Each week we take a look at some of the underlying mismatches in the NFL in order to find hidden betting value. Here are three mismatches you may not have considered when capping the Week 17 board:
Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints (-5, 54)
Panthers’ QB Cam Newton vs. Saints’ susceptibility to dual-threats
Cam Newton had a big part in the Saints’ dismal start to the season. He combined for 324 yards and two touchdowns in Carolina’s 35-27 win over New Orleans in Week 2. That QB combo of pass and run has plagued the Saints, watching dual-threats like Robert Griffin III, Michael Vick, Colin Kaepernick and Newton do damage through the air and on the ground. Newton is red-hot heading into Week 17, helping the Panthers win three in a row SU and ATS. He’s compiled 871 total yards and seven combined touchdowns during that span.
Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts (+7, 46.5)
Texan’s tumble vs. Inspired Colts
The Colts shocked the world, not only making the playoffs following a two-win season but also doing so without their head coach and emotional leader on the sidelines for most of the year. Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano is set to return this weekend for the first time since being diagnosed and treated for leukemia on September 26. That peak in emotion is a stark contrast to the mood in Houston right now. The Texans have lost two of their last three games and could find themselves sliding as far back to No. 3 in the AFC if they lose to a jacked-up Colts squad Sunday.
Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins (-3.5, 48)
Cowboys’ climate control vs. Washington winter
Despite the recent dump of snow and ice in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the Cowboys are not used to the winter weather. Head coach Jason Garrett was forced to bring practice inside this week due to the conditions, but admittedly wanted to play outside to prepare his players for the environment they’re expected to face at FedEx Field Sunday night. The forecast in D.C. is calling for temperatures in the low 30s. Dallas is just 4-11 SU when playing in sub-40 degree weather over the past 20 years. Its last SU win in the cold was a 17-0 road victory over Washington as 7-point favorites in Week 16 2009. The thermometer read 37 degrees that Sunday night.