Wild card Festivus is upon us and now our entire weekend is full of football, hallelujah. Just when we thought the gluttony of the Holidays were in the past, beers and gravy have reared their tempting faces again. We’re going to get Ray-J level deep into football for the next two weekends so get ready.
These games pose some difficulties in handicapping as the lines are super tight. We have four standalone games so there will be tons of action at the books and not a lot of betting edges to be found. But wait, that’s what we’re for here. There may not be ‘value’ per se in any of the lines or totals but this is still a game of matchups and I’ve scoured the internet looking for a few and I’ve found 9 bets I’m laying over the four games. 9 bets! I told you we were getting hardcore for the playoffs. Settle down, that doesn’t mean you should tail my bets with your usual unit size, but take a breath and have a read and see if any are complimentary to your handicap and then throw a half unit on it to have some fun.
“Bet with your bankroll and not your wallet” is a great quote I heard a couple weeks back.
We went 3-2 last week, getting a bit unlucky with the Jeff Wilson injury in the 1st quarter but needless to say we finished the season real strong going 23W-12L over the last 5 weeks. The Ravens game turned out eerily close to how I predicted so we won that first half bet while I deserve some severe cyber bullying for relying on the Jags offense (again)
I’m avoiding team totals, first half sides or totals as the lines look pretty sharp and am focusing a bit more on the individual matchups and props per game.
Thanks for reading and let’s get paid!
Indianapolis at Houston – Saturday 4:35pm (EST)
In my eyes, this game should come down to a few simple coaching decisions and with that I’ll give the edge to Indy. The question of how this game will play out depends on whether the Colts try to run first or pass to set up the run. The last time these two faced off I lost my bet with the Colts 1st quarter team total over as they spent the entire quarter running it right into the Texans wall and thus they got shutout in the quarter. Eventually, they adapted their strategy and took to the air winning the game 24-20 with Andrew Luck throwing for 399yds (He threw for 464yds in their earlier match up)
So, will Frank Reich start out trying to jam the run down their throats? If so, then perhaps the 1st half under is the play.
If not and if they learned their lesson from the previous two games and plan to attack the Texans weak secondary then I like the Colts to score some points. The obvious choices point to Luck and Hilton with the yardage overs (tempting) but I’m liking something else this week. On the Texans side, I was tempted by the Watson rushing yards over as well as wide out Hopkins, who is one of the elite players in the league. But given the injuries to Will Fuller and potentially Keke Coute, I’m going to stay away. I do like Coute if he plays and I’ll also be looking for a prop bet on tight end Ryan Griffin Saturday morning as he caught 5/5 for 80yds the last time these teams met. I imagine it will be very low, so that’s tempting.
My first bet of the weekend will be on Nyheim Hines out of the backfield. Hines has been averaging over 35 receiving yards per game the past 5 weeks and given Houston’s run stop ability, I like Hines to be the recipient of a few quick out routes. I’ll also be on the Colts to score at least 3TD’s instead of the team total of 23.5pts and I made a late addition with Chester. Gimme some love Frank Reich!
BETS — Nyheim Hines receiving yards over 26.5 at -120 via Bet365 (25.5 at -130 via 5Dimes)
Indianapolis Colts team touchdowns over 2.5 at -120 via Bet365 (-125 via 5Dimes)
Chester Rogers over 21.5 receiving yards at -120 via 5Dimes
Seattle at Dallas – Saturday 8:15pm (EST)
This may be both the most intriguing game and potentially the closest. These both happen to be teams I’ve been down on all year and had planned on fading come playoff time. Oh well, can’t fade them both here. At first glance, I’d take Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll over Dak and Jason Garrett but I am leaning to the Cowboys here at home.
We’re going to see a healthy dose of Zeke here, both on the ground and in the air. The Cowboys are a little more adventurous with their play calling at home so I’d expect some well-drawn out plays in the first half and them finding different ways to get the ball in Zeke’s hands. He’s had 4+ receptions in his last 8 games and surprise….they went 6-2 in that time frame with him averaging about 50 receiving yards per game. This is my favorite play of the weekend so I’m all over this over. Given my thought process here, I’ll also be on Seattle’s stud linebacker Bobby Wagner over 8.5 combined tackles. He’s one of the top LB’s and defensive players in the league and he’ll be busy on Saturday night. One thing to add, if either of these teams play in New Orleans next week then I’ll be selling my wife’s ovaries for the Saints.
BET – Ezekiel Elliot over 39.5 receiving yards at +115 via 5Dimes (May consider over 5.5 catches)
Bobby Wagner over 8.5 tackles and assists at -110 via Bet365/5Dimes
BETTING LEANS – Here’s a fun one for those of you that like long shots. I like this game to be close so I was looking at the overtime odds and I found +750 for this game to go to OT. But wait, I then found a half time / full time option for Dallas to win the first half and the second half to end in a tie paying +3500. That’s more like it, so I took a nibble out of that.
Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore – Sunday 1:05pm (EST)
I’ll spare you a long write up for this game as I’m really quite torn. Am I nuts that I like the Chargers at +3 but I also like the Ravens at -2.5. Crazy. I think that means I’ll leave it alone. I also can’t quite figure out the total as there’s reason to believe both teams can fully shut down the other while my gut says they put up some points.
What do we know for sure? Baltimore’s Justin Tucker is the best kicker around. He has my full confidence and if points are at a premium, we may see some long field goal attempts. The Chargers will trot out 23yr old Michael Badgley, who nobody has heard of but has gone 15/16 since joining the team in October. The weather should be fine (monitor the wind situation) for an east coast game in January so I’ll cheering for some 3rd and long incomplete passes. Bring on the boots!
BET – Longest field goal in the game over 45.5 yards at -125 via Bet365
BETTING LEAN – I’m slightly interested in Baltimore’s tight end Mark Andrews as Jackson needs to throw it once in a while and a nice cozy tight end could be his safe haven. Given Andrews recent performance, we know he’ll be getting some targets and likely a low yardage total so this could be an opportunity. I’ll also be keeping an ear out to see if and who the Chargers put as a ‘spy’ to track Jackson’s rushing as if it is one of their two safeties (Phillips or James) then I’ll look at the tackles ‘over’ prop bet.
Philadelphia at Chicago – Sunday 4:40pm (EST)
In the marquee Sunday night football matchup I’m wrapping things up with 3 plays. Again, this is a tough game and although I’m leaning on the Bears I don’t currently have any major bets on this game. It’s the reigning champs against a rookie quarterback so there’s potential for an upset but I think the Bears defense will come through in a chilly evening at home. There is one area of weakness (mild) on the Bears defense and if Foles gets some time there are opportunities on the outside so I do like Jeffrey to have a decent game and 5 catches seems reasonable here as running the ball may be a challenge and you have to presume they’ll be a major focus on shutting down Ertz over the middle.
I may look at some other Trubisky props on Sunday as the Eagles secondary can be exploited but for now I’m liking the rushing aspect. The strength of the Eagles defense is their pass rush so I expect a bit of pressure and for Mitch to be scrambling here and there. He’s got some speed and he’ll have it pounded into his head not to throw any interceptions so when he feels pressure, his instincts should take over and he’ll take off running.
BETS – Mitch Trubisky over 20.5 rushing yards at -120 via Bet365
Alshon Jeffrey over 4.5 catches at +140 via 5Dimes
Taylor Gabriel over 3.5 catches at +120 via 5Dimes