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Thread: NFL Trends and Indexes - Week 5 (Thur. Oct. 4 - Mon. Oct. 8)

  1. #16
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    Patriots' TE Rob Gronkowski (ankle) returned to practice Wednesday on a limited basis.
    Gronk is still listed as very Questionable for Thursday's game vs. Colts.
    Pointspread: Pats -10
    Total: 51

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    Colts' WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) has been ruled OUT for Week 5 at Patriots.
    Pointspread: Pats -10
    Total: 51

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    Some interesting NFL trends for the week:

    — Steelers are 2-8 vs spread in their last ten games.

    — Chargers are 2-11 vs spread in last 13 AFC West home games.

    — Minnesota is 12-3 vs spread in its last fifteen games.

    — Chiefs are 7-2 in last nine games as a home favorite.

    — 49ers are 3-10 in their last 13 games as home favorites.

    — Washington is 2-8 in game following its last ten byes.

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    TNF - Colts at Patriots
    Tony Mejia

    Indianapolis at New England (-10, 51), 8:20 pm ET, FOX/NFLN

    The Patriots bounced back from a loss in Jacksonville where they looked inferior on both sides of the ball by stomping out Miami’s illusions on Sunday.

    For the second straight season, the Patriots have started 2-2, which has welcomed in the naysayers and attracts those eager to sprinkle dirt prematurely on Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the most successful football franchise we’ve seen this century.

    The months after losing to Philadelphia in Super Bowl have been filled with drama, acrimony and speculation over trade talk and the potential retirement of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. There have been no answers over why Malcolm Butler was scratched against the Eagles or why other popular players weren’t brought back. After Matt Patricia’s Detroit defense dominated New England on Sunday night in Week 3, all the noise started up again.

    The Patriots needed to handle business last week to throw on the noise-canceling headphones, officially putting the past in the rear-view mirror now that we’re a month in and games are the primary focus.

    New England avoided hearing all about how the sky is falling by dominating the Dolphins at Gillette Stadium in a game they entered in danger of falling three games behind the pace in the AFC East had they lost. Instead, they scored the game’s first 38 points, breaking things open in the second quarter behind a pair of Tom Brady touchdown tosses and a James White TD run, one of two scores on the day. Rookie RB Sony Michel supplied the exclamation point with a 10-yard fourth-quarter TD run and wound up with 112 yards on 25 carries. He’s carved out a major role, which is fitting since September ended with the emergence of a new cast of characters.

    Beyond Michel’s emergence, Cordarrelle Patterson rattled off the big catch-and-run that was representative of exactly what the Patriots hoped he’d bring to the table with his blazing speed. Josh Gordon debuted and contributed. Even though he’s still working his way back from a hamstring injury, the attention he commands makes him an effective decoy even when he’s not getting the ball. Former Colts first-round pick Phillip Dorsett scored for the second time this season, joining Chris Hogan and White with multiple receiving touchdowns. Gronk found the end zone first to open the season but hasn’t scored since and is dealing with an ankle issue but was cleared to play on Thursday morning.

    With Julian Edelman also returning from suspension to make his season debut, there’s no longer a responsible way to say that Brady lacks weapons. There may be new faces in play, but the argument can be made that Gordon’s acquisition gives him his most talented receiver since Randy Moss, while Patterson gives him his fastest target.

    It’s easy to write that we should all forget about “Deflategate” as a driving force here, but there may still be some residue in play.

    Although this is only the second meeting between these teams since the accusation that New England’s quarterback conspired to doctor footballs in the 2014-15 AFC Championship Game was levied, that’s ancient history now.

    Consider who is involved here. Bill Belichick is a known grudge-holder. Brady doesn’t need a reason to run up a score, but he’s long been among the NFL’s most competitive performers and had to serve a four-game suspension in ’16. He hasn’t seen the Colts since. This will also be the first time the Colts come into Foxborough since the scandal, so you’re likely to see a fan base that scans the internet for slights to pack a little extra for an old accuser.

    Indianapolis is far removed from the days where it could be counted among New England’s threats. The Colts are still bringing Andrew Luck back after missing all of last season, but he looked more like his old self in Sunday’s OT loss despite losing T.Y. Hilton to an in-game injury. Luck rallied the Colts from a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit despite working with the likes of Ryan Grant, Chester Rogers and newcomers at tight end (Eric Ebron, Mo Alie-Cox) and running back (Nyheim Hines, Jordan Wilkins).

    Before Luck was injured, he was handing off to the legendary Frank Gore. He’s now working with a pair of rookies, who despite their talent, haven’t made life any easier from a continuity standpoint. This will be a learning experience for many of the Colts, who will be going through a short week situation – on the road, no less – for the first time.

    Indianapolis is expected to be missing as many as seven starters and will be entering a venue where sympathy will be hard to find. Check out the injury report below for details. There’s a chance that we could see showers throughout this game and the potential for wind gusts of over 20 miles per hour exist, which could work to the Colts’ benefit in slowing New England down. Luck is 0-5 against Brady.

    Indianapolis Colts
    Season win total: 7.5 (Over +110, Under -130)
    Odds to win AFC South: 7/1 to 10/1
    Odds to win AFC: 45/1 to 50/1
    Odds to win Super Bowl: 100/1 to 100/1

    New England Patriots
    Season win total: 11 (Over -120, Under +100)
    Odds to win AFC East: 1/4 to 1/5
    Odds to win AFC: 7/2 to 7/2
    Odds to win Super Bowl: 8/1 to 8/1

    LINE MOVEMENT

    The Patriots opened the regular season a 1-to-8 favorite to win the AFC East, which suggests an 88.9 percent chance of continuing their dominant run of 14 division titles in 15 years. Although the Dolphins got off to a great start and went up two games, New England's odds never really wavered, moving to 1/4 (80%) before improving following the weekend's conquest of the Miami. The Colts were the AFC South's biggest longshot to open the season at 4/1 and has seen that number reach 10/1 after a slow start.

    The Patriots also opened as the AFC favorite (3/1) and the Super Bowl favorite (6/1) for the entire league. Kansas City (5/2) has supplanted the Pats as the AFC's top dog, both in the standings and for futures purposes. Only the L.A. Rams (9/5) and Kansas City (6/1) have better odds than New England (8/1) to win the Super Bowl. Indianapoilis has the same odds as the Browns (50/1) to win the AFC, better than only the Raiders (100/1), Jets (150/1) and Bills (500/1).

    As far as this matchup is concerned, the Patriots were installed as a 8-point favorite when the Westgate's early numbers were announced but opened this week laying 10. There are a few 10.5's out there and we may see this dip to 9.5 in the offshore market. The total opened at 55.5 an quickly was bet down to 53/53.5 before settling in at 51. Team totals have been set up with the Patriots number at 31 and Indy's at 20.5.

    New England is a massive -500 favorite on the money line, while Indianapolis will get you +400/+425 on your investment.

    INJURY CONCERNS

    Hilton's absence for Indianapolis will make the most noise but isn't the only issue that the eam will have to overcome. Starting corner Kenny Moore and backup Quincy Wilson will miss this game with concussions, while Nate Hairston (ankle) should play, possibly doing so only because the team is so thin in the secondary. Safety Clayton Geathers, one of the top tacklers, is questionable with a knee injury, while linebacker Darius Leonard is dealing with a knee issue.

