Koerner: Potential NFL Bets to Make Sunday Morning
Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett (7).
- Sean Koerner identifies potential NFL bets to make in the final hours before kickoff.
I release my projected spreads and over/unders for each week’s games on Wednesdays, comparing them to posted odds to identify the best bets. But sometimes the market is a little too close to my projections, and better value can be found once lines reach certain thresholds later in the week.
So which games could be worth a bet in the final hours leading up to kickoff?
Let’s take a look at the numbers we should look to grab on Sunday morning, involving these five games:
- Raiders at Colts: 1 p.m. ET
- Chiefs at Lions: 1 p.m. ET
- Patriots at Bills: 1 p.m. ET
- Seahawks at Cardinals: 4:05 p.m. ET
- Cowboys at Saints: 8:20 p.m. ET
Odds as of Sunday morning and via PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
Raiders at Colts
Odds: Colts -6.5; 45.5
My Projections: Colts -8; 44.5
Last week I laid out the case that the Colts, despite being without Andrew Luck, are still built to win easy matchups at home. This is one of those cases.
Public pressure could force this line to lower by kickoff. It appears that T.Y. Hilton (quad, doubtful) could end up missing this week. I would wait for him to be ruled out — between that stud linebacker Darius Leonard being ruled out, it’s possible we could get the Colts -5.5 before kickoff, which is where the value will be.
Chiefs at Lions
Odds: Chiefs -7; 55
My Projections: Chiefs -5.5; 54
I’m not going to sugar coat it: The Chiefs are a much better football team than the Lions. Kansas City should absolutely be the favorite here, but this is a textbook case of the market simply setting an imaginary number too high.
Patrick Mahomes is unstoppable, but the Lions defense is solid enough to slow him down, and their offense is more than capable of keeping up with the Chiefs at home.
The line has already moved back to -7 after hitting -6.5 earlier in the week, and with the market still heavily backing the Chiefs with more than 80% of the tickets as of Sunday morning (see our live public betting data), the line could end up going up to 7.5 by kickoff. If that happens, and cornerback Darius Slay and defensive tackle Mike Daniels are able to suit up, the Lions will be one of my favorite bets of the week.
Patriots at Bills
Odds: Patriots -7, 41.5
My Projections: Patriots -6; 44.5
The Bills probably should not be getting a full touchdown at home.
The Patriots have an insane +89 point differential, which ties for third-best since 1940 over the first three games. But the Bills will be the Patriots’ first real test as the winner of this game will take over the top of the AFC East.
Bookmakers floated Patriots -7.5 to open — a strategic opening number that paves the way for instant feedback on where sharps stand with a key number like 7 fully exposed on the underdog. Despite 82% of tickets and 75% of money pouring in on the Pats, the line has moved to -7 at some books while others have opted to leave it at -7.5, requiring a bit more juice to back the Bills.
It’s pretty clear the sharp money has been hitting Bills +7.5 here.
This total also has some value. It opened at 44, which was right in line with my number. However, heavy action on the under has forced books to lower it to 41.5, which opens up some value on the over — especially considering the most valuable key number (43) is now exposed.
While the public perception of this matchup being a defensive struggle makes sense on paper, the expected game flow would lean toward the over here.
Josh Allen has improved as a passer, and part of that is simply the Bills giving him more weapons to use in the passing game. The Bills will be required to come out firing here in order to hang with Tom Brady and the Patriots.
On the flip side, the Patriots haven’t been pushed at all this season — they’ve blown out all three of their opponents so far. If the Bills keep this close, it’ll only force the Patriots to keep their foot on the gas the entire game.
I love the idea of parlaying Bills +7.5, if we can get it, and the over 41.5 here. There’s a stronger correlation between those two bets than people realize.
Seahawks at Cardinals
Odds: Seahawks -5.5; 48
My Projections: Seahawks -3.5; 48.5
The Cardinals are one of the most exciting teams in the league with their Air Raid and No. 1 overall dual threat QB in Kyler Murray, but they’re still a very bad team.
I warned about overrating the 2-0 Seahawks last week as they won both games by a combined three points, and they’re still going to be overrated by the market. The opening number of 3.5 has jumped to 5.5. And while this does not include very valuable numbers in 4 and 5, it might end up getting up to -6, in which case we absolutely need to consider taking the Cardinals if they get to +6.
Cowboys at Saints
Odds: Cowboys -2.5; 47.5
My Projections: Cowboys -1; 47
I made the case in Week 3 that the Saints might be able to game plan in a way that minimizes the loss of Drew Brees. They should be able to rely on their defense and Alvin Kamara’s playmaking ability to keep them in this game, making Teddy Bridgewater nothing more than a highly-competent game manager who will focus on getting the ball to Kamara and Michael Thomas.
If they’re able to operate a game plan similar to what we saw against the Seahawks, the Saints are a great play if the market pushes this back to +3 before kickoff.