NFL Week 12 Sharp Money Report: UNDERs cashing at 60 percent clip in 2023 season

LAS VEGAS — Jake Browning will be No. 49 come Sunday, when he starts for Cincinnati at home against Pittsburgh. If and when Bailey Zappe takes the starting reins from Mac Jones, he’ll be No. 50.

The drama of NFL Starting Quarterback Roulette 2023 might threaten last season’s non-strike record of 69 different QBs to have started a regular-season game, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com.

Las Vegas bookmaking veteran Johnny Avello, the director of DraftKings’ race and sports, had pegged the Cincinnati line at Bengals -5 with the services of quarterback Joe Burrow.

Now he’s out for the season, though, and the 27-year-old rookie Browning, who has thrown 15 NFL passes, gets the start. DK had it Steelers -1 on Wednesday.

“Browning has limited experience, so there aren’t a lot of believers in the Bengals right now,” Avello says. “It’s challenging [making lines] all the time, but we’ll get through it. Sometimes it’s a little harder to gauge some of the new guys, but we’ve got a pretty fair handle on it.”

Avello agreed that such turnover at the game’s key position has contributed to UNDERs coming in at an astounding 60-percent clip (98-65-1), including 12-1 on Monday nights.

Sharp bettors have consistently been on those UNDERs.

 

“That’s not necessarily the way the casual bettor will play, but it certainly has gotten a lot of noise this year,” he says. “The UNDERs people say it’s just trendy, that it’ll swing back the other way.

“I don’t see that happening, and mostly because of the quarterbacks. At least, that’s what I believe. That limits the scoring in games.”

The average NFL combined score is 43.4 points, which would be the lowest for a season since 2009’s 43. Four of this week’s DK totals are in the 30s.

“Look at this past week’s games going way under, like 13-10 in Pittsburgh-Cleveland, Houston 21-16 over the Cards, Rams over Seahawks 17-16. These are really low-scoring games.

“The Dolphins are a team that was a powerhouse. You’d think they’d put 34, 35 points on the board. And they only scored 20 against the Raiders! The trend will continue through the rest of the year.”

NFL Week 12 game-by-game Sharp Money Report

Here are more of Avello’s thoughts on Week 12 of the NFL season, as well as the latest odds from top-rated sportsbooks.

New Orleans Saints (5-5, 2-7-1 ATS) at Atlanta Falcons (4-6, 2-8 ATS)

  • Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
  • Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA

 

This opened in DK’s look-ahead line, last week, at Pick’em, and has flipped back and forth with each team being a 1-point favorite at times early in the week.

Saints QB Derek Carr (right shoulder, concussion protocol) is questionable.

New Orleans occupies first place in the NFC South, with the Falcons breathing on their necks.

“The Falcons are struggling a bit more,” Avello says. “I think they’re going back to their original quarterback this week. I don’t know if it’ll be a big betting game, but it’s important to both teams.”

Taylor Heinicke started Atlanta’s past two games, losses in Arizona (25-23) and at home to the Vikings (31-28). The Falcons were slight favorites in both, and they’ve failed to cover eight of nine.

The Falcons announced Tuesday that Desmond Ridder, the 6-foot-3 sophomore out of Cincinnati, will return and start the rest of the season. He is 4-4, with an NFL-best four game-winning drives, tying him with Denver’s Russell Wilson.

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Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4, 6-4) at Cincinnati Bengals (5-5, 4-5-1 ATS)

  • Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
  • Paycor Stadium, Cincinnati, OH

 

This total had dropped six points by dawn Wednesday.

Pittsburgh owns a winning record despite being outgained, in total yards, in every game, so coach Mike Tomlin sacked offensive coordinator Matt Canada on Tuesday.

The Steelers do own a league-leading +1.1 turnover margin. 

Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3, 7-3 ATS) at Houston Texans (6-4, 5-5 ATS)

  • Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
  • NRG Stadium, Houston, TX

 

This is the rare DK opening total that has increased, from 47.

On Jan. 1, the Jags ended a four-game skid at Houston, winning 31-3. They tallied rushing TDs by three different runners, and cornerback Tyson Campbell returned a fumble 12 yards for a score. QB Trevor Lawrence went 17-for-21, for 152 yards.

Lawrence produced his best game of this season last week, in a 34-14 home victory over Tennessee. He was 24-for-32, for 262 yards, two TDs, no interceptions and one sack, a week after the Niners dumped him five times. 

