With just a couple of weeks left in the NFL regular season, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to force action. The playoffs will offer some opportunities, while a new season of sport begins with the ATP and PGA. This late in the football season, with NFL and college football winding down, stick to high-conviction plays. As a rule of thumb for myself: Bet what you love, not what you like. Here are two wagers for Week 17 in the NFL.
Colts at Giants: Under 39
The Indianapolis Colts are tied for the lowest touchdown rate in the league with the Denver Broncos. Inside the red zone, the Colts are scoring a touchdown 44% of the time. However, that percentage drops to 33% when traveling — behind only the Rams. Whether it’s been Matt Ryan, Sam Ehlinger or now Nick Foles, the Colts offense is not doing its part to help game totals go over the number. Indy is 5-10 to the under this season.
What also contributes to the under as a play is the Colts are league worst in fourth-quarter scoring. In the last five games, the Colts offense in the fourth quarter has generated one field goal … in five games. Take the under.
49ers at Raiders: Over 43
When taking the over in a football game, especially in the NFL, I’m looking for explosiveness from the offenses — even with a good defense involved. The 49ers are tied with the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs in producing the most plays of 30 or more yards. In the 49ers' last road game at Seattle, RB Jordan Mason produced a 55-yard run. Getting downfield quickly leads to points being scored.
Combine that with San Francisco playing a Vegas defense that is 28th in the league in allowing drives to gain either a first down or a touchdown, and that’s part of the equation needed for a total to go over. In their last three home games against the Patriots, Chargers and Colts, the Raiders allowed 20 points or more, which is why the Raiders are 4-1-1 to the over when playing at home.
*Note: After publish, the news of Raiders benching Derek Carr in Week 17 was announced. The line is now 41.5 with Jarrett Stidham starting as quarterback. Consider the 49ers team total OVER or pass.