Point Spread for NFL Games This Week
We have our two favorite NFL picks against the spread for Championship Sunday.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Philadelphia Eagles (-2.5)
Turnovers have not been as center stage in this year’s postseason as we usually see. The Jaguars won a game against the Chargers despite losing the turnover battle 5-0, and only two game winners out of 10 were plus-2 in the turnover margin. The Bills were down 27-10 to the Bengals before turning it over for the first time in the final minute. The biggest turnover this postseason was Cincinnati forcing the Ravens to fumble a quarterback sneak, which was returned for a 98-yard touchdown.
But if there is a matchup where turnovers should be huge, it should be this one. Both teams are great, but they have their problems when you force them into errors:
- The 49ers are 15-0 when they do not have multiple turnovers and 0-4 when they turn it over multiple times.
- The Eagles have turned the ball over four times in each of their first two losses and threw a pick-six (with backup Gardner Minshew) in the third loss.
- The 49ers are tied for No. 2 in the NFL with 30 takeaways and 20 interceptions.
- The Eagles are one of seven defenses with at least 27 takeaways this season.
These teams are elite and evenly matched, but the presence of rookie quarterback Brock Purdy does stand out as no rookie has ever reached the Super Bowl as a starter. Rookies are 0-4 in the title game, and they all had costly mistakes in those games.
Purdy against a defense with 70 sacks sounds more daunting than MVP finalist Jalen Hurts against Nick Bosa and the No. 1 defense. However, the 49ers do shut down the run as well as anyone, so they could make the Eagles one-dimensional.
But Purdy’s risky throws have not been intercepted against the Seahawks and Cowboys in the first two rounds of the playoffs. This will be his first road playoff game, and his backfield is banged up right now with Christian McCaffrey (calf) and Elijah Mitchell (groin) missing practices during this crucial week.
The 49ers still have Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk to rely on, but the Eagles have a great pass defense in the secondary too. The Eagles have lost one game with Hurts all season, and that was by coughing the ball up four times on some fluky turnovers and allowing so many third-down conversions on defense. This team is hard to beat with Hurts as there really is no major flaw like all other three teams playing this weekend have.
For that reason, let’s just go with the Eagles to close out this spectacular season by winning the NFC and advancing to Super Bowl 57. The rookie quarterback is denied again, but Purdy has been an incredible story and he is going to make the quarterback decision really difficult in San Francisco.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs (-1.5)
This feels like a legacy-shaping game in the AFC for years to come. Either the Bengals can reach back-to-back Super Bowls with the hope to win one, or the Chiefs can go to a third in four years and hope to win a second.
There is also the fact that the Bengals are 3-0 against these Chiefs with each win by 3 points. The spread has moved like crazy on this one all thanks to the high-ankle sprain for Patrick Mahomes, who played the second half with it and still led two scoring drives, including a nice touchdown pass.
But the Bengals have done a great job of making Mahomes hold the ball against them, which culminated in a disastrous second half in the 2021 AFC Championship Game when the Bengals dialed up a three-man rush on 45% of their second-half plays to complete a 21-3 comeback win in overtime. Mahomes took four sacks in the fourth quarter alone and was intercepted in overtime.
The Bengals shredded Kansas City’s defense in Week 13 through the air and ground in another 27-24 win that should have had more points than that. Joe Burrow barely missed a throw that day as Ja’Marr Chase came back to haunt the Chiefs’ secondary again.
The Chiefs have the best quarterback, but the Bengals have the better team in this matchup, and a healthy Burrow is possibly much better than a compromised Mahomes with the injury.
The Bengals may have the better coaching staff too if they keep pulling off these upsets and great performances on both sides of the ball. In the last two postseasons, the Chiefs have been befuddled by two-high safeties coverage and three-man rushes on offense. We’ll see what the Bengals draw up this time.
The game should be a fascinating watch as they all have been between these teams, but the Bengals have had the Chiefs’ number, and with Mahomes not 100%, we’ll take the Bengals to get the job done again in Arrowhead.
What Is NFL Spread Betting?
The NFL point spread is arguably the most popular bet in all of sports betting. Each game has a number of points that one team must win by to cover the spread, making them the favorite and the other team the underdog.
The point spread is not the same as how many points a sportsbook thinks Team A is going to beat Team B by. The point spread is designed to drive up betting action on both sides of the game in what are often mismatches where one team has far higher odds of winning the game. The point spread tries to find that middle ground where nearly an even split of the action is going towards both sides of the spread.
The formulas used by these sportsbooks to create these lines are more top secret than the recipe for Coca-Cola. You will be amazed at how close the outcomes often are to the final line. If you are new to betting, chances are you will want to try your hand at NFL picks against the spread. We have prepared a guide to help you understand how it all works and get you ready to bet NFL spreads this week.
How Does the NFL Point Spread Work?
We will use an example from NFL spreads this week with the Bills vs. Rams game to explain how the point spread works.
- The Bills are a 2.5-point favorite, making the Rams the underdog.
- If you bet on the Bills to cover the spread, they must win the game by at least 3 points for you to win your bet. If the Bills win the game but by 1-2 points, your bet still loses.
- If you bet on the Rams to cover the spread, they cannot lose the game by more than 2 points, or you lose your bet. If the Rams win the game outright, you win your bet too.
Here is what would happen if the Bills were a 3-point favorite:
- If you bet on the Bills -3 to cover the spread, they would have to win the game by at least 4 points to cover the spread and win your bet.
- If you bet on the Bills -3 and they won by 3 points, that would be a push, which means you get your wager back at most sportsbooks. Some will consider it a loss.
Can I Bet on Different Point Spreads?
Yes, most sportsbooks such as FanDuel, BetMGM, and Caesars offer many alternate lines that each come with their own odds. Instead of betting on Buffalo -2.5 with standard odds of -110, you could bet on Buffalo -9.5 with odds of +270 if you think the Bills will win by at least 10 points.
You can also swap the underdog and favorite by betting on an alternate line such as Rams -6.5 with odds of +230 if you think the Rams will win by at least 7 points.
Most sportsbooks also offer Teaser bets for NFL picks against the spread, which can tease each line by 6 or 7 points. A parlay with Bills -2.5 and Colts -8.5 could be teased at 6 points to Bills +3.5 and Colts -2.5. Now the Bills just can’t lose by more than a field goal and the Colts only have to win by at least a field goal. This will dramatically lower the odds and payout on your bet, but it does make it easier to win the bet.
Do Point Spreads Change During the Week?
Yes, the NFL spread can move dramatically throughout the week as more information becomes available about injuries or weather. A quarterback injury will always produce the biggest movements on the line. When Kirk Cousins went on the COVID list before Minnesota’s game with Green Bay last season, the line moved from Packers -6.5 to Packers -13.5, a full touchdown.
Follow NFL expert picks against the spread for line movement throughout each week.