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Grinch NFL


A fan dressed for Christmas watches during the first half of an NFL football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Denver Broncos on Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif.

The NFL is making like the Grinch and stealing Christmas.

The league has held Christmas Day games in the past — even staging the same three-contest schedule last year — and used Christmas Eve as a normal gameday when it fell on Sundays but the combination of the two makes this year more of a total takeover.

There’s much to see and, of course, much to bet over the next two days. Sunday Sweats is here to help with the latter and hoping to spur some cheer after the rare big-losing slate a week ago.

Here’s to filling our stockings with bet slips that hopefully turn to cash.

Read below to find bets in all seven of Sunday Sweats’ usual categories. Lines are the best currently available at publication time in Las Vegas with the sports book noted. Plays from other betting columns will be linked and tracked here at the bottom of the page. Check back Monday for a Raiders’ prop bet in the gameday preview piece. 

Tasty Total (12-3, $1,644): Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings under 47.5 (Caesars/William Hill)

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Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (8) runs the ball against Minnesota Vikings linebacker D.J. Wonnum (98) during the first half of an NFL football game at Allegiant Stadium Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023.

$220 to win $200

Which unit in this game has been the most impressive recently? Some may answer the Detroit offense. But it’s pretty clearly the Minnesota defense. The Lions’ offense got back on track in a 42-17 blowout win over the Broncos as 4.5-point favorites last week, but Denver doesn’t have the personnel advantages of Minnesota. And it doesn’t have the coordinator. Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores’ game plans have been spot-on for the last month, and he’ll surely have something precise in place for a divisional opponent like Detroit that the coaching staff knows well. The Vikings’ offense, on the other hand, is a slog under quarterback Nick Mullens. This feels like a coin-flip game where both teams should score around 20 points. The recent action on the over doesn’t check out to me.   

Two-(Or Three-) Team Teaser (6-9, -$770): Tampa Bay Buccaneers +7.5, Dallas Cowboys +7.5 & Denver Broncos -1 at +160 (STN Sports)

$150 to win $240

Teasing the Broncos down to a virtual pick’em in a game with a total of over/under 35 points is the best bet on the board. The problem comes with figuring out whom to pair next to the Broncos. I’ve gone back and forth on whom I expect to win the Cowboys vs. Dolphins game all week, but that speaks to how close it should play out. The total of 48.5 is a little high to throw into a teaser, but I’ll choose to trust the Cowboys — at least when I can push them through the 3 and the 6. The Buccaneers are a little harder sell considering I expect the Jaguars to win the game, but STN is one of the only sports books with them at +1.5 and the only shop with the +160 three-teamer price. I’ll kick myself if throwing them in to make this a three-teamer instead of a two-teamer costs me — that’s what happened last week with the Cowboys — but I think it’s the best option mathematically on what’s a tough board for teasers. 

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Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) leaps for a two-point conversion against the Los Angeles Chargers during the second half of an NFL wild-card football game, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Jacksonville, Fla.

Moneyline Parlay (4-11, $1,003): Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings, Jacksonville Jaguars, Chicago Bears & Baltimore Ravens at 60-to-1 (Circa Sports)

$25 to win $1,503

This is going to take a Christmas Eve miracle, but why not? I like all five of these sides, and Circa has moneyline prices that are more attractive than the point spreads attached to them all — Carolina at +178, Minnesota at +133, Jacksonville at -116, Chicago at -190 and Baltimore at +232. I’d suggest placing a round-robin wager for a better chance at a return, but this category has always been a straight moneyline parlay. I’ll keep it that way, and hope all the bounces fall in my favor to hit the biggest one in the history of the column.

Player Prop (17-12, $1,062): Jonathan Taylor under 71.5 rushing yards (Caesars/William Hill)

$202 to win $200

This is a big asking price for a running back coming back from injury for the first time in a month to a team that has another player at his position who’s been better this season (Zack Moss). That might be reason enough to make this wager, but there’s also the hurdle of a difficult matchup standing in Taylor’s way. Atlanta hasn’t done much right this season, but the one thing it’s been consistently successful in stopping? Opponents’ run games. Atlanta is 10th in the NFL against the run per the DVOA ratings. The Falcons won’t allow Taylor to have all that smooth of a comeback.

Lookahead Line (8-6, $295): Baltimore Ravens -3 vs. Miami Dolphins in Week 17 (SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas)

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Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) scrambles for yardage during the first half of an NFL football game the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in Jacksonville, Fla. The Ravens agreed in principle with Jackson on a five-year deal Thursday, April 27, 2023, securing their star quarterback for the foreseeable future and ending a contract negotiation saga that was dominating the team’s offseason.

