When it comes to betting on the NFL, the most underappreciated bet is the Over/Under. Every games falls somewhere in between 40 and 60 points. You rarely see anything less than 40 or more than 60. But this week we have two games getting as close to the “must bet” low category as there is and neither game involves the New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars or Houston Texans.
Two games on the holiday weekend slate have Over/Under numbers of 41.5 points – Chicago at Detroit and Carolina at Miami. While there are games that hit below this number, usually a couple each week, it’s hard to come into a game projecting a total that low, because it doesn’t take much to hit. While 40 is the gold standard of “gotta take the Over” logic, for me 41.5 in Week 12 is enough for me chase points and hope for a couple defensive/special teams scores.
NFL Betting Odds and Lines: Week 12
Chicago Bears (-155) at Detroit Lions (+125)
The Lions are the hard luck team of 2020. They have a winning record against the spread but have nothing to show for it except losses and one tie. Chicago is faring little better and Matt Nagy’s job is in danger. That said, I think the Over/Under is a couple points too light for teams that know each other’s major flaws (41.5 points at -105 Over, -115 Under). I’m not a fan of either team, but that number doesn’t take a lot of things to happen to hit. Take the Over (-105).
Las Vegas Raiders (+260) at Dallas Cowboys (-340)
The Cowboys are a huge favorite in this one (7.5 points at Raiders -115, Cowboys -105). To me, the key part of this game is that Dallas is familiar with the process of playing two games in five days at this time of year. They’re always at home and they know the routine, since they host a game every year on Thanksgiving. I don’t like giving away that many points (the number says the Raiders are expected to cover), but I’m willing to go with the team that does this every year. Take the Cowboys and lay the 7.5 points (-105).
Buffalo Bills (-270) at New Orleans Saints (+210)
The Bills are the most inconsistent elite team in the league. They look like a juggernaut one week and hot garbage the next – losing to teams that have no business taking them down. However, they’ve been better on the road than at home and are getting that respect by being solid favorites to win (6.5 points at Buffalo -105, New Orleans -115). Again, the number suggests that the Saints should cover, given the bigger investment needed to pay off the bet. But, I’m still riding on the tailgate of the Bills bandwagon and haven’t jumped just yet. Take the Bills and lay the 6.5 points (-105).
Carolina Panthers (-135) at Miami Dolphins (+110)
This is another extremely low Over/Under (41.5 points at -110 for both the Over and Under). However, you have a veteran in Cam Newton and a playmaker in Christian McCaffrey on one side of the ball and Tua Tagovailoa (who is battling to keep his starting job) and a collection of offensive role players on the other. Both QBs take chances, which could lead to a cheap defensive touchdown along way, both those risks also result in big plays. Take the Over (-110).
New York Jets (+120) at Houston Texans (-145)
This is a tough one for me, because I don’t feel comfortable betting on either team to win or cover a point spread. There’s only one bet that I feel good about – the Over/Under (44.5 points at -110 for both). There is only one bet that has you banking on the ineptitude of both teams and the potential for 15 punts. Take the Under (-110).
Philadelphia Eagles (-190) at New York Giants (+155)
The Giants are a hot mess and the firing of coaches has already begun. After starting the season almost refusing to run, the Eagles have become one of the most dominant rushing offenses in the league over the last month — and wins have followed. The Eagles are a mild favorite (3.5 points at Eagles -108, Giants -112). While I’m not sold on either quarterback, the Eagles ability to mix and match run and pass against a defeated Giants defense should be enough to cover the number. Take the Eagles and lay the 3.5 points (-108).
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-165) at Indianapolis (+133)
The oddsmakers have a lot more faith in the Colts than I do. Indy beats the teams they should and vice versa. While underdogs on the moneyline, when it comes to point spread, the Colts are getting a lot of respect as a dog (3.5 points at Buccaneers +100, Colts -120). I’d be willing to boost this up to five or six points, but happily grab an even-money bet laying less than four. Take the Buccaneers and lay the 3.5 points (+100).
