Back to winning ways for my NFL Handicap Betting Previews for Eastbridge last week as the treble landed.
Now looking for another this Christmas weekend to “spread” some festive betting cheer!
Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills – Saturday at 18:00
The Bills have a miniscule chance of making the playoffs this season, needing many, many results to go their way. They can start this off in Buffalo this weekend by ousting the Dolphins, who are looking to cement a playoff berth of their own. Both sides need a win here so I can’t imagine either Head Coach is going to be calling a conservative game. With that in mind, I have to take on the low points line and go with Over 42 points.
Both of these teams are coming off dominant performances against two of the league’s lesser lights and both have average to good point scoring averages for the season: Miami are scoring 22.5 points a game and Buffalo are putting up 25.6 a game. Just hitting their averages will be more than enough to cover the line. Indeed, when they met earlier in the season the total was 53 points.
I think both teams can do so again in their 2nd matchup given that they both give up 22.4 points a game defensively. It would seem that they both struggle to defend good teams. For example, in the last 4 weeks Buffalo has given up just 34 points to Jacksonville and Cleveland (combined record of 2-26), but have had 65 points dropped on them by Pittsburgh and Oakland (combined record of 20-8). It’s a similar story with Miami who allowed 23 points to the Rams and the Jets, but 61 to the Ravens and the Cardinals.
Both the Bills and Dolphins have proven they can score and be scored on, so I think they’ll clear the 42 point mark when they face off for the 2nd time.
Handicap Betting Recommendation: Over 42 Points at 1.95
Washington Redskins @ Chicago Bears – Saturday at 18:00
Washington’s playoff hopes took a severe dent after they failed to beat Carolina on Monday night and now they travel to surprisingly frisky Chicago team that gave Green Bay all it could handle last week. The Bears defence has been playing well all season, but with backup QB Matt Barkley now at the controls of the offense, that suddenly looks viable too. The Redskins failure to put away the Panthers at home means I can’t trust them on the road this week – Bears +3.5 for me.
In my opinion, it starts with the run game, specifically the Bears rush attack versus the Redskins rush defence. Washington may not be among the worst in the league at defending the run – they’re 22nd in the league, giving up 115.4 yards a game – but Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart ran all over them last week, to the tune of 132 yards. That’s Stewart’s best game of the year by some distance.
They’ll now have to face Chicago rookie RB Jordan Howard, who has been brilliant of late. Over the last seven games, he’s averaged 101 yards a game on the ground. The lowest total he posted over those games was 77 yards and I fully expect him to surpass that total once again against Washington.
Without TE Jordan Reed at full strength, the Redskins offense has not been the same. With Reed not practicing again this week, I think the Bears’ 9th ranked defence should be able to contain Washington enough for Chicago’s offense to exploit the Redskins’ weakness in defence.
Handicap Betting Recommendation: Chicago Bears +3.5 at 1.80
Cincinnati Bengals @ Houston Texans – Sunday at 01:25
With the division lead looking to be slipping out of their grasp, the Texans finally made the decision to bench their ineffective QB Brock Osweiler after he’d just thrown 2 more INTs. Backup Tom Savage came in and he was effective, leading Houston back to a win over Jacksonville. With the Bengals having nothing to play for, as well as multiple injuries to contend with, I’m backing the Texans to take the victory in this one.
With Savage at the helm, the passing game that was stagnant under Osweiler started to open up and star WR DeAndre Hopkins was targeted a lot more than he had been in any game prior. If they can get Hopkins going, find some balance to put up points against a Bengals team that is without their defensive leader in LB Vontaze Burfict then the Texan’s defence, which is especially hard to beat in Houston, should be able to keep tabs on Cincinnati’s offense.
The Texans boast the best defence when it comes to yards allowed and if they weren’t put in far too many bad situations by Osweiler I think their points allowed ranking would be a lot better too.
Cincinnati have been playing better of late, but having to go against Houston without your two best pass catchers in TE Tyler Eifert and potentially WR A.J. Green (who is questionable as I write this) is a very tough ask.
The Bengals should be competitive in this game, but I feel that if Savage is able to play how he did last week then the Texans should have too much defensively for them.
Handicap Betting Recommendation: Houston Texans at 1.86
Prices correct at the time of writing.