As the NFL crosses the midway point in the season, certain trends have been exposed. This is a good time to take a look at the schedule and find some key betting opportunities. As a word of caution, this has been a difficult season for handicappers with many teams throughout the league performing much different from expectations. With this in mind, it might be easier to focus on over/under bets. Here’s a look at what appears to be five interesting plays worth considering.
Thursday, November 12 – Buffalo Bills at New York Jets (-3 / 43.5)
The Bills will be playing 5 of its next 6 games on the road. After a big home over division rival Miami 33-17 last week, the Bills find themselves back in the hunt for a possible wild card spot. The team’s problem has been consistency on both sides of the ball. After two straight losses on the road to New England and Oakland, the Jets returned home to beat a struggling Jacksonville Jaguars team. The team is having a good season due in large part to an offense that has proven to be competent compared to the last couple of seasons. The total looks interesting here. The last 5 times these two teams have met in NY, the games has gone over. The Bills have gone over in its last 3 while the Jets over gone over in 4 straight. With a reasonable total, stay with the trends.
Play: Bills/Jets over 43.5
Sunday, November 15 – Carolina Panthers (-6 / 44.5) at Tennessee Titans
The upstart Carolina Panthers are 8-0 on the season and 3-0 on the road. All season long, QB Cam Newton has led a well-balanced attack as the Panthers are currently ranked 4th in the league in scoring at 28.5 PPG. It’s worth noting that the team also ranks in the top five for fewest penalties, which shows the team has matured enough to not make mistakes that kill drives. After six straight losses, the Titans went into New Orleans and upset the Saints 34-28. It’s worth noting the Titans had scored a total of 36 in its previous four games combined. At issue is whether or not QB Marcus Mariota has turned the corner or was this game the exception. Based on the fact the Titans are 6-16-1 ATS over the last two seasons, it is probably the exception.
Play: Panthers -6 BEST BET
Sunday, November 15 – New Orleans Saints (-2 / 50.5) at Washington Redskins
The Saints appeared to be on a roll after winning three straight. Then they suffered a bad loss at home last week to struggling Tennessee. Under the microscope, it’s a porous defense that has been creating problems all year long. The defense currently ranks second to last in the league, giving up over 29 points and 414 yards per game. At 3-5 on the season, the Redskins are still looking for some continuity. They are currently 0-4 on the road and 3-1 at home with the only loss coming in the first game of the season against the Miami Dolphins. Things don’t figure to get better until the Skins start running the ball with a bit more authority. The trends all point to the over. The last eight times these two have played, the game has gone over the total.
Pick: Saints/Redskins over 50.5
Sunday, November 15 – Miami Dolphins at Philadelphia Eagles (-7 / 47.5)
At 3-5 on the season, the Dolphins have been a major disappointment. The problem has been an offensive unit that seems to go stale. In 5 of its 8 games, the team has scored 17 points or less. On the season, they are 0-4 against the AFC East and 3-1 outside the division. The bad news is this is the third of three straight road games for a team in need of home cooking after two straight losses. After a rough start to the season, the Eagles have won 3 of its last 4, including an emotional OT victory over division rival Dallas last week. It took both QB Sam Bradford and RB DeMarco Murray a few games to plug into Coach Kelly’s offense, but they seem to be rolling now. The Eagles are 5-0 ATS the last five against Miami, making laying the points look like the play.
Play: Eagles -7
Sunday, November 15 – Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos (-7 / 41.5)
After losing five straight, the Chiefs woke up and won its last two games in impressive fashion. With the offense now showing signs of life, the team is looking more competitive due in large part to a defense that has allowed only 12.5 PPG over the last four games. They also had a bye last week, giving them an extra week to prepare for this big game. They may not be a playoff team, but they don’t figure to be a punching bag from here on out. The Broncos are coming off its first loss of the season to run its record to 7-1. The final score in the loss was 27-24 with the Colts kicking the winning FG with six minutes remaining. The league’s number one defense struggled just a little, though there is no shame in giving the Indianapolis Colts and QB Andrew Luck 27 points and 365 yards in Indy. Broncos QB Peyton Manning is really struggling on the season (2,145 yards passing, 9 TDs and 13 interceptions). With both teams struggling on offense against good defenses, this game points to the under.
Pick: Chiefs/Broncos under 41.5