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Trends to Watch – December
By Marc Lawrence
With Thanksgiving now in the rear view mirror and Santa charting his annual course, it’s onto the stretch-run of the 2015 NFL season.
Before backing teams on the blind it might serve you well to read up on the trends and tendencies of teams from December past. With that being said, here is this year’s list of good and bad teams to keep an eye n this month,
Good: Seattle will be making its playoff push and nobody is better the last month of the season than the Seahawks at home. They are sensational 34-16 ATS and have Cleveland (12/20) and St. Louis (12/27).
Keep an eye on (Good): Pittsburgh comes in 36-22 ATS and as per usual they will also be on the playoff hunt. The Steelers will be facing two clubs that are same situation in Indianapolis (12/6) and Denver (12/20), who are a trying to repeat as division champions.
Green Bay is 31-19 ATS and often against inflated numbers at the frozen tundra by this time of year. Dallas pays a visit on the 13th. Houston chimes in at 17-9 ATS, but has a toughie with New England (12/13).
Keep an eye on (Bad): You would think the Bills would have an edge in the Buffalo winter, but they are just 20-30 ATS at home. The Bills home slate is not easy either with games against Houston (12/6) and Dallas (12/27).
St. Louis has three home games in 11 days starting Dec. 6th against Arizona, Detroit and Tampa Bay on a Thursday night (17th). Unfortunately for the Rams they are 18-28 ATS this month at the Edward Jones Dome.
Keep an eye on (Good): As crazy as it seems Buffalo has no edge at home, they are 32-21 ATS on the road in December. Maybe the players want to get out the cold also, but trips to Philadelphia and Washington in Weeks 14/15 are hardly warm weather destinations.
Bad: Long time football bettors who look at whole schedules to formulate opinions annually mark Chicago as ‘play against’ teams, knowing their 13-34 ATS road record. Trip to Minnesota (12/20) and Tampa Bay (12/27) do not figure to be pleasant.
The Oakland Raiders are nearly as bad as the Bears at 17-34 ATS and a division game at Denver (12/13) could add to their woes.
Keep an eye on (Bad): We all realize San Francisco is a bad football team, we knew that in August. What everyone might not know is they are lousy against the spread on the road at 18-33 ATS and have trips in the Midwest to take on Chicago (12/6), Cleveland (12/13) and Detroit (12/27).
Last season was a rare no fold job by Dallas this month but one year does not correct 22-34 ATS mark. The Cowboys have a Monday nighter in Washington on the 7th, six days later they are in Green Bay and Week 16 in Buffalo, all without Tony Romo.
As good as the Texans are at home, that is just about how bad they are on the road at 12-19 ATS. To win AFC South they will have to do much better at Buffalo (12/6), at Indianapolis (12/20) and at Tennessee (12/27).
Keep an eye on (Good): The Packers had the dreadful looking three-game losing streak but they have been excellent front-runners in December at 47-26 ATS. Green Bay will be favored in every game except for trip to Arizona (12/27).
Bad: Miami ended being overrated this season, but nobody will do that to them this month at 22-46 ATS. For sure they will be handing out points against Baltimore (12/6) and possibly the next three weeks depending on circumstances against N.Y. Giants, at San Diego and Indianapolis.
Cleveland will also leave some coal in stocking as favorites at 5-10 ATS and will have the 49ers on the shores of Lake Erie on the 13th. What an ugly mess that game looks to be.
Keep an eye on (Bad): With the Cowboys shabby record this month, it makes sense they would not be to hot as favorites and are not at 21-35 ATS. The ‘Boys chances of being favorites might have eclipsed with Mr. Romo.
The Raiders are bankroll-burners in this role at 16-26 ATS and will favored for sure on Christmas Eve versus San Diego.
Good: With the kind of season Carolina is having, hard to imagine them as underdog, but it’s been something that helped football bettors have better gifts to hand out at incredible 30-14 ATS run. The only possible time this will happen in the 20th in New Jersey against the Giants.
Last year’s NFC champs the Seahawks are not far behind at 40-20 ATS and could be catching points at Minnesota (12/6).
Keep an eye on (Good): New England is 21-12 ATS, but who will they be an underdog too?
Keep an eye on (Bad): Chicago is miserable 20-39 ATS in this spot and will be receiving points at Minnesota (12/20) and the following week at Tampa Bay.
Oakland will be pooches at Denver (12/13) and when Green Bay visits them the following week and seems unlikely they will improve on 22-41 ATS mark.
Like an employee the night after the company Christmas party, the Rams have been sluggish at 20-37 ATS.
Good: The Panthers know how to close and are 27-11 ATS facing divisional foes the last month of the year. They will have three chances to improve on this playing at New Orleans (12/6) and having home and home with Atlanta on Dec. 13th and 27th.
Keep an eye on (Good): Normally this time of year New England has big spread numbers to overcome, yet is still 30-17 ATS against the AFC East. Just one matchup and that is versus the Jets on the 27th. Seattle is also quite strong at 30-16 ATS and has a revenge game with St. Louis on Week 16.
Keep an eye on (Bad): As just mentioned, St. Louis has to face Seattle in late December and they are hardly dangerous in division at 19-29 ATS. Before that contest, on the sixth of the month Arizona will be seeking payback.
Oakland only has one game remaining out of the AFC West, which is not good when sporting 20-31 ATS record. They will have Kansas City (12/6) and San Diego (12/24) at home, plus a trip to the Mile High City (13th).
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.