Being a successful sports bettor is not about betting on the best team, but betting the best number. Scoring the optimal odds for your wager can sometimes be a race to the window – or your mobile – to get the spread or total you want before it changes. Or, sometimes it’s a waiting game until just before kickoff, projecting how the public players will manipulate the numbers.
Covers’ Senior Industry Analyst Jason Logan gives you a heads-up on the best “Bet Now/Bet Later” games on the NFL board each week, so download the new Covers Live App and punch these odds into your line alerts.
SPREAD TO BET NOW: NEW YORK JETS AT JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (-6)
Sportsbooks originally opened the Jaguars as 4.5-point home favorites hosting the Jets in Week 8... before New York was dismantled in front of the Gang Green faithful in a 33-0 loss to New England Monday night.
Books reposted this line as low as Jacksonville -5.5 and with money fading the J-E-T-S on the short week, this spread has moved to Jags -6 and may not stop there. Plenty of sportsbooks are raising the vig on the home side, trying to stop the flow of money on the Jaguars.
According to our Covers Consensus, 59 percent of the early bet count is on Jacksonville, which is coming off a road win in Cincinnati last Sunday. If you do like Gardner Minshew (and who doesn't?) and the Jaguars, you’re best to get down now and avoid the hook on the key number before this line moves to -6.5.
SPREAD TO BET LATER: NEW YORK GIANTS AT DETROIT LIONS (-7)
The Lions opened as touchdown favorites at home to the Giants in Week 8 but injuries on both sides of the ball for Detroit are taking this spread through a touchdown. Some markets have already made the move to -6.5 while others have discounted the juice on Detroit -7, trying to hold on tight to the key number.
The Lions will be without RB Kerryon Johnson for the next few weeks and may also be missing DT Snacks Harrison – a big part of a banged-up defensive line - and CB Darius Slay, who was knocked out of Week 7’s loss to Minnesota with hamstring injury. Bettors will want to keep a close eye on Detroit’s practice participants and injury reports heading into Sunday.
New York is coming off a home loss to Arizona – its third straight defeat - but did return some injured skill players last Sunday, including RB Saquon Barkley. If you like the Lions this week, hold out and see if this spread goes to -6.5 or maybe even -6 – depending on injury updates.
TOTAL TO BET NOW: DENVER BRONCOS AT INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (UNDER 44)
The Broncos get a mini bye after an embarrassing loss last Thursday. Denver fell 30-6 at home to Kansas City, which lost MVP QB Patrick Mahomes to a knee injury in the first half. Broncos veteran QB Joe Flacco was constantly hounded, finishing with just 213 yards passing and finding his way to the turf by way of sack nine times.
Denver hits the road to face a Colts team riding high off a huge divisional win over Houston in Week 7. Indianapolis put up a season-high 30 points in that victory, getting a massive day from QB Jacoby Brissett. He passed the ball 39 times for 326 yards and four touchdowns – a drastic change in gear from his usual “game manager” role in the first five outings of the season.
Those results have the total for Sunday’s game ticking upwards, moving from 43.5 to 44, but I don’t see it going much higher – not with the way these teams are structured. The Broncos have gone run heavy in the past three games, with a steady dose of Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman, and only four teams hand off more than the Colts. If you like the Under, buy it now.
TOTAL TO BET LATER: LOS ANGELES CHARGERS AT CHICAGO BEARS (OVER 40)
The Chargers and Bears had bad, bad Sundays in Week 7. Los Angeles couldn’t punch in a last-minute goal line stand in the loss at Tennessee, and Chicago stumbled against the Saints, with all the fingers pointing at QB Mitch Trubisky.
The Bolts have failed to crack the 20-point plateau in five of their seven games while the Bears have averaged just 252.3 yards per game over their last three outings. With two struggling scoring attacks, books posted the total for Sunday’s showdown at 40.5 points, and it didn’t take long for that half-point hook to disappear.
Chicago’s defense has looked a little shaky in the past two games, giving up 24 points to Oakland in London three weeks ago and watching the Saints stack up the points last Sunday. Los Angeles' stop unit got picked apart by Ryan Tannehill and the Titans in Week 7 and can’t get opponents off the field on third downs (50 percent third-down conversions – second worst in NFL). If you think there are points hiding in this matchup, play it cool and see if this Over/Under goes sub-40 before getting down.