    Up front, Indy is hoping to have left tackle Anthony Castonzo make his season debut despite no practice time at all this season, so his availability is something to montior. Versatile Denzelle Good is out, away from the team due to the death of his brother earlier this week in South Carolina. Center Ryan Kelly, whose botched snap helped contribute to Sunday's loss, is questionable. Tight end Jack Doyle (hip) and RB Marlon Mack (hamstring) also remain sidelined.

    The Patriots are in much better shape entering a game on a short week, but did have to put RB Rex Burkhead and rookie LB Ja'Whaun Bentley went on injured reserve. Tackle LaAdrian Waddle (illness) and corner Eric Rowe (groin) join Gronkowski (ankle) as being questionable. Defensive linemen Danny Shelton (elbow), Geneo Grissom (ankle) and Adam Butler (leg) are also all dinged up.

    RECENT MEETINGS (New England 8-2 SU, 7-3 ATS last eight; OVER 7-2-1)

    10/18/15 New England 34-27 at Indianapolis (NE -9.5, 54.5)
    1/18/15 New England 45-7 vs. Indianapolis (NE -7, 52)
    11/16/14 New England 42-20 at Indianapolis (NE +3, 57)
    1/11/14 New England 43-22 vs. Indianapolis (NE -7, 51)
    11/18/12 New England 59-24 vs. Indianapolis (NE -10, 55)
    12/4/11 New England 31-24 vs. Indianapolis (IND +20.5, 48.5)
    11/21/10 New England 31-28 vs. Indianapolis (IND +4.5, 50)
    11/15/09 Indianapolis 35-34 vs. New England (NE +1.5, 48.5)
    11/2/08 Indianapolis 18-15 vs. New England (NE +6.5, 44)
    11/4/07 New England 24-20 at Indianapolis (IND +5, 56.5)

    PROPS

    Of the props available below at BetOnline.ag I'd ride the first score being a touchdown and will trust Indy's Adam Vinatieri to best his successor in New England, Stephen Gostkowski, for the game's longest field goal.

    Team to reach 10 points first: (Patriots -240, Colts +200)
    Team to reach 20 points first: (Patriots -330, Colts +270)
    Team to score first: (Patriots -175, Colts +155)
    Team to score last: (Patriots -140, Colts +120)
    First score: (Touchdown -175, FG/Safety +155)
    First turnover: (None +900, Fumble +165, INT -210)
    Highest scoring half: 1st -120, 2nd + OT +100)
    Total FGs made by both teams: (3.5, Over -110, Under -110)
    Team with longest TD scored: (Patriots -185, Colts +160)
    Team with longest FG made: (Patriots -140, Colts +120)
    2-point conversion action: (Successful +280, No conversion/No attempt -340)
    4th down conversion action: (Successful -300, No conversion/No attempt +250)
    Will there be a defensive or special teams TD?: (Yes +180, No -220)
    Will there be a kickoff return touchdown?: (Yes +1400, No -2500)
    Will there be a 0 or 1-yard TD?: (Yes -125, No +105)
    Will there be overtime: (Yes +1000, No -1500)
    Will there be 3 straight scores by either team: (Yes -250, No +210)


    NEXT WEEK'S NUMBERS POSTED

    Westgate Vegas opens its advance lines for the following week on Tuesdays and Week 6 currently has the Colts liisted as a 1-point road underdog at the Jets. The Patriots will be back in the national spotlight, hosting the Chiefs on Sunday night for a showdown that's going to be among the season's most hyped. New England has been made a 3-point favorite.
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 10-04-2018 at 01:39 PM.

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    PACKERS DOWN RECEIVERS

    Green Bay has some issues at receiver with Randall Cobb (hamstring) and Geronimo Allison (concussion) both on the wrong side of questionable ahead of Sunday’s game in Detroit. In addition, Jimmy Graham (knee) missed practice on Wednesday and Davante Adams (calf) was limited — both are expected to play but clearly, neither is at 100 percent.

    With skill players dropping around him like flies, life isn’t getting easier for a hobbled Aaron Rodgers whose numbers have been quite pedestrian so far this season as he has yet to break the 300-yard passing mark. This week, he plays an underrated Lions passing defense that ranks second in the NFL, giving up just 171.8 yards per game. Sunday is trending towards being a tough day for Rodgers and we’re leaning towards the Under on his passing yards total of 299.5.


    FADING KEENUM

    Through four games, Denver Broncos fans can’t be overly thrilled with the Case Keenum signing. He had an up-and-down opener with 329 yards, three touchdowns, and three interceptions, but since then he hasn’t thrown a touchdown, has thrown three interceptions, and has passing yards totals of 222, 192, and 245 — and that 245 came against Kansas City, a team that had allowed opposing quarterbacks 375.6 passing yards in the first three weeks.

    This week, Keenum and the Broncos head to New York to take on a Jets unit that ranks second in passing defense DVOA. It’s much easier to run against the Jets (16th in rushing defense DVOA) and the Broncos will likely plan to use a lot of Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay. We’re fading Keenum and taking the Under 260.5 on his passing yards total.


    TRYING AGAIN WITH ALLEN

    Last week, we suggested betting on Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen to score a touchdown at any time and, admittedly, it missed badly as the Bills were shut out in Green Bay. This week, Buffalo returns home to take on a tough Tennessee defense but we’re going out on a limb and making the same bet again this week and there are a few reasons why.

    First, Allen is really the only rushing option in the red zone with eight carries inside the 20 on the season — the rest of the Bills (LeSean McCoy, Chris Ivory, and Marcus Murphy) combined only have five. Second, the Titans have given up yards to quarterbacks on the ground so far this season with Deshaun Watson running for 44 and Blake Bortles for 27. Finally, the odds for Allen to score a touchdown at any time were set at +700 last week and will likely be similar this week, meaning bettors can afford to miss this one a few times before it hits, and it will still turn a nice profit.


    SHOOTOUT IN STEEL CITY

    If you like shootouts, look no further than the Atlanta-Pittsburgh game on Sunday that has a total that opened at 55 and has since been bet up to 57.5. Both teams are stacked on offense and hurting on defense, meaning points should come early and often. Oddsmakers are expecting huge games from just about everyone, but Pittsburgh tight end Vance MacDonald might not be getting the respect he deserves on the props market.

    Since his debut in Week 2, MacDonald has been an important piece of the Steelers’ offense with lines of 3-26-0, 4-112-1, and 5-62-0. He’s also received a steady five targets each week and is running a pass route on 80.6 percent of his snaps, the highest rate of any tight end in the NFL. He’s one of the few players who doesn’t have an inflated total for Sunday and we’re liking MacDonald to go over his Over 3.5 receptions total.
    Last edited by Udog; 10-06-2018 at 10:19 AM.

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    BREIDA NOT GETTING RESPECT

    San Francisco running back Matt Breida is listed as “limited” but is fully expected to play on Sunday at Arizona. This is great news for bettors as opposing running backs are cashing in against the Cardinals. Seattle running back Mike Davis rushed 21 times for 101 yards and two touchdowns against Arizona last week, Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen combined for 114 yards in Week 3, Todd Gurley and Malcolm Brown combined for 88 yards in Week 2, and Adrian Peterson went for 96 yards in Week 1.

    The Niners’ offense will likely want to be a bit more cautious with C.J. Beathard at the helm, especially on the road, meaning they’ll likely lean on the running game. That should mean a lot of touches for Breida, who has been a little banged up but has established himself as a far better option than Alfred Morris. In fact, Breida ranks third in the NFL in rushing with 313 yards. His rushing yards total of 62.5 this week, however, doesn’t seem to reflect that he’s been one of the top backs in football this season. Add in the fact that he’s going against a rush defense ranked 31st in the NFL and we’re taking Breida’s Over with confidence.


