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NFL Bargain Bets for Week 12
November 26th 2010 - Old Man Winner             

Carolina +10.5 at Cleveland

No, that is not a misprint. Yes, I am counting on the 1-9 Carolina Panthers this week on the road. C'mon a 3-7 team that is starting 35 yr. old Jake Delhomme is giving 10.5 points, seriously?

Look, I am not a Panthers fan, and I know full well how dreadful they are, but there is no way that ANY 3-7 team that is starting a sub-par QB should be a 10 1/2 point favorite. These are two poor teams with no shot at the playoffs who will both start rusty QB's who have not seen the field in weeks and have poor defenses. These types of games are total crap shoots and very regularly won by the team that turns the ball over the fewest times, which is often (not always) largely dependent on luck.

Both teams' game plans will be similarly boring and conservative - establish the run game and minimize passing game mistakes. Granted the Browns with emerging stud Peyton HIllis have a far superior rushing game, but the Panthers at least get one of their primary guys back this week in Jonathan Stewart. He should split carries with Mike Goodsen, who has done a nice job filling in for Carolina.

The other part of this matchup that I would normally fear is special teams where Cleveland can be very good when Joshua Cribbs is 100%. However, Cribbs is questionable, and even if he plays he will likely not be at full speed.

I expect this game to be a low scoring affair which could be determined by the kickers. It should be close throughout zigging and zagging with each turnover. Like I said, to me this game can go either way in terms of a winner, but I don't see either team pulling away by more than a touchdown.

Cleveland 19 Carolina 16

*
interesting note - out of their 10 games played, Carolina has played only 3 teams with a losing record and Cleveland has played only 1 team with losing record. If you are a forward thinker you may want to take a note that next year's season wins line (Over) might look favorable as both teams' schedules will undoubtedly be much more favorable.
 



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