Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:52 AM
Saturday's Best Bets
A Saturday double header leads us into the holiday season this week, with a playoff team from each conference expected to take care of business against lesser foes. The Buffalo Bills are the ones who are going to have to accomplish that goal on the road in Denver, while Green Bay hosts a Carolina team continuing to build towards the future.
Both teams understand what kind of setup they'll have for the playoffs if they continue to win, and in the market, both teams will be priced like squads expected to keep on winning.
Both sides have point spreads this week that linger around a full touchdown, and it's not all that hard to make convincing arguments to lay the chalk on both instances.
But will both get there?
Buffalo at Denver - 4:30 PM ET
Best Bet #1: Broncos +6
Tough to open up the week with this piece and not follow through with the Broncos this week in a game where the hope is the Bills are a little flat. Last week's win over the highly seeded Steelers was impressive, and needed, and Buffalo's got the opportunity to put the nail in the coffin of the AFC East division this year by beating the old guard from New England on their own turf next week.
The excuse is already there for the Bills should they start out slow and have to try and scratch it out. Wouldn't blame them at all either for it.
Denver's also had some very rough luck with their home games this year, as even when you throw out the no-QB game vs New Orleans, the Broncos have faced Miami, the Chargers, Kansas City, Tampa Bay, and Tennessee in their home games this year, and their final home game is against the Raiders. All playoff or fringe playoff teams outside of the Chargers, an organization that could have been there too.
Not that Buffalo is any easier for this team, but they had won two in a row at home (vs Chargers, vs Miami) before the no-QB debacle, and have since played K.C. tough and ran away and held on vs Carolina. Not exactly the worst form to have when looking to end a tough year with a solid home win over a playoff team.
The Broncos are 6th in the league on defense in opponent yards per pass attempt (6.3), and if they can neutralize Allen in that regard, hanging around and making Buffalo really sweat for an outright win makes quite a bit of sense.
The Broncos will have to have at least some of the offensive production they got in Carolina a week ago, but only the Saints cracked 30 on them in their last four outings. With it having the potential to be a tough spot for the Bills, a good defensive showing should keep the Broncos within this number too.
Any Bills blowouts that happen aren't frequent enough in my view to really be comfortable laying somewhere near the peak of the number when it did see some resistance approaching -7. The idea that this is really the last spot Buffalo can “afford” a sub-par outing before hopefully going on a long playoff run is really what sways this to the home dog too.
Carolina at Green Bay - 8:15 PM ET
Best Bet #2: Panthers/Packers Under 51.5
No real interest in the side as the Packers just need to keep winning in any shape, fashion, or form. But a cold December night in Green Bay is generally not all that conducive to points being scored to begin with. Packers regular season home games in December since 2017 have gone 3-6 O/U overall, but more importantly have averaged just 38.33 points per game.
Only one of the nine had more than 46 points scored (GB 34-20 win over Atlanta in 2018), and I'm not entirely sure that the 55 points we saw in the Packers/Lions game in ideal indoor conditions isn't influencing this number more than it maybe should be.
Any scenarios where Carolina is out there and in real consideration for an outright win here, I'd side with their defense being the ones to step up in most of those cases, possibly forcing plenty of FG's and even a turnover or two.
The Panthers have no interest in letting Aaron Rodgers torch them all day, and after Denver's passing attack did what they did to the Panthers last week, hopefully chances are Carolina will gameplan it to give plenty of help in pass defense.
There is still obviously the concern that the fact that Denver's pass defense is capable of getting torched by Rodgers far worse than what Drew Lock did last week, but the Packers have to be content with letting the clock roll and get out of dodge at that point too.
The history is there suggesting we don't see much more than 46-47 points in this game, and it's an easy one to get behind as well.
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