Cleveland Browns (7-3, 6-3-1 ATS) at Denver Broncos (5-5, 3-6-1 ATS)

  • Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET
  • Empower Field at Mile High, Denver, CO

 

This one caught Avello’s attention by moving 4.5 points, from Browns -2 to flipping in Denver’s decided advantage.

“The Broncos are playing much better, but they’re going up against one of the league’s better defenses here. Russell Wilson is not a down-the-field passer any longer. He’s a short-passer guy. When in trouble, he kind of dumps the ball off.”

A 42 look-ahead opener last week reflected QB Deshaun Watson being in the fold, before it was revealed he’d undergo season-ending shoulder surgery.

That dropped the total, “and money has certainly come in on the UNDER,” Avello says. It dipped to 36.5 by this past Wednesday, hitting 35 on Thursday. 

DK offers a turnover proposition of 2.5, -140 on Over, +105 on Under. In Cleveland’s past five games, there were an average of 3.8 turnovers; in Denver’s past four, 3.5. Over could be the prop play of the day.

Read and learn: How to bet on the NFL

Kansas City Chiefs (7-2, 6-3 ATS) at Las Vegas Raiders (5-6, 6-5 ATS)

  • Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET
  • Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, NV

 

The Chiefs lost their Super Bowl rematch Monday to Philly, unsurprisingly scored no second-half points and travel to Vegas on a short preparation week.

“They’re getting them at a good spot,” Avello says of the Raiders. “Yeah, I think the Chiefs are vulnerable. A tough spot. I believe we’ll see Raiders money as the game gets closer, a lot of casual bettors betting the Raiders on the moneyline, straight up.”

Avello expected this to be whittled to 8.5, which happened Tuesday.

KC has actually tallied a league-low 53 second-half points. A second-half wager, on UNDER, might be a wise tack, since Las Vegas is 30th in the league with 6.8 average points in the final two quarters.

Plus, the Chiefs have not scored a second-half point in their past three games. For what it’s worth, KC is 3-0 at Allegiant Stadium, with 31-13, 41-14 and 35-31 victories.

Buffalo Bills (6-5, 4-7) at Philadelphia Eagles (8-1, 5-2-2 ATS)

  • Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET
  • Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA

 

The Bills have lost four of their past seven, a stretch in which they’ve committed 14 turnovers. Their opponents turned it over eight times in that stretch, and half of those were by the Jets last week in Orchard Park.

QB Josh Allen has league highs in both TD passes, with 22, and picks, tied with Washington’s Sam Howell with 12.

This total has been bet up 1.5 points to 48.5. The Bills have dropped four of their past five against the Eagles, two of those (23-20, 17-9) in Philly. Temperature in the low 40s and a 33% chance of rain throughout are forecast.

“If this is going to be a higher-scoring game,” Avello says, “I don’t like the Bills’ chances too much.”

Read more: Bills vs. Eagles odds, props, predictions

Baltimore Ravens (8-3, 7-4 ATS) at Los Angeles Chargers (4-6, 4-6 ATS)

  • Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET
  • So-Fi Stadium, Inglewood, CA

 

Sharp money boosted this from 3.5 to 4.5 by Monday, but it returned to 3.5 by Tuesday.

“I don’t think anyone trusts the Chargers,” Avello says. “They’re a tough team to bet. They’re in it, a lot of times, to the end, but they have a mystique about them; they seem to throw up a lot of bettors’ money.

“In this case, the Ravens are a better team. Even though the Chargers are at home, the Ravens might be the best team in the AFC. We’ll see.”

Chicago Bears (3-8, 4-5-2) at Minnesota Vikings (6-5, 7-3-1)

  • Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET
  • U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN

 

From Monday into Tuesday, this total got bet from 45 down to 43, not surprising Avello. He doesn’t know quite what to make of the Bears and QB Justin Fields, who is 6-26 as an NFL starter.

“They’re coming off a game [at Detroit] they should have won. Fields … it isn’t, basically, his fault. It just isn’t a good football team, and it hasn’t been since he’s been there.

“I thought the team had a chance for an eight-win season, but they’re certainly not going to get there.”

Over the previous 11 seasons, the Bears are 3-8 in Minnesota.

Source : ESPN.com

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