    MAYFIELD MAY STRUGGLE

    Baker Mayfield makes his first home start on Sunday as the Browns host the Baltimore Ravens. The top pick in the 2018 draft had a mixed-bag debut last week at Oakland, throwing for 295 yards and two touchdowns but also had two fumbles and two interceptions. The passing yards total was nice, but his turnovers were a huge factor in Cleveland’s loss. Last week, we had suggested taking Under 260 for his passing yards total, which was obviously a losing bet, but we’re going to fade Mayfield for another week. This week, however, it isn’t as much of a bet against Mayfield as it is a bet for his opponent.

    The Ravens defense ranks first in both passing-completion percentage against, limiting opposing quarterbacks to 53.85 percent, and in opponent passing yards per attempt at 5.0. Baltimore limited Ben Roethlisberger to 274 yards last week and that was the highest passing yards total the Ravens have allowed in 2018. It’s going to be a struggle for Mayfield on Sunday against a good defense and we’re taking the Under 262.5 on his passing yards total.


    NO LOVE FOR DRAKE

    What is Miami doing with Kenyan Drake? His carries have steadily declined, from 14 in Week 1 all the way to just three in Week 4 as he seems to have fallen behind 35-year-old Frank Gore who received 11 carries last weekend. Sure, the Dolphins had to abandon the run early in their loss to the Patriots but Gore out-targeted Drake three to two and, to make things worse for Drake backers, Gore even received the only two red-zone carries of the game. Drake is younger and clearly more talented in 2018 than Gore, but he seems to have fallen out of favor with Miami’s coaching staff and we’re taking the Under for his rushing yards this week total until something changes.


    JAGS ARE TOUGH ON TIGHT ENDS

    Every football knows the Jacksonville Jaguars have one of the top defensive units in the league, but it’s worth noting how incredibly tough they’ve been on tight ends. In Week 1, the Jags faced one of the league’s better tight ends, Evan Engram, and limited him to 18 yards on two receptions. In Week 2, they faced arguably the league’s best tight end in Rob Gronkowski and limited him to 15 yards on two catches. In Weeks 3 and 4, they limited four lesser-known Titans and Jets tight ends to a total of six catches for 51 yards.

    This week, they face one of the best again in Kansas City’s Travis Kelce who has been an absolute monster since laying a dud in Week 1 with lines of 7-109-2, 8-114-0, and 7-78-1 in his last three games. The Jags, however, obviously scheme to not allow tight ends to beat them and that’s likely to happen again on Sunday. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has weapons all around him and he’s not going to force feed Kelce if the Jags blanket him all day. We’re not sure if the Jags can completely shut down the Chiefs, but we’re confident that they’ll slow down Kelce. We’re taking the Under 73.5 on his receiving yards total.


    MCCOY AN OBVIOUS FADE

    Sometimes, a bet doesn’t need an in-depth analysis. This is one of those situations. Here’s what LeSean McCoy has done so far this season in terms of attempts-rushing yards: 7-22, 9-39, DNP, 5-24. Tennesee, meanwhile, ranks 12th in terms of yards from scrimmage allowed to running backs. Not elite, but certainly good enough to stop McCoy on single-digit touches. Perhaps McCoy is still ailing from his rib issue or perhaps the Bills are just preparing for life after LeSean as they rebuild. But until he starts getting a decent amount of touches, we’re taking the Under for his rushing total — which is set at 58.5 for this week.
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 10-07-2018 at 12:28 AM.

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    Gridiron Angles - Week 5
    Vince Akins

    NFL PLAY ON ATS TREND:

    -- The Rams are 10-0 ATS (6.6 ppg) since Dec 24, 2000 as a favorite off a game as a favorite where they allowed at least 22 first downs.

    NFL PLAY AGAINST TREND:

    -- The Seahawks are 0-10-1 ATS (-5.1 ppg) since Oct 05, 2015 when their last two games have gone under the total and they won the last one.

    TOP NFL PLAYER TREND:

    -- Teams are 10-0 OU (9.3 ppg) since Oct 25, 2015 coming off a loss where Kirk Cousins threw at least 40 passes.

    NFL O/U OVER TREND:

    -- The Vikings are 10-0 OU (12.6 ppg) since Nov 11, 2001 as a dog coming off a road loss that went over the total by at least seven points.

    NFL O/U UNDER TREND:

    -- The Ravens are 0-13 OU (-9.5 ppg) since Sep 18, 2005 as a road favorite coming off a game where they had at least 250 passing yards.

    NFL BIBLE ACTIVE TREND:

    -- The Raiders are 0-13 ATS (-12.50 ppg) as a dog off a home win in which they had a takeaway margin of at least plus-two.
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 10-07-2018 at 12:29 AM.

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    NFL Underdogs: Week 5 pointspread picks and predictions
    Jason Logan

    Sometimes a good offense is the best defense. And when you’re hemorrhaging points like the Atlanta Falcons, you had better have a damn good offense.

    Atlanta, which is 0-2 SU and ATS in its last two games despite scoring 37 and 36 points respectively in those losses, hopes the return of stud running back Devonta Freeman can make its sixth-ranked offense better. And by better, we don’t mean more points (God knows that’s not the issue). We mean balanced.

    The Falcons have run the football on just 38 percent of their offensive snaps, forced to pass the ball in blow-for-blow slugfests with teams like the Panthers, Saints and Bengals due to their injury-plagued defense giving up massive gains. Last year, the Falcons ran on almost 44 percent of snaps and while their time of possession was just over 30 minutes, they weren’t dealing with the missing pieces on defense like they are in 2018.

    Atlanta has a time of possession average of only 29 minutes (21st) this year but with Freeman back in the mix for the first time since Week 1, this offense adds a new wrinkle, can chew up some clock and give their struggling stop unit a few extra breaths on the sideline.

    Week 5 seems like the ideal time for Freeman to return, since the Falcons are getting a field goal on the road facing a Pittsburgh team that gives up almost 116 yards on the ground per game and could be without its top tackler in linebacker Vince Williams.

    The Steelers have similar issues as the Falcons but haven’t had the offensive chops to stay competitive when the defense fails to show up. They’ve been outscored 71-30 in second halves so far this season, including going scoreless in the final two quarters versus Baltimore last Sunday – a game in which the Ravens (not a great running team) rushed 30 times for 96 yards and dominated the football with more than 35 minutes of TOP.

    Throw in the disruptive – and impressive – play of Atlanta’s second-year defensive end Takk McKinley, whose five sacks put him among elite pass rushers like Khalil Mack, DeMarcus Lawrence, and J.J. Watt, and we get an overall better – and more balanced – showing from the Falcons Sunday.

    Pick: Atlanta +3


    Denver Broncos at New York Jets (+0.5, 42.5)


    My memory isn’t great (too many hits to the head and a stockpile of child-induced sleep debt), but I’ve got to think this is the first half-point underdog selection in the long-running history of this column for ***********.

    The line for this Broncos-Jets game is all over the place: opening Jets -1, jumping to -2.5, then coming down to a Pick’em and crossing over with a rare half-point hook on the home side. And with all the tie games and overtime affairs in 2018, who knows? It might come in handy.

