Mike Carlson delivers another trio of bets for a big weekend of NFL action...
"Are the Packers more than a TD better at home against Washington? I think so."
Someone needs to stick a Thanksgiving turkey fork into The Abomination That Is Thursday Night Football before someone else gets hurt. Banged-up Denver flying into banged up Cleveland on a short week was always a recipe for what we got, saved only by D'Ernest Johnson running like D'Man. He's done this before, but it never translates into a regular diet of regular carries, but 22/146 maybe ought to open some eyes somewhere.
I wonder why Denver didn't give rookie Javonte Williams more than 4 carries, but after last week when both Tampa and Philly admitted they had not actually practised before their contest, can someone please take the hint? At least the under stayed cool...despite Case Keenum!
The Raiders and Titans messed me up last week; I'll need to avoid recency bias this week as both have competitive games in a week where five teams with 3-3 records or better are on byes. But Baltimore came through easily and the Chiefs not so easily, justifying my using a bonus bet in the column to finish 2-2!
Sunday 18:00 - Cincy-Baltimore might be a classic
Cincinnati (4-2) at Baltimore (5-1)
You would not have thought so at the start of the season but this might well be the weekend's best game. You look at the Ravens seeming to transform into more of a passing team, and that will test the Bengal D, while after a superb performance against Justin Herbert, the Raven D will be primed to work on confusing Herbert's fellow 2020 draftee Joe Burrow, with Marlon Humprhey likely taking JaMarr Chase.
Value Bet: Mark Andrews anytime TD scorer @ 2.35/4
Carolina (3-3) at NY Giants (1-5)
Dave Gettleman Bowl! Watching OBJ struggle last night might lead you to think Gettleman's unloading him to Cleveland for Jabrill Peppers and two draft picks who became Dexter Lawrence and Oshane Ximines was a masterstroke, but look at their record. And wonder what the Giants would take for Peppers right now. On the podcast I recommended the Panthers -3 at evs as a good value bet, but the line has shifted to the standard 9/10. Even so I still like Carolina.
Washington (2-4) at Green Bay (5-1)
The spread has dropped from 9.5 to 7.5 since Wednesday, which indicates bettors figured WTF could keep it under a TD and FG. At 7.5 you're still requiring the same margin from the Pack (unless you think they'll get a safety) but it looks a lot better. Are they more than a TD better at home against WTF? I think so.
Outside Bet: Green Bay (-7.5) @ 1.910/11
Kansas City (3-3) at Tennessee (4-2)
This is the craziest line of the week. The Titans after a home Monday night win over the Bills are still 4.5 home dogs to the Chiefs who were less than impressive while covering at Historic FedEx Field against WTF. I put the Bills loss down primarily to their inability to get early TDs and force the Titans into catch-up. The Chiefs can do that, and need to because stopping Derrick Henry will be a challenge for them. That 4.5 was 5.5 on Wednesday, but you're still factoring the Titans keeping a possible loss to under a TD, whereas you could look at them as possible winners at 9/5.
The question is whether you think the Chiefs' offense can click early enough, rather than wait for the Superman Comeback from Mahomes.
Atlanta (2-3) at Miami (1-5)
The Dolphins with no bye week after the red eye to London might raise some eyebrows if they're not too exhausted to do that, especially with the Falcons rested and ready after their bye.
NY Jets (1-5) at New England (2-4)
The Pats are able to hold games close, but not to close them out. That's why the Jets +7 might be better than it looks, especially since you know they've been preparing Zach Wilson all through the bye week for what a Belichick D might do to him. There's also that thing of both New York teams messing you up when you decide to bet against both of them. But I think the Pats can cover.
Sunday 21:05 - Raiders have got this...
Detroit (0-6) at LA Rams (5-1)
Matt Stafford/Jared Goff Bowl! Dan Campbell's prediction that the Lions would be getting up off their knees to fight was correct; they've spent a lot of time on their knees. His calling out Goff this week, as if the team's losses were his fault, or as if the Lions (and their GM, Brad Holmes, who came over from the Rams) didn't know what they were getting, is absurd. In a fairy tale, Goff would rise to the occasion just to prove Campbell wrong, but Campbell isn't coaching in a fairy tale but a parody version of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, in which he is the limbless Black Knight.
Philadelphia (2-4) at Las Vegas (4-2)
Gruden Who? Now Jon Gruden says the "truth will come out". I suppose he needs the attention after Vegas won on the road in Denver without him. The Eagles might pressure Carr up the middle, but I still like the Raiders to cover.
Best Bet: Back Las Vegas (-3) @ 1.910/11
Sunday 21:25 - Two huge handicaps in late games
Chicago (2-4) at Tampa (5-1)
The Bucs can stop the run, and the Bears are a running team, albeit with Justin Fields doing a good bit of that. I warned against the backdoor cover by the Eagles a week ago Thursday, and with the spread up to 12.5 I'd be wary of the Bears to possibly do the same.
Houston (1-5) at Arizona (6-0)
DHop/JJ Bowl! Those old Texans may enjoy this one, but I actually worry about Houston's being able to cover 17.5 once the Cards get going.
Sunday Night Football (01:20 Monday) - Low total likely
Indianapolis (2-4) at San Francisco (2-3)
My podcast best bet was this one going over 44.5 and that's down to 44 now. So you could stick with that recommendation.
Monday Night Football (01:15 Tuesday) -
New Orleans (3-2) at Seattle (2-4)
Seattle was getting 5.5 Wednesday and that's down to 4.5 with the over/under dropping from 43.5 to 42.5. This is really a defensive battle, with Jameis Winston's ability to avoid turnovers against Geno Smith's relative limitations as a backup starting. Even so I think going over here could work.
Bye Week: Buffalo (4-2), Dallas (5-1), LA Chargers (4-2), Minnesota (3-3), Pittsburgh (3-3)
It's an odd group. The Bills are supposed in the elite of the AFC but have two losses in games they should have won. Dallas and the Chargers have been better than expected, but the loss to the Ravens slowed down LA's opportunity to gain ground on the Chiefs. The Steelers (who beat Buff in week one) and Vikings are both the kind of teams that could sneak into the playoffs for a one and done.
BYE BYE WEEK: Jacksonville (1-5): The Jags might have saved Urban Meyer's job but only until the next tipping point.
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