By Matthew Nereim
Although I was all in on the Chargers last week in Jacksonville, siding with a game that 67% of the public is betting on is a RARE-EXCEPTION in my “Anti-Joe Public” general philosophy. The thing to understand most is that you are looking for games that have a chance to get out of hand, in your favor obviously...NOT “coin-flips”! But, if your team plays bad, turns it over multiple times and still covers...that is still a great bet! Even if they don’t cover you still might have been on “the ride side of the ball”, which is really the primary goal. Do that consistently and you have a chance.
With that said let’s dig into Sunday’s games and see what looks interesting, and which games to pass on?
Bears @ Packers -4.5
57% of the bets are on the Packers and the line pulled back a “hook” from -5. The weather is supposed to be 9-degrees cooler than the average temperature on this day, with a wind-chill of 9 as well. The Pack has been winning ugly of late, while the Bears are playing their best ball of the year behind a resurgent (for now) Mitchell Trubusky. While I do learn towards the Bears in a divisional-dogfight type of game, and I think they cover (barely)... there is just not enough upside as I don’t see them handling Rogers @ Lambeau comfortably in what I project as a dogfight. Hard Pass!
However, the under is sitting at 41 with 56% of bets on the over and the total dropping a point. I am really tempted to make a smallish play on it...and will do just that. Bet: Under 41
Texans @ Titans -3
57% of the bets are on “Tenny” which is hardly surprising as they are arguably the 2nd hottest team in football over the last 7 weeks since my Comeback Player Of The Year Ryan Tannehill took over for Mariota. Both teams sit at 8-5 and 1st-place in the division is on the line in what should be an entertaining tussle!!! But why would I want to go on the road to try and stop Derrick Henry, “Tanny”, & “Tenny”, especially when they are actually the team I like here? I might be kicking myself for not employing the “ride the bull till she bucks you” angle since the Titans are a different team of late. But that line just looks too easy at -3, which means half the time (at least) it usually is. Hard Pass
Note: The over under has had multiple 1+ point moves up to 51.5 which usually means “The Whales” hit it hard for whatever that is worth?
Vikings @ Chargers +1.5
68% of the bets are on the Vikings yet the line dropped from Vikings Vikings -3 to -1.5? If you read last week then you know that I was all over the Bolts against a Jaguar team that has packed it in. This line just screams Vegas begging you to take the 9-4 Vikings who’re off a tough loss on the road in Seattle last week. I expect the Bolts to show up and for this to be a thoroughly enjoyable game to watch as Rivers looks to shut up his critics again! Normally I would be all over the Bolts with this line-action....the problem that I am having is that I see that Vikings front giving the Chargers offensive line loads of issues.
Pro Bowl slot corner/punt returner Desmond King will also be missing the game due to personal issues. Adam Thielen will be back as well after a 4-week hiatus with a bad hamstring. While I still lean to the Chargers, just don’t see enough “upside” in what I project as another dogfight!. Hard Pass!
The Total sits at 45.5 with 62% of the action on the over. I lean under but will pass on that as well.
Jaguars @ Raiders -6.5
The Raiders will be playing their final game at “The Black Hole” coming off a rough 3-game losing streak. 71% of the bets are on them and the line moved just a point up from -5.5. The Raiders should be fired up to play and I expect the offense to score some points. “Joe Public” is all over Carr & Co though and I can’t use the same strategy as last week on principle. But, the Raiders have issues on defense when healthy, and now they have some major issues in their secondary with injuries to both their safeties. The total sits at 46 with an evenish 52% on the over. “Minshew-Mania” comes to town and I expect him to put up some points on this defense. Raiders should score, quite a bit in a game that features two bottom-10 defenses. Over 46 is the Play Of The Week!
As always, when you do bet, make it be with money that you can afford to lose!