December 2019


Football picksDecember 28, 2019

Oakland Raiders vs. Denver Broncos Betting Preview

The Raiders’ Week 17 miracle they will need starts with a win in Denver, as they face the division rival Broncos on Sunday. The Raiders need more than a prayer to get into the playoffs this season, as aside from winning, they need the Texans to beat the Titans, the Ravens to beat the Steelers, and the Colts to beat the Jaguars.

But hey, why not continue their crazy season one more week into the Wild Card round. If all of that does happen, and the Dolphins pull off a miracle at Foxborough, we may get a tuck-rule game rematch with Jon Gruden and Bill Belichick on the sidelines.

Tom Brady and Belichick vs. Derek Carr and Gruden may not happen, but it’s a dream worth playing towards for Oakland. Before beating the Chargers last week, the Raiders lost four straight, including their final game in Oakland.

The Broncos have won three of their last four and have found a spark in rookie quarterback Drew Lock. This team would love to cut off the Raiders’ playoff hopes at the roots. The Broncos are favored by 3.5 at home against the Raiders, with an over/under of 41. Check out our betting preview for this AFC West showdown.

Lightning in a Bottle

The Raiders hope to pull off a little late-season magic and still make the playoffs after their four-game losing streak. This has been one of the more bipolar teams that the NFL has seen in recent memory.

Their weakness has been their defense against the pass. They allow 264 yards per game through the air, which ranks 27th in the league. The Raiders cover the rush very well up front, ranking eighth by allowing 100 yards per game. If the secondary could hold up, that would certainly translate into wins.

Offensively, while a bit inconsistent, the Raiders have been above average for the most part. Before getting injured, running back Josh Jacobs had tallied 1,316 yards and seven touchdowns on the season. Jacobs will surely be missed Sunday.

Carr is completing over 71 percent of his passes, has 20 touchdowns to eight interceptions, as well as 3,663 yards on the year. Tight end Darren Waller has been a phenom and already has over 1,000 yards.

Locked Up

Denver has won three of its last four and four of its last six games. Lock has started only the last four games for the Broncos but is already leaving his mark on the field. Lock is completing 65 percent of his passes, has six touchdowns and three picks, and has tallied 843 yards in his four starts. Not too shabby behind an offensive line that is well below average.

Courtland Sutton has taken the reins as Lock’s lead wideout, as he has 1,077 yards and six scores this season.

The running back tandem of Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman has shown some upside at times this season. Lindsay is going to rush for over 1,000 yards on the season and already has over 1,000 total yards and seven touchdowns. Freeman has 748 yards and four touchdowns himself.

Defensively, the Broncos rank 10th in the league and have been solid much of the year. They only gave up 191 yards against the Lions a week ago.

One Last Chance

Week 17 is a week for redemption, for teams, fans, and bettors alike. Denver is 9-6 against the spread this season and a league-leading 5-2 at home. The Raiders are 7-8 against the spread, 3-4 when they’re on the road.

Although one team is playing for something, and that something being the playoffs, the number may lead you in a different direction.

For more on this matchup, check out our matchup page. For more action in Week 17, check out our NFL Public Consensus page.

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Football picksDecember 24, 2019

Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots Betting Preview

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The Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots will wrap up their 2019 regular-season schedules with a meeting in Foxborough, Mass., on Sunday.

Don’t tell the 53 Dolphins standing on the sidelines that this is a tanking team, because they aren’t buying it. The Dolphins put up 38 points on the Bengals Sunday in a game that locked the Bengals into the No. 1 draft pick.

After beating the Bills last Saturday, the Patriots now have the AFC East locked up, but you can bet the Dolphins won’t give them an easy path to the No. 2 seed in the playoffs and a first-round bye.

With a win over the Dolphins, the Patriots lock up the No. 2 seed and some time back home at Gillette. If the Patriots lose Sunday, they need the Chiefs to lose as well, or they fall to the third seed.

The only number that the Dolphins are playing for on Sunday is where they will pick inside if the top five in the NFL Draft. That being said, Miami always gives the Patriots a good run for their money. Read on for a betting preview of this important AFC East contest.

Looking to the Future

Miami should probably start Josh Rosen this week, if nothing else, to see what it has going forward. All signs point to them starting Ryan Fitzpatrick, though, to see if he can thwart the Patriots’ home-field efforts, and show off a little of that FitzMagic once more.

Fitzpatrick has found a late-season connection with No. 1 wideout DeVante Parker, and the two look to carry that into Foxborough this weekend.