    This is a tough spot for the Broncos, who cross the country on short rest after a gutting loss to the Chiefs Monday night. Denver is one of the worst bets on the road, going just 5-12 ATS away from Mile High since 2016, and is far from the team it used to be.

    The Broncos defense is a ghost. This unit posted 79 takeaways between 2014 and 2016 and put fear in the hearts of any offense unlucky enough to find Denver on the schedule. Last season, they managed just 17 total takeaways – among the lowest in the league. And so far this year, Denver has only three takeaways.

    The Jets aren’t doing a lot of things right, but they are starting to put a little fear in the bellies of opponents. New York has 10 total takeaways on the season (6 INT/4 FUM) – tied for third most – and despite a one-sided loss at Jacksonville, managed one interception, four fumbles and two recoveries last weekend. Cue Broncos QB Case Keenum, who has thrown six picks to just three touchdowns in four games.

    Pick: N.Y. Jets +0.5


    Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers (-4, 40)


    The Cardinals have gotten so close to their first victory of the season the past two weeks, they could smell the glory (which smells like a mix of aftershave, new sneakers and the old-school charcoal BBQs). Arizona was very much “in it” against Chicago and Seattle, and while it didn’t pick up the “W” it did cover the spread.

    The Cardinals come to the Bay Area getting four points in this NFC West matchup, facing a Niners team that looked much better than it was in Week 4’s close loss to Los Angeles.

    San Francisco totaled 27 points despite losing starting quarter Jimmy Garoppolo the week before, but a closer look shows one touchdown came on a pick-six in the first quarter and other TD was on an 82-yard catch-and-scamper from TE George Kittle – a strange play in which the plodding Kittle was surrounded by three defenders and somehow broke away to find the end zone (a play only the Chargers could allow...). Replacement QB C.J. Beathard had two interceptions and the 49ers blew a 14-0 lead out of the gates. I expected the loss of Jimmy G to really bleed through this Sunday.

    As for Arizona, rookie Josh Rosen is playing well (very patient and smart) heading into his first road start and could've had a bigger Week 4 if not for some bad drops from his receiving corps. Do-it-all running back David Johnson is starting to heat up after a slow start to 2018, amassing 173 total yards of offense and two touchdowns the last two games.

    The Cardinals moneyline is out there around +165 – for those bold enough (and craving the scent of aftershave/sneakers/BBQ) – but I’m comfy taking more than a field goal with a hungry Arizona side.

    Pick: Arizona +4

    Last week: 1-2 ATS
    Season: 8-4 ATS

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    Top 6 picks in Week 5 of Westgate SuperBook NFL handicapping contest (3,123 entries)

    1) Ravens, -3 (1,014)

    2) Rams -7 (873)

    3) Titans -3.5 (811)

    4) Cardinals +4 (759)

    5) Redskins +6.5 (757)

    6) Broncos +1 (712)

    Season record: 12-10-2

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    Essentials - Week 5
    Tony Mejia

    Sunday

    Baltimore (-3/45.5) at Cleveland, 1 p.m. ET, CBS:
    The Browns are undefeated in Cleveland, something we haven’t been able to say about them entering a third home game since 2004. One of those games ended in a tie and they’re still looking up at most of the division, but progress is progress. One of the teams atop the AFC North are these Ravens, who have been among the NFL’s stingiest out of the gate, surrendering 16.2 while averaging over 30, giving them the conference’s largest point differential, second only to the Rams. Joe Flacco is averaging over 300 passing yards per game after tossing for 363 in last Sunday night’s win over the Steelers, looking rejuvenated by the addition of Robert Griffin III and Lamar Jackson.

    Former Ravens backup Tyrod Taylor was expected to start this game opposite his ex-mates but lost his gig a couple weeks ago after being banged up by the Jets. Rookie Baker Mayfield took the reins, led a comeback win to end years of suffering and doesn’t figure to be handing the job back to Taylor, barring injury, any time soon. If not for a controversial call that took away what would’ve been a game-clinching fourth down out in Oakland, the Browns would be 2-0 on Mayfield’s watch. He’s got the locals excited, so Baltimore will look to keep the crowd from becoming a factor as they try to win a sixth straight game in this series. The Browns last beat the Ravens at home in 2013 and have won only two of the last 20 meetings against their divisional oppressors. Cleveland woke up to thunderstorms and may see rain be a factor all afternoon. The Ravens are relatively healthy and get CB Jimmy Smith back from suspension. The Browns have cleared WR Jarvis Landry, who has been dealing with a knee issue.

    Jacksonville at Kansas City (-3/49), 1 p.m. ET, CBS:
    Significant drama has surfaced to make this juicy matchup even spicier, but weather is likely to play a huge role with thunderstorms potentially part of the equation all afternoon. Jaguars star corner Jalen Ramsey went to the well early on the off-field mind game work he attempts to put in before games begin, and it’s not like he’s run into many situations where he bites off more than he can chew. Tyreek Hill has averaged over 50 yards per game on touchdown grabs over his careers and is second in the NFL in yards per target, so he’ll test Ramsey vertically with his speed and might wind up playing decoy to open the middle of the field for tight end Travis Kelce, RB Kareem Hunt and fellow WR Sammy Watkins, who has been cleared to play after aggravating a hamstring injury last week.

    Jacksonville RB Leonard Fournette wasn’t as fortunate, unable to return from the injury he reaggravated last week in a 31-12 rout of the Jets. T.J. Yeldon has proven to be a capable replacement and polarizing QB Blake Bortles has stepped up when he’s had to in his absence, putting together his best outings in games without the franchise back. This will be the team’s first road game since a 20-15 Week 1 win at the Giants. They were 4-4 SU and ATS last season but won in Pittsburgh in the playoffs and then covered in New England, so they’ve shown up on the road when it’s mattered most. Jacksonville’s defense is surrendering an NFL-low 14 points per game while Kansas City is averaging a league-high 36.25 points, so this is going to be a tremendous battle of wills. Chiefs DE Dee Ford, the team’s top pass-rusher was listed as questionable, while safety Eric Berry is doubtful.

    Tennessee (-5.5/40) at Buffalo, 1 p.m. ET, CBS:
    The Titans are one of the NFL’s surprise 3-1 teams, sporting a point differential of just 75-73 and utilizing some smoke and mirrors to produce their success since they’ve managed to overcome Marcus Mariota being well below 100 percent due to an elbow injury that has prevented him from slinging it downfield effectively, turning him into a game manager. The defense has played well enough to justify that strategy but must overcome the absence of starting safety Kenny Vaccaro (elbow) and LB Wesley Woodyard (shoulder). The combination of new head coach Mike Vrabel and veteran coordinator Dean Pees should spell trouble for rookie QB Josh Allen, but it remains to be seen whether the loss of key personnel can be overcome on the road.

    Allen crashed and burned after a dominant performance against the Vikings, losing in Green Bay 22-0 in a performance where he managed a QBR of 5.1, the third-worst showing in the NFL so far. Backup Nathan Peterman’s Week 1 disaster remains the lowlight, so the rookie appears to be in no danger of losing the gig he wrestled away. Allen threw for one score and was picked off twice in a 31-20 loss to the Chargers in his only home game to date and will have RB LeSean McCoy, WR Kelvin Benjamin and TE Charles Clay available to him after all dealt with injuries throughout September. Safeties Micah Hyde (groin) and Rafael Bush (shoulder) are each nursing injuries that have them listed as questionable, so Buffalo may have to overcome a vulnerable secondary to pull off an upset here. Rain is likely to be part of the equation, so this one could get sloppy.

