NFL odds: How bad weather impacts betting lines; Bills-Bears total dropping

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Booking NFL games becomes even more complicated once the calendar flips into December due to the weather component. This week, in particular, will be miserable across much of the country, affecting a handful of NFL games.

According to FOX Sports Research, seven games are currently on hold due to cold temperatures.

  • Bills to Bears: High of 11 degrees with a low of 5 degrees. With a temperature similar to the feeling between -9 degrees and -20 degrees.
  • Saints at Browns: High of 13 degrees with a low of 12 degrees. With a potential temperature of about -10 degrees. Additionally, there is a 50% chance that the snow will blow and drift with the wind and accumulate up to 1 inch during game time.
  • Texans at Titans: high of 26 degrees with low of 11 degrees. The feel-like temperature could be between 15 degrees and -4 degrees.
  • Seahawks at Chiefs: High of 19 degrees with a low of 3 degrees. Temperature sensation between 6 degrees and -15 degrees.
  • Bengals at Patriots: High of 22 degrees with a low of 12 degrees. Temperature sensation between 9 degrees and -4 degrees.
  • Falcons to Ravens: high of 22 degrees and low of 18 degrees. Sensation of temperature between 8 and 3 degrees.
  • Raiders at Steelers: High 10 degrees, low 8 degrees. Temperature sensation between -9 degrees and -12 degrees.

As you can see, week 16 is shaping up to be a weekend of brutal weather. But one game in particular that stands out to me from a betting standpoint is Saturday’s game between the Chicago Bears and the Buffalo Bills at Soldier Field.

As the city of Chicago braces for a treacherous winter storm, all eyes in the sports betting world are monitoring the point total for Saturday’s game between the Bills and the Bears.

Most sportsbooks opened the total at 42, and we are finally starting to see the market touch 40 with a likely move to 40 as we approach the opener. Yours truly is back in Chicago for Christmas, and I’ve been keeping an eye on it local weather forecast from FOX close up in preparation for an under 40 bet on FOX Bet.

After Thursday’s heavy snowfall, a bitter cold front will linger throughout the weekend, with forecasters predicting winds of 20 to 25 mph for the game. These conditions aren’t exactly ideal for offensive fireworks, no matter how strong Josh Allen’s arm is.

And Las Vegas bookies are already making adjustments.

“The first thing you do is reduce the number because people will bet on it,” Westgate SuperBook chief executive John Murray told FOX Sports. “People will see the forecast or the snow on the pre-game shows and the money will flow into the Under. It’s inevitable.

“Even if you don’t necessarily agree with it, you know where the money is going to go. So you might as well put it down right away. You don’t want to go too far with it, but you definitely want to start that process.”

While casual punters see the snow and think below, the wind is much more important to the pros. The wise ones tend to start betting with less than several days in any high wind game, and will make more money if the forecast is trending in the wrong direction.

“The wind is absolutely the best for the Under,” explained Murray. “It’s hard to throw the ball down the field and teams are running more, which makes the clock tick. And big home runs are much less likely. The wind is much more indicative of a low-scoring game.

“We move the line immediately because of crazy winds.”

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It’s almost impossible to predict where Saturday’s total will close because weather forecasts tend to change every few hours, but Murray foresees a very realistic possibility where the line will top 40.

“It might get down to the mid-30s, but it won’t get any lower,” Murray predicted. “You still have an amazing player in Josh Allen on one side and [Justin] Fields has shown that ability to make those wild plays.

“With those two quarterbacks out there, I don’t think it’s going to drop much from 37.5 or 38 because these offenses can score in a hurry. But we’ll be prepared for the worst if we have to.”

Ultimately, you should always try to make the right bet at the right price. As I’m filing this story, the market is trending toward a 40-total cross. And given the frigid temperatures and blistering winds, odds are good that numbers will continue to drop heading into Saturday.

So don’t wait much longer to shoot this under 40 at FOX Bet.

Sam Panayotovich is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and NESN. He previously worked for WGN Radio, NBC Sports and VSiN. He will probably pick against your favorite team. Follow him on Twitter @spshoot.

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