Atlanta Falcons (-125) at Jacksonville Jaguars (+102)
I’ve been consistent in avoiding putting my hard-earned money betting on the Jaguars, because I don’t have the faith they can cash in. Atlanta can be brutal at times, and Matt Ryan is starting to look his age without Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley to count on. The Falcons are just a mild favorite (1.5 points at Falcon -112, Jaguars -108). While this is a game I will probably avoid Sunday, giving away a point-and-a-hook isn’t too much to ask. Take the Falcons and lay the 1.5 points.
Pittsburgh Steelers (+170) at Cincinnati Bengals (-210)
Division matchups can be unpredictable, because the teams know each other so well and where their strengths and weaknesses lie. This year we’ve seen blowout wins for each of the four AFC North teams playing one another. While I don’t think this will be one of those games, the ability for either team to put up 30 points is critical. The Over/Under is a bit conservative (44.5 points at -112 Over, -108 Under). Both offenses have showed they can get into a shootout, and both defenses have proved they can get lit up at times. That’s a good combination. Bet the Over (-112).
Tennessee Titans (+230) at New England Patriots
The Patriots defense has quietly been one of the most dominant in the league this season, which is why they currently find themselves atop the AFC East once again. Without Derrick Henry, the Titans offense has sputtered, and Bill Belichick will do what needs to be done to take A.J. Brown from beating them. The Over/Under is one of the lowest of the week (43.5 points at -115 Over, -105 Under). But, I believe the Patriots offense will grind out 10-play drives that end in field goals and Ryan Tannehill will struggle all day. Take the Under (-105).
Los Angeles Chargers (-145) at Denver Broncos (+120)
The Chargers have had some struggles after a hot start, but they’re still a dangerous team capable of winning the AFC West. Denver has come back to the pack after a strong start, and the trade of Von Miller speaks to the front office’s lack of confidence in making a playoff run. The Chargers are a mild road favorite (2.5 points at Chargers -120, Broncos +100). If the Chargers are going to show how the West is won, beating a lesser divisional opponent is a must. Take the Chargers and lay the 2.5 points (-120).
Minnesota Vikings +140) at San Francisco 49ers (-175)
Both teams seemed dead in the water a couple of weeks ago, but a pair of statement wins by both makes this a matchup that could determine if one of them locks down a wild-card spot six weeks from now. The 49ers are getting a lot of respect on the point spread (3.5 points at Vikings -117, 49ers -103). Minnesota seems to play everybody tight, and I think there is a fair possibility the Vikings win this one outright. But, I’m comfortable hedging my bet by getting more than a field goal in return. Take the Vikings plus the 3.5 points (-117).
Los Angeles Rams (-112) at Green Bay Packers (-108)
This has the makings of a playoff rematch at some point in late January, and it’s nearly a dead heat on the line with the Packers being favored by just a half-point. I could see either team winning this game, but I’m a bigger fan of the Over/Under (47.5 points at -115 Over, -108 Under). Both offenses are capable of putting up big numbers and while the teams both have elite defenses, they both take risks, which is a mistake against Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford. If one team gets up by 10 or more early, this has all the makings of an “anything you can do I can do better” shootout between the QBs. Take the Over (-115).
Cleveland Browns (+155) at Baltimore Ravens (-190)
The Browns (Baker Mayfield in particular) have been under fire from their own fan base in recent weeks, while the Ravens have been dealing with issues of their own in recent weeks. Baltimore is a pretty solid favorite (3.5 points at -110 for both the Browns and Ravens). With Lamar Jackson back, the Ravens offense has the capability of putting up big numbers – big enough to cover this line. Take the Ravens and lay the 3.5 points (-110).
Seattle Seahawks (-103) at Washington Football Team (-117)
Washington is a 1.5-point home favorite, which surprises me a little bit. Granted, Seattle’s defense is nothing resembling the old Legion of Boom, but at 3-7 there is talk of breaking up the band in Seattle. Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson have never struggled like they have this season, but I don’t see them going down without a fight and do so under the national spotlight. Take the Seahawks on the money line (-103).
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