<u>THE 10 BEST GAMES TO BET</u>
LIONS at JETS
1 p.m., Lions by 1, 44 ½
HANK’S HONEYS: The Lions are loving life lately, winning five out of six with a scary offense that seems unstoppable at times. Jared Goff has thrown seven touchdowns without an interception in his last three games, averaging 303 passing yards. All three of those games, however, were played in climate controlled Ford Field and two of them came against the dreadful defensive units of the Vikings and Jaguars. In his five roadies, Goff has just two TD passes and four picks. It’s going to be wintery at Met Life Sunday and the Jets defense is among the best he’ll have faced. Mike White’s status bears watching. Stay away if it’s Zach Wilson. But if White goes, the Jets should score on a mediocre Detroit D.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Jets and the over.
GIANTS at COMMANDERS
8:20 p.m., Commanders by 4 ½, 40
HANK’S HONEYS: The Giants’ season is in danger of fizzling out after that unexpected 7-2 start. All the momentum is with the home team here coming off a bye after playing the Giants in their last game. But the Giants can hang in these types of grind-it-out games just as they did in the first meeting between the teams two weeks ago. The Commanders don’t have the explosiveness to draw the Giants into a shootout, where they went down hard against the Lions, Cowboys and Eagles. You know the Giants are going to play hard. They have all season and they can’t afford to lose here. The Commanders rate the slight edge but this just feels like a field goal game.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Giants and the under.
COLTS at VIKINGS
Saturday, 1 p.m., Vikings by 4, 48 ½
HANK’S HONEYS: How does a team get to be 10-3 with this bad a defense? Beat teams like the Colts. Jeff Saturday’s early magic seems to have lost its power and the sputtering offense may not be up to the task of exploiting the Vikings, especially with a few players, including, SS Harrison Smith, coming back from injuries. The saving grace for the Vikes’ D has been eight fourth-quarter INTs and Matt Ryan can throw them. Minnesota’s offensive line also returns two starters, which should clear more space for Dalvin Cook and give Kirk Cousins more time to find Justin Jefferson in his tough matchup with Stephon Gilmore.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Vikings and the over.
RAVENS at BROWNS
Saturday, 4:30 p.m., Browns by 2 ½, 37
HANK’S HONEYS: Miserable weather conditions will reduce this game to a slog and that might be good for the Ravens with Tyler Huntley set to start again. While the Browns have a strong running game, the Ravens have the second-best run defense in the league. In a field position game like this, we’ll take Justin Tucker over Cade York. And in a game where the teams might have to out-will and out-tough each other, we’ll take a Ravens team that is still in the playoff race against a Browns team playing out the string as Deshaun Watson impersonates a QB. The Ravens, who are the better team and really should be favored, are 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight trips to the lakefront.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Ravens and the under.
DOLPHINS at BILLS
Saturday, 8:15 p.m., Bills by 7 ½, 43
HANK’S HONEYS: We are usually hesitant to back the Bills when they are spotting this many points but everything points to a relatively easy win. The Dolphins just spent two weeks on the sunny West Coast, where their offense fizzled, and must now play a third consecutive road game in winter conditions. Another whopper of a snowstorm is forecast for Buffalo on Saturday and if the game isn’t moved again, Tua Tagovailoa is going to have to revive things amid 20 mph winds. That’s going to put the onus on a running game that’s ranked 29th in the NFL at 89.8 ypg. The Dolphins upset the Bills in the first game but were outplayed. Buffalo had several defensive starters hurt in that one. They’re not going to let this one get away from them, not against a D that gave up 432 yards a week ago.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Bills and the under.
STEELERS at PANTHERS
1 p.m., Panthers by 2 ½, 38 ½
HANK’S HONEYS: The Panthers have gone on a nice little run and now control their destiny in the NFC South after being counted out when Matt Ruhle was fired. They’ve found their identity. It’s running the football. Conveniently, stopping the run is the biggest weakness of the mistake-prone Steelers’ defense. Kenny Pickett is in concussion protocol and if he can’t go, Mike Tomlin is weighing starting Mason Rudolph over Mitch Trubisky coming off a bad game. That’s not good. What’s more, the Steelers are coming off a physical game against the Ravens for their third road game in four weeks. Don’t think they’re going to be up for this one.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Panthers and the over.
