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Thread: NFL Trends and Indexes - Week 6 (Thur. Oct. 11 - Mon. Oct. 15)

  1. #16
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    NFL Underdogs: Week 6 pointspread picks and predictions
    Jason Logan

    If you haven’t heard, you suck at sports betting. At least, you do if you consider yourself among the “betting public”.

    Don’t know if you’re included in the masses? Check your forehead. Symptoms of “public bettors” may include:

    • Waiting until Sunday to place all your bets
    • Betting on a side/total regardless of where the number has been/where it’s going
    • Basing bets on something called the “due factor”
    • Ignoring markets like props and alternative lines, and blindly sticking to full-game odds
    • Getting your insight exclusively from mainstream sports media coverage

    If you catch yourself doing one or more of these things (and there are plenty of other “public” tells), you just might be a public bettor. And if you are, there’s also a good chance you’ve taken a Tony Montana-sized bath in the opening five weeks of NFL football.

    According to our consensus, which provides the bet percentage (percent of ATS tickets written on a side) for each and every game, NFL teams drawing 60 percent or more of bets are a dismal 10-23 against the closing spread in 2018. That means the most popular picks each week are covering for the public only 30.3 percent of the time. You can almost hear the bookies laughing from here.

    It's been even worse for "Joe Public" the past four weeks, with those same 60-plus percent picks turning out a 5-19 ATS mark (0-4 ATS in Week 5). That’s a win rate of less than 21 percent for the most popular pointspread plays since the second week of the schedule.

    But, let he who is without square angles cast the first stone.

    I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes my inner “public bettor” gets the best of me, and I bet a bad number just to have action down on a game. And, despite the eye-popping and bankroll-busting trend we just mentioned, I’m siding with one of the most public picks on the Week 6 consensus board.

    The Buffalo Bills are getting 10 points when visiting the Houston Texans this Sunday and 61 percent of bettors have grabbed that pile of points and are circling the wagons.

    The line opened -8.5 Houston and made a quick jump to -10 – a move that many would consider “reverse line movement” since the spread is moving away from the side with the higher number of bets (usually indicating more money or sharp play on the other side). However, 8.5 points is a dead number in terms of setting spreads and books are much quicker to move off of that dead number and go straight to 10 if they expect more money will come in on the favorite. This is what we’re seeing here.

    The Texans don’t have the horse power to cover the 10-point gulf. Minus a 37-point day versus the Colts’ dismal defense in Week 4, Houston is averaging just 19.5 points over its other four contests. And for all the Bills’ woes, they’ve been solid on defense since the second half of the Chargers game in Week 2. Over its past three contests, Buffalo has allowed a total of just 40 points (13.3 ppg) and is giving up only 4.9 yards per play – fifth lowest in the NFL in that span.

    So, paint me “public” in Week 6. They seem due for a good Sunday…

    Pick:
    Buffalo +10

    Chicago Bears at Miami Dolphins (+3.5, 41.5)

    To re-establish my “sharpness” after such a public play (at least that’s what it sounds like in my head…), I’m banking on a line I was waiting to show up all week. The Bears opened -2.5 at most books (some opened pick’em) visiting the Miami Dolphins and the spread quickly shot to -3.

    This one stinks of a field goal to me, which is why I took my time and waited for the half-point hook to show on the home side. This one actually climbed to Dolphins +4 at a couple shops but sharp money snatched that up right away (it was on the board for only an hour and a half).

    Chicago is coming off a bye and riding a three-game winning streak – which sounds great, doesn’t it? But the Bears are a bad bet on the road, going 6-12 ATS in their last 18 away from the Windy City and are 0-2 ATS on the road this season. Another factor I’m throwing into my “pointspread stew” is that Chicago takes on the mighty Patriots next week, so a possible lookahead spot in play for Week 6.

    Miami is being discounted for two poor road showings – getting outscored 65-24 in those games – and had played three of its last four away from Hard Rock Stadium before this week. It returns home where it is 2-0 SU and ATS and has covered in four of its last five stands overall.

    Pick:
    Miami +3.5


    Los Angeles Rams at Denver Broncos (+7, 52)


    After three weeks of football, talking heads were ready to crown the Rams the best defense in the NFL. Then they allowed 31 points in back-to-back games, including a 33-31 squeaker versus Seattle, which was averaging just over 21 points in the four games leading up to Week 5.

    Over the past three outings, L.A. has given up an average of 392 yards against and watched opponents convert on third downs 54 percent of the time – second worst in the NFL, behind Atlanta, in that stretch. It wasn't the forward pass doing all the damage: L.A. buckled for an average of 128.3 rushing yards against over that trio of tilts, including 190 gains on the ground versus Seattle Sunday.

    Los Angeles finds itself in a tough spot, going to the thin air of Mile High for what is its second straight road game (and the middle of three straight away from home). The Broncos are a different team in Denver, as we saw in that valiant effort versus the Chiefs, and have the ground game to play keep-away from Jared Goff & Co.

    I’d love to get +7.5 on this one but I settle for the touchdown and the home team.

    Pick:
    Denver +7

    Last week: 2-1 ATS
    Season: 10-5 ATS
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; Yesterday at 12:10 PM.

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    Ticket count favors Chiefs, but sharps like Patriots' odds in NFL Week 6 clash
    Patrick Everson

    Julian Edelman and his New England teammates get an opportunity to knock Kansas City from the ranks of the unbeaten Sunday night. The host Patriots have seen some smart money at -3.5.

    There’s a baker’s dozen of NFL games on this Week 7 Sunday, and the best has been saved for last. We check in on the action and line movement for a few games, with insights from John Murray, sportsbook manager at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, and Scott Shelton, sportsbook supervisor at The Mirage.

    Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots – Open: -3.5; Move: None

    The past two weeks, New England has looked much more like the perennial king of the AFC. The Patriots (3-2 SU and ATS) twice put up 38 points, including in a 38-24 victory over Indianapolis as 10.5-point home favorites in Week 5.

    Kansas City puts its perfect 5-0 SU and ATS mark on the line for this 8:20 p.m. ET kickoff. The Chiefs had no issues with Jacksonville last week, cruising to a 30-14 win as 3-point home chalk.

    “Tickets are about 3/1 on the ‘dog Chiefs here, but we’ve seen some sharp groups on the Patriots,” Murray said of pointspread activity. “Expect Bill Belichick to try to run the ball and keep Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense off the field. The Chiefs are giving up the most yards per carry in