| Evansville Courier & Press
Last week was yet another crazy weekend for NFL sports betting, with underdogs again stealing the show. Underdogs finished Week 15 with a 10-6 record against the spread, and are now 126-98 for the season.
No underdog rocked the sports betting world more than the Jets in their 23-20 upset win over the Rams. This outcome ruined money-line parlays all over the country and was a big win for sportsbooks everywhere.
William Hill sportsbooks reported 74% of the bets, and 84% of the money in the Rams-Jets matchup was placed on the Rams to cover. ESPN reported that prior to Week 15, NFL teams favored by 17 or more points had a record of 101-10.
Another upset wreaked havoc on money-line parlay enthusiasts when the Bengals, as 12 ½ point underdogs, won straight up against the Steelers. A friend of mine, who lives in Las Vegas, was still alive in a “Survivor” contest heading into Week 15, and felt good about his selection of the Steelers. Needless to say, he is devastated to now be out of the money.
Last week’s picks:
UNDER (49 ½) Bills @ Broncos: The Denver defense failed to show up in this matchup, as the Bills were forced to punt on only one possession. Buffalo dominated on both sides of the football from start to finish, and sent a clear message to the rest of the league that they are truly a Super Bowl contender. Bills 48, Broncos 19 – LOSS
PANTHERS (+8 ½) @ Packers: This game followed the predicted script as the Packers took control of the game early, and led 21-3 at the half. Green Bay took their foot off the gas and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater took advantage, as the Panthers outscored the Packers 13-3 in the second half to earn the back-door cover. Packers 24, Panthers 16 – WIN
UNDER (49 ½) Buccaneers @ Falcons: Tampa Bay was completely shut out in the first half, as Atlanta built a 17-0 lead at the intermission. But just when it looked like this ticket was going to get cashed, the Bucs exploded for three touchdowns in the third quarter, and both teams combined for 41 second half points. Buccaneers 31, Falcons 27 – LOSS
RAMS (-17 ½) vs. Jets: The Rams came into this game with a chance to clinch a playoff berth. The Jets came into the game with a firm grasp on the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s draft. But nothing went according to script in this matchup, as the Rams were absolutely embarrassed by the Jets in what was easily the upset of the year in the NFL. Jets 23, Rams 20 – LOSS
7-point Teaser Parlay (+255):
Chiefs -3 (+4) – Chiefs 32, Saints 29 – WIN
Bears +3 (+10) – Bears 33, Vikings 27 – WIN
Browns -6 (+1) – Browns 20, Giants 6 – WIN
Steelers -12.5 (-5.5) Bengals 27, Steelers 17 – LOSS
UNDER (5 ½) Receptions by Cole Beasley – Bills @ Broncos (-112): The Broncos were monumentally worse than advertised. The Bills had their way with the Denver defense, and the inept offense of the Broncos couldn’t keep the Buffalo playmakers off the field. Cole Beasley – 8 receptions, 112 yards – LOSS
OVER (3 ½) Receptions by Robert Tonyan – Panthers @ Packers (+108): On the opening drive of the game, Aaron Rodgers targeted Robert Tonyan twice, resulting in two receptions and a touchdown. Unfortunately, he only received one target throughout the rest of the contest. Robert Tonyan – 3 receptions, 18 yards – LOSS
This week’s picks:
BUCCANEERS (-9 ½) @ Lions: Tampa Bay looked horrible in the first half last week against the Falcons, and continues to be way too inconsistent for a team with hopes of making a deep playoff run. But something clicked in the second half for Tom Brady and the Bucs’ offense. That won’t change against the Lions, a team that has given up more points than any team in the league. Chalky picks have taken a beating in recent weeks, but this won’t be one of them.
CARDINALS (-5) vs. 49ers: San Francisco will take the field on Saturday with its third-string quarterback leading the offense. They will also be without starting running back Raheem Mostert who was placed on IR with a high ankle sprain. The Cardinals continue to light up the scoreboard and have been a nightmare for opposing defenses. This is an opportunity for Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury to shine by earning a much-needed win in the playoff race. The Cardinals are 5-0-1 against the spread in their last six meetings against the 49ers. San Francisco is also 1-7 against the spread in its last 8 games on grass.
OVER (47.5) Dolphins @ Raiders: Las Vegas has lost four of its last five games, and according to projections have a 2% chance of making the playoffs. The Raiders will be without their starting quarterback, and will continue to take the field with a defense that has been ravaged with injuries. Miami comes into this game with a 9-5 record, but still needs to win each of their remaining two games to solidify their playoff chances. The “Over” has a record of 10-3-1 this season in games involving the Raiders. This is the lowest assigned point total in a game involving Las Vegas since its Nov. 1 game against the Browns. Sit back and root for points in this matchup.
UNDER (47.5) Browns @ Jets: For the first 14 weeks of the season the Jets seemed resigned to the fact that they would go “defeated” (as the cool kids would say) and be in line for the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft. All of that is out the window now following their huge upset of the Rams. Look for the Browns to establish the run and do enough scoring to win the game, but the Jets won’t be able to dent the scoreboard enough to put this pick in jeopardy. I’m predicting a field-goal fest in this one.
Sunday (early games) 7-point teaser parlay:
Browns -9.5 (-2.5)
Chiefs -10.5 (-3.5)
Colts -1.5 (+5.5)
Texans -7.5 (-0.5)
Sunday (late games) 7-point teaser parlay:
Chargers -3 (+4)
Carolina +1 (+8)
OVER 47.5 Rams @ Seahawks (40.5)
UNDER 56.5 Eagles @ Cowboys (56.5)
PACKERS (-3) vs. Titans: One of the glaring weaknesses of the Packers is their inability to stop the run. This will bode well for Derrick Henry and the Tennessee rushing attack. Unfortunately for the Titans, this advantage will be canceled out by Aaron Rodgers shredding the third-worst pass defense in the league. This game has the potential to be very tight, and I predict Rodgers will provide some 4th quarter magic to win the game and cover the spread.
UNDER (46) Bills @ Patriots: It’s going to be cold and breezy in New England on Monday night. Bills’ quarterback Josh Allen has been on fire of late, but will have his hands full against a defensive secondary that tends to bend, but not break. When these teams met earlier in the season, the Bills won with a fourth quarter field goal. The Patriots have a run-first offense (out of necessity due to no passing attack) and play at an extremely slow pace. The “under” is 6-0 in New England’s last six games. The Patriots will make this game slow and ugly, keeping the total below the projection.
OVER (27.5) Total points by Bears @ Jaguars (-115): The Bears have ripped off four wins in a row against their over/under team total. The Jaguars have been giving up over 180 rushing yards per game since week 13 and that won’t match up well against the red-hot rushing attack of the Bears.