trend should continue today.
Pittsburgh Steelers -3 @ 5/6 vs Cincinnati Bengals (Nap, 6pm)
Traditionally AFC North contests between these two have been very tightly run affairs but a handicap of just 3 point seems extraordinarily small. The Bengals season is already effectively over while the Steelers are locked in a battle with the Baltimore Ravens to top the division are can ill afford a slip up here. The 3 point line may be a response to the Bengals having won their last two games although it is important to remember that these were against the Browns and the Eagles, two of the worst sides in the NFL. Their porous run defence will have its hands full stopping LeVeon Bell who last week managed to single handily demolish the Buffalo Bills. Ben Roethlisberger didn’t have a game to remember in that one but I expect a big bounceback performance here against a decimated Cincinnati defence.
This is certain to be a feisty affair with bad blood still lingering from last year’s playoff game between the two. In that one Vontaze Burficts disgraceful late hit on Antonio Brown knocked the Steelers star out for the remainder of the playoffs and I’m sure this game will be littered with skirmishes. The Steelers should be more focused though with their eyes on the playoffs and Cincinnati’s ill discipline should gift some easy yardage and great field position through penalties.
Green Bay Packers -5.5 @ 10/11 vs Chicago Bears (6pm)
After struggling for a good portion of the season it now seems that the Green Bay Packers have shown up and are determined to crash the playoff party. Just a few weeks ago they could have been backed at odds of up to 200/1 to win this year’s Superbowl. Those odds have now been slashed to just 20/1 and if they do make the playoffs they’ll be a team that everyone will hope to avoid.
Central to their turnaround has been the strong play of Aaron Rodgers who over the last four weeks has thrown for 10 touchdowns and no interceptions. He’s dominated against the Bears during his career winning 14 out of 18 matchups with them and while the sub-zero temperatures won’t help the passing game he should still find success against the Bears depleted secondary.
My preferred double is the Cardinals/Steelers while the treble pays out at 6/1.
Best of luck,