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Game to bet now
New York Giants at Pittsburgh (-5.5)
Here come the Giants. The New Yorkers have won six straight (5-1 ATS in that stretch) and now stand at 8-3. The Giants have a puncher’s chance at catching the Cowboys in the NFC East (they have Dallas at home on Dec. 11), and even if they fall short, they are in prime position for a wild-card spot. They aren’t overpowering anyone on either side of the ball, but they are just good enough on both offense and defense to get the job done. Whether the Giants can stay hot as the competition gets tougher is anyone’s guess, though. None of their final five opponents have a losing record, and the next three games (Steelers, Cowboys, Lions) are division leaders who will have lots on the line. Early money is spread equally on this game, suggesting no line movement.
Game to wait on
Dallas at Minnesota (+3.5) (Thursday)
Heavy money on the Cowboys forced books to move this one from Vikings +2.5 to +3.5, unusual in that it could enable early bettors to middle it and win on both ends if the Cowboys win by a field goal. What is clear is that the Vikings’ loss – their 5th in the last 6 games – last Thursday at Detroit exposed some serious offensive problems. With Adrian Peterson out, Minnesota doesn’t have much of a run game (RBs had only 58 yards vs. the Lions). Dallas has scored at least 24 points in every game since the opener (a 20-19 loss to the Giants; the Cowboys are only two points away from a perfect season). Minnesota is banged up quite a bit, so it might be worthwhile to wait until the injury report to see who will be a go in this one.
Total to watch
Los Angeles at New England (45)
There are lots of moving parts in this one, including Rob Gronkowski’s back injury, the New England weather in December, and chaos in the Rams’ defense. The number has been bet down from its 46 opening, possibly based on the questionable status of Gronkowski, but NE seems to find a way to score at home. The Patriots have played only two home games since Tom Brady’s return from suspension, and in those two they scorched the Bengals for 35 and put 24 on the board against the Seahawks. Toss in the fact that NE’s own defense has been worse than expected, and the over could fall rather easily in this one.
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