Not a bad week 12 here: my Wednesday NFL Only Bettor podcast best bet (NE/Tenn over 43.5) came in, last week’s best here (GB/LAR over 47) likewise delivered, and the outside bet ( Houston/Jets under 44.5) was also sweet.
I did take that outside risk on the Jags, at home, providing an upset, but they fell short of full Cordarelle there. I didn’t make the Jets under a highlighted bet this week, but I like it mucho.
Sunday 18:00 – Miami D will be too strong for Giants
Minnesota (5-6) at Detroit (0-10-1)
The hardest part of this season will be figuring out whether the Vikes go 8-9 or 9-8, grab the last wildcard and exit the playoffs or not. I’d say take the Vikes giving 7, but Minn does seem to enjoy playing games that are decided by more than 4.
Arizona (9-2) at Chicago (4-7)
The Cards are expecting both Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins back. They run the single wing better than Justin Fields. I am still lobbying for Andy Dalton to be named player/coach of the Bears. Or maybe player/offensive coord of the Giants.
Tampa (8-3) at Atlanta (5-6)
The Bucs let Indy get off to an upset-resembling lead, then came back strong. I don’t think they allow Atlanta to get off to a lead, yet I still see this one head under the 50.5.
Indianapolis (5-6) at Houston (2-9)
Good Timing Bowl I. Indy need a turnaround game, especially with the Titans on a bye, which gives them a chance to get within two, and Houston are just the team to provide them with it. They will be back to running the ball, and though I won’t take them to win by 10 I do think the over 45.5 is vulnerable.
Philadelphia (5-7) at NY Jets (3-8)
Jersey Turnpike Derby II If I were Vince Lombardi I would be petitioning the Jersey authorities to change the name of the rest-stop on the Jersey Turnpike for Sunday. Can the Jest stop Jalen Hurts and the single-wing Eagles’ attack? I am again very tempted by the under (44.5).
LA Chargers (6-5) at Cincinnati (7-4)
Joe Burrow vs Justin Herbert in a battle of the 2020 Draft’s top QBs. It sounds strange to say it now, but Burrow actually has a better support group, which at the start of the season you wouldn’t have thought. The Chargers are looking very Chargerish lately: dangerous but finding it hard to win. The Bengals giving the Chargers 3 was my best bet on the podcast, and I would stick with it here. I also might consider the over of 50.5, but I would probably do a weather check on that one first. And on the offense: it may be that this dink and dunk kind of pass game we’ve seen from Herbert recently works against their one best weapon, Mike Williams deep.
NY Giants (4-7) at Miami (5-7)
The line on this dropped from Giants plus 5.5 to 4.5 which means a lot of people must like the G Men on the road, but I don’t. That point really isn’t crucial to anything much, but Miami have been playing good D all season, even better in the past month, and of course have won four in a row. I think they make it five in their climb back to .500 and the inevitable week 18 upset of the Pats.
Best bet: Back Miami -4.5 at 9/10
Sunday 21:05 – Fascinating game in Vegas
Washington (5-6) at Las Vegas (6-5)
Palindromic Records! Fascinating game. The Team’s D has actually been better with Chase Young gone: they seem to settled into more zone coverage which has given their pass rush more time. Offensively they run the ball and Heinecke reaches the parts other QBs can’t by mostly making good decisions. Meanwhile, Vegas are up and down like a retiree blowing his pension check at the rouelette table. Sometimes it comes up Black, but sometimes…
Baltimore (8-3) at Pittsburgh (5-5-1)
Have you seen the Ravens’ injury list? It’s like a whole team of Ben Rothlisbergers, and Big Ben is fully “healthy” – nudge nudge wink wink. This is a really tough call because of that Baltimore uncertainty and the fact that the Ravens right now can’t do to the Steelers what the Bengals did last week. Especially as TJ Watt (and fellow LB “Mickey” Spillane) has been placed on the Covid list and will likely miss the game. Rookie Derrek Tuszka, signed when Denver cut him, and Taco Charlton, also picked up off the street, may see a lot of snaps. Marlon Humphrey is the biggest worry for the Ravens, because although Ben is creakier than a steam engine, he does have receivers who can turn a little space into a lot of YAC.
Sunday 21:25 – Rams can bounce back and cover handicap
Jacksonville (2-9) at LA Rams (7-4)
Good Timing Bowl II aka Jalen Ramsey Bowl! Nothing stops a skid better than the Jags. As I said, the Jags messed with me last week, so this week I’m striking back. I try to avoid asking you to count on big spreads, but this time I’m going to risk backing the Rams’ line to bounce back and play decently against a good Jags front, giving time for Matt Stafford to cover 13. I also like the Rams to cover the first half (-7 at evs).
Outside bet: Back the Rams -13 at 9/10
San Francisco (6-5) at Seattle (3-8)
One of the things that makes this one a tough call is that the Niners are without Deebo Samuel, which might hurt their running game even more than the receiving. Fred Warner will also miss the game; both expect to be back next week for the Bengals. But Seattle’s running game may not be positioned to take advantage of Warner’s absence (though LBs Dre Greenlaw and probably Marcel Harris are also likely to miss this one) since Alex Collins and Rashad Perry both remain limited. Even more limited last week was the Russell Wilson to DK Metcalf connection: this is where the Niners’ D may be most vulnerable. Unusual to have the Seahawks getting more than a FG at home, but if it were less than 3 I’d likely try the Niners.
Monday 01:20 – Denver (6-5) at Kansas City (7-4)
The Broncos showed last week how difficult they can make things for offenses, and that they can run the ball and make explosive plays. I think the Chiefs’ D is up to controlling the latter, but the question is whether this year’s Chiefs’ O will make a mess of trying to cope with Vic Fangio’s D. The line here slipped to 9.5 since Wednesday, but I still think Denver can keep it close.
Tuesday 01:15 – New England can edge out Bills
New England (8-4) at Buffalo (7-4)
A really hard one to figure because this matchup (apart from the second game last season) has been low-scoring and tight in the Josh Allen era. We all think we know the game-plans: the Bills will try to perplex and confuse a rookie QB, the Pats will try to pound a Buffalo D that plays the whole game in nickel. Of course the Pats do that too, or most of the time, but their LBs are bigger, and Buffalo’s O line isn’t as good as the Pats, nor are their runners as strong. So the Pats have to keep Allen in the pocket and not let him beat them with his feet, extending pass plays as well as runing for yards.
I wish it were as simple as it sounds. Kyle Dugger is on the Covid list for the Pats, and could be back by Monday, but he won’t have practiced: he’s crucial to their D (their leading tackler) because they play mostly in “big nickel” and he fills a LB/S role. Teron Johnson does that for the Bills, but he doesn’t have Adrian Phillips doing the same. If you’re looking for value, take the Pats on the moneyline, or grab the 2.5 which I think will drop by gametime anyway. For more value conside anytime TD scorers Dawson Knox (3/1) for Cleveland, Hunter Henry (7/2) or Rhamondre Stevenson (15/8) for the Pats.
Value bet: Back New England to beat Buffalo @ 23/20
Bye week: Green Bay (9-3): The AR Express doesn’t seem to need a shot in the arm
Recovery week: Tennessee (8-4),Cleveland (6-6). Both these teams will appreciate time to get injured players back/healthy and regroup. The Browns can still hang around if the Ravens and Bengals were to lose; the Titans’ lead in the AFC South might be down to two games if the Colts win.
Bye Bye week: Carolina (5-7): Cam Newton had a stinker last week and Christian McCaffrey is out for the year. See ya.