NFL Tipsheet Week Nine: Turmoil at Browns makes Kansas handicap attractive
Our man Mike Carlson scraped through his last Wembley bet of the year, winning with only .5 point to spare. This week he offers his insight on the best, most valuable and outsider bet for the NFL.
"With all the turmoil going on in Cleveland, I don't really have much faith in Gregg Williams to either have this team game-plan ready for the Chiefs."
Wembley turned up big time for us last week. If you took the value bets going under at half time and full time with the Eagles and Jags you were Golden Tate (the Lions' receiver who's joined Phildelphia during this week's bye). Given that the best bet Panthers came through as home dogs against the Ravens, although in such fashion that my preference for the under turned out to be wrong, and that my outsider bets on the Colts and Saints, both on the road, also delivered (though the Saints missed the over, as did the Jets and Bears in the windy Windy City) it was not a bad week.
And since the NFL is the NFL, this week is looking even better than last in terms of excitement, with two big games. Everyone knew the week nine match up of Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady in Foxborough was going to be a hype-fest, that's why it's the Sunday Night Game, but the NFC playoff rematch between the Rams and Saints, this time in New Orleans, is even better than anyone expected it would be. With the Rams unbeaten and the Saints 6-1 with six wins on the trot. Those are the spotlight games, but maybe your attention should be diverted from the brightest lights.
Kansas City to take advantage of Brown town
With all the turmoil going on in Cleveland, I don't really have much faith in Gregg Williams to either have this team game-plan ready for the Chiefs. I suspect they will try to keep it simple offensively rather than open it up, because frankly they don't have the weapons to attack a Chiefs' D that can be vulnerable) nor to be able to stop them defensively (because I think, despite the talent in the Browns' D, Williams' tactics are too one-dimensional and predictable so Andy Reid ought to be able to take advantage of that, especially given Pat Mahomes' ability to evade the rush. I think 8 is a pretty stingy spread, which leads me to recommend this one without much hesitation.
Pats' D won't keep out Rodgers and the gang
Yes it's at Foxboro at night on a Sunday, and it will be cold, but the Pats had a run of 38 point games before getting 33 (including a defensive TD) against Buffalo, but without a run game to speak. I am assuming Sony Michel does play, so I am looking at last week's Packer/Ram total of 56 and thinking the Pats' D will have more problems with Green Bay than the Rams. I picked the Pats to win straight up, but +5 is kind of a dead number for the Pack to be getting so I'm staying away from that. I'm a little tempted to go Under 60 in the Rams/Saints matchup, but at 9/10 that's more an outside bet.
Pittsburgh can cover on physicality
I would like this much better at 3, but this is the kind of game where you can see various scenarios. These teams usually play each other close, and the Ravens are good at dragging you down to a real physical battle, rather than a shootout, which Pittsburgh would prefer. Though they can play physical, they do miss Ryan Shazier to plug the holes. But I can see them looking at the Panthers' tape and thinking James Connor can do a lot of this stuff and Ben, although he's no threat to run, can mix the ball up. This game could come down to Justin Tucker's usual magic, but if it's that close, this may be the way to make closeness pay.