We are more than halfway done with the NFL regular season, but that doesn’t mean that we still don’t have some interesting side bets to place wagers on this coming week.
Over/Under: 0.5 total wins by NFC East Teams
At this point, it is well-known that the NFC East is the worst division in professional football this season. This is the lone division in the NFL that doesn’t have a single team with a winning record. Now, we are on the verge of week 13, and this may be the toughest weekend of the season for the NFC Least since every franchise will be facing a good team. As a result, I believe this division will finish the week 0-4.
The New York Giants head across the country to Seattle to face the Seahawks. Starting quarterback Daniel Jones is not going to be available for this game, so Colt McCoy will get the nod for Big Blue. Daniel Jones may be prone to turnovers, but Colt McCoy is far worse. He has only won 25% of his career starts and has committed 49 turnovers in 28 starts. Seattle lets up a lot of yards but also forces a lot of turnovers. I don’t think McCoy can beat the Seahawks on the road.
In the afternoon game that features the Eagles against the Packers, the matchup between Philly’s defense and Green Bay’s offense will be exciting. We saw last week that the Eagles can give even the best players (like Russell Wilson) fits. The problem is Philly’s offense sucks. They are 28th in points per game and 30th in giveaways. Green Bay’s defense isn’t great, but they should be able to frustrate a mistake-prone Carson Wentz.
Monday evening’s early start features the Steelers hosting the Washington Football Team. This game seems like a slam dunk for Pittsburgh. The Steelers have forced the most turnovers in the NFL this season while Washington has the seventh-most giveaways in the league. Even Alex Smith has made some costly errors, throwing five INTs so far this season. Those kinds of mistakes will not do against an undefeated (albeit, overrated) team.
Lastly, we have the Dallas Cowboys playing the Baltimore Ravens. If RGIII was playing, then this game would likely be a little closer. However, it appears Lamar Jackson is set to return to the field for Baltimore. I think this game will still be close, but I see the Ravens pulling out a three- or four-point win in the end because they are the better coached team. That leaves us at 0-4, and the NFC East manages to disappoint us all yet again.
Over/Under: 3.5 total offensive touchdowns scored in the Bears-Lions game
We’re in for an interesting one Sunday afternoon when a moveable force meets a stoppable object.
The Chicago Bears, fresh off their Sunday night embarrassment against the Green Bay Packers, stay in the division to take on the Detroit Lions. The Bears have lost five games in a row while the Lions have lost two straight, so something has to give in this one.
Before I cover the prop bet, I do want to say that I think the Lions should be favored to win this game. Teams that fire their coach often come out the very next week and perform well. Just look at the Atlanta Falcons, who are 4-2 after starting the year 0-5 and firing their head coach. I think the locker room shakeup is going to give the Lions a boost of energy. It also helps that they have a proven veteran QB in Matthew Stafford.
Now let’s get to the actual prop bet. The bet basically asks you this question: do you believe these teams will combine to score four total touchdowns? I think they will, that is why I took the over. These teams aren’t great at scoring, but they still put up some points. If you put the Bears’ and the Lions’ scoring offenses together, these squads average 42.5 points per game combined.
These offenses aren’t great, but they are good enough to each register at least two TDs in a 60-minute football game. In conclusion, I think these teams combine for more than 3.5 total offensive TDs.
Will Derrick Henry (+4000) pass Ben Roethlisberger (+2000) in the race for MVP?
When you look at the eye test, everything about Derrick Henry screams MVP candidate. He is the most important player on his team. He is also the best Running back in the NFL right now (I will not be debating this). Furthermore, his numbers are jaw-dropping. Henry leads the NFL in yards, attempts, yards per game, and first downs rushed for. He has accounted for 31.8% of Tennessee’s total offense this season. With all that in mind, I don’t think Henry will pass Big Ben in the MVP race this week.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Derrick Henry is the better player. Hell, he may even be more valuable to the Titans than Big Ben is to the Steelers. In reality, it doesn’t matter. The NFL MVP is an award that is dominated by quarterbacks. A quarterback has been named MVP 18 times since 1999. In that same time span, a running back has only won MVP four times. Even though Derrick Henry may be playing better, Big Ben is more likely to be favored in the MVP race because he is a quarterback.
Big Ben’s MVP campaign over Derrick Henry is also helped by the fact that the Steelers stunk last year without Roethlisberger and are now undefeated this year. Last year, the Steelers finished the season 8-8 and went 6-5 through the team’s first 11 games. This year, Pittsburgh is undefeated at 11-0 and is the runaway favorite to earn the number one seed in the AFC playoff hunt. Derrick Henry just isn’t going to get the MVP recognition that Big Ben gets this year.
Over/Under: 23.5 points scored by the Chiefs in the first half of their game against the Broncos.
We can’t discuss the NFL without mentioning Patrick Mahomes. Last week, the golden boy led the Chiefs into Tampa Bay where the 25-year-old put on a passing clinic. The former Super Bowl MVP led KC to a 27-24 win over the Bucs as Mahomes passed for 462 yards and three TDs. The Chiefs have a much easier task this weekend when they face the Denver Broncos in Kansas City.
Normally, I am a person that believes in close Divisional matchups. If you face a team in your division, in all likelihood, the game will be a nail-biter that comes down to the last possession. That will not be the case this week for several reasons. The Broncos have a rotating door at the quarterback position. That uncertainty leads to lots of mistakes on offense. Also, the Chiefs are playing like the best team in the NFL. Mahomes looks like the best player in the NFL. This is going to be a perfect storm of offense that punches Denver in the mouth.
I think the Chiefs will score 24 points in the first half of their game against the Broncos, so I am taking the over. They were able to put up 17 points in the first quarter of their game last week, and the Buccaneers are way better than the Broncos at defense this year. I think Mahomes and the chiefs keep rolling, especially with home-cooking in Kansas City. I could see the Chiefs putting up four first-half touchdowns. I am telling you to take the over on this bet because this game is going to get ugly in a hurry.
The Minnesota Vikings, who are currently -125 to miss the postseason, will win and be expected to reach the playoffs when odds are released next week.
The Minnesota Vikings have been a team trending upward for quite a number of weeks now. Unfortunately, they dug themselves in a hole early on in the season after beginning the year 1-5. Since then, Minnesota has gone 4-1, earning them the second spot in the NFC North. However, the Packers are 8-3 and have a comfortable cushion over the Vikings in the divisional race. As a result, the Vikes are currently on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoff hunt. In fact, the New York Times is giving Minnesota a 29% chance to make the postseason.
As things stand, the Vikings are currently the eighth seed in the NFC, meaning they would miss the playoffs if the regular season ended today. They will need some help, but I think Minnesota will be favored to make the postseason following week 13. A lot of it will also depend on the Rams and Lions too.
The first and most important thing Minnesota needs to do is beat the Jacksonville Jaguars. ESPN currently gives the Vikes an 83.1% chance to beat the Jaguars. I like those odds. I would like them even more if I knew that Dalvin Cook was definitely playing. Even though his status for the game is up in the air, Minnesota does expect Adam Thielen to return to the lineup. Minnesota will easily beat the Jags. The Vikings also need some help from the Rams and Lions. Los Angeles will need to beat the Arizona Cardinals when the two face off on Sunday. I am favoring LA in the game slightly because Kyler Murray is a little banged up from last week. On top of that, Minnesota would benefit from a Lions victory over the Bears. It isn’t critical but having a one-game lead over the Bears as well as a head-to-head victory will certainly make it easier for them to make playoffs. I think with wins by Minnesota, LA, and Detroit, the Vikings can emerge from this weekend as a team that is favored to reach the postseason.