Best Bets of the Weekend for All Sports |Dec. 23-24

darren cooper
By:
Darren Cooper
21/12/2023/
Sports
Best Bets 2023 / 2024

Merry Christmas NFL fans. It’s a huge weekend in the NFL as the playoff picture takes shape. There’s a three-way tie atop the AFC South between the Texans, Colts and Jaguars and something has to give. And, are the Cleveland Browns the Magic team in the NFL this season? They certainly have the defense. We’ve got your best picks for a jolly NFL weekend.

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Houston Texans Best Bet:  

Browns -2.5 at FanDuel

This is the time of year in the NFL where I start looking for teams with a hint of magic, like the ball just seems to be bouncing their way every week. That feeds on itself and gives the team a super confidence boost.

Is the magic team this year the Browns? Cleveland has won their last two games in dramatic fashion. They pulled quarterback Joe Flacco off of the scrap heap and he’s been…good? The Browns defense is No. 1 in the NFL.

The spread is this way because it looks like Houston will rely on Case Keenum as QB with C.J. Stroud out again with an injury. The Texans were lucky to beat the Titans with Keenum last week. The Browns defense will clamp down on the Texans and the magic Browns win convincingly.

fanduel sportsbook
NFL: Cleveland Browns -2.5 at Houston Texans

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Atlanta Falcons Best Bet:  

Colts +1 at BetMGM

There are best bets and then Best Bets (caps intended). The Falcons are reeling, going back to Taylor Heinicke as starting quarterback over Desmond Ridder. The Falcons tried this move before, starting Heinicke in Week 10 and Week 11. The Falcons lost both.

This week Falcons owner Arthur Blank gave head coach Arthur Smith the dreaded public vote of confidence, saying he’d let these next three games play out, which is code for Smith is in big trouble.

NFL locker rooms are fragile and the Falcons have lost belief in their coach. Meanwhile, the Colts are frisky. They’re 8-6 and tied for the lead in the AFC South. Linebacker Zaire Franklin leads the NFL in tackles. Gardner Minshew II is 6-4 as the starter since taking over for Anthony Richardson.

This is one team feeling good and another feeling lost, Colts all the way. 

betmgm sportsbook
NFL: Indianapolis Colts +1 at Atlanta Falcons

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Best Bet:  

Bucs -1 at DraftKings

I went back and forth on this one, which I have seen as a pick’em in other sportsbooks.
Jacksonville looked out of sync against Baltimore and QB Trevor Lawrence got hurt again, even though my instinct is he plays Sunday. But the Jags just don’t have a lot going for them on offense.

Tampa has won three in a row, but against the Panthers, Falcons and Packers. Not exactly three great teams. Bucs running back Rachaad White has quietly had a good year, and Mike Evans is over 1,000 yards receiving. Tampa leads the NFC South at 7-7. They aren’t good (there defense is 26th in the NFL), but right now, they are better than Jacksonville. I just like the Bucs to win at home. 

draftkings sportsbook
NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Tampa Bay Buccaneers -1

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.