Sometimes, Vegas is just that good. We saw an astounding number of games come down to the end on both the number and the total, which meant that when you bet was almost as important as what you bet. The Tampa Bay versus San Francisco game serves as a wonderful example. The game closed at SF -13.5, with a total of 41.5. The 49ers opened at -11 and sat at -12.5 as late as Saturday. Money came in Sunday morning and throughout the early window to push this out to the closing line of 13.5. With the game landing on 13, the early San Francisco money cashed, and the kickoff Tampa Bay money got home. There was a similar situation in Los Angeles, with Seattle opening up as a favorite. With the Stafford news, the line flipped to as much as Rams -2. Los Angeles won by 1, and again, there were winning tickets on both teams.
Now that we are three months into the season, the market will be very dialed in. You will have some slight overreactions, but there is enough data now that those will get bought up quickly in the market. More than ever, betting early or waiting for your number is incredibly important.
Now let’s look at the biggest two power rankings adjustments that I made from the games on Sunday:
Move them up: Chicago Bears
Yes, we are upgrading them off a loss. They controlled the game in Detroit for the majority of the time and were fairly unlucky to lose this one as an 8-point dog.
What I liked about this performance was how the offense used Justin Fields to try to move the football. He ran for over 100 yards, but for the first time all season, much of that was on designed runs and not scrambles. This offense is much more effective when you have the real threat of Fields running the football out of the backfield instead of a stable of below-average running backs. Fields looked healthy, so expect a similar game plan moving forward, with the coaching staff all trying to save their jobs.
The defense also continued to play well. They got toasted on the final two Lions drives, but prior to that, they were able to pressure Goff and turn him over. Heading into the week, they had been a top-five defense since Week 5. While I don’t expect that number to stay as high as it is, this is a top-half defense with an offense that can move the ball.
Move them down: Seattle Seahawks
The easy answer here would be the Commanders, who lost to the lowly Giants, but six turnovers are an anomaly, not the norm, so I will not be as harsh on them as I will be on the Seahawks.
This Seattle team cannot convert on the opportunities that it is given. They lost 17-16, but this was a game they could put away early. Up 7-0, Seattle drove the ball twice deep into Rams territory and settled for field goals each time. This game is never in doubt if they can convert in the Red/Green zone on both of those drives.
I would not punish them as much if this were a one-off, but it has been a recurring issue for them all season. I have this logged as the third game that drives inside the opponent’s 30 yard line ending in downs or a field goal has cost them a win. The next four weeks are brutal as well; they have the 49ers, Cowboys, 49ers and Eagles coming up. Suddenly, this team may not make the playoffs.
Early Week 12 Plays
Another winner and more closing line value moves this section to 7-3 on the year.
We are going back to the well on the Under plays this week. Let’s target a Thanksgiving Day game with the Jets and the Dolphins. Miami’s offense struggles when taken out of its rhythm, and the Jets front seven should be able to do just that. On the other side of the ball, Miami’s defense sets up well to continue to stop a Jets offense that can’t move the football. I played this at 42 on the Handle on Sunday when we were going through opening lines, and I still like it to the under at the 41 number that is on the board since I’ve got this game at 39.5.
The bet: Jets / Dolphins u41
In a battle of the MVP titans, the Jalen Hurts-led Eagles knocked off Mahomes and the Chiefs in an interesting Monday night battle. Mahomes outplayed Hurts, but with the win, Hurts vaults to the top of the MVP odds board at +250. Hurts has three more marquee games in the next three weeks. If the Eagles can go 2-1 in that stretch, he will be tough to catch as long as he stays healthy.
Mahomes, Jackson, and Tua follow Hurts as they all vie for the #1 seed in the AFC. The Chiefs have the weakest remaining schedule, and there will be a narrative around Mahomes succeeding with this receiving core if they can land home-field advantage. He will need to end the season in style to repeat.
Down the list, Dak Prescott at 15-1 seems like the most likely long shot on the board. The Cowboys still have a head-to-head with the Eagles and will have multiple marquee games coming home. If the Cowboys can win the division and conference, Dak will be in the discussion.
Season Long Bets Recap
Titans u6.5 (bet after Week 1)
Jags +125 to win the AFC South (bet after Week 3)
Chargers to miss the playoffs -115 (bet after Week 4)
Jalen Hurts MVP +700 (after Week 5)
Cardinals u4.5 Wins (after Week 5)
Broncos u4.5 Wins +100 (after Week 6)