With so much money being exchanged, these weekly lines are really, really tough to beat. I can confidently say at least 90% of football fans would win between 45% to 55% of these game bets (sides or over/unders) over time. It’s just the reality of such an efficient market. With that said, I think there are some ways to barely increase our chances of churning a marginal profit. As you guys know, Rotoworld is the king of grinding news. That’s something the public doesn’t do as well as a Rotoworld blurber, so it’s going to be one of the common things I utilize in this column, in addition to reverse line movement, advanced stats and occasionally film taeks. Note: Lines are taken from FanDuel Sportsbook.
Broncos vs. Chargers - UNDER 44.5 Points (-110)
As you can see in the chart above, the Chargers and Broncos are both slow-paced offenses. In fact, only the Jaguars are slower than the Chargers on offense. The Broncos are also very run-heavy -- they’ve been establishing the run down multiple scores in the second half this season -- and the Chargers should become more run-heavy with Melvin Gordon active and playing. Overall play volume will make it difficult for this game to go over 44.5 points, but so will individual matchups. Both teams have an elite corner to stop an opposing WR1 (Chris Harris vs. Keenan Allen and Casey Hayward vs. Courtland Sutton) and there is a top-shelf pass-rusher going up against weak tackles (Von Miller and Joey Bosa). I’m expecting sloppy football in this division rivalry.
Patriots -15 (-110) vs. Redskins
Give me the under on the Redskins’ 13.5 team total with Colt McCoy quarterbacking against this elite defense. McCoy has a career 3.2 touchdown percentage -- the NFL average last year was 4.8 -- and he’s led his offenses to 0, 13, 23, and 13 points in his last four starts. They were all losses of course, and they weren’t against a defense that’s first in pass defense DVOA and second in run defense DVOA. It’s going to be a bloodbath, and I don’t mind hitting the under at 42 points, too.
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Bears vs. Raiders - UNDER 40.5 Points (-110)
This game sets up quite similarly to the Patriots vs. Redskins one, except the Bears’ offense is nowhere near the Patriots, so I like the under rather than covering the spread. Both of these offenses lack explosion because their quarterbacks don’t throw the ball downfield enough, and both of these offenses are in the bottom 10 in neutral-situation offensive plays per minute. So for the over to hit, these teams will have to play efficient football. Do I see the Raiders doing that against this Bears Defense? No. Do I see the Bears doing that while traveling to Europe with Chase Daniel? No. Give me the under.
Colts vs. Chiefs - UNDER 56.0 Points (-110) - My SNF Bet
Betting the under here is mostly about the Colts, not the Chiefs. Indianapolis is the fourth-slowest offense in the NFL, and they want to be run-heavy whenever possible. The Chiefs’ defense in terms of efficiency (DVOA) has been a run funnel, so I anticipate the Colts trying to run the ball early to keep Patrick Mahomes and company on the sideline and they should have some success doing so if Marlon Mack is healthy. On the other side of the ball, the Colts’ zone defense that wants to keep everything in front of them should make the Chiefs have long scoring drives instead of 50+ yard touchdown passes like we’ve seen all season. Plus, 56.0 points is just a ton to cover in general.
Browns vs. 49ers - UNDER 46.5 Points (-110) - My MNF Bet
This is a really interesting game between teams that can rush the passer and can run the ball. Myles Garrett and the Browns Defense has been really disruptive, and Jimmy Garoppolo has been up-and-down against pressure in his career. The same can be said on the other side of the ball with the 49ers’ youthful defensive line and Baker Mayfield, who has been having trouble diagnosing and avoiding pressure this season. Both offenses also have had a ton of success running the ball. The 49ers’ running back committee has been wonderful thanks to coach Kyle Shanahan's play-calling and Nick Chubb has been the Browns’ best offensive player. I anticipate a lot of rush attempts and good defensive line play, so I like the under.
If you’re looking for more team breakdowns, read my Week 5 Fantasy Football Forecast column. It’s nearly 10,000 words and has a bunch of graphs that could be utilized in the betting markets. My buddy John Daigle also has a weekly Player Props column if you’re trying to get more action down.