Each week during the pro football season, Covers Expert Art Aronson looks at the NFL odds and tells you which spread to bet now, which one to bet later, and which total to watch as the week plays out.
Spread to bet now
Cleveland Browns (+2) at New York Jets
Does anyone anywhere believe that the Browns have any life at all left in their bodies?
Another season has come and just about gone, and the Browns once again find themselves in familiar territory – with a string of late-season losses (the current tally is five in a row), little interest from the home fans and in firm possession of last place in the AFC North. Merry Christmas, Browns fans.
Now line up for your lumps of coal.
After getting booed off the field by the few remaining fans who had the misfortune of owning tickets to Sunday’s latest loss (38-31, to the Bears), Cleveland players must now lug a 4-10 record with them on the road, where the Brownies are 1-5 this season.
The Jets (5-2 at home this year) still have an outside shot at a wild card berth that could save the jobs of a lot of folks in Jersey, so they should be able to cover the deuce against an unmotivated Browns team.
Spread to wait on
Miami Dolphins (-2.5) at Buffalo Bills
The public is pounding the Dolphins hard after their big victory over the Patriots, with three of every four dollars down backing the Fish. With that much early action on Miami, bettors might be able to hang on until late in the week and see if the number goes to 3.
Miami’s win over New England took place in 84-degree weather against a Patriots team that is only a shadow of what it used to be.
The Bills are 7-7 overall and have yet to be blown out at home this season. And if the temperature is even half of that 84, the Dolphins will be delighted
Miami has three-straight wins and will be looking to snag a wild card playoff spot, but Buffalo also has motivation – if the Bills lose, it would probably mean a sixth straight last-place finish in the AFC East and a huge roster turnover. Advice here is to hang tight and wait for the line to lengthen a bit.
Total to watch
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks(45)
Know this about the Seahawks – they play great defense, but they can also put points on the board at home. The poodle’s offense has put up 34 (vs. New Orleans), 41 (Minnesota) and 27 in its last three home games, so Seattle figures to be able to move the ball, even against a pretty good Cardinal team.
But, but, but ... Arizona QB Carson Palmer suffered a high ankle sprain in Sunday’s victory at Tennessee and is listed as questionable for Seattle.
The Seahawks figure to come hard at Palmer, who has never been known for his work against blitzes. Going into Seattle with a gimpy starting QB or, even worse, a second-stringer, is poison.
Under is the play, even with a moderate number of 45.