Examining trends for each team can help you make better-informed gambling and fantasy decisions. It’s never wise to bet a game based on a single trend and it’s also never wise to back off a wager based on a single trend, either. With that said, trends can point you in the right direction by corroborating stats and information you’ve gathered or they can make you reconsider making a bad wager based on flimsy data. I’ve gone game-by-game and compiled the most relevant trends for each team heading into this week’s contests. I’ve included any bets or leans I have for each game at the end of each writeup. Good luck with your wagers!
Monday Night Football
Washington Football Team (4-7, 6-5 ATS) at Pittsburgh Steelers (11-0, 8-3), 5 p.m.
Implied Team Totals: Football Team 18.75, Steelers 25.25
Spread/Total Movements: 10.5 to 6.5, 42 to 44
Weather: 32 degrees, 20% chance of rain, 5-10 mph
Washington Injuries to Watch: None of note.
Steelers Injuries to Watch: QB Ben Roethlisberger (knee), RB James Conner (COVID-19, doubtful), OLB Bud Dupree (ACL, IR), K Chris Boswell (hip, doubtful), CB Steven Nelson (knee, doubtful)
The Football Team is 5-2 toward unders in their last seven games.
Antonio Gibson posted 20/115/3 rushing and 5/21 receiving on seven targets against Dallas last week, which gives him rushing touchdowns in five straight games and eight overall in that span. His recent streak of hot play has snuck him into the top-12 at the position with 16.7 FPG. He’ll run into one of the toughest run defenses this week against a Steelers defense that’s allowing the second-fewest FPG to RBs (17.0).
J.D. McKissic has just 5/47 receiving in his last two games with the Football Team beating the Bengals and the Cowboys. He posted 16/108 receiving in his previous two games in losses. Washington could have a negative game script this week as touchdown road underdogs.
Terry McLaurin has 13+ FP in six straight games with 5+ catches and 74+ receiving yards in each of those contests. He’s now reached 11+ FP in 10-of-11 games. Marquise Brown posted 4/85/1 receiving against the Steelers last week but his big day came on a blown 70-yard touchdown.
Alex Smith had thrown for 325+ yards in consecutive losses in Weeks 9-10, but he’s come up small the last two weeks with fewer than 10 FP in each game with just 315/2 passing on 51 attempts in two victories. Washington could have a negative game script this week as touchdown road underdogs.
Logan Thomas has seen 4+ targets in every game but his aDOT sits at 8.3 yards for the season. He caught all four of his targets for 20/1 receiving last week and he completed a 28-yard pass to McLaurin. He also had a carry for the second straight game so they’re at least trying to get the ball in his hands every week.
The Steelers and the Dolphins share the best ATS record at 8-3.
Pittsburgh is 3-0-1 toward unders in their last four games after a 4-1-1 stretch toward overs in Weeks 2-8.
Ben Roethlisberger has averaged 5.8 YPA in his last two games but he’s at least thrown it 92 times for 533 yards, three TDs, and three INTs. Big Ben has now attempted 42+ passes in four straight games with this offense running through the short passing game. Just one QB has reached 15+ FP against the Football Team in their last six games but they haven’t exactly faced a gauntlet of QBs.
Diontae Johnson posted 8/46 receiving on 13 targets last week, but he left several big plays on the field, including a TD. He’s now averaging 12.5 targets and 87.5 receiving yards per game in his last four contests. Amari Cooper had 6/112/1 receiving in this matchup last week
Chase Claypool has 52+ receiving yards and 4+ catches in four straight games, but he failed to haul in his 11th touchdown of the season on an end-zone target against the Ravens last week. Michael Gallup posted 6/41 receiving in this matchup last week.
JuJu Smith-Schuster has 6+ catches in five of his last six games, and he scored his third touchdown in four games last week. He’s averaging 9.3 targets per game in his last six contests. CeeDee Lamb posted 5/21 receiving in this matchup last week
Eric Ebron has posted double-digit FP in five of his last six games after posting 7/54 receiving on 11 targets against the Ravens last week. His day would’ve been much better if not for two drops, including one near the goal line. The Football Team hasn’t been tested against an athletic TE since Evan Engram posted 5/48/1 receiving against them in Week 9.
James Conner will be eligible to return from the COVID-19 list with this game getting moved back a day but it looks like the Steelers are going to give him an extra week to get ready given his past health issues. He posted 99 scrimmage yards in his last games after a cold spell in Weeks 8-10. Benny Snell posted 16/60 rushing and 3/33 receiving as his fill-in last week against the Ravens. The Football Team is allowing 87.8 rushing yards and 25.5 receiving yards per game to RBs.
