NFL best bet: Top must-wager weekly


No matter what you call it – Pick of the Week, Lock of the Week, Best Bet, etc., a regular column delineating the one must-bet wager weekly is a staple of any NFL prognosticator in any medium. On this page we present only the cream of the crop, *the* bet you’ll want to make in a given week. In addition, we promise complete transparency: We’ll leave up our past picks, win, lose or push so you can judge for yourself whether or not to take NFLbets’ advice (but we think you will).

As we’ve stated elsewhere, a primary rule within the NFLbets dogma is this: Don’t force your bets. There is absolutely no requirement to make a minimum number of wagers weekly. Heck, the ideal situation would be to throw down as much money as possible on those three to five occasions in any given NFL season when the outcome is crystal-clear obvious days beforehand. But where’s the fun in that? After all, one or two bets are always worth making.

NFLbets’ “Pick of the week” is primarily for the conservative NFL bettor, because the truth is that in gambling, conservatism is the way to go. We stake our reputation on our best bets, so let’s enjoy making some money this year!


Picks of the Week: Considering two underdogs in Sunday’s divisional playoffs

Thursday, 09 January 2020 11:11 EST

Whoops, they did it again! As noted yesterday here at NFLbets, since 2010, favorites of 9½ or more points in the NFL playoffs are 5-1 SU/ATS – with the sole win coming back in 2011 as Rex Ryan’s New York Jets won their Super Bowl against the New England Patriots in the divisional round. The line in Sunday’s AFC divisional round game has gone from Texans +9 at opening to Texans +9½, thereby increasing the level of difficulty in betting that game.

Also note that NFLbets caught Saturday’s AFC divisional at Baltimore Ravens -9 versus Tennessee, but that line is now up to Ravens -9½ as well. We’re feeling some regression to the mean is impending, but where…? Perhaps we’ll find hope in analyzing the bets for…

Houston Texans +9½ at Kansas City Chiefs, over/under 51 points

Not to be dogmatic, but since the preseason kicked off, NFLbets has figured the Kansas City Chiefs would make the playoffs and that the subsequent run would be all about Andy Reid. We still believe this is the case, what with the strangely unpredictable yet somehow utterly predictable Houston Texans coming to town.

Reid’s CV reads in part as follows.

• Overall record, regular season: 207-128-1 SU (181-148-7 ATS)
• Overall record, regular season with Kansas City: 77-35 SU (63-46-3 ATS)
• Overall record, playoffs: 12-14 SU (13-13 ATS)
• Overall record, playoffs with Kansas City: 2-5 SU/ATS
• Overall record, playoffs divisional round with bye: 4-1 SU (3-2 ATS)
• Overall record, all games after bye week with Kansas City: 6-2 SU/ATS

The numbers with smaller sample size are naturally simultaneously the most compelling and completely contradictory. Maybe precedent should be thrown away here; after all, the Patrick Mahomes-fueled Kanasas City Chiefs are like no other team, and back-to-back 31-point showings in last year’s playoffs are certainly nothing to scoff at. This is a top-10 offense in essentially all major statistical categories.

And by the way, has anyone noticed how Steve Spagnuolo completely created a defense from dregs? Last year, this unit was no. 31 or 32 in virtually every defensive sphere. This year, the Chiefs are best in the league in – no, really, NFLbets didn’t believe it, either – passing yards and rushing yards allowed. A weak-ish schedule got the KC D ranking just 14th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric but still 6th against the pass, where the bulk of a Texans attack would occur.

When the Texans handed the Chiefs a 31-24 loss in week 6, the Texans offense ran up 472 yards on the Chiefs, the most this defense surrendered in a game all season. In fact, in the four other games in which opponents ran up 400 yards or more on Kansas City, the Chiefs went 4-0 SU – and they’re 8-2 SU (7-3 ATS) since the Houston loss.

Assuming that some classic clock mismanagement from Reid doesn’t hand Deshaun Watson a plum opportunity late in the game, the Texans simply must find a way to move the ball against this solid defense – and they’re probably catching the Chiefs at a bad time. In the past eight games, the Houston offense has been held to 301 yards or fewer four times.

This week, Watson will be playing with his full contingent of receivers, with Will Fuller and Kenny Stills expected to join DeAndre Hopkins on the filed this week. Watson & Co. managed to pull out the W without the field-stretching Fuller out there. The Texans are now 3-3 SU/ATS with Fuller out of the lineup on the season, but certainly they’d rather have him playing, as they’ve gone 8-3 with Fuller in the lineup and 6-1 when he has five or more receptions.

And while the talking heads will be playing up the J.J. Watt vs Mahomes angle, we’re thinking the bets are all about DeShaun and the Texans offense. The question remains: Can Houston essentially play their best offensive game all season just to keep pace? We say they can, especially if snow falls for game time. (Currently snow is expected for Saturday but is just 20% likely for Sunday.) Holding off on an over/under bet until that precipitation report comes in, NFLbets says take the Houston Texans +9½ at Kansas City – seriously, that’s way too high a line, isn’t it?

Seattle Seahawks +4 at Green Bay Packers, over/under 47 points

Right, NFLbets is just coming right out with it: Take the Seattle Seahawks ML of +155 at Green Bay. The truth is we haven’t trusted the Packers all season, and we’re not sure why: They went a solid enough 10-6 ATS and a decent 3-2 SU/ATS against playoff teams (though two wins came against the Minnesota Vikings and the third against Mahomes-less Kansas City).

Meanwhile, the Seahawks have been gritting it out all year. Russell Wilson’s propensity to spin away and survive endless pass rushes coming through an inferior OL makes a metaphor for the entire Seahawks team which is 10-2 SU (though just 6-5-1 ATS) in games decided by 8 points or fewer. The DVOA metric ranks the ’Hawks offense at no. 5 – this despite facing the league’s 3rd-toughest schedule.

What makes betting this game especially maddening, however, is the insanity surrounding homefield advantage in 2019 and Pete Carroll’s entire freaking playoff history. This year home teams went 109-132-1 SU and 104-137-9 ATS. Most typical of this trend was Seattle, who went 7-1 SU (5-2-1 ATS) in away games and 4-4 SU (2-6 ATS) at home. Even more ridiculous is Carroll’s playoff record. Not including the two Super Bowls, the Seahawks coach has gone an impressive 9-5 SU (8-6 ATS) – but he’s 6-0 SU (4-2 ATS) in home playoff games!

Clearly these sorts of numbers are twisting bookmakers’ heads, too, and thus a line which essentially gives Green Bay the traditional homefield edge plus a token ½-point to draw in Seahawks backers. We ain’t buying it. And with all the credit Belichick & Brady and Payton & Brees got for Playoff Experience in the lines last week, we’re wondering why the league’s proven second-best combo of Carroll & Wilson doesn’t get more respect – particularly against a rookie head coach in his first playoff game. Come on, now. Take the Seattle Seahawks +4 at Green Bay as a hedge to the money line bet.

NFLbets’ Picks of the Week last week: 7-0.
NFLbets this season, all recommended bets: 65-44-1.

