Saturday NFL Betting Preview: Where Can You Find Value in These Two Games?
It's the end of the season, and you know what that means -- Saturday football! That's a holiday treat to look forward to.
According to our schedule-adjusted metrics, these look like mismatches on paper, but the two sub-.500 teams in the Denver Broncos (Game 1) and Carolina Panthers (Game 2) will look to play the role of spoiler versus the favored Buffalo Bills and Green Bay Packers, respectively.
Let's dive into what our model thinks could be some intriguing betting angles for this contest.
In our first game, the Drew Lock-led Broncos will host the Bills. With Denver a 5.5-point underdog, Lock will look to spring his second upset in as many games, a week after firing four touchdown passes for 280 passing yards in a win over Carolina. K.J. Hamler nabbed two long passes for scores in that one.
In terms of Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back, Lock has been less than stellar this season with a mark of -0.05 (league average is 0.14). He will need to be much better going up against Josh Allen, who is enjoying a breakout in 2020 with a Passing NEP per drop back of 0.29. And if banged-up running backs Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay can't play, more of the burden will fall onto Lock.
The Bills opened as 5.5-point favorites, and the line is now -5.0 for the Bills. Our algorithm gives Buffalo a decent chance to cover (52.8%). Per our oddsFire tool, the betting public is siding with Buffalo -- 86% of bets and 84% of cash have come in on the road squad. To keep pace and win the AFC East, Buffalo needs to get a win on the road.
Bets to Consider
While our model likes the favorites in both contests, it really loves the under in each game.
In the first contest, we expect the under (49.5 points) to hit 61.3% of the time, and in the nightcap, we have the under (52.0 points) hitting 54.66% of the time.
As far as props, let's focus on the quarterbacks -- but for very different reasons. Josh Allen is not only an excellent passer, he has great running ability. Allen ranks eighth in the NFL in rushing yards among quarterbacks this year, and his rushing yards prop at the FanDuel Sportsbook sits at a lowly 28.5 yards with even -110 odds on both sides. Our model has Allen rushing for nearly 32 yards.
In the second game, Aaron Rodgers' current passing yards prop sits at 289.5 yards, a mark he has topped in six of the last seven games. Bet on Rodgers to smash past that mark in this contest against the Panthers' lowly pass D.
Historical Betting Trends
-- All four teams playing on Saturday have been outstanding from an against-the-spread (ATS) perspective in 2020. Green Bay, Denver and Buffalo are all 8-5 ATS, and Carolina has been solid with a 7-6 ATS mark.
-- Mile High Stadium has been death to over bettors. The under has hit 15 of the last 21 times the Broncos have played at home.
-- If the moneyline is more your speed, Green Bay has been the pick to click. They are 11-1 straight-up in their last 12 home games.
-- Across the last eight times the Packers and Panthers have met, the over has hit seven times.
-- Carolina has been a solid road ATS bet, covering in each of the last five road games.