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Austin Montgomery's Saturday Christmas Eve NFL Picks (Presented by Betfred Sportsbook)


Time to put some more money in those stockings. I hope you guys tailed last week. We went a perfect 6-0 for the second time this season. With a glorious Christmas Eve slate on deck, we hope to keep that momentum going. We get to spend an entire Saturday watching NFL football. With hot cocoa in hand while finishing to wrap our final present. Hopefully I can help me remember this Christmas by giving out a few extra winners.


As always, the picks are presented by Betfred Sportsbook - bet $50 on any game, get $250 in free bets, courtesy of Betfred!


Here is who we like on the slate.


New York Giants at Minnesota


Spread: Minnesota (-4)


Total: 49.5


Minnesota is coming off a miraculous 33-point comeback last week against the Colts. The Giants took care of business on the road beating Washington 20-12 on Sunday night football. Minnesota has a one-day rest advantage here, but otherwise both teams are relatively even. Both are coming off emotional games. Both teams have overachieved preseason expectations. The metrics suggest both aren’t good as their records show. Who is the team that is going to show up? Minnesota has already taken care of business during one holiday this season when they beat New England on Thanksgiving night.


I really don’t get the line here. Minnesota closed as a four-point favorite against Indianapolis in the same spot. New York has shown they are much better than the Colts. In fact, according to DVOA, the Giants are better than Minnesota. New York ranks 22nd compared to Minnesota at 25th. Minnesota has been outgained almost 50 yards per game throughout the season.


I think this is just a horrible matchup for Kirk Cousins. The Giants also blitz at the highest rate in the league (40.7%) and beating the blitz has been a major issue for Cousins throughout his entire career. The Giants rank 4th in the NFL in pressure rate. There are concerns with their ability to defend on the back end. Covering Justin Jefferson is going to be a tall task for them. They are going to make it tough for Cousins to get rid of the ball period.


Offensively, the Giants should be able to move the ball on the ground against a team that’s below average against the run and ranks 27th against the pass. Then I’ll add another crazy stat. Daniel Jones is one of the best road quarterbacks in the NFL in terms of beating the spread. Jones is 15-5-1 ATS on the road throughout his career. Take the Giants to win comfortably here.


The pick: Giants +4

 

Houston at Tennessee


Spread: Tennessee (-3)


Total: 36


It’s going to be 6 degrees in Nashville on Saturday, and they actually just announced they'd be pushing back kick-off an hour here. We got a southern dome team playing in the cold. It’s a must win game for Tennessee. They will be without starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill.


The line of this game suggests Tennessee and Houston are on an even playing field. That’s simply not true. The Titans will be without starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Malik Willis is a serviceable back up and he started in the Titans 17-10 win at Houston. The Texans ranked 32nd in the NFL giving up 165.5 rushing yards per game. That’s a problem when you are facing King Henry. In addition, Houston will likely be without two top offensive weapons in starting running back Damon Pierce and wide receiver Nico Collins. This is a must win game for Tennessee to get into the postseason. I think they get it done.


The pick: Tennessee (-3)

 

Houston at Tennessee


Spread: Tennessee (-3)


Total: 36


It’s going to be 6 degrees in Nashville on Saturday, and they actually just announced they'd be pushing back kick-off an hour here. We got a southern dome team playing in the cold. It’s a must win game for Tennessee. They will be without starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill.


The line of this game suggests Tennessee and Houston are on an even playing field. That’s simply not true. The Titans will be without starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Malik Willis is a serviceable back up and he started in the Titans 17-10 win at Houston. The Texans ranked 32nd in the NFL giving up 165.5 rushing yards per game. That’s a problem when you are facing King Henry. In addition, Houston will likely be without two top offensive weapons in starting running back Damon Pierce and wide receiver Nico Collins. This is a must win game for Tennessee to get into the postseason. I think they get it done.


The pick: Tennessee (-3)


 

Detroit at Carolina


Spread: Detroit (-2.5)


Total: 43.5


This seems like a trap game giving the Lions two and half points. I steer away from the side and take the total here. Surprisingly, this game features the sixth highest total on the NFL slate. The Lions feature a top six offense but Carolina ranks 29th in DVOA. The Lions offense has been night and day with their home/road splits. At home Detroit is averaging 32 points per game but that number deeps nearly in half to 18 points per game on the road.