COWBOYS at JAGUARS
1 p.m., Cowboys by 4 ½, 47 ½
HANK’S HONEYS: Our only concern is this being a trap game for Dallas with its home showdown against the Eagles on deck for Christmas Eve, especially with Micah Parsons already yapping this week about Jalen Hurts’ MVP qualifications. Then there’s Jerry Jones putting the heat on Dak Prescott for his nine INTs in the last eight games. Those are distractions with a Big D. But in the end, we can’t see the Cowboys laying a second straight egg after the wakeup call of taking the lowly Texans too lightly. And we can’t see Trevor Lawrence following up on last week against a defense that should suddenly be aroused. We might regret it but . . .
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Cowboys and the over.
CHIEFS at TEXANS
1 p.m., Chiefs by 14, 49
HANK’S HONEYS: The Texans played their Super Bowl last week when they took the Cowboys to the wire in the state championship game. Doubt if they can put together a similar performance against a team that is in the hunt for the No. 1 seed. Not having their best player in Dameon Pearce makes the task more daunting and while double-digit spreads have been problematic all year, the Chiefs are the only play here. Patrick Mahomes will have his way with this defense.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Chiefs and the over.
EAGLES at BEARS
1 p.m., Eagles by 9, 48 ½
HANK’S HONEYS: It’s possible there could be a letdown for the Eagles after mowing down the NFC East rival Giants and with the Cowboys up next. The Bears are coming off a much-needed bye week where Justin Fields was able to get healthier. He’ll have a chance to do some things against the Eagles, who have had a few problems defending mobile QBs. Philly is real good, the most complete team in the NFL but they’re also being overvalued a tad right now. No way they’re losing this game but they’ll save their stomping for next week and be happy to get in and out healthy and with a win.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Bears and the under.
CARDINALS at BRONCOS
4:05 p.m., Broncos by 2 ½, 36 ½
HANK’S HONEYS: It’s Colt McCoy’s offense now and we got a preview of that last week when the Patriots’ defense was all over him. Now he must go up against a Broncos defense that is far and away the best of the four units on the field. Even if Russell Wilson (concussion) is held out and Brett Rypien starts, it’s not going to make that much difference in a low-scoring Denver offense. After looking somewhat competent last week, they should be able to do just enough to beat a Cardinals team that has the difficult task of playing out the string on the road.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Broncos and the under.
RAMS at PACKERS
Monday, 8:25 p.m., Packers by 7, 40
HANK’S HONEYS: There is no way that this Packers team should be giving anybody seven points. They’ve been too inconsistent everywhere. The Rams’ defense has picked it up even without Aaron Donald and can cause enough problems for Aaron Rodgers. Baker Mayfield has had an extra week to learn the playbook and Sean McVay is clever enough to tailor the game plan around him and keep him out of bad situations.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Rams and the under.
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<u>LOOK BUT DON’T TOUCH</u>
TITANS at CHARGERS
4:25 p.m., Chargers by 3, 47
HANK’S HONEYS: The Titans are 24-15 ATS as an underdog since Mike Vrabel became head coach in 2018 and are up against a Chargers team that has been unsteady as favorite. Derrick Henry figures to atone for his game-changing fumble last week with a chance to take advantage of a run D allowing a ridiculous 5.6 ypc. Still, the Titans have allowed 71 points over their past two games and after being scorched by Trevor Lawrence they must find a way against Justin Herbert and a WR corps that has been fortified by the return of Mike Williams and Keenan Allen. With little faith in either D to shut down the other team, going over makes the most sense.
CAN’T HELP YOURSELF? Titans and the over.
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<u>BEST OF THE REST</u>
BENGALS at BUCS
4:25 p.m., Bengals by 3 ½, 44
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Bengals and the over.
FALCONS at SAINTS
1 p.m., Saints by 4, 43
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Saints and the under.
PATRIOTS at RAIDERS
4:05 p.m., 1 ½, 44 ½
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Patriots and the under.
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WEEK’S BEST BET: Panthers. Playoffs? Playoffs?
LAST WEEK: 7-6 ATS, 6-7 OVER/UNDER
OVERALL: 96-108-4 ATS, 108-98-2 OVER/UNDER
BEST BETS: 9-5