NFL Week 12 round-robin moneyline parlay: The longest weekend
The reason this always looks ugly before the games start is that you want to cash in when the underdogs you like against the spread win outright. We found three more winners last week when we took some big shots, with big odds on the Colts and Texans allowing the 3-2 week to pay out at a +300 rate.
This week presents a tricky situation because there are so many tightly lined games. Using short moneylines in a five-leg round robin means you have to win four games to make money, as the parlay price of three short underdogs might not get you back to even.
How it works
We parlay five underdogs together in 10 different three-team parlays. Using every combination of a three-team parlay is called a round robin, so we're going to use a total of 1.1 units to make 11 different bets: 10 three-team parlays and one five-team parlay, each for .1 units. If three teams pull off the upset like in Week 8, Week 10, and Week 11, you'll likely double your money. If four teams win, as they did in Week 3, you're connecting on four separate parlays and will be very pleased with the return. If all five teams win, as they did in Week 1, then it's back into the pool, swimming in gold doubloons like heirs to the McDuck fortune.
Who to play
It never feels good when the Lions are your best bet, especially when it starts the season's longest week. However, there are a couple of things going their way, regardless of who they have to start at quarterback.
In early October, the Lions visited Chicago and moved the ball on the Bears as 3-point 'dogs. While Detroit failed to convert numerous chances with goal-to-go situations, the Lions deserved better than a 10-point loss. Seven weeks later, not much has changed for the positive on either side, and the Bears are still -3 despite the location change. To me, that screams value on the Lions.
For all the hand-wringing about who's going to play quarterback for Detroit, I'm still waiting for someone to mention how great the Lions' offensive line has looked since left tackle Taylor Decker returned. It's conceivable that Detroit doesn't have to throw the football and can still gain over 200 yards. With the Bears' offense just as banged up, a couple of big runs from D'Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams could be enough to score the Lions their first win.
The final element: where there's smoke, there's fire. Rumors are swirling that this will be Matt Nagy's final game. If he has, in fact, lost the locker room, there's no way that's a good thing against the competitive Lions.
On a week like this one, there are few big underdogs that fit the profile for what we're trying to do here. The Saints' lineup is shrouded in mystery, but as a home underdog in prime time, I'm willing to assign this small risk on Sean Payton's group; I have this game closer to the 4-point spread that it opened at.
While I expect the Bills to circle the proverbial wagons, after their losses to the Jaguars and to the Colts in Buffalo, there's no reason not to at least take a swing with the Saints, who should have something up their sleeve.
This is as classic of a buy-low, sell-high spot as you can have. If this game was in early November, the line would be pick'em. Obviously, that's changed because of the Eagles' recent success and the Giants' big prime-time loss. The Giants will struggle to stop the Eagles' run game, but with a change at offensive coordinator in New York, you might see some more lively play-calling.
Like many teams in the NFL, it's never a bad idea to bet the underdog moneyline in games involving the Vikings. While the spot isn't ideal after Minnesota's win over the Packers, I'm still not sold on the 49ers laying points, and I think the Vikings are the better team if all things were equal. Take Minnesota and hope its wide receivers can take advantage of the 49ers' secondary.
The Sunday nighter is featured in my Upset of the Week, so you'll get a more elaborate handicap on that game here. At the end of a long Sunday, of a long weekend, we'll hopefully have some sweat leftover to will the last leg of a winning parlay home.
Here's how the odds shake down this week:
Who are your five underdogs for a football betting lottery ticket?
Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there’s a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.