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!
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-5, 7-7 ATS) at Detroit Lions (5-9, 6-8), 1 p.m.
Implied Team Totals: Buccaneers 31.75, Lions 22.25
Spread/Total Movements: 7.5 to 9.5, 53.5 to 54
Buccaneers Injuries to Watch: RB Ronald Jones (finger/COVID-19, out), CB Carlton Davis (groin, doubtful), OLB Jason Pierre-Paul (knee),
Lions Injuries to Watch: QB Matthew Stafford (ribs), WR Kenny Golladay (hip), LB Jamie Collins (neck), LT Taylor Decker (groin), C Frank Ragnow (throat)
Tampa Bay has played over the total in four straight games as road favorites.
The Buccaneers got off to yet another sluggish start in Week 15 with no points and just 60 yards against the Falcons before their offense woke up and posted 31 points and 356 yards in their comeback victory.
The Buccaneers haven’t scored in the first quarter of four straight games.
Tom Brady has thrown for multiple TDs in five straight games, and he posted a season-high 390 yards last week despite their sluggish start. Aaron Rodgers and Ryan Tannehill have each thrown for 270+ yards and three TDs for 30+ FP in the last two weeks against the Lions.
Mike Evans has failed to score in consecutive games out of their Week 13 bye after scoring 11 times in his first 12 games. He still had his first 100-yard game last week since Week 4. The Lions have given up four TD passes to WRs in the last two weeks, including 5/44/1 receiving to A.J. Brown last week.
Chris Godwin has seen just eight targets since their Week 13 bye, which he’s turned into 6/61/1 receiving in two good matchups against the Vikings and the Falcons. The Lions have allowed at least two WRs to reach double-digit FP in six straight games.
Antonio Brown had his best game of the season with 5/93/1 receiving against the Falcons, which gives him 5+ catches in four of his last five games. Brown has run 23 fewer routes than Godwin in the last two weeks (64 to 41), but he has four more catches (10 to 6) and 81 more yards (142 to 61). He gets another good matchup with the Lions this week who are giving up 14.6 catches per game to WRs.
Rob Gronkowski has three or fewer catches in five of six games since AB joined the lineup with eight or fewer FP in four of those contests. The Lions have allowed five catches and 10+ FP to TEs in three straight games (Jonnu/Tonyan/Kmet)
Ronald Jones (finger/COVID-19) will sit out another week, which will leave Leonard Fournette to lead this backfield again. He turned just 17 touches into 65 yards but he scored on a pair of one-yard runs. Fournette will get the easiest matchup for RBs as the Lions have given up 25+ FP to Derrick Henry and David Montgomery in consecutive weeks.
HC Darrell Bevell won’t be available to coach in Week 16 as a high-risk close contact to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. WR coach Robert Prince and QB coach Sean Ryan will call play this week.
The Lions had their two-game cover streak under Bevell snapped last week with Detroit allowing 46 points to the Titans.
The Lions are 8-5-1 toward overs this season, including a 6-2 run
D’Andre Swift played on 64% of the snaps with 19/82/2 scrimmage last week, and he handled five carries inside the five-yard line despite a lost fumble at the goal line early in the game. The Buccaneers are giving up a league-low 56.0 rushing yards per game and measly 3.1 YPC, but they are giving up a league-high 6.4 catches per game.
Matthew Stafford played through his rib injury last week, and he posted 252/1 passing before leaving early with the game out of hand. A previously skidding Matt Ryan posted 356/3 passing against Tampa last week. The Buccaneers’ secondary defense has allowed 25+ FP to QBs in three of their last four games.
Marvin Jones has 8+ catches, 110+ yards, and a TD in two of his last three games, and he’s now seen double-digit targets in four of his last six games. Calvin Ridley posted 10/163/1 receiving in this matchup last week as the Buccaneers have allowed four different WRs to post 25+ FP in the last four games (Ridley/Tyreek/Woods/Kupp).
T.J. Hockenson flopped for just the second time last week with just 2/18 receiving on four targets. He’s still posted 50+ receiving and/or a TD in 12-of-14 contests this season. The Bucs have given up 12+ FP to TEs in three straight games (Hurst/Irv/Kelce).
Tampa Bay Buccaneers -9.5 (Staff Picks Lean)
Mike Evans (TB) over 56.5 receiving yards (Best Bet)
T.J. Hockenson (Det) over 44.5 receiving yards (Best Bet)
San Francisco 49ers (5-9, 5-9 ATS) at Arizona Cardinals (8-6, 7-7), 4:30 p.m.
- Implied Team Totals: 49ers 21.75, Cardinals 26.75
- Spread/Total Movements: 3.5 to 5, 49.5 to 48.5
- Weather: Dome
- 49ers Injuries to Watch: TE George Kittle (foot), RB Raheem Mostert (ankle, IR), WR Deebo Samuel (hamstring, out), QB Nick Mullens (elbow, IR), DL Dion Jordan (knee), DB Jimmie Ward (concussion), DT Javon Kinlaw (knee),
- Cardinals Injuries to Watch: RB Chase Edmonds (ankle/knee), TE Maxx Williams (ankle), TE Dan Arnold (back), OG Justin Pugh (calf), S Jalen Thompson (ankle), OLB Hassan Reddick (shoulder), CB Dre Kirkpatrick (hamstring/calf), WR Larry Fitzgerald (groin)
- The 49ers threw everyone off their scent when they knocked off the Rams in Week 12 as they’ve now lost three consecutive games outright.
