Broadway Best Bets is a weekly NFL betting article selecting the five preferred NFL lines of each week. Note: Sports gambling advice is intended for recreational purposes only. All odds and lines are from William Hill US Sportsbook unless otherwise noted.
Welcome to Week 12! Hope everyone is stuffed full of family, food and football and ready for a Sunday funday to cap off this thankful weekend.
It was a good day overall (6/10 with a bad beat on the teaser) for our Thanksgiving picks, so although we’ve been on a bit of a cold streak around here (4-14-2 over the last 4 weeks – yikes – after starting the year 18-14-3), maybe things are turning around. Another thanks to Joey (@TwoToneTakes) for his help with those picks. Let’s get into our five favorite lines for the week.
Broadway 2020 Season Record: 22-28-5
Cleveland Browns (-7) at Jacksonville Jaguars
The Browns head to Jacksonville for Mike Glennon’s first start. Myles Garrett is out again for Cleveland, and Denzel Ward won’t play after injuring his calf last week. The Browns defense has played better lately, but they’ve been helped immensely by weather conditions. The forecast in Jacksonville calls for a perfect football weather day, around 70 degrees with mostly clear skies. Glennon may not be a good quarterback, but he’s a huge upgrade from Jake Luton. I think both teams can both the ball and score in this matchup.
So with that said, we’re following the sharp money. According to Covers.com, 60% of wagers are on the under, but 83% of the money is on the over. The sharps are expecting a shootout, and I’m inclined to agree.
The Pick: Over 48.5
New York Giants (-6) at Cincinnati Bengals
Rookie quarterback Joe Burrow unfortunately badly injured his knee and will miss the rest of his first season in last week’s loss to a different NFC East team in Washington. As such, the Bengals are officially the worst team in football, with Joe Mixon still on IR. The Giants aren’t a great team, but they’ve shown improvement recently and they’re coming off a bye, needing a win to stay in front of the NFC East race.
I don’t see how Cincinnati can compete in this game. Their offensive line is outmatched each week, and whoever starts at quarterback — rumored to be Brandon Allen — won’t be able to navigate pressure the way Burrow can. Giants run away with this one.
The Pick: Giants -6
Las Vegas Raiders (-3) at Atlanta Falcons
The Raiders have moved from one-point road favorites to -3 now since the line opened, with 61% of spread bets on Las Vegas (according to Action Network). The Falcons seemed to be improved under Raheem Morris, but the team looked completely lost against a Saints team missing Drew Brees last week.
Meanwhile, Las Vegas is apparently the only team that can compete with the Kansas City Chiefs. This could be a shootout if Atlanta’s offense can get back on track, but with Todd Gurley ruled out and Julio Jones’ health uncertain, I’m staying away from the total and taking the better team to win on the road.
The Pick: Raiders -3
Kansas City Chiefs (-3.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This is expected to be a high-scoring contest. Patrick Mahomes against Tom Brady. It’ll be the premier game on Sunday in the late afternoon window, and everyone is on the over.
The total opened at 53 and has since been bet up to 57. Nearly all of the money is on the over. I like to follow the sharp money as much as anyone, but this is too much. We’re talking ~99% of bets on the over.
I’m fading the public in this spot. I liked the over at 53 (just like literally everyone else), but 57 is a really high total. I’m going against the grain and taking the side of the sportsbooks. In my opinion, the more you can bet with the books, the better off you’ll be in the long run.
The Pick: Under 57
Lock of the Week
Seattle Seahawks (-5.5) at Philadelphia Eagles
After putting my faith in an Eagles cover against Cleveland last week, I’m now finally and completely done with this Philadelphia team. Carson Wentz is not good. He had every chance to score against the Browns and at least cover the spread, and he simply couldn’t get the job done.
On the other side, after beating Arizona last Thursday, Seattle has had extra time to rest and prepare for this game. They had a bit of a tough stretch, but overall the Seahawks are an ascending team. Philadelphia is going the opposite direction. Wentz is now 3-7 ATS this season (one of my new gambling mottos is “Bet against Carson Wentz”).
The Pick: Seahawks -5.5
Bonus: Take New Orleans against Denver
As of this writing, the Denver Broncos will be starting wide receiver Kendall Hinton at quarterback tomorrow at home against the Taysom Hill-led New Orleans Saints.
The line is not currently available on William Hill or Bovada. However, when it comes back up, I’m going to take New Orleans.
It’s one thing to lose all viable quarterback options with a week to prepare and install an option-based offense. It’s another thing entirely to find out the night before a game that a wide receiver will be running your offense against one of the league’s toughest defenses.
It seems impossible to me that Denver will be able to move the ball. I’ll take New Orleans to win by 20, or whatever the line is when it opens again.
How Betting Lines Work
A quick reminder for anyone unfamiliar with betting lines. “Favorites” are listed next to a negative number, which represents how many points they must win by to “cover the spread.” Titans -2.5, for example, means that Tennessee must beat the Broncos by 3 points or more for bettors to win. Gamblers can also bet on the game’s “total,” betting on whether or not the teams’ combined score in the game is over or under a pre-selected number of points.
“ML” or “moneyline” is not against the spread, just picking the winner of the game. Many people refer to the moneyline as “straight up,” but this can be confusing, because if you’re ever at a betting window in Vegas, a “straight bet” means you are betting on the point spread. Instead of saying “straight up,” you’d want to say “moneyline” when you mean to pick the winner of the game regardless of the point spread to avoid any possible confusion.