Sunday, December 20, 2020, M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland, 1 p.m. ET
Jaguars at Ravens Betting Preview: Jaguars (+12/5/-110), Ravens (-12.5/-110)
Running back James Robinson became the fourth undrafted rookie in NFL history to total at least 1,000 rushing yards, and the fastest to do so, reaching the feat in the fourth quarter of last week’s loss to the Titans. He is third in the league in rushing with 1,035 yards, to go along with seven touchdowns. He’s also is well on pace to break the league mark set by the Colts’ Dominic Rhodes, who ran for 1,104 yards as an undrafted rookie in 2001. With four receptions on Sunday, Robinson will become the first undrafted rookie running back to total 50 receptions in a single season in NFL history and the first undrafted player to do so since 2014.
Quarterback Gardner Minshew will start on Sunday after entering the game in the second half in Week 14, when he posted 178 yards and one touchdown on 13-of-23 passing and added 22 rushing yards against the Titans. The second-year quarterback has appeared in eight games (seven starts) this season and has completed 194 of 298 attempts for 2,033 yards and 14 scores. Baltimore’s secondary struggled against the Browns as it gave up 355 yards passing.
The Jaguars’ defense could be in for a long day against the Ravens. Jacksonville has allowed 1,892 rushing yards (145.5 yards per game) this season, as only the Texans (1,980) and Cowboys (2,115) have been worse against the run. That could mean trouble for Jacksonville against the Ravens, who have the league’s most potent rushing attack.
The Ravens may have discovered their mojo, at least offensively. They are coming off a thrilling 47-42 victory over the host Cleveland Browns. Baltimore twice held 14-point leads, but Cleveland kept rallying, eventually taking a 35-34 edge midway through the fourth quarter after quarterback Lamar Jackson left the game with cramps. After Jackson’s backup, Trace McSorley, went down with a knee injury with 2:12 remaining, Jackson returned from the locker room. On the ensuing fourth-and-5 play, he found receiver Marquise Brown for a 44-yard touchdown to give Baltimore a 42-35 lead after J.K. Dobbins two-point conversion. Jackson later set up Justin Tucker’s game-winning, 55-yard field goal with two seconds remaining.
Look for the Ravens to run the ball relentlessly against the Jaguars. Baltimore’s rushing attack ranks No. 1 in the NFL (173.8 ypg) and Lamar Jackson’s 6.3 yards per carry also leads the league. His 793 rushing yards are 10th overall and tops among quarterbacks. Rookie J.K. Dobbins 5.3 yards per carry ranks fifth in the NFL, while Gus Edwards (5.0) is tied for ninth. Baltimore is the only team with three players who have at least 500 rushing yards — Jackson (793), Edwards (536) and Dobbins (504).
Keep an eye on the Ravens’ opportunistic defense, which could create short fields for Jackson and Co. The Ravens rank No. 1 in the NFL with 24 forced fumbles, which are at least eight more than any other team. They are also second in the league with 11 fumble recoveries. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey leads the NFL with eight forced fumbles this season. Humphrey’s eight forced fumbles also tie for the second most by a defensive back in an NFL single season since the stat began being tracked in 2000, and they are a Ravens’ single-season record.
Jaguars at Ravens Betting Pick for Week 15
The Ravens have won two straight games after a stretch in which they lost four of five games that would have knocked them out of the playoffs if the postseason started today. The Ravens’ trajectory is trending upward, while the Jaguars haven’t won since Week 1. The Ravens’ running game should force the Jaguars to crowd the line of scrimmage, giving receivers more room to exploit in the secondary, which is what the Ravens did to the Browns. In a game fueled by stars, the Ravens’ are just bigger and brighter than the Jaguars’.
Jaguars at Ravens Betting Pick:
Ravens, 38, Jaguars 17
Jaguars at Ravens Best Bet for Week 15
The Ravens are allowing 21 points per game, and their secondary was just shredded by Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield, who threw for a season-high 343 yards on Monday. It’s not out of the question for the Jaguars to score at least two touchdowns, considering they are averaging 20.1 points per game. As for the Ravens, their offense is starting to resemble the juggernaut of last year, meaning putting up 30-plus points against a Jaguars’ team that is terrible against the run is a distinct possibility.
Jaguars at Ravens Best Bet: OVER 47.5 total points (-110)
Sunday, December 20, 2020, U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1 p.m. ET
Bears at Vikings Betting Preview: Bears (+3.5/-110), Vikings (-3.5/-110)
Chicago snapped a six-game losing streak with a 36-7 home romp against Houston in Week 14, getting a big game from resurgent starting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who was 24-of-33 passing for 267 yards and three touchdowns — with all three scores coming in the first half.
The Bears are seeking to avoid a season sweep at the hands of the Vikings, who outgained Chicago 385-149 in a 19-13 win at Soldier Field in Week 10.
While Chicago still ranks 28th in the NFL with 93.2 rushing yards a game, the team is coming off its best ground game of the season, racking up 169 yards against Houston. David Montgomery went for 113 yards and a touchdown as the 6-7 Bears kept their playoff hopes alive.
Minnesota stumbled to a 26-14 loss at Tampa Bay in Week 14 to fall to 6-7, one game behind Arizona for the NFC’s final wild-card spot. The Vikings hold the tiebreaker against the Bears by virtue of their head-to-head victory in Chicago.
Dalvin Cook rushed for 102 yards against the Buccaneers to eclipse the century mark for the third time in four games, but he’ll look to come untracked against the Bears, who limited Cook for much of Week 10 before a handful of late bursts helped him finish with 96 yards. Cook is tied for the NFL lead with 14 rushing touchdowns.
Placekicker Dan Bailey has missed four field goals and three extra points in the past two games.
The Minnesota defense has allowed a 100-yard rusher 10 times this season.
Bears at Vikings Betting Pick for Week 15
Cousins was sacked a season- and career-high six times at Tampa Bay. The Bears’ defense needs to come closer to that effort than the one-sack performance it had against the Vikings in Week 10 to remain in striking distance here. Yes, the Chicago offense has a different dynamic under Trubisky than replacement Nick Foles, who lumbered through the teams’ meeting at Soldier Field before leaving late with an injury, but Minnesota has schemed against Trubisky before.
Bears at Vikings Betting Pick:
Vikings 26, Bears 16
Bears at Vikings Best Bet for Week 15
The Vikings and Bears enter Week 15 tied for fourth in the NFL in red-zone defense, allowing foes to score touchdowns on 52.3 percent of their visits inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. Look for at least one ‘D’ to make a big play to thwart a scoring opportunity and keep the glitzy U.S. Bank scoreboard from getting excessively lit up in the final NFC North game before Christmas.
Bears at Vikings Best Bet: UNDER 46.5 total points (-110)
Sunday, December 20, 2020, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey, 8:20 p.m. ET
Browns at Giants Betting Preview: Browns (-5/-112), Giants (+5/-109)
Baker Mayfield has the Browns (9-4) in contention for their first playoff berth since the 2002 season, even though the team dropped a 47-42 decision to Baltimore on Monday. Mayfield has totaled nine touchdowns (eight passing, one rushing) over his last three games and recorded season-high totals in passing yards in each of his last two.
The Browns’ bread and butter is their two-headed rushing attack of Nick Chubb (team-leading 881 yards) and Kareem Hunt (772 yards), who are the key components to the NFL’s third-ranked rushing attack (156.2 yards per game). The duo combined for 213 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns versus the Ravens.
Jarvis Landry, who leads the team in catches (60) and receiving yards (728), has collected 22 receptions for 257 yards and two touchdowns over his last three games. Rashard Higgins has the most touchdown receptions among the team’s wideouts with four, including one in each of the past two contests.
New York Giants
The Giants (5-8) enter Sunday’s clash with a question under center, as Daniel Jones is nursing both a hamstring injury and sprained ankle. Should the second-year quarterback be unable to play against Cleveland, veteran Colt McCoy will get the nod against the team that selected him in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
Evan Engram has proven to be a capable outlet for whomever is under center for the Giants. Engram has a team-leading 50 receptions to serve as one of three NFC tight ends to reach that plateau this season.
New York will look to pick up the pieces after seeing its four-game winning streak come to a halt with a 26-7 setback to Arizona. Locating some semblance of offense would be of great help, considering the Giants have mustered just 43 points over their last three games and were limited to a Dion Lewis 1-yard touchdown against the Cardinals.
Browns at Giants Betting Pick for Week 15
The NFL opted to flex these two teams into the primetime slot, although that likely will only mean a bigger audience to see either Jones or McCoy sent unceremoniously to their backs on Sunday. New York quarterbacks have been sacked an NFL third-worst 41 times this season — including eight by the Cardinals last week — heading into a date with Myles Garrett (10.5 sacks) and former Giant Olivier Vernon (7.0 sacks).
Cleveland’s defense likely will get back on track after being shredded by Baltimore.
Browns at Giants Betting Pick:
Browns 31, Giants 16
Browns at Giants Best Bet for Week 15
Like him or not (and there’s plenty to support both arguments), Mayfield appears to have grown comfortable in Kevin Stefanski’s offense. A potent ground game will open doors for a passing attack that should be able to move the ball against a Giants’ team that is not ready for primetime.
Browns at Giants Best Bet: OVER 44 total points (-114)
Sunday, December 20, 2020, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, 1 p.m. ET
49ers at Cowboys Betting Preview: 49ers (-3/-110), Cowboys (+3/-110)
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers (5-8) have lost two in a row to fall to the brink of playoff elimination in the NFC on the eve of their trip to Dallas on Sunday to face the Cowboys (4-9). San Francisco is coming off a 23-15 neutral-site loss to Washington, its second defeat in three outings against NFC East teams this season.
49ers coach Kyle Shanahan admitted after the Washington game that he would consider changing quarterbacks this week, but nipped that idea in the bud on Wednesday when he announced that struggling Nick Mullens would remain the starter. Shanahan also considered C.J. Beathard, who has served as the chief backup ever since regular starter Jimmy Garoppolo suffered an ankle injury in Week 8.
One change Shanahan apparently will be forced into making this week is promoting Jeff Wilson Jr. to the starting running back position in place of Raheem Mostert, who injured his ankle in the Washington game. Wilson shares the team lead in rushing touchdowns this season with five despite having gotten fewer carries (68) than Mostert (90) and Jerick McKinnon (80).
The Cowboys (4-9) remain in the thick of the NFC East title chase despite residing in last place in the division with just three games remaining, including this week’s visit from the San Francisco 49ers (5-8). Last week’s 30-7 romp at Cincinnati kept Dallas’ playoff hopes alive, but it likely would need to sweep its last three games, including division matchups with Philadelphia in Week 16 and the New York Giants in Week 17
Ezekiel Elliott continued his late-season funk in the win over the Bengals, rushing for just 48 yards on 12 carries. He has totaled just 157 rushing yards in Dallas’ last three games. Elliott, who has been dealing with a calf issue, ranks seventh in the NFL in rushing this season with 832 yards after finishing fourth last season with 1,357 yards.
Andy Dalton had his first interception-free start of the season against Cincinnati, going 16-for-23 for 185 and two touchdowns. The veteran has settled into his starting role since the gruesome Dak Prescott injury, recording eight touchdown passes and three interceptions in his last four games, after just one TD and three interceptions in his first two starts.
49ers at Cowboys Betting Pick for Week 15
Two things have been disappointing for the 49ers in the last two weeks. First off, they lost a pair of games in which they were favored. Equally important, they’ve continued to lose key players, with wideout Deebo Samuel (hamstring) now out for the season and Mostert (ankle) unlikely to play this week.
The 49ers are favored again this week, which is just an indication those who set the line believe fans haven’t been paying attention to the state of their depleted roster. In a battle of backup quarterbacks, big edge to Dalton.