    N.Y. Giants at Carolina (-6.5/43.5), 1 p.m. ET, FOX:
    Cam Newton and the Panthers were off last weekend, so they’ll look to benefit from an early break on their bodies against a Giants team that underachieved significantly in September and arrives in Charlotte banged up. Offensive line help arrived for Carolina in the form of newly acquired tackle Marshall Newhouse and the return of guard Trai Turner from concussion protocol, so the team is optimistic that it is in the best shape up front than it has been since losing tackle Daryl Williams at the onset of training camp.

    New York’s offensive line issues have been well-documented, compounded this season by the loss of center Jon Halapaio to an ankle injury. Eli Manning doesn’t need any help performing below expectations, but he’s certainly gotten it from a unit that has largely been pushed around. Odell Beckham, Jr. and rookie Saquon Barkley have big-play ability but haven’t gotten enough chances due to the mess up front and under center. The Giants defense played well despite the absence of top pass-rusher Olivier Vernon, but the bottom fell out last week against Alvin Kamara and the Saints in the fourth-quarter of a 33-18 loss. Vernon remains out against the Panthers, but LB Connor Barwin and CB Eli Apple are healthy enough to do battle against an offense likely to ride the legs of Newton and Christian McCaffrey, who can of course burn you via the short passing game. Weather issues aren’t expected here.

    Denver (PK/42.5) at N.Y. Jets, 1 p.m. ET, CBS:
    The Broncos have been a dreadful road team of late, losing 10 of 11 and failing to cover in any of those setbacks, which includes a 27-14 in their only regular-season team outside Denver thus far, a 27-14 loss in Baltimore. They’ll be out of their time zone, which is worth remembering since they’ve also dropped their last six “early” games under Vance Joseph, whose seat is getting awfully warm. He’ll have to overcome a short-week situation here too, coming off a disappointing 27-23 loss to the Chiefs at Mile-High. QB Case Keenum’s honeymoon is over too, a reminder of how fickle the NFL can be since this team opened 2-0 after divisional home wins against the Seahawks and Raiders.

    The Jets are hoping to reverse a recent lack of success against a Broncos team they haven’t beaten since 2010 after suffering a 23-0 loss in Denver last season. This is only the third meeting between these teams at Met Life Stadium and the first since 2002, when starting QB Sam Darnold was all of five. The rookie has found life difficult following an exciting Monday night debut Detroit, failing to produce more than 17 points in losses to the Dolphins, Browns and Jaguars. Von Miller and Co. figure to get after him, so it’s a plus that preferred target Quincy Enunwa will play despite a hip issue. The Jets will have corner Morris Claiborne out there too, but will be without fellow starter Trumaine Johnson and list safety Marcus Maye as a game-time decision.

    Atlanta at Pittsburgh (-3/58), 1 p.m. ET, FOX:
    Only the Bucs and Raiders have given up more points per game than the depleted Falcons, who have seen their season sabotaged by injuries on that side of the ball and a schedule that has offered no sympathy in the form of a reprieve. After losing two starters in a season-opening loss in Philly, the Falcons have been carved up by Cam Newton, Drew Brees and Andy Dalton at home in their dome. The Steelers are up next, and even though Le’Veon Bell remains away, the Steelers still have plenty of weapons to inflict damage with. Vic Beasley will try to play through an ankle injury, but DE Derrick Shelby and corner Justin Bethel join DT Grady Jarrett , LB Deion Jones and safeties Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen as observers. DE Takkarist McKinley was disruptive in his return last week, so Atlanta’s hope is that he and Beasley will be able to generate enough pressure that the team doesn’t have to blitz and leave itself vulnerable to Ben Roethlisberger’s arm and vision.

    Antonio Brown has complained about not getting the ball enough downfield, so look for he and Juju Smith-Schuster to try and work deeper routes against a compromised group. The Falcons have surrendered an average of 37 points in their last three losses, while Pittsburgh was shut down last week, scoring just 14 against Baltimore. The Steelers also lost a 42-37 shootout against Kansas City in the home opener, so they’ll be looking to snap a run of seven straight games where they’ve failed to win and cover the spread, a stretch that dates back to Nov. 16 of last season. Their last outright win came in the 2017 regular season finale against the Browns last New Year’s Eve. The ‘over’ has prevailed in seven of the last nine at Heinz Field and three of the four games both teams have played this season, so it’s not surprising to see this as the highest-scoring total of the day by far.

    Green Bay (PK/51) at Detroit, 1 p.m. ET, FOX:
    The Lions have had a favorable schedule, playing a Jets team starting a rookie QB, a young 49ers team riddled with injures and the disjointed Cowboys. They lost to all three but somehow managed to destroy the Patriots, making New England look as bad as we’ve seen them over the past few years. The Lions are a riddle as they greet the Packers for their NFC North opener. They’ve got talent across the board but tend to be their own worst enemy. It won’t help matters that top pass-rusher Ziggy Ansah won’t be around to try and harass Aaron Rodgers, who has settled in despite playing through a sore knee and has managed despite an inability to move as fluidly as he’s accustomed to.

    The Lions won’t have corner Quandre Diggs or guard T.J. Lang either, which definitely makes them vulnerable against a Packers defense that comes off blanking Buffalo but is looking for their first road victory of the season. WR Davante Adams has been cleared to play and should be a factor, but Randall Cobb won’t be able to play through a hamstring issue and Geronimo Allison will be a game-time decision after not practicing Saturday since he’s in concussion protocol. Rookie corner Jaire Alexander, who has quickly emerged as one of the NFL’s top newcomers, will attempt to play through a groin issue and is someone else whose availability must be monitored. It wouldn’t be surprising to see young RBs Kerryon Johnson and Aaron Jones play huge roles here, which could impact the over run these teams are on against one another, having topped the posted total in five straight. The Lions are looking for their third consecutive win over Green Bay, something that hasn’t occurred in this one-sided series since 1991.

    Miami at Cincinnati (-6/48.5), 1 p.m. ET, CBS:
    Who had this one as a battle of division leaders when the season started? The Dolphins failed miserably in their attempt to put their foot on New England’s throat last week and now hit the road again looking for better results against resurgent Cincinnati. Dalton is playing the best football of his career, while counterpart Ryan Tannehill comes off the second-worst showing from a QB this season in last week’s loss. Miami has been able to hit big plays via the passing games in spurts thus far but seeks out consistency and more involvement for RB Kenyan Drake, who was expected to play a much larger role than he has to date, losing carries to veteran Frank Gore last week. The offense will be forced to deal with a Bengals defense that should be rejuvenated by the return of emotional leader Vontaze Burfict, who has served his four-game suspension.

    The Bengals also get back top RB Joe Mixon, who missed time with a knee injury but is back at the right time since Giovani Bernard was injured last week. TE Tyler Eifert was lost for the season in Atlanta and speedster John Ross aggravated a knee injury that will keep him out this week, so other pieces will have to step up around A.J. Green and emerging fellow wideout Tyler Boyd. Miami will be missing Cameron Wake off its defensive front and may not have back DE Andre Branch back either. WR DeVante Parker missed last week’s game with a quad issue and is also likely to be a game-time decision as the Dolphins continue to be riddled with injuries throughout all of their position groups.

