By Matthew Nereim
If you’ve yet to read my “line-reading” approach to betting that deduces who to bet on based largely on what percentage of bets are on which side, and how the line does or does not move with respect to the “action”, then you will want to click on the 2 links below to get up to speed on how my “quality over quantity” anti-Joe Public (general) philosophy works.
With that said, let’s leap right into my Week 14 analysis to see what looks interesting, and which games to pass on as we get into the last ¼ of the season where some teams are itching to play much more so than others!
Dolphins @ Jets -5
The “Fins” have quietly won 3 of their last 5 including a 26-18 win over these same Jets in Week 9. Coming off a big upset of Philly last week coupled with the Jets losing 22-6 to the previously winless Bengals makes it understandable why 60% of the bets are on Fitz-magic. The line opened at -6 before dropping to -5. Laying 5-points seems outrageous...which is exactly the kind of thing that piques my interest. This game features the worst rushing attack in the league (Dolphins) against the #1 rushing defense. Gulp...that means, “Fitz” better be “magic”. However, the Jets are beat up, and Le’Veon Bell has been ruled out of the game. This is one of those lines that look so ugly, that it’s almost tempting to lay the points and bet on the Jets bounce-back at home against a leaky at best Miami defense. It sure looks like Vegas is asking me to take the points. But, Fitz-magic-tragic for better or worse, is capable, sometimes. No thanks, pass!
Game of the Week
49ers @ Saints -2.5
The game opened at the Saints -3.5 and dropped to 2.5 with an evenly 53% of the bets on San Fran. This game should be fun to watch!!! But with regards to betting, as a projected “dogfight”, I will pass despite leaning towards the 9ers. The total is sitting at 45 however, with 60% of the bets on the over. The 9ers are the 2nd highest-scoring team in the league. But both D’s are good to great! I lean towards the under, but in the comfy confines of a Dome, I will pass on this as well and simply watch with pleasure as two very good teams go at it! Pass & pass.
Redskins @ Packers -13
65% of the bets are on “the Pack”, and the line dropped from 13.5. 13-points in the NFL is a huge #, just like the 10 points Haskins and Co. got last week. I passed last week, and I will pass again on a rookies 1st trip to Lambeau. No thanks to either side!
The MVP @ Bills +6
This could end up being the game of the week as The Lamar-velous One is a must-see TV if you ask me. 53% of the bets are on the Ravens and the line has held steady. Josh Allen and the Bills finally have started to get some respect after a couple of nice wins. Under normal circumstances, I would be taking the points here with that D of the Bills at home. But there is nothing normal about #8 and this freak-show of an offense! I can’t wait to see how this plays out!!! The Ravens had covered 5 straight by an average of 20 points a game before the 9ers eeked out a cover last week. I can’t fault those who ride Lamar. I think they get it done...I just can’t pull the trigger on laying 6 on the road against a tough D. Hard Pass.
Chargers @ Jaguars +3
60% of the bets are on the Chargers and the line moved from +1 to +3 for the Jaguars. Those familiar with my habits know that I loathe going on the same side as “Joe Public”. As a Charger fan, there is one thing I know about the Bolts, they don’t ever quit no matter what the circumstance, EVER! It is why all 8 of their losses are by 7 or less this year and they have fought back from 14+ points multiple times to have given themselves at least some kind of chance. It is why the seldom get blown out for years now. It is a credit to Phillip Rivers mostly who is the ultimate gamer. The Jags appear better off with Minchew-Mania over Foles. But I have seen what appears to be a team that has packed it in the last few weeks. The Chargers are well overdue for some lady-luck to bounce their way. And this is a game that I could see getting out of hand with one team simply wanting it much more than the other, especially if the road team can find a way to play their 3rd turnover-free game of the year, and make it 19 consecutive wins when they have done just that. I would be quite content with an ugly 21-17 win, however. Bet Chargers -3 on a special “Joe Public” exemption.
Chiefs @ Patriots -3
57% of the bets are on the Chiefs and the line dropped a hook down to Pats -3. The Pats are coming off a tough loss in Houston and Mahomes and Co dropped a 40-burger on Oakland @ home while committing 0 penalties (Raiders had 12-99). I have spoken before of my “thou shall not try to beat Brady and Belichick” in Foxboro. I also have a rule that when Joe Public jumps off the Patriot bandwagon when they’re @ Foxboro that “thou shall be ready to pounce”! Bet Patriots -3.
Steelers @ Cardinals +3
66% of the bets are on the Steelers, yet the line dropped from +5.5 down to 3. The Cardinals had been feisty until they got smoked at home against an angry Rams team embarrassed the week prior by the Ravens. The Steelers had a nice come from behind win at home against the Browns. This is normally the kind of line that I sprint to the windows for...but I just can’t get excited about betting the Cardinals right now. No thanks all around!
And as always...when you do bet, make it be with money that you can afford to lose!