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.
When it comes to sports betting, this NFL season has been a wild ride. The line movement we’ve seen each week is so exaggerated compared to most years due to frequent mid-week updates regarding COVID concerns, facility shut-downs, and what feels like an unprecedented number of mid-week quarterback changes.
Last week, I overreacted to some of that line movement. Lesson learned! We’re still over .500 on the season, but let’s see if we can’t push that win percentage higher with our favorite lines on the Week 9 slate.
Broadway 2020 Season Record: 19-17-4
Carolina Panthers at Kansas City Chiefs (-10.5)
This game opened with a total of 50.5, climbed two full points by Saturday, and as of Sunday morning now sits at 51.5. The weather looks to be pretty mild in Kansas City, although there may be some threatening winds.
The Chiefs and Panthers have each seen only three games go over the total this year with five going under, but this matchup seems like a chance for both offenses to move the ball. The Panthers return Christian McCaffrey against the Chiefs’ weak run defense, who allow a 46.3% success rate against the run (27th in the league). The Chiefs allow opponents to convert 70% of red zone trips to touchdowns, the 7th-highest rate in the league. Even without Russell Okung, if Carolina can convert in the red zone (easier with McCaffrey than without), they should have no problem reaching their implied total of 21 points.
That would leave Kansas City needing to score over 31. I don’t have to tell you about Kansas City’s potent offense. While I would lean towards the Chiefs covering the double-digit spread and moving to 8-1 ATS on the season, my best bet is on the point total. I liked it much more at 50.5 than 51.5, but I still think the over will cash.
The Pick: Over 51.5
Houston Texans (-6.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars
I’m shocked Houston is only a 6.5-point favorite. Perhaps the unknown of sixth-round rookie Jake Luton as the Jaguars’ starting quarterback is suppressing the line. My guess is this will close at Houston -7 or -7.5, so I wouldn’t wait to place a wager if you like this matchup.
The Texans beat the Jaguars 30-14 just a few weeks ago in a game where Deshaun Watson threw two interceptions. Since then, the Jaguars have benched Gardner Minshew and will role out Luton mostly to evaluate him, not because they are trying to win football games. The Texans defense hasn’t been good, and they’ve been decimated on the ground, but if Luton can’t protect the ball, it won’t matter.
Jacksonville’s passing defense is the worst in the league by DVOA and success rate. Watson should have plenty of success against the team, and I think Houston runs away with it.
The Pick: Houston -6.5
New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-4)
Back in Week 1, Drew Brees and the Saints beat the Buccaneers in Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay debut. Now, New Orleans will travel to Florida for the rematch between future hall-of-fame passers on Sunday Night Football.
This game will likely be a close contest. Both teams are good on both sides of the ball. The Tampa defense has allowed the third-most yards from scrimmage to opposing running backs this year, and with Michael Thomas set to make his return, the Bucs won’t be able to focus all of their energy on stopping Alvin Kamara.
I could see this game going either way, but underdogs in primetime have delivered 17 wins to 7 losses ATS this year. This feels like a low-scoring, field-goal type of game. I’d lean towards the under 50.5 total, and I think the Saints cover the spread.
The Pick: New Orleans +4.0
New England Patriots (-10) at New York Jets
A primetime divisional matchup should be thrilling entertainment, but this game will be a Monday Night snoozefest. The Jets are a disaster in line to be rewarded for their incompetence with Trevor Lawrence. They don’t want to do anything to screw that up.
Meanwhile, the Patriots are looking to get back on track after falling into a four-game losing streak. Both teams are near the bottom of the league in points scored (NE are 29th at 19.4 PPG; NYJ are 32nd at 11.8 PPG). Both teams are also near the bottom in terms of games going over the point total this year, 3 of 7 games for New England and 3 of 8 for the Jets.
What’s more, primetime unders are 17-9 this year. The public likes to bet on overs, especially in primetime, so you’ll often see primetime point totals inflated by a point or two to take advantage of these habits. The ten-point line is a little much for me, but I do think New England wins a low-scoring game.
The Pick: Under 41
Lock of the Week
Seattle Seahawks (-3) at Buffalo Bills
The Seahawks travel across the country for the third time this season after successful road trips earlier this year (winning 38-25 at Atlanta and 31-23 at Miami). The Bills have struggled on offense lately, but the Seahawks have struggled all season to stop opposing teams through the air.
While this could be a game for Josh Allen to get back on track (Allen has only thrown for 4 touchdowns compared to 4 interceptions over the last 4 games), it may be another chance for Seattle to establish themselves as frontrunners — along with Green Bay — for the number 1 seed in the NFC.
Jamal Adams will return for the Seahawks defense, and Carlos Dunlap — acquired last week from Cincinnati — will make his Seattle debut. Tre’Davious White will attempt to shut down D.K. Metcalf (quite the tall task), but even if he succeeds, who will cover Tyler Lockett?
I think this game will be high scoring, but the 55 point total is a little rich for me. I lean towards the over, but Seattle -3 is my lock of the week.
The Pick: Seattle -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.