Week 5; Sunday night previews

The Bears moved to 4-1 on Thursday night after beating the Buccs by a point. They’re not good on offense but the defense has been doing their job and getting them wins, 4 wins with a point differential of +5 is somewhat impressive. The Bucs dropped to 3-2 on the year. The Bears are still yet to score in the 3rd quarter so my 3rd qtr handicap bet landed. No Brate TD despite 50+ yards for him.

Another mixed up week in the NFL with covid infecting the schedule once more. Due to the Titans players not giving a fuck about the virus and doing whatever the hell they want the Bills v Titans game has, for now, moved to Tuesday night, while the Broncos v Patriots is now early Monday night.

Cardinals -7 @ Jets: 47

Fuck the Cardinals. I’m not really sure what to make of them this year, they beat a healthy 49ers in the opener, but have since lost to the Lions and the Panthers. They look poor on the ground and the passing game is pretty much all Nuk. Kyler Murray has roughly half of their rushing yards this season and 4 rushing TDs, of course he didn’t get one last week when I backed him.

This isn’t a good spot for them either, they planned on staying out East for the week between these two games but covid changed that so it’s a second long trip for an early kick off. A spot they have typically struggled. BUT they’re playing the fucking Jets. So… yeah.

The only thing Adam Gase has achieved this year is not being the first coach sacked. Somehow. They’re horrible to watch and are without their starting QB this week as Darnold sits out with injury, so Superbowl MVP Joe Flacco gets the start. The spread moved maybe half a point on the news, so the bookies consider pretty much a neutral move.

They’ve been decimated on offense, starting Braxton Berrios and Lawrence Cager isn’t good. LeVeon Bell should be back this week, not entirely convinced that’s a good thing for them, but he’s at least shown talent in his career.

Jets have a -66 pt differential through 4 games, averaging 16 points on offense. Cardinals games have yet to go over the total, 3 unders and a push last week while the Jets have been involved in 3 overs.

You’d be stupid to back the Jets so got to lean to the Cardinals, and over on the total.

I’ve done a more in-depth preview over on Sportsbookreview: Cardinals v Jets

Panthers +1.5 @ Falcons: 54

The Carolina Panthers go to Atlanta on a two-game win streak after beating the Chargers in LA and the Cardinals last week. I wasn’t convinced by their performance against the Chargers, but they were never in trouble against the Cards last week. Both of their wins have come without Christian McCaffrey in the line-up, RB’s don’t matter?

Mike Davis has slotted into the CMcC spot well with 21 touches in each of the games they’ve won, used on the ground and through the air, of course the game with his fewest receptions was last week when I took the over but he’s kept the offense ticking and they haven’t really missed a beat.

Robby Anderson had history with head coach Matt Rhule and he seems to have taken the main role in the passing game away from DJ Moore who a lot of people highly rated in the off-season. Anderson has at least 5 receptions and 55 yards in each game so far, just the 1 score though. Moore has 100 fewer yards this year and Curtis Samuel has been efficient on his 4.5 targets per game. They’ve only thrown 4 TDs this year so it seems foolish to take any of them to score despite a great matchup, Robby has double the Redzone targets of the other receivers.

The Falcons can’t keep leads. They’re down 6 DBs and they can’t defend. They’ve won the first half in 2 of 4 games but have scored a maximum of 13 points in second halves this year. Worryingly for them they could be without their two main receivers this week as Julio and Calvin Ridley were both banged up against the Packers on Monday night. I think they’d be better letting Julio rest to be honest, hamstring injuries linger. It’s probably a healthy dose of Russell Gage, Olamide Zaccheus, Chrstian Blake? Despite all the hand-wringing over their WR group, it’s not deep.

Todd Gurley scored a couple last week to take himself to 4 on the season. He’s looked fine, that’s about all I can say on him, averaging around 4 YPC, a minimum of 14 carries per game, he does the job. Brian Hill is getting carries each week too.

Surely the Falcons win a game at some point? The spread on this has the Panthers rated better than them, I’m not sure I can agree on that. Lean to Falcons covering, should go over the points.

Bengals +12.5 @ Ravens

The Bengals are 1-2-1 and have scored as many points as they’ve conceded. They’ve covered the spread in 3/4 with every game decided by a score or less. Obviously I’ve watched every minute of their games this year and it’s been a mixed bag.

The numbers are skewed by the Browns game, but they’re still poor against the run, and going against the best rushing team in the league from last year will probably prove somewhat painful for me to watch.

