Before we get to this week's picks, a quick stock check on the "Houston Texans win the Super Bowl" prop bet. What exactly did the Patriots' 42-14 beatdown of our hometown team do to their wagering street cred?
Well, prior to the game, the Texans and the Patriots were tied as the odds-on favorites to take home the Lombardi Trophy in February at +350.
As of Thursday afternoon, it now looks like this:
New England Patriots +260 Denver Broncos +450 Houston Texans +450 San Francisco 49ers +450 Green Bay Packers +550 Atlanta Falcons +700
So what does it all mean? Honestly, nothing. Except the public is starting to develop a slight case of cold feet when it comes to supreme confidence in your Houston Texans. That's all.
Let's go to this week's Best Bets:
Packers -3 over BEARS Underplayed storyline on the Texans season -- in retrospect, did they effectively end the Bears' season in that 13-6 win a month ago? At the time, the Bears were 7-1 and flying high. Then, one ugly loss and a Jay Cutler concussion later, the Bears are reeling, losing four of five and now an underdog to the Packers at home this weekend. The Packers have covered the spread in 22 of their last 30 division games. The Bears are dangerously close to slipping into the 8-6 mosh pit with the Cowboys, Redskins, Vikings, et al.
Jaguars +7 over DOLPHINS Ok, yes, I know I am giving out the Jags out as a "Best Bet" and, unless your talking about Jags' owner Shahid Khan's mustache (which truly is the BEST mustache), there's nothing "best" about the Jacksonville Jaguars. But hear me out. The Jags have not been an awful road team this year. They've actually covered on the road in all but one game. And should the Dolphins (losers of five out of their last six straight up) really be favored by a touchdown over anybody right now?
Lions -6 over CARDINALS I rarely toot my own horn in this space, mostly because with a slightly below .500 overall record on the year, I'm just not presented with many opportunities to do so. However, I would like to pat myself on the back for this assessment of the Cardinals last week:
I realize their record is two games better than the worst record in the league (thanks to a 4-0 start) and there's little chance that the Cardinals will be able to lose enough to "catch" horrific teams like the Jaguars, Chiefs, and Browns, but make no mistake -- if my life depended on one team winning a game, the Cardinals are the team that would send me to the phone calling my life insurance agent to up my coverage the fastest.
Two days later, Seahawks 58, Cardinals 0. Let's ride this Cardinals nosedive until it bucks us, people.
BILLS +5 1/2 over Seahawks Do you realize that if you just bet on the Seahawks at home and against the Seahawks on the road since they moved into their new stadium in 2002 that you'd be winning at a 63 percent clip? You don't? Well, it's true, my friend.
CHARGERS -3 over Panthers It's the middle of December, and you know what that means -- it's Norvell Goddamn Turner Time, bitches! After dropping to 4-8 on the season, the Chargers did what they do under the plastic fist of one Norv Turner. They got crackalackin' on a meaningless winning streak at the end of the year, beating the Steelers soundly 34-24 in Pittsburgh. Now, here comes Cam Newton and the Panthers this weekend fresh off a win over 11-2 Atlanta. This is the only time I'm comfortable firing on ol' Norv, when I know he's virtually the only one who gives a shit.
Colts +9 over TEXANS I trust the Texans to do enough to win this game, but not enough to cover a nine point spread right now. Prediction: Texans 24, Colts 20
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Last week: 3-3 Season record: 40-42-2
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.