- San Francisco is now 1-6 ATS in its last seven games after giving up 41 points and 458 yards to the Cowboys.
- Raheem Mostert has been effective over the last three weeks with 37/175 rushing (4.7 YPC), but he has just 3/6 receiving without a touchdown in that span. Jeff Wilson has scored two TDs in that span and he’ll be the main back this week with the 49ers shutting Mostert down for the season with his ankle injury. Wilson is averaging 3.9 YPC since he came back from his injury four weeks ago, and Jerick McKinnon could factor in behind him as a change-of-pace option. The Cards have limited Miles Sanders (17/64 rushing) and Wayne Gallman (12/57) each to 10 FP in their last two games.
- C.J. Beathard will start this week with Nick Mullens needing elbow surgery. Beathard has started 10 career games in 2017-18, averaging 243.7 passing yards per game with 11 TDs and 12 INTs. The Cardinals have given up 20+ FP to six of the last eight QBs they’ve faced — a limited Daniel Jones and Cam Newton are the only QBs to disappoint. The Cardinals have allowed 335+ passing yards in two of their last three games.
- Brandon Aiyuk has posted 5+ catches, 73+ yards, and 17+ FP in each of his last six games, which includes a three-game streak with 20+ FP in Weeks 13-15. The last time the Cardinals were pressed by a lead receiver, Robert Woods posted 10/85 receiving back in Week 13.
- The 49ers started ramping up George Kittle’s work in practice last week after they designated him to return from the injured reserve on Dec. 16. San Francisco has nothing to play for in the final two weeks, which is working against his potential return to the lineup. However, Kittle is uber-competitive and it’s tough to see the organization denying him a chance to play if his foot is completely healthy. His old Iowa roommate Beathard is back at QB, which should help his transition after a two-month layoff. HC Kyle Shanahan revealed Kittle will play Saturday but he won’t have his typical workload, which was to be expected. The Cardinals have given up just three TDs to TEs this season.
- Kendrick Bourne bailed out anyone who played him with his 49-yard Hail Mary touchdown reception against the Cowboys in Week 15 as he caught all four of his targets for 86/1. He’s averaging 3.5 catches per game and slot WR Greg Ward did catch two TDs last week.
- The Cardinals have covered back-to-back games after a five-game ATS losing streak in Weeks 9-13.
- Arizona stunned San Francisco 24-20 as seven-point road underdogs in the season opener in a game totaled at 48.5 points.
- The Cardinals are 5-0-1 ATS in the last six meetings in this series.
- The Cardinals are 9-5 toward unders but they’ve played over the total in five straight home games.
- Kyler Murray is back to his old ways in the last two weeks after a three-week rut because of an AC joint injury in his throwing shoulder. Murray has 21/76/1 rushing and 650/4 passing with a 9.2 YPA average in his last two games. He ripped the 49ers for 230/1 passing and 91/1 rushing in the season opener.
- DeAndre Hopkins is also rolling again with Murray feeling better as he’s posted 18/305/1 receiving on 22 targets in the last two games. Nuk scored a season-best 31.0 FP last week, topping his previous best of 29.1 that came against the 49ers in the season opener.
- Christian Kirk hasn’t reached double-digit FP in six straight games, and he’s failed to top 35+ receiving yards in four straight contests. He had just 1/0 receiving on five targets in this matchup in the season opener.
- Dan Arnold has scored four touchdowns in his last five games, and he’s coming off a season-high five targets (13.9% share) in Week 15, which he turned into 3/54 receiving. Maxx Williams also left Week 15 early with an ankle injury, which means Arnold snaps could see an uptick this week after he barely led the Cardinals TEs with a 38% snap share. Arnold has turned in 7+ FP in five of his last six games while the 49ers have allowed 9+ FP to TEs in three straight games after doing it just once through their first 11 games this season.
- Kenyan Drake posted 12/40 scrimmage on a 50% snap share last week despite Chase Edmonds coming into the game with an ankle injury. Edmonds saw a 53% share and he turned 14 touches into 66 yards and a touchdown. Pollard just lit the 49ers up for 12/69/2 rushing and 6/63 receiving on nine targets last week. Drake posted 18/62/1 scrimmage and Edmonds had 9/45/1 against San Francisco in the season opener.
Arizona Cardinals -4.5 (Staff Picks Lean)
C.J. Beathard (SF) over 223.5 passing yards (Best Bet)
Miami Dolphins (9-5, 11-3 ATS) at Las Vegas Raiders (7-7, 7-7), 8:15 p.m.
