In honor of Pro Picks’ skill at picking Best Bets — 2-12 against the spread, no winners since Week 6 — we offer a Worst Bet to go along with it this week.
First, though, a look at the juiciest game on the schedule, the Bradys vs. the Tebows, uh, the Patriots against the Broncos in Denver.
For those still in wonderment over the Broncos’ six-game winning streak built on a solid defense and the magic of quarterback Tim Tebow late in games, Patriots coach Bill Belichick offers this:
“We brought Tim in and spent a whole day with him here, in addition to our other interactions with him. He’s an impressive young man. He had great success in college. I think all his attributes are pretty well documented. He’s a strong guy, smart, works hard, a great leader, great football character.”
Sounds like Belichick is a believer, too. But his Patriots can clinch the AFC East with a win. New England’s defense has been torn up by two weak offenses, Indianapolis and Washington, the last two weeks, yet the Patriots still have won five in a row. Win this and Belichick can tool with the D as the playoffs approach.
Las Vegas doesn’t adhere to Tebowmania, apparently, making New England a 6-point favorite. We sort of believe — by a point. ... PATRIOTS, 23-18
As for the Best Bet — and Worst Bet:
Cleveland (plus 7) at Arizona — Browns come off long layoff, which won’t help against streaking Cardinals. ... BEST BET: CARDINALS, 27-14
New York Jets (plus 2 1-2) at Philadelphia — Jets are 0-8 against Eagles. Make it 0-9. But it’s so dangerous to trust Philly. ... WORST BET: EAGLES, 21-17
Detroit (minus 1) at Oakland — Raiders must send Lions into Black Hole or forget about postseason. ... UPSET SPECIAL: RAIDERS, 24-23
Dallas (minus 7) at Tampa Bay, Saturday night — So close to being comfortable, Dallas now is desperate. ... COWBOYS, 27-17
Washington (plus 7) at New York Giants — If Giants win out, they are in playoffs. Nice place to start. ... GIANTS, 30-20
Green Bay (minus 13 1-2) at Kansas City — At least Todd Haley won’t have to watch this from the sideline. ... PACKERS, 33-13
New Orleans (minus 7) at Minnesota — Saints won’t need missed call by officials on last play to win. ... SAINTS, 33-13
Baltimore (minus 2 1-2) at San Diego — Ravens are league’s most-balanced team, but struggle on road. ... RAVENS, 21-20
Seattle (plus 4) at Chicago — Both teams trying to stay in wild-card chase. Bears barely will. ... BEARS, 16-13
Carolina (plus 6 1-2) at Houston — With first playoff berth secured, Texans seek AFC’s top seed. ... TEXANS, 31-20
Tennessee (minus 6 1-2) at Indianapolis — Two years ago, Colts were unbeaten at this point. They remain winless ... TITANS, 17-14
Cincinnati (minus 6 1-2) at St. Louis — If things break right, Bengals can take control of final wild-card again. ... BENGALS, 20-7
Pittsburgh (OFF) at San Francisco, Monday night — Wonder what the spread would have been if Ben Roethlisberger was healthy. ... 49ERS, 20-17
Miami (OFF) at Buffalo — Lovely way to spend a December afternoon for Floridians. ... DOLPHINS, 16-13
EDITOR’S NOTE — Wilner picked Atlanta to beat Jacksonville 28-15 in Thursday night’s game.
Against spread: 6-7 (overall 101-89-4); straight up 12-4 (overall 135-73).
Best Bet: 2-12 against spread, 9-5 straight up.
Upset Special: 9-5 against spread, 7-7 straight up.