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.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone out there getting ready for a full weekend of football and other sporting events. Hope you all took the Saints yesterday, and my sincerest apologies to anyone facing Alvin Kamara in their fantasy championship.
Another Saturday of football means another Best Bets column one day earlier than usual. We experienced a slight rebound last week with a 2-2-1 record, but I’m not sure it’s enough to say “we’re back.” Perhaps Week 16 is where we get hot again, but until we do, I feel morally obligated to say… keep fading us. Anyway, here’s our five favorite lines on this week’s slate.
Broadway 2020 Season Record: 28-41-7 AKA really bad
UPDATE: Since this writing, the Cleveland Browns announced multiple positive COVID tests/close contacts, which will severely impact their game at the New York Jets, even delaying their flight out. Updates below.
San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals (-6.5)
Kyler Murray and the Cardinals seem to have their groove back coming off back-to-back wins (against NFC East teams). The 49ers seem to have no groove at all and will be missing even more players than usual in this game, with Nick Mullens now expected to miss the rest of the season. That means backup-backup C.J. Beathard will start against Arizona, and although George Kittle will return, the Arizona defense has continued to improve week over week. I don’t see Beathard having much success.
This matchup features one team that is getting better against one that is getting ready for the offseason. I like Arizona to win comfortably.
The Pick: Cardinals -6.5
Atlanta Falcons at Kansas City Chiefs (-10.5)
Kansas City has won nine games in a row, but they’ve failed to cover the spread in six straight games. Part of this is because oddsmakers know the public loves to back Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, which has inflated their lines. The other part of it is the Chiefs not pouring it on opponents like they did in Mahomes’ MVP season, more content to simply win than to dominate.
The Falcons are a disaster at closing out and winning games, but they managed to get up 17-0 on Tampa Bay last week and should be able to move the ball against Kansas City, as well. Weather forecasts call for cold temperatures, but not freezing and no precipitation, so I’m not worried about Matt Ryan playing in the elements.
I just think this is too many points for a team that hasn’t covered in six straight games, and I like Atlanta to lose by less than double digits.
The Pick: Falcons +10.5
Cleveland Browns (
-10 -7) at New York Jets Coming off the biggest upset of the season with a win that may have cost them a shot at Trevor Lawrence, I don’t expect the Jets to have much left in the tank for this matchup. The Browns are on fire lately, having won five of their last six games, and they have a chance to compete for the AFC North if they can win their last two games. It starts with the Jets, who will be playing without Quinnen Williams, the lone bright spot on a horrendous team. Williams is the reason the Jets have been fairly stout against the run all season, and Cleveland’s offense is based around the run game. Without him, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt should find room to run, even without Wyatt Teller in the lineup. The Rams were caught sleeping in this matchup last week. Partly because of that, I don’t think the Browns will fall into the same trap. The Jets have also been on a bit of a pattern lately of competing and playing a team close, then not showing up to the next game, then competing again after that. If that pattern continues, Cleveland could win by 30. The Pick: Browns -10
UPDATE: This is no longer a recommended best bet given the recent Browns COVID news.
Stay tuned as we await word on the rest of the impacts to the Browns roster. For now, the books have taken this line off the board.
Bet on this game at your own risk…
Carolina Panthers at Washington Football Team (-1)
Ron Rivera faces his former team at home in the midst of a fight for the playoffs. Alex Smith was a full participant in Friday’s practice and although he’s listed as questionable, he should be good to return to the lineup for this one. Washington won four straight with Smith under center earlier in the season. The Football Team’s defensive line has smothered weaker opponents, and Carolina’s offense qualifies as weaker with Christian McCaffrey set to miss yet another contest.
With the Rivera revenge factor strongly at play, I think Washington comes away with the close victory.
The Pick: Football Team -1
Lock of the Week
Philadelphia Eagles (-3) at Dallas Cowboys
Jalen Hurts has given life to the Eagles after taking over for Carson Wentz. In the last two games, Hurts has piled up 674 total yards and 5 touchdowns. The Cowboys are riding a two-game winning streak, but both of those wins were as fraudulent as it gets. The Bengals and Niners both outplayed the Cowboys in terms of yardage and efficiency throughout the game, but both teams suffered insanely bad turnover luck: Cincinnati fumbled on their first three possessions (one returned for a touchdown), while San Francisco fumbled on two of their first three possessions, including a muffed punt inside their own 25.
Turnovers are fluky in general, but fumbles are the flukiest of them all. Just the fact that Dallas recovered all five fumbles is incredible luck in itself.
For all their struggles, Philadelphia is a much better team than Dallas right now. Rivalry games like these are usually close, but I like Philadelphia to keep their postseason hopes alive with a win in Jerry World.
The Pick: Eagles -3
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.