Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions
Sunday September 21, 18:00
Live on Sky Sports 2
It's the battle of the flat-track bullies. Both Green bay and Detroit have inflicted some serious offensive damage upon one of their thus-far two opponents this year. Green Bay came from behind to beat the Jets last week, with receiver Jordy Nelson amassing a ridiculous career-high 209 yards. Detroit handed out there drubbing in Week One, when they smashed the Giants 35-14.
But those victories came against mediocre defensive opposition. By contrast both teams were exposed in their other games to date, with the Packers left blunted 36-16 by a sharp Seattle secondary, while the Lions failed to roar in a 24-7 loss in Carolina.
These two bullies really could land some meaty blows though in a fight against each other. Neither has much of a defense to speak of, and that should open things up for the big names on display. Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers might not be playing for the greatest team in the NFL, but he is one of the best in the game, a true superstar, and he's good enough to cut Detroit's defense to ribbons. While on the other side of the ball, Calvin Johnson is also deserving of the many plaudits he gets. Megatron is perhaps the best receiver in the game and looks almost certain to put up big numbers and find the endzone in this contest, he's that good. So with both defences in for a long afternoon, back the scoreboard to get a serious workout.
Total Points Over 51.5 @ 1.9010/11
Denver Broncos @ Seattle Seahawks
Sunday September 21, 21:25
Live on Sky Sports 2
It's been a tale of two halves from Denver in their games to date. Against both Indianapolis and Kansas the Broncos sauntered into comfortable leads, before allowing the gap to close after halftime. After Week One, I thought this was a case of Denver cruising home. But after they let Kansas get within a goal-line stand of forcing overtime last week, now I'm not so sure. What I am fairly sure about though, is that there's little value in backing Denver on the match handicap at present, given the way they've been finishing games.
By contrast, Seattle came strong late-on in their opening home game against the Packers, and stood their ground after the break, despite a rough start, against the Chargers. San Diego didn't hurt Seattle with deep passes in that game, but instead sentenced them to the death of a thousand lashes, with Philip Rivers repeatedly connecting on short routes to move the Chargers down the field, and more importantly, allow them to dominate possession.
At home, Seattle are a phenomenon, while this is Denver's first road outing of the season. The Seahawks will be smarting form last week's loss, and I think that if Peyton Manning tries to hurt the Seahawks deep, he will regret it. The price on Seattle winning is small, probably too small. And so for me, the value here lies in Denver making another quick start, only to be reeled in after half time. There's also value in going low on Manning's passing yards. He only reached 242 against Chiefs. And if the Broncos do get their noses in front, they're likely to focus on running down the clock.
Back Denver/Seattle in Half Time/Full Time market @ 7.006/1 or better
Back Peyton Manning passing yards to be Under 270.5 @ 1.9110/11 or better
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Carolina Panthers
Monday September 22, 01:30
Live on Channel 4
Mismatch alert! Unless I've missed something the 2-0 Carolina Panthers look far too good, especially with home advantage, against the 1-1 Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh are lucky to have a win to their name, having only just scraped past the Cleveland Browns, who look destined for another losing season. And their humbling 26-6 loss to Baltimore was worrying, especially given the way QB Ben Roethlisberger was manhandled by the Ravens defense. But if he thinks that was bad, then he should be seriously concerned about facing a Carolina defense that produced three takeaways, four sacks, and which held the high-octane offense of Detroit scoreless in the first half of their game last week.
By contrast, Carolina QB Cam Newton sparkled on his season debut, marking his return from injury with a 281 yard passing game. Four carries for 19 yards also suggested he feels confident enough already to attempt some of those patented scrambles. With him back under centre, the Panthers look capable of continuing their form of last season, which saw them go 7-1 at home.
The price on a home win here is just too big to ignore. So snap it up. But just in case Pittsburgh's defense rises to the occasion, cover yourself on the points market, with the chance of winning both bets still very much a contender.
Back Carolina to win @ 1.625/8
Back Total Points Under 41.5 @ 1.9720/21