In the NFL world, all eyes will be on the Big Easy this weekend. The most-bet game of the week at sportsbooks is between the Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans. Not only is it a potential Super Bowl preview but it’s the only game this weekend between teams with winning records.
“Out of all the slates in the NFL this year, this week is probably the worst. The games may turn out to be entertaining but, when you look at the matchups, there’s only a couple games where the matchups are intriguing,” Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations, said to Casino.org.
Drew Brees Returns
Saints quarterback Drew Brees will be in the lineup after missing four games with 11 broken ribs and a punctured lung. Coach Sean Payton made the announcement on Friday, but it was news sportsbooks expected all along.
It was baked into the line already,” Avello said. “We knew he could have played last week but they held him out to play in this game so he was healthy for the big game. They’re fighting for the No. 1 seed in the NFC so this is a big game for them.”
The Chiefs, who won the Super Bowl last year, are 12-1 and in charge of the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs. The Saints, who haven’t won the Super Bowl since 2009 despite Brees’ excellence, are 10-3 and tied with the Green Bay Packers for the No. 1 spot in the NFC. The top seed gets a first-round bye and homefield advantage throughout the conference playoffs.
Two interesting notes on the line. First, while Kansas City has gone from 4-point favorites to 3-point favorites, it has nothing to do with betting trends. In fact, the Chiefs are getting 92 percent of the money at FanDuel and it’s the most-lopsided game at BetMGM.
Second, this game gives a hint to a potential Super Bowl line. If there’s a Saints-Chiefs rematch for the championship, the Chiefs would be 5- to 6-point favorites, Avello said.
There are two games on Saturday. In the first, it’s the Buffalo Bills (10-3) at Denver Broncos (5-8). Denver is looking for a four-game sweep of the AFC East and is 8-5 against the spread.
“The public doesn’t care. Buffalo is getting all the money,” Avello said. “They just think the Bills at 10-3 are on their way to winning the AFC East and going onto better things.”
In the big mismatch, it’s the New York Jets (0-13) at the Los Angeles Rams (9-4). The Rams, who are in the mix for the No. 1 seed in the NFC, are 17.5-point favorites over the Jets, who are trying to avoid the infamy of being only the fourth team in the Super Bowl era to lose every game.
Week 15 Schedule
Here is this weekend’s slate of games, with the lines from DraftKings. All times are Eastern.
- Buffalo at Denver (+5), 4:30 p.m.
- Carolina at Green Bay (-8), 8:15 p.m.
- Tampa Bay at Atlanta (+6), 1 p.m.
- Jacksonville at Baltimore (-12), 1 p.m.
- San Francisco at Dallas (+3), 1 p.m.
- Houston at Indianapolis (-7.5), 1 p.m.
- New England at Miami (-1), 1 p.m.
- Chicago at Minnesota (-2.5), 1 p.m.
- Detroit at Tennessee (-11.5), 1 p.m.
- Seattle at Washington (+6.5), 1 p.m.
- Philadelphia at Arizona, 4:05 (-6.5) p.m.
- New York Jets at Los Angeles Rams (-17.5), 4:05 p.m.
- Kansas City at New Orleans (+3), 4:25 p.m.
- Cleveland at New York Giants (+6), 8:20 p.m.
- Pittsburgh at Cincinnati (+13), 8:15 p.m.
Of note, of the 15 games to be played on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, one team is getting at least 70 percent of the money in 11 of them at FanDuel and 10 at William Hill.
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