Parker has 1,065 yards on the season, to go along with nine touchdowns. Miami has him locked in for 2020, so it can see what kind of chemistry he has with whoever is under center for the team next season. Not many players on this roster have a return set in stone, but Parker is one of the few.

A Letdown for Some

The Patriots’ matchup with the Bills Saturday didn’t quite bring the excitement many hoped it would, at least many outside of Massachusetts anyway. Patriots fans get to flourish in their 11th straight AFC East championship, though, even if the future of the division doesn’t look as easy as it has been for the Patriots in years past. The Bills and Jets both look to be tougher opponents in 2020.

The Patriots’ defense, while it has faltered a bit of late, remains one of the top groups in the league. If we know anything about this team, it’s that if you give Tom Brady a defense, look out down the stretch.

The Patriots’ defense leads the league, giving up only 268.3 yards per game, but it has allowed nearly 310 in their last three contests. A number the Patriots look to improve against a well below-average Dolphins offense.

When It All Comes Down

It all comes down to this in the 2019 NFL season. It’s hard to believe that the regular season will have come and gone already, but we’re all in for some seriously fun betting down the stretch in the playoffs. Can the Dolphins slow the Patriots down and cause them to lose out on a bye? Can Fitzpatrick pull out one last magic trick? That remains to be seen. The Pats are favored by 15.5 points in the contest, with an over/under of 45.

The Patriots are 8-6-1 against the spread this season, while the Dolphins are 8-7 against the spread. That being said, it could make for an interesting game, more interesting to bet than many will give it credit for.

For more on this matchup, check out our matchup page. And for more from around the league, check out our NFL Public Consensus page.

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Football picksDecember 20, 2019

Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles Betting Preview

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An NFC East showdown is on this weekend, as the Dallas Cowboys head to Philadelphia to square off against the rival Eagles. Both teams are 7-7 and tied for the top spot in the division, so there couldn’t be much more pressure for both teams to win. The Cowboys are coming off a stomping they put on the Rams, while the Eagles are coming off two straight wins, including a nailbiter against the Redskins.

The Cowboys’ win over the Rams was just what the doctor ordered, as owner Jerry Jones said. They just need to win this game to secure the NFC East. The same can’t be said for the Eagles, who have to win out to control their own fate.

Unfortunately, both teams can’t win this weekend, so it’s all on the line now. The Cowboys are favored by 2.5 points with the over/under set at 46.5 headed into the contest. Check out our betting preview for this key NFC East contest.

What the Doctor Ordered

Well, the doctor ordered 160 total yards and two touchdowns out of superstar runner Ezekiel Elliott, leading fans and pundits alike to ask, why not all along? Where was this rushing game when Dak Prescott was forced to throw the ball around 40 to 50 times a game? The Cowboys are facing a rushing defense that ranks third in the league, so they need to block up front if they want another 117 on the ground from Elliott.

Take away some interceptions, and Prescott still isn’t having a bad season. He has completed over 65 percent of his passes and thrown for over 4,300 yards. The defense has to slow the Eagles down to keep this loaded offense in it. It can be one of the more explosive in the league.

Flying Somewhat High

While sitting atop the NFC East, 7-7 is nothing to brag about for Philadelphia. The Eagles have underplayed at several points of the season, and fingers have even been pointed at quarterback Carson Wentz.

Wentz has thrown 25 touchdowns to seven interceptions on the season. He’s thrown for 3,431 yards and has competed 63.4 percent of his passes. He just needs more targets to throw too, as Zach Ertz can’t do it alone.

Running back Miles Sanders has been a pleasant surprise coming out of the backfield, as he’s run for 687 yards in nine starts this season. He’s been quite the receiving target as well, as he also has 483 yards through the air and five touchdowns. A heavy dose of Sanders and Ertz is what the Cowboys will see, but can they stop them?

The Ins and Outs

Philadelphia is only 5-9 against the spread this season, while Dallas is 8-6, covering 57.1 percent of the time. Dallas is a team with way bigger upside offensively in this game. Philadelphia’s defense has the upside on the other sideline. The world should be in for a classic NFC East battle.

For more on this matchup, check out the matchup page for this game. For more from around the league, check out our NFL Public Consensus page.

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Football picksDecember 19, 2019

Los Angeles Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers Betting Preview

The fickle Los Angeles Rams head to San Francisco this Saturday night to square off against their division rival, the 49ers. Both teams are coming off an unimpressive Week 15.

