Is the NFL really in the second half of the season already? For those bettors who are winning, the season is racing toward the finish line. And for those who are losing, the football year has probably been a slow, painful grind. However, there is no need to worry, because the NFL has plenty of games left to be played before January that will provide bettors ample opportunity to continue winning or to take a bankroll from the red into the black.
The second half of the football season is a great time to bet on the sport because bettors have weeks of games to reference and an understanding of every team's motivation. At this point in the year there are five teams with excellent playoff chances (New England, Cincinnati, Denver, Arizona and Carolina), eight teams that are all but eliminated, and 19 with some sort of postseason hope. Let's take a closer look at which teams have the potential to be great ATS bets heading into the second half of the football year.
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Oakland Raiders 5-3 ATS
Let's not go overboard on the Raiders just because they are .500, but with few teams in the AFC standing out at the moment, Oakland is still in the playoff mix. The team probably won't catch the 7-1 Denver Broncos. However, no wild card prospect has separated itself, and the Raiders are in the race to grab one of those positions. The keys to Oakland's potential ATS success will be its schedule and underrated offense. Quarterback Derek Carr has emerged as a solid option behind center with the potential to grow into something great. Overall, the Raiders are ranked seventh in points scored and eighth in passing and total yards. Expect Oakland to continue to shine during the second half of the year.
New York Jets 4-3-1 ATS
The Jets aren't a great ATS team at the moment, but the potential is there for a second-half run, particularly with wild card spots still up for grabs. Defensively, the team is at the top of the heap and is ranked first in the NFL against the run. On offense, New York is a middle-of-the-pack group, and it falls in the 14 to 17 range in most major categories. The Jets ATS potential comes from the fact that they have winnable games coming up over the next few weeks, and if they can continue to get some production on offense then the defense will help keep scores low and cover spreads.
New Orleans Saints 4-4-1
New Orleans playoff hopes might be done since the NFC's wild card picture is a bit tougher than the AFC's. The team's offense, however, has been on fire over the last four weeks with an average of 34 points per game, which resulted in three straight wins and four victories in six matchups. The Saints are also 3-2 as an underdog and 2-1-1 against their totals over the last four games. Their defense is an entirely different matter and is ranked in the Bottom 5 in four major categories. The best way to approach the team from a betting standpoint is to look for New Orleans as an underdog and "overs".
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Read more articles by George Monroy
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