Two Cats and a Bird Rule 3-Team NFL Week 16's Parlay

Kevin Stott

Wednesday, December 20, 2017 3:28 PM UTC

Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017 3:28 PM UTC

Back in the day, there were maybe two games on which to bet on Christmas Day, often the Blue-Gray game and the East-West Shrine game. Many sports gamblers shriveled up on December 25, having to talk to relatives while wishing for NFL matchups, better college football bowls or even some NBA action. Our prayers eventually were answered. Here’s a three-team NFL parlay for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day featuring two cats, a bird and a little hope.

NFL Week 16 Parlay, Part 1: Lions vs. Bengals

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Free NFL Pick: Lions -5 (-104)Best Line Offered: BetOnline

We begin with a couple of Cats playing on Christmas Eve in an interconference affair of significance to Matthew Stafford and visiting Detroit (8-6 SU, 7-6-1 ATS). The big questions for Cincinnati (5-9 SU, 7-7 ATS) surround the future of coach Marvin Lewis and if there's a better option at QB than Andy Dalton. However, it always seems the Bengals' biggest problem is in the reality of playing in the AFC North, with 25 percent of their games against the Steelers and Ravens. (Bring ice packs and Bengay, Santa.) Playing the Browns twice a year seems like you’re cheating, until you're up against those other two divisional foes.

This is a “care-don’t care” type of three-team parlay, fading the apathetic hosts and backing the team that needs to win as it seeks an NFC wild-card berth. Cincinnati (268.9 ypg total offense) is 4-1 ATS in its past five games, while Detroit is 5-1 SU in its last six. The Bengals are 18-8-1 ATS in their past 27 December games, but Detroit is 2-0 ATS in Cincinnati since 1992.

Golden Tate, Marvin Jones Jr. and the pass-happy Lions are 4-0-1 ATS in their last five games vs. teams with winning records, and 11-5-1 ATS following an ATS win. However, the indoor-oriented Lions are 7-17 ATS in their last 24 games in December. The big thing is this pick is the fear factor motivating the visitors; if Detroit (200/1 to win Super Bowl, Heritage) falls to 8-7 SU heading into Week 17, it will mean wait until next season. The Bengals have been outscored 67-14 in their past two games -- SU and ATS losses to the Lions’ NFC North brethren Chicago (34-7) and Minnesota (33-7) -- and have lost three in a row SU overall. I'm picking the Lions to extend the Bengals' misery, 27-17.

NFL Week 16 Parlay, Part 2: Buccaneers vs. Panthers

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Free NFL Pick: Panthers -10 (-106)Best Line Offered: BetOnline

This Christmas Eve game from Carolina features another Cat, and the second team in our parlay, as the Panthers (10-4 SU, 9-5 ATS) host NFC South rival Tampa Bay (4-10 SU, 4-9-1 ATS). Cam Newton and the Panthers (28/1 to win Super Bowl, Bovada) are big 10- to 11½-point (5Dimes) home favorites in a game they need to win to keep pace with New Orleans and Atlanta in the division. Tampa Bay has lost four in a row SU and three of four ATS.

The Panthers (64.6 percent consensus) are a profitable 22-12 ATS vs. Tampa Bay since 1992 and 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings, with the under is a solid 20-14 in the last 34 matchups. Carolina beat Tampa Bay 17-3 earlier this season, covering ATS as 1½-point road underdogs (46). The Panthers have allowed Tampa to score just 35 points in the last three meetings (14, 14, 7), but somehow the Buccaneers swashbuckled their way to two SU wins in that span, meaning the Panthers (16, 14, 17) haven’t scored that many either (47) -- making the under worth consideration here.

The Panthers (6-1 SU/ATS L7) have some momentum and have been taking care of business at home while the Buccaneers (17.0 PF-23.8 PA on road) have been downright awful in their away games (1-6 SU, 1-5-1 ATS). I like the Panthers to win, 30-13.

NFL Week 16 Parlay, Part 3: Raiders vs. Eagles

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Free NFL Pick: Eagles -9 (-115)Best Line Offered: BetOnline

Nick Foles and the NFC-leading Eagles (12-2 SU,10-4 ATS) welcome Derek Carr and the Raiders (6-8 SU, 4-8-2 ATS) to Lincoln Financial Field on Christmas Night. The Birds are playing for home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs, while Oakland is just trying not to get hurt or too embarrassed. This had a double-digit point spread at most offshore sportsbooks early this week, with consensus action on the Eagles (68.3 percent of wagers placed as of Tuesday night) and average bet size being Eagles $58 to Raiders $32.

Nine of the last 11 Christmas Day NFL games have gone over the total, which is currently at 47 everywhere (open 48½). More trends have Oakland 4-1 ATS in its last five against Philadelphia and 3-1 ATS in its past four Monday games, but 17-36-2 ATS in its last 55 games played in the merry month of December, 0-6-1 ATS in its last seven road games, 2-7-2 ATS L11 on grass and 2-8-2 ATS L12 overall.

Philadelphia (+1025 to win Super Bowl, 5Dimes) is 16-5 ATS in its L21 on Grass, 5-0 ATS the L5 at home and 9-2 ATS in L11 overall. With Oakland averaging 17.0 ppg and allowing 23.8 ppg on the road and being 1-4-1 ATS away, and RB LeGarrette Blount and Philadelphia averaging a robust 35.0 ppg at home and allowing just 15.2 ppg, expect a 34-16 blowout by the hosts, who have finally developed their passing game (246.4 ypg) and have a balanced and healthy receiving corps.

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