I hope you all enjoyed a merry Christmas, which wasn't so merry for me as I watched the Steelers and Seahawks, with so much to play for, collapse. Meanwhile, the Chargers, with little to play for, Chargered their way to defeat against the Raiders, who had a home crowd in Carson, California. I should have seen that one coming. However, my best bet, which was Denver and Detroit to go over 37.5 was a true Christmas gift to us all.
In honour of that, and the Christmas holiday, Iron Mike is going to indulge in over indulgence, as betting overs is going to be the theme of this week's column, in a week 17 that is notoriously hard to pick, due to teams resting players for the playoffs (something I can understand if you're locked into the wild card next week, but makes less sense if you have a playoff seed and a week off after this week's game anyway. But let the Over Indulgence begin. And I want to wish you all a very Happy New Year, the season when the NFL's second season begins, and offers us all a last chance at over indulgence, if not redemption.
Oakland and Denver to hit the heights
Best Bet: Oakland at Denver over 41 at 10/11
I think the Denver offense has the capability of putting three TDs up on Oakland easily and I hope the Raiders can chip in with three of their own. But it's more likely to involve the Broncos putting the pedal to the metal in the second half, which is why I might also consider the second-half over of 20, also at 10/11. Remember, visiting defenses do tend to run out of gas in Denver in the fourth quarter.
Bears and Vikings set for defensive battle
Value Bet: Chicago at Minnesota over 36.5 at 10/11
Looking for value, I was tempted to try the evens offer on Saints at Panthers to go over 46.5, but I don't think the Saints will get a lot of help from Carolina, and it will depend on how long they play their frontline players, so I'll stick with this one, which ought to be a defensive battle, but one in which I think the Vikes can overcome the likely absence of Dalvin Cook and/or Alexander Mattison.
The more pressing (literally) problem for them is how they cope with the Bears' pass rush: after Green Bay pressured Capt Kirk Cousins last week, you can bet they will be coming. But the Vikes are also a pressure team, and Mitch Trubisky is not Aaron Rodgers. I don't know that the Bears' O will contribute much, so I'm looking at the Vikes to also go over 18.5 points at 4/5. You might think this one screams under, especially with Minnesota locked into a wild card spot now, and you could be right, but I think something like 24-14 is a likely result.
Buffalo 'D' will give Jets plenty of problems
Outside Bet: NY Jets at Buffalo under 36.5 at 10/11
Yes, I know this is Over Indulgence week but as much as the previous pick screamed under, this one screams it far louder, like Fay Wray in King Kong or Neve Campbell in, uh, Scream! Buffalo, regardless of who plays on offense, is a good defensive team who will give the J-E-S-T Jets problems on the road, while their offense is designed to win low scoring contests and if they protect Josh Allen that is indeed what this one will be. If you want an outside bet over, try the Niners at Seattle over 46.5 at 10/11.