In Between the Lines: Chapter 9
Time flies when you’re having fun. The NFL is going into Week 14 and college football is going into Week 15. Although the Gonzaga and Baylor college basketball game got canceled last weekend, the Baylor Bears will face the Texas Longhorns on the hardwood on Sunday for a ranked-on-ranked matchup. And if you’re looking for some soccer action, you won’t want to miss Saturday’s Manchester Derby at Old Trafford.
With a stacked sports schedule comes fervent sports bettors. “In Between the Lines” gives avid fans and sports bettors exactly what they want. Looking ahead to the upcoming week in sports, “In Between the Lines” offers inside analysis on line movements and key stats.
Here’s what you absolutely can’t miss this upcoming week in sports:
1. NFL – Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills (12/13/20 at 8:20pm)
The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off their only loss of the season after being defeated by Washington 23-17 on Monday. Meanwhile, the Buffalo Bills are coming off a 34-24 win over the San Francisco 49ers. This game has playoff implications on the line. The Steelers are still an impressive 11-1, as are the Kansas City Chiefs. If the Steelers lose against the Bills, the only way the Steelers would be able to get a first-round bye week in the playoffs is by finishing the year with a better overall record than the Chiefs.
Now let’s talk odds. The Bills are a 2.5-point favorite heading into Sunday night. The Bills have covered the spread in their past four games. That being said, the Bills are not all that great when they aren’t well rested. They are 1-7 against the spread in games off fewer than six days of rest since the start of the 2016 season. On the other hand, the Steelers are 8-4 against the spread this season, which is the second-best in the NFL.
I like the Steelers covering the 2.5-point spread in this one. I also like the over (47.5 points). Bills games are 9-3 to the over this season, which is also the second highest in the league.
2. College Football – No. 17 North Carolina Tar Heels at No. 10 Miami Hurricanes (12/12/20 at 3:30pm)
The Miami Hurricanes are an impressive 8-1 this season. Their only loss was to Clemson in early October. The North Carolina Tar Heels are 7-3. UNC’s Sophomore quarterback Sam Howell has played incredibly this season. He is third in the nation with 3,129 passing yards. Howell’s 64 touchdown passes (in two years) is just four shy of the UNC career mark. But don’t forget about UNC’s running back duo comprised of Javonte Williams and Michael Carter. The two have combined for 1,841 yards and 23 touchdowns in 10 games this season.
Last year’s game between the Tar Heels and the Hurricanes was a close one, as North Carolina defeated Miami 28-25. With just over a minute left, Howell threw a touchdown to Dazz Newsome for the game winner.
Miami is a 2.5-point favorite headed into Saturday afternoon’s matchup. North Carolina has covered in four of the past five games against Miami. I like UNC +2.5 in this one. I think Howell and the North Carolina offense can cover and win.
3. College Basketball – No. 13 Texas Longhorns at No. 2 Baylor Bears (12/13/20 at 3pm)
Sunday marks the 257th series meeting between the Texas Longhorns and Baylor Bears. This is the most-played rivalry in Baylor history, dating back 106 years. Baylor is 9-1 in their last 10 games versus Texas since 2016. In each of the last 12 seasons, Baylor has won at least 18 games in each. This makes them one of five Power-5 programs to do so along with Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and Michigan State.
Last season, Baylor defeated Texas 59-44. Texas’ 44 points were the fewest by a team coached by Shaka Smart in his 11-year coaching career. I like Baylor on the moneyline in this one.
4. English Premiere League – Manchester City at Manchester United (12/12/20 at 12:30pm)
Saturday’s Manchester Derby will be the 183rd, dating back to 1881. Manchester City is coming off a 3-0 win against Marseille on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Manchester United is coming off a Champions League exit after being defeated 3-2 by RB Leipzig on Tuesday.
Manchester United is on a four-match winning streak in the league and in sixth place. Manchester City is a point and a place behind after defeating Burnley and Fulham. One of Manchester City’s strengths is their defense. They have allowed a total of 2.1 xG in their last six matches across all competition. Offensively, they have averaged 2.5 xG per match.
I like Manchester City on the moneyline at -140. I also like the over 2.5 goals at -170. I think this game will be high-scoring and even has the potential to go over 3.5 (+145).