–written by Os Davis

If you’re betting NFL playoff football, be sure to get an exclusive match bonus through NFLbets when signing up at MyBookie.com; enter promo code NFLBETS when depositing to get up to $1,000 in free bets!

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Picks of the week: Very revealing stats for Saturday’s divisional round playoff games

Wednesday, 08 January 2020 13:42 EST

All right, now this is NFL playoffs betting – four games, do or die, all or nothing, time to leave everything – including all the clichés you can muster – on the field! Of course, winning bets will perk up anyone’s interest in the NFL playoffs but for the football bettor, this is pure holiday season.

And o wow, did NFLbets turn up some killer interesting stats to help us make this year’s divisional round nicely lucrative. First off are some outlier numbers from last week’s results, including:

• All four unders hit, and the NFC no. 6 seeded Minnesota Vikings were the highest-scoring team with 26 points. With dudes like Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes and Jimmy Garoppolo taking the field this weekend, one hardly needs more incentive to bet lotsa overs this week,

• Away teams were 3-1 SU/ATS – and the only loss was by the Buffalo Bills (ATS by ½-point), who were not only the vogue pick to upset in this year’s wildcard round but also managed to run up a 16-0 lead on the perpetually postseason-underperforming Houston Texans. This shouldn’t be too surprising, NFLbets supposes, as home teams went 109-132-1 SU and 104-137-9 ATS in 2019.

• Russell Wilson was the only quarterback to throw for more than 300 yards, and the Tennessee Titans won despite Ryan Tannehill’s 72 passing yards.

• Oddest of all (so to speak) may be NFLbets’ perfect 4-0 record in pointspread betting and 7-0 in all bets last weekend. Yes!

Relevant stats for this weekend’s games include:

• Since 2010, home teams are 30-10 SU – but an even 20-20 ATS – in divisional round games.

• In these 40 games, taking the over has been good for a 25-15 mark. Unders do best at the extreme ends of the scale: In games with a line of under-43 or over-51, the under is 10-6.

• Teams favored by 9½ points or more are 6-1 SU/ATS, with the sole win by Rex Ryan’s New York Jets over the New England Patriots in 2011.

• The big difference-maker for the visiting side? It’s all about the day. In divisional round games on Saturday, the home team is an almost unbelievable 18-2 SU (15-5 ATS) – and a visitor hasn’t won on a divisional Saturday since 2013. This means on Sunday, the chalk may be tossed out the window with home teams just 12-8 SU and an incredible 5-15 ATS over the decade.

Normally NFLbets would look for rather extreme trends like the Saturday advantage or the Sunday ATS disadvantage for home teams – again, especially following the 2019 season in which home field became irrelevant, apparently – but some of these stats are just too compelling.

The Saturday advantage can be figured as a product of higher seeded team’s bye week as well as the short week one team has gotten since the Saturday/Sunday format was implemented; this time around, the Vikings got shortchanged a day. These factors may also explain that 6-1 record SU/ATS by 9½-point favorites as with the inherent advantages, qualitative differences between teams can be magnified.

The reverse is also true: When a playoff team gets back on the 7-day schedule, games get tighter – markedly tighter than bettors would like. Note that the Titans got an *extra* day thanks to the Saturday wildcard game.

So this week, NFLbets is using some reverse logic: For which teams will trends hold? We start the betting chronologically with…

Minnesota Vikings +7 at San Francisco 49ers, over/under 44 points

The Vikings can take pride in a great SU win, though NFLbets was certainly not the only one who reckoned last week’s line of New Orleans Saints -8½ was reasonable. (Sooooooo, Minnesota’s getting fewer points against a better team…? Come on.) New Orleans is a team in decline in the short term. The San Francisco 49ers, by contrast, are not.

On the other hand, the 49ers defense probably isn’t as good as you think and Dalvin Cook may be well-suited to break San Francisco. As it turns out, the Niners opened the season going 8-0 SU (5-3 ATS) and ultimately went 10-1 SU (5-5-1 ATS) against non-playoff teams. In six of their last nine games, the defense allowed 25 points or more, and opponents ran up 100 or more yards on the ground 12 times in 2019. And the San Francisco D’s worst number is in the yards per carry statistic, where they’re bottom-10.

Now can the Vikings score enough points, even if Cook burns, to keep up with the NFL’s no. 2 scoring offense? Since the Great Rejuvenation of Kirk Cousins in week 5, the Vikes are averaging 27.0 points per game but in the last five have managed just 20, 39 (including one TD scored by the defense), 10, 19 and 26 (20 in regular time). We daresay that won’t be enough. Take the San Francisco 49ers -7 vs Minnesota and take the over on an O/U of 44 points.

Tennessee Titans +9 at Baltimore Ravens, over/under 46½ points

The hot take: Damn, this line is too high. After all, the Titans are one of the hottest teams still playing, on a 7-3 SU (6-3-1 ATS) clip since Ryan Tannehill took over as starter. And Derrick Henry has been an absolute beast with 168.4 ypg in the past seven games to go with 11 TDs.

But these Ravens haven’t lost SU since September and are on a 9-1 ATS run in which their *average* result is a 10.4-point win; this run includes West Coast games, late games, games against playoff contenders, AFC teams and NFC teams. Consider playoff experience and whatnot all you wish, but the truth is that the 2019 Baltimore Ravens have been beating everyone worth playing, and sometimes you just have to bet football. Take the Baltimore Ravens -9 vs Tennessee and, yep, take the over on an O/U of 46½ points.

NFLbets’ Picks of the Week last week: 7-0.
NFLbets this season, all recommended bets: 65-44-1.

–written by Os Davis

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Picks of the Week: NFC Wildcard Games

Thursday, 02 January 2020 14:23 EST

In yesterday’s NFL Playoffs edition of Picks of the Week, NFLbets laid out some good lucrative opportunities for betting AFC wildcard games and … wait a minute, can we really be liking this many visiting teams? Well, why not? This is 2019, after all, the home team went just 106-139-8 ATS (not including the international games) for the year – well below the 50/50 ratio the bookmakers aim for weekly – as such a disadvantage slowly disappears.

Additionally, thanks to seeding, the weaker of two teams can easily get the home date, e.g. the Philadelphia Eagles hosting the Seattle Seahawks, who not infrequently this season have played like the NFC’s second-best side. And any advantage the Eagles might have been believed to get from the West-to-East travel has also evaporated into the past. Hell, the Seahawks in the past three seasons are 6-2-1 ATS in games played in the Eastern time zone.

So while at first glance, the first four NFL playoff games don’t look like much, NFLbets is expecting the formerly topsy-turvy now normalized ways of parity will generate lots of on-field excitement – and hopefully in-sportsbook lucrativeness. Let’s get to betting NFC wildcard games, starting with…

Minnesota Vikings +8½ at New Orleans Saints, over/under 49½ points

Full disclosure: NFLbets admits that have no idea how to account for the conclusions to the past two New Orleans seasons. Two years ago in Minnesota, the Saints overcame a 17-point first half deficit in unflappable, champion-like fashion to take the lead late in the fourth and give Case Keenum just one play to win the ballgame. The Vikings won the ballgame.

Last season, perhaps the most famous non-call in NFL history deprived the Saints of a red zone opportunity and send the game into overtime. The Los Angeles Rams won that ballgame.