49ers at Cowboys Betting Pick:
Cowboys 29, 49ers 17
49ers at Cowboys Best Bet for Week 15
Some outlets are offering the Cowboys as a +140 proposition to win this game, and that seems more than generous for a matchup that, at worst, is a toss-up. Last week’s mistake-laden loss to Washington demonstrated once again that San Francisco, in its current state, might be the most overrated team in the league. This week’s line provides further proof.
Sunday, December 20, 2020, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana, 4:25 p.m. ET
Chiefs at Saints Betting Preview: Chiefs (-3/-110), Saints (+3/-110)
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs (12-1) have rolled off eight straight victories and are in the driver’s seat for claiming the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs. Kansas City’s last five wins have been by a combined 21 points, and it hasn’t registered a blowout win since whipping the lowly New York Jets on Nov. 1. Cornerback Tyrann Mathieu has been attempting to help the defense play better and he has six interceptions, including four over the past three games.
The Chiefs lead the NFL in total offense (429.2 yards per game) and rank second in scoring (31.0 points per game) as quarterback Patrick Mahomes is playing superb with a league-high 4,208 yards to go with 33 touchdowns and just five interceptions. Star tight end Travis Kelce leads the NFL with 1,250 yards and the player with 90 catches and nine touchdowns is the first tight end in NFL history to rack up five 1,000-yard receiving seasons. Wideout Tyreek Hill is tied for the NFL lead with 14 touchdown catches and ranks fourth in yardage with 1,158.
Star defensive end Chris Jones (6.5 sacks) went three games without a sack until recording one during last week’s 33-27 win over the Miami Dolphins. Linebacker Damien Wilson (68 tackles) missed practice Wednesday and could sit out his second straight game.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints (10-3) had a nine-game winning snapped with last Sunday’s 24-21 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles but are still battling the Green Bay Packers for the NFC’s No. 1 playoff seed. Quarterback Drew Brees was designated to return to practice on Wednesday after missing the past four games with 11 broken ribs and a punctured lung, but coach Sean Payton said the 41-year-old still has “a ways to go” before he can play in a game. Brees passed for 2,196 yards, 18 touchdowns and three interceptions prior to the injury.
Taysom Hill passed for a career-best 291 yards against the Eagles and also had two touchdowns but he was sacked five times, tossed one interception and lost a fumble in a performance that didn’t impress Payton. Look for Alvin Kamara’s fingerprints to be all over this game plan as the star running back (723 rushing yards, 699 receiving yards) is just three receptions away from reaching 80 catches for the fourth straight season and has scored 52 total touchdowns in 58 career games. Standout receiver Michael Thomas (ankle) is ailing but had eight receptions last week and 30 over the past four games.
Defensive end Trey Hendrickson is tied for third in the NFL with 10.5 sacks in a strong breakout season. Defensive tackle Malcom Brown (shoulder) missed Wednesday’s practice and could sit out his second straight contest, while defensive end Marcus Davenport (quadriceps) was limited and should be fine by Sunday.
Chiefs at Saints Betting Pick for Week 15
Kansas City has a major edge at quarterback with Mahomes against Hill as Brees appears to be at least one week away from playing. Kelce and Hill are operating at will against opposing secondaries and the Chiefs feel like they can score at anytime.
Hill’s blemishes were in full view last Sunday and perhaps are what should be expected from a 30-year-old starting NFL games for the first time. New Orleans will score some points against Kansas City’s defense but it is hard to see the Saints slowing down Mahomes.
Chiefs at Saints Betting Pick:
Chiefs 45, Saints 30
Chiefs at Saints Best Bet for Week 15
Kansas City has topped 30 points eight times this season and Mahomes is on a roll with six straight 300-yard outings. A healthy Brees would for sure make this total over but expect the New Orleans attack to do its part of putting points on the scoreboard regardless.
Chiefs at Saints Best Bet: OVER 51.5 total points (-110)
Sunday, December 20, 2020, SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, California, 4:05 p.m. ET
Jets at Rams Betting Preview: Jets (+17.5/-114), Rams (+17.5/-106)
New York Jets
A second consecutive game on the West Coast could be even more challenging than the first for the 0-13 Jets, who were pummeled 40-3 by the Seahawks last weekend. The Seahawks entered with the worst passing defense in the NFL but quarterback Sam Darnold had just 132 yards in the air and no touchdowns.
Darnold returns home, where he was a star at Southern California, but with the Jets closing in on the top overall draft pick, his days as a starter in New York appear numbered.
After Sunday’s meeting with the Rams, the Jets return home to face the Browns before ending the season at New England, giving them three chances to avoid the NFL’s latest 0-16 season since the Browns in 2017.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams have hit the win-and-you’re-in portion of the schedule. A victory over the Jets gets the Rams (9-4) back into the playoffs after they failed to advance last year following a Super Bowl run after the 2018 regular season.
The Rams’ defensive credentials continue to sparkle. They held the Patriots to three points in a victory last week and enter Week 15 leading the NFL in total yards allowed per game (285.8) and passing yards per game (191.7). The group also is third in both points allowed (18.9) and total sacks (42).
Running back Cam Akers enters off a 171-yard rushing performance against the Patriots, the highest from a Rams rookie since Jerome Bettis ran for 212 in a 1993 game.
Jets at Rams Betting Pick for Week 15
Rams quarterback Jared Goff is much improved after a three-turnover stinker during a Week 12 loss to the 49ers but could still use some fine-tuning in advance of a Week 16 showdown against the Seahawks. L.A. would rather show as little creativity as necessary in advance of next week’s trip to Seattle.
Even when they are playing well, the Rams lack the ability to run away and hide from opponents. The Jets will have to take advantage when the Los Angeles offense goes into its regular mid-game lulls.
Jets at Rams Betting Pick:
Rams 28, Jets 13
Jets at Rams Best Bet for Week 15
The Rams figure to have an easy time with the Jets but they have shown they lack a killer instinct. Look for the Rams to get off to their usual hot start, lean on their defense and punting game midway through before taking control early enough to get some players a late-game rest in advance of their division showdown against the Seahawks next Sunday.
Sunday, December 20, 2020, FedExField, Landover, Md., 1 p.m. ET
Seahawks at Washington Football Team Betting Preview: Seahawks (-5.5/-110), Washington Football Team (+5.5/-110)
The Seahawks (9-4) can clinch a playoff berth with a victory. They’re coming off a 40-3 drubbing of the winless New York Jets in which Russell Wilson threw four touchdown passes and the defense allowed just 185 total yards.
Defensive end Carlos Dunlap (foot) and cornerback Quinton Dunbar (knee) are expected to return from injuries and running back Rashaad Penny might make his season debut after suffering an ACL tear in November of 2019. The biggest question mark is starting right tackle Brandon Shell, who aggravated a sprained ankle last week. A healthy Shell would be welcome against Washington’s stout defensive line.
Washington Football Team
Washington (6-7) has won four games in a row to move atop the NFC East.
Those wins have been led by veteran QB Alex Smith, who missed the second half of last weekend’s 23-15 victory at San Francisco with a strained right calf. If Smith can’t go, Washington would turn to former first-round draft pick Dwayne Haskins, who began the season as the starter but was benched after four games.
Seahawks at Washington Football Team Betting Pick for Week 15
The Seahawks’ offense got back on track last weekend and the defense continues to get healthy and improve.
Washington’s defense ranks fourth in the league and Smith is 4-1 as a starter. The defense will likely keep Washington in the game, so it might come down to Smith’s health. The Seahawks are 7-6 against the spread this season, while Washington is 7-4-2.
Seahawks at Washington Football Team Betting Pick:
Seahawks 20, Washington 16
Seahawks at Washington Football Team Best Bet for Week 15
Washington has allowed just 57 points over its four-game winning streak. But Seattle’s defense has allowed only 58 points over the same span, in which the Seahawks have gone 3-1.
Seahawks at Washington Football Team Best Bet: UNDER 44.5 total points (-110)
Sunday, December 20, 2020, State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona, 4:05 p.m. ET
Eagles at Cardinals Betting Preview: Eagles (+6.5/-110), Cardinals (-6.5/-110)
The Eagles (4-8-1) remain in the NFC East race due to the entire division’s ineptitude but they can’t afford another setback with the Washington Football Team (6-7) in the midst of a four-game winning streak. Philadelphia halted a four-game slide last weekend with a solid 24-21 win over the New Orleans Saints as quarterback Jalen Hurts fared well in his first career start ahead of benched Carson Wentz. Hurts passed for 167 yards and rushed for 106 to join Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson as the only quarterback to rush for 100 or more yards in his first career start.
Hurts completed 17 of 30 passes and threw a touchdown against New Orleans but his ability to stretch the field will be scrutinized as his only completion of 20 or more yards was a short toss in which receiver Jalen Reagor gained 36 of the 39 yards after the catch. Running back Miles Sanders racked up a season-high 136 yards from scrimmage (115 rushing, 21 receiving) against the Saints and he also rushed for two touchdowns for the second time this season. Defensive end Brandon Graham has a team-leading seven sacks while linebacker Alex Singleton (team-high 87 tackles) has reached double digits in tackles in four of the past five games.
Protecting the ball better is necessary for the Eagles, who have a minus-10 turnover ratio due to 23 giveaways and 13 takeaways. The offensive line will be using its 13th different combination of the season as Matt Pryor will start at right tackle in place of Jack Driscoll, who suffered a season-ending knee injury versus New Orleans, while the status of cornerback Darius Slay (concussion) won’t be known until later in the week.
The Cardinals (7-6) snapped a three-game slide with a defense-fueled 26-7 win over the New York Giants last weekend and now hold the edge for the final NFC wild-card spot. Arizona racked up eight sacks against New York with linebacker Haason Reddick having a game for the ages with a franchise-record five sacks in addition to forcing a career-best three fumbles. Reddick is suddenly sixth in the NFL with 10 sacks but he and his teammates may find it harder to corral the quarterback this time due to Hurts’ stellar mobility.
Safety Budda Baker (100 tackles, two interceptions) is always a force in the back end and he has reached the century mark in stops for the third straight season. Quarterback Kyler Murray has passed for 3,231 yards and 23 touchdowns against 10 interceptions but has exceeded 300 yards just twice all season. Murray’s partnership with wideout DeAndre Hopkins is certainly blossoming as Hopkins ranks third in the NFL with 94 receptions and fifth with 1,155 receiving yards.
Kicker Zane Gonzalez (back) sat out practice but if he misses a second straight game, Mike Nugent (4-for-4 on field goals against the Giants) rates as a strong fill-in. Dre Kirkpatrick (hamstring) is tied for the team lead of three interceptions with fellow cornerback Patrick Peterson and his status will be determined later in the week.
Eagles at Cardinals Betting Pick for Week 15
Arizona awoke from its recent slumber last week and controls its playoff fate as long as it doesn’t stumble. The huge defensive effort by Reddick energized the club and there should be a carryover effect against the Eagles.
Hurts engineered a solid victory over New Orleans but often that second NFL start is harder than the first. When you consider Philadelphia has been sliding downhill most of the season, he can play freely without pressure as he attempts to prove he’s a better 2021 option than turnover-prone Wentz (15 interceptions, four lost fumbles this season).
Eagles at Cardinals Betting Pick:
Cardinals 31, Eagles 23
Eagles at Cardinals Best Bet for Week 15
Two quarterbacks who finished their careers at Oklahoma and can make plays with their legs should draw extra motivation at the sight of the other. Hopkins (six 100-yard outings) will be tough for the Eagles to stop, particularly if Slay can’t play.