Offensively they’ve improved week on week, the last two weeks they’ve reduced their targeting of AJ Green who hasn’t been able to get separation on the opposing best CBs and has caught fewer than half his 33 targets so far this season, so, with an talented rookie QB under center they’ve moved the ball around to the open receivers and have looked a lot better on offense. Last week Boyd, Higgins, Sample, Mixon and AJ Green had at least 5 targets each and Tyler Boyd once again led the team in receiving yards, he’s had 72+ in each of their last 3 games. Higgins has seen an increase in recent weeks and has seen redzone targets as well, he’s on the up.

They finally got Joe Mixon going and he rewarded the team with 3 TDs last week, strange that good things happen when you give your best player the ball more. He’s had at least 19 touches in each week but the lack of use on third downs and in the passing game has been a bone of contention for Bengals fans. He caught all 6 of his targets last week. Last week was positive game-script which won’t happen much this year, I’ve got to pray they saw the good and use him more in probably a negative game-script this week.

The Ravens have scored in every quarter they’ve played this season, something only they and the Packers have achieved. They sit at 3-1 after their home defeat to the Chiefs having scored 30+ in all of their wins this season. They’re soft-track bullies. They smash the poor teams but struggle against the better ones.

It’s a weird one with the Ravens because they’ve been good, but just not to the standard they set last year. Lamar Jackson has been fine, 7 TDs, 68% completion percentage, QBR ranks him 6th and at least 45 rushing yards in each game so far. Better than most QBs in the league. Worth mentioning he missed 2 practises this week with a knee, so might be slowed a little.

They are really tough to figure out on offense as they’ve got so much talent and spread the ball around all of them. The running back group is a 3-headed monster, Mark Ingram seems the 1, then Gus Edwards and JK Dobbins behind him. They’re averaging 30 rush attempts per game, the highest single game carries for any single RB is 10. Good luck predicting anything here.

The passing game isn’t that clear either, Marquise Brown has 16 receptions on the year and is probably the one, but unless he takes it in from 25 yards out he’s unlikely to score. Willie Snead and Myles Boykin have 10 receptions apiece, Devin Duvernay gets some usage as well. Snead is the one WR to have found the endzone so far.

Mark Andrews is the go-to man in the redzone, and he’s scored 4 of their receiving TDs this year, 2 in the opener and 2 last week where he bounced back from a ton of drops vs the Chiefs. They like the big lads where it counts with Nick Boyle chipping in with one too.

Lamar Jackson torched the Bengals on the ground last year and their pass rush will get home consistently once they get ahead and make the Bengals throw. However I think the Bengals will keep it fairly close, Joe Burrow looks so calm and runs the catchup offense very well.

Might be a homer pick but I think the Bengals cover the spread, total over.

Jaguars +5.5 @ Texans: 54.5

The Jaguars are who we thought they were, after a shock win in week one they’ve lost 3 in a row to powerhouses such as the Dolphins and the Bengals. Last week was a good spot for them but they ended up losing by 8 and it should have been more.

In fairness they look OK on offense, they’ve found a decent RB in James Robinson who can also catch the ball as well, DJ Chark scored twice and Laviska Shenault is going to cause problems for opposing teams this year. But they lost CJ Henderson and Myles Jack in last weeks game and that was the end for their D really. They’re the first team all year to not take advantage of the Bengals offensive line finishing with zero sacks.

Only won 1 first qtr, 1 first half this season.

The Texans are probably the first 0-4 6-point favourites in history, but they should play with a bounce in their step after Bill O’Brien was fired in the week, apparently JJ Watt had raised his voice over the coaching, so despite winning the South in 4 of the last 5 years it seems things became too strained in that locker room.

It’s tough to judge the Texans after the start they’ve had, but they’ve not covered in any game and the defeat to the Vikings last week was particularly damning although they very nearly tied it up at the end of the game.

Will Fuller has been the main man in the passing game with 273 yards so far this year, he had 108 and a score last week while Brandin Cooks had ZERO receptions. Kenny Stills got a score and I think he looks good when he plays but they don’t seem to like him.

David Johnson has been getting the carries at RB with BO’B possibly trying to prove his trade right, but I’m hopeful he keeps his role with Duke Johnson back from injury now. Tight end Jordan Akins left the game last week so Darren Fells gets a bump, he’s usually the one targeted in scoring positions anyway.

