I’d been on a nice little tear with my NFL picks lately, but they came to a mild halt in week 14. Keep in mind that while I am standing by these picks, the overpowering point of my weekly column is to point out that there is a lot of uncovered betting value to be had.
More specifically, Vegas tends to prices games in a way that you could get trapped in making a bet you probably shouldn’t, or you miss a bet that might be superior.
In week 14 I only went 1-3 with my picks, but I narrowly missed the Over in the Browns vs. Panthers game (by 1.5 points) and I loved the Falcons (+205) in Green Bay. It wasn’t the best week, but the logic was there and I did score a win with the Colts not only beating the spread but ultimately snapping Houston’s crazy nine-game winning streak.
There are more victories to be had and just as important, more value to be unearthed as well. Let’s seek both as I break down some of the biggest moneyline to spread discrepancies in the NFL in week 15:
Houston Texans @ New York Jets
Sam Darnold returned last week and provided some clutch play in a big win for the Jets, but this is still a bad New York team we’re dealing with here. New York will be at home and they’re probably confident after last week, but they’re overmatched and should lose to the Texans.
Vegas makes the moneyline impossible to like for the Texans (-260), but they’re not even favored by a touchdown. Deshaun Watson and company ran into a desperate Colts team last week, but now it’s Houston that should be in must-win mode.
The Texans could lose their mystique after having a crazy nine-game run ended, but they still need to wrap up the AFC South. There is also a first-round bye in play, so the Texans would be wise to make sure there’s no doubt in this one.
Pretty much everyone would agree the Texans are the play here and most would also point out that this game shouldn’t be close.
Why bet on them to win at -260 when you can just pick the Texans by a touchdown at -113? This is a classic example of where the moneyline and point spread pricing point the bettor in the right direction.
Cleveland Browns @ Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos should have ran right through the San Francisco 49ers and stayed alive in the wild-card playoff race last week. They didn’t do that, and while they still are in the mix for that sixth and final AFC playoff spot, last week’s shaky performance was probably the last straw for them.
On the flip-side, Baker Mayfield once again helped the Browns get a big win and Cleveland is suddenly just as alive as Denver is.
The Broncos have the edge at home and are the more veteran team, but Baker Mania is taking over the league and the Browns are starting to believe they’re more than just a team that can compete.
If you’re entertaining the idea of betting on Cleveland to stay within three points at -113, why not aim high and pick them to win and eat a cool +135? Baker Mayfield has been on fire for weeks and Cleveland finally has serious momentum.
This isn’t an easy spot, but the value is there and few teams are more fun to cheer for right now.
Arizona Cardinals @ Atlanta Falcons
Another game with interesting pricing is this showdown in the dome between the visiting Arizona Cardinals and the Atlanta Falcons.
This one isn’t so much a huge discrepancy as it is sheer value. Arizona just upset the Packers in Green Bay two weeks ago and this Falcons team is in a bad way with five straight losses. They’re historically great at home, but they’ve fallen apart and I don’t see any reason to trust them.
I have legit interest in Arizona as a straight up road dog in this spot, as that +335 moneyline is about as enticing as it gets. You don’t always need to risk it with those big upset picks, though. The Cardinals are still being handed a thick +8.5 point spread at Sportsbetting.ag and return a nice -110 price if they can get the job done.
Arizona still has their work cut out for them to flat out win this one on the road, but Atlanta hasn’t won in forever and is literally the worst team in the NFL against the spread (3-10) in 2018. Perhaps it’ll change at home against the Cards, but their 2-5 mark ATS as home favorites isn’t very encouraging.
The Cardinals are awesome underdog plays this week and killer bets to beat a big spread.
New England Patriots @ Pittsburgh Steelers
For my last pick of the week, let’s forget about picking spreads or Lastly, I can’t pass on the Pats at -117.
Yeah, that’s too good of a price.
This is basically a pick’em game and I want to point out a few things; New England is almost never this cheap, Bill Belichick teams rarely lose two games in a row and the Steelers seem to be falling apart.
This could be (and probably needs to be) a season-saver for the Steelers. They lose here and they could slide out of first place in the AFC North, if not out of the playoff picture, altogether.
But just because you’re not supposed to free fall doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t. The Steelers are who they’ve been. They’ve dropped three games in a row and had it not been for a late rally against the Jaguars several weeks ago, they could easily be sitting on four straight losses.
Oh, and last week handed the Steelers a loss to the Raiders.
If there isn’t a sign of serious trouble, I’m not sure what is.
Now the Steelers host the Patriots, who only lost last week because of a miracle play by the Miami Dolphins. This game could still be close, but I can’t see an angry New England team letting a reeling Steelers squad get the best of them.