NFL expert Mike Carlson backs two star quarter-backs to pile on the points in week nine, overs in the Pats v Jets and a Washington winner...
"I’m back with the overs this week and this is a game where you have to think Tom Brady and Drew Brees can revive their creaky bones and make something happen to the scoreboards."
The projected chaos of the Covid-ridden NFL season has finally come home to roost, although in any year it's around mid-season that a few teams start to slip up, whether due to injury, change in schedule, or getting used to new personnel.
For some teams it may already be too late, but they can still go on late-season runs that make them difficult opponents and sometimes save coaches. It is an NFL truism that if you start the season 6-2 and finish 8-8 you can get fired, but if you start 2-6 and finish 8-8 you might not.
Last week was a mixed bag. On Betfair's NFL Only Bettor podcast last Wednesday, we agreed on the Browns beating the Raiders, and I went with the Bills to beat the Pats laying four. If you waited on that one the line went down to three, and the bet was a push, but I called it early, much like a presidential election.
On the podcast, Kieran O'Connor, John Balfe and I take you through all the weekend's broadcast games, making picks for some and giving you information and perspective for them all.
Last week's best bet here was the Bears and Saints to go over 43.5 which paid off. The outside bet was the Bucs and Giants to go over 45, with a nod to the Bills and Pats to go over 41, and both of those came in.
My value bet of the Packers over the Vikings (and a first-half under of 26) both came up short. I went back to the Packers last night, as you'll hear on the podcast -- and they duly came through against the 49ers' JV team. But the rest of this week's slate is a poser.
Star QBs make overs the bet
I'm back with the overs this week (you can get more of that on the podcast) and this is a game where you have to think Tom Brady and Drew Brees can revive their creaky bones and make something happen to the scoreboards. Especially since Tampa Tom's live-in baby sitter, Antonio Brown, will make his Bucs debut.
All the talk is about offense, but the real strength of this Tampa team, as it was for Bruce Arians' teams in Arizona, is the defense coordinated by Todd Bowles. They have lots of talent and he uses it well, and the pick up of Steve McLendon from the Jets helped alleviate the loss of Vita Vea. The Saints traded for Kwon Alexander, but he's coming off an ankle injury and isn't likely to play until next week against his old team, the Niners. I also like Tampa (-4.5 at 10/11), especially as the line has dropped from 5.5 in midweek.
Pats can keep scoring in spite of Newton's struggles
I'm going back to the well again, feeling that the Pats offense can't get much worse than it has been, and they put up 21 against the Bills, which should have been 24 without Cam Newton's fumble. It's hard to tell what the problem is with Cam, whether it's slow recovery from Covid, a makeshift offensive line, or a lack of wide receivers (trading for Isaiah Ford from Miami may help; Ford was a seventh round draft pick last year and now becomes, unless N'Keal Harry is active, the only wideout on the Pats who actually was drafted!).
The Jest are getting rid of talent: Avery Williams joined McLendon, and became the NFL's luckiest player as he goes from 0-8 to 7-0. But I think Sam Darnold is good for a couple of scores for the Jest, and maybe one for the Pats, so a similar scoreline to the Pats/Bills game pays off.
Big week in Washington can end with good result
Washington Team Football (aka WTF) are an unlikely favourite, but it's against the Giants and the WTF defense, built around pass-rush might be just the ticket to keep Daniel Jones in check. Offensively they are still, shall we say, confused, but they are coming off a bye week with lots of time to prepare.
The over/under has gone down to 42.5 at 10/11 which may mean it's worth attacking the over here, which is something both teams might find difficult to do themselves. I also like Houston -6.5 at 10/11 at Jacksonville, simply because rookie Jake Luton is making his first start for the Jags. Good luck, son.