Game 1: SF @ Ari -4
Bet% SF 22% Ari 78%
The 49ers are starting CJ Bethard in this game and have injuries up and down the roster this week they will be without starting RB Raheem Mostert in addition to Deebo Samuel, though George Kittle may be coming back. In a lost season, having to finish off the season away from home, Kyle Shanahan said he would allow the team to go home for Christmas leaving very little time to prep for this game. This feels like a dead spot for a team trying to just get through 2020, Shanahan is somebody who does a great job game planning but at some point you need the horses and as square as it sounds it feels like he is waving the white flag here this week.
Arizona on the other hand is healthy, Kyler Murray had 8 rushes last week vs the Eagles which certainly indicates he is feeling better than he did for about a month when he hurt his shoulder. The Cards the last 2 weeks have seen a big uptake in their offense and I think it is because Murray is back to 100%. In this game I don’t see how SF keeps up, if they get down early do they fight back to keep it close? I’m not sure.
I bet this game early in week, would play at 6 or under but pass anything above that.
Game 2: Mia -2.5 @ LV
Bet% Mia 68% LV 32%
I like Miami here based on 2 factors, the first that in the AFC playoff picture we have one team playing to get in and one team that has now no chance of making it so you have to wonder how the Raiders react. Beyond the playoff motivation I think the LV situation at QB is interesting, it looks like Carr will start but you have to wonder if he is healthy or close to 100%. If Carr isn’t a full go or needs to come out I do not think you can expect the same type of Mariota performance as last week because one the Miami defense is much better than the Chargers and 2 now that Miami has seen Mariotta as a Raider the surprise element won’t be there.
Miami should also be healthier than they have been the last few weeks. Myles Gaskin will be back from the COVID list and they did not promote any receivers so I think it fair to expect either all or some of Gisicki, Devante Parker or Jakeem Grant will be back. Against this Raiders defense, if the Dolphins can get a couple of those receivers back I think they win by a TD+.
Game 3: Atl +11 @ KC
Bet% Atl 42% KC 58%
In the NFL teams that win straight up cover around 80% of the time which makes KC’s run the last month and a half quite remarkable. The Chiefs have not covered a game since Nov 1 but have lost straight up only one of those games. These numbers have to be this big because of course KC is capable of putting up basically any score they like and you wonder when that trend of not covering ends but Atl is too good of a team to pass up with this many points. The team that most closely resembles Atlanta that the Chiefs have played to me is Carolina, The Panthers were 10 point dogs and had a chance to win that game out right.
The Falcons are 4-10, have fired their coach and have been basically dead since October but they have played tough close games, they are 20th in DVOA and amazingly have a positive point differential at +2. For comparison, the Bears who are 7-7 are -3, the Raiders who are also 7-7 are -44. We compared the Falcons to the Panthers above, the Panthers are also 4-10 but have a point differential of -33,. This is all to say that week in week out the Falcons have played better than there record would indicate and this line provides value. The Chiefs will win of course but the Falcons should be able to stay in the game and keep it close.
Game 4: Cle @ NYJ +10
Bet% Cle 84% NYJ 16
The Jets won last week ending their winless run and it after getting killed for trying to win all week I like them to come back and play hard again this week. Even before the Rams game the Jets had been playing close competitive games, they were in 1 score games vs the Patriots, Chargers and Raiders and really should have won that Raiders game. The Browns are playing well right now, this is the most one sided bet on the slate this week with 80%+ on the Browns and because of it we are getting good value here at +10, this line should not be 10.
The Browns are on the best run of their season but this looks like a major flat spot for them. 2 weeks ago the Browns played on MNF in the game of the year vs division rival Baltimore, last week they Browns got flexed to another prime time game and had a 20-6 win on SNF. Next week the Browns play what could be a critical game in the division and AFC playoffs against division rival Pittsburgh, this Jets game is sitting there as a clear low spot. I also think that in looking at the matchup, the thing the Browns want to do is run the ball, they are #8 in DVOA and the offense starts with Chubb and Hunt. For the Jets, the thing they do best is, their best unit on the team is their run defense, The Jets rank 8th in DVOA in run defense and 8th in yards per rush against at 4.0. I like the Jets to kee this game within 1 score.
Game 5: LAR +115 @ SEA
Bet% LAR 42% SEA 58%
The Rams are coming off of their worst loss of the year and the worst loss of any team this season losing as a 17 point favorite but I thought the biggest takeaway from that game was Jared Goff’s comment after the game where he basically said this game didn’t matter, the game that mattered was Seattle. I’m willing to give the Rams a mulligan on last week’s game, they still rank higher in DVOA than Seattle #6 vs #9 and I think if we look at the last month they are still trending better than Seattle.
I was on Seattle last week against Washington, they had that game in complete control and then went super conservative and allowed WFT back into the game. The defense which seemed to be improved over the last month was being easily shred by Duane Haskins which can’t be a good sign. In the first meeting that Rams won, Goff passed for 300 yards in an efficient game, I expect McVay will be able to get the offense back on track this week. I took Rams ML at plus money, I think they win this game straight up, both offenses will have success but I trust the Rams defense much more and I also trust McVay more than Carrol to stay aggressive on offense.
Game 6: 2 Team 6 Point Teaser: Bears -1.5 @ Jac & Cin @ Hou -1
2 teasers this week, the first has the Bears and Texans, 2 favorites I took through 7 and 3. The Bears have looked much better on offense vs some bad defenses and the Jags should help continue that trend. After last week’s win by the Jets the Jags are now in position to pick #, they will be without James Robinson and we are not sure who is starting at QB. This should be a smash spot for the Bears, they are alive for the playoffs and this is a spot that even if they play poorly, they should be able to get the win.
The Bengals are coming off of their biggest win of the season and now go on the road in a short week and play against Desaun Watson. Going into last week, the Bengals offense minus Joe Burrow was historically bad and then they got 17 points off of turnovers as Rothlisberger played his worst half of his career. I don’t see the Bengals coming back and scoring enough to stay with the Texans in this game.
Game 7: 2 Team 6 Point Teaser: Ind @ Pit +7.5 & Buf -1 @ NE
The Steelers were the team downgraded the most by the bookmakers this week and went from a 3 point fav on the lookahead line to a small underdog at open. I fully expected this line to flip by game time because I believe the Steelers are still the better team in this game. I got them through the 3 and 7 for great value but I expect the loss last week was rock bottom and they win this game outright.
The second leg is the Bills on MNF, Bills will be on extra rest after playing last Saturday night, Stephon Gilmore is going to be out this game and it is hard to see how that Patriots defense holds up against this passing offense. Bills won the division last week but I expect they will still have something for the Patriots and wanting to slay the ghosts of seasons past.