You know how certain reality-denying Democratic Party types like to claim that America has already elected a woman president, because Hillary Clinton actually won more popular votes in Election 2016? That’s the way bettors might choose to look at 2019 New Orleans Saints on this playoff run, i.e. what are the odds that a team can advance to the Super Bowl three years in a row? As essentially the past two Saints’ runs were decided by massive outliers, we can guess that the Saints won’t get bounced on a fluke for a third time but some skepticism on this team going far must be applied.

So … are the Vikings the team to beat Peyton, Brees & Co. this time? Since the Super Bowl run following the 2009, the Saints are a mediocre 4-5 SU/ATS; as favorites in that span, they’re just 3-3 SU and an incredible 1-5 ATS. Finally, note that just one of those nine postseason games were decided by more than 8 points. Now at Minnesota +8½, this is one tricky line – particularly with the Vikings backing into the playoffs.

Two weeks ago, the Vikes were even in contention for a bye week in the playoffs but rolled over the Green Bay Packers and sat starters against the Chicago Bears in week 17. Prior to the Packers loss, Minnesota had enjoyed an 8-2 SU (6-4 ATS) run. The Vikings are also a poor 1-4 SU/ATS against playoff teams, but with excepting the 13-point loss to Green Bay, all other games were within a touchdown.

Now NFLbets realizes that betting on Kirk Cousins is hardly an inspiring prospect, but more important for the Vikings has got to be Dalvin Cook’s health. Cook has been practicing in full this week and will play – absolutely necessary for a dude who’s produced nearly 28% of the Vikings’ total yards this year. Cook’s presence for this one plus Payton’s apparent conservatism come playoff time is enough for us to advise NFL bettors take the Minnesota Vikings +8½ at New Orleans, and at -430 on the money line, we’re thinking about the Saints in a parlay and/or teaser.

Seattle Seahawks -2½ at Philadelphia Eagles, over/under 45½ points

This line is something of a puzzler, though the sportsbooks are probably looking at the ignominious ending to the Seahwaks’ season – thriller against the San Francisco 49ers or no – in which they limed to a 1-3 SU (0-3-1 ATS) finish. But as the talking heads like to remind, experience can be crucial in the postseason – and the Carroll-and-Wilson Seahawks have plenty. In wildcard round games alone, these Seahawks are 3-1 SU/ATS, with the sole SU loss a 2-point upset by the Dallas Cowboys last season and the sole ATS loss in a 1-point SU win over the Vikings in 2016.

And while Seahawks fandom and presumably the locker room alike are geeked by the return of Marshawn Lynch – just in time to face a defense that’s no. 11 in yards per rush attempt – the Eagles’ active roster boasts little more than walking wounded. One may marvel at Philadelphia’s tenacity in winning four straight and swiping the NFC East title from the Cowboys, until one realizes that all four games were against the weakass teams of that NFC East.

Among those “skill players” not actually on the disabled list, WR Nelson Agholor and RB Miles Sanders have sat out practices this week; TE Zach Ertz will play hurt. Boston Scott and the practice squad: This is what Carson Wentz is working with in his first NFL playoff game against the poor man’s Belichick-and-Brady? Come on! Take the Seattle Seahawks -2½ at Philadelphia.

Further, we’re figuring that Lynch’s 12 touches and one goal line plunge were a precursor to this week, when Carroll is likely to have his guys grind it out in cold Philly weather. (Current forecasts call for temperatures in the 30s and a 20% chance of some Seattle-style rain.) The Seahawks OL will likely be without G Mike Iupati and possibly C Joey Hunt, who stepped into the starting role in week 8; already Seattle ranks a lowly 24th in pass protection, but a reasonable 15th in run blocking and 10th in power run blocking even before Beast Mode reupped. So we’re also saying take the under on an O/U of 45½ points as well: Note that in all Carroll-and-Wilson Seahawks NFC playoff games, the under is 5-6 but is 3-1 in the wildcard round.

–written by Os Davis

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NFL betting, week 17: Looking for outliers, pitying the Eagles

Friday, 27 December 2019 12:38 EST

The only week of the NFL season worse for lucratively picking winning bets than week 17 is week 1. On opening day, every team is literally untested, every team full of unknowns, every preseason futures proposition bet impossible to win.

But by week 17, the proper NFL bettor has a pretty good hold on things, with both the playoff picture and the immediate postseason head coach firings are reasonably clear. Unfortunately, any such expertise run up during the regular season is thrown out the window for the seasons’ final week.

In 2019, we’re looking at a week 17 schedule in which five of the 16 games are completely irrelevant, except for a few potential job openings here and there. Another nine pit one playoff-bound team against an already eliminated side and these lines, i.e. Miami Dolphins -15 at New England Patriots, are the real trappers for the NFL bettor. We know the Jacksonville Jaguars are collectively already gone on vacation, but how loose will a non-contender such as Miami or Detroit play just to backdoor cover on a double-digit point spread when the playoff side benches starters in the second half?

Nevertheless, in leaning on some outliers, NFLbets found some viable options for NFL bettors in week 17 – because why wouldn’t you wager? We’ve got to beef up the bankroll in time for the playoffs and Super Bowl! For picks of the week for betting NFL week 17, then, we’ll start with…

Philadelphia Eagles -4 at New York Giants, under 45 points

Ah, yes – one more week to gaze upon the pitiable NFC East. Remember way back at season’s beginning when the sportsbooks were figuring on a dogfight for the division title between the seemingly well-armed Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles, just one season removed from their Super Bowl upset of the New England Patriots? Well, we got a fight between (beat)dogs, at least…

After the Cowboys’ pathetic display of last week replete with numerous dropped catches, Ezekiel Elliott coming off the field for 3rd downs and the allowing of 10 points in the first quarter despite a turnover on downs and a missed FG, the Eagles are now “in control of their own destiny”, as the cliché masters like to say. Or are they…?

The truth is that the Eagles are just 1-4 SU against teams with winning records, and the sole W came in week 4 against the Green Bay Packers. Philly appears to be capable of taking care of business in the NFC East at 4-1 SU, but their 2-3 ATS record against those teams should give NFL bettors pause – particularly since the ATS wins have come the last two weeks.

As if this isn’t enough to destroy one’s faith in betting the Eagles, consider that they’re coming into this game with, likesay, no wide receivers to speak of. Between the IR and the DNPs figured for this game, the Eagles are leaving nearly 2,000 receiving yards on the bench, over 51% of the team’s total. Philadelphia’s leading active receivers are TE Dallas Goebert at 542 yards and RB Miles Sanders at 510 – this when they’re facing the NFL’s second worst passing defense per Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric.

In short, NFL bettors will have to be serious spendthrifts to wager on a winner here plus or minus points. That’s why we’re recommending bettors take the under on an O/U of 45 points. The Eagles defense has kept (mostly bad) opposing offenses to 17 or fewer points in six of the past eight games, including the overtime game against these Giants in week 14. Plus, New York has averaged just over 16 points per game against playoff or still-contending teams.

