No time to explain my philosophy (fade the public, a wholly unoriginal yet lucrative modus operandi), let’s get this money. All data on betting trends are courtesy of the good folks at Sports Insights.
The Seahawks played really well last week and beat an upstart Philadelphia Eagles team that has been overrated by beating up on subpar competition for most of the season. That’s led to just 29 percent of bettors thinking Jacksonville can cover at home. For this season at least, the Jaguars have the best defense in the league — unseating their Week 14 opponent. Russell Wilson will have even less time than usual to find a receiver downfield, and even if he can, they’ll be covered by a turnover-forcing secondary. Seattle isn’t as good on the road and can be limited. This is a bet that Blake Bortles can manage the game and keep a sleepy West Coast team at bay.
Carolina will be a home underdog when it hosts the Minnesota Vikings today. Bettors are high on the Purple People Eaters with 61 percent of bets going for the favorites covering the spread. The Panthers are 4-1 against the spread in their last five contests, and I’m trusting that the consensus is wrong on this one because they’re too all-in on the Case Keenum hype train. He’s been great this season, but counting on him to go from career backup to legitimate MVP candidate feels far-fetched. Give me a regression to the mean and the points.
Titans/Cardinals — over 43.5
Tennessee is allowing 23.5 points per game (18th-best in the NFL); Arizona allows an average of 25.8 points per game (29th). Yet, only 35 percent of bets indicate this total is going over. I get the hesitation to trust Blaine Gabbert to put up points — especially with Adrian Peterson ruled out. On the other side, Marcus Mariota has been downright mediocre this season. But these defenses underperform week after week, and when they are making plays, it’s for points. The Cardinals have scored five defensive touchdowns, and the Titans have three. A nice low total line makes this more enticing as it will only take a handful of big plays to push it over.
Jets/Broncos — under 41.5
Somehow, someway, 72 percent of action thinks this is going over. Despite Trevor Siemian being a starting quarterback in the contest. Wild times, these are. Denver hasn’t scored more than 17 points in four-straight weeks. Josh McCown and the Jets have been a revelation this year, but they’re much better at home than they are on the road, where they’ve averaged 17.4 points per game. This is also a gut-check game for the once-great Broncos defense, which has effectively packed it in with the offense entirely incapable of scoring. Aqib Talib is back from his suspension for snatching Michael Crabtree’s chain. He and his compadres have a prime opportunity to prove their reputation isn’t an illusion at Mile High Stadium.
Count me as a fan of the Sean McVay-Jared Goff combination. They’re 9-3 and atop the NFC West for a reason. This week, they host the Philadelphia Eagles. Carson Wentz has beaten a team above .500 precisely once this season. The Rams have a well-structured team, supported by one of the best offensive lines in the league. This is one of the few moneylines you can confidently fade the public on. In Goff we trust.
Week 13: 3-2
MATCHUP SPREAD MONEYLINE OVER/UNDER
Detroit at Tampa Bay
Chicago at Cincinnati CIN -6.5 CHI +240, CIN -280 +/- 38
Indianapolis at Buffalo
Seattle at Jacksonville JAX -2.5 SEA +125, JAX -145 +/- 40
Oakland at Kansas City KC -4 OAK +170, KC -190 +/- 48.5
Minnesota at Carolina MIN -3 MIN -150, CAR +130 +/- 41
Green Bay at Cleveland GB -3 GB -170, CLE +150 +/- 40.5
San Francisco at Houston HOU -3 SF +130, HOU -150 +/- 44.5
Washington at LA Chargers LAC -6 WAS +220, LAC -260 +/- 46
NYJ at Denver NYJ -1 NYJ -120, DEN EVEN +/- 41.5
Tennessee at Arizona TEN -3 TEN -160, ARI +140 +/- 43.5
Philadelphia at LA Rams LAR -1.5 PHI +105, LAR -125 +/- 49
Dallas at NYG DAL -4 DAL -190, NYG +170 +/- 42
Baltimore at Pittsburgh PIT -5.5 BAL +200, PIT -240 +/- 43.5
New England at Miami NE -11.5 NE -700, MIA +500 +/- 47.5
Lines courtesy William Hill; updated Friday, Dec. 8