Save for a handful of games, this weekend’s lineup isn’t exactly the most exciting on paper. So why not make it a little more enjoyable by putting some money on them? That’s half the reason sports betting exists anyways. So let’s take a look at some of the safest bets you can make heading into the football weekend:
Money line upset
Seattle Seahawks @ Jacksonville Jaguars (-2.5), O/U 40
The Jaguars have been one of the toughest teams to bet against this year as they are maddingly inconsistent. One week they lose to the lowly Jets and then the next they blow out the heavily favored Steelers. I think the Seahawks are the vastly more talented team but injuries have made their season infinitely more difficult.
Michael Bennett, Duane Brown and Jimmy Graham are all questionable with starting guard Oday Aboushi out so the Seahawks are facing an uphill battle. On the other side, however, the Jags listed star corner Jalen Ramsey and linebacker Telvin Smith as questionable. Ramsey sat out practice all week while Smith remains in concussion protocol so it’s likely neither play on Sunday.
This opens up a very dangerous possibility for the Jaguars. Despite not having much of a running game, the Seahawks offense ranks in the top ten in the league in total offense and points per game. If the Jacksonville defense loses two key cogs to the machine, it’s not out of the realm of possibility Russell Wilson can take advantage of that.
While the Seattle defense has been getting a lot of coverage for the losses of Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor on the season, the defense has been faring fairly well recently. In their past four games, the Seahawks have limited three of their opponents to 16 points or less including their 24-10 win over the Eagles last week.
So while it’s understandable to be skittish of both teams, Seattle due to their injuries and Jacksonville because they’re inconsistent, there is enough reason here to believe Seattle can get this win on the road. As I said both defenses are hobbled so taking the over should be the move here.
Other upset possibilities: Oakland Raiders over Kansas City Chiefs, Carolina Panthers over Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers over Houston Texans, Philadelphia Eagles over Los Angeles Rams
Beat the spread
Washington Redskins @ Los Angeles Chargers (-6), O/U 46.5
It’s the battle for mediocrity. As with any sport, there are three groups of teams in the NFL, the good, the bad and the okay. Both Washington and Los Angeles fall in the last one. I know the Chargers have been getting a lot of hype recently given they have managed to fight their way back into playoff contention but let’s be honest, that’s more a result of a terrible conference than a good team.
While six points isn’t a huge number, I just can’t see Washington losing by more than a touchdown to this team. Kirk Cousins is well aware that these final few games of the season are basically a tryout for any teams interested in pursuing him in free agency next spring so he will play extremely carefully with the ball and the Chargers looked like their hot streak came to an end last week in a tight win over Cleveland.
So I don’t think the Redskins are a lock for an upset but I believe this will be a close game throughout and as per usual, Rivers will be down by four with a field-length to go with 1:30 left on the clock because they’re the Chargers.
The Chargers defense ranks as one of the best in the league in terms of points per game yet Washington’s ranks as one of the worst so it’s hard to determine on the over/under but I would take the over.
Other beat possibilities: Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins
Cover the spread
Tennessee Titans (-3) @ Arizona Cardinals, O/U 43.5
Before the season began, I was convinced the Titans would be one of the best teams in the league. Well, so much for that. Tennessee started off the season 2-3 and it was looking like it was going to be a lost year for the team.
However, since then the Titans have gone 7-1 with their only loss coming against the Steelers. The thing that most critics point to the reason behind this run is who they’ve played and they’re absolutely right. The Titans win in their last eight games comes against the Tom Savage-led Texans, the Colts twice, the Bengals, Browns, and Ravens.
So are the Titans having a resurgence or simply taking advantage of a weak schedule? When it comes to this game, that question doesn’t matter. Losing to the Steelers proves the Titans beat all the teams they should and lose to all the teams that they also should lose to. In the words of the late Dennis Green (kind of), they are who we think they are: an extremely decent team.
That’s why I’m confident they’ll cover the spread here. While the Cardinals have been surprisingly competitive with Blaine Gabbert at quarterback, including a narrow win over the Jaguars, they still have trouble closing out the game. They’ve played the Rams, Texans, and Seahawks close in recent games and two of those games ended in double-digit losses. If you also look at some of the Cardinals losses against the Cowboys, Eagles, and Seahawks, it’s clear that they struggle against dual-threat quarterbacks and Marcus Mariota is the epitome of that.
Tennessee’s defense has held the opposing teams to 20 points or under in their past four wins and Gabbert isn’t likely to break that streak so I think the under here is the smart move.
Other cover possibilities: Green Bay Packers vs. Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants, Chicago Bears vs. Cincinnati Bengals