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Best NFL bets

The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups our NFL betting staff is targeting in today’s slate of games. Click on the team logos for any of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.

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By Billy Ward

Due to the similarities in the Packers vs. Falcons and Colts vs. Texans, and the identical lines, I’m grouping these two picks into one. Also, with plus-money picks like this, we expect to lose as many as we win, but we would obviously come out ahead if we split the pair.

Both games feature spreads of 1.5 points or less at BetMGM, while the Packers game reaches two in other books. When I looked at this bet a few years ago, I found that games with a spread of two or less have three scores in a row about 56% of the time, or fair odds of -130 (YES) versus +130 (NO).

That gives us a slight advantage without other data points, but there are more to like.

First, it is somewhat reasonable to expect games with one-point spreads to be more favorable to “NO” than games with two-point spreads, although I grouped them together in my initial research.

More importantly, both games feature totals of 40 or less. All games with a total of 40 or less since 2017 have had three consecutive scores only 47% of the time, which would make the fair value “NO” -112.

Games that meet the criteria (a total of 40 or fewer and a distribution of less than two) are rare enough that it is difficult to draw firm conclusions. However, in the sample I found, “NO” scored 7-2.

Given the variance in these picks, I’d bet on both even if it means playing half a unit on each.

Choose: Any team will record 3 unanswered scores: NO (+140)

By Billy Ward

See explanation above.

Choose: Any team will record 3 unanswered scores: NO (+140)

By Nick Giffen

I expect this game to be played much slower in the first half than the second.

Our luck rankings show the Bears as the unlucky team, ranking 22 spots below Tampa Bay, with a luck gap of almost 96%.

Below, our lucky team totals show that Tampa Bay’s offense, combined with the Bears’ defense, was the luckiest combination until the end last week. That means Tampa Bay is the team most likely to fall short of its team total, according to this metric.

Finally, the Bears receive very little defensive pressure. Normally, that would help most QBs.

However, he hasn’t helped Baker Mayfield throughout his career. In each of the last two years, as well as four of the five years of his career, he has fallen well short of the average QB’s improvement from pressure to non-pressure situations in yards per attempt.

It’s pretty easy to see that this will be an intense attack for Tampa Bay to open things up. With both teams playing this way, it’s hard to see a multi-touchdown first half for the Bucs.

Choose: Bucs Total Points 1st Half Under 10.5 (-135)

By Billy Ward

These are teams with fairly shaky quarterback play that would love to slow the game down and control things on the field for as long as possible. However, the game’s script doesn’t always allow that to happen.

Last week, Chicago played more than 10 seconds faster per play in the second half than it did in the first, as they were down 11 points when they touched the ball in the second. On the other hand, last season the Bucs played more than five seconds faster in the second half of games.

Obviously, we’re picking a little here, as Tampa Bay slowed things down significantly in the second half of their Week 1 game. However, that was because the Bucs spent the second half clinging to a narrow lead against the Vikings and they were trying to kill the clock after trailing most of the first half.

My expectation is that both teams play cautiously from the beginning and play not to lose. Over time, someone will have to be more aggressive and try to force the situation in the second half.

The biggest leap of faith might be that a faster pace actually leads to points, given the offenses involved.

Of course, poor quarterback play from the trailing team could create some short fields or defensive touchdowns, which would only help the cause here.

Choose: Half with the highest score: 2nd (-105)

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By Nick Giffen

I will have one of these every week as long as he continues to show value. In this case, I have a +1210 fair chance of this game going to overtime.

Last week, I delivered the Dolphins vs. Chargers in a high scoring game where the home team was the favorite. It ended 36-34 to the Dolphins, but they had a real chance to go to overtime until a missed extra point by Jason Sanders left a two-point difference between the teams instead of three.

It turns out that these types of games are exactly what we are looking for in the overtime market.

First, the Seahawks were six-point underdogs earlier in the week, but are now down to just 4.5. The overtime market likely did not adjust enough as the spread approached.

Additionally, the Seahawks are the unlucky team on the road with a 24 luck gap and a 107% luck gap. Road teams that meet our luck criteria are 50-19-3 ATS since 2018, so it’s possible this game could be played even closer than the 4.5-point spread.

Second, high-scoring games (especially with favored home teams) tend to produce overtime more frequently in the current era, since the kickoff rule was adjusted in 2015. We could get into theories as to why. This happens, but that is beyond the scope of this election.

I’ll trust the data on this and leave that discussion for another day. With the second-highest total of the weekend, this presents one of the best opportunities for overtime.

Choose: Will there be overtime? YES (+1550)

By Sean Koerner

With a huge 8/129/1 line, it looks like Aiyuk could be Brock Purdy’s top receiving target this season. However, this seems like a good time to “fade” him on the receiving market.

Aiyuk caught all eight of his targets with an average target depth of 14.4. I don’t care how good you are, because that’s not sustainable.

Aiyuk tends to destroy man coverage, but is a mere mortal when facing the zone. That trend continued in Week 1, when he went 5/75/2 against the Steelers in man coverage, which was just 16% of coverage snaps. He was 2/38/0 against zone. Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel and George Kittle often see their production increase compared to the zone.

The Rams use zone coverage at one of the highest rates in the league. It’s also a matchup where the overall volume of play could be below average, which affects stats like receptions as it’s driven by volume.

I’m projecting Aiyuk for 4.1 receptions with a 60% chance of falling below 4.5. I would bet this at -130.

This is not a criticism of Aiyuk’s fantasy value this week. He could still do a lot of damage with four catches as he sees so many targets down the field and in the red zone, making him a WR2 option in fantasy.

Pick: Brandon Aiyuk Under 4.5 Receptions (-113 | Bet on -130)

#NFL #Week #Predictions #DataDriven #Picks #Colts #Texans #Bears #Buccaneers

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