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Vegas wise guys have similar variations of an old saying: You might win for a month. You might be up after a season. But no one beats the NFL over the course of their betting lifetime.

That sentiment is based on traditional point spreads and totals, but thanks to the growing sports betting landscape with new operators and new offerings, bettors can try to beat the NFL market through some different avenues.

With the expansion of operators like DraftKings and FanDuel, prop betting has exploded. Offerings that were previously relegated to just the Super Bowl not that long ago are now available for every game on the board.

When played effectively, these prop bets can serve as a cherry-on-top compliment to your read on a game, or they can help offset a loss where you were on the “right side.”

Much like every other week of the NFL season, Week 12 was filled with its share of interesting beats.

Raiders at Falcons stayed under the total despite Atlanta scoring 43 points. The Chargers got stopped on the goal line on the last play of their game against the Bills. Monday night’s game between Philadelphia and Seattle was interesting for some.

So how can the prop market save you from a “bad beat?” If you bet on the Giants last week, you were probably banking on New York shutting down the Bengals’ offense without Joe Burrow and Joe Mixon. New York failed to cover the -6 spread, but virtually every anti-Cincinnati prop came through. The Bengals were held below their team total and generated 155 yards of offense.

If you had the over in Chiefs at Buccaneers, you fell short despite an overwhelming majority of player props hitting. Patrick Mahomes threw for 462 yards and three touchdowns. Tom Brady threw for 345 yards and three touchdowns. Rob Gronkowski, Chris Godwin, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill all had massive days.

Cleveland was a popular side last week because the Browns’ offense had a chance to break out in good weather against a bad Jacksonville defense. The Browns failed to cover the -7 spread, but Jarvis Landry and Nick Chubb had huge days.

If you are in a jurisdiction with widespread prop offerings, allocate a small bankroll for these complimentary opportunities. When a game unfolds the way that you envision, sometimes the prop market tells a more accurate story than the final score.


Saints -3.5 at Falcons: The 43 points that the Falcons put on the scoreboard masked the issues that they are having on offense. Atlanta only had 304 yards on 4.2 yards per play last week against the Raiders, and they failed to reach the end zone in their first meeting with New Orleans. SAINTS

Raiders -8 at Jets: Anybody that has watched as much Raiders football as I have could see last week’s performance coming from a mile away. Raiders fans have watched that movie way too many times and we knew exactly how it ends.

But I do think Jon Gruden and Derek Carr have said the right things following the Atlanta debacle. And there is no better team to face in a bounce-back spot than the Jets. RAIDERS

Patriots at Chargers, Total 47: These are not the Patriots of old, but it is still Bill Belichick against a rookie quarterback. He may not have championship pieces at the moment, but he still knows how to scheme a defense for a spot like this. UNDER

Giants at Seahawks, Total 48: Russell Wilson and DK Metcalf grab most of Seattle’s headlines, but the Seahawks’ defense has found something over the last month. Over the last three weeks, Seattle has held the Rams to 23 points, the Cardinals to 21 and the Eagles to 17.

Colt McCoy has only started two games since the 2014 season, and it is hard to see him having much success in this one. UNDER

Chiefs at Broncos, Total 51: How many points will we get from the Broncos? Vic Fangio was not shy about his disappointment in his quarterbacks last week. Denver went as far as signing a new quarterback on Monday: Kyle Shurmur, the offensive coordinator’s son. I can’t imagine that is sitting very well in the locker room of a 4-7 team. UNDER

Jaguars at Vikings -9.5: Jacksonville’s defense gave up 6.3 yards per rush to the Browns last week, and that is music to the ears of Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison. Minnesota is only one game out of a playoff spot. VIKINGS

Last week: 2-4

Season: 32-40

About the Author

James Bunting

James Bunting covers college basketball, baseball and the NFL for Gaming Today. He has worked as a freelance sports writer for several outlets over the last decade, focusing specifically on the sports betting industry in the last five years.

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