They’re allowing a hell of a lot of rushing yards, so a decent line on James Robinson will probably be worth taking.

I don’t have much on the Texans really, they’re clearly the better team in this matchup, and with the coaching change, despite going to a 75 year old, I’m hopeful they get a bounce and play better.

Texans cover. Total goes over.

Raiders +11 @ Chiefs: 55.5

The Raiders finished closer than they should have done when hosting the Bills last week, but they weren’t terrible despite missing their top 2 WRs. Henry Ruggs was one of those to and he seems to be trending towards being back but Bryan Edwards will probably miss out again.

They’re 2-2 coming into this one having lost the last two against the Pats and Bills. Derek Carr wasn’t amused and shouted out how pissed off he was at losing. He’s been playing efficiently but without too much explosivity.

Josh Jacobs looked good in the opener against the Panthers, where he scored his only 3 TDs of the season, he’s had a ton of carries without any efficiency so far averaging 3.6 per carry this year. He looks better than the stats suggest and has been involved in the passing game as well at least 3 receptions per week.

Darren Waller has carried on where he left off last year leading the team in receptions and yards so far this season while Hunter Renfrow has stepped up with Ruggs and Edwards out of the team 141 yards in their last two games. The likes of Nelson Agholor and Zay Jones were involved with Agholor scoring his second TD of the season while Jason Witten found the endzone as well in their last game.

The Chiefs are 3-1 ATS and covered an 11 point spread against the Raiders last year and look to do the same this week, they’ve not been as impressive as I’d have expected but have only really had one game they’ve had to try in and they dealt with the Ravens easily.

Just the 1,134 yards and 11 TDs for Mahomes through the air this season, with at least 2 in each game and a rushing TD to boot. He’s actually used his legs a lot this year with at least 26 yards in each of the last 3 games.

I said it last week and I’ll say it again but I don’t think Clyde will score many rushing TDs this year, he’s just not got the physique to be that kind of player on the ground, he’s averaging 4.3 per carry and he’s shifty, but that doesn’t help at the goal line. He’s been involved through the air, of course finishing a yard under his line last week on 27 yards, his fewest rec. yards in three games.

Tyreek Hill got his usual score against the Pats on Monday night, he’s scored in every game this year, while Travis Kelce leads them in receptions as he usually does. Sammy Watkins is involved, mostly between the 20s while Mecole Hardman has scored in back to back games with 4 catches in each, maybe getting more involved finally?

Chiefs cover, high total, I’d lean under.

Rams -7 @ Washington: 46.5

The Rams travel back across the country again after 2 trips in a row, travelling home for a home win they go back to the east coast to take on thee Washington football team. It’s not a good spot for them, but they’re not playing a good team, so they should be fine.

It looks like they’ll welcome back Cam Akers tonight to add to Darrel Henderson and Malcolm Brown in the backfield, making all of them useless in fantasy and from a betting angle as we won’t know who will get the ball. The passing game has been efficient and spread around as well, they were slowed by the Giants last week barring a 50 yard TD to Cooper Kupp who has scored in consecutive games now.

Washington changed QB this week after giving up on Dawyne Haskins relegating him to 3rd string and giving Kyle Allen a go at QB. Not many people think it’s an upgrade but the coaches know him from Carolina and believe he’ll run their system better than Haskins did. It probably means more short passes so Antonio Gibson should be in for an increased workload – His reception line is set at 2.5 which seems an easy over.

Not much to talk about here, it’s not going to be one I’ll be paying attention to.

Rams win and cover. Nothing on the total.

Eagles +7 @ Steelers: 44.5

The battle of Pennsylvania. I’ve done a full, serious SBR preview for this one. So I’ll use my preview to confess my love for the classiest franchise in the league.

The Steelers have looked brilliant this year blowing away the likes of the Giants, the Broncos who lost Drew Lock and the mighty Texans in some dominating performances, yes those teams may have only one win between them this season, but those wins were emphatic. Their fans are butthurt that they had to take a bye last week but it means the amazing Diontae Johnson had the week to get out of concussion protocol and they come into this one fully fit.

Their league-leading pass rush unit should feast on Carson Wentz’s soul tonight as I don’t see any way the offensive line manages to stop TJ Watt, Stephon Tuitt or Cam Hayward. He’s going to hurt. The Eagles D-Line is the best unit they’ve got too but will find it tougher against a stunning Steelers offensive line who are mostly back to health this week.