$220 to win $200

Baltimore is superior to Miami in every metric available. They’re also better in the vast majority of position groups. How is this number only 3? My hunch is that it won’t be for long, especially if the Ravens acquit themselves well at the 49ers on Monday night or if the Cowboys knock off the Dolphins Sunday afternoon. What if both occur and Tyreek Hill still looks hobbled by injury? This could reach 6. That’s a lot of hypotheticals and, in fairness, this isn’t the greatest spot for the Ravens. They’ll be playing on a short week across the country from where Monday’s game is taking place. But at least they’ll be at home for this game, and M&T Bank Stadium gives them no small advantage. Miami’s efficiency historically tails off in cold-weather venues this late into the season. A lot can change over the next couple days but, right now, Baltimore -3 is an absurd price.

Future Finding (1-5, $335): Scottie Scheffler and Cam Davis to win The Sentry Tournament of Champions at +625 and 75-to-1, respectively (Caesars/William Hill)

$300 to win $1,875 and $25 to win $1,875

The usual apologies for having to stray from football in this category, but golf has long been the lifeblood of the Weekend Wagers column. Caesars is doing us a favor by posting outright prices early for the first tournament of 2024, and I feel compelled to oblige. Scheffler is the best golfer in the world by a margin that’s even wider than this line implies. Especially with Jon Rahm now out of the picture after joining LIV Golf, Scheffler should close somewhere around +450 come the first weekend of January in Hawaii. For a longshot complement, Davis looks attractive at this price. The Australian, unlike most of the field in this tournament, has played internationally throughout the winter and looks to be on decent form. He’s also skilled off the tee, which is what the venue, the Plantation Course at Kapalua, rewards most. I feel confident going into the first golf event of the year with these two bets in my account.

Non-football Play (10-5, $2,182): Philadelphia 76ers -104 moneyline vs. Miami Heat on Christmas Day (Boyd Sports)

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Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid reacts after a score by Tobias Harris in the first half during Game 2 in the first round of the NBA basketball playoffs against the Brooklyn Nets, Monday, April 17, 2023, in Philadelphia.

$208 to win $200

No hyperbole, Philadelphia has been the best team in the NBA this season. There’s only a short list of teams it should be underdogs to, and Miami is not among them. Unless some negative injury news strikes in the next 48 hours — and it is possible with Joel Embiid having missed Saturday’s practice after De’Anthony Melton and Patrick Beverley didn’t play on Friday — the 76ers will close a decent-sized favorite. I’m willing to take that risk, and lock in what should be a fantastic number by the time this game rolls around Christmas evening. Embiid should play, and Philadelphia should win a ninth game in its last 10 outings.

Sunday Sweats year to date: 58-52, $5,196

Weekend betting column year to date: 172-178-4, $13,715

Weekend betting column all-time: 650-682-11, $32,244 

Previous pending wagers: Texas to win the College Football Playoff at 30-to-1 ($100 to win $3,000); Tanner Mordecai to win the Heisman Trophy at 200-to-1 ($30 to win $6,000); LSU to win the College Football Playoff at 20-to-1 ($150 to win $3,000); Philadelphia Eagles to win Super Bowl 58 at 9-to-1 ($300 to win $2,700); Nolan Smith to win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year at 20-to-1 ($100 to win $2,000); Kansas to win 2024 NCAA Tournament at 14-to-1 ($200 to win $2,800); Buffalo Bills at 10-to-1 to win Super Bowl 58 ($100 to win $1,000); Lamar Jackson to win NFL MVP ($150 to win $2,700); Ohio State to win the College Football Playoff at 8-to-1 ($350 to win $2,800); Carson Beck to win the Heisman Trophy at 30-to-1 ($100 to win $3,000) Edmonton Oilers to win 2024 Stanley Cup Final at 12-to-1 ($250 to win $3,000); Anthony Richardson to win Offensive Rookie of the Year at 9-to-1 ($200 to win $1,800); Zay Flowers to win Offensive Rookie of the Year at 30-to-1 ($65 to win $1,950); Miami Dolphins to not make the playoffs at +105 ($300 to win $315); Cleveland Cavaliers to win Central division at 3-to-1 ($300 to win $900); Derrick Henry to lead the NFL in rushing yards at +850 ($200 to win $1,950); Justin Herbert to lead the NFL in passing yards at +550 ($200 to win $1,100); San Francisco 49ers to win the NFC West at -165 ($660 to win $400); Jacksonville Jaguars to win the AFC South at -190 ($570 to win $300); Tampa Bay Buccaneers NOT to make the playoffs at +120 ($200 to win $240); Boston Celtics to win the NBA in-season tournament at +950 ($200 to win $1,900); Victor Wembanyama to win NBA Rookie of the Year at +125 ($400 to win $500); AJ Brown to win Offensive Player of the Year at 18-to-1 ($100 to win $1,800); Rudy Gobert to win NBA Defensive Player of the Year at 5-to-1 ($300 to win $1,500); Tyreek Hill to win Offensive Player of the Year at Even money ($500 to win $500); South Carolina women’s basketball to win NCAA Tournament at +450 ($400 to win $1,800); Denver Broncos -5.5 vs. New England Patriots in Week 15 ($220 to win $200)

Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or

Article written by #LasVegasSun