The schedule can make or break an NFL team at this point in the season. And it can do the same for your wagers. Situational handicapping should always be folded into – or at least considered when sizing up the NFL odds each week.
Senior industry analyst Jason Logan looks at the Week 12 slate and picks out his favorite “Letdown”, “Lookahead”, and “Schedule” spots and how those situations could shake down at the sportsbook.
LETDOWN SPOT: MIAMI DOLPHINS AT CLEVELAND BROWNS (-11, 44)
The Browns had one hell of a Week 10, knocking off rival Pittsburgh on Thursday Night Football and picking up their second straight win. In the midst of all that, standout DE Myles Garrett got into it with Steelers QB Mason Rudolph and tried knocking his head off with his own helmet.
It made for a very messy week in Ohio – a week in which Cleveland should have enjoyed a mini bye and some extra time to tinker before Week 12. However, the added stress and media attention marred what could have been a turning point for the Browns’ 2019 season.
The Week 12 opponent – Miami – is a tough team to get up for in the first place, and this letdown angle comes with a sprinkle of lookahead as well. Next up for the Browns: a trip to Heinz Field to play Pittsburgh in Week 13. Cleveland is currently laying 11 points versus the Dolphins at home this Sunday.
LOOKAHEAD SPOT: PITTSBURGH STEELERS AT CINCINNATI BENGALS (+6.5, 39)
Hey, what do you know? The other side of that Thursday’s night dramafest falls into one of our weekly spot bet slots. Pittsburgh can’t wait to get another crack at Cleveland after: 1. Losing to the Browns 21 -7 2. The Garrett incident which equalled a suspension for C Maurkice Pouncey and a fine for Rudolph.
But before the Steelers can exact revenge, they have another AFC North foe from Ohio standing in the way. The winless Bengals are a main ingredient for a lookahead spot, having cracked the 20-point plateau just twice all season. The last time Pittsburgh played Cincinnati, it rolled to a 27-3 victory on Monday Night Football in Week 4.
Oddsmakers are giving the host Bengals 6.5 points and that spread has already flirted with a touchdown at some markets, instantly taking money on Cincinnati and sliding the line back under the key number. According to our Covers Consensus, 70 percent of the early ticket count is on Pittsburgh so expect a move to Steelers -7 before kickoff.
SCHEDULE SPOT: OAKLAND RAIDERS AT NEW YORK JETS (+3, 45.5)
People love to play against West Coast teams coming east for an early 1 p.m. ET start, which is 10 a.m. PT back home. While blindly betting against those qualifying teams is a bad decision, the Raiders have played into this notion in recent years.
Heading into a 1 p.m. ET kickoff in East Rutherford, Oakland is 2-6 SU and ATS in its last eight 1 p.m. ET kickoffs. This season, the Silver and Black have done a few of these early wakeups, losing SU and ATS at Minnesota in Week 3, winning and covering in Indianapolis in Week 4, winning and covering versus Chicago in London in Week 5, and losing and coming up short ATS at Green Bay in Week 7.
The Raiders played a road-heavy stretch of schedule during that span but have enjoyed three straight home games before this matchup with the Jets. Oakland is 2-8 ATS in its last 10 away games overall – regardless of start time – and the home team has been the hot bet when these teams clash, with hosts going 8-2-1 ATS in the last 11 meetings.