    Oakland at L.A. Chargers (-5/52.5), 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS:
    Jon Gruden picked up his first victory since returning to the sideline courtesy of a Derek Carr-commanded comeback against Cleveland last week, but anyone who watched that game saw how close the Raiders came to slipping to 0-4. We’ll see if returning from the brink invigorates this group, especially since x-factor Amari Cooper warmed up down the stretch alongside TE Jared Cook as the offense opened up. With the Chargers still missing Joey Bosa, Carr should have time to inflict damage, although he will have to deal with DE Corey Liuget, who is returning from suspension and offers an immediate upgrade from what L.A. has been featuring up front.

    Philip Rivers’ protection is up in the air since tackle Russell Okung hasn’t practiced and is questionable with a groin injury. With fellow tackle Joe Barksdale still out, the Chargers would love to see Okung out there to keep a Raiders pass rush that has been non-existent from finding life. This is a swing game for L.A. which doesn’t enjoy much of a homefield advantage in Carson and will likely have to deal with a large contingent of Raiders fans. A win puts them over .500 and firmly on the road to playoff contention, while a loss drags them back with the also-rans in the AFC West, so we’ll get to see whether this group has some killer instinct to them. The Chargers have rolled to wins in 21 of the last 29 games against Oakland.

    Arizona at San Francisco (-3.5/40), 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX:
    - Young quarterbacks take center stage in this battle of two of the NFL’s worst teams, a 49ers squad that lost Jimmy Garoppolo for the season and a Cards squad that has gotten off to a nightmare start under first-year head coach Steve Wilks. Arizona is winless and already had to deviate from the original plan of letting rookie Josh Rosen watch and learn from veteran Sam Bradford. As the only 0-4 team in the NFL, Arizona is unquestionably the league’s disappointment, averaging just over nine points per game. Rosen did pick up the team’s level, which led to last week’s decent showing in a 20-17 loss to Seattle.

    The Niners got a solid showing from backup QB C.J. Beathard in last week’s 29-27 loss to the Rams but they were behind most of the afternoon and saw multiple offensive linemen injured. That should give you pause if you’re looking to fade the lone winless team on sight. Center Weston Richburg, tackle Joe Staley and first-round pick Mike McGlinchey are dealing with knee injuries that may keep all out of this one, though Staley is the least likely to play and the rookie should suit up. Running back Matt Breida has been upgraded to probable despite concerns over his shoulder, but promising young WR Dante Pettis is out against and speedster Marquise Goodwin is questionable. Safety Jimmie Ward’s status is similarly in doubt due to a hamstring issue, but Richard Sherman’s calf ailment has healed sufficiently for him to play. Can the Cardinals take advantage of all the injuries? Rosen will have Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring) in the mix and has seen RB David Johnson improve every week as the rust has been worked off.

    Minnesota at Philadelphia (-3/47), 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX:
    This rematch of last year’s lopsided NFC Championship features two different starting quarterbacks than the ones who took the field in January. Former ‘Skin Kirk Cousins is very familiar with the Eagles but lost both times he ran into last year’s group following a season sweep in ’16. He’s had an up-and-down start to his Vikings tenure, so all eyes will be on how he handles leading a new group in a hostile atmosphere he knows well. Offensive line has been a major obstacle for the Vikes, but he should have every starter in place for this test against a talented Eagles front seven. Dalvin Cook has been dealing with a hamstring issue all season and is doubtful to be able to be out there. Latavius Murray should get the bulk of the carries as a result, but hasn’t been as productive as the second-year back out of FSU, which means we’ll likely see Minnesota lean on Cousins and the aerial attack more.

    The Eagles have been involved in one tight game after another. All four September contests were decided by six points or fewer, so this is a big swing game for Philly when you consider that their level of competition hasn’t exactly been the cream of the crop. Fletcher Cox has been upgraded to probable despite ankle soreness but Halti Ngata is questionable and pass-rusher Derek Barnett is listed as doubtful, so the Eagles may be thin on numbers in an area that’s typically a strength. Not having versatile backs Darren Sproles (out) and Corey Clement (questionable) available hasn’t helped Carson Wentz develop much of a rhythm, but this will be the healthiest that top target Alshon Jeffery feels entering a game this season. The Eagles are perfect at home thus far and have won 11 of 12 straight up at Lincoln Financial Field. The under is 6-1 in Philly’s last seven home games, including wins over Atlanta and Indianapolis this season where opponents have averaged just 14 points.

    L.A. Rams (-7.5/50) at Seattle, 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX:
    There’s been little to slow down the Rams thus far, but Mother Nature is about take her shot at ending L.A.’s run of 30-plus scoring games that has seen them improve on their tally from the week prior. After a 38-31 win two Thursdays ago to open Week 4, L.A. has had plenty of time to prepare for the new-look Seahawks defense as they attempt to put the clamps on the NFC West by moving four games up on everyone in the division when you include the tiebreaker they would hold.

    With apologies to Seahawks defenders like UCF alums Shaquem and Shaquil Griffin, the cold wet rain that is expected to fall in Seattle may provide a bigger assist than anything else, especially since LB K.J. Wright is doubtful to return from the knee injury that has kept him out the past few weeks. Safety Earl Thomas was lost for the season, LB Mychal Kendrick was solely a temporary band-aid, already serving an indefinite suspension. Pass-rushers Frank Clark and Rasheem Green are questionable, while speedy Dion Jordan should play for a depleted group that will have to keep Todd Gurley from getting going since he’s taken a backseat to the Jared Goff-led passing game of late. The Rams hung a 42-7 beating on the Seahawks at CenturyLInk Field last season after being held to just 10 points in their lowest-scoring performance of the season at home on an early October day just like this one. If history repeats itself, I’d expect weather to play a large role. The Seahawks will have Chris Carson in the mix, so look for them to try to control possession regardless of the elements. L.A. comes in healthier than most of the NFL’s teams, though kicker Greg Zuerlein remains out.

    Dallas at Houston (-3/45), 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC:
    Although neither one of the Lone Star state’s teams has stood out this season, the Cowboys and Texans squaring off makes for a compelling Sunday night matchup due to the desperation involved. Houston fortunate last week, blowing a second-half lead in Indianapolis and putting itself in jeopardy of an OT loss -- then a tie – before Colts head coach Frank Reich graciously lost on a gamble that allowed them emerge with their first victory of the season. Back home after disappointing in the opener with a loss to the Giants, look for Deshaun Watson to have finally worked enough the rust off to trust in this game against a depleted Cowboys squad that has managed to open 2-2 despite suspect offensive line play, a struggling passing game and the absence of defensive catalyst Sean Lee. Avoiding a 1-4 start should have Bill O’Brien pulling out all the stops in front of what should be a wild crowd set to drown out Dallas fans. The Texans will have WRs Will Fuller and Keke Coutee available to help offset the absence of top RB Lamar Miller, who is considered doubtful to play. Alfred Blue will get the bulk of the carries, but expect Watson and the passing game to handle the bulk of the load offensively.

    The Cowboys got out of Detroit with a win thanks to a last-second field goal and pieced together a sharper-looking offense than we’ve seen from them to date. Ezekiel Elliott (knee) and Tavon Austin (shoulder) will both be in the mix to try and help Dak Prescott build on the success and avoid Houston’s feared pass rushers by getting the ball out quickly and moving the pocket. A revamped offensive line is a major question mark and center Travis Frederick isn’t coming back anytime soon after landing on IR last night, so escaping H-Town with a win and a record above .500 would be an immense accomplishment that will keep the naysayers from sprinkling dirt on beleaguered head coach Jason Garrett for at least another week.
    Last edited by Udog; 10-07-2018 at 10:14 AM.

