NFL Tips | 21st December 2014

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SEVEN winners from his last nine picks. Tom Selwyn (@tom_selwyn) is in red-hot form! Below are his three Week 16 picks.

Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears | Sunday 18:00

The big news in Chicago this week was QB Jay Cutler getting benched for Jimmy Clausen. The obvious thinking here is to back Detroit to win big, but given how the Lions offense has been playing of late I’m going to look elsewhere. The Bears have been a turnover machine this season, so I’ll be backing Chiacgo to have the most turnovers in this one.

I think this would be a viable bet even with Jay Cutler starting as the Bears have given the ball away 28 times this season (18 INT, 10 FUM), which is the third highest total in the league. But now we come to Jimmy Clausen, who in his one season in Carolina had 3 INTs for every TD he threw, and one of the lowest recorded QB ratings over the course of the season ever!

Clausen is also going up against one the best defences in the NFL. The Lions are 2nd in the league for Total Defence and are also 2nd in the league for INTs with 19 – Safeties Glover Quin and James Ihedigbo have 10 between them. Given that Detroit’s front four can get to the QB without needing to blitz, Clausen may be forced into throwing into tight coverage a lot of the game.

Chicago have nothing to play for and are in turmoil right now. Detroit on the other hand are right in the thick of the NFC North race and will be looking to play their very best – I see their defence stepping up.

New York Giants @ St. Louis Rams | Sunday 21:05

The Giants did the business for us against the Redskins last week, getting the win with a -6.5 handicap. They face the Rams this week and although I do fancy the Rams, especially with their DL, their offense doesn’t consistently put up points. So I’ll be taking the Giants with a +6.5 handicap this time around.

Despite the Rams being quite heavy favourites in this one, I believe it’s one of the tougher games to call and should be a close game. With Giants WR Odell Beckham continuing to impress (another 3 TDs and his 5th 100+ yard game in 7) New York should have the offensive advantage in this game. The Rams don’t have anyone like Beckham and their QB Shaun Hill has been a back-up most of his career for a reason.

On the other side of the ball, the Rams are a much better defensively, as evidenced by two shut-outs in recent weeks. Bizarrely, the Giants actually have more sacks than the Rams this season (41 to 36), but St. Louis definitely have the more talented front in this match-up. The overall talent definitely shows up in Total Defence, the Rams rank 11th in the league to the Giants 26th.

So with offensive strength going against defensive strength, this should be a close game that the Giants should take with the extra 6.5 points.

Buffalo Bills @ Oakland Raiders | Sunday 21:25

Buffalo have really been playing well in recent weeks, especially on the defensive side of the ball. They have held some stellar QBs to very poor numbers in recent weeks and now come up against the Raiders rookie QB Derek Carr. Even though the Bills offense isn’t exactly firing right now, this should be comfortable for Buffalo. I’m taking the Bills -6.5 here.

As I mentioned, the Bills defense has been playing very well lately, restricting two future hall of fame QBs, in Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers, to limited numbers. They both threw for under 200 yards and forced into 2 INTs each. Additionally, Rodgers was held to a 40.5 completion percentage and a 34.3 QB rating. Derek Carr is not (at least yet) anywhere near Rodgers or Manning and the Raiders offense is nowhere near the calibre of the Packers or Broncos.

Derek Carr has played well this season, but he is still a rookie and the talent around him isn’t great. The Raiders offense is only averaging 15.2 points per game and now has to go against a Bills defence that is 5th in the league for total defence – only giving up 18.1 points per game.

Oakland has been tough at home in recent weeks, getting their only two wins of the season there, but the Bills defence should be too good for them in this one.

Best Bets

Detroit @ Chicago – Chicago Bears To Have The Most Turnovers (19/20 William Hill)

New York Giants @ St Louis – New York Giants +6.5 (10/11 BetVictor)

Buffalo @ Oakland – Buffalo Bills -6.5 (10/11 Skybet)

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Tom got into betting after taking a marketing role at Sportingbet in 2009. He's since moved on to IT, but has remained within the industry. His passion in both betting and watching is the NFL, but also follows many other sports. Other interests include rock music, following the Patriots and being confused as to which Nottingham Forest team will show up each week.

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