NFL BEST BETS
It’s been a trying season so far, but last week was a successful one, going 3-0 in the best bets, and bringing our season total to 16-17-1. Hopefully, we can get on the right side of that winning percentage this week and finish strong the last third of the season.
When looking at the games this week, it’s really tough to find edges. At this point in the season, we know who the teams are, so I’m looking at teams that have gone through changes recently and hoping that I see something that the oddsmakers don’t. For example, mid-season coaching changes often results in a team suddenly playing better than they had been. Or maybe I think a quarterback change carries more weight than Vegas does. As much as I rely on data and models to make my picks, sometimes it really does come down to a feeling. And that’s how I chose at least one of my best bets this week.
We do more than just spread picks here at Gridiron Experts. If you’re looking for straight-up picks, hop over to our Gridiron Experts NFL Picks page to see who we’re picking this week. I’m in second place in Fantasy Nerd’s accuracy rankings, a competition I won last year, and some of our other experts are close behind. It’s a great way to identify upset picks if you’re in a pick ‘em league.
I’ve been tracking my betting model since the start of the season by placing one unit on every game’s spread, total, and moneyline. The hope is to find where the model does well and where it can be improved. I’ve made some adjustments to it during the season, but I’ll spend the offseason taking what I’ve learned and trying to make it better. If you want to see all my bets, I post my picks on my X profile on Sunday mornings. Here’s my record through 12 weeks of the NFL season:
- Straight Up: 112-48, 70%
- Spread: 83-75-6, 52.5% ROI: .2%
- Over/Under: 85-77-4, 52.5% ROI: .2%
- Moneyline: 77-71, 52%, ROI: -.7%
Broncos +3.5 at Texans
Denver is the hottest team in the league, winning five straight games. These wins have come on the backs of their much-improved defense. Their pressure rate has gone from 29th in the league to 7th and they’re giving up just 16 points per game during their win streak. Russell Wilson has been fantastic, as well, and has not thrown an interception in the last five games. The Broncos also lead the NFL with a +13 turnover margin. I don’t want to take anything away from the remarkable job C.J. Stroud has done for Houston this season, but the Texans have benefited from a soft schedule. In their last seven games as a favorite, they have failed to cover the spread. I’d be much more inclined to take the Texans at -2.5, but anything more than that seems too high to me.
Panthers +5.5 at Buccaneers
The Panthers are a mess! For the second year in a row, their head coach has been fired in-season. They’re 1-10 and have no first-round picks next season. Things couldn’t look much dimmer for Carolina’s future. However, this week it’s entirely possible that the coaching change will motivate Panthers players. There are some bright spots for the Panthers. They’ve done relatively well in the red zone, scoring a touchdown in 52% of their trips as opposed to 45% for Tampa Bay. And their defense is first in yards allowed per play since Week 7.
The Buccaneers aren’t doing so well themselves. They’ve lost six of their last seven games. They’re struggling on both sides of the ball, but their defense has been especially bad. They’re allowing 5.7 yards per play and they’re 29th in opponent third down conversion percentage. (Carolina is fourth.) The Buccaneers have allowed good games to sub-par quarterbacks all season, so it would not be surprising to see Bryce Young have his best game of the year. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Panther won this game outright, so I’m comfortable taking them at +5.5.
49ers -2.5 at Eagles
Fresh off a grueling overtime battle, the Eagles might be dragging a bit, unlike the 49ers who’ve enjoyed a 10-day break. Adding fuel to the fire, the Eagles are nursing some nasty injuries on the defensive end. This game holds more than just the typical significance for the 49ers; it’s a prime opportunity for revenge following that bitter NFC title loss. Post-bye, the 49ers have been nothing short of spectacular, rolling in with a 3-0 record, smashing opponents by an average of 17 points. Defensively, the 49ers are stingy, giving up seven fewer points per game compared to the Eagles. Digging into the numbers, the 49ers outshine Philly in yards per play and points per play on both ends of the field. Team DVOA and EPA favor San Francisco, as well. I’ve got them atop my power rankings and considering the trend favoring away favorites this season, I think they’re a good bet as long as you can get them at -2.5.
Doug Burrell finished 2022 as Fantasy Nerd’s Most Accurate Expert in NFL Picks and Tallysight’s #1 ranked expert Against the Spread Expert out of 200+ experts. He is a veteran, a runner and an avid fantasy sports enthusiast since 1999. You can reach him on Twitter @dougwburrell.
Doug is a veteran, an avid runner, and works as a copywriter. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and three dogs. You can reach him on Twitter @dougwburrell.