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Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (-11.5)
What’s going on with the Packers? Maybe they have hit a mid-season wall after facing undefeated teams on consecutive weeks. Lions bettors have very quickly driven the line down from 13 to 11.5, which provides a good buying opportunity for Packers backers, who believe the last two weeks were temporary blips on the radar screen.
There should be a sense of urgency in Green Bay this week as the team wakes up, checks the standings and realizes that they are now forced to share first place in the NFC North with the 6-2 Vikings. And next week it’s Green Bay at Minnesota. Yikes.
Spread to wait on
Buffalo Bills at New York Jets (-3)
Amazingly, Rex Ryan is actually downplaying his return to New York in what could turn out to be a very important game as teams head into the second half of the schedule. Neither team will catch the Patriots in the AFC East, but by the time Week 17 games are being played, there could be a wild six or seven-team scrum for two wild card playoff spots. So any game between two WC hopefuls is important.
Neither team has a great quarterback and both teams have plenty of talent at other positions. The numbers guys are figuring that this game is a push, with the Jets giving the customary three points at home. Thursday games often are sloppy, so the edge could go to the more disciplined team (Jets). It might be a good idea to hold off on this one and see if New York money changes the line closer to kickoff.
Total to watch
Houston Texans at Cincinnati Bengals (47)
Lots of indicators are pointing toward the Over in this one. Both teams will be rested, with the Texans are coming off their bye week and the Bengals will have a few extra days after playing last Thursday. And the teams are a combined 10-5-1 on the Over this season.
Toss in the fact that Houston has had more time to separate itself from the Ryan Mallett ugliness and has settled on Brian Hoyer as its QB for at least the rest of the season. It all adds up to a decent-scoring game, especially with the number at a reasonable 47.
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