Eagles at Cardinals Best Bet: OVER 49.5 total points (-105)
Happy Thursday football fans and welcome back to our weekly column in which we attempt to predict the outcome of some of the upcoming football games. Week 14 was a rough one for me, to say the least. I picked wins for the Houston Texans, Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Green Bay Packers.
How did I fare with those selections? Not too great. Despite losing six straight games, the Bears decided to have one of their better performances of the season en route to a 36-7 victory. Ouch. Meanwhile, the Steelers suffered their second straight loss at the hands of the Buffalo Bills. Fortunately, the Packers proved to be my saving grace, as they edged the Detroit Lions 31-24.
Despite an unimpressive 1-2 week, my overall record stands at 31-10. That’s not too bad of a winning percentage but I’m hoping to do better this time around. So, with that being said, here’s a look at my top outright picks for Week 15.
Week 15 NFL Best Bet No. 3:
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (-3)
This is the first (and probably the last) time that I’ve mentioned the Chicago Bears in back-to-back weeks. Could it be because I’m still smarting from their unexpected offensive explosion against the Texans? Perhaps it’s because I believe that their outing in Week 14 was more of an aberration rather than a sign of things to come. While Mitchell Trubisky turned in an impressive performance last week, I don’t see him throwing for another three touchdowns.
James’ pick: Vikings win a close one
Week 15 NFL Best Bet No. 2:
Kansas City Chiefs (-4) at New Orleans Saints
Before I get into my pick for this matchup, I must admit that I’m surprised that the point spread isn’t a bit larger, considering Drew Brees’ status remains uncertain. New Orleans was the hottest team in the NFL going into Week 14, as they had won nine straight. However, they were upended by the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21.
On the other side of the coin, the Chiefs extended their winning streak to eight games following a 33-27 victory against the Miami Dolphins. While Patrick Mahomes II had 393 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns, he also threw three interceptions and was sacked three times. If the Chiefs can win a game in which Mahomes had more INTs than touchdowns, that spells trouble for opposing defenses. For obvious reasons, this will be a high-scoring affair if Brees returns to the mix. But even if that is the case, the Chiefs will come out on top.
James’ pick: Chiefs get their 13th win on the season
James’ NFL Best Bet of Week 15:
Carolina Panthers at Green Bay Packers (-9)
The Packers were my lone win from a week ago, so I make no apologies in making them my safe pick for the second consecutive week. My second reason for going with the Packers is because Carolina has dropped seven of its previous eight games. On top of that, whether you love him or hate him, Aaron Rodgers is playing at an MVP level (39 touchdowns against four interceptions) and that trend will continue against a team that has forced just five interceptions all season.
Greeting and salutations football fans. We’re now 14 weeks into the NFL season, which means that we are officially in the home stretch. Last week, the players in the running for the MVP award included Josh Allen, Aaron Rodgers, and Patrick Mahomes II.
Each of these players led their respective teams to victory last week, which means that there won’t be too much of a shakeup from a betting standpoint. But before we get to our top-three list, here are a couple of players that warrant consideration as well.
Russell Wilson (+6600 odds) was the frontrunner for a good portion of the season before he was supplanted by Patrick Mahomes. Although Chef Wilson threw four touchdown passes in a 40-3 win over the New York Giants, he has surpassed the 250-yard passing threshold just one in the past five games.
Meanwhile, another player that we’re not hearing a lot about in the MVP race is Tennessee Titans’ running back Derrick Henry (+5000 odds). On the season, Henry has accumulated a league-leading 1,532 rushing yards on 297 carries, good enough for first in both categories. Additionally, Henry needs just nine more yards to surpass his 1,540-yard output from last season. It is also worth noting that he is tied for first in rushing touchdowns with 14. Neither of these players will make up enough ground in the race, but they are putting up noteworthy numbers, to say the least.
Now that we’ve given a well-deserved honorable mention to the players that fall outside of our top-three list, here’s a look at where potential MVP candidates rank following their performances in Week 14 (according to Unibet).
Third-Best NFL MVP Odds: Josh Allen (+1600). Last Week (+1400)
To be honest, Josh Allen has not been a household name in the MVP race this season. And while his odds have dipped a bit, he comes in at the No. 3 spot for the second straight week. In the Bills’ recent outing against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Allen completed 24 of 43 passes for 238 yards to go along with two touchdowns and one interception. No, he didn’t have a great game, but it was enough for the Bills to hand Pittsburgh a second straight loss and improve to 10-3. While Allen’s production has been modest in two of his last three outings, he is still ranked sixth in passing yards (3,641) and tied for sixth in touchdown passes with 28. Future MVP in the making? Only time will tell.
Second-Best NFL MVP Odds: Aaron Rodgers (+175). Last Week (+400)
Mr. Rodgers continues to come in at the second spot on our weekly list, and with good reason too. In the Packers’ 31-24 win over the Detroit Lions, Rodgers was 26 for 33 for 290 yards. He also had three touchdowns, marking the fourth straight outing in which he’s had at least three touchdown passes.
During that four-game stretch, Rodgers has compiled totals of 13 touchdowns compared to just one interception. And on the season, Rodgers is ranked third in passing yards (3,685); first in touchdown passes (39), and tied for fourth with three interceptions. Needless to say, Rodgers is a big reason why the Packers are averaging a league-best 31.5 points per contest. If not for Mahomes having another solid season, Rodgers would be leading this race hands down.
Best NFL MVP Odds: Patrick Mahomes II (-200). Last week (-500)
Although Mahomes continues to be the odds-on favorite in the MVP race, he had an interesting outing against the Miami Dolphins last week. After falling behind 10-0, Mahomes and the Chiefs went on to win the game 33-27. Not only that, but the Chiefs also won the division and clinched a playoff berth as well. In that contest, Mahomes was 24 for 34 for 393 yards, which was the sixth straight outing in which he’s topped the 300-yard plateau.
On the flip side of the coin, the Dolphins’ defense had three sacks and three interceptions. This was the first game of the season in which Mahomes had more picks than touchdown passes. But despite a somewhat subpar outing by his standards, Mahomes still leads the NFL in total passing yards with 4,208, and he is ranked third in touchdowns passes with 33. Barring a major collapse in the final three games of the season, Mahomes is on track to take home the MVP award for the second time in three seasons.
Good afternoon football fans. We are just three weeks away from the end of the 2021 NFL season. Last week, the teams that were considered the top title contenders included the Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers, the New Orleans Saints, and of course, the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs.
The Steelers were handed their second straight loss by the Buffalo Bills – who have won 10 games for the second straight season. Additionally, the Saints’ nine-game win streak was snapped by the Philadelphia Eagles. Yikes!
Did these losses knock either team out of the running as title favorites? Here’s an updated look at the teams with the best odds to win it all in 2021, based on their performances from Week 14 (according to Unibet).
Third-Best Super Bowl Odds:
New Orleans Saints (+700)
Last week (+500)
The Saints — who were tied for the second-best Super Bowl odds a week ago — were the hottest team in the league going into their Week 14 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles. Not only had they won nine straight, but they had also done so without the services of Drew Brees over the past three-and-a-half games. Unfortunately, that trend came to a screeching halt. Thanks to a defense that recorded five sacks on the day, the Eagles jumped out to a 17-0 lead before holding on for a 24-21 victory. The loss dropped New Orleans behind the Green Bay Packers for the top overall seed in the NFC. It doesn’t get any easier for New Orleans with a matchup against the Chiefs in Week 15. The good news is the Saints will conclude their season against the Minnesota Vikings and Carolina Panthers. In other words, they could still be in the running for the top seed in the conference.
Second-Best Super Bowl Odds:
Green Bay Packers (+650)
Last week (+800)
The Packers were tied for the third-best Super Bowl odds on our weekly list going into Week 14. And for the second time in three weeks, the Packers were squaring off against a divisional opponent. While the Packers cruised to an easy 41-25 victory against the Chicago Bears two weeks ago, Detroit proved to be a much more formidable opponent. In fact, the game was tied at 14 apiece going into halftime. But the Packers dominated the third quarter, thanks in part to a 14-play, 90-yard that concluded with a rushing touchdown by Aaron Rodgers.
The Packers defense forced a three-and-out on the Lions’ next possession before putting up another touchdown early in the fourth quarter. In the end, the Packers held on for a 31-24 victory, their third in a row. Thanks to the Saints’ loss, the Packers own the tiebreaker for the top record in the NFC. And just like the Saints, two of the Packers’ three remaining opponents have sub-.500 records (the Panthers in Week 15 and the Bears in the season finale). That said, Green Bay controls its destiny for the No. 1 seed in the conference.
Super Bowl Odds Favorites:
Kansas City Chiefs (+180) Last week (+210)
The fact that the Kansas City Chiefs have had the best Super Bowl odds comes as no surprise at this point, considering how well they’ve played over the past several weeks. Winners of their last seven, the Chiefs took on the Miami Dolphins in Week 14. Being that the Dolphins are in the hunt for a postseason berth, they were not going to go away quietly, and they trailed by a slim 14-10 margin going into the break. However, as Kansas City has done so many times this season, they created some separation in the second half, outscoring Miami 16-0 in the third quarter. Although the Dolphins rallied to score a pair of touchdowns in the final frame, it wasn’t enough to prevent the Chiefs from winning the game 33-27. On the heels of their eighth straight win, the Chiefs reached the 12-win mark for the third straight year and notched their fifth consecutive division title.
Even more important, the Chiefs have the best record in the NFL at 12-1. Simply put, if you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon already, now would be a good time to do so.
With just three weeks of regular-season action remaining, let’s take a look at a prop bet for each NFL team.
Will the Cards (-105) will lead by more than 3.5 points at halftime? Prediction: Yes
We saw Arizona take care of business against the Giants, who have a better scoring defense than the Eagles. Plus, the Cardinals are averaging almost 13 points per game in the first half while Philly is being held to just 8.8 points. Cards lead by a TD or more at halftime.
Will the Falcons (+114) score first? Prediction: Yes
The Buccaneers have proven they get off to slow starts. The Bucs are 17th in first-quarter scoring offense while Atlanta is fourth in the NFL. If Julio Jones can return from his hamstring injury, then I think the Falcons end up putting points on the board first.
Over/Under: 3.5 turnovers forced by the Bills’ Defense. Prediction: Over
This is a nightmare matchup for the Broncos. Denver currently leads the NFL in giveaways with 29 on the season while the Bills are tied for third in takeaways. The Broncos lead the league in interceptions thrown. I expect them to turn the ball over a few times when they face Buffalo.
Over/Under: 249.5 rushing yards against the Jags this weekend. Prediction: Over
The Ravens come into this weekend with the number one rushing attack in the NFL. Meanwhile, the Jags have the third-worst rushing defense in the league. Jacksonville just allowed the Titans to run for 249 yards. I expect Baltimore to do even better on the ground.
Over/Under: 6.5 catches for Robby Anderson. Prediction: Over
Robby Anderson is eighth in the NFL in receptions and averages over six catches per game. I expect the Packers to go up big in this game meaning Carolina will have to try and force the ball downfield with long passes. As a result, Anderson will finish with a big game despite the Panthers losing big in the end.
Will Cincinnati (+112) be the first team to kick a field goal? Prediction: Yes
The Bengals have the misfortune of going up against the Steelers after they lost their last two games. I can see this one getting out of hand in a hurry. However, I do think Cincy does get close enough to make the first field goal of the game. The Steelers won’t need to settle for Field Goals because they will keep finding the end zone.
Over/Under 17.5 first-half points for the Browns. Prediction: Over
Cleveland has really found their offensive groove. The Brownies are averaging 23 points per contest in the first half of their last three games, and two of those matchups were against teams with winning records! I think Cleveland’s offense continues to roll against the G-Men.
