Rich Hribar and Raymond Summerlin bring you their best bets every Friday of the NFL season as well as a preview of Sunday Night Football. The preview is free, but the bets can only be found in the Rotoworld Season Pass. Don’t miss out on the action.
Rich: 38-35-1 season record (last week: 2-1)
Raymond: 29-37-3 season record (last week: 0-2)
All lines taken from the VI Consensus at VegasInsider.com Friday morning.
Sunday Night Football – Chiefs @ Seahawks (+2.5) – 54.5-point total
Rich: Kansas City has scored at least 26 points in every game this season. That 14-game streak is the third longest in league history. To compound matters, the Seahawks’ defense is extremely lackluster. Since their Week 7 bye, Seattle has allowed the most offensive yardage in the league (3,076 yards), which ranks 27th in per game yardage allowed.
We know the Chiefs are likely to do their part offensively, but their games on the road have provided major fireworks this season. Kansas City road games average 73.4 combined points per game, the most in the league. Even if you remove the game versus the Rams, it is 68.2 points per game, which would still be the highest in the league.
The main culprit for that split is the Chiefs’ defense, which just has not traveled at all. On the road, the Chiefs have allowed 34.1 points per game (31st) as opposed to 20.1 per game at home (13th). The lowest combined score in a Kansas City road game this season has been 50 total points with the other six hitting 58-plus points scored by both teams. That 50-point total came back in Wek 3 in Denver, who just had a better defense then than Seattle has fielded since their bye. I like both teams to make this a back and forth game, betting this game total.
Pick: Over 54.5
Ray: The second half of this season has been a nightmare I cannot pinch myself hard enough to escape. When a team you gave out at +7.5 loses by eight after closing at that number, it is probably time to call it a year, but there are still teams I like this week. Hopefully you all can bet against them and make some money. One of those sides plays on Sunday night.
One of the few trends which has actually stayed positive this season has been fading teams off overtime, especially when they are at home. Since 2008, teams off an overtime game are 143-189-11 against the spread (43.1 percent) overall, and home teams are an even worse 54-90-7 ATS (37.5 percent). They are 3-10-1 this season if last week’s Ravens game is counted as the eight-point line it closed, according to my database, and not the 7.5 I gave out -- #TiltCity.
Seattle is an even worse position because the Chiefs are coming off a Thursday Night Game, meaning they are even more rested. Teams coming off an overtime game and facing a team which played on Thursday the week before are just 6-15 ATS (28.6 percent) since 2008.
I do not like that yet another trend has forced me to bet a short-road favorite, but the numbers and my gut says it is the right call. As Rich perfectly laid out, the over also is a good bet here.
Pick: Chiefs -2.5, Over 45.5
Bears @ 49ers (+4) – 43-point total
Ray: There is not much to add here as the 49ers are in almost the same situation as the Seahawks, minus the Thursday element. I will add home dogs are 18-33-3 against the spread (35.3 percent) after overtime since 2008, so there is no advantage in this trend for the 49ers.
Pick: Bears -4
Texans @ Eagles (-1.5) – 46-point total
Rich: Another game total that is just too low is the matchup between the Eagles and Texans. Neither one of these teams can stop the pass, which could lead to some major scoring, as long as the Texans don’t settle for a half dozen Ka’imi Fairbairn field goals. The Eagles have allowed 297.3 passing yards per game since their Week 9 bye (31st in the league) while Houston has allowed 285 passing yards per game over that span, 29th in the league. Five of the past six Eagles games have cleared 46 points while the Houston pass defense has allowed major passing yardage to Marcus Mariota, Baker Mayfield, Andrew Luck, and Sam Darnold over the past four weeks.
Pick: Over 46
Jaguars @ Dolphins (-3.5) – 38.5-point total
Ray: One reliable truth so far this season has been the Dolphins being a different team at home than on the road. They have won one of their seven games on the road, but they have lost just one of their seven games at home, a schedule which includes wins over the Titans, Bears, and Patriots. Their offense has scored 20 touchdowns at home as opposed to just 11 on the road, and their defense has limited teams to 22.3 points per game at home despite giving up 31.1 per game on the road. They are simply a different team, and this week they get a Jaguars squad which has scored 28 points total in three games. Betting at best a mediocre team as a favorite is probably not a good idea, but Miami has been more than that at home this season.
Pick: Dolphins -3.5
Vikings @ Lions (+6) – 42.5-point total
Rich: If the Vikings can just score a touchdown in this game, it might be enough to cover. Jest aside, over their past eight games, the Lions have scored on just 28.2 percent of their drives, ahead of only the Cardinals (21.5 percent) over that span. Opponents have scored a touchdown on just 16.1 percent of their possessions versus the Vikings, the lowest rate in the league. The Vikings held the Lions to nine total points back in Week 9, sacking Matthew Stafford a career-high 10 times. The four wins the Vikings have over Detroit since Mike Zimmer took over have come by seven or more points, something that should happen once again with the Vikings in the thick of the playoff race and Detroit getting ready for the offseason.
Pick: Vikings -6
Broncos @ Raiders (+3) – 43-point total
Ray: I do not have any real trends to back this pick up, but it feels ridiculous for the Broncos to be a road favorite over any team. Over the last two weeks, Denver has lost as a three-point favorite in San Francisco and been beaten at home by the Browns, scoring 30 points total in those two games. The Raiders predictably let down last week on the road against a bad Bengals team, but the two games before that they hung tough with the Chiefs and beat the Steelers outright, both at home. These two teams are probably not as far apart as the public would assume, which would explain what looks like a bad line.
Pick: Raiders +3
Steelers @ Saints (-6) – 53-point total
Rich: I’m sure many are circling this game for an offensive explosion. While that may play out, I believe this game could be a letdown in that regard. The Saints’ defense is legit. New Orleans has allowed 17 or fewer points in each of their last six games, their longest such streak in franchise history. The last time a Saints game has gone over the total was back in Week 10 when the Saints scored 51 points themselves. Over the past month, the offense has sputtered, however. This wasn’t the typical road bugaboos from the Saints, either. Over the past four weeks, the Saints are 28th in offensive yardage per game (283 yards) and Drew Brees has averaged just 5.5 yards per pass attempt over the past three weeks. Considering the Saints’ defense, the Steelers potentially now being down JuJu Smith-Schuster to go along with James Conner, and the Saints not being in sync on offense the past four weeks while also having offensive line injuries, this game could be lower scoring than expected.
Pick: Under 53