Gift bag with the best Christmas bets: what to choose for Vikings vs. NBA Saints and Christmas Day, plus an NFL parlay

Well, well, well, would you look at that? It’s a surprise Christmas gift for you. That’s right, Santa Claus isn’t the only person giving out gifts at this time of year. You didn’t think I would let you in on the weekend without a lot of choices, did you? Never.

It’s an extended holiday, and the only thing better than an extended holiday is an extended holiday with lots of sports for you to bet on. So, let’s stop wasting time talking about how I did a great job wrapping this gift and just open this sucker to find out what’s inside.

But first, let’s catch up on some readings:

Now, let’s fill up some socks with the winners.

All Eastern time and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook

🔥 The Hot Ticket

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Vikings in Saints, Friday, 16:30 | TV: Fox
The choice: Less than 51 (-110)
: It’s a spotlight game, so my original instinct was to fade Kirk Cousins, but the truth is, he’s not been so bad at primetime games lately. Besides, I’m not so excited about betting on Drew Brees now because he’s a shell of his old self. It was with this in mind that a lamp flashed over my head.

Why not bet on the under? The Saints’ attack is a dink-and-dunk operation without much potential for big play other than Alvin Kamara doing something incredible. Then there are the Vikings, who have the potential to play a lot thanks to Justin Jefferson, but Mike Zimmer still trains them. He still wants to win defense and run football. Only four teams play the ball more often than the Vikings this season, but they will face a Saints defense that is in sixth place in the league in success rate against the race and second in the DVOA. All of which tells me that this is not going to be a high-score thriller.

Key trend: Under is 9-6 in Minnesota’s last 15 games as a stray dog.

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Advanced Computer Model has crushed the NFL this season and has a game for this game.

💰 Choices


Pelicans in the Heat, Friday, 12h | TV: ESPN
The choice: Less than 222 (-110) –
Reader, let me introduce you to a principle that you may not be aware of. This principle is known as Christmas Day Unders. It’s very simple. The NBA plays several games at Christmas and this year is no different. When that happens, you should bet on the under, especially in the first few games. It proved to be very profitable. It’s quite simple, actually. Think about how you would feel if you had to wake up on Christmas morning, leave your family and go to play a game of basketball. You would probably be a little upset. At the very least, you would be tired. The first game on Christmas Day is always an exercise in missed shots. I have a feeling that playing in an empty stadium won’t help much to lift players’ spirits either.

Key trend: Christmas Day underscores are 15 to 10 over the past five seasons.

Are more NBA choices you want? Check out our experts on The Early Edge podcast – download and subscribe Apple Podcasts and Spotify, or listen below:


Bears at the Jaguars, Sunday, 1pm | TV: CBS
The choice: Jaguars +7.5 (-110) –
Yes, I’m not falling for that. When the Jets won last week, the world responded by crowning the Jaguars as the winner of the No. 1 choice in the NFL Draft. This reaction ignored the fact that the Jaguars were playing against the Bears this week, and the Bears are suddenly back on the hunt for the playoffs after winning two consecutive matches against mediocre teams. My life as a Bears fan shows me that the Bears are more than capable of losing this game. That said, the Jags stink, so I’m not going to choose them to win. Instead, I’ll stick with the points, as the Bears are not the kind of team that anyone should trust more than a favorite for touchdowns on the road. Not with Mitch Trubisky in charge.

Key trend: The Bears have been 1-3 ATS favorites on the road since the start of last season.

Panthers in the Football Selection, Sunday, 1pm | TV: CBS
The choice: Panthers +1 (-110) –
Honestly, I love to bet on Teddy Bridgewater as an underdog. He has rewarded me many times before. As a starter, Bridgewater’s teams are a ridiculous 24-6 ATS as an underdog. This season, the Panthers were 7-3 ATS like dogs with Bridgewater, and that 7-3 record is their worst performance in a single season. To take it a step further, when he is a stray dog, Bridgewater’s teams are 19-2. That includes six consecutive covers this season against teams like Saints, Chiefs and Packers, to name a few. Washington has been playing better in recent weeks, but is nowhere near as good as these teams. If Teddy can protect against them, he can cover against Washington.

Key trend: Teddy Bridgewater is 19-2 ATS as a stray dog.

🏈 College Football

No. 12 Coastal Carolina vs. Liberty, 7:30 pm | TV: ESPN
The choice: Libery +7 (-115) –
One factor you should consider during the bowl season is how much more public action there is in the games than you could find in a normal week. The fan who can bet on his favorite team during the season and maybe in some other games suddenly feels the urge to bet on bowling games because they are constantly during the holiday season. This fan will be drawn by teams with numbers next to their name, such as Coastal Carolina. A team that has become a kind of critical darling, and a team that I really like. It is also a team being overvalued in this place because of that. Also, when it comes to motivation, I can’t help feeling that Hugh Freeze has something to say. Hugh probably thought he would have a much better chance of getting one of those SEC jobs this winter and was passed over by Shane Beamer and Bryan Harsin. Freeze may want to show these schools that they made a mistake in broadcasting it. I don’t know if this is enough to cause an upset, but it should be enough to cover.

Key trend: Hugh Freeze’s teams are 4-1 ATS in bowling games.

Want more bowl choices for the weekend? Check my column, The Six Pack.

🔒 Choice of the day on SportsLine: Legendary NFL handicapper Hank Goldberg is in a 45-27 run with his best bets. Here are the top three moves from week 16.

💸 NFL Sunday Parlay

An accumulation of four steps paying +170.