These two defenses have been playing great football. As much as the Lions offense has been given credit, the defense has undergone a complete turnaround since Week 7. The Lions went from giving up 154.9 rushing yards per game in their first seven games to 112.0 in their last seven.


Also, both teams like to run the ball. Since Darnold has been under center, Carolina is running the ball at 60 percent clip, while the Lions run the ball 44 percent of the time ranking 12th in the NFL. Carolina’s defense ranks in the top 12 in defensive DVOA since Steve Wilks took over as head coach. I see this game being a defensive struggle. Jared Goff is a California born quarterback who is known to struggle in the cold. Darnold is a California native as well.


Both coaches are going to be calling this game tight with their playoff hopes on the line. Everything here lines up with an under game.


The pick: Under 43.5

 

Buffalo at Chicago


Spread: Buffalo (-8.5)


Total: 40.5


Sometimes you have the buck trends. I typically won’t advise betting over in a game with weather conditions Chicago presents.


I’m making a huge exception here. Chicago has scored 20 points or more in seven out of their last eight games when Justin Fields starts. On the other side, their defense has given up 20 or more points in eight out of their last nine.


Meanwhile, Chicago’s defense ranks 30th in the NFL in scoring and 30th in the NFL in yards per play. Now they will be facing a Buffalo team that is used to playing in crappy weather. They have a top 5 offense in the league. Josh Allen is coming off a game where he threw for 304 yards and 4 touchdowns in a literal snowstorm. Then add in the fact all of Buffalo’s weapons seem to be completely healthy.


Buffalo has a tough defense, but Justin Fields has been matchup proof with his running ability. I think Chicago is going to pull out all the stops to be competitive. I don’t think Chicago has what it takes to get a stop against the Buffalo offense. The number is too low and this game soars over.


The pick: Over 40.5

 

Cincinnati at New England


Spread: Cincinnati (-3)


Total: 42


The Patriots literally handed Las Vegas a win last Sunday. The famous Jakobi Meyers will go down as the most boneheaded play in NFL history. Now the Patriots will have to bounce back against a red-hot Cincinnati Bengals at Gillette Stadium. The Bengals have won six straight games and Joe Burrow has thrown 14 touchdowns to four interceptions in that stretch. They are one game away from the Bills to achieve the NFL’s number one seed. The Bengals have proven they are a Super Bowl contender once again.


New England is 1-3 in its last four and have scored only four offensive touchdowns during that stretch. The Patriots no longer control its own destiny, and this seems to be a must win game. The Patriots are top six in both yards and points per drive allowed. They also rank fifth in turnovers forced. The weather is going to hamper the Bengals offense. This the mastermind game where Bill Belichick makes a game plan to slow down Joe Burrow and Chase. The Patriots get the win here.


The pick: New England +3

 

Las Vegas at Pittsburgh


Spread: Pittsburgh -2


Total: 37.5


My favorite bet of the entire night, right in time for midnight mass. Las Vegas gets a gift at home. They win on a botched lateral that turns into a defensive touchdown. After that emotional win they have to travel across the country to play Pittsburgh on Christmas Eve night.


Derek Carr is going to have nightmares on Christmas morning after going against TJ Watt. The Steelers defense is top 5 in pressure rate and top 8 in DVOA since TJ Watt entered the lineup. Kenny Pickett is supposed to suit up at QB. I don’t think it really matters. You have a west coast dome team going on the road to play in freezing temperatures in a hostile environment.


Pittsburgh also ranks in the top 8 against the run so the Raiders offense won’t be able to lean on Josh Jacobs. The Raiders defense ranks 32 in defensive DVOA. They are lucky to be 6-8 with a glimpse of hope to make into the postseason. The Steelers are the better overall team and this is a tremendous spot for them. Take the Steelers to win in a blowout. You won’t have to sweat and check the scores at church. Steelers dominate.


The pick: Pittsburgh (-2)


Follow Austin on Twitter - @AMontgomeryLive


The picks were presented by Betfred Sportsbook - new users can bet $50 on any game and get $250 in free bets courtesy of Betfred!



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