Sure, the Eagles might win and even cover the spread. But NFLbets feels a lot better just knowing all we need is for two low-watt teams to do their (lack of) stuff one more time in 2019…

Oakland Raiders +3 at Denver Broncos, over/under 40½ points

Don’t get NFLbets wrong here: The Broncos’ achievements this season have been extraordinary, considering they essentially ran the offense without a quarterback for the first 11 games and have subsequently turned to rookie Andrew Luck Andrew Lock Drew Lock. Though just 6-9 SU, Denver is 9-5-1 ATS (or 9-6, depending on where you caught the week 4 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars), better than all but four teams.

But while Lock appears a fine young QB and Broncos fans would certainly appreciate a shift to younger blood after the Elway Era “highlighted” by big-name/low-production dudes like Peyton Manning and Joe Flacco. However, the fact that Denver is calling for 79 pass plays in the past two games points to a still-imbalanced offense. Homefield advantage may help Lock, where he’s 2-0 SU/ATS, but let’s just say more on this below.

(Note: Current weather reports have temperatures in the 30s for Sunday with a 0% chance of snow or rain. Adjust bets accordingly.)

Coming into cold ‘n’ sunny Denver are the Oakland Raiders in their last game before morphing into the Las Vegas Raiders. At 7-8 SU/ATS, Chucky’s guys have generally exceeded expectations in what might have been yet another money-saving tank year. And in 2019, this Raiders team has demonstrably been the NFL’s streakiest: After winning SU/ATS on opening day versus Denver, they took two SU/ATS losses followed by a 5-2 SU/ATS run, followed by an 0-4 SU/ATS losing streak and finally winning both ways in Los Angeles last weekend.

Entering the game as one of the few remaining bubble teams, the Raiders’ season in hindsight makes the team appear exactly that: Against sub-.500 teams, the Raiders went 7-2 SU (6-3 ATS) and 2-1 SU/ATS in games outside of Oakland. (Look, there’s no way NFLbets is calling last week’s game against the Chargers in Los Angeles an away game.)

In terms of intangibles and specifically the will to win, the Raiders hold all the cards. Jon Gruden has done a surprising job creating what should be a competitive team next season out of draft picks, castoffs and low-budget options. Though Derek Carr looks more physically limited than ever, i.e. can he throw the ball more than 15 yards downfield, Gruden is seriously living up to his “quarterback whisperer” reputation.

And despite some glaring shortcomings such as a bottom-10 red-zone scoring offense and a bottom-5 standing in points allowed and turnovers generated, reality says that the Raiders will a) be playing this game with a spot in the playoffs in the mix and b) be reaching deep into the playbook in an “anything goes” situation.

But here’s the big one – and we did promise outliers. Reputation says that Denver enjoys one of the NFL’s biggest homefield advantages. The truth, though, is that the Denver Broncos have the second-worst record ATS at home over the past 20 seasons. This year? They’re 5-1-1 with the sole loss against the Kansas City Chiefs. Ugly beatdown at the hands of the New York Jets notwithstanding, the Raiders have been beating these kinds of odds all season. Take the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders +4 at Denver.

NFLbets’ Picks of the Week last week: 3-1-1.
NFLbets’ Picks of the Week this season: 41-27-1.

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Picks of the Week, NFL week 16: Focusing on Baltimore, the South

Wednesday, 18 December 2019 21:57 EST

NFLbets has been eschewing betting on AFC South and NFC South intradivisional games for most of this season, but AFC South vs NFC South? Now those games might be worth betting, and this one certainly looks like a lucrative one…

Houston Texans -3 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

In terms of ATS records, things are nicely even – The Texans are 7-7 ATS and 5-4 ATS again against non-AFC South teams; Tampa Bay is 6-7-1 ATS overall and 4-4-1 against non-NFC South teams. The only oddity with either of these two overall is the Buccaneers’ strange trip to just about .500: After starting the season 2-2 ATS/SU, the Bucs suffered a 1-5 SU (0-6 ATS) jag and chased that with the 4-0 SU (3-0-1 ATS) run they’re currently on. However, note that all four wins came against non-playoff teams.

Additionally, Tampa Bay has been a poster child for home field disadvantage in 2019, and the Buccaneers are the NFL’s only winless team ATS at 0-5-1. But overall, the home team is 93-123-5, a winning percentage of just .443. So all things considered, NFLbets is throwing away the ATS numbers for this one and instead we’re just betting the football.

To wit: Take the Houston Texans -3 at Tampa Bay.

The Tampa Bay offensive line is once again without OT Donovan Smith – not great news, considering the OL has given up 26 sacks on top of Jameis Winston’s 19 interceptions in the past nine games – as well as Winston’s favorite target, WR Mike Evans. Currently bottom-10 in most passing categories, the Houston pass defense isn’t scaring anyone since J.J. Watt’s latest early-season exit, but Winston’s generosity has been almost unprecedented. (Even the Detroit Lions got one last week, and they’re dead last in interceptions…)

On the other side, the Tampa Bay defense’s passing stats look pitiable indeed, but the Bucs’ ranks of 32nd and 30th in passing attempts and yardage, respectively, may be put on the propensity for Tampa Bay to engage in shootouts. Nine times have Buccaneers games gone over 50 points scoring this season, and we’re thinking that’s exactly the sort of game Deshaun Watson and his Texans want going into the playoffs. So we’ll also take the over on an O/U of 49½ points.

Baltimore Ravens -10½ at Cleveland Browns

NFLbets doesn’t like to lean on off-field material in formulating bets, but with these two teams in 2019, avoiding factoring in the intangibles is impossible. The post-Sunday news in the NFL this week includes stories on Browns players taunting the Arizona Cardinals sideline – in a game they’d go on to lose by two touchdowns to a 3-win (now 4-win) team.

And while the Myles Garrett helmet swing demonstrated to a new generation how the Browns can lose even when the actual game score is in their favor, Freddie Kitchens & Co. have done little good for NFL bettors. At a league second-worst 4-9-1 ATS, NFLbets would normally be tempted to bet on regression to the mean. But with these guys publicly imploding, how could you bet on them at this point?

Particularly against the Ravens powered by Lamar Jackson, who is clearly on a mission to destroy even team in the league who passed on him in the first round of the 2017 draft (so, then, every team in the league). Baltimore’s own intangible: These guys don’t let up against anybody. Since the bye in week 8, the Raven’s average result has been a 22½-point win. In those seven games, just two came down to a touchdown or less.

The Browns don’t stand a chance. Take the Baltimore Ravens -10½ at Cleveland.

Jacksonville Jaguars +7½ at Atlanta Falcons

Here’s another one NFLbets just doesn’t get. Sure, it’s tough to give more than a TD on a team that’s 5-9 SU (6-8 ATS) and playing for nothing, but playing for nothing seems to be the Falcons’ bag since *that* Super Bowl. In 2017, they got off to a 4-4 SU start before going on a 6-2 tear. In 2018, a 4-4 SU start was chased by a five-game losing streak and mathematical elimination from the postseason; then they went 3-0 SU (2-1 ATS including a ½-point loss in week 17). And this year? Their opening 1-7 SU has been followed by a 4-2 SU/ATS run, including 3-2 against their division mates and the big win at San Francisco last week.