Will the Bears (+140) lead at halftime? Prediction: Yes
The return of Akiem Hicks also makes this a brutal matchup for Minnesota’s offense. With former pro bowl Linebacker Eric Kendricks questionable for the game, I could see Chicago going into the fourth quarter of this game with a lead.
Will the Cowboys vs. 49ers go require overtime (+1400)? Prediction: Yes
This is one of those weird games where both teams are kind of dead in the water at the moment. However, the Boys have something to play for while the 49ers don’t. It also looks like Andy Dalton has found his rhythm in this offense. I think a field goal as time expires sends this game to overtime.
Will the Broncos (-105) score more than 21.5? Prediction: No
Denver has the third-worst scoring offense in the NFL ahead of only Cincinnati and both New York football teams. Even though Buffalo is towards the middle of the pack in scoring defense, I still don’t think the Broncos will score over 21 points. The Broncos will go down big early and abandon the run, meaning they will make plenty of mistakes in the passing game. Denver scores maybe 17 points.
Over/Under 26.5 pass attempts by the Lions against the Titans. Prediction: Under
The Lions are one of the most pass-happy teams in the NFL. However, Matthew Stafford suffered a rib injury against the Packers, so his status for this weekend is up in the air. If Stafford doesn’t play, then there is no way the Lions throw the ball more than 26 times.
Green Bay Packers
Over/Under: 3.5 combined TDs scored (+148) in the first half? Prediction: Yes
Even though this prop bet includes both teams, I think the Packers alone will score at least four touchdowns in the first half of their game against the Panthers. I mean, the Pack do average 31.5 points per game. I think Green Bay feasts against one of the NFL’s least impressive scoring defenses.
Over/Under: 2.5 first-half touchdowns allowed by the defense. Prediction: Under
The Texans’ defense is absolute garbage. However, I think they were embarrassed by a Chicago Bears team that was sick of hearing about Deshaun Watson. I think last week’s game was an outlier for Houston. The Texans return to form and hold Indy to just two first-half touchdowns this weekend.
Will the Colts (-225) lead after the first quarter? Prediction: No
As I mentioned before, the Texans were absolutely embarrassed in their last game. I think Houston comes out and hist the ground running on Sunday and manages to score the first points of the game. Let’s not forget that the Colts only won 26-20 when these teams played in week 13.
Over/Under: 1.5 different players attempt a pass for the Jaguars. Prediction: Over
I think this game is going to look a lot like the Jags’ matchup with the Titans. In that one, we saw Jacksonville go down big and call in Gardner Minshew to relieve Mike Glennon. I think we could see the same thing happen again this weekend. I would also not be surprised to see a trick play that leads to a wide receiver attempting a pass.
Kansas City Chiefs
Over/Under: 0.5 Interceptions thrown by Patrick Mahomes. Prediction: Under
Even though 80% of his INTs have come on the road this season, I think Patrick Mahomes has a mistake-free game against the Saints. Also, the game is being played on turf where Mahomes has thrived (8 TDs to 0 INTs). The Kansas City phenom will have another excellent outing this weekend.
Las Vegas Raiders
Does Derek Carr throw for more than 264.5 passing yards (-113)? Prediction: No
Carr is currently 12th in passing yards this season and averages about 257 passing yards per game. I like his numbers, but I do not like this matchup. The Chargers are seventh in passing yards per game allowed. Therefore, I see the raiders attacking LA on the ground instead of through the air.
Los Angeles Chargers
Will Justin Herbert (-181) throw over 1.5 touchdowns? Prediction: Yes
The rookie QB has not been great so far in the month of December. He was limited to two passing TDs in his last two games. I think he gets back on track this week against a mediocre Las Vegas defense that allows opponents to score 30.1 points per game.
Los Angeles Rams
Over/Under: 4.5 turnovers forced by the Rams’ defense. Prediction: Over
An immovable force meets an incredibly stoppable object when the Rams’ defense goes up against the Jets’ offense. LA is tied for third in turnovers forced while the Jets are one of the most turnover-prone teams in the NFL. I think the Rams’ front four causes Darnold to see Ghosts once again.
Will the Dolphins (-128) lead after the first quarter? Prediction: No
We all saw how Bill Belichick and the Patriots squashed Justin Herbert, so I expect the Pats to give Tua Tagovailoa fits this weekend also. I think New England will force Tua to make an early mistake that will give the Pats the ball in an excellent position to score. Eventually, the Pats will be leading by the end of the first quarter.
Over/Under: 2.5 Touchdowns scored by Minnesota Wide Receivers. Prediction: Over
The Vikes have a pretty good passing attack. The Tight Ends and Running Backs are fine, but the Wide receivers are excellent. Wide Outs have accounted for 20 of Kirk Cousins’ 27 touchdowns. I’m taking Thielen and Justin Jefferson to go for at least three TDs in their matchup with Chicago.
New England Patriots
Will New England (+115) lead at halftime? Prediction: Yes
As I said, I think the Pats know how to gameplan for rookie QBs. New England will force a few mistakes from Tua, and the Pats will be able to take advantage of good field position. I could see the Patriots going into the half with a three- or four-point lead.
New Orleans Saints
Over/Under: 29.5 pass attempts by Taysom Hill. Prediction: Over
Sean Payton has made it clear that Taysom Hill is his number two guy. He is even beginning to get comfortable with him passing the ball more (75 pass attempts in the last two games). I think the Chiefs will be ahead in this game the whole time, so New Orleans will have to throw the ball a lot since they will be playing from behind.
New York Giants
Over/Under: 2.5 Offensive Touchdowns for the Giants. Prediction: Under
Offense has not been the Giants’ strong suit. I guess that’s why they’re 31st in the NFL in scoring. New York’s anemic offense has only registered four touchdowns in the last three games. I don’t see their offense suddenly exploding against a 9-4 Cleveland Browns team. Take the under.
New York Jets
Are the Jets the first team to score (+195)? Prediction: Yes
I’m not crazy. The Jets actually have a good first possession offense. They have scored on their opening drive in their last seven games. I guess it makes it all that much worse that they are 0-13 despite taking an early lead in most games. Gang Green scores first in this one.
Over/Under: 90.5 rushing yards for Jalen Hurts. Prediction: Under
Hurts gets the nod once again after leading the Eagles to a win over the Saints. He had 167 yards through the air and another 106 on the ground. I think he won’t be as effective as he was rushing the ball this week though. The Cardinals know how to defend running QBs since they practice against one every day.
San Francisco 49ers
Does Raheem Mostert rush for at least 48 yards (-112)? Prediction: Yes
The 49ers have been decimated by injuries all season, so the running back position has been a revolving door for San Fran. However, Mostert is clearly the lead man when he is healthy. He leads the team in yards and rushing attempts. I am sure he will go for at least 75 yards against Dallas.
Will Russell Wilson throw for more than 2.5 Touchdowns (+130)? Prediction: Yes
The Hawks had their get right game against the Jets, stomping New York on their way to a 40-3 win. It is clear that Seattle needs Russell Wilson to be amazing if they want to be competitive. It only seems necessary that Wilson throws at least three TDs since their defense can’t stop anybody (except the Jets).
Can the Bengals hold Big Ben to one passing touchdown (+140)? Prediction: No
The Steelers have lost two consecutive games after starting the season 11-0. They head into their matchup with Cincy motivated to right the ship. I‘m sure they will, and it starts with Ben Roethlisberger throwing for AT LEAST three TDs. The last time they played the Bengals he threw four, so I think three makes sense.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Over/Under: 289.5 passing yards for Tom Brady. Prediction: Over
This is going to be one of those games where the Bucs are going to have to put up a tone of points. I think Atlanta’s receivers are good enough to give Tampa Bay nightmares. In conclusion, TB12 is going to have to sling the ball all over the field if the Buccaneers want to be competitive.
Can Derrick Henry go for at least 110.5 rushing yards (-115)? Prediction: Yes
Nobody has been able to stop the freight train that is Derrick Henry. The 2019 rushing champ is only eight yards away from surpassing his rushing total from last season. I expect Henry to have a field day against a weak Lions defense that is 29th in rushing yards allowed per game.
Washington Football Team
Over/Under: 1.5 sacks for Chase Young against the Seahawks. PREDICTION: OVER
Chase Young has been wreaking havoc all over the football field this season. The former number two overall pick has recorded 5.5 sacks and 35 tackles so far this season. I expect Young to have two sacks against a Seahawks team that has allowed the fourth-most sacks in the NFL this season.
Can you believe it? It’s Week 15 of the NFL season! This week’s schedule even includes some Saturday NFL action, giving us football to cover four of your next five evenings!
But before we get to the meat and potatoes of Week 15, we have a good ol’ fashioned AFC West matchup to get through first when Justin Herbert and the Chargers make their first visit to the giant Roomba in Sin City to play their bitter rivals, the Las Vegas Raiders.
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Happy Thursday football fans and welcome to our weekly column where we attempt to predict the outcome of several contests for the upcoming slate of NFL games. In Week 13, the New York Giants upended the Seattle Seahawks, while the Washington Football team handed the Pittsburgh Steelers their first loss of the season.
That said, picking games isn’t always as easy as it seems. Last week, I predicted victories for the Tennessee Titans, Las Vegas Raiders, and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Titans fell to the Browns. The Raiders barely squeaked by the winless New York Jets, and the Chiefs edged the Denver Broncos by a 22-16 margin. On the heels of another 2-1 week, my overall season record stands at 30-8. Now that you’ve brought up to speed, here’s a look at my outright picks for Week 14.
Week 14 NFL Best Bet No. 3:
Houston Texans (2-5) at Chicago Bears
To say the Chicago Bears have had a tough season would be an understatement. Don’t get me wrong, I knew their 5-1 start was based on good fortune more so than the team being good. And the last six weeks have proven just that. In Week 13, the Bears led by a double-digit margin (30-20) with two minutes left in the fourth quarter. That should have been a big enough lead, right? Wrong. Detroit scored a TD to close the gap to three points and their defense forced a turnover deep in Bears’ territory that eventually led to another touchdown. The final result was a 34-30 loss in a game they had no business losing, especially since the offense had one of its better performances of the season. So, with that said Bears fans, if you’re thinking of putting money on your team this week, I highly recommend that you reconsider.
James’ pick: Texans hand Bears another loss
Week 14 NFL Best Bet No. 2:
Pittsburgh Steelers (-2.5) at Buffalo Bills
This is probably one of the best matchups in Week 14. On one side of the coin, you have a Steelers’ team that is smarting a bit following a 23-17 loss to the Washington Football team. Oh, and I should probably mention that Pittsburgh led that game 14-0 before scoring just three points the rest of the way. Meanwhile, Josh Allen is coming off one of his solid outing in Buffalo’s 34-17 win over the San Francisco 49ers. In that contest, he was 32 for 40 for 375 yards to go along with four touchdowns.
The Steelers’ defense has recorded 44 sacks, which leads the NFL. That’s an impressive stat, to say the least. However, here’s an interesting tidbit via CBS Sports. There have been five games in which Allen has been sacked multiple times. In those outings, he is averaging 300 passing yards per game and two touchdowns. Even more important, the Bills have won each of those contests. This is going to be a very competitive game as the current point-spread indicates (courtesy of William Hill Sportsbook). The betting line is even smaller on the Sporting News website (-1). In the end, though, look for the Steelers to make a statement in this one following two lackluster performances against Baltimore and Washington.
James’ pick: Steelers get back into the win column
James’ NFL Best Bet of Week 14:
Green Bay Packers (-8) at Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions have dropped two of their previous three contests. And the 34 points they produced against the Bears was more than what they put up in the last two games combined. Conversely, Green Bay has won four of its last five games and Aaron Rodgers is putting up MVP-caliber numbers. Although the teams have split the last four meetings at Ford Field, with a division title and a chance to remain in contention for the top spot in the conference, the Packers will come out on top here.
