DETROIT LIONS at CHICAGO BEARS
These NFC North rivals are struggling mightily and are desperate for a win. The Lions (4-7 SU, 4-7 ATS) have lost two straight, most recently succumbing to the Texans 41-25 on Thanksgiving and failing to cover as 3-point home dogs. After the game, the Lions fired coach Matt Patricia. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will take over. The Bears (5-6 SU, 5-6 ATS) are mired in a five-game skid and just fell to the Packers 41-25, failing to cover as 7.5-point road dogs. This line opened with Chicago listed between a 3.5- and 5-point home favorite. Respected money has quickly grabbed the Lions and the points, dropping the line to the key number of 3. The Lions have value as divisional dogs (34-26 ATS, 57% this season) and short road dogs + 6 or less (43-25 ATS, 63%). Detroit has a rest advantage, having last played Thursday while the Bears played Sunday. The Lions could also receive a boost playing for a new coach. Keep an eye on the total. It has fallen from 45 to 44.5, and the forecast is for 15- to 20-mph winds at Soldier Field.
CINCINNATI BENGALS at MIAMI DOLPHINS
These AFC opponents are at opposite ends of the standings. The Bengals (2-8-1 SU, 7-3-1 ATS) have the third-worst record in the NFL but have actually been great at covering lines this season. Even after losing rookie QB Joe Burrow, the Bengals hung tough against the Giants last week, losing 19-17 but covering as 6.5-point home dogs. Meanwhile, the Dolphins (7-4 SU, 8-3 ATS) just plastered the Jets 20-3, easily covering as 7.5-point road favorites. If the playoffs started today, Miami would be the No. 6 seed in the AFC. This line opened with Miami listed as a 10.5-point home favorite. Pros and Joes seem united on the Dolphins, which has driven this line up to -11.5. If it rises higher, you could expect some buyback on the Bengals as double-digit road dogs with an inflated line. Some pro money has hit this Under, dropping the total from 42.5 to 42. The forecast calls for 10-mph winds at Hard Rock Stadium.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS at HOUSTON TEXANS
At first glance, this AFC South showdown looks lopsided based on won-lost records. But the short line suggests a tight game. The Colts (7-4 SU, 6-5 ATS) saw their two-game winning streak end last week as they got crushed by the Titans 45-26, losing outright as 3-point home favorites. The Texans (4-7 SU, 4-7 ATS) were left for dead but have come back to life over the last month, going 3-1. Houston hammered the Lions 41-25 on Thanksgiving, easily covering as a 3-point road favorite. This line opened with the Colts listed as 3-point road favorites. The public is all over Indianapolis, yet this line remains frozen at 3. This suggests some sharp liability on the surging Texans at home. The next move is critical. If you see the line fall to 2.5, that will be a sign that more sharp action is hitting the Texans. Houston has value as a divisional dog (34-26 ATS, 57%). Home divisional dogs are 14-6 ATS (70%) this season. Houston also enjoys a rest advantage, having last played Thursday compared with the Colts playing Sunday. Pros have also hit this Under, dropping it from 53.5 to 51.5.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS at MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Both teams have disappointed greatly this season. But one is aiming for a top pick, while the other still has a shot at the playoffs. The Jaguars (1-10 SU, 5-6 ATS) have lost 10 straight, though they did cover as 7.5-point home dogs last week in a 27-25 loss to the Browns. The Vikings (5-6 SU, 6-5 ATS) are coming off a come-from-behind 28-27 win over the Panthers, although they failed to cover as 3-point home favorites. Minnesota has won four of its last five games after starting the season 1-5. This line opened with Minnesota listed as a hefty 9-point home favorite. Bets are relatively split, yet we’ve seen the Vikings move to -9.5. This signals some respected money laying the points and expecting a double-digit win by the Vikings at home. Minnesota also has value as a nonconference favorite. Historically, the lack of familiarity benefits the better team. Sharps have also hit the Over, driving the total up from 51 to 52. Both teams have been profitable to the Over, with the Jaguars 6-5 and the Vikings 8-3. The Over is 6-0 in Minnesota home games this season.
