GAMES TO WATCH
Cowboys at Colts (-3, 47 ½) – 1:00 PM EST
Dallas (8-5 SU, 8-5 ATS) captured control of the NFC East not only by sweeping a three-game homestand, but also threw the knockout punch on defending champion Philadelphia last Sunday. Following wins over the Redskins and Saints, the Cowboys went back and forth with the rival Eagles until Dallas finished off Philadelphia in overtime, 29-23 to cash as 3 ½-point favorites. Amari Cooper hauled in the game-winning touchdown pass from Dak Prescott in overtime to cap off a 10-catch, 217-yard performance along with three touchdowns catches.
The Colts (7-6 SU, 6-6-1 ATS) rebounded from an ugly performance in a 6-0 setback at Jacksonville in Week 13 to top Houston last Sunday, 24-21 as four-point underdogs. Indianapolis opened things up by scoring 17 second quarter points, while Andrew Luck diced up the Houston defense for 399 yards and two touchdowns. The Colts have won six of the last seven games since a 1-5 start, while finished UNDER the total in four consecutive contests.
Dallas has won and covered five straight games, while winning two in a row on the road since starting 0-4 away from AT&T Stadium. The Colts started the season at 3-0-1 ATS when laying points, but have failed to cash in their last two opportunities when laying points. Dallas crushed Indianapolis in its last matchup in 2014 in Arlington, 42-7, as the Colts last beat the Cowboys in 2002.
Best Bet: Colts 27, Cowboys 21
Dolphins at Vikings (-7 ½, 44 ½) – 1:00 PM EST
Last season, the Vikings (6-6-1 SU, 6-6-1 ATS) pulled off the Minneapolis Miracle by stunning the Saints in the divisional round of the playoffs with a last-second touchdown. Last Sunday, the Dolphins (7-6 SU, 8-5 ATS) put together the Miami Miracle by perfectly executing a pair of laterals in the final seconds, capped off by a Kenyan Drake touchdown to lift the ‘Fins past the mighty Patriots, 34-33 as 9 ½-point underdogs.
The Dolphins improved to 6-1 at Hard Rock Stadium, while remaining alive in the AFC Wild Card race. The only problem is Miami needs to fix its road woes, as the Dolphins have lost five of six games away from south Florida, while last winning on the highway in Week 2 against the Jets. Since Ryan Tannehill returned under center for Miami, the Dolphins are 3-0 ATS the last three games, while going 6-2 ATS with their starting quarterback in the lineup this season.
Minnesota stunk it up at Seattle last Monday in a 21-7 setback as the lone touchdown for the Vikings came late in the fourth quarter. The Vikings are 4-2 at U.S. Bank Stadium, where they have played at only once in the past month in a 24-17 victory over the Packers. Since winning three straight games in October, the Vikings’ offense has been limited to 20 points or less in four of the past six contests.
Best Bet: Vikings 23, Dolphins 19
Patriots (-2 ½, 54) at Steelers – 4:25 PM EST
It’s not normal to see December road meltdowns by New England and Pittsburgh, but they both occurred on the same Sunday. The Patriots (9-4 SU, 8-5 ATS) couldn’t break away from the Dolphins, but led 33-28 in the final seconds. The Dolphins stunned New England with the Miami Miracle on a 69-yard touchdown to hand the Patriots their fourth road loss of the season. New England allowed at least 31 points on the road for the fourth time in 2018, while losing at Miami for the fifth time in six seasons.
The Steelers (7-5-1 SU, 6-6-1 ATS) were in firm control of the AFC North three weeks ago, but are now in danger of missing the playoffs with a poor finish. Pittsburgh has lost the last three games by seven points or less, including last Sunday’s 24-21 setback at Oakland as hefty 10 ½-point road favorites. Ben Roethlisberger suffered a rib injury, while the Raiders scored the go-ahead touchdown in the final minute for only their third win of the season. Pittsburgh fell to 3-6-1 ATS in the favorite role, but the Steelers are 3-0 ATS as an underdog.
These two rivals are meeting for the first time since the infamous catch/no-catch from Steelers’ tight end Jesse James in New England’s 27-24 comeback victory at Heinz Field last December. That rally by the Patriots propelled New England to a home-field advantage in the AFC, while the Steelers eventually got bounced back Jacksonville in the divisional round. The Patriots have owned the Steelers through the years by capturing each of the past five matchups, while winning in three straight visits to Heinz Field.
Best Bet: Patriots 31, Steelers 24
BEST TOTAL PLAY
OVER 44 – Cardinals at Falcons
This is the lowest total the Falcons have seen at home since Week 2 against the Panthers, when Atlanta beat Carolina, 31-24 on a 44 total. Arizona’s offense has not been productive all season long, while scoring 33 points the past three weeks. Atlanta’s defense has been banged-up all season long, while Arizona has hit the OVER in three of five opportunities on the road with totals of 45 or less.
TRAP OF THE WEEK
The Seahawks have been one of the hottest teams in the NFL the last two months by winning six of their last eight games. Seattle seeks its fifth consecutive victory as the Seahawks face the 49ers for the second time in three weeks. The Seahawks pounded the Niners at CenturyLink Field in Week 13 as 10-point favorites, 43-16. San Francisco ended a three-game skid in a 20-14 triumph over Denver last Sunday as three-point underdogs to pick up its second consecutive home ‘dog cover. Seattle is listed as a road favorite for the first time since Week 4 at Arizona in a non-cover in a 20-17 win as 3 ½-point chalk.
BIGGEST LINE MOVE
The Rams opened as 7 ½-point home favorites against the Eagles at the Westgate Superbook last Sunday. Following the announcement of Carson Wentz’s back injury, Los Angeles has moved up to a 12-point favorite at many sports books. The Eagles are 0-2 SU/ATS in the underdog role, as Nick Foles will look to work his magic from last season’s championship run the rest of the season.
BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW
The Lions have played their last four games indoors, as Detroit will head to not-so-warm weather in Buffalo on Sunday. Game-time temperature is set for 37 degrees and luckily no snow, but Detroit has won only once this season outdoors and that came at Miami in Week 7. Meanwhile, Buffalo is coming off a pair of four-point losses to the Dolphins and Jets, while seeking a second win against an NFC foe.