As a side note, the over/under on this matchup is 55. Given the fact that the Packers are averaging 31.3 points per outing and the Lions are at 23.8, taking that 55 may be a safe bet. Another bet you may want to consider is the number of yards Aaron Rodgers will have. Since he has failed to reach the 250-yard plateau only three times through 12 games, betting that he will surpass that mark is probably a good call as well.
Last weekend saw some ridiculous action around the NFL, including a could-have-should-have-somehow-didn’t win for the Jets and the Steelers lose for the first time.
As we inch closer to the postseason, here are five prop bets we’ve got our eye on this weekend.
Over/Under: Jared Goff (-113) throws for more than 271.5 yards against the Patriots
After a somewhat slow start to the season, it looks like both of these teams have finally found their footing. The 6-6 Pats travel to LA to face the 8-4 Rams on Thursday evening.
Entering the game, Los Angeles ranks sixth in the league in passing offense, averaging 271.2 yards per game. While the Pats may not be as fearsome as they were last year, New England has the seventh-ranked scoring defense in the NFL this season. New England’s defense ranks 13th against the pass (225.8 yards/game).
So what gives? My prediction is the Rams focus on attacking the Patriots on the ground; New England is in the bottom-half of the league against the run.
Minnesota (+116) will be the first team to score in the Vikings-Buccaneers game
The game between the Buccaneers and the Vikings could have major NFC playoff implications: Tampa Bay is projected to be the sixth seed in the NFC while the Vikings would be the seventh seed. The winner of this game will significantly increase their chances to reach the 2020 postseason.
This one comes down to the coin flip, but I’m more confident the Vikings defense can get a game-opening stop and put points on the board than Tampa holding Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson down early in the game.
Over/Under: 5.5 combined passing TDs in the Bills-Steelers game.
Sunday night could feature one of the best regular-season games of the year. The Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to bounce back after suffering a disappointing loss at the hands of the Washington Football Team, ending their bid for an undefeated season. On the other side, the 9-3 Buffalo Bills are looking to continue building their confidence heading to the playoffs.
This game features two of the best passing attacks in the NFL. Buffalo ranks fourth in passing touchdowns this season while the Steelers rank sixth. Also, the Bills (fifth) and Steelers (11th) are among the league leaders in team Quarterback Rating.
In his last five games, Josh Allen has completed 72.6% of his passes and thrown 10 passing TDs. In his last five contests, Ben Roethlisberger’s has found the end zone more frequently than Allen (12 TDs to 3 INTs). I anticipate both QBs finding success come Sunday night.
This is a primetime game that will have a huge impact on how the AFC playoff race shakes out.
Over/Under: 299.5 total rushing yards in the Ravens-Browns game
The 9-3 Browns are coming off one of the best wins in recent franchise history, hammering the Titans 41-35 last week. Baltimore is hoping they can turn things around after winning only two of their previous six outings. The Ravens desperately need this game if they want to keep their playoff dreams alive while the Browns are looking to lock in a playoff berth.
This matchup will feature the top two rushing offenses in the NFL. The Ravens have the number one rushing attack in the league (169 rushing yards per game). Cleveland is right on their heels (pun intended), ranking second in the league at 157.8 yards per game on the ground.
Will these teams maintain their season averages on the ground, or will the opposing coaching staff try to take away the run game? My bet is to take the under in this prop – both sides will focus on the run (which means check Baker Mayfield’s props this weekend as well).
The Chiefs (+155) will be the last team to score a TD in the KC-MIA game
After starting the year 1-3, the Dolphins have rebounded to win seven of their last eight – all while making multiple changes at the quarterback position. Kansas City, on the other hand, saw their chances at the top seed in the AFC increase dramatically when the Steelers lost to Baltimore. And they have no questions or concerns under center.
Miami is battling for a playoff spot and they’ve shown a lot of heart, but Kansas City’s offense is almost impossible to slow down. While I believe the Chiefs will win this game, I’m betting the Dolphins put points on the board last.
Happy Wednesday football fans. I can’t believe that we’re already three-fourths of the way through the NFL season. The upcoming stretch will separate the contenders from the pretenders. Last week, the list of title favorites includes the Kansas City Chiefs, Pittsburgh Steelers, New Orleans Saints, and the Seattle Seahawks.
Ironically, two of those teams were victorious, while the other two teams suffered disappointing losses. With that said, here’s a look at where the title contenders rank based on their performances from Week 13.
Third-Best Super Bowl Odds:
Tie: Pittsburgh Steelers & Green Bay Packers (+800) Last Week: Packers (NR). Steelers (+550)
The Pittsburgh Steelers were the lone undefeated team going into Week 13. In their recent outing against the Washington Football Team, it appeared that Pittsburgh was on its way to adding another win to its resume after jumping out to a 14-0 lead. Unfortunately, the wheels fell off the wagon after that. Washington’s defense came to life, holding the Steelers to just three points the rest of the way en route to an unexpected 23-17 victory. It was the second straight week in which the Steelers played down to the level of their opponent, and this time, they paid the price. However, considering that they are tied for the best record in the NFL, along with having one of the best scoring defenses, it wouldn’t be wise to count them out just yet.
Meanwhile, following a minor setback against the Indianapolis Colts a few weeks ago, the Packers have strung together a pair of victories over the Chicago Bears and the Philadelphia Eagles. Not only are the Packers on their way to another division title, but they are also a top-10 team in rushing; a top-five team through the air and they have the second-best offense in the NFL. I should also mention that their 31.6 points per contest is tops in the NFL. While the Packers haven’t always played up to their potential, this a team that opposing defenses do not want to face in the postseason.
Second-Best Super Bowl Odds:
New Orleans Saints (+500) Last Week: (+550)
A week ago, the Saints were tied for the second-best title odds with the Steelers. But thanks to the Steelers’ recent loss, the Saints have sole possession of second place on our weekly list. While their 21-16 win over the lowly Atlanta Falcons wasn’t overly impressive, it marked the team’s ninth straight victory following a 1-2 start. On top of that, Drew Brees has been on the shelf nursing an injury over the last three games. During that stretch, backup quarterback Taysom Hill hasn’t been lighting up the scoreboard, but he’s made enough plays under center to keep the Saints’ offense operating at a respectable level. And from a defensive standpoint, New Orleans has given up a total of 28 points in their last three games. Given the fact that New Orleans continues to win games with one of its best players out of the mix, this is a team that you should keep a watchful eye on come playoff time.
Super Bowl Odds Favorites:
Kansas City Chiefs (+210) Last week (+275)
The defending champion Kansas City Chiefs continue to sit atop the leaderboard in the title odds race. Although their 22-16 win over the Denver Broncos was a lot closer than most expected, the Chiefs are now tied with the Steelers for the best record in the NFL. Not only that, this team has one of the most explosive offenses in the league. In addition to compiling over 300 yards through the air over the past five games, Kansas City is ranked first in overall offense (427.6 yards per game), passing yards (314.4) and they have the second-highest scoring offense at 30.8 points per contest. No, the Chiefs don’t have a great running game, and they certainly have room for improvement from a defensive standpoint. At the same time, putting your money on this team would not be a bad idea at this point.
Wow. It’s hard to believe that we’re 12 games into the NFL season already. As it is often said, though, time flies when you’re having fun. A week ago, the players considered to be the frontrunners for the league MVP award included Patrick Mahomes II, Aaron Rodgers, and Russell Wilson.
Two of these quarterbacks led their respective teams to victory while one of them wasn’t as fortunate. Taking that into consideration, the list for this week will look somewhat different. So, without further ado, here’s a look at where the potential MVPs rank based on their performances from Week 13 (according to Unibet).
Third-Best NFL MVP Odds: Josh Allen (+1400). Last Week (NR)
Well, for those of you who were in search of some new faces on our weekly list, you got your wish. The Buffalo Bills finished the 2019 season with a 10-6 record and they have already won nine games through the first 13 weeks of this season. A lot of that has to do with the play of quarterback Josh Allen. In the team’s recent 34-24 win over the San Francisco 49ers, Allen completed 32 of his 40 pass attempts for 375 yards to go along with four touchdowns. On the season, Allen is ranked third in passing yards (3,403) and he is tied for sixth in touchdown passes with 26. No, he isn’t in the same stratosphere as Mahomes or Rodgers, but he is quickly proving that he is a capable quarterback in this league.
Before we go to the player with the second-best MVP odds, here’s a glance at a couple of other names that aren’t in our top three. The list includes Russell Wilson (+2000 odds), Ben Roethlisberger (+500), and Tom Brady (+8000). Wilson was in the mix for most of the season before a stretch of poor outings contributed to his stock dipping over the past several weeks. Before last night’s loss to the Washington Football team, Roethlisberger was tied for the second-best odds, which proves just how one performance can significantly contribute to a players’ odds in a given category. Let’s also not forget about TB12 in Tampa Bay. With Brady under center, the Buccaneers have already equaled their win total from a year ago and they are in the hunt for a postseason berth for the first time since 2007. No small feat, to say the least.
Second-Best NFL MVP Odds: Aaron Rodgers (+400). Last Week (+550)
Despite their 9-3 mark, the Green Bay Packers have been somewhat inconsistent at various stretches of the season. After jumping out to a 4-0 start, they went .500 over their next four games. Then, following wins over the San Francisco 49ers and the Jacksonville Jaguars, they were defeated by the Indianapolis Colts 34-31 despite leading 28-14 at halftime. But the one consistent component of this team is Aaron Rodgers. In a pair of victories over the Chicago Bears and the Philadelphia Eagles, Mr. Rodgers has thrown seven touchdowns and no interceptions. Not only that, but he became the fastest quarterback to reach the 400-touchdown threshold, accomplishing the feat in his 193rd game.
Furthermore, Rodgers is ranked fifth in passing yards (3,395), tied for the third-fewest interceptions (four) and he leads the NFL in touchdown passes with 36. In other words, Rodgers has positioned himself to take over the top spot should the guy in front of him slip up.
Best NFL MVP Odds: Patrick Mahomes II (-500). Last week (-400)
At this point, it’s not a surprise to any of us that Patrick Mahomes continues to solidify his hold as the current favorite to win the league MVP award. Aside from the New Orleans Saints — who have won nine straight games — the defending champs have won seven straight games. Additionally, in their recent 22-16 win over the Denver Broncos, Mahomes and the Chiefs earned their sixth consecutive postseason berth. Additionally, Mahomes has thrown for at least 300 yards in each of his last five outings. During that stretch, he has thrown for 15 touchdowns and just one interception. His overall body of work includes 3,815 passing yards (1st), 31 touchdowns (tied for third), and a league-best two interceptions. Of the four games remaining on the schedule, Mahomes and the Chiefs have to face a pair of teams vying for a playoff berth (Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints) in the next two weeks. On the other hand, they will finish the season against the Atlanta Falcons and the Los Angeles Chargers, both of which will finish the season below .500. If Mahomes continues to hold his own over the next two weeks, the MVP award is his to lose.
The last-place Cowboys (3-8) are remarkably just one game out of first place in the NFC East due to the season-long struggles of all four division clubs. Dallas likely would be leading the division if not for the loss of Dak Prescott (ankle) as the Cowboys have gone just 1-5 without the star quarterback. Running back Ezekiel Elliott (707 rushing yards) has just one 100-yard outing this year while being held below 55 on six occasions.Receivers Amari Cooper (71 catches, 848 yards) and CeeDee Lamb (53 for 650) have been productive despite the quarterback upheaval but have combined for just seven touchdown catches. The offensive line is beat up and will be without both tackles Zack Martin (calf) and Cam Erving (knee). The defense allows a league-worst 32.6 points per game and Dallas gave up over 40 for the second time this season when it lost 41-16 to the Washington Football Team on Thanksgiving.Safety Donovan Wilson (groin) was added to the injury list on Friday, and his status was uncertain. Cornerback Anthony Brown (ribs) is in jeopardy of missing his second consecutive game.