During said six-game run, Matt Ryan and the offense appears to have normalized, with Ryan good for 9 TDs against just 4 interceptions thrown – hardly mind-blowing numbers for a former MVP candidate but respectable at least.

Meanwhile, the Jaguars are heading in a familiar downward direction. The last-minute SU win at the Oakland Raiders last week – it’s almost as though Chucky forgets his guys are supposed to be tanking this season – snapped a 0-5 SU/ATS run in which the Jags lost by an average score of 35-11. And the defense is regressing as well, having surrendered at least 236 yards passing in each of the last four games while also allowing 195 or more rushing yards in four of the last six. Finally, just three times in 2019 have the Jaguars outgained their opponent on offense.

For Jaguars fans – all 14 of them – it’s unfortunate their team couldn’t have caught the Falcons in the first half of the season; NFLbets just can’t envision even an ATS upset here; the Jaguars’ score may be in single digits. Take the Atlanta Falcons -7½ vs Jacksonville, and take the under on an O/U of 46½ points.

NFLbets’ Picks of the Week last week: 1-2.
NFLbets’ Picks of the Week this season: 38-26.

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Picks of the Week, NFL week 15: Betting on regression, against Jason Garrett

Wednesday, 11 December 2019 17:07 EST

Well, week 14 in the NFL was certainly a gift for the NFL bettor: Altogether, NFLbets went 3-1 with the sole loser the Browns, who could only cover 8 rather than 8½. (As we said after the victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers which culminated in the Myles Garrett flipout, the 2019 Cleveland Browns can’t even win correctly.)

This week, though, whoo – what a lot of difficulty staring us back in the face! We’re certainly not about to go bet-free in week 15, of course, so we’ll lean on good ol’ dependable regression to the mean for answers. Here’s a handful of our conclusions, which we like to call the NFLbets Picks of the Week.

Denver Broncos +9 at Kansas City Chiefs

After a run of seriously, likesay, underwhelming performers at quarterback for the Broncos, NFLbets can’t blame fans for being high on Drew Lock, but geez, let’s not get wasted here. After all, does anyone care to admit the days when Gardner Minshew was considered the second coming of Tom Brady?

Meanwhile, has anyone noticed that this Kansas City defense has been getting consistently better throughout 2019? The running D may be bottom-10 overall, lowlighted by the five games in which the opposition ran for 180 yards or more, but that same defense has also produced nine turnovers in the past four games, good for a +5 TO differential.

And, with opposing teams often going to the pass early against the Chiefs, the KC passing defense has dragged the Chiefs from a ranking of no. 30 to no. 13 in Football Outsiders’ DVOA efficiency metric going into week 15.

We’re thinking that Andy Reid & Co. now probably have juuuuust enough tape on Lock so that this week the Broncos offense will be well stifled. And we haven’t even started talking about Patrick Mahomes, who even at the apparent 80% or so he’s running at should give a middling Denver secondary all they can handle.

O, and the Broncos are a league best 9-4 Against The Spread (ATS). Now, Denver may have exceeded expectations thus far, but … wait, has Denver exceeded expectations thus far? Nah. Take the Kansas City Chiefs -9 vs Denver.

Buffalo Bills +1½ at Pittsburgh Steelers

NFLbets admits to having turned the corner somewhat on the Bills, what with last week’s impressive showing of tenacity against the Super Bowl favorite Baltimore Ravens. After viewing the defense’s ability to handle Lamar Jackson about as well as 11 mere mortals could, we’re ready to buy them as legitimate playoff contenders. Except that, well, they lost (SU and ATS). And the simple reason for that is offense. As in “lack of.”

Again, folks tripping out about a rookie QB – in this case, Josh Allen – is hardly unusual, but let’s have a little perspective. Allen’s strength is his ability to avoid the turnover, throwing just one pick in the past eight games, but he’s nearly as adverse to taking chances. In those eight nearly pick-free games, Allen has been sacked 20 times, with half coming in the past two games as his offensive line slowly disintegrates. His top passing performance got him 266 yards at Cleveland – on 41 attempts.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s been playing smoke-and-mirrors at QB as Mike Tomlin is doing some of the niftiest coaching he’s done in a looooooooooooooong time. The Steelers’ ball-hawking defense is tops in TOs generated, no. 2 in interceptions and top-5 in passing *and* rushing yards per attempt. There’s a reason why the over/under in this game is 37, after all.

In the final analysis, then, NFLbets is advising to take the Pittsburgh Steelers +1½ vs Buffalo in what is essentially a “pick ‘em” anyway. Recall once again how Buffalo’s schedule was ranked second-easiest going into the season – now it’s coming back to haunt them and drag down that 8-4-1 ATS record, tied with the San Francisco 49ers for the NFL’s second best.

Los Angeles Rams -2 at Dallas Cowboys

We’ll admit the rational basis for this pick isn’t easy, but there’s one solid justification for backing Jared Goff in week 14: The opposition and its always-underachieving, perpetually failing head coach. Despite the no. 1 offense in yardage and a defense at least above average in virtually all areas except turnovers, the Cowboys are somehow 6-7 SU (7-6 ATS). Worse yet, they’re an insane 4-0 SU/ATS against the teams of the NFC East, which includes two classic bottom-feeders and the 2019 NFL’s biggest disappointment.

Even if we can’t put all the failure for the 2019 Dallas Cowboys’ performance on Jason Garrett, NFLbets would be more than willing to put on extra for this team’s lack of confidence in the play calling. If one member of this team turns on ESPN for five minutes, he’s certain to hear Jerry Jones insinuating that coach is on the way out, that Garrett is killing the team’s chances, that the ’Boys are an HC away from greatness…

On the other side of the field is Sean McVay, a dude no longer drawing comparisons to Bill Belichick but still clearly possessing the ability to draw up a swell game plan, as in the week 14 TCB of the Seattle Seahawks in L.A. McVay doesn’t even need to flick on the ESPN to know that the Rams pretty much have to win out for a chance of catching the Minnesota Vikings for that no. 6 seed in the NFC.

We’re figuring on McVay constructing a very deliberate and meticulous plan because his team has been 100% dependent upon getting an early lead in games. In games with the Rams leading at halftime in 2019, they’re 7-0 SU; when down a half, they’re “good” for an 0-4 SU mark. The message here: Jared Goff is fine until he must go off-book. Then, well, you see the goose egg.

In terms of talent, the Cowboys are on par or better than the great majority of teams in the league – including the Rams. But if you’re telling NFLbets that this one could come down to coaching and decision-making, well, we’ll cover whoever’s playing the Cowboys any time. Take the Los Angeles Rams -2 at Dallas.

NFLbets’ Picks of the Week last week: 2-1.
NFLbets’ Picks of the Week this season: 37-24.

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Picks of NFL week 14: Forget the marquee games, bet these instead

Wednesday, 04 December 2019 12:53 EST

NFLbets has spent so much time culling the impossible-to-call games from the week 14 NFL slate – we’re talking Dallas Cowboys -3 at Chicago Bears; Baltimore Ravens -6.5 at Buffalo Bills; Kansas City Chiefs +3 at New England; and Seattle Seahawks -1 at Los Angeles Rams here – that this column will likely be brief. So let’s plummet right to the barrel’s bottom, beginning with…

Washington +13 at Green Bay Packers

You guessed it: We’re saying take Washington +13 at Green Bay. If you believe in trap games, you don’t need more convincing: the last three games of this season are all against the NFC North, Minnesota can still steal the division and Green bay could still miss the playoffs altogether.

