NFL Tipsheet Week Eight: Can Jags or Eagles overcome curse of London?
The Wembley game was Mike Carslon's undoing last week but our man is still recommending a bet on Jacksonville v Philadelphia in London this week, as well as two other picks...
"At home the Colts would be more than three point favourites, and I think the Raiders won't have many answers for Andrew Luck's offense, and may make the young, fast Colt D look good."
Last week I was hit by the Curse of London. You may not realise it, but we have now had 24 of the NFL's International Series Games, and not one has matched two teams with winning records. Last Sunday, as the 4-2 Chargers took on the 3-3 Titans, I picked both the Eagles (3-3) and the Jaguars (3-3) to win their home games against Carolina and Houston respectively. Not only that, but I picked them as my best bets, giving five points each, which seemed reasonable, as I felt they were both easily a TD better at home.
Well you know what happened. The Eagles led 17-0 in the fourth quarter and lost. The Jags decided they really are no better than any of the other teams in their division, benched Blake Bortles, and lost. Both my best bets went bad, and both teams arrive in London with losing records. To make it worse, my straight-up picks for my Patreon site were 11-3 last week. Think about that. Two of the three games I got wrong were best bet home favourites.
New Orleans did prove to be good value, winning outright in Baltimore thanks to a missed Jason Tucker extra point. And all my outside suggestions came through: the Rams giving 10, and bucking the high points trend to cover the under, as well as the under 57.5 in the Chiefs/Bengals game. This week let's try to buck the Curse of London, or maybe the Curse of Carlson.
Panthers and Ravens set for fascinating contest
This is going to be a fascinating game: both teams with good defenses (though Baltimore's has been better on all three levels, and is especially good against the pass) and big play-makers (the Panthers need to contain John Brown's deep receiving threat; the Ravens need to keep Cam Newton in the pocket and make him beat them from there). At home, I like the Ravens getting points, though hanging around for three might be more attractive. I also like the Under (44 at 19/20) but I think you might consider taking the first-half Under (21.5 at 5/6).
Unders is way to go in Wembley match-up
Both games at Wembley have gone under that total, and this matches up two teams with defenses strong on paper and offenses that have sputtered. I expect the Eagles to have trouble running, and both teams to have trouble with sustained passing games, which adds up to trouble putting up points. Again the halftime Under (22.5 at 4/5) might be more attractive despite the shorter odds.
Colts will have too much for Raiders
At home the Colts would be more than three point favourites, and I think the Raiders won't have many answers for Andrew Luck's offense, and may make the young, fast Colt D look good. Their one lack is an outstanding pass rusher, but unless Oakland's O line has improved remarkably in the bye week, that may not be necessary.
The Saints (+1 at 9/10) at Minnesota is a real outside pick, this rematch of last year's playoff game was going the Saints' way until that miracle Stefon Diggs TD. The final score of that game was 29-24 (but 24-22 absent that freak play); last week the Vikes put up 37 on the Jets while the Saints scored 'only' 24 winning in Baltimore. So I'm thinking going Over (51.5 at 9/10) in this one. And consider the Bears vs Jets Over (44.5 at 9/10) unless it's raining and windy at Soldier Field.