The Ravens (6-5) have been ravaged with coronavirus issues and had 13 players on the reserve/COVID-19 (12 active roster, one practice squad) as of Friday evening. Quarterback Lamar Jackson remained on the list, and he missed Baltimore’s 19-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Wednesday. It remains uncertain if he will be cleared before kickoff. Trace McSorley is being prepared to make his first career NFL start after No. 2 QB Robert Griffin III sustained a hamstring injury against the Steelers.McSorley threw a 70-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Brown against Pittsburgh but completed only one of his other five attempts. If Jackson isn’t cleared, rookie Tyler Huntley would be promoted from the practice squad to be the backup, leaving the Ravens with two novice quarterbacks at a time in which they have lost three straight contests and four of their past five. Defensive end Calais Campbell and outside linebacker Matthew Judon — who share the team lead with four sacks apiece — are among the other Ravens on the COVID-19 list.Veteran cornerback Jimmy Smith (groin) exited the Pittsburgh loss, and his status will be observed closely by the Ravens. Baltimore ranks third in scoring defense (19.5 points per game) and eighth in total defense (333.1 yards per game).
Cowboys at Ravens Betting Pick for Week 13
Baltimore is already out of the AFC North race and badly needs a victory in terms of its wild-card hopes, so this will be a desperate group regardless of who starts at quarterback. The Dallas defense is among the worst in the league, so it wouldn’t be stunning if McSorley starts and has a productive game.The Cowboys will breathe a sigh of relief if Jackson isn’t on the field, but his absence doesn’t make things easier. The club’s five losses without Prescott are by an average of 18.8 points, so even staying competitive has been a challenge.Cowboys at Ravens Betting Pick:Ravens 24, Cowboys 13
Cowboys at Ravens Best Bet for Week 13
Considering McSorley looks to be the most likely starter for the Ravens, the under seems the best route. If Jackson were to play, that would change the scenario, but on the other hand, he might not be able to play in top form.Cowboys at Ravens Best Bet: UNDER 45 total points (-110)
Hello NFL fans and welcome back to our weekly column where we’ve been discussing the list of teams that are considered legitimate title contenders. A week ago, the Kansas City Chiefs, the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers, New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rounded out the coveted list.
For the second straight week, we have two teams that share the second-best odds. Since that is the case, I’m going to include four teams on the list again this week instead of three. With that said, here’s a look at the teams with the best odds to win the big game in 2021 (according to Unibet).
Third-Best Super Bowl Odds:
Seattle Seahawks (+900). Last week (NR)
As many of you may recall, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had the third-best odds last week. But following a 27-24 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, they have fallen from our top-three list. The Seattle Seahawks have been a mixed bag this season. They started the season with a 5-0 record and then they went on to lose three of their next four contests. Fortunately, Seattle has righted the ship somewhat as they have bounced back with a pair of wins against the Arizona Cardinals and the Philadelphia Eagles. While the Seahawks are one of the top-scoring teams in the league (ranked third – 31 points per contest), they are also ranked dead last in total defense. That said, unless they can find a way to improve on that side of the football, the chances of them going on a deep playoff run are pretty slim right now.
Second-Best Super Bowl Odds:
Tie: Pittsburgh Steelers & New Orleans Saints (+550) Last Week: No change for either team
To avoid sounding like too much of a hater, I’m going to give the New Orleans Saints some kudos. First, they have won eight straight following a 1-2 start. Second, a few of those wins have occurred with Drew Brees on the shelf with an injury over the past two-and-half games. Taking that into consideration, the Saints deserve a little praise for their 9-2 record.
On the other hand, the Steelers must be feeling slighted to an extent. Sure, they’ve had a couple of unimpressive outings during the season. Their 24-19 win over the Dallas Cowboys was nothing to be overly excited about. And head coach Mike Tomlin stated that the team’s recent performance against the Baltimore Ravens could be categorized as junior varsity. But despite the game being rescheduled twice, the Steelers still came out on top 19-14.
In addition to being the only unbeaten team in the NFL, the Steelers are ranked seventh in rushing defense (105.7 yards per game), third in overall defense (298.9 yards per game), and first in passing defense (193.2 yards per outing). Given those factors, the Steelers should have the better odds here and it will be interesting to see if that changes at all should both of these continue playing well down the stretch.
Super Bowl Odds Favorites:
Kansas City Chiefs (+275) Last week (+300)
The Chiefs have been considered the odds-on favorite to win it all for quite some time now and that trend continues going into Week 13. While the Saints have won nine straight, the Chiefs have been on a bit of a roll in their own right. After a 40-32 setback against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 5, the defending champs have reeled off six straight, including a 27-24 win over the Buccaneers in Week 12. In that contest, Patrick Mahomes II had his best game of the season, throwing for 462 yards to go along with three touchdowns. With the Chiefs have found their footing in the passing game, this team will be tough to stop the rest of the way. Simply put, KC and Pittsburgh should be the teams to keep an eye on as the season draws to a close.
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.
Greetings NFL fans. Here’s hoping you and your families had a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Last week, we had a couple of interesting events unfold. First, all of the quarterbacks for the Denver Broncos were out of the mix due to COVID-19 protocol. Second, after hanging tough with the Kansas City Chiefs, the Las Vegas Raiders were blown out by the Atlanta Falcons to the tune of 43-6.
And last, but certainly not least, I predicted wins for the Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks, and the Kansas City Chiefs. And for the first time in several weeks, I was correct on each of those selections, giving me a 3-0 week.
As a result, my overall record improved to 28-7 on the season. While it was nice to finally hit on each of those picks, Week 12 is in the books now and it is time to look ahead to the upcoming slate of games. Having said that, here’s a look at my top outright picks for Week 13.
Week 13 NFL Best Bet No. 3:
Cleveland Browns at Tennessee Titans (-4)
If you’ve been following my column at any point during the season, my first pick usually involves a matchup that could go either way, and that is certainly the case here. Both teams are coming off wins in Week 12. The Browns narrowly edged the Jacksonville Jaguars by a 27-25 margin. Meanwhile, the Titans defeated the Indianapolis Colts 45-26. Additionally, both of these teams have posted three wins in their last four contests. While both teams have a formidable running game, the Titans are a bit more balanced from an offensive standpoint and that will help them to come away with a win in what should be a very competitive game between a pair of teams with an identical 8-3 record.
James’ pick: Titans win in a close one
Week 13 NFL Best Bet No. 2:
Las Vegas Raiders (-7.5) at New York Jets
Sure, the Raiders have dropped their last two games. Sure, the Raiders are coming off one of their poorest showings of the season against the Falcons. On the flip side of the coin, though, the Jets have yet to win a game this season. Yes, the jury is still out on how good the Raiders are. At the same time, this is the winless Jets we’re talking about here. On the heels of two straight losses, and their playoff hopes starting to look a bit dim, look for the Raiders to bounce back in a big way here.
James’ pick: Raiders get back into the win column
James’ NFL Best Bet of Week 13:
Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs (-13.5)
There is a reason why the defending champs have been one of my best bets several times during the season and that trend will continue in Week 13. On one side of this matchup, the Broncos are 4-7 and have dropped three of their last four contests. On the flip side of the equation, the defending champs have reeled off six straight victories since suffering a 40-32 loss against the Raiders in Week 5. Not only that, but the Chiefs’ aerial attack is rounding into form, and just at the right time. In fact, Patrick Mahomes has posted four consecutive games in which he has thrown for at least 350 yards. This includes a season-best 462-yard performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week. Simply put, the Chiefs are one of the hottest teams in the league right now and they will win this one going away. It would be a surprise if the Chiefs didn’t win this one by at least 10 points.
James’ pick: Chiefs win outright and by at least 10 points
We’ve come to the middle of another week football fans, which means that we’re not that far away from the upcoming slate of games. With regards to the league MVP, the players who were head and shoulders above the rest a week ago included front-runner Patrick Mahomes II, Russell Wilson, and Aaron Rodgers.
All three players led their respective teams to victory. However, did Rodgers and Wilson do enough to overtake Mahomes? Here’s a look at each where each player is ranked (according to Unibet) in the race for NFL MVP based on how they performed in Week 12.
Third-Best NFL MVP Odds: Russell Wilson (+650). Last week (+300)
Early on, Wilson was the odds-on favorite to win his first MVP award. But following a tough stretch in which the Seahawks lost three times in four games, Wilson was demoted to the second spot on our weekly list. While he played reasonably well in the team’s 23-17 win over the Philadelphia Eagles (completed 22 of 31 passes for 230 yards and one touchdown), Wilson’s stock continues to dip a bit and he has slid to the last spot on our weekly list. Although there are a few games left in the season, Wilson is going to have to play exceptionally down the stretch if he hopes to make up any ground in this race.
Second-Best NFL MVP Odds: Aaron Rodgers (+550). Last week (+500)
Mr. Discount Double Check had been in third place on our weekly list but has now jumped up to the No. 2 spot. Going into the Week 12 matchup against the Chicago Bears, Rodgers was on quite the roll. He had thrown for over 300 yards in each of his last three outings to go along with nine touchdowns and two interceptions. That trend continued against the Bears’ defense this past week. While he was limited to 211 yards, he added four more touchdowns – increasing his league-leading total to 33. Needless to say, Rodgers helped lead the Packers to an easy 41-25 win against their division rival. It will be interesting to see if he can catch the guy who plays opposite him in those State Farm commercials.
The NFL MVP Odds Favorite: Patrick Mahomes II (-400). Last week (-121)
Mahomes – who won the league MVP award in 2018 – continues to solidify his hold on the No. 1 spot on our weekly list. Following a slow start to the season, Mahomes has been on fire, to say the least. Over the past three games, he has thrown for at least 350 yards to go along with 11 touchdowns. But if you thought his recent stretch of solid play was a fluke, you’d be mistaken. In a showdown against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Mahomes proved why he’s one of the top quarterbacks in the league. In that contest, he completed 37 of 49 passes for a season-high 462 yards and three touchdowns. As long as the Chiefs’ offense continues playing at this level, Mahomes is on pace to win his second MVP award in three seasons.
Sunday, November 29, 2020, Bills Stadium, Orchard Park, New York, 1 p.m. ET
Chargers at Bills Betting Preview: Chargers (+5.5/-110), Bills (-5.5/-110)
Los Angeles Chargers
Rookie quarterback Justin Herbert can’t do it all, but he’s trying. Herbert is coming off a victory over the New York Jets on Sunday when he threw for a personal-best 366 yards. He also had three touchdown passes, giving him a rookie-record five games with three or more TDs this season. He also has seven consecutive games with at least two TD passes, another rookie record.
With all the focus on Herbert, the Chargers (3-7) might be inclined to take advantage of a Bills’ defense that is 28th against the run, giving up 135.0 rushing yards per game. The Chargers did defeat the Jets on Sunday but had more issues on defense, nearly blowing a pair of 18-point leads and a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter. Already this season they blew leads of 16 points or more in four consecutive games.
The Bills (7-3) will enter the stretch drive of their final six games of the season coming off a well-timed bye week when they were able to move closer to full strength. The Bills activated four players from the reserve/COVID-19 list, including cornerbacks Josh Norman and Levi Wallace.
Quarterback Josh Allen remains just off the pace from the top signal callers in the NFL ranking eighth overall in a number of categories including completions (249), completion percentage (68.4) and TDs (21). He is seventh in passing yards (2,871). The Bills are 20th in total defense, allowing 373.7 yards per game and need to get better at stopping the run, but should be motivated after Buffalo lost to the Cardinals on Nov. 15 on an Arizona Hail Mary pass in the end zone.
