FOX Sports Betting Analyst
Booking NFL games gets even trickier once the schedule switches to December due to the weather component. This week, in particular, will be miserable across much of the country, impacting a handful of NFL games.
According to FOX Sports Research, seven games currently stand out due to freezing temperatures.
- Bills at Bears: High of 11 degrees with low of 5 degrees. With a pleasant temperature between -9 degrees and -20 degrees.
- Saints at Browns: High of 13 degrees with low of 12 degrees. With a potential felt temperature of around -10 degrees. Also, 50% chance of snow blowing and drifting with the wind and accumulating up to 1 inch during play time.
- Texans to Titans: High of 26 degrees with low of 11 degrees. The temperature felt can be between 15 degrees and -4 degrees.
- Seahawks to Chiefs: High of 19 degrees with a low of 3 degrees. Temperature felt between 6 degrees and -15 degrees.
- Bengals at Patriots: High of 22 degrees with a low of 12 degrees. Temperature felt between 9 degrees and -4 degrees.
- Falcons at Ravens: High of 22 degrees and low of 18 degrees. Temperature felt between 8 degrees and 3 degrees.
- Raiders at Steelers: Maximum of 10 degrees and minimum of 8 degrees. Temperature felt between -9 degrees and -12 degrees.
As you can see, week 16 is shaping up to be a brutal weather weekend. But, one game in particular that is close to my heart from a betting perspective is Saturday’s game between the Chicago Bears and the Buffalo Bills at Soldier Field.
As the city of Chicago prepares for a treacherous winter storm, all eyes in the sports betting world are watching the point totals for Saturday’s game between the Bills and the Bears.
Most sportsbooks have opened the total at 42, and we are finally starting to see the market touch 40 with a likely move to 40 as we get closer to kickoff. Yours truly is back in Chicago for Christmas, and I’ve been watching the local FOX weather forecast closely in preparation for an Under 40 bet at FOX Bet.
After Thursday’s heavy snowfall, a freezing cold front will persist through the weekend, and weather forecasters are predicting winds of 20 to 25 miles per hour for the game. These conditions aren’t exactly ideal for offensive fireworks, no matter how strong Josh Allen’s arm is.
And the Las Vegas bookmakers are already making adjustments.
“The first thing you do is reduce the number because people are going to bet,” Westgate SuperBook executive director John Murray told FOX Sports. “People are going to see the forecast or the snow on the pre-game shows and the money will come to the Under. It’s inevitable.
“Even if you don’t necessarily agree with that, you know where the money is going to come from. So, might as well lower it right away. You don’t want to go overboard with this, but you really want to start this process.”
While casual bettors see snow and think Under, the wind is much more important for professionals. Wise men tend to start betting within days on any strong wind game, and they will shell out more money if the forecast continues to move in the wrong direction.
“Wind is the absolute best thing for minus,” Murray explained. “It’s hard to get the ball down the pitch and the teams are running more which makes the clock go forward. And big home runs are much less likely. The wind is much more indicative of a low scoring game.
“We are moving the line immediately for crazy winds.”
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It’s almost impossible to guess where Saturday’s total will end as the weather forecast tends to change every few hours, but Murray is considering a very realistic possibility where the line crosses to 40.
“It could go down to the mid-30s, but it won’t go any lower than that,” Murray predicted. “You always have an incredible player in Josh Allen on one side and [Justin] Fields showed that ability to make those wild plays.
“With those two quarterbacks there, I don’t think it’s going to go much lower than 37.5 or 38 because those offenses can score quickly. But we will be prepared for the worst if need be.”
Ultimately, you should always aim to make the right bet at the right price. As I file this story, the market is trending toward a full 40 crossover on the total. And given the freezing temperatures and unbearable winds, the chances are good that the number will continue to drop before Saturday.
So don’t wait any longer to shoot this Under 40 on FOX Bet.
Sam Panayotovich is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and NESN. He previously worked for WGN Radio, NBC Sports and VSiN. He will probably choose against your favorite team. Follow him on Twitter @spshoot.
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