**Washington Football Team +10.5 (Best Bet)
J.D. McKissic (Was) over 3.5 receptions (Best Bet)
**I bet this line at +10.5 last Monday morning before the Steelers played in Week 12. I liked the Football Team when they were getting 7.5 points or more, but I think this line has moved too far in Washington’s favor. I think the value is now on the Steelers’ side with them laying anything less than a touchdown.
Buffalo Bills (8-3, 6-5 ATS) vs. San Francisco 49ers (5-6, 5-6), Glendale, Ariz., 8:15 p.m.
Implied Team Totals: Bills 24, 49ers 23
Spread/Total Movements: Bills -3 to Rams -1 to Bills -1, 48 to 47
Bills Injuries to Watch: QB Josh Allen (knee/ankle)
49ers Injuries to Watch: CB K’Waun William (ankle, out), CB Emmanuel Moseley (hamstring)
The Bills have covered three straight games after a four-game ATS losing streak in Weeks 5-8.
Buffalo is 7-3-1 toward overs, including a 3-1-1 stretch in their last five road games.
Josh Allen has averaged just 6.0 YPA in his last two games. His aDOT sits at just 6.8 yards without John Brown on the field compared to 8.6 yards in games with Brown in the lineup. He has run for three TDs in his last four games and the 49ers are giving up a league-high 30.5 rushing yards per game to QBs.
Stefon Diggs managed to keep his double-digit FP streak alive despite having only 39 receiving yards — he had seven catches. He’s now posted 6+ catches in 10-of-11 games. Robert Woods posted 7/80 receiving on 12 targets in this matchup last week.
Gabriel Davis has played 95% of the snaps or better in each of the three games that Brown has missed this season with a 15% target share. He posted 3/79/1 passing on four targets against the Chargers last week. Josh Reynolds posted 5/40 receiving in this matchup last week.
Cole Beasley managed just 2/25 receiving on four targets last week, but he threw a 20-yard TD pass to Davis last week to salvage his fantasy day. He has fewer than 40 yards in three of his last four games with 11/109/1 receiver in the outlier game. Cooper Kupp had just 2/41 receiving on five targets in this matchup last week.
Devin Singletary out-touched (14 to 11), out-gained (102 to 68), and out-snapped (60% to 40%) Zack Moss last week. The 49ers are facing just 19.5 carries per game and 6.1 targets per game from RBs.
This game will be played at the home of the Arizona Cardinals after Santa Clara officials shut down all practices and games in the area.
Nick Mullens has fallen below 14 FP in three straight games with two TDs, four INTs, and a lost fumble. The Bills limited Justin Herbert to 6.1 YPA last week with 316/1 passing on 52 attempts.
Deebo Samuel posted season-bests in targets (13), catches (11), receiving yards (133), and FP (24.3) in San Francisco’s upset victory over the Rams. Samuel has had a frustrating season because of his Jones fracture this summer and his hamstring injury at the end of October, but he’s clearly a difference-making player in real life and in fantasy when he’s on the field. San Francisco’s Deadpool package has Deebo’s aDOT sitting at just 1.6 yards, which gives him some protection from a player like Tre’Davious White.
Brandon Aiyuk would see more of White this week as his aDOT sits at 10.2 yards. He has a combined 7/74/1 receiving in his three games with Samuel on the field as he’s been used more like a traditional receiver with Samuel getting the catches that are close to the LOS. The Bills are allowing 34.4 FPG to WRs (10th-fewest).
Jordan Reed managed just 2/18 receiving on six targets (17.1%) last week. He could’ve had a much better day with Mullens missing a wide-open Reed on a couple of occasions. Reed played on just 43% of the snaps last week but he ran a route on 67.8% of Mullens’ dropbacks compared to 27.0% for Ross Dwelley. The Bills are giving up the most receiving yards per game to TEs (64.2), which include Hunter Henry’s 7/67 receiving line on 10 targets from last week.
Raheem Mostert returned to the lineup in Week 12 after a six-week layoff for his high-ankle injury, and he stepped right back into his lead runner role. He finished with 16/43/1 rushing and 2/0 receiving against a stout Rams defense while playing on 40% of the snaps. Jeff Wilson worked as the #2 RB with 12/43 rushing on a 35% snap share while Jerick McKinnon operated as the passing-back with 5/32 scrimmage on a 25% share. The Bills are allowing 4.6 YPC and .9 rushing TDs per game to RBs.
Buffalo Bills +1 (Best Bet)
Deebo Samuel (SF) over 5.5 receptions (Best Bet)