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    SNF - Dallas at Houston

    Dallas Cowboys vs Houston Texans

    It's been back-to-back weeks of 'under' plays cashing for me on SNF as the shootout that everyone was expecting between Baltimore and Pittsburgh a week ago lasted for a single quarter before those old style Ravens/Steelers slugfests broke out.

    Admittedly, I was surprised to see Pittsburgh get blanked in the 2nd half for the second consecutive week, and when that happens two weeks in a row it starts to become a matter of coaching and how resistant the Steelers offensive coaching staff seems to be to adaptation. Whether or not that becomes a story going forward remains to be seen, but it's on to this week's matchup as we've got another AFC vs NFC battle like we had with the Patriots/Lions two weeks ago.

    Odds: Houston (-3); Total set at 45.5


    This may be a AFC vs NFC game where bad blood doesn't really exist, but bragging rights are on the line in the state of Texas with this one as both teams look to gain ground in their respective division races. Both teams are coming off tight victories last week, and for Houston it was their first one of the year and it was slightly gifted to them. It's always interesting to see the spreads for games when both teams are coming off W's, but here it's basically the generic 3-point home field advantage for the Texans.

    The line has basically held between a flat 3 and 3.5 all week (big difference I know) as this appears to be a SNF game that doesn't particularly have the appeal of the past few. That's easily understandable here as neither team has done much to instill much confidence in backing them in the betting market, but that doesn't mean we haven't seen improvement from both teams, at least on one side of the ball.

    Dallas put up their season high in points last week with 26, as RB Ezekiel Elliott got a steady does of the football and his success on the ground started to open up more things for QB Dak Prescott in the passing game. That should be the gameplan early on for Dallas here, but when you consider that Indy's Andrew Luck threw for 464 yards and 4 TD's against this Texans secondary a week ago, chances are Dallas' success in this game will end up being on the right shoulder of Prescott. Luck torching this Texans secondary was not an isolated incident either as Eli Manning nearly had 300 yards passing against Houston the week prior, and that Giants offense has been disastrous the first month of the season.

    On the flip side, Deshaun Watson is starting to look more and more comfortable on that reconstructed knee, as it was the third straight week he threw for 300+ yards. That vaunted Texans offense that so many bettors – and especially fantasy football players – fell in love with around this time last year is starting to show signs of reemerging soon. Considering this Texans defense has allowed 27 or more in three of their four games this year (and 20 to a Blaine Gabbert led attack), they need all the weapons they can get to just have a chance in these games.

    That brings me to the total for this game and the number of 45.5 still seems a bit short. Houston's offense is starting to click again, and with the Cowboys allowing 24 points in their last two outings, we should see the Texans reach that number at a minimum here. The 413 yards per game Houston averages – including outgaining their opponents by an average of 31.5 yards per game – suggests that there won't be too many steps backwards for Watson and company in the foreseeable future, especially when Matthew Stafford threw for 300+ against this Cowboys secondary last week.

    At the same time, the Dallas O-line – still a major strength on this team – shouldn't have too much concern containing a Houston pass rush that has largely been ineffective all year. That gives Prescott more time to look downfield to find the best matchups – because Houston will load the box plenty to try to stop Elliott on the ground – and with all the success past opponents have had through the air against Houston this year, Prescott should be no different.

    So while the majority of bettors have spent the past two SNF games pounding the 'overs' in games that were perceived to be easy shootouts, I think this is the week – when there is plenty of hesitation in the air regarding both offenses/teams - that we finally get the high-scoring game to cap off a full Sunday of NFL action.

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    Armadillo: Monday's six-pack

    Top 6 picks in Week 5 of Westgate SuperBook NFL handicapping contest (3,123 entries)

    1) Ravens, -3 (1,014)- L

    2) Rams -7 (873)- L

    3) Titans -3.5 (811)- L

    4) Cardinals +4 (759)- W

    5) Redskins +6.5 (757)

    6) Broncos +1 (712)- L

    Season record: 13-14-2

    **********

    Armadillo: Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday……

    Browns 12, Ravens 9 OT— Cleveland is 2-2-1, with all five games decided by 4 or fewer points; Browns have 15 takeaways, are +7 in turnovers. There was only one TD in this game; Browns missed PAT after that one. Ravens are now 6-10-1 in last 17 games as road favorites; they’re 3-0 when scoring 26+ points, 0-2 when they don’t. Under is 4-1 in Cleveland games

    Lions 31, Packers 23— Brutal day for Green Bay K Crosby, who missed four FGs and a PAT; in first half, Packers had ball five times- three missed FG’s, two fumbles. Green Bay outgained Lions 521-264, but Detroit had huge 25-yard edge in field position. Lions covered their last four games; four of their five games went over. Detroit was perfect (28 pts/4 trips) in red zzone.

    Panthers 33, Giants 31— Graham Gano kicked a 63-yard FG at the gun and Carolina recovered a muffed punt in end zone for a TD as they improved to 3-1. What were odds that Odell Beckham would throw a TD pass before he caught one this year? He did both in this game. Giants scored 31 points without converting on 3rd down (0-7); they had three turnovers (-1).

    Chiefs 30, Jaguars 14— Jacksonville threw 61 passes, ran ball 17 times; I’m sure Tom Coughlin loved that. Jaguars had ball in red zone five times, scored only one TD— four empty trips to red zone in one game!!! Chiefs covered nine of last 11 as a home favorite; they had five takeaways (+3), two more than they had in first four games combined. Chiefs play Patriots next week.

    Bengals 27, Dolphins 17— Miami led 17-3 after third quarter; Cincy scored three TD’s in fourth quarter, two of them by defense- an 18-yard fumble return with 2:37 left covered the spread. Miami is now 10-18 in last 28 games as road underdogs. There were five TD’s in this game, one for each offense- Miami ran a punt back for a TD. Cincy’s offense is suspect without TE Eifert.

    Vikings 23, Eagles 21— Game was 3-3 when a sack/fumble was run back 64 yards for a TD that put Minnesota ahead to stay; Vikings scored only one offensive TD, tried five FG’s (two missed), but they hung on for win, avenging loss in LY’s playoffs. Eagles scored TD down 20-6 with 12:05 left; for whatever reason, they went for 2, which NEVER happens, but they made it. All five Eagle games this season were decided by 6 or fewer points.

    Steelers 41, Falcons 17— Roethlisberger tried really, really hard to get ball to Antonio Brown in this game; he targeted Brown 13 times, completed only six, but for 101 yards. Big Ben threw an awful INT in end zone at end of first half, but Steelers dominated second half. Falcons allowed 43-37-41 points in their last three games.

    Here is a breakdown of Atlanta’s offense:
    2 road games, both on grass fields: 22 drives, three TD’s
    3 road games, all indoors on turf: 30 drives, 13 TD’s

    Rams 33, Seahawks 31— LA receivers Cooks/Kupp were both KO’d in first half (concussions) but Rams scored 16 points in second half anyway, gaining 194 yards on 23 plays on three scoring drives on first three 2nd half drives, then killing clock for final 3:28 on last drive. Gurley scored three TD’s for Rams. Seattle ran ball for 190 yards, gave it their very best shot here. Seahawks are 8-2 vs spread in last ten games as home underdogs.