The Eagles may welcome back Alshon Jeffery and possibly Deshaun Jackson but they’ll struggle against one of the most impressive secondaries of our lifetime.

Carson Wentz has rushed for a TD in his last 3 games. He’s 6/1 to repeat that, but this Steelers team is destined for the Superbowl so it won’t be easy for them.

Steelers win and cover by a million. Total goes over, mainly because they’ll put up a 50 burger by themselves.

Dolphins +9 @ 49ers: 52

The Dolphins hung with the Seahawks for a lot of the game last week before allowing a 30 second TD drive at the end of the first half which swung the momentum, but they weren’t embarrassed and should take positives from that one.

Saying that I don’t have a whole lot to talk about for them really. Myles Gaskin is the man at RB but wasn’t as involved as I expected in the passing game last week, he’s average on the ground and Jordan Howard has been getting the goal-line carries so far.

Preston Williams has been usurped by Isaiah Ford as the WR2 while Devante Parker put up some good numbers again last week, Mike Gesicki is hit or miss, either 100 yards and a TD or 1 for 15 yards, so I’m done backing him.

The 49ers gave the Eagles their first win last week but that game could have gone either way and their QB play cost them the game. That shouldn’t be an issue this week with Jimmy Garoppolo back from injury. They should have Deebo Samuel healthier too adding some more explosiveness to their pass catching group, and Raheem Mostert isn’t far off playing either, listed as questionable for this one.

49ers win but I think the Dolphins keep it close and cover. Lean under on the total but nowhere near betting it.

Colts -1 @ Browns: 48

Finally a game which looks like it could go either way. The 3-1 Colts travel north to take on the 3-1 Browns. It’s a tough one to call and I could pick apart both teams based on the opposition they’ve faced so far.

The Colts really should be undefeated, the loss to the Jags in week one was statistically improbable and they’ve bounced back well from it, mostly on the back of a very solid defense currently ranked #1 by DVOA. It makes my job more difficult here though as they’ve not really had to do a whole lot on offense.

Philip Rivers has been fine, and kept clean for the first time in his career, only sacked 3 times this year. He’s right around the middle of the league in QBR and yards, has only thrown 4 TDs this year though, 1 in each game this year. My man Big Mo has caught half of them and looks like he’ll be the main red-zone weapon. TY Hilton hasn’t done anything so far, much like AJ Green at the Bengals, he may well be past his prime.

They want to base their game on the run and have been using Jonathan Taylor to do that, 17 carries for him last week. He’s a tough one to fully judge so far though as they’ve been able to take him out of the game in 4th quarters and keep him fresh. I think they’ll load him up tonight, 20+ carries if the defense keeps it tight at the other side.

Myles Garrett vs the best offensive line in football is going to be a heck of a show for us in the trenches.

The Browns beat the Bengals, Washington and a terrible Cowboys defense last week. They deserve to have won all 3 of them, but do they really deserve the hype they’ve got for those wins? Putting up 49 points on AMERICAS TEAM was always going to get attention. I honestly don’t know what to make of them to be honest.

They want to be run first as well though rushing for over 200 yards against the Bengals and over 300 vs the Cowboys last week despite losing Nick Chubb in the first quarter of that game, Kareem Hunt and D’Ernest Johnson stepped up and gave the ‘boys a bloody nose. I think Hunt will take the Chubb role, but behind him I’ve got a sneaky feeling there may be more Dontrell Hilliard than Ernie, especially on third downs. I may be utterly wrong, but that’s my feelings on the backfield.

Baker has been similar to Rivers this year really, hasn’t been asked to win games for them, just to manage things and not give the ball away. He’s only topped 200 yards once this year. It’s been working for them though so I don’t see any reason for them changing that for this game. Odell Beckham had 3 TDs last week, one from Landry, one rushing and a short one from Baker. They’ll be looking for him to carry on that form tonight.

Should be a whole lot of rushing in this one. I expect some long long drives, grinding things out. So I’ve got to take the unders despite the line ticking up from 47 yesterday

Darius Leonard being out is a big loss for the Colts defense, especially stopping the run. I still think the Colts win this one, but it’s probably a coin-flip so won’t be taking either side

Giants +8 @ Cowboys: 52.5

Every team has got right on offenses against the Cowboys this season, they have been abused, but have the Giants got the ability to do the same? Fuck knows, they’ve been dismal, although they have faced some good defenses.

