After another wild weekend of football that exceeded all expectations, there’s only four teams remaining and three games left until a Super Bowl champion is crowned.
Sadly, that means there’s just three more games left for bettors to gamble on before the long offseason. But there’s no time to fret about the offseason yet – there’s still money to be made before we pack up our winnings and head home.
Last week we put about $US1,000 hypothetical dollars on the line and ended up with a net loss of $US100 after the miraculous Stefon Diggs touchdown gave the Vikings the win and covered our +4.5 on the Saints. A tough loss, but it was worth it for the fantastic reaction videos we got out of Minnesota fans awestruck by their victory. Even Case Keenum was surprised!
That said, because we were down last week and have so few games remaining to build up our bankroll, we’re increasing the sizes of our hypothetical bets a bit today in an effort to walk with as much as possible after Super Bowl Sunday.
Below are our best bets for this weekend of NFL action. All lines come courtesy of the Las Vegas Hilton SuperBook.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+8.5) at New England Patriots (Sunday, 3:40 p.m. ET)
The bet: Jaguars +8.5 ($US330 to win $US300)
The logic: I’m a bit nervous about how many people are talking about how the Jaguars match up pretty well with the Patriots… but the Jaguars match up pretty well with the Patriots. It might already be too trendy a take to come to fruition, but I believe it, and I’d definitely prefer not to bet on the Patriots to make the Super Bowl again.
The Pats have shown that they will let strong teams stay in games throughout the season, and despite whatever Blake Bortles joke you want to make, the Jaguars are a strong team this year. They should be able to hold their own when the Pats go five-wide on third-and-six, and if they can pressure Brady and get him uncomfortable, the Jags have a shot to win outright.
Over/Under 28 points scored for Patriots
The bet: Under 28 points for the Patriots ($US110 to win $US100)
The logic: Despite allowing the Steelers to put up 42 points last weekend, the Jaguars’ defence is still one of the strongest defensive units in the league, and with their elite corps of defensive backs, they feel specifically suited to be able to get stops on the Patriots when called upon.
Further, the Patriots have not quite been the offensive powerhouse that they have been in years past. While in flashes it has appeared that they’re able to score at will, they only cleared 28 points in one of their final five regular season games. If the Jaguars can make a few stops in their own territory to turn touchdowns into field goals and field goals into punts, they can hold the Patriots to under 28.
Over/Under 69.5 yards receiving for Rob Gronkowski
The bet: Over 69.5 yards for Gronk ($US110 to win $US100)
The logic: Despite how much I like the Jaguars defence to match up against the Patriots receivers, Gronkowski is still a clear mismatch for Jacksonville that will take time to adjust to. Watch out for Gronk to be a constant target of Brady’s when his other options are all clamped down in coverage.
Will Gronk score a touchdown?
The bet: Yes, Gronk scores a touchdown ($US110 to win $US100)
The logic: Gronk has scored a touchdown in every postseason game he’s played in since 2014.
Will Dion Lewis score a touchdown?
The bet: Yes, Dion Lewis scores a touchdown ($US100 to win $US105)
The logic: I know I’m aiming at a pretty tight window here, betting on two Patriots players to score a touchdown while the team still stays under 28 points total, but hear me out.
Dion Lewis has been as reliable a running back as the Patriots have had in ages, and with the Jaguars stout passing defence, Belichick will likely have a game plan that involves figuring out a way to find Lewis in space. It’s always a risk to bet on a Belichick running back, but Lewis should have himself a game on Sunday.
Will Tom Brady throw an interception?
The bet: Yes, Tom Brady throws an interception ($US100 to win $US120)
The logic: I’m going all-in on the Jaguars defence. Brady throws a duck or gets hit during his release and Jalen Ramsey finds the ball and takes it the other way. Book it.
Minnesota Vikings (-3) at Philadelphia Eagles (Sunday, 6:40 p.m. ET)
The bet: Eagles +3 ($US330 to win $US300)
The logic: Again, I want to establish that I’m an Eagles fan by trade and there is a fair amount of homerism in this pick. But Philadelphia has embraced their underdog role and still sport one of the best defences in the league. Last week they won despite losing the turnover battle 2-0. If they can keep the ball secure and Nick Foles can keep the game managed, they will be in this game until the end.
Also, the Vikings feel a bit too much like the team of destiny – just one win away from a Super Bowl in their home stadium. If the past two years have taught me anything, it’s that when something good feels pre-ordained, bet the other way. You only get one miracle per postseason (unless you’re the Patriots).
Over/Under 20.5 points scored for Vikings
The bet: Under 20.5 points scored ($US100 to win $US100)
The logic: The Eagles haven’t given up more than 10 points in their past four home games, and you can be sure that the Philadelphia crowd will be locked in once again on Sunday.
Over/Under 62.5 yards receiving for Stefon Diggs
The bet: Under 62.5 yards receiving for Diggs ($US110 to win $US100)
The logic: Diggs was the saviour for the Vikings last weekend, but I’m guessing this number was listed a bit over-inflated to compensate for the huge boost in attention he’s gotten in the days since his miraculous scamper.
Over/Under 47.5 yards receiving for Zach Ertz
The bet: Over 47.5 yards receiving for Zach Ertz ($US110 to win $US100)
The logic: I love Zach Ertz and expect him to get free on a short slant at least once on Sunday for a big first down and some solid yards-after-catch. There’s a reason we call him YAC Ertz in Philly.
Shortest touchdown of the game Over/Under 1.5 yards?
The bet: Shortest touchdown is Under 1.5 yards ($US130 to win $US100)
The logic: Last week, both these teams played in games that featured a one-yard score. All it takes is one pass interference in the end zone or one stalled goal line stand to put this bet in position, and with two teams that are likely to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the one, this feels like a solid bet.
Will either team score three straight times?
The bet: No, neither team will score three straight times ($US100 to win $US145)
The logic: This is one of the more deceiving bets available for most postseason games. While it feels difficult for a team to score three times in a row, it happens more often than not, hence the extra juice we’re getting on betting “No” here.
Both the Eagles and Vikings scored three times in a row in their games last weekend, but we’re betting against the trend this time around because I don’t think there’s going to be a ton of scores in the game in the first place. As long as we’re not hit with a free possession by a team scoring right before halftime, this feels like the right side of this bet.
And that’s all folks! We have $US1,740 in hypothetical money in play, so I want to encourage you to not bet any money you don’t have, but that said, enjoy the games!
Last week: -$US100