The quest for Super Bowl LV continues with just eight teams remaining, and by Sunday night, will be down to just four teams in Super Bowl discussion. Last week we went 4 from 6 in our Best Bets and our Top Rated Handicapper is confident in keeping you in the winners column again this week!
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Rams (7) @ Packers (-7) Over/Under 45.5
#6 Rams (10-6) at #1 Packers (13-3) is the first game of the weekend and is also the most wagered on playoff game of the weekend. The Rams have Quarterback concerns with the injured Jared Goff, while the Packers come in well rested on home field advantage.
The Rams insist their No.1 QB is ready to roll and will start vs. Green Bay even though Goff said his thumb is not 100 percent. Perhaps of greater importance, defensive tackle Aaron Donald (ribs) and leading wide receiver Cooper Kupp (knee) were injured in the team’s first playoff triumph since losing to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII. Cold weather Football on the road is never easy, let alone without a full squad.
The Packers have won six consecutive games since the overtime loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Rodgers was consistently great in 2020, leading the NFL with 48 touchdowns, a 70.7 percent completion rate, a 121.5 passer rating, a league-tying-low five interceptions. The health of Davante Adams has played a major role in that success, who will face the toughest secondary in the NFL led by Jalen Ramsey. Adams is the first player in NFL history to have at least 100 receptions with 18 receiving touchdowns in a season, as he finished with 115 receptions and 18 touchdowns in just 14 games this fall
Betting Trends – Bettors are on the Packers to cover (82% of spread handle), with money continuing to back Green Bay ATS. The Packers have covered in two straight and in four of their last six. Green Bay is 9-7 O/U, but Los Angeles, leaning heavily on their Aaron Donald-led defense, are 5-12 O/U and have failed to hit the over in four of their last five. But the public is riding with the Packers’ explosive offense, backing Over 45.5 with 72% of the O/U handle.
The Key – Football is all about matchups. The Rams defense sacked the magician Russell Wilson 5 times last week. I don’t think anything stops Aaron Donald from playing and Aaron Rodgers is going to have a difficult time in this matchup. The Rams can take away the Packers biggest weapon in Davante Adams and make this more of a low scoring running game in the cold weather. The Rams run game has been solid since the return of Cam Akers, meanwhile the Packers run defense is average at best. Rams are 6-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
Scorecast – Rams 22 – Packers 21
Ravens (-3) @ Bills (+3) Over/Under 49.5
#5 Ravens (11-5) at #2 Bills (13-3) is the Saturday nightcap featuring two of the best young QBs in the NFL is the most evenly bet matchup of the weekend. A day after betting opened, the public was on the Ravens (+123 ML) to win (54% of ML handle) and cover (53% of spread handle), but the money has since shifted in favor of the Bills (-2.5 -141 ML).
The Ravens rely heavily on MVP Quarterback Lamar Jackson who passed for 2,757 yards and 26 touchdowns and rushed for 1,005 yards and seven scores. He is the first quarterback in NFL history to top 1,000 rushing yards in consecutive seasons. Jackson connected on 17 of 24 passes for 179 yards and one interception against the Titans. He did his real damage with his legs, rushing for 136 yards and one touchdown on 16 carries. The touchdown came on a 48-yard scamper after Jackson dropped back to pass. Those are scary numbers for a Buffalo Bills defense that was carved up by the Colts last week.
The Bills also rely heavily on Quarterback Josh Allen, who in his third season had the breakthrough campaign many anticipated, setting franchise records with 4,544 yards and 37 touchdown passes. He added 421 yards and eight scores on the ground. He was on his game against the Colts, completing 26 of 35 passes for 324 yards and two touchdowns. Allen also ran for 54 yards and one score on 11 carries.
Betting Trends – The public has been on the over from the jump, even with a good bit of steam headed toward the under. Over 49.5 is currently being backed by 70% of the O/U handle. The largest current handle for NFL player prop of the weekend is on J.K. Dobbins to rush for Over 57.5 yards (-118). Dobbins has rushed for over 57.5 yards in five of the last seven games, but failed to do so in Baltimore’s Wild Card win over the Titans, rushing for 43 yards on nine carries with one TD.
