Opening Lines: Week 16

The Patriots opened as 10-point favorites as they host the Miami Dolphins in Week 16.

You’ll have to excuse me today. I’m a bit hung over after celebrating the Pats win and AFC East title, the Ravens loss and the Pittsburgh loss that gave the Pats the inside track toward the top seed in the AFC and homefield advantage. I’m going to be a bit more brief than usual because the loud clacking of these keys is giving me a massive headache.

When these two teams met in Week 1, the Patriots won by two scores. The Dolphins took a dive after that game, losing the next six in a row and putting their head coach in hot water (see what I did there? dolphins? dive? hot water? whatever, maybe I’m still drunk). However, since that tailspin, they’ve recovered to win five of their past seven, with one loss coming by a single point to the Cowboys. Miami has quietly put together a solid second half behind efficient QB play from backup Matt Moore. On a related note, who would have guessed that Miami would be better off without Chad Henne? I mean, besides anyone with eyes.

New England’s struggles on the defensive side of the ball are well documented. Seriously, how many offensive players have been taking snaps on defense this year? Three? Four? Seven? The Dolphins are far from an offensive juggernaut, but it’s safe to assume they will be able to put up a reasonable number of points against the Pats on Saturday.

Ten points is a lot to give up to a team that isn’t completely inept, and Miami barely clears that low hurdle. I’m picking the Dolphins to cover.

Other Lines I Like

Panthers (-7.5) vs. Bucs

The Newtons have won three of four, and the Bucs look like a team that has completely given up on the season. Tampa has not been good on either side of the ball this year, and they’ve lost eight in a row and weren’t competitive in most of those contests. I can’t see them pulling it together on the road this week.

Chargers (+2.5) @ Lions

The Chargers only play well when they are on the cusp of elimination. The Lions only play well when they’re down by two touchdowns in the third quarter. It’s very possible that both of these scenarios play out this week, but I like San Diego’s running attack enough to think they keep Stafford and Megatron on the sidelines for big chunks of clock.

Vikings (+6.5) @ Redskins

I don’t think this Vikings team has quit yet. The 42-20 beating last week was ugly, but Drew Brees has a tendency to make any team look silly on any given Sunday. Three of Minnesota’s last five games have been decided by a score or less. And I still can’t bring myself to jump on the Grossman train (I imagine such a train would have around three or four heavily vandalized cars and a caboose with no wheels).

Saints (-7) vs. Falcons

The Saints are extremely tough at home, and Atlanta hasn’t been terribly impressive all year. Drew Brees is dialed in right now. “Don’t bet against Drew Brees at home when he’s hot” is very close to joining “Never bet on the Chargers in the first seven games of the season” and “Always take the over when the Patriots are playing” as immutable gambling laws.

2011 Record ATS 37-37-4
2010 Record ATS 25-17-1

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