Each week during the pro football season, Covers Expert Art Aronson looks at the NFL odds and tells you which spread to bet now, which one to bet later, and which total to watch as the week plays out.
Spread to bet now
New Orleans Saints (+2.5) at Philadelphia Eagles
What you see is what you get with the early number in this one. Philadelphia opened up as a 2.5-point favorite and, with pretty much even wagering, that’s likely to hold firm. So if you’re waiting for this one to tip a half point either way, you most likely are out of luck.
As to the game, the spread seems to be too thin by about a point - especially considering that the Saints have not played one game this season in cold weather, which is invading the Northeast this week.
Did you think on Halloween night that the Eagles had a ghost of a chance of going 7-1 on the back nine? Only a defensive letdown in Minnesota sits between Philly and an eight-game winning streak. Andy Reid might still be in town if he had had more confidence in Nick Foles and less in Michael Vick.
Spread to wait on
San Diego Chargers (+7) at Cincinnati Bengals
Say what you want about Andy Dalton, but the kid is seventh in the league in passing yards and the Bengals have put up nearly 27 points a game (more than Seattle, San Francisco and Indianapolis) this season.
Just about a month ago the Bengals headed west and picked up a nice 17-10 win over San Diego in a defensive battle that was primarily played out between the 40 yard lines.
There has been decent early money on Cincinnati, even with the substantial line, but if the money gets serious come close to game time, they might be forced to either throw another half point more on the number.
San Diego backers, who like the way the Chargers have played on the road this season (wins at Denver, Kansas City and Philadelphia give the Bolts some significant street cred), could then swarm.
Total to watch
Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts (46.5)
You can build a legitimate case for this one going Under based on the game that these teams played in Kansas City a little more than a week ago. The Colts’ defense put the hammer down on Kansas City’s offense, holding the Chiefs to just about 300 total yards.
But the Chiefs were crushed by turnovers in that game. Three fumbles were lost, and K.C. recovered three more of its own bobbles. Alex Smith also threw an interception.
All that won’t happen the second time around. The Chiefs should be fresh (most starters sat out the regular season finale) and figure to move the ball. Adjustments will be made and there should be some points scored in this one.