Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots – Open: -6.5; Move: None
Defending Super Bowl champion New England needs to win this 4:30 p.m. ET clash to remain alone in first in the AFC East. The Patriots (11-3 SU, 8-6 ATS) snapped a two-game SU and three-game ATS slide in Week 15, riding a 21-point second half to a 34-13 victory at Cincinnati as 10.5-point favorites.
Buffalo is the team that could forge a tie atop a division dominated this whole century by New England. In Week 15, the Bills (10-4 SU, 9-4-1 ATS) topped Pittsburgh 17-10 as 1-point road underdogs and now have the NFL’s best spread-covering mark.
Both squads are already in the playoffs, with only seeding to be determined.
“The line has not budged,” Shelton said, noting good two-way action at The Mirage and other MGM Resorts books. “Ticket count is close, and money, there’s just a few thousand more dollars on the Patriots. Right now, it’s a win-win. But there’ll be a lot of Patriots teasers and parlays by kickoff."
Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers – Open: -6.5; Move: None
San Francisco is still trying to get the license plate of the truck that hit it late in a Week 15 contest. The 49ers (11-3 SU, 8-5-1 ATS) entered their game against Atlanta as the NFC’s top seed and exited No. 5, after a 29-22 loss as 10.5-point home favorites. San Fran gave up a TD with two seconds left to fall behind 23-22, then allowed another TD when laterals went awry on the ensuing kickoff.
Defending NFC champion Los Angeles must win out and get help to make the playoffs, as it sits two games behind Minnesota for the second wild-card slot. The Rams were a popular Week 15 play at Dallas, but got pounded 44-21 laying 1 point, ending a 3-1 SU and ATS surge.
“A lot of teasers will be going to the Niners at night,” Shelton said, before breaking down pointspread play for an 8:15 p.m. kickoff. “Money is about 9/1 on the on the 49ers, tickets just over 4/1 on San Fran. Not a lot of money on this game yet, and no sharp play either way.”
Houston Texans at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Open: +2.5; Move: +3
Houston is in the driver’s seat in the AFC South and can stay there with a victory in Saturday’s first kickoff, at 1 p.m. ET. The Texans (9-5 SU, 7-7 ATS) bounced back from a stunning Week 14 home loss to Denver by dropping division rival Tennessee 24-21 catching 3 points on the road.
Tampa Bay has quietly worked its way back to .500, with quarterback Jameis Winston putting up huge stats of late en route to 4,573 passing yards and 30 TDs on the year. The Buccaneers (7-7 SU, 5-8-1 ATS) won their last four (3-0-1 ATS) and five of their last six, including last week’s 38-17 victory at Detroit giving 5.5 points.
This game has seen a few large wagers, with one bettor spreading $132,500 over three Texans bets: $50,000 at -3 even, and $55,000 and 27,500 at -3 (-110). Another bettor came in late Friday night with $60,000 at -3 (-120), moving MGM books to -3 (-125).
“For a 10 o’clock in the morning (Pacific) game, there’s a lot of money on it, or at least a lot of money on the Texans,” Shelton said. “Money is almost 10/1 Houston, tickets about 5/1. It’s all Texans. We’re gonna need the Bucs.”
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