Daniel Jones has thrown 2 TDs this season. That’s… not good. At least 1 INT in each game, but on the positive side for him at least he’s not fumbled it this year as he did a lot last season. It makes the whole offense tough to have any faith in. They just haven’t got going so far, Evan Engram has been the most targeted player, 10 for him last week, Darius Slayton will add a downfield threat. He either does nothing or scores twice. My bold shout is that the latter will happen here. The run game has been terrible, Devonta Freeman at least looks like he’s the lead back but hasn’t run well so far.

The Cowboys are hilariously 1-3 because they can’t keep the ball safe and they can’t defend. They’ve been fumbling a hell of a lot. But they’ve got the offense to put up a shit-ton of points and Dak Prescott is on target for over 7,000 yards after 502 against the Browns last week.

Amari Cooper is famously hit or miss but seems to have been reliable so far this season, when you’re passing 50+ times a game numbers will be inflated of course. A minimum of 81 yards for his this year, just the 1 TD though. It looks like CeeDee Lamb is probably the WR2 there now, he gets the mid-range targets and has done a lot with them while Michael Gallup has the most air-yards of them and probably isn’t far off having a massive game despite having the lesser numbers of the three so far this year. Dalton Schultz has stepped into Blake Jarwins slot well.

Zeke has been running pretty well too, frustratingly didn’t get a TD last week, that went to Tony Pollard who’s been getting a fair bit of use as they have to come back from 20 pts down each week, Zeke caught all 8 of his targets last week.

I think the Giants put up some points for the first time this year, they’ve faced the Steelers, Bears, 49ers and Rams, some of the better defenses in the league (although the game vs the 49ers was an embarrassment) – They now get the worst D in the league. But they won’t be able to stop the Cowboys scoring at the other end.

Cowboys win, over the total

Vikings +6.5 @ Seahawks: 56.5

Sunday night football should have a huge amount of points as neither of these teams seem to know how to defend so far this year. The Vikings young defense has really struggled although showed a bit of fight last week while the Seahawks have been pretty poor themselves on that side of the ball.

The Vikings ideally want to run and Dalvin Cook has looked great so far this year leading the league in rushing yards after consecutive 100 yard games, he’s averaging 5.7 per carry and has scored at least once in each game this year. He’s great. Alexander Mattison isn’t bad either as backup to him.

They seem to have figured out the passing game by moving Justin Jefferson outside and using him as a deep threat rather than in the slot where he was used most of the time in college. He’s put up good numbers, 95 yards last week where all 4 of his receptions were for 20 yards or more. Adam Thielen has been in good form too and is still obviously the most targeted player for Kirk Cousins.

The Seahawks always used to be a run-first offense but have switched it up this year letting Russell Wilson do his thing earlier in games and it’s worked well for them winning and covering in every game this season so far. It’s put him to the top of the market in MVP betting and for good reason, he’s on target for 64 TDs this year…

He’s spread the ball around well too, it’s mainly Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf who looks like he’s a proper WR1 in this league, but the likes of David Moore and Greg Olsen have had a lot of targets as well. My boy Moore looks great on deep shots and scored his second TD of the season last week.

Chris Carson was back last week and found endzone twice as well, he’s a punishing rusher and ground down the Dolphins for his first rushing scores to add to his 3 receiving TDs. Carlos Hyde missed out last week so Travis Homer came in for passing downs and found the endzone himself at a decent price.

This should again be a high scoring game, so take your pick on TD scorers and player props.

I’ve got to take the Seahawks winning and probably covering. Kirk Cousins doesn’t do well in prime-time games and I’m not sure they Vikings D will be able to keep it close enough. – Hawks win and cover, total goes over.

Bets.

Spread

  • Texans -5.5
  • Cardinals -7
  • Seahawks -6.5

Player Props

  • Tyler Boyd o60.5 rec. yards – 1.83 (Skybet/365)
  • Deandre Hopkins o6.5 receptions – 2.2 (365)
  • Antonio Gibson o3.5 receptions – 2.25 (365)

TD Scorers

  • Mark Andrews – 2.1 (Skybet)
  • Darius Slayton anytime – 3.75 (365)
  • Darius Slayton 2 or more – 21.00 (365) – 1pt
  • Laviska Shenault anytime – 4.25 (888)

Good Luck with whatever you’re on this week.

It was National Mental Health day over the weekend, if you win this week please consider donating to someone like Mind who do some great work. It’s OK to not be OK, if you’re struggling try and talk to someone, it helps.

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