LAS VEGAS RAIDERS at NEW YORK JETS
These AFC opponents are riding losing streaks. But one still has a shot at making the postseason, while the other is winless and aiming for the top pick in the draft. The Raiders (6-5 SU, 7-4 ATS) have dropped two straight, most recently laying an egg against the Falcons in a 43-6 loss in which they were 3.5-point road favorites. The Jets (0-11 SU, 3-8 ATS) have been a disaster and just got crushed by the Dolphins 20-3, failing to cover as 7.5-point home dogs. This line opened with Las Vegas listed as a 7.5-point road favorite. Pros and Joes both seem to think this line is too low and it’s a perfect get-right spot for the struggling Raiders. We’ve seen this -7.5 get juiced up to -115 or rise to -8. The Raiders have value as rare favorites off a blowout loss. Over the last decade, teams that lost the previous game by 20 points or more have covered about 55% of the time the next week. Teams off a 20-point blowout loss are 15-10 ATS (60%) this season. We’ve also seen some Over money push the total up from 46.5 to 47.5. The Raiders are 8-3 to the Over, and the Jets are 6-5 to the Under.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS at ATLANTA FALCONS
These NFC South rivals are coming off wins. But one is the No. 1 playoff seed in the NFC, while the other has a microscopic shot at making the postseason. The Saints (9-2 SU, 6-5 ATS) just waxed the Broncos 31-3, easily covering as massive 17-point road favorites. The Falcons (4-7 SU, 5-6 ATS) have quietly won three of their last four, most recently crushing the Raiders 43-6, easily winning as 3.5-point home dogs. This line opened with the Saints listed as 3-point road favorites. The public is pounding New Orleans. However, every time this line ticks up to 3.5, we see sharps grab the Falcons plus the hook and drop the line back to the key number of 3. The Falcons have value as contrarian divisional dogs on a short spread. Home divisional dogs are 14-6 ATS (70%) this season. Sharps have also hit this Under, driving the total down from 47.5 to 46. This matches a profitable late-season divisional Under system. This is also a revenge spot for the Falcons. In Week 11, New Orleans beat Atlanta 24-9, covering as a 3.5-point favorite.
CLEVELAND BROWNS at TENNESSEE TITANS
If the playoffs started today, both teams would be in, with Tennessee the third AFC seed and Cleveland the fifth. The Browns (8-3 SU, 4-7 ATS) have won three straight, most recently fending off the Jaguars 27-25 but failing to cover as 7.5-point road favorites. Similarly, the Titans (8-3 SU, 5-6 ATS) have won two straight and just crushed the Colts 45-26, winning outright as 3-point road dogs. This line opened with Tennessee listed as a 4-point home favorite. The public is split and doesn’t know whom to take. On the one hand, both teams are 8-3, so how can you not grab the Browns getting the points? But then again, the Titans have been rolling, while Cleveland is barely squeezing out wins. Despite this split ticket, pros are hammering the Titans, pushing Tennessee up from -4 to -5.5. Pros have also targeted the Over, driving the total up from 52 to 54. Both teams are profitable to the Over, with the Browns 6-5 and the Titans 8-2-1.
NEW YORK GIANTS at SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
These NFC opponents are atop their division standings. If the playoffs started today, New York would be the No. 4 seed and Seattle the No. 2. The Giants (4-7 SU, 7-4 ATS) have won three straight, most recently beating the Bengals 19-17 but failing to cover as 6.5-point road favorites. Similarly, the Seahawks (8-3 SU, 6-5 ATS) have won two straight and just took down the Eagles 23-17 on Monday night, although they failed to cover as 6.5-point road favorites. This line opened with Seattle listed as a 7.5-point home favorite. With Daniel Jones expected to miss this game due to injury, pros and Joes are hammering the Seahawks and the line has ballooned to -10. If this line reaches the hook (10.5), expect some value on Colt McCoy and the Giants, who would also have value as double-digit road dogs with an inflated line. The Giants have a slight rest advantage as Seattle played Monday. We’ve also seen some Under money show up, dropping the total down from 48.5 to 48. The Giants are 7-3-1 to the Under, and the Seahawks are 6-5 to the Over.
LOS ANGELES RAMS at ARIZONA CARDINALS
These NFC West rivals are jockeying for playoff position and looking to rebound from disappointing losses. The Rams (7-4 SU, 6-5 ATS) just fell to the 49ers 23-20, losing outright as 5-point home dogs. The Cardinals (6-5 SU, 5-6 ATS) have dropped two straight, most recently falling to the Patriots 20-17 and failing to cover as 1-point road favorites. This line opened with Los Angeles listed as a short 1.5-point road favorite. Wise guys think this line is a bit low and have rushed to the window to lay the points with the Rams. This respected action has pushed Los Angeles from -1.5 to -3. Road teams with a line move in their favor are 55-45 ATS (55%) this season. The Cardinals have value as divisional dogs with an inflated line getting the key number of + 3. Sharps have also targeted this Under, dropping the total from 49 to 48.5. Both teams are profitable to the Under, with the Rams 8-3 and the Cardinals 7-3-1. Historically, late-season divisional Unders have been a smart bet.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES at GREEN BAY PACKERS
These NFC non-division opponents are trending in completely opposite directions. The Eagles (3-7-1 SU, 4-7 ATS) are mired in a tailspin and have lost three straight, most recently falling to the Seahawks 23-17 on Monday night, although they miraculously pulled a back-door cover as 6.5-point home dogs. The Packers (8-3 SU, 7-4 ATS) have won three of their last four and just crushed the Bears 41-25 on Sunday night, easily covering as 7.5-point home favorites. This line opened with Green Bay listed as a 7.5-point home favorite. Pro bettors are happy to back the surging Packers and fade the reeling Eagles. This respected action has pushed Green Bay from -7.5 to -9. Some books are even at -9.5 If this line reaches the key number of 10, expect some buyback on Philadelphia + 10 on principle alone. The Packers have an advantage as a home favorite against a team on a short week. Teams on regular rest against teams on a short week are 9-5 ATS (64%) this season. Pros have also gotten down on the Under, dropping the total from 48.5 to 46.5. The forecast at Lambeau calls for high 30s with 10-mph winds.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS at LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
This non-division AFC game features one team fighting for its playoff life and the other totally out of it and looking to secure a high draft pick. The Patriots (5-6 SU, 5-6 ATS) kept their faint postseason hopes alive last week with a 20-17 win over the Cardinals, winning outright as 1-point home dogs. The Chargers (3-8 SU, 4-6-1 ATS) fell to the Bills 27-17, failing to cover as 4-point road dogs. Los Angeles is 1-4 in its last five games, while the Patriots are 3-1 over their last four. This line opened with the Chargers listed as 2.5-point home favorites. Pro bettors have pounced on the Patriots getting points, which has dropped the line all the way down to a pick-’em. Road teams with a line move in their favor are 55-45 ATS (55%) this season. Wise guys have also gotten down on the Under, and the total has fallen from 49 to 47. The Pats are 7-4 to the Under this season, while the Chargers are 7-4 to the Over.
