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December 3, 2017

There are 3 picks today.

#1: Take Arizona Cardinals +7 spread against LA Rams for 3% of the bankroll.

The Cardinals kept their playoff hopes alive with a late game-winning field goal last Sunday! They were underdogs at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars much like they are today against the Rams and yet they kept fighting and kept the game close throughout. Eventually, at the end, they had the chance to seal the ‘W’ with a Phil Dawson kick and the veteran kicker delivered. We believe there are similarities between this matchup for Arizona and their last one.

The Rams are in a let-down spot after taking care of the New Orleans Saints. The Saints had been the talk of the league thanks to an 8-game winning streak but Los Angeles ended it and deserves credit for doing so! Having done so though, they are now likely to switch from ‘hunters’ to the ‘hunted’ themselves, especially in this particular contest against a lowly opposition whom they easily took care of earlier this season. These two teams played each other in London back on Oct 22nd in a game that was truly one-sided. The Rams shutout the Cards on that day winning 33-0! This LA team has a good offense but their defense is nothing special and we don’t see them limiting this Arizona offense as much this time around.

Blaine Gabbert has been steady so far since taking over as the Arizona signal-caller despite starting the season as the #3 quarterback! He was buried behind Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton in the depth chart but has made the most of injuries and some solid play to establish himself as the QB of the present and perhaps future for this organization. Coach Bruce Arians admitted that Gabbert could indeed be the Cardinals quarterback next season if Palmer decides to retire and that he’d be comfortable with that notion given how well Gabbert has played. The former high draft pick has a big arm and is also a good athlete, able to move the chains with his legs when needed. He’s starting to build some rapport with receivers and seems to have the confidence of the coaching staff.

Bruce Arians’ team had only ever been shutout once before in his career prior to that London game against the Rams back in late October! Todd Gurley ran wild on the team from the desert that day and you can be sure they have a better game plan for him this time around. A humiliating 33-0 defeat is one that lingers in memory and Patrick Peterson and company will want to make ammends. We believe Arizona will put up a much better fight this time around and keep this within a single score. Whether it’s through a late rally or playing close from the beginning, we don’t see this being a blowout. The hosts have a couple of intangible edges in this one which bodes well for them. Look for them to challenge for the outright win and cover the spread in the process even if they fall short. 

#2: Take Indianapolis Colts +10 spread (buy half point) against Jacksonville Jaguars for 3% of the bankroll. 

There is no doubt that this year the Jaguars are the better team. They are fighting it out with the Titans for the AFC South title while the Colts sit at the very bottom of the division. With that said, let’s not forget that professional athletes and coaching staff have a lot of pride and that makes the visitors one hungry side on Sunday. That’s because while the Colts won’t be making the playoffs, if there’s one game they have circled on their calendar, it’s this one. Why is that so? Just a few weeks ago, they were embarrassed at home by these Jaguars and they haven’t forgotten that. They were sacked time and time again and shutout losing by a humiliating 27-0 scoreline! Look for them to come out fired up today.

Chuck Pagano and his side have a score to settle with the Jaguars and while we don’t see them keeping up, we do see them putting up a fight, this time around, unlike in the last matchup. We certainly don’t see them being shutout again nor do we see Jacksonville putting up 27+ points! Ultimately the Floridans will likely win this game but expect Indy to deliver a better performance and make it tougher. This game might not be close at certain stages but ultimately we see the Colts staying within the generous point-spread. We don’t think they’ll lose by double-digits again which means there is a lot of value with the underdogs in this spot.

Blake Bortles rushed for a lot of yards last week and has finally regained some of his confidence. Nonetheless, he’s been a wildly inconsistent QB throughout his career. With Eli Manning benched and the fallout that has come from that, there are rumors that Tom Coughlin could make a move for his long-time quarterback to try to bring him to Jacksonville. Whether that happens over the coming months or not remains to be seen but one thing it does is mount extra pressure on a signal-caller in Bortles that has often not dealt with pressure well. Bortles was just starting to find his form and these rumors can’t be helping. 

T.Y. Hilton is one of the better receivers in the league but is coming off a few very disappointing games. He’s the type of player that bounces back from poor performances however and is always keen to remind people how good he is! Given how ineffective he was in that 27-0 shutout a few weeks ago, expect him to break free for a couple of big catches down the field. Jacoby Brisset has improved a lot throughout the course of the season and can move the chains if given better protection. The big-bodied QB be a dual-threat signal caller given that he can break loose and rush for big yardage if the defense doesn’t pay attention to his mobility. The Colts are all but eliminated this season but if there’s one last game where they should give it everything they have, it’s this one! Look for them to put up a better fight this time around to the dismay of the betting public who are backing big favorites, no matter how large the spread.

#3: Take Buffalo Bills +7.5 spread against New England Patriots for 3% of the bankroll.

This is a rivalry game, on the road against a divisional opponent. The Buffalo Bills haven't been overly impressive this season, but they are still in the running for a potential playoff spot. Nothing would help their cause more than a victory over the Patriots. The key to beating the Patriots is to not let Tom Brady on the field. Very few teams have been able to slow down #12 and the many weapons that he has at his disposal on offense. The teams who have beaten the Patriots have laid the blueprint in games past, and the best way to beat New England is to simply keep their offense on the sidelines. Buffalo has the style of play to do just that.

Tyrod Taylor is not a hall of fame quarterback by any means, and Buffalo knows it. He was benched earlier in the season, only to reclaim the starting role after a failed experiment with Nate Peterman. Taylor is not asked to do a lot with the football and instead they typically rely heavily on LeSean McCoy and the ground game and that could bode well for them in this matchup. The Patriots have one of the worst rushing defenses in the league and if McCoy can gain chunk yards on the ground and move the chains without having to air it out, that will shorten the game and limit New England possessions.

The Bills need to turn this into an ugly, messy game on both sides of the ball. They need to pound and wear down the Patriots defensive line, and on defense, they need to win the battle in the trenches. Sean McDermott also needs to come up with some exotic blitz schemes in order to create pressure on Tom Brady. Brady has shown that he does not like to get hit in the pocket and when the rush is able to get to him, he folds. He also is the type of player when he consistently gets hit, he starts to get frustrated. Brady is a perfectionist and the best in the game when things are going well, however, when things get ugly, muddy, and disruptive, it throws him off his game. That is what the Buffalo defense needs to do in order to make this a game.

Over the last month or so, the sportsbooks in Las Vegas have been taking a beating. The betting heavily public favorites have been covering at an impressive clip, with one of those teams being the New England Patriots. The Patriots have been a dangerous team for Las Vegas, given not only who the coach and quarterback are, but because of their approach to the game. The Patriots are a 4-quarter team, meaning they continue to pile on points, even with a lead, all the way to the final whistle. The Patriots are 7-4 ATS on the season and 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games, including winners of their last 5 straight. Despite the spread set by the oddsmakers, the Patriots are nearly always a popular bet with the betting public. With the sportsbooks taking so much damage in recent weeks, we believe this is the week (and matchup) where they turn things around. Everyone is look past the Bills in this contest, and likely for good reason, however, at some point the Patriots offense is going to fail to cover the large number and on the road, laying more than a touchdown, we believe this is the week where their matchup will be closer than expected. The value is with the points in this contest.

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