The Key – Buffalo’s run defense was almost non-existent last week, giving up 5.4 yards per carry and 163 total rushing yards to the Colts. How are the Bills going to stop Lamar Jackson, J.K. Dobbins and the Ravens’ No. 1 rushing offense? Meanwhile Baltimore’s defense ranked second in the league during the regular season in points allowed per game (18.9) and they will make things difficult for Josh Allen.
Scorecast – Ravens 27 – Bills 24
Browns (+10) @ Chiefs (-10) Over/Under 57
#6 Browns (11-5) at #1 Chiefs (14-2) with the Browns (+400 ML) heavy underdogs on the road against the reigning Super Bowl champion Chiefs (-10, -500 ML). The Browns were dominant against the over rated Steelers last weekend, while the Chiefs come in rested with almost 2 full weeks rest for their major starters.
The Browns put on a show for Cleveland last weekend going in heavy underdogs and carving up the Steelers to win their first playoff game in a decade. They get healthier this week with cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Kevin Johnson back from the COVID-19 list in time to face Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Lets not forget Coach Kevin Stefanski who will be back as the signal caller this weekend. The one two punch of Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb against the Chiefs defense that gives up 4.5 yards per carry is going to be a problem for Kansas city.
The Chiefs and Quarterback Patrick Mahomes didn’t finish off the season as well as anticipated. Over his last three games he has completed just 59.2 percent of his passes, thrown seven touchdowns and four interceptions and has a passer rating of 87.6. Those are not Patrick Mahome numbers. To be fair, it feels like the rotation and resting of Kansas city players has been evident since October.
Betting Trends – Bettors are expecting a shootout, backing Over 57 with 85% of the O/U handle. The public is also on the Chiefs to win, backed by 86% of the ML handle. The Chiefs have failed to cover in eight straight games, and as 10-point favorites, the public has less conviction that the favorites will cover, backed by 59% of the spread handle.
The Key – The Chiefs haven’t beaten anyone by more than six points since their Week 8 stomping of the Jets. That is a massive statistic to overcome, however if you look closer at who played and how those games were played, that’s not the entire roll of the tape. Can the Chiefs stop the run? The Browns have the best one two punch in the NFL and the Chiefs are giving up almost 5 yards a carry. Can Cleveland control time of possession?
Best Bet – Over 57
Scorecast – Browns 28 – Chiefs 35
Buccaneers (+3) @ Saints (-3) Over/Under 52
#5 Buccaneers (11-5) at #2 Saints (12-4): New Orleans enters the Sunday night matchup as three-point favorites to advance past Tampa Bay. Much of the attention leading up to the game will be on Brees and Brady, the two most productive passers in NFL history. This will be the last time they face each other if Brees retires after this season.
Tom Brady has passed for 4,633 yards, 40 touchdowns and 12 interceptions on the season. However he has just seven interceptions against teams other than New Orleans. Brady is surrounded by talent in the likes of Evans, Brown, Godwin and Gronkowski. However none of that matters if the offensive line can’t hold up the pass rush of the Saints.
The Saints defense was perhaps the most important factor in winning the first two games. They intercepted Brady twice in the first meeting, including one that Janoris Jenkins returned for a touchdown, and they intercepted him three times in the second meeting. Brees had six touchdowns and no interceptions in the first two meetings.
Betting Trends – Despite losing to their AFC South rivals in Week 1 and Week 9, the Buccaneers (+3, +155 ML) are backed by 72% of the ML handle to win and 63% of the spread handle to cover on the road at the Saints (-177 ML). New Orleans defeated Tampa Bay 34-23 in the season-opener, and handed Tom Brady & Co. their worst loss of the season, a 38-3 defeat in early November. The Saints hit the over in their first seven games, but have gone just 3-7 O/U since, failing to hit the over in two straight. The Buccaneers enter having hit the over in three of their last five games, and are 10-7 O/U on the season. The public is backing Over 51.5 with 82% of the O/U handle, although down from 89% on Monday night.
The Key – the combined score of the first two meetings is a lopsided 72-26 in favor of the Saints, who are at home… How is the spread 3? They handed Brady the worst loss of his career when they completed the season-series sweep with a 38-3 rout in Tampa on Nov. 8. The Buccaneers offensive line isnt coming into this matchup with any secrets, the game is won and lost there as the Saints will get to Brady and win the game.
Best Bet – Saints -3
Scorecast – Tampa Bay 24 – New Orleans 34
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