From the best NFL games to bet, to the ones you should steer clear of, check out our guide to get you through the week a winner.
CHARGERS at JETS
1 p.m., Chargers by 7, 42½
HANK’S HONEYS: Have to be cautious here because the Jets own league’s best home ATS record at 6-1. That, however, was with Josh McCown at quarterback. Bryce Petty is still on the bottom end of the learning curve and his studies are sure to pick up with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram bearing down on him. The Chargers come off a terrible performance in their showdown in Kansas City and while they no longer control their own destiny, they are still mathematically alive. Philip Rivers was playing very well before last week’s three-INT disaster and the veteran should be counted on to have a bounce back game.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Chargers and the under
GIANTS at CARDINALS
4:25 p.m. Cardinals by 3½, 40½
HANK’S HONEYS: Still think the Cardinals will win their home finale — they’ve still got Larry Fitzgerald, after all, and the Giants could give Davis Webb a look — but it should be close. Eli Manning and the Giants’ offense came alive against the Eagles last week so maybe he’s finally found something, at least enough to keep the margin to around a field goal. The Giants’ front is certainly capable of exerting some pressure against Arizona’s woeful O-line as the Cards abandon the Blaine Gabbert experiment and go back to Drew Stanton. Stanton has some mobility but he will be scurrying. Giants seem to care about winning so we’ll see how far that carries them here.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Giants and the under
RAMS at TITANS
1 p.m., Rams by 7, 47½
HANK’S HONEYS: Titans can’t afford this to turn into a shootout but we just don’t think the Titans defense can keep the Rams down. Marcus Mariota is really struggling and to have a chance, Titans need to lean on a running game that was physically devoured by the 49ers front last week with a 2.8 ypc average. They haven’t faced an offense this good since losing, 57-14, to DeShaun Watson’s Texans. Rams are tied for the second-best ATS road record at 5-2 and are looking to go 4-0 ATS against the AFC South. Throw out the Eagles result. Those were two good teams battling and it could have gone either way. They just look like a team that is primed to make a playoff run.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Rams and the over
RAIDERS at EAGLES
Monday 8:30 p.m., Eagles by 9, 47½
HANK’S HONEYS: Long trip to play on Christmas by a team with nothing to play for against a team that hasn’t been home in three weeks (not counting the hostile takeover of MetLife). Eagles need to get their defense back on track for the postseason and it happens here against an inconsistent Oakland offense. Eagles can’t rest as they drive for NFC’s top seed. Maybe Nick Foles isn’t Carson Wentz, but it’s obvious that the offense can still hum with him at QB. Four TD passes are pretty good even if it came against the Giants’ secondary. Raiders are 1-4-1 ATS on road and that one win came in Week 1. It’s Eagles by a lot more than an index card.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Eagles and the over
’HAWKS at BOYS
4:25 p.m., Cowboys by 5, 47½
HANK’S HONEYS: Ezekiel Elliot returns against a defense that was run over by Todd Gurley et al. You don’t see the Seahawks getting pushed around like that ever but they now go up against an even more physical O-line in Dallas with Zeke fresh and ready to carry a huge workload and Seattle LB Bobby Wagner still hurting. Seahawks laid a huge egg with the NFC West on the line last week and they probably don’t have much left in the emotional gas tank. Cowboys’ playoff chances aren’t great but Elliot’s return should give them a lift and make things much easier for Dak Prescott and his receivers. Seahawks haven’t travelled well. They are 1-3 as a road dog this year.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Cowboys and the under
COLTS at RAVENS
Sat., 4:30 p.m., Ravens by 13½, 41½
HANK’S HONEYS: If only the Colts had Johnny U. with them in Baltimore, or Andrew Luck for that matter. If only Robert Irsay didn’t load up the Mayflower trucks, they’d be playing the Browns this week. It has been a long, dreadful season for the Horseshoes and it will get longer on their trip to the ancestral homeland. Colts are beat up and the Ravens only need to beat them this week and the Bengals the next to make the playoffs. Ravens’ once-stagnant offense has averaged 31 points in five games since the bye. With his playoff pedigree kicking in, Joe Flacco should be able to find receivers down field against a Colts secondary that bleeds big plays while INT-prone Jacoby Brissett goes up against a D that leads the league with 33 takeaways.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Ravens and the under