Chargers at Bills Betting Pick for Week 12
It’s hard to peg the Chargers. Are they a good team that is competitive with everybody, or one that is so embarrassingly predictable, as they keep getting exposed in the second half each week? Less confusing is a Bills’ team that moves the ball well and just needs to work on tightening the defense over the final six weeks of the regular season.
Chargers at Bills Betting Pick: Bills 31, Chargers 28
Chargers at Bills Best Bet for Week 12
The Bills give up more than 26 points per game and the Chargers give up a shade over 27 per. Both offenses are in a flow with Allen showing impressive consistency for the Bills and Herbert getting better each week for the Chargers. Points should come often, with mild temperatures expected, especially for Buffalo at this time of the year.
Chargers at Bills Best Bet: OVER 53.5 total points (-110)
The Dolphins (6-3) bid for their sixth straight victory on Sunday behind rookie Tua Tagovailoa, who has thrown five touchdown passes without an interception over his three starts this season. Tagovailoa found the end zone twice for the second straight game in Miami’s 29-21 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.
Salvon Ahmed has made the most of his playing time in place of the injured Myles Gaskin (knee), following up a 5.4 yards per carry performance against Arizona on Nov. 8 with 85 yards and a touchdown versus the Chargers. Fellow running back Matt Breida is trending in the right direction after being a full participant in practice on Wednesday for the first time since sustaining a hamstring injury.
DeVante Parker, who leads the team in receptions (38) and receiving yards (462), has mustered just 14 catches for 183 yards in his last five games. Diminutive wideout Jakeem Grant has come on strong with four receptions in three of his last four games.
While the Dolphins are ascending, the Broncos (3-6) have dropped three of four and could be forced to take another turn on the quarterback carousel. Drew Lock, who threw a career-high four interceptions in Denver’s 37-12 setback to Las Vegas on Sunday, is nursing a rib injury that could put backup Brett Rypien under center this weekend.
The Broncos’ running game has failed to get untracked this season, with Phillip Lindsay repeatedly nursing injuries while he attempts to aid Melvin Gordon in the backfield. Denver’s 19th-ranked rushing game mustered just 66 yards versus Las Vegas.
Rookie Jerry Jeudy is leading the team in average yards per catch (16.2) and receiving yards (552), including 17.7 and 266 being accumulated over the last three games. Tight end Noah Fant, who leads the team in catches (35), now is nursing an injury to his ribs after being hobbled by an ailing ankle.
Dolphins at Broncos Betting Pick for Week 11
Miami’s opportunistic defense likely will be relishing the chance to greet Rypien, who has tossed four interceptions in two games this season. The Dolphins’ defense is tied for fourth in the NFL with 15 takeaways and seven fumble recoveries.
That defense will present Tagovailoa with a short field to work his magic, ultimately resulting in a convincing victory for a Miami team eyeing the penthouse in the AFC East.
Dolphins at Broncos Betting Pick: Dolphins 28, Broncos 13
Dolphins at Broncos Best Bet for Week 11
While Tagovailoa has been victorious, he hasn’t exactly been lighting the world on fire. His efficient and mistake-free performances are gold in the eyes of Brian Flores, however, the scoreboard operator may not be as impressed.
Greetings football fans. Another week of NFL action is now in the books. Heading into last week, the list of teams with the best shot of winning the big game in 2021 included the New Orleans Saints, the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Two of these teams posted wins while the third team had the week off. So, with that being said, here’s a look at the teams that are the odds-on favorites to win it all based on how they performed in Week 10.
Third-Best Super Bowl Odds: New Orleans Saints (+650). Last Week (+700)
Following their 38-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 9, the Saints continue to hold down the No. 3 spot on our weekly list. Going into their matchup against the banged-up San Francisco 49ers, the Saints were riding the wave of an impressive five-game winning streak.
That trend continued as the Saints rolled to a 27-13 victory to improve to 7-2 on the season. Unfortunately, there was a downside to their recent victory. Drew Brees missed the second half after being on the wrong end of a crushing hit by 49ers defensive tackle Kentavius Street late in the first half.
As a result, Brees finished just 8 of 13 for 76 yards and one touchdown. It will be interesting to see if the Saints can remain in the title race if Brees’ injury causes him to miss a few games.
Second-Best Super Bowl Odds: Pittsburgh Steelers (+550). Last Week (No Change)
The Steelers continue to hold steady at the No. 2 spot. Following a 24-19 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 9, their matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals could have easily been another trap game.
Fortunately for the Steelers, that was not the case. They jumped out to a 22-7 halftime lead en route to a 36-10 victory – their 11th straight win over their division rival. Big Ben finished the afternoon 27 of 46 for a season-best 336 yards to go along with four touchdowns.
This was the second straight week in which Roethlisberger has eclipsed the 300-yard passing mark. To put this stat into perspective, he had only one such outing through the first seven games of the season. Although the Steelers haven’t gained much ground on the defending champs, that could change if the Chiefs stumble down the stretch.
Super Bowl Odds Favorites: Kansas City Chiefs (+350). Last Week (No Change)
Although the Chiefs had the week off and the Steels improved to a perfect 9-0, the Chiefs are still the favorites in the Super Bowl race. The last time we saw this team, they narrowly escaped with a 33-31 win over the Carolina Panthers.
The next opponent on the Chiefs’ schedule is the Oakland Raiders. This is significant because the Raiders handed Kansas City its only loss back in Week 5. Should the Raiders manage to sweep the season series, the Steelers will more than likely emerge as the new favorites to win the big game in 2021.
Happy Hump Day football fans and welcome back to our weekly discussion about the NFL players in the running for the league MVP award. A week ago, our top three candidates included Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, and Russell Wilson.
While Mahomes and the Chiefs had a bye week, Rodgers helped lead the Packers to a win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Meanwhile, Wilson and the Seahawks suffered another setback against the Los Angeles Rams. This was also Seattle’s third loss in their past four outings.
Taking that into consideration, there’s bound to be a shakeup on our weekly MVP odds list, right? Without further ado, here’s a look at where these players rank based on how they performed in Week 10.
Third-Best NFL MVP Odds: Aaron Rodgers (+300). Last Week (+350)
After getting off to an impressive start (4-0), Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers were humbled in a 38-10 defeat at the hands of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in mid-October. However, the mark of a good team is the ability to respond following a disappointing outing, and the Packers have done exactly that over the past few weeks.
Green Bay had won two of its last three games going into the Week 10 matchup against the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars. Jacksonville had just one win on its resume, but they gave the Packers all they could handle. However, thanks to a defensive stop in the final minute of the game, the Packers narrowly escaped with a 24-20 victory. Rodgers finished 24 of 34 for 325 yards to go along with two touchdowns and one interception.
On the season, Rodgers has thrown 26 TD passes against just three picks and he reached the 300-yard mark for the second straight week. While Rodgers continues to be last on our weekly list, that could easily change, should the guys ahead of him stumble a bit.
Second-Best NFL MVP Odds: Russell Wilson (+225). Last Week (+125)
Russell Wilson had been the frontrunner in the MVP conversation, and he was hoping to solidify his hold as the favorite against the Los Angeles Rams. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as he and the Seahawks had hoped. In fact, the Rams held the highest-scoring team in the league below half of its scoring output, including just three points after intermission.
When it was all said and done, the Rams emerged victorious 23-16. Additionally, the Rams now sit atop the division with Seattle and Arizona. Wilson finished the day 22 of 37 for 248 yards and a pair of interceptions. What is an even greater concern is the fact that Wilson has committed 10 turnovers in Seattle’s three losses. Russell said after the game that he must be better going forward and as one of the premier quarterbacks in the NFL, it’s not a matter of if he’ll bounce back but when.
The NFL MVP Odds Favorite: Patrick Mahomes (+180). Last Week (+200)
Patrick Mahomes was holding steady at the No. 2 spot on our weekly list, but, with Wilson having another subpar outing, Mahomes has leapfrogged to the top of the leaderboard.
While Mahomes and the Chiefs were off in Week 10, he has been playing some great football as of late. Over the past four games, Mahomes had thrown 12 touchdowns and no picks, and in his two most recent outings, Mahomes has thrown for 416 and 372 yards.
For the season, Mahomes has 25 touchdowns, which is the third-highest total in the league. 25 Touchdowns through nine games is pretty solid, but it is even more impressive when you realize he has thrown just one pick, which is the lowest total in the NFL. Mahomes won the MVP award in 2018, and for the first time this season, he is now the odds-on favorite in this race. Let’s see if he can hold on to the top spot moving forward…
Monday, November 16, 2020, Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois, 8:15 p.m. ET
Vikings at Bears Betting Preview: Vikings (-2.5/-120), Bears (+2.5/-102)
The Vikings (3-5) have looked like a different team the past two weeks, when they have posted back-to-back wins over the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions. Running back Dalvin Cook is the type of player whom opposing coaches refer to as a “game wrecker” because of his ability to change momentum on a single play.
How good has Cook been? Well, he rushed for 206 yards and two touchdowns last week, which followed a four-touchdown performance (three rushing, one receiving) a week earlier. Cook has 858 rushing yards, tops in the NFL through Week 9. His 12 rushing touchdowns are one shy of his career high, set last year.
Minnesota is not as reliable on defense, having allowed 40-plus points twice this season. However, the Vikings are trending in the right direction in that category, as well, as they are coming off a week in which they gave up a season-low 20 points to Detroit.
The Bears (5-4) are sliding, and questions are swirling about whether head coach Matt Nagy will give up play-calling duties this week. Nagy admitted that it is a possibility but indicated that he will not tell media members before the game whether he has taken himself out of the equation.
At this point, the Bears might be wise to try something different to shake up the offense. The team has lost three games in a row, and an injury-riddled offensive line has struggled badly to provide protection for veteran quarterback Nick Foles. Nagy’s playbook is complex, and his plays often require time for the quarterback to diagnose coverages and make reads down the field, and Foles simply is not getting enough time in the pocket to achieve that task.
That said, it is not all doom and gloom for Chicago. The Bears boast a top-tier defense with a superstar leader, linebacker Khalil Mack. If the offense can limit mistakes and put a couple touchdowns on the board, the defense is more than capable of doing its part.
Vikings at Bears Betting Pick for Week 10
These two teams know each other well, and division rivalries such as this one tend to produce close, low-scoring games. For reference, look no further than last season, when the Bears beat the Vikings 16-6 in Chicago and 21-19 in Minneapolis. Offensive barnburners, they were not.
Cook is electric, but he has averaged only 2.5 yards per carry against the Bears in his career. Still, it is hard to argue that Chicago’s anemic offense can find a way to outscore Minnesota. Could this game finally mark the end of Kirk Cousins’ 0-9 drought on “Monday Night Football”?
Vikings at Bears Betting Pick:
Vikings 20, Bears 16
Vikings at Bears Best Bet for Week 10
Both teams are desperate for a victory, and the Bears figure to play inspired defense at home in front of a national TV audience. But it ultimately might not matter whether Nagy or an assistant coach calls Chicago’s plays. Without a dependable offensive line, the plays could break down regardless, leading to another low-scoring affair.
Vikings at Bears Best Bet: UNDER 43.5 total points (-110)
Greetings football fans. Another week of NFL action is now in the books. Heading into last week, the list of teams with the best shot of winning the big game in 2021 included the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Two of these squads posted victories while the other one came out flat in a divisional NFC South showdown. Taking that into consideration, there’s going to be somewhat of a shakeup on our weekly list. Without further delay, here’s a look at the teams that are the odds-on favorites to win it all based on how they performed in Week 9.
