With the college action wrapping up and the NFL down to its final four, it’s clear that the football season is winding down, so get your NJ sports bets in soon. We’ve got a big Sunday ahead of us with a pair of Championship Games for the NFL best bets of the week.
NFL Best Bets
It’s a pair of regular-season rematches that offer plenty of intrigues as the Kansas City Chiefs, who are 7-0 since losing to the Tennessee Titans, will look for some revenge. Meanwhile, the Green Bay Packers, who are 6-0 since losing to the San Francisco 49ers, will look to avenge their loss too.
Here’s a closer look at the games among our picks of the week:
Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers
Date: Sunday, January 19th
The Packers lost to the 49ers in Week 12 in what was arguably their worst performance of the season. It was definitely the worst outing by quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who had just 104 passing yards.
We’re probably not going to see another blowout but I do expect the 49ers to win and cover at the end of the day.
The big concern here is the Packers passing game, which is virtually non-existent outside of the Rodgers-to-Davante Adams connection. Rodgers passed for just 243 yards last week in the win over the Seattle Seahawks but he’s now passed for 243 or less in eight of his last nine starts.
That’s not very good. The 49ers will have All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman to lock down Adams, so if that connection gets slowed, who will Rodgers throw to?
On defense, the Packers run defense is fairly weak and the 49ers rarely lose when they can run the ball a little bit and keep opposing defenses off-balance. The Packers allowed 4.7 yards-per-carry this season, which was 24th in the NFL, and they aren’t likely to win unless they cut down on that number this week.
Pick: 49ers -6.5
Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs
Date: Sunday, January 19th
The Titans stunned the Baltimore Ravens last week while the Chiefs dug themselves out of a 24-0 hole to win 51-31 over the Houston Texans. What’s next for the NFL best bets?
While most people remember the Chiefs offense catching fire, almost forgot just how poorly the team played early on to dig themselves such a big deficit. If they play that way again, the Titans are not going to be as forgiving.
Tennessee boasts an excellent rushing attack and the Chiefs have struggled to stop the run all season long. The Chiefs gave up 4.9 yards-per-carry this season, which is the fourth-worst mark in the NFL. If they can’t do better on Sunday, they’re going to lose.
They gave up 4.5 yards-per-carry to the Texans last week but Houston eventually abandoned the run. These teams met back in Week 11 and the Titans ran for 225 yards and a pair of touchdowns while averaging a healthy 8.7 yards-per-carry. Patrick Mahomes had 446 passing yards and it still wasn’t enough to get the win.
I’m looking for a similar type of game as the Titans will control the clock, keep the Chiefs potent offense on the sidelines and just keep running the ball to pick up first downs.
Derrick Henry has set an NFL record for the most rushing yards in an eight-game stretch over his last eight games, compiling 1,273 rushing yards, 11 touchdowns and a 6.27 yards-per-carry average. I’m not sure if the Titans will win again but they should be able to keep this close. Take the points.
Pick: Titans +7
Brooklyn Nets at Philadelphia 76ers
Date: Wednesday, January 15th
We don’t have a line set up on this Wednesday matchup as both teams will play a game before then. However, the 76ers look like a good bet against the spread in this spot.
The 76ers have had some really odd home-away splits as they were excellent at home last year but played about .500 basketball (20-21) on the road. This year, the splits have become even more drastic as the 76ers are 18-2 at home compared to 7-13 on the road.
It starts with guys like Ben Simmons, who is averaging 15.8 points per game at home compared to 14.1 on the road. The same goes for Josh Richardson, who scores 1.3 more points per game on the road. But the bigger difference can be seen on the defensive end.
The 76ers allow just 101.9 points per game at home – the second-best mark in the NBA – compared to 109.8 on the road, which ranks 11th.
The 76ers lost at Brooklyn earlier in the year, so they’ll be looking for revenge. With the 76ers at home this time, look for them to get it.
Other Things To Watch This Week
UFC 246: McGregor vs Cowboy – The long wait for the return of Conor McGregor is over. One of the UFC’s top draws will be back in action on Saturday when he takes on Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. This should be a soft re-entry into the UFC for McGregor and he’s a sizable -350 to win.
Philadelphia Flyers at St. Louis Blues – The Flyers appear to have snapped out of their recent funk as they’ve won two of three following a four-game losing streak. On Wednesday, they’ll visit the Stanley Cup champs in a game that can be seen on NBC Sports Network. The Blues are red-hot as they’ve won four straight and 12 of their last 15.
Australian Open – The 2020 Australian Open is right around the corner as the best men and women on the tennis tour will get in gear. Keep an eye on the Australia fires and how they’ll impact the players. We already saw a qualifier being forced to pull out due to a coughing fit courtesy of the poor air quality. That could prove to be a sizable factor in the first grand slam of the year.
See you same time next week when we start off the week with our Best Bets Of The Week!