It’s the home stretch in the NFL season with teams jockeying for playoff position and relying on back-up quarterbacks? It’s true. Two of our expert picks this week involve teams starting back-ups. Is it time to ride the Tommy Cutlets train with the Giants? Do the Ravens have what it takes to tame the Jaguars on the road Sunday night?
Best Bets of the Weekend for All Sports |Dec. 16-17
NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Cincinnati Bengals Best Bett:
When Joe Burrow went down everyone thought the Bengals were toast, but back-up quarterback Jake Browning is…good? Since taking over as the starter, Browning has thrown for 865 yards in three games and four touchdowns. The Bengals are 7-6 and fighting for a playoff spot in the crowded AFC.
The Vikings don’t have that problem. At 7-6, they are comfortably in a wild card chase and even still have a shot at the NFC North division, but now they have a major issue at QB.
The clock struck midnight on Josh Dobbs and the Vikings are turning to former Niners back-up Nick Mullens. He can take advantage of a Bengals defense that is second-to-last in the NFL in yards.
But I like the Bengals situation better now. They have more to play for and more momentum.
NFL: NY Giants at New Orleans Saints Best Bet:
Another game, another back-up quarterback. This time its former Illinois QB Tommy DeVito who has won his last three starts and become a sensation in New York, inspiring the nickname Tommy Cutlets.
The Giants are 5-8 and having fun, the Saints are 6-7 and in a death match for the NFC South division lead. No one with the Saints is having fun. New QB Derek Carr has been beaten up behind a bad offensive line, and has had words with teammates on and off the field. The Saints only had 207 yards of offense last week against the Panthers but still won.
New Orleans still might be the better team. DeVito is not a long-term NFL QB, but the Saints don’t ever blow anyone out. They are 3-9-1 against the spread this season, so taking the Giants and the points is a good thing. Some chicken cutlets never hurt anyone.
NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars:
Ravens -3.5 at DraftKings
The Ravens are tied for the best record in the AFC and coming off a dramatic OT win over the Rams on a punt return for a touchdown.
Lamar Jackson is in the MVP conversation, even though more people are talking about Dak Prescott, but Jackson has thrown for almost 3,000 yards and leads the Ravens in rushing. No other QB can do that.
Jacksonville has been inconsistent this season, looking like serious contenders one week, and ragged the next. Trevor Lawrence is banged up and the Jaguars have lost two in a row. Baltimore is the better team and will cover the spread.
Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.