I don’t claim to be an expert at betting football games.
After all, gambling is, by definition, a bit of a toss-up. If you manage to come out of a season with anywhere around 55% of your bets earning a profit, you can afford to pat yourself on the back. Getting to that point is the hard part, but my aim is to help you do that across a season with some under the radar wagers.
What gambling on football does allow us to do is have a little bit of fun with games we might not normally be interested in. While wagering on the spread and total points is the norm, your best bet might be to eschew these and go with more unconventional options.
It was another profitable week for yours truly, with three of my four best bets working out. At this time of the season it is more difficult to outdo Vegas and the lines because of a larger sample size, thereby making the markets more efficient in how they bet. However, there are always cracks in the foundation that can be exploited.
Without further ado, let’s look back at a filling Thanksgiving week in the win column before we dive into Week 13.
WEEK 12 RECAP
WIN: Away team total points: Washington over 21 points at Dallas @ 10/11
The only blemish on what was a perfect Thanksgiving night for the 10-1 Cowboys was perhaps the fact that their defense faded. It is clearly the weakness of the team, and yet a combination of efficient offense and good special teams has masked it. The Redskins should be hailed (no pun intended) for putting up a good fight; they have a playoff berth in their near future if they can stay consistent down the stretch.
LOSS: Longest successful field goal: R. Aguayo (Tampa Bay) @ 11/10
I don’t feel too bad about this one. The game was nothing like what most expected, and Aguayo missed his only attempt. These field goal kicker bets are like trusting a horse on ice skates; it’s just a shaky proposition that will probably end with you face down on the floor.
WIN: Handicap double: New York Giants (-7) & San Diego (+1) @ 3/1
If you rode with me on this double you were handsomely rewarded. The line in the Chargers/Texans game actually flipped completely, going to Chargers -1 by kickoff. This was an example of an inefficient line exposed by smart gamblers. Vegas likely got demolished on the Chargers money – and rightfully so. The Texans are a flawed team who do not belong in the playoffs; that said, they may still get there by dumb luck. The Giants did what every other team has done to the Browns: beat them soundly and cover in the process.
WIN: Home team total points: New York Jets under 19 points vs. New England @ 10/11
In a tighter game than most expected, the Jets went toe to toe with an off-colour Patriots team and almost pulled off a victory. In the end, though, the Jets lost altitude and the Patriots were there to jump on them to wrestle them back to the ground. The offense led by Ryan Fitzpatrick functioned slightly better, but the under was a good call as it turned out.
WEEK 12 RECORD: 3-1-0
SEASON RECORD: 22-24-2 (0.458)
WEEK 13 PUNTS
Away team total points: Los Angeles over 14.5 points at New England @ 10/11
It has been a tumultuous season for the Los Angeles Rams, but even in defeat they have managed to conjure up some points. The move from Case Keenum to Jared Goff doesn’t spell the end for their offensive productivity; after all, even a blind mouse sometimes finds the cheese. The total here is far too low for an NFL team and is massively disrespectful to the Rams. Conversely, it shows too much deference to a Patriots defense that has its holes. Jump all over LA here.
Home team total points: Jacksonville under 17.5 points vs. Denver @ 10/11
The Broncos defense was all over Alex Smith on Sunday night. It wasn’t their fault that the team lost; it was just one of those wacky games that had to end some way. The Jaguars will present some issues, but not enough to scare Denver. Blake Bortles could endure a horrid day as the Broncos pass rush tees off on him. This total is bound to go down, so grab it with the half point while you can.
San Francisco 49ers to beat Chicago @ 11/10
I’m probably dooming myself from the outset by trusting the 49ers to pull off a victory on another long road trip, but I can’t help but be impressed by them. Their heroic loss to the Dolphins opened my eyes to what Colin Kaepernick can be in this offense. Despite Matt Barkley’s encouraging display, I fancy the Niners to pull off this win and perhaps take themselves out of contention for the first or second pick.
Total points under 49: Kansas City at Atlanta @ 10/11
This is a classic matchup between an over team (Atlanta) and an under team (Kansas City). To date, the Falcons have gone over the total in nine of their 11 games, while the Chiefs have gone under in eight of their 11 games. To me, 49 points feels a little high. After all, the outburst by the Chiefs last week was more an aberration than something to look into too closely. The Falcons scored a ton of points against the Cardinals, but this is a more physical and better defense. This could be a slugfest in the end, so I am leaning towards the under.
Make sure to check back next week for more betting tips ahead of Week 13’s slate of games. Follow me on Twitter @davlar87.