Denver Broncos -12.0 @ Oakland Raiders +12.0
Analysis: The Broncos (12-3, 5-2 away) are looking to clinch home field advantage for the playoffs when they take on a very beatable Oakland Raiders (4-11, 3-4 home), listed at whopping +425 NFL odds to win straight up. More likely than not they’ll accomplish the win and come through for sports bettors at -550, but the question is will they cover as well. The last meeting between this pair went 37-21 to the Broncos with Peyton Manning going 32-37 for 374 yards and three touchdowns. If Peyton Manning has a similar day, the Broncos should cover handily. What’s more, take the Over 53.5 at -110 as a bonus NFL Pick.
NFL Picks: Broncos to win straight up and cover
Bonus NFL Pick: Over 53.5 -110
Analysis: The Seattle Seahawks (12-3, 6-1 home) have lost some of the edge down the stretch and they are now just 1-2 in their last three games, including a loss to heated rivals 49ers on the road and their first defeat at home – a 17-10 loss to Arizona Cardinals in week 16 that might prove costly towards their bid to clinch the No.1 seed in the NFC picture. Now Seattle must win over Rams or they need a 49ers loss to clinch the division and home field advantage. The Rams (7-8, 2-5 away) are a modestly good side this season, showing improvement in the latter stages of the season. They are 4-2 in their last six games including a 27-16 win over New Orleans Saints and a shocking 38-8 win over Indianapolis Colts.
That said they don’t strike a convincing pose on the road where they are 2-5 this season and, thus, installed as the whopping +450 NFL betting underdogs. What’s more beating the Seahawks at home is no mean feat, even if they are flush off a home defeat. It was their first home defeat in forever. Besides, it’s highly unlikely that Russell Wilson would carry his team to back-to-back losses when the stakes are so high. But are these two many points? The last time the pair met the Seahawks managed only a 14-9 win over the Rams on the road in week 8. Since then the Rams have improved and are playing better, particularly on defense with Robert Quinn who leads the league with 18 sacks. So it’s quite possible that the Rams will rise to the occasion and at least cover.
NFL Picks: Seattle to win straight up; Rams to cover
Philadelphia Eagles -6.5 @ Dallas Cowboys +6.5
Analysis: On a dramatic day in NFL betting, the Cowboys (8-7, 5-2 home) emerge as the significant +220 underdogs against the Eagles, listed at -270 NFL odds to win straight up. For a while this week the Cowboys’ organisation was rather coy about Romo’s status, even suggesting he might play this weekend against the Eagles. But when news spread this morning about the star quarterback’s back surgery and Kyle Orton was announced as the starter slated to suit up in Romo’s place, naturally, NFL betting markets went belly up on this clash as a result. Clearly, with Tony Romo out for the rest of the season sportsbooks are writing off the Cowboys’ season altogether, including their chances at home to the Eagles on Sunday. Hardly the sort of endorsement Kyle Orton might have hoped for ahead of the final game of the regular season but such is the nature of the NFL: it’s a tough market to crack. Besides, Nick Foles is a bit of a wonder kid this season, a right favourite in sports betting circles since taking over the starting job in Philadelphia and raising some impressive Peytonesque numbers.
The Eagles have won six of their last seven games both home and away; save for a hiccup against Minnesota Vikings a few weeks ago their record would have been perfect down the stretch and includes wins over Green Bay and Arizona to name a few. Most recently they are flush off a 54-11 destruction of Chicago at home.
NFL Picks: Eagles to win straight up and cover.