DENVER BRONCOS at KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
This Sunday night game between AFC West rivals looks incredibly lopsided on paper. The Broncos (4-7 SU, 6-5 ATS) have lost three of their last four and just got blown out by the Saints 31-3, failing to cover as 17-point home dogs in a game in which they were missing all their top quarterbacks due to violation of COVID-19 protocols. The Chiefs (10-1 SU, 6-5 ATS) have won six straight, most recently beating the Bucs 27-24 but failing to cover as 3.5-point road favorites. This game opened with Kansas City listed as a 13-point home favorite. Early respected money hit the Chiefs at -13 and -13.5, driving this line up to the key number of 14. The public is hammering the Chiefs regardless of the spread. The Broncos have value as contrarian double-digit road divisional dogs with an inflated line. Teams off a 20-point blowout loss are 15-10 ATS (60%) this season. Prime-time dogs are 23-13 ATS (64%). Drew Lock is expected back at quarterback for Denver. The total is 50.5. Both teams are 6-5 to the Under, and prime-time Unders are 22-14 (61%) this season.
BUFFALO BILLS at SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
This late “Monday Night Football” matchup (8:15 p.m. ET) will be a home game for San Francisco but will actually be played in Arizona at the Cardinals’ stadium due to COVID-19 restrictions in Santa Clara County. The Bills (8-3 SU, 6-5 ATS) returned from their bye with a 27-17 win over the Chargers last week, covering as 4-point home favorites. The 49ers (5-6 SU, 5-6 ATS) also returned from their bye and snapped a three-game skid with an impressive 23-20 win over the Rams, winning outright as 5-point road dogs. If the playoffs started today, the Bills would be the fourth seed in the AFC, while the 49ers are on the outside in the NFC. This line opened with the Bills listed as 3-point road favorites. The public says give me the streaking Bills laying a short spread. However, despite two-thirds of bets laying the points, this line has dropped from -3 to -2.5. This signals sharp reverse line movement with pro money grabbing the 49ers at the key number of + 3. The 49ers are contrarian in a heavily bet game, and prime-time dogs are 23-13 ATS (64%) this season.
WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM at PITTSBURGH STEELERS
This early “Monday Night Football” showdown (5 p.m. ET) features nonconference opponents riding win streaks. Washington (4-7) has won two straight, most recently upsetting the Cowboys on Thanksgiving 41-16, winning outright as a 2.5-point road dog. The Steelers (10-0) are rolling and just crushed the Jaguars 27-3, easily covering as 10.5-point road favorites. This line opened with Pittsburgh listed as a 10-point home favorite. We’ve seen this number quickly fall to 9.5, signaling some respected money grabbing Washington plus the points. Washington holds a distinct rest advantage, having last played Nov. 26 while the Steelers will have just played the Ravens on Wednesday. It will be a short turnaround for Pittsburgh, while Washington is rested and ready to go.
DALLAS COWBOYS at BALTIMORE RAVENS
This rare Tuesday night matchup features struggling nonconference opponents desperate for a victory. The Cowboys (3-8) are just 1-5 over their last six games, including an embarrassing 41-16 beatdown at the hands of Washington on Thanksgiving, losing straight up as 2.5-point home favorites. The Ravens (6-4) are just 1-4 over their last four games, most recently falling to Titans 30-24 and losing straight up as 6-point favorites. Then the Ravens got hit by a COVID-19 outbreak. This line opened with Baltimore listed as a 7-point home favorite. The next move will be key. If we see it fall to 6.5, that could signal some respected money grabbing Dallas at the key number of + 7. Dallas has a distinct rest advantage. The Cowboys last played Nov. 26, while the Ravens are on a short week and just played the Steelers on Wednesday. Lead ref Brad Rogers has historically favored road teams (57% ATS).