Booking NFL games get even trickier once the calendar flips to December due to the weather component. This week, in particular, will be miserable across a huge chunk of the country, impacting a handful of NFL games.
Per FOX Sports Research, seven games currently stand out due to frigid cold temperatures.
- Bills at Bears: High of 11 degrees with a low of 5 degrees. With a feels-like temperature anywhere between -9 degrees to -20 degrees.
- Saints at Browns: High of 13 degrees with a low of 12 degrees. With a potential feels-like temperature of around -10 degrees. Also, a 50% chance of snow blowing and drifting with the wind and accumulating up to 1 inch during game time.
- Texans at Titans: High of 26 degrees with low of 11 degrees. Feels-like temperature could be between 15 degrees and -4 degrees.
- Seahawks at Chiefs: High of 19 degrees with a low of 3 degrees. Feels-like temperature between 6 degrees and -15 degrees.
- Bengals at Patriots: High of 22 degrees with a low of 12 degrees. Feels-like temperature between 9 degrees and -4 degrees.
- Falcons at Ravens: High of 22 degrees and low of 18 degrees. Feels-like temperature between 8 degrees and 3 degrees.
- Raiders at Steelers: High of 10 degrees and low of 8 degrees. Feels-like temperature between -9 degrees and -12 degrees.
As you can see, Week 16 is shaping up to be a brutal weather weekend. But, one game in particular that sticks out to me from a betting perspective is Saturday’s matchup between the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills at Soldier Field.
As the city of Chicago prepares for a treacherous winter storm, all eyes in the sports betting world are monitoring the point total for Saturday’s game between the Bills and Bears.
Most sportsbooks opened the total at 42, and we’re finally starting to see the market touch 40 with a likely move through 40 as we get closer to kickoff. Yours truly is back in Chicago for Christmas, and I’ve been monitoring the local FOX weather forecasts closely in preparation for an Under 40 bet at FOX Bet.
After Thursday’s heavy snow, a bone-chilling cold front will linger throughout the weekend, and meteorologists are forecasting 20 to 25-mile-per-hour winds for the game. Those conditions aren’t exactly ideal for offensive fireworks, no matter how strong of an arm Josh Allen has.
And Las Vegas bookmakers are already making adjustments.
“The first thing you do is lower the number because people are going to bet it,” Westgate SuperBook executive director John Murray told FOX Sports. “People are going to see the forecast or the snow on the pregame shows and money will come in on the Under. It’s inevitable.
“Even if you don’t necessarily agree with it, you know which way the money is going to come. So, you might as well lower it right away. You don’t want to go too far with it, but you definitely want to start that process.”
While casual bettors see snow and think Under, wind is much more important for the professionals. Wise guys tend to start betting Under several days out on any heavy-wind games, and they’ll plunk down more cash if the forecast keeps trending in the wrong direction.
“Wind is the absolute best thing for the Under,” Murray explained. “It’s difficult to throw the ball downfield and teams are running more, which keeps the clock moving. And big, homerun plays are a lot less likely. Wind is much more indicative of a low-scoring game.
“We move the line immediately for crazy winds.”
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It’s almost impossible to guess where Saturday’s total will close because weather forecasts tend to change every few hours, but Murray envisions a very realistic possibility where the line blows through 40.
“It could get down into the mid-30s, but it won’t go any lower than that,” Murray predicted. “You’ve still got an incredible player in Josh Allen on one side and [Justin] Fields has shown this ability to make these wild plays.
“With those two quarterbacks out there, I don’t think it’ll get much lower than 37.5 or 38 because these offenses can score in a hurry. But we’ll be prepared for the worst if need be.”
Ultimately, you should always aim to make the right bet at the right price. As I’m filing this story, the market is trending toward a full cross through 40 on the total. And given the frozen temperatures and unbearable winds, odds are good the number keeps dropping heading into Saturday.
So don’t wait much longer to fire that Under 40 at FOX Bet.
Sam Panayotovich is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and NESN. He previously worked for WGN Radio, NBC Sports and VSiN. He’ll probably pick against your favorite team. Follow him on Twitter @spshoot.
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