Each week, BetPrep NFL Sharp “Tommy The Hitman” discusses every game through the eyes of a professional sports bettor with host and 30-year sports talk radio vet Jody McDonald of CBS Sports Radio.
Here are some recent highlights from the latest episode of Hot Read Hits, the official NFL podcast of BetPrep:
Cardinals (minus-7.5) at Bears, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
My Power Rank favors the Cardinals by 9.5
Arizona is first in the NFL in yards per pass attempt over their opponent (1.99 yards). Teams that win the stat by any margin win 74% of their games since the merger. Arizona has 25 more plays of 20-plus yards over their opponents, the largest differential in the league.
The Bears’ defense is declining. They are 29th in the league in points allowed per attempt (0.49), 22nd in completion rate (66.9%), and 23rd in yards allowed per pass attempt (7.7 Y/A). Before shutting down the Lions’ run game, the Bears were no longer presenting an imposing run-defense matchup; Chicago has coughed up 4.65 yards per carry and nearly 140 total yards per game to enemy running backs before that Lions game.
Being a big favorite off of a bye typically favors the favorite because it is unlikely that they will have a lack of focus and motivation.
Matt Nagy reportedly is a lame-duck head coach. The Bears again are without DE Khalil Mack. They also could be without WR Allen Robinson, DT Akiem Hicks, and LB Roquan Smith.
The Cardinals have been a team accustomed to winning by margin. In fact, seven of their nine wins this season have been by double digits. Arizona’s offense is built to win by margin, as they are one of the league’s fastest-paced teams in addition to dominating in big plays. The fact that Arizona comes into the game extra rested and at little risk of a let-down effort is also important. The market hasn’t fully accounted for how bad this Bears team is, mostly because of the fact that their defense has regressed to a below-average unit. Back the Cardinals.
49ers at Seahawks (Under 46), Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET
A key factor in this game is how slow the 49ers are playing. During the past month, only Washington’s offense is operating at a slower pace, and San Francisco has a ridiculously low situation-neutral pass rate (44%). On the season, the 49ers throw at the third-lowest clip (50%), and their opponents pass against them at the fourth-lowest rate (53%). San Francisco’s games average the second-fewest combined snaps (121.5), and even fewer over the last four weeks (117.8).
But perhaps more important in taking the Under is the Seahawks sputtering offense: In their six post-Week-4 games not against the Jaguars — all losses — the Seahawks averaged 12.5 points. They produce a face-meltingly-low 53.3 plays per game. They are last in the NFL in time of possession at a whopping minus-11:57 minutes per game. Next worst is Jacksonville at minus-5:58.
Since returning to action, Wilson ranks 34th among 39 qualifying quarterbacks in success rate (39.0%), 37th in expected completion rate (62.4%), and 34th in EPA per play (minus-0.152). When these teams met in Week 4, Wilson was just 16-of-23 passing for 149 yards. He’s still not 100% off this throwing-hand finger surgery.
The Seahawks defense is a little undervalued: Seattle is allowing 7.2 yards per attempt (16th) and 3.9 yards per carry (seventh). There is also potentially bad weather in Seattle. And Seattle coach Pete Carroll is obsessed with running the ball more, having just signed ancient Adrian Peterson this week. Seattle games are a league-high 9-1-1 (90%) towards the Under this season.
Patriots at Bills (Under 43.5), Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET
Mac Jones hasn’t fared well against good pass rushes and the Bills are first in the league in pressure rate now (30.2%). So far, Jones has played just three other teams in the top-10 in pressure rate (Tampa Bay, Dallas, and Miami) and he was the QB23, QB22, and QB17 in fantasy those games, which obviously reflects a poor team total, too.
Josh Allen struggles against Bill Belichick. In his five games facing his Patriots, Allen is completing 55% of his passes for only 7.1 YPA and seven passing touchdowns compared with six interceptions and just 210 passing yards per game.
Furthermore, the forecast is for bad weather — snow and wind approaching 20 miles per hour. That will further hamper the respective passing games and likely suppress the total score.