And as the Packers have stumbled to a 2-2 SU/ATS record in the last four weeks, NFL bettors have got to start considering whether this team is still a viable bet against the spread. At 8-4 ATS, Green Bay is bettered only by the becoming-believable Buffalo Bills at 8-3-1; this feels like the Packers are living on borrowed time.

Now, NFLbets realizes that Washington is hardly inspiring confidence among fandom this season at 3-9 SU, but they’re respectable at 5-7 ATS. Plus, hey, they’re on a 2-0 SU/ATS run! We realize to bet on Washington in this game requires a serious leap of faith, but let NFLbets present the scenario in which Washington keeps the score within two TDs.

The D.C. defense has naturally hemorrhaged rushing yardage and TDs, as opposing offenses are almost never playing catchup; Washington has faced the 8th-least pass attempts thus far into 2019. What’s wild about that last statistic is that, despite the paucity of passing offense seen, the Washington D is nevertheless in no. 3 overall in interceptions. If Quinton Dunbar and/or Fabian Moreau perform at Player Of The Game levels, Washington at least covers the spread.

Cincinnati Bengals +8½ at Cleveland Browns

Remember at the beginning of the season when the Browns were a top-3 to -5 favorite at sportsbooks in the “To Win AFC Championship” and “To Win Super Bowl LIV” props? NFLbets does and thus does the Browns’ current records of 4-7-1 ATS and 2-3-1 ATS at home even wackier.

And besides, the Bengals are coming off that first win, right? Momentum!

Meh, NFLbets isn’t so convinced. Aside from the possibility that the New York Jets may right now be the worst team in the NFL – they’re certainly worse than any 3- or 4-win team and did lose to the 1-win Bengals – the Browns may actually be finally playing to their potential.

Head coach Freddie Kitchens, who was clearly promoted too high too quickly, is finally calling plays for all the copious offensive weapons Cleveland boasts. Last week’s SU loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers snapped a 3-game SU/ATS winning streak, and some luck and/or coaching might’ve flipped the result ATS on three occasions.

NFLbets cannot guarantee that Kitchens will effectively call for what should be a ridiculous backfield of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, but this would certainly be the game to do so: While the Bengals have predictably faced the most rushing attempts of any NFL team, they’re bottom-5 in average yards per carry. Kitchens must know his season’s on the brink, doesn’t he? Take the Cleveland Browns -8½ vs Cincinnati.

Tennessee Titans -3 at Oakland Raiders

This line makes very little sense to NFLbets, and we’re going to chalk it up to the overrating of the East Coast-going-West factor because this is a classic example of two teams going in opposite directions. The Tians are on a 5-1 SU (4-1-1 ATS) run since installing Ryan Tannehill as starting QB, with wins against a Super Bowl contender, two division mates and the pinball-machine Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tannehill’s Titans have been outdoing their Marcus Mariota-led version by a score of 29.7-15.5 per game.

The Raiders have been wildly inconsistent all season – except for two predictable thumpings at the Chiefs’ hands – but a 3-game winning streak put Chucky’s guys at 6-4 SU and into the AFC playoff conversation. And then two ugly losses turned Oakland’s playoff aspirations from “when” to “if” right quick.

In fact, the squeaking past Cincinnati in week 11 likely represents the peak for the 2019 Oakland Raiders. NFLbets isn’t saying the Raiders can’t run up a win or two more but considering the team’s best game against a bona fide playoff contender was a 31-24 loss to the Houston Texans in week 8, we’re not ready to take them against the white-hot Titans. Take the Tennessee Titans -3 at Oakland.

NFLbets’ Picks of the Week last week: 2-2.
NFLbets’ Picks of the Week this season: 35-23.

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NFL betting, week 12 picks: Who’s a good home underdog…? Who’s a good boy???!!

Wednesday, 20 November 2019 20:01 EST

Click the link for our NFL Weekly Odds chart and check it out: How about those four home underdogs?

In actuality, NFLbets would not be at all surprised if you didn’t find anything anomalous. Home underdogs have nearly become the new normal: Through week 11, some 55 home teams have been underdogs at kickoff. Fair enough, the Miami Dolphins, Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets account for 14 of those lines, but even removed the lowly trio, we’re talking an average of just about four home ’dogs per week.

And guess what? As in most areas, the sportsbooks know what they’re doing: Home underdogs are 27-28 ATS against just 18-36-1 SU. Well in a .500 winning percentage, NFLbets sees opportunity; we love universal balance more than Thanos. We tend to base our assumptions in a core principle of game theory, namely that a zero-sum result – in this case a .500 win-loss mark – is always trended toward.

So for our week 12 picks, we’re concentrating on those four home ’dogs and looking for them to go 2-2 ATS. We’ll present the NFLbets Picks Of The Week from most defensible to least, starting with…

Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders -3 at New York Jets, over/under 46½ points

This line has been steadily increasing since some sportsbooks ineffably opened this one at Raiders -1½. – and again NFLbets must side with he public. We’re not sure what inspired this wackiness, but we’ll definitely take advantage.

The biggest disadvantage the Raiders face is that old bugaboo, the West Coast-to-Est Coast trip. The thinking goes that teams who travel from the Pacific time zone to play a game in the Eastern are at a disadvantage greater than that typically afforded simply by home field. Football Outsiders supported prior to the 2016 NFL season: In considering games featuring a team based in Pacific or Mountain time zones playing in an Eastern or Central time zone-based city with a 1pm kickoff time, the Outsiders found that “The home team won 64.4% of these games; far in excess of the 57.2% win rate for home teams in general.”

Pretty compelling stuff, but allow NFLbets to slow FO’s roll a bit, for precisely after the Outsiders’ stats were published, the West Coast teams have completely turned the tables: Since 2016, the NFL’s West Coast teams (specifically the 49ers, Chargers, Raiders, Rams and Seahawks), have gone an excellent 31-25 SU and 31-24-1 ATS – and of the five, only San Francisco has a sub-.500 winning percentage in these games.

Also working against the Raiders’ favor? Penalties, a condition exacerbated by the West-to-East move. According to the same FO piece of 2016, the Western teams take an average of 10.3% more penalties – and Oakland/Las Vegas is currently second-worst overall in taking penalties, with 88 run up thus far. To which a prospective Raiders backer might say, “So what?” After all, the Jets are the league’s fifth-worst in the category with 83 whistles going against them thus far into ’19.

In the final analysis, we’re betting the football – and the better team. Take the Las Vegas Raiders -3 at the New York Jets, and take the under on an O/U of 46½ points in what could well be a sloppy, penalty-marred game.

Detroit Lions -3½ at Washington, over/under 42 points

The Lions may not exactly be impressing anybody in terms of the playoff race at 3-6-1 SU and Matthew Stafford, a QB who has salvaged whole seasons at a time for the franchise, out. Matt “The Pencil” Patricia’s guys aren’t much better ATS at just 4-7. They’ve been the favorite just twice this season – versus the Arizona Cardinals in week 1 and vs the New York Giants – and lost ATS both times.

