Searching for some stability in Any Given Sunday league? Look no further than the AFC North. Maybe.
The Baltimore/Cleveland/Pittsburgh/Cincinnati Combine was clearly the best division in the NFL heading into the holidays. Through Week 11 the four teams had a combined 26-14 record SU. Against out-of-division competition, they are 17-7-1 ATS. No other division comes close to either mark. But with two Pro Bowl QBs (Joe Burrow and DeShaun Watson) done for the year, the North may start to head south.
A brief look:
BALTIMORE – The Ravens created some separation with their Week 11 victory over Cincinnati, and seem to have more balance than anyone with a Top 10 offense and a Top 3 defense. Week 12 – at Los Angeles Chargers.
CLEVELAND – The Browns have quietly assembled the best defense in the league, allowing only 243 yards a game. Can they hang on and make the playoffs after DeShaun Watson’s season-ending shoulder injury? Week 12 – at Denver
PITTSBURGH – The Steelers somehow keep hanging in despite being outscored over the season by nearly 30 points. Next five games are against teams .500 or below. WEEK 11 – at Cincinnati
CINCINNATI – Like Watson, Joe Burrow is cooked for the rest of the season, and with that any Super Bowl hopes are also gone. It’s all about evaluation and draft position from here on in. WEEK 12 – Pittsburgh.
CAN TRAVIS KELCE BEAT THE ODDS?
The way she goes through boyfriends, the anecdotal chances of Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce still being America’s sweethearts when the next Super Bowl kicks off wouldn’t seem to be all that great. The betting odds say otherwise, however. BetOnline says it’s -140 that the lovebirds will still be at it through the middle of next February, and you can get +100 if you think he’ll be cast aside by then (because in reality no one dumps Swift).
Kelce is the replacement for British actor Joe Alwyn, who was the replacement for actor Tom Hiddleston, who was the replacement for Scottish singer Calvin Harris, who was the replacement for singer/actor Harry Styles, who was the replacement for – guess it doesn’t matter. Those who keep count say that Swift has had 16 (somewhat) significant others since 2008.
NETS HAVE BEEN A BARGAIN
Through the first month of the NBA season, everything about the Brooklyn Nets screamed average. The Nets were 6-6 – 3-3- at home and 3-3 on the road. They were 5-5 in the Eastern Conference. All of which put them on a pace to barely make the play-in tournament in April. But as mundane as Brooklyn has been, the Nets have gotten the attention of bettors with a 9-2-1 record ATS. The Nets opened the season with five straight covers, pushed in a loss at home to Boston, then covered four of the next five. Philadelphia, Orlando and Oklahoma City all covered nine of their first 12.
BRAVES EARLY SERIES FAVORITE FOR 2024
The Braves couldn’t get it done in the post-season, but going 104-58 in regular season play and bringing back the entire gang in 2024 makes Atlanta the betting favorite (+750) to win the Series next season. The Dodgers are close behind at +800, with WS champion Texas the favorite to come out of the American League (also +800). If you have cash to burn or want to buy someone a gag Christmas present, you can get tickets on either Colorado or Oakland at +20000.
LINING UP IN FOXBORO
With the loss to the Colts in Germany, the Patriots have now been beyond godawful on two continents this season, leading to increased speculation that GOAT coach Bill Belichick will not be around for OTAs next spring. If not Belichick, then who? The abysmal offense and regression of QB Mac Jones basically eliminates OC Bill O’Brien, and any on-staff hiring spec would start with LB coach and Bob Kraft favorite Jerod Mayo. Former Pats LB coach Mike Vrabel could be had if Tennessee doesn’t get it together, and Jim Harbaugh could be available if Michigan wants to dump him and help get the NCAA off its back.