Third-Best Super Bowl Odds: New Orleans Saints (+700). Last Week (NR)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers held down the No. 3 spot on our weekly list over the past couple of weeks. Going into their matchup against the Saints, the Bucs were hoping to earn a measure of revenge against the team that defeated them by a 34-23 margin in Tom Brady’s debut.
Unfortunately, not only did the Bucs lose to their division rival again, the second time around was even worse than the first meeting between these two ball clubs. The Saints scored five times on their first six possessions, which allowed them to jump out to an insurmountable 31-0 lead at halftime. When it was said and done, the Saints cruised to a 38-3 victory — their fifth consecutive win.
Second-Best Super Bowl Odds: Pittsburgh Steelers (+550). Last Week (No Change)
The Steelers are holding steady at the No. 2 spot. On paper, their Week 9 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys should have been a walk in the park, considering Dallas was starting its fourth different quarterback in the last five games.
However, the Cowboys proved to be a worthy opponent and they led 19-9 going into the fourth quarter. Pittsburgh’s offense finally came to life in the final frame as it engineered three scoring drives. Although it wasn’t pretty by any means, the Steelers edged the Cowboys 24-19 to remain the only unbeaten team in the NFL.
Super Bowl Odds Favorite: Kansas City Chiefs (+350). Last Week (No Change)
The Kansas City Chiefs were riding the wave of a three-game winning streak going into their matchup against the Carolina Panthers. As was the case with the Steelers and the Cowboys, this one should have been a one-sided affair as well. But the Panthers were having none of that as they hung with the defending champs right down to the wire.
Unfortunately for Carolina, their 67-yard field goal attempt came up short, allowing the Chiefs to escape with a 33-31 win. On the heels of their fourth straight win, the Chiefs are 8-1 going into their bye week, which means they should retain their top spot on the list over the next couple of weeks.
Greetings football fans and welcome back to our weekly discussion about the NFL players in the running for the league MVP award. A week ago, our top three candidates included Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, and Russell Wilson.
And what has become a consistent pattern over the past few weeks, two of the three players on the list led their respective teams to victory while one of those players did not have the same level of success. So, without further ado, here’s a look at where the players rank based on how they performed in Week 9.
Third-Best NFL MVP Odds: Aaron Rodgers (+350). Last Week (+1000)
Mr. Rodgers comes in at the No. 3 spot for the second straight week. Going into the Week 9 matchup against the San Francisco 49ers, Rodgers and the Packers had dropped two of their last three contests. Moreover, the 49ers dominated both times these teams played last season.
However, thanks to injuries to several key players, the 49ers were no match for the Packers in this one. Rodgers carved up San Francisco’s defense for 305 yards to go along with four touchdowns en route to a decisive 34-17 victory. This marked the third time that Rodgers has thrown for more than 300 yards this season.
Second-Best NFL MVP Odds: Patrick Mahomes (+200). Last Week (+350)
Two weeks ago, we were talking about how the Chiefs’ aerial attack had been held in check for the most part. This was because opposing teams made a concerted effort to limit their big passing plays. The offense exploded in a Week 8 win over the New York Jets. In that contest, Mahomes threw for 416 yards and five touchdowns. But that was against a winless Jets team.
Well, Mahomes was at it again when the Chiefs took on the Carolina Panthers. In a game that was a lot closer than it should have been, Mahomes completed 30 of his 45 passes for 372 yards and tacked on another four touchdowns, helping the Chiefs escape with a 33-31 victory. If Mahomes continues to produce at this level, look for him to be in the MVP conversation for the rest of the season.
NFL MVP Odds-On Favorite: Russell Wilson (+125). Last Week (-182)
Chef Wilson has been leading the MVP race for some time and that trend continues. Unfortunately, he didn’t have one of his finest outings against the Buffalo Bills in Week 9. Thanks to a Bills’ offense that produced three touchdowns on their first four possessions, the Bills jumped out to 17-0 lead and went on to win the game by a 44-34 margin.
While Wilson eclipsed the 300-yard total for the third time in five games, he was sacked five times, threw two interceptions and lost two fumbles, giving him a total of seven turnovers in his last three outings. But barring a major collapse, Wilson should remain the odds-on favorite in this race for the foreseeable future.
We are back for our weekly discussion about the teams considered to be the frontrunners to win the big game in 2021. A week ago, the list included the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens, and the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs. Two of these three teams posted victories, while the other team came up a bit short.
Taking that into consideration, it’s safe to predict that there would be a change to list this week, even if it’s only a slight one. So, without further delay, here are the teams that have the best odds to win the Super Bowl based on how they performed in Week 8.
Third-Best 2021 Super Bowl Odds: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+650). Last Week (+800)
The Buccaneers made their first appearance on our list last week and are holding steady at the No. 3 spot. Their Week 8 opponent was the one-win New York Giants. On paper, this should have been a mismatch, but it ended up being anything but that.
Thanks to an abysmal showing on both sides of the football, the Bucs trailed 14-6 going into intermission. Fortunately, they were able to turn things around in the second half. And thanks to successfully denying a Giants’ two-point conversion attempt that would have tied the game in the final seconds, the Buccaneers escaped with a 25-23 win.
This marked the team’s third straight win, allowing them to finish the first half of the season with a 6-2 record. The last time Tampa Bay started 6-2 was back in 2002. That was also the year they won the Super Bowl. Coincidence? Only time will tell.
Second-Best 2021 Super Bowl Odds: Pittsburgh Steelers (+550). Last Week (NR)
The Pittsburgh Steelers were undefeated going into the Week 8 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. Ironically, the Ravens had held down the No. 2 spot on our weekly list. Early on, the Ravens dominated and led by a 17-7 margin at the break.
However, Pittsburgh’s offense came to life in the second half. Ben Roethlisberger, who completed four passes totaling 24 yards in the first half, finished the day 21 of 32 for 182 yards. No, this was not an overly impressive performance by any means.
But thanks to a pair of touchdowns after the break, the Steelers pulled away for a 28-24 victory, matching their best start in franchise history. Not only that, but they are also the lone unbeaten team in the NFL.
Best 2021 Super Bowl Odds: Kansas City Chiefs (+350). Last Week (+400)
The defending champion Kansas City Chiefs continue to be the frontrunners in the championship odds race. For most of the season, we’ve been talking about how their aerial attack hadn’t been what fans had come to expect with Patrick Mahomes under center.
Well, that trend changed when they took on the New York Jets in Week 8. In that contest, Mahomes completed 31 of 42 passes for 416 yards to go along with a season-best five touchdowns. To put this stat into perspective, the Jets have only recorded a total of four touchdown passes this season.
Based on those numbers, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Chiefs won this one going away 35-9. With an upcoming game against the Carolina Panthers, look for Kansas City to remain the odds-on favorites in this race.
Greetings football fans and welcome back to our weekly discussion about the NFL players in the running for the league MVP award. A week ago, our top three candidates included Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, and Russell Wilson.
For the second straight week, two of the three players on the list led their respective teams to victory while one failed to do so. With that being said, here’s a look at where the players rank based on how they performed in Week 8.
Third-Best NFL MVP Odds: Aaron Rodgers (+1000). Last Week (+400)
Mr. Rodgers dropped from the No. 2 spot down to No. 3 on our weekly list. In a Week 8 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings, Rodgers completed 27 of his 41 passing attempts for 291 yards to go along with three touchdowns. Unfortunately, the Packers’ defense was unable to contain Dalvin Cook, who had 223 total yards from scrimmage, including 163 rushing yards on 30 carries.
As a result, the Packers were handed their second loss in the past three weeks. Given the fact that Rodgers continues to put up solid numbers (20 touchdown passes against two interceptions on the season), his name should continue to be in the conversation for league MVP.
Second-Best NFL MVP Odds: Patrick Mahomes (+350). Last Week (+450)
There had been much discussion about how Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs weren’t faring so well as far as big passing plays were concerned. Well, that trend changed against the New York Jets. After being held to under 250 yards in three of his previous four outings, Mahomes and the Chiefs’ aerial game took off, and in a big way.
Mahomes finished the contest 31 of 42 for a whopping 416 yards – his highest yardage total of the season. Additionally, Mahomes also had five, yes, five touchdown passes as well. On the season, Mahomes has thrown 21 touchdowns and only one interception. Given the Chiefs’ balanced attack, it will be interesting to see if Mahomes can make up any ground in this race.
The NFL MVP Odds Favorite: Russell Wilson (-182). Last Week (+100)
In what has become the norm, Chef Wilson continues to lead the pack as the odds-on favorite to win the MVP award. Coming off a disappointing loss against the Arizona Cardinals, Wilson and the Seahawks were hoping to rebound against the San Francisco 49ers, and boy did they ever.
Unlike their first few victories that went down to the wire, Seattle turned a close game into a 27-7 advantage going into the fourth quarter. The 49ers managed to tack on a couple of scores in the final frame, but the Seahawks emerged victorious 37-27. Wilson finished the afternoon 27 of 37 for 261 yards and four touchdowns.
This marked the sixth time in seven games that Wilson had thrown at least three touchdown passes in a game this season. Additionally, this was also the sixth time that Seattle had scored at least 30 points. At 6-1, Seattle is cooking and and Russell Wilson has a lot to do with the team’s hot start.
Happy Hump Day football fans and welcome back to our weekly discussion about the NFL players in the running for the league MVP award. A week ago, our top three candidates included Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, and Russell Wilson.
Two of the three players on the list led their respective teams to victory while one was of them came up a bit short. With that being said, here’s a look at where the players rank based on how they performed in Week 7.
Third-Best NFL MVP Odds: Patrick Mahomes (+450). Last Week (+400)
Patrick Mahomes dropped from the second spot down to No. 3 on our weekly list. Following an outing against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 5, Mahomes’ numbers have been somewhat pedestrian over the past two games.
In the team’s 26-17 win over the Bills in Week 5, Mahomes completed 21 of 26 passes for 225 yards and a pair of touchdowns. In a 43-16 win over the Denver Broncos, he was 15 of 23 for 200 yards and he did not throw his lone touchdown pass of the game until the fourth quarter.
On the flip side, the Chiefs continue to win games even though opponents have kept the big passing plays to a minimum. Additionally, Mahomes’ 16 TD passes are tied for fourth and he has thrown just one interception.
Second-Best NFL MVP Odds: Aaron Rodgers (+400). Last Week (+600)
Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers posted victories in each of their first four contests going into the bye week. Unfortunately, that four-game winning streak came to a screeching halt in their Week 6 outing against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In that contest, Rodgers had his worst outing of the season, completing 16 of 35 passes for 160 yards to go with two interceptions. But Mr. Discount Double Check bounced back against the Houston Texans in Week 7 as he completed 23 of 34 passes for 283 years and four touchdowns.
This marked the fourth time in which he’s thrown at least three touchdowns in a game this season. Also, Rodgers has 17 touchdown passes, which is the third-highest total in the NFL, and he has been mistake-free in five of the Packers’ six games this season.
Best NFL MVP Odds: Russell Wilson (+100). Last Week (-125)
The Seahawks were a perfect 5-0 heading into their divisional showdown against the Arizona Cardinals. As well as Seattle had been playing, they didn’t have the ending they’d hope for in this matchup. Despite leading by a 10-point margin in the fourth quarter, the Cardinals managed to send the game into overtime.
Then, uncharacteristically, Wilson threw an interception with his team marching down the field on what could have been the game-winning drive. Subsequently, the Cardinals capitalized on the turnover and escaped with a 37-34 win. Chef Wilson posted a completion rate of 66 percent, threw for 388 yards and three touchdowns.
However, he also had three interceptions, the last of which enabled the Cardinals to win the game. No, this wasn’t Wilson’s finest hour by any means. However, look for the MVP frontrunner to bounce back against the 49ers next week.