- Implied Team Totals: Dolphins 25.5, Raiders 22.5
- Spread/Total Movements: 2.5 to 3, 47.5 to 48
- Weather: Dome
- Dolphins Injuries to Watch: WR DeVante Parker (hamstring), TE Mike Gesicki (shoulder), WR Jakeem Grant (hamstring), OG Solomon Kindley (knee/foot, out), DE Shaq Lawson (shoulder), LB Kyle Van Noy (hip)
- Raiders Injuries to Watch: QB Derek Carr (groin), S Erik Harris (COVID-19), DE Clelin Ferrell (shoulder, out), CB Damon Arnette (concussion/neck), C Rodney Hudson (knee/back), OG Gabe Jackson (knee), LB Nicholas Morrow (COVID-19, out)
- The Dolphins have covered in four straight games and in nine of their last 10 games with their only blemish coming in their 20-13 loss to the Broncos in Week 11.
- The Dolphins have an NFL-best 11-3 ATS record and they’re now 17-6 ATS in their last 23 games.
- Miami is 9-5 toward unders this season while the Raiders are 11-3 toward overs.
- Tua Tagovailoa has posted 16+ FP in three straight games, which includes 19+ FP in his last two games. He mustered just 145 passing yards on 26 attempts (5.8 YPA) while playing with a skeleton crew against the Patriots in Week 15, but he added a pair of short rushing TDs to boost his fantasy production. The Raiders have given up two TD passes in five straight games, which includes a season-best performance (23.0) from Sam Darnold in Week 13.
- DeVante Parker (hamstring), Mike Gesicki (shoulder), and Jakeem Grant (hamstring) will each be in a race to return this week, and Tua could certainly use the receiving help. Lynn Bowden would be the top option if those three can’t play, and he has 17/158 receiving on 20 targets since becoming the team’s slot WR.
- Parker had 4+ catches and 8+ targets in his last three games before his injury in Week 14, but he had just 4/35 receiving in his last full game against the Bengals. The Raiders are giving up a generous 13.5 YPR to WRs.
- Gesicki had 40+ receiving yards and/or a TD in six straight games before his injury, including a three-game streak with four TDs in Weeks 12-14. Hunter Henry posted 5/65/1 receiving on seven targets in this matchup last week with an undermanned receiving corps.
- OC Chan Gailey has preferred rolling with a primary back this season, but they’ll have their two top backs on the field at the same time this season with Myles Gaskin returning from the COVID-19 list next to Salvon Ahmed. Gaskin has seen 21+ touches in four straight games when he’s been on the field. Ahmed has reached 21+ carries in two of his last three games as the main back with 17 touches sandwiched in between. Ahmed has been the better runner (4.6 YPC) and Gaskin is the better receiver (4.0 catches per game) so we could see them in those roles this week. The Raiders are giving up 107.1/1.2 rushing and 5.5/41.1/.1 receiving per game to RBs.
- The Raiders failed to cover for the fourth straight week after a four-game ATS winning streak in Weeks 8-11.
- Las Vegas dropped their fourth game in their last five contests with their overtime loss to the Chargers.
- The Raiders have scored 27+ points in six of their last seven games, and they’ve given up 30+ points in five straight games. They’re 4-1 toward overs in that span.
- Derek Carr is angling to return this week just nine days after it looked like a sniper shot him in the groin on the first drive of Week 15. Marcus Mariota stepped into the lineup and he gave the Raiders a chance to beat the Chargers, completing 17/28 passes for 226 yards (8.1 YPA), one TD, and one INT. He also added 9/88/1 rushing for 26.8 FP with HC Jon Gruden calling plays to take advantage of Mariota’s dual-threat ability. Carr had turned in 22+ FP in three of his last four games entering Week 15. He’ll get a matchup with a Dolphins defense that’s allowed just three TD passes in the last five weeks.
- Travis Kelce has firmly established himself as the class of fantasy tight ends this season, but Darren Waller is making it a little more interesting with his performances over the last month. Waller erupted 9/150/1 receiving on 12 targets against the Chargers even with Mariota taking over as the team’s quarterback. Waller now has 117.6 FP in his last five games (23.5 FPG), which includes 89.5 FP in his last three games (29.8). He gets a tougher matchup with the Dolphins in the fantasy finals, but Kelce did get them for 8/136/1 receiving in Week 14.
- Nelson Agholor has 4+ catches in five straight games with 8+ targets in four of those contests as he’s clearly been the top WR option, especially with Henry Ruggs uncertain to play this week. The Dolphins are giving up a generous 14.4 YPR to WRs this season.
- Josh Jacobs hasn’t averaged 4.0 YPC or better in four straight games, but he did turn 29 touches into 114/1 scrimmage last week against the Chargers. He has been dealing with ankle and knee issues in recent weeks, but he continues to gut through them. He’s also caught 3+ passes in four of his last five games to boost his production. The Dolphins are giving up 130.8 scrimmage yards and .7 TDs per game to RBs.
Miami Dolphins -2.5 (Best Bet)
Darren Waller (LV) over 55.5 receiving yards (Best Bet)