Weekend Football Betting Preview: From The Red River Showdown To The Steel City Shootout


Question: How is Le’Veon Bell different from the football bettors in New Jersey?

Answer: No self-respecting football bettor will be sitting this weekend out.

There’s a lot to love on the gridiron betting slate, with 14 NFL games on Sunday/Monday and enough NCAA games to break a parlay calculator. And in New Jersey, where there are currently eight mobile sports betting sites, it’s all just a tap (and then a confirmation tap) away. Here’s a rundown of some big spreads, numerical outliers, fun props, and more to consider this weekend:

The Old College Try

The unofficial main event of the college football slate is 19th-ranked Texas visiting No. 7 Oklahoma for the “Red River Showdown,” with the Sooners favored by 7.

But on account of that full-touchdown spread, Oklahoma-Texas might not be the best game of the weekend. There are two other matchups of top-25 teams, both with closer spreads:

  • No. 6 Notre Dame (-6.5) at No. 24 Virginia Tech
  • No. 5 LSU (-1.5) at No. 22 Florida
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A few other notable numbers from around the NCAAs (using FanDuel Sportsbook’s lines):

  • Biggest spread: 35, Alabama over Arkansas and Memphis over Connecticut
  • Lowest total: 42, Auburn vs. Mississippi St.
  • Highest total: 78, Connecticut vs. Memphis

With Memphis favored by 35 and the total set at 78, that means the Tigers have an implied total of 56.5 points. There are no moneyline bets available on this game at FanDuel Sportsbook, Play Sugarhouse, 888sport, or BetStars, thus depriving the bridge jumpers of their opportunity to bet their next mortgage payment in order to win a cup of coffee.

In terms of futures bets, the Heisman is always a popular option, and you’re not going to find a lot of variation in the numbers right now. ’Bama QB Tua Tagovailoa is -115 to win at both FanDuel and BetStars, and -110 at both 888 and PlaySugarhouse.

Heinz 58

All eyes in the NFL — whether you’re stacking for daily fantasy lineup purposes or just love watching a pair of theoretical contenders fighting for their seasons in Week 5 — will be on the 1-3 Atlanta Falcons and the 1-2-1 Pittsburgh Steelers meeting at Heinz Field. This game has the highest total of the week: 58 points.

On the flipside, Tennessee travels to Buffalo for what sure looks like an unwatchable slog, with the total set at 39.5, the lowest on the slate.

For any game this weekend, the props available online are plentiful, to the point of being overwhelming. Here’s a sampling of what you can bet on a typical NFL game at FanDuel Sportsbook:

  • Standard spread
  • Moneyline
  • Total points
  • Individual team points
  • Winning margin
  • Moneyline/total points parlay
  • Alternate spreads (from 0.5 to 29.5 in either direction, you pick it)
  • Spreads and money lines for every half and every quarter
  • First touchdown scorer
  • Yes/no touchdown for individual players
  • Two-plus touchdowns for individual players
  • What the first turnover will be
  • Which team will kick the first field goal

You can also make over/under bets on FanDuel fantasy points for players. The quarterbacks listed are amusing; everyone on the board has a line between 21-24 FD points, except Eli Manning, whose line is 15.

(Bear in mind when betting on runners and receivers that FanDuel uses half-point PPR scoring.)

Other odds-related odds and ends

  • Here’s a fun futures bet offered on FanDuel: Will any team go 16-0? Only the Rams and Chiefs remain in that hunt, and the “yes” is +2400, the “no” a prohibitive -20000.
  • Surprisingly, with only one team still winless (Arizona), the “yes” payout on “Will any team go 0-16?” is only +1700; the “no” is -20000.
  • Play Sugarhouse has a fun prop for those who really know their kickers and field conditions … and also like flipping coins: over/under yards of the longest and shortest successful field goals in each game.
  • Let’s finish with a little fun with parlays! A $100 parlay of all 12 Sunday day-game favorites on Play Sugarhouse would yield $17,466.65. A $100 parlay of all 12 underdogs would yield $9,650,819.39.

Photo by Shutterstock.com

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Eric Raskin

Eric is a veteran writer, editor, and podcaster in the sports and gaming industries. He was the editor-in-chief of the poker magazine All In for nearly a decade, is the author of the book The Moneymaker Effect, and has contributed to such outlets as ESPN.com, Grantland.com, and Playboy.

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