LIONS at BENGALS
1 p.m., Lions by 5, 43½
HANK’S HONEYS: Bengals are leaving the season via express checkout and Marvin Lewis’ bags are on the luggage cart. They’ve been outscored, 67-14, in the two games since the Steeler fiasco showing none of the fight they displayed against Pittsburgh. The Lions may be inconsistent but Matthew Stafford is still one of the most talented QBs in the league and he’ll have an easy time against a defense that’s going through the motions. Lions have played their best football on the road this year where they are 4-2 ATS. They’re also 4-0-1 ATS vs. teams with losing records. Bengals are just 3-4 ATS at home, where what few fans show up will not be happy.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Lions and the under
BUCS at PANTHERS
1 p.m., Panthers by 10, 46½
HANK’S HONEYS: Don’t normally like to give this many points in a divisional game but Carolina has all the momentum as it fights for playoff position. And there is no chance of looking ahead to next week’s showdown against the Falcons when playing an NFC South opponent, even if it’s the last-place Bucs. The return of Greg Olsen from his foot injury has the offense humming on all levels. Cam Newton is hot and the Panthers have a big matchup advantage against Tampa Bay’s No. 31-ranked road run defense, which allows 148.43 yards per game. Bucs are 1-6-1 ATS in last eight games on road while Panthers are 6-1 ATS in last seven games and 4-1 ATS in last five games at home.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Panthers and the over
JAGS at 49ERS
4:05 p.m., Jaguars by 4½, 42½
HANK’S HONEYS: Who would have thought that Blake Bortles and Jimmy Garoppolo would be the NFL’s two hottest QBs in December? So does the Jimmy G Show continue against this ravenous defense? We’d say absolutely not in almost any other week but the Jaguars are a young team coming off an emotional high after clinching a playoff spot last week against the Texans and, after a coast-to-coast trip on a holiday weekend to face a mediocre opponent, they are due for a classic letdown. It’s actually the Niners with more to prove as they try to carry their momentum through to the end of the season.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: 49ers and the under
VIKES at PACKERS
Saturday, 8:30 p.m., Vikings by 9, 40½
HANK’S HONEYS: Will Vikings fans turn Lambeau purple the way Eagles fans turned MetLife green? Packers are eliminated, Aaron Rodgers is back on the shelf and it’s time to get the eggnog ready in Wisconsin. Packers were counting on Rodgers to lead them into the postseason and now with that hope gone, they may not have much left to prop up Brett Hundley again against a secondary that has been locking teams down on a weekly basis. Minny has a lot to play for in this one and there’s the added incentive of kicking a hated rival when they are down. They don’t get this opportunity often.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Vikings and the under
BEST OF THE REST
BROWNS at BEARS
1 p.m., Bears by 6½, 38
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Browns and the under
BILLS at PATRIOTS
1 p.m., Pats by 12, 47½
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Bills and the over
BRONCOS at WASH.
1 p.m., Washington by 3½, 40½
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Washington and the under
DOLPHINS at CHIEFS
1 p.m., Chiefs by 10½, 43½
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Dolphins and the under
STEELERS at TEXANS
Monday, 4:30 p.m., Steelers by 9, 44½
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Steelers and the over
WEEK’S BEST BET
Lions: Kings of the jungle.
LOOK DON’T TOUCH
FALCS at SAINTS
1 p.m., Saints by 5, 52½
HANK’S HONEYS: Falcons outplayed the Saints two weeks ago and won in spite of turnovers. But Saints lost Alvin Kamara (above) early in that game and he’s playing this week in Saints’ two-headed monster backfield, ready to exploit an Atlanta run defense that allows 4.3 ypc. Saints have won last five SU in Superdome by an average victory margin of 13.4 points, but the underdog is 1-7 ATS in the last eight meetings while the last four seasons have seen sweeps, another trend that favors the Falcons. Unlike the first meeting, a typically sloppy Thursday night game where turnovers killed drives, this one shapes up as a more-typical shootout between the teams. That could make the over the best bet.
CAN’T HELP YOURSELF?: Falcons and the over
LAST WEEK: 6-8-2
BEST BETS: 5-9-1
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