The Niners took a last-second loss to the Falcons, while the Rams were completely dominated throughout the entire game at Dallas. It was an ugly loss for the Rams that put them on the outside looking in to the NFC playoff picture. The Niners are firmly in the playoffs and look to rebound over a divisional opponent.

The Rams were coming off of two division wins headed into the matchup against Dallas last week, beating the Cardinals and Seahawks. Dallas promptly ended that feel-good run for Los Angeles.

The Niners have lost two of their last three, to the Ravens and Falcons, but had a nice 48-46 win against the Saints sandwiched in between. The Niners are favored by 6.5, with an over/under of 45 headed into the weekend. Check out our betting preview of this key NFC West contest.

Seriously Hungover

Coming off a Super Bowl appearance a season ago, the Rams are deep into their Super Bowl hangover headed into Week 16. Jared Goff, his skill players, and the defense have all looked lackadaisical for several games this season.

Has Sean McVay lost it? Has Goff? Questions swirl around this 2019 Rams squad. Their offensive line hasn’t at all looked the same, either pass or run blocking.

The Los Angeles offense ranks 12th in the league in yards per game, while its defense gives up the 12th fewest in the league. The addition of Jalen Ramsey and the subtraction of Marcus Peters has seemed to be a stalemate, as Peters has been playing well since joining the Ravens. The Rams’ pass defense ranks ninth in yards per game in the NFL.

Back To Prominence

The Niners’ return to prominence league-wide has been a fun rise to watch. They’ve looked completely unstoppable at times on defense, and their rushing game has been on fire.

All of the backs have seemingly been juggernauts. Jimmy Garoppolo has been the ultimate game manager and been able to hit the gas pedal when he’s needed to, i.e., the Saints game two weeks ago.

The 49ers offensive attack ranks second in the NFL, while their defense comes in at fifth. Their defense, while being slightly susceptible to the run, has been elite against the pass.

The Rams need to stress Todd Gurley and maybe slow Goff and the passing game down to come away with a win here. Some pressure on Garoppolo wouldn’t hurt either.

The Major Points

The spread in this game seems right about where it should stay, within a touchdown in favor of the Niners. Both teams have been betting favorites the second half of the season, but one has disappointed more than the other.

The Rams are actually 9-5 against the spread this season, while the Niners are 8-5-1, making this pretty even against the line. The Niners are 3-3-1 as the home favorite. The Rams are 1-0 against the spread as an underdog on the road. Take your chances either way here.

For more on this matchup, check out our matchup page for this game. For more from around the league, check out our NFL Public Consensus page.

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Football picksDecember 12, 2019

Atlanta Falcons vs. San Francisco 49ers Betting Preview

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After decimating their division rival Carolina Panthers at home last week, the Atlanta Falcons head out west to Levi’s Stadium on Sunday to square off with the 11-2 San Francisco 49ers as part of Week 15 of the NFL season. The Falcons are 4-9 after the 40-20 victory over the Panthers, while the 49ers are coming off a colossal win against the Saints, besting them on their own turf, and having an astounding day of offense that resulted in a 48-46 win. Not bad after a disappointing 17-14 loss against the Ravens only one week prior.

It’s a lost season for Dan Quinn and the Falcons, but they are by no means laying down or tanking. Matt Ryan and the offense have been clicking on all cylinders even in this down season.

It was the Niners’ defense and running game that had been clicking this season, and then Jimmy Garoppolo and the passing game decided to officially crash the party a week ago. With two high-powered offenses, could this be a high-powered matchup? Check out this betting preview of this key NFC contest.

Flying, Just Not Very High

It seems like throughout Ryan’s entire career, the Falcons have had these insane up-and-down swings of success. They seem to fly around from good to mediocre to bad very quickly and quite often. Of course, Ryan and Julio Jones aren’t necessarily to blame, as they’ve been putting on their show as always.

Ryan has thrown for over 3,500 yards already, while Jones is already over 1,000 receiving yards. Same old story. They’ve even had 900 yards worth of help from Calvin Ridley.

Unfortunately for the offense, Ridley announced via Instagram that he would be out for the rest of the season with an abdominal injury. Secondary threats like Austin Hooper will have to step up his game to match forces with the 49ers defense. Defensively, the Falcons rank 26th in the league, so they lean on this game being a shootout.

From Top To Bottom

San Francisco is absolutely loaded from top to bottom, but it hasn’t just been the talent level that’s got it here. Coach Kyle Shanahan has brought a new culture to the Bay Area, one that the 49ers have missed for some years.

Their defense ranks third in the league in points allowed, while the offense ranks second in points scored. And there is a laundry list of categories on both sides of the ball that the 49ers are top five or better in. This is a total team.