So hardly a powerhouse … but Washington? Let’s consider the question: Is this the only team deliberating tanking? Seriously, Cincinnati appears to be trying to win games and Miami has shrugged off the “possibly worst all-time” label – but Washington has proven challenging only to writers running out of synonyms for “bad.”

How about this? Washington has scored two TDs in the past four games – and both of those came against the Jets, who had run up a 34-3 lead before taking feet off the pedal. That’s right: The 2019 New York Jets had a four-TD lead at Washington.

At dead last in key offensive categories, likesay, scoring, first downs and passing yards alone, NFLbets is thinking that a Lions offense that averages 24.4 points per game mostly against better defenses than Washington’s should be able to score, regardless of starters at the “skill positions.” Take the Detroit Lions -3½ at Washington, and take the under on an O/U of 42 points.

Pittsburgh Steelers -6½ at Cincinnati Bengals

For NFLebts, three key questions about this game come to mind:

• Are the 2019 Cincinnati Bengals really an 0-16 team?

• Does Mason Rudolph at QB really inspire the bettors’ confidence?

• Can an already weak OL really stand the loss of Maurkice Pouncey as well?

(The answers: Nah, not really, probably not.)

NFLbets has nothing tangible to prove that these Bengals can win a game SU before season’s send, but subjectively Os Davis can say that he covered the 2008 Detroit Lions as a beat writer and these guys are no ’08 Lions. The Bengals are a relatively impressive 4-6 ATS, including a 4-2 ATS mark on the road. Cincinnati certainly stymied many NFL bettors in each of their ATS wins, covering at four prospective playoffs teams: Buffalo, Seattle, Baltimore and Oakland.

Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, the Steelers are seeing their lowest passing numbers since 1998 and Kordell Stewart. With Ben “The Human Tackling Dummy” Roethlisberger out, the offensive line has been seriously exposed, allowing 15 sacks against just 18 total offense TDs – and 10 of those scores came in the red zone, where the Steelers have a below-42% success rate.

Add in to this the absence of center Maurkice Pouncey for three games after getting busted for kicking a prone Myles Garrett in the head. (Do you suppose he argued that at least Garrett got to keep his helmet on…?) Imagine Rudolph not even getting enough time for indecision thanks to a wobbly snap. Ironically, Garrett may have cost the Steelers a SU win here and even have ruined their chances for the playoffs.

The Steelers defense may be fantastic, but NFLbets is expecting literally nothing from the Steelers passing game or the underwhelming running game. Take the Cincinnati Bengals +6½ vs Pittsburgh.

Baltimore Ravens -3½ at Los Angeles Rams, over/under 46½ points

NFLbets can guess what you’re thinking. You’re probably thinking that Lamar Jackson is unstoppable, that the Ravens are packing the league’s most electrifying QB with a traditionally stout defense. And we know that it’s not exactly #InGoffWeTrust in La La Land. But hey, let’s talk West Coast advantage – particularly in prime-time games.

Since 2016, the aforementioned five West Coast teams are a big 21-10 SU (18-10-3 ATS) in all prime-time games at home regardless of opponent. Against EST teams, the PST five are 5-5 SU/ATS in nighttime games.

Further, in all home games since 2016, West Coast teams are 75-63 SU (winning percentage of .543), but the exaggerated importance NFL bettors (and thus the sportsbooks) give these sides is readily apparent in the 54-78-6 ATS (.413) mark posted in those same games. Further, West Coast home teams hosting EST opponents are 33-26 (.559) SU, but a lowly 22-35-2 (.390) ATS.

So where does that leave NFLbets? If the Rams were favored, this’d be a no-brainer and we’d advise to simply take the Rams ML and the Ravens plus the points, but for this one…

All right, we’re going to lean toward the middle ground. At 8-2 SU and all bot locked into the AFC no. 2 seed, the Ravens are riding a four-game ATS win streak, while the Rams are 7-3 ATS, but just 2-2 in L.A. It’s extremely difficult to bet against Jackson and Baltimore right now, but here’s to thinking Sean McVeigh coaches smart enough to keep things close as the Rams essentially need to win out for a shot at the playoffs. Take the Los Angeles Rams +3½ vs Baltimore – you might even wait for this line to get pushed to Rams +4, as certainly happen before kickoff Sunday night.

NFLbets’ Picks of the Week last week: 0-2.
NFLbets’ Picks of the Week this season: 30-18.

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NFL betting, week 11 picks: We see points, lots of points…

Wednesday, 13 November 2019 18:03 EST

In NFL betting, it’s often more prudent to bet the under – hey, other than a cover-the-ass bet on Julian Edelman for MVP, the under was about all NFLbets hit in Super Bowl LIII – but it’s always more fun to bet on the over.

Our picks of the week is grounded in that desire that all football fans secretly foster, i.e. to see a ton of points fly by on the screen on any given Sunday: The interception may be the most glorious play in football, but there’s a reason the Red Zone concludes their broadcast with a rundown of the day’s TDs. We hope you feel the same way we do about NFL football and betting going hand in hand like Peanut Butter and Jelly, or Sprinkles on your Ice Cream or, a stack of $1 bills in a strip club. Money won is just better than money after taxes and working for 2 weeks. lol!

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Houston Texans +4½ at Baltimore Ravens, over/under 49½ points

How ironic that back in the day (likesay, two years ago), the Texans and Ravens were noted for their defense: In week 11, they’re entering a game with perhaps the two most exciting quarterbacks in football right now and an over/under implying seven TDs.

But you know what? We’re all over it. For NFLbets’ money (literally), this could well be the best game of the year and a seemingly inevitable semifinal, no. 2 vs no. 3 matchup. And we may be biased – every so often we dig a real scoreboard-spinner – but we’re anticipating some serious scoring here. DeShaun Watson has accounted for 23 touchdowns (18 passing, 5 running), while Lamar Jackson’s notched 21 (15 passing, 6 running). In an average meeting, then, five TDs should be expected from these two for starters.

NFLbets also figures the weather will not be a factor, with early weather predictions putting kickoff temperature in the low 50s with a 10% chance of precipitation. Sounds like scoring weather to us…Take the over on an O/U of 49½.

New Orleans Saints -5½ at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, over/under 51½ points

What, did we say the Texans/Ravens over/under was high? We know the Buccaneers have been scoring points in bunches – 29.9 per since game 3, including the 24 rung up against the Saints in a 7-point loss in week 5 – and they could very well put up 30+ against a New Orleans defense that’s above average in all statistical categories except, unfortunately, the Buccaneers offense’s weakness, namely turnovers.

So the Bucs will score, probably. But will the Saints?

It’s amazing both a) how sentimental fans are about Drew Brees and therefore still expect him to be throwing like he’s 25 years old and b) how willing certain clickbaiters were to throw him under the bus after a single bad game. Brees is 2-1 SU (1-2 ATS) in full games this year, and he produced essentially the same stat line in the first two: 32-of-43 for 370 yards, 2 TDs, 1 pick; in week 8, the line was 34-of-43 for 373 yards, 3 TDs and 1 interception. Last week in the so-called benching-worthy loss? Brees went 32 of 45 – but for just 273 yards, a long of 36 – and six sacks.

