How to Bet the NFL’s Christmas Doubleheader
You know what the only thing better than Christmas is?
And you know the only thing better than Christmas football?
Betting on Christmas football.
That’s where we come in. Our gaggle of experts has crunched the numbers on Steelers-Texans and Raiders-Eagles so you don’t have to.
All info below as of Monday morning.
STEELERS (-9) AT TEXANS | O/U: 45
Monday, 4:30 p.m. ET | NBC
Betting market: After this game opened Steelers -10, sharp bettors quickly grabbed the Texans as double-digit dogs, moving the line to -9. The public is still laying the points with Pittsburgh at a 71% clip, but not enough to push this number back out of the dead zone. — PJ Walsh
Trend to know: Houston lost 45-7 to Jacksonville last week, failing to cover by 27.5 points as 10.5-point underdogs. Teams that failed to cover their previous game by 24 or more points have gone 183-131-10 (58.3%) ATS since 2003. — John Ewing
DFS edge: Bell has been featured as a RB1/WR1 hybrid since the Steelers’ Week 9 bye, averaging 18.8 carries and 8.8 targets per game. Only Keenan Allen has more receptions among players during this span, and Bell has managed to find the end zone five times over the previous three weeks. Bell’s workload makes him matchup proof, although he’ll have his hands full with the Texans’ sixth-ranked rush defense in DVOA and eighth-ranked defense against pass-catching RBs. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Bell have an even larger workload than normal given his main competition for targets, Antonio Brown (calf, out), and rushes, James Conner (knee, IR), are both sidelined. — Ian Hartitz
Did you know? Ben Roethlisberger is 5-12 ATS as a road favorite of more than a TD in his career. — Evan Abrams
Pass or play? Play Texans. This is a prime letdown situation for the Steelers, coming off a heartbreaking loss against the Patriots. Mike Tomlin thrives at energizing his team for big games, but he typically struggles in this spot. The Steelers are 13-24 (30.3%) ATS as a road favorite of more than 3 points under Tomlin. —Stuckey
RAIDERS AT EAGLES (-10) | O/U: 46.5
Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET | ESPN
Betting market: The public is all over the Eagles, as you’d expect against a struggling Raiders team. And at the time of publication, the ticket count on the total was exactly even, but the majority of the money wagered was on the under. — Scott T. Miller
Weather report: Our weather data as of Monday morning indicates this will be one of the windiest games of Week 16, with gusts up to 15 mph expected. That helps explain the money flowing toward the under. —Scott T. Miller
Injury watch: Don’t sleep on the loss of Raiders LT Donald Penn (foot, IR), who will miss his first game since 2007, ending a streak of 170 consecutive starts. The O-line has been one of the Raiders’ biggest strengths this season, but without Penn, Oakland’s tackles will be Marshall Newhouse and Vadal Alexander neither of whom rank in the top 50 of the 85 tackles PFF has graded this year. Expect a big day out of Vinny Curry and Derek Barnett rushing the passer on Carr’s blind side when he drops back to pass. If the Raiders want to go run heavy as a result of Penn’s injury and/or the windy weather, they be doing so against a D-line that ranks No. 1 in the NFL in rush defense by a significant margin, as measured by adjusted line yards. — Stuckey
What the metrics say: One advantage for the Raiders: Their offense ranks second in red zone TD percentage (64.5%), compared to an Eagles defense that ranks 22nd in the same category (58.3%) and is trending down (81.8% over past three).
DFS edge: Last week’s big performance from Nick Foles came against the Giants, who entered the game allowing the league’s most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. While it’s fair to question the representativeness of that game, the fact is that Foles has had a good career to this point (especially if we ignore his one season under Jeff Fisher). Plus, he has another highly exploitable matchup this week against the Raiders, whose defense is dead last in pass DVOA. Foles should be able to do an adequate Carson Wentz impersonation — at least for one more week. — Matthew Freedman
Did you know? Home teams in primetime are 26-17-4 ATS (60.5%) this season. That is the second-best win percentage over the past 15 seasons. In 2011, home teams in primetime went 27-15 ATS (64.3%). — Evan Abrams
Pass or play? Pass. With a healthy offensive line and full stable of receivers in non-windy conditions, the Raiders would pose a significant problem for the Eagles. Philly’s pass defense has been absolutely horrendous the past three weeks, and it remains their biggest question mark against above average QBs heading into the postseason. But the Raiders will have none of the above factors working in their favor on Monday, and the Eagles can clinch home-field with win against an Oakland team traveling across the country. It’s hard to see the Raiders getting up for this one after such a disappointing season. This could get ugly. — Stuckey