    Bills 13, Titans 12— Only one TD in this game, and that was on a 47-yard drive by Bills; Buffalo has one TD on 20 drives in its last two games- when was last time an NFL team won a game with only 79 passing yards? Tennessee’s last four games were decided by total of 10 points; Titans turned ball over six times (-3) in their two losses, one time (+1) in their three wins.

    Jets 34, Broncos 16— Jets ran ball for 323 yards, which doesn’t happen much in NFL games; they had TD plays of 77,76 yards in first 5:00 of second quarter. Gang Green is now 7-2-1 in last ten games as home underdogs; Denver is 7-11-2 in last 20 games where spread was 3 or fewer points. Jets led 24-10 at half; they had total of 31 first half points in first four games.

    Chargers 26, Raiders 10— With 1:05 left in third quarter and down 20-3, Carr threw an awful INT in end zone, ending Oakland’s day. Team that won field position won all five Raider games. Chargers averaged 11.9 yards/pass play; they won field position in last two games by 19-14 yards. Bolts are +5 in turnovers in last four games; they had 14-yard edge in field position here.

    Cardinals 28, 49ers 18— Cardinals are 12-4 vs spread in last 16 NFC West road games; they’ve won last seven games vs 49ers, but these were Arizona’s four TD’s Sunday:

    — Arizona’s first offensive play was a 75-yard TD pass.
    — 18 yards, four plays after a 49er fumble.
    — Defensive touchdown
    — 26 yards, five plays after a 49er INT.

    San Francisco was -5 (0-5) in turnovers; hard to win that way.

    Texans 19, Cowboys 16 OT— Houston outgained Cowboys 462-292, but scored only one TD on six red zone drives. Dallas is 19-60 on third down this year; they’ve scored only seven TD’s on 49 drives, 33 points on last eight red zone drives. Cowboys are desperate for an explosive WR; other than RB Elliott (7 targets), no other Cowboy had more than four targets.

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    MNF - Redskins at Saints
    Kevin Rogers

    LAST WEEK

    The Redskins (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS) were one of two teams to have their bye week in Week 4 as Washington will be well-rested heading to the Big Easy. Washington rebounded from a 12-point home loss to Indianapolis to pound Green Bay in Week 3 as short home underdogs, 31-17. The Redskins jumped out to a 28-10 halftime lead behind two touchdown passes from Alex Smith and two short touchdown runs by Adrian Peterson.

    The future Hall of Fame running back rushed for a season-best 120 yards, while Smith put together his second multi-touchdown passing game of the season. The Redskins improved to 2-0 SU/ATS as an underdog this season, but own a 6-6 ATS mark when receiving points since the start of 2017. Washington moved to 5-2 in its past seven home games against teams outside the NFC East, while scoring its most points at FedEx Field since dropping 42 on Green Bay in 2016.

    The Saints (3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS) return home following a pair of road victories over the Falcons and Giants. New Orleans scored four times in the second quarter, but none of those scores were touchdowns as it led New York, 12-7 at halftime. The Saints pulled away in the second half thanks to a pair of Alvin Kamara touchdown runs to beat the Giants, 33-18 to cash as 3 ½-point road favorites.

    New Orleans put up seven scores for the second consecutive week, while Kamara reached the end zone three times in a game for the first time in his career. Drew Brees threw for a season-low 217 yards and failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time in 2018. Brees is one of two starting quarterbacks that has yet to throw an interception this season along with Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes.

    NOT SO SUPER AT THE DOME

    The Saints have struggled to cover numbers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome this season by failing to cover against the Buccaneers and Browns. Granted, both those games closed with New Orleans laying 10 points each, but the Saints own a 2-5 ATS record in its past seven home contests. However, the Saints are 5-2 ATS since the start of 2017 as a single-digit home favorite with one of those non-covers coming against the Redskins last November.

    SERIES HISTORY

    Washington has covered six consecutive matchups with New Orleans dating back to 2006, including last season’s 34-31 overtime defeat at the Superdome. The Redskins grabbed a commanding 31-16 fourth quarter lead on Kirk Cousins’ third touchdown pass of the day, but the Saints would even things up in the final three minutes. Brees hit Josh Hill for a short touchdown pass, followed by a Brees to Kamara 18-yard connection. Kamara ran in the ensuing two-point conversion to tie the game at 31-31, while Wil Lutz knocked in a 28-yard field goal to win it for New Orleans in overtime.

    The Redskins cashed as 9 ½-point underdogs, while the past five meetings with the Saints have sailed OVER the total. Washington last won in New Orleans in the 2012 opener, 40-32 in Robert Griffin III’s coming-out party as the Heisman Trophy winner threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns (including an 88-yard strike) in the victory.

    TOTAL TALK

    In spite of several high-scoring outputs, the Saints are 2-2 to the OVER, as last week’s game against the Giants barely finished UNDER the total of 51 ½. The Redskins went UNDER the total in each of the first two weeks before busting out for an OVER against the Packers. Washington started last season with a 5-1 OVER mark on the road, but each of the past three games away from FedEx Field have gone UNDER. The Saints are currently on a 5-2 OVER run the last seven home contests, while scoring at least 31 points five times in this span.

    UNDER THE LIGHTS

    The Saints are winless in their last three Monday night affairs since 2015, including home defeats to Detroit (2015) and Atlanta (2016). New Orleans fell in the Monday night opener at Minnesota last season, 29-19 as its most recent Monday victory came in 2014 at Chicago. The Redskins haven’t fared much better on Mondays by posting a dreadful 1-8 SU/ATS record since 2014, including a pair of losses to Kansas City and Philadelphia.

    HANDICAPPER’S CORNER

    NFL expert Joe Nelson weighs on the first quarter of the Saints’ season, “Ryan Fitzpatrick lit up the New Orleans defense in Week 1 for a 48-40 loss for the Saints at home and the Saints had narrow escapes against the Browns and Falcons before a slightly more comfortable win against the Giants last week. New Orleans has been a great finisher this season with 68 points in four games after the start of the fourth quarter.”

    From a defensive standpoint, the Redskins will hope to not only shut down the Saints, but also score on New Orleans according to Nelson, “The biggest statistical mismatch in this contest appears to be pass defense with Washington second in the NFL allowing just 5.4 yards per attempt while New Orleans is last in the NFL allowing 9.6 yards per attempt. The schedule has played a role but New Orleans has allowed 11 passing touchdowns while getting only one interception this season.”

    GAME PROPS

    Total Completions – Alex Smith
    OVER 23 ½ (-110)
    UNDER 23 ½ (-110)

    Total Touchdown Passes – Alex Smith
    OVER 1 ½ (-140)
    UNDER 1 ½ (+120)

    Total Gross Passing Yards – Drew Brees
    OVER 300 ½ (-110)
    UNDER 300 ½ (-110)

    Total Touchdown Passes – Drew Brees
    OVER 2 (-160)
    UNDER 2 (+140)

    Total Rushing Yards – Alvin Kamara
    OVER 66 ½ (-110)
    UNDER 66 ½ (-110)

    Will Michael Thomas score a touchdown?
    YES (+105)
    UNDER (-125)

    LINE MOVEMENT

    The Saints opened up as seven-point favorites, but that number has dipped down 6 ½ at some books and even down to six at a majority of outfits. The total opened at 52 ½ and has stayed steady at that number with several books bumping the total up to 53.

  14. #29
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    NFL Week 5 Betting Stats heading into MNF:

    Over-Under: 7-7

    Favorites: 6-8 ATS
    Home Favorites: 6-4 ATS
    Home Dogs: 4-0 ATS

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