Bet The 'Under' For Week 16 Monday Night NFL Pick

Jason Lake

Saturday, December 20, 2014 4:10 PM UTC

Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014 4:10 PM UTC

‘Tis the season to put the UNDER in your NFL picks. The Denver Broncos offense isn’t quite as potent these days, and Monday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals should be cold and rainy.

Jason’s record after Week 15: 36-50-1 ATS, 18-26-1 Totals

Yes, the Cincinnati Bengals host the Denver Broncos this Monday night (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). Not Sunday night. Monday night. Please accept our humble apologies. But everything else about our NFL pick against the spread is worth considering when it comes to betting on the total for this contest. There will be running, and according to the weather reports, there’s a 50/50 chance of rain, too.

All we need now is a nice, high total on the NFL odds board. Let’s see… 47.5 points, down from 48.5 at the open. This is what happens when you wait until later in the week to make your football picks. We’ll probably bet the UNDER anyway, but it’ll be a good idea to catch up on any fresh news coming out of this matchup first.

We’re Talking About Practice
For those of you who are interested in Peyton Manning’s thighs, good news: Even though he went through a limited practice on Friday, he reportedly put in more work than he did on Thursday, when he only did the walk-through and stretching before hitting the trainer’s room. Manning had to miss part of last Sunday’s 22-10 victory over the San Diego Chargers (UNDER 49) after hurting his leg on a rollout play.

C.J. Anderson was able to put in a full practice, and Ronnie Hillman got in some limited work, so there’s a chance Hillman (4.2 yards per carry) could carry the ball a few times on Monday, providing the lightning to complement Anderson’s thunder (4.6 yards per carry). The focus remains on Anderson; Denver’s running game has progressed to the point where Manning is throwing less often, thus taking more time off the clock and driving the UNDER to the pay window in three straight games.

Lamur, Toujours Lamur
We’ve already pointed out how awful Cincinnati’s run defense has been this year, but Manning might have a little more incentive to throw the ball Monday night. Bengals LB Emmanuel Lamur didn’t practice on Friday because of a hamstring injury he suffered in last week’s 30-0 shellacking of the Cleveland Browns (UNDER 44). Lamur would join fellow LBs Vontaze Burfict (knee) and Jayson DiManche (forearm) on the sidelines if he can’t go.

This is great news for Denver TE Julius Thomas (41 catches, 12 TDs). Lamur’s job responsibilities include covering tight ends, and Cincinnati as a team has done a very good job of that, ranking No. 7 in defensive efficiency against that position. Safety Taylor Mays can shift to linebacker in a pinch, but it’s not ideal, especially with the other injuries the Bengals have suffered.

Hang Time
So who’s the most important Bengal on the field Monday night? For the purposes of our NFL picks, it might be punter Kevin Huber. He’s the best in the game right now, cranking out a 43.9 net yard average and dropping 40 percent of his punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. Huber was good enough coming out of the University of Cincinnati that the Bengals spent a fifth-round draft pick on him in 2009. It’ll be a crime if Huber doesn’t make the Pro Bowl this year.

While Huber’s been airing it out, Denver’s punt return game hasn’t been up to snuff this year with rookie Isaiah Burse. So the Broncos released Burse earlier this month and gave the job to Wes Welker, who hasn’t done much better. Huber could end up punting the ball quite often Monday night against the Broncos defense, and without an explosive return game, Anderson could end up spending a lot of time running between the 20s at Paul Brown Stadium.

Free NFL Pick: Bet UNDER

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