Those six sacks are increasing the difficulty curve on betting this game sharply. The offensive line is solid and injury-free. Week 10 was the much ballyhooed return of Alvin Kamara and Jared Cook, playing with Brees at the same time for the first time this season, so the excuse that Brees held the ball too long is irrelevant. Under normal circumstances, we’d probably write this result off as an anomaly – after all, the SU win against the biggest point spread of the year is by definition an exceptional result. So why not the over here?

The scariest number against the over? The Buccaneers are on an incredible 7-0 ATS run, they’ve already topped two consecutive 50-poin O/Us and 51½ is the highest they’ve faced in 2019. However, the over in Saints games in on a 1-3 run and is 4-5 overall.

Who doesn’t want more points, anyway…? Take the over on an O/U of 51½ points.

NFLbets’ Picks of the Week last week: 3-1.
NFLbets’ Picks of the Week this season: 30-16.

Check here for the current NFL Weekly Odds.

 

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Week 10 Picks of the Week: Doing the opposite (or rather the reverse)

Wednesday, 06 November 2019 14:24 EST

All right, NFLbets is changing things up this week. After our typical slow start to the season, several good weeks in a row have put us back in the black – under the “Picks of the Week”, rubric, that is. Our so-called “Best Bets” were a total whiff again last week to dump NFLbets’ record for 2019 down to 9-12.

So, yeah. This week, we’re Costanzianly doing the opposite. This week’s Picks of the Week are stealthily our Best Bets and vice versa. NFLbets doesn’t know how that’ll affect your wagering, but full transparency, eh?

What we’re calling NFLbets’ Picks of Week 10 follow.

“Los Angeles” Chargers -1½ at Oakland(/Las Vegas) Raiders

Throw out the numbers: This line is essentially asking you to choose which is the better team: The veteran-stocked team without a home or the surprisingly ragtag bunch getting set to leave home? The Chargers window of Super Bowl contention may already by closed, while Chucky and his plucky Raiders are doing their damnedest to pry that sucker open and force their way into the playoffs.

And consider the greater trends, the actual football these teams are playing. The Raiders recently came off five consecutive road games, including three against prospective playoff teams (Minnesota, Green Bay and Houston) or four (depending on how you feel about Indianapolis’s chances with their third choice at quarterback the rest of the way), plus the London game, at a respectable-enough 2-3 SU (3-2 ATS). Last week, they handled Detroit in front of a raucous crowd and this week face a team with no discernible fanbase at all.

So what about those homeless, fan-less Chargers lately? Sure enough, they won SU/ATS in Los Angeles in front of a just-as-raucous crowd of Packers fans for their first “home” win of the season. Prior to that, the Chargers scored 17 points to eke out a 1-point W in Chicago. Prior to that, a 1-5 run had removed them from serious discussion of the 2019 NFL playoffs temporarily.

Both teams, then, are trending upward and both are currently in serious contention for the no. 6 spot. But you know what? Only the Raiders have Josh Jacobs, who has been tormenting defenses over the past four weeks. This dude plus homefield advantage should be enough in this one. Take the 1½ points if you must, but here at NFLbets’ we prefer to take the Raiders ML at +105 for well better value.

Los Angeles Rams -3½ at Pittsburgh Steelers

Whoa, have the Rams been good to bettors this season. The 2018 NFC champs are at 6-2 ATS (including a spiffy 5-0 ATS outside of Los Angeles), tied for league best along with the New Orleans Saints. Of course, this gaudy record makes NFLbets want to bet against the Rams just weekly – but what are we supposed to do when L.A. is currently in one helluva soft spot in the schedule?

Seriously, after a couple of tough losses against fellow NFC West playoff contenders Seattle and San Francisco, the Rams drew Atlanta and Cincinnati, followed by a bye. Next week, they draw Chicago, which may become the first NFL team ever to field an offense without a quarterback. Not that the 2019 Los Angeles Rams need a puff schedule to look scary; though the pass defense has lost a beat from last year, the offense is top-10 in most statistical categories and, until the 49ers game, scoring had hardly been a problem.

Pittsburgh meanwhile features second-/third-string quarterback Mason Rudolph, whose 3-2 SU record as a starter looks impressive enough until you realize that tops among the wins was last week’s over Indianapolis with *their* third-string QB and Adam Vinatieri’s old foot and depended on a 96-yard pick-six.

On one hand, the Steelers’ starting quarterback seems not to matter. Regardless of QB, Pittsburgh’s is a poor offense which is bottom-5 in passing yardage, rushing yardage and first downs. Because of freak plays like Minkah Fitzpatrick’s TD, however, the Steelers have managed 20 to 27 points in every game after the 33-3 drubbing the Patriots handed them in week 1. And gifts like Vinatieri’s shank has them on a 5-1 ATS run going into this game.

Which is exactly why we’re saying take the Los Angeles Rams -3½ at Pittsburgh. Sometimes you just have to back the better team – especially after a bye week.

Seattle Seahawks +6 at San Francisco 49ers

The Seahwaks this season have proven the diametric opposite to the Rams to NFL bettors. While arguably one of the surprises of the league, the ’Hawks are a mere 3-5 ATS and an incredible 0-5 ATS in Seattle. This team’s propensity for just doing enough for the win may make for exciting football, but it’s maddening for those with money down.

So why is NFLbets even considering the eventuality that Seattle’s numbers stay so wickedly imbalanced for one more week? Because the 49ers have been absolutely whupping the ’spreads in 2019. San Francisco has apparently put together a Super Bowl contender about a year early: the Niners are a healthy 5-3 ATS, including a 3-0 ATS mark at home.

About that home record of the 49ers … NFLbets is inclined to neuter that particular number this week because the Seahawks have proven not only this season but in general to enjoy the advantage over West Coast teams: Since Russell Wilson’s debut in 2012, they’re 6-3-1 ATS (5-5 SU) at Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The 49ers haven’t been playing the most impressive of competition – only two of their eight wins came against teams with winning records – but that no. 1 pass defense cannot be denied and since the bye week have enjoyed a turnover differential of +5. Then again, this D has yet to see the likes of Wilson, again tops in the league in passing when pressured.

Fair enough, Seattle squeaked past the inferior-if-exciting Buccaneers last week in OT, but many were thinking upset when center Austin Britt was reported out. The key to the Seahawks keeping this one close will be improving upon the three sacks allowed to a pass rush that isn’t half as deadly as San Francisco’s.

In the final analysis, though, NFLbets is making a football call here. We believe that Russell Wilson is probably the MVP right now. We also believe that the Seahwaks are a true Super Bowl contender. And MVP QBs leading Super Bowl contenders win these sorts of games. SU, we’re talking. Sure, take the Seattle Seahawks +6, but also take the Seahawks ML at +230 – a payout here is like three wins for the price of two!

NFLbets’ Picks of the Week last week: 4-2.
NFLbets’ Picks of the Week this season: 27-15.

Check here for the current NFL Weekly Odds.

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