Throwing Darts: Will dogs be barking Week 16?

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The Yahoo handicappers like a bunch of underdogs in Week 16
The Yahoo handicappers like a bunch of underdogs in Week 16

For the seventh time in eight years, we have locked in a final record over .500 record in the Throwing Darts column. Hell yes, we’re proud of that. They don’t give out anything easy in the National Football Lottery. Heck, even the pros merely aspire to something around 55 percent against the spread.

Let’s see if we can keep things going. It’s a dog-heavy slate for us.

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Titans +7 vs. Rams: Strictly an emotional ebb-and-flow pick. The Titans have been exposed in recent weeks; a fraudulent team with a winning record. The Rams just beat the living snot out of Seattle. But it’s hard for a team to hit the high end of its range for consecutive weeks, and this out-of-conference game means less to Los Angeles than it does to Tennessee. And everything we loved about the Rams romp in Week 15 is now baked into the current line. Buy low on the Titans, sell high on the Rams. The line has likely overcorrected.

Browns +7 at Bears: It’s difficult to trust either team in this spot, but the Bears in particular do not have the type of roster where you can spot a big number. Assuming Kizer doesn’t flat-out give this cover away, the Browns can hang around. Cleveland certainly hasn’t packed it in; no team wants to go winless and live in infamy with the 1976 Buccaneers and 2008 Lions.

Ravens -13.5 vs. Colts: Baltimore might be better than you think; the current DVOA rankings consider them the best AFC team and the fourth-best club overall. Joe Flacco finally has the passing offense moving, and Alex Collins has been one of the best finds of the year. The Colts have taken 53 sacks, worst in the league; now it faces Baltimore’s No. 2 defense. Ravens have bully tendencies and they’ll likely come out here.

Bills +13 at Patriots: If you want New England this week, you have to play a “need it” tax. But Buffalo needs the game, too, and divisional rematches tend to be lower scoring. Tyrod Taylor probably can’t win this game for the Bills, but he won’t give it away — he’s extremely risk-averse, to a fault at times.

Texans +10 vs. Steelers: It would be so like the Steelers to not answer the bell on the road in a heavily-favored spot; they’ve been a horrible bet in this type of spot over the past few years. And obviously Antonio Brown isn’t walking through that door.

Historical Record (Against the Spread, ties from previous years excluded):

2017: 44-29-2 (5-0 Last Week)

2016: 43-40

2015: 48-36

2014: 43-40

2013: 34-49

2012: 50-33

2011: 41-39

2010: 49-34

Brad Evans chimes in:

#FadeTheNoise ATS Pick of the Week: San Francisco +4.5. Fading the public is a common strategy among degenerate action seekers. If a line is too good to be true, it often is. With everyone and their grandmother jumping on the Jags this week (68% of public spread tickets wagered), subscribing to the above adage applies. The Gold Panners, no longer falling down the mine shaft, have won four of their past five games, covering two of three since Jimmy Garoppolo seized the reins. Yes, A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey are the most dynamic coverage duo currently in the NFL (45.5 combined passer rating allowed), the stiffest test the ultra-accurate Jimmy G (68.7 completion percentage) has faced, but this game screams “TRAP!!!!” San Fran’s much improved defense, particularly in the trenches, and its franchise QB keep this one close. Fearless Forecast: Jacksonville 20 San Francisco 17.

#TeamHuevos Total of the Week: Atlanta/New Orleans UNDER 52.5. Every time rookie bettors glance at a Saints home game against a competitor with a proven offense images of cash stacks dance in their heads. Don’t get suckered. New Orleans, no longer the prolific Drew Brees dependent franchise of yesteryear, are a ball-controlling, clock-draining force. Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara will surely be focal points. Throw in Atlanta’s respectable secondary, New Orleans’ excellent pass defense and the fact the series has gone under three of the last five times and the supposed shootout many are banking on probably doesn’t materialize. Sound familiar? Recall two weeks ago the familiar foes totaled just 37 points in Atlanta. Fearless Forecast: New Orleans 27 Atlanta 20.

Dalton Del Don to close:

Supercontest: This week was especially tough with a bunch of big lines, and I mostly went dog heavy. Sadly it doesn’t look like we’ll cash in the Supercontest this year, but it would be nice to end on a high note. I went with the Ravens (-13.5), Bengals (+4.5), Dolphins (+10.5), 49ers (+4.5) and Seahawks (+4.5). Cincy is going ugly contrarian, while I’m not willing to write off Seattle yet, and I still think Las Vegas remains slow to respond to how the 49ers are currently playing.

Teaser of the Week: I’m doing a three-team, 10-point “special teaser,” taking the Vikings (+1), Chiefs (-0.5) and Patriots (-1.5). I don’t prefer teasers this big, but in weeks with large spreads like this one, they can often make the most sense. Plus it’ll be fun to have stakes in the standalone Saturday night game. BET = $130 to win $100

Grab the points with us on Twitter: Brad (@YahooNoise), Scott (@Scott_Pianowski) and Dalton (@DaltonDelDon)

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