Garoppolo had one of his best, and certainly one of his more memorable performances as a 49er on Sunday. Garoppolo threw for 349 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception in the win over the Saints. His passer rating was over 130.

Led by the three-headed monster of Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida, and Raheem Mostert, the Niners’ rushing attack ranks second in the league in yards, attempts, and touchdowns.

May The Odds Be In Your Favor

San Francisco is favored by a healthy 10.5 points in this matchup, with the over/under sitting at 47. The Niners are 8-4-1 against the spread this season, while the Falcons are only 5-8. The Niners are also 5-1 straight up at Levi’s Stadium this season, as they play well at home. You may also consider the Ridley injury and Richard Sherman being questionable as well. It’s a lot to digest with such a large spread.

For more on this game, check out our matchup page. For more action from around the NFL and to see where the money is at, check out our NFL Public Consensus page.

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Football picksDecember 12, 2019

Los Angeles Rams vs. Dallas Cowboys Betting Preview

Two teams fighting for their playoff survival will match up on Sunday when the Los Angeles Rams visit the Dallas Cowboys in Week 15 of the NFL season.

Los Angeles decided to tighten up the NFC West even more last week, winning in extravagant 28-12 fashion over the division rival Seahawks. The 11-2 49ers control the division, with the Seahawks in second, now with a 10-3 record, splitting the season series with the Rams, and Los Angeles is 8-5.

The Rams are no longer in the hunt for the NFC West title but are very much in position to steal a Wild Card spot. If not for their week 10 loss to the Steelers, the Rams would currently be in a Wild Card spot.

The Cowboys are moving in the wrong direction over the last month, practically throwing the NFC East back into play for the Eagles. The world has watched as the Cowboys have lost on the last two Thursdays, last week on Thursday Night Football against the Bears, and on Thanksgiving Day to the Bills.

They also lost the previous Sunday to the Patriots. They’ve lost four of their last five, only beating the Lions four weeks ago during that span, allowing Philadelphia to tie up the division heading into the final three weeks of the season.

Keep reading for our betting preview of this important game for the NFC playoff field.

Never Too Late

It’s never too late for a team to find its identity during the regular season. Well, it is sometimes actually, but fortunately for the Rams, that time has yet to come this season.

The Rams have rediscovered their offense over the last few weeks. The offensive line is giving Jared Goff a bit more time in the pocket, and Sean McVay has suddenly remembered he has one of the best backs in the league and doesn’t have to throw 50 times every week.

Todd Gurley has yet to have that 100-yard rushing game but has been in the 90s three times, and has 889 yards and 10 touchdowns on the season.

The Rams’ offense is ranked eighth in the NFL in total yards, and that is exactly what their defense ranks in opponents’ yards allowed. Goff is having a significantly worse season than he’s had the last couple years, but all is not lost for the young gunslinger.

He’s thrown 14 picks on the season, but there have been many gunslinging quarterbacks over the years with average to high interception totals. Matt Ryan has never been shy about sharing the ball either, for example.

It’s Jerry’s World

If Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones has proven anything over the years, it’s that this is Jerry’s world, and all of us are lucky to live in it. Under a different regime, head coach Jason Garrett would likely be gone, likely long before this season. There isn’t much of an excuse for an offense this talented being this inconsistent under someone who’s supposed to be an offensive specialist.

By the numbers, the Cowboys’ offense has been pretty exceptional, leading the NFL in yards per play with 6.9, as well as passing yards and first downs per game. Their defense is ranked ninth in the league in total yards given up, and 12th in points.

These stats are rather mind-boggling, considering the team’s 6-7 record. After starting the season 5-3, the Cowboys are now tied with the Eagles atop the NFC East after the Eagles’ overtime victory over the Giants on Monday Night Football.

Betting Favorites

These two teams have been two of my favorites to bet on this season, and especially down the stretch. However, even in Week 10, when looking down the road at their schedules, I’ve had this matchup circled with question marks. A lot depends on the lines and speed given. The Rams have covered the spread an NFL-leading 69.2 percent of the time, sitting at 9-4 and tied with Pittsburgh.

Dallas has fallen off against the spread over the last couple of weeks but is still 7-6 on the season, covering 53.8 percent of the time. The Rams are 4-1 against the spread as road favorites this season and are 1-0 as road dogs. The Cowboys are also 3-3 against the spread in Jerry World this year.

For more on this matchup, check out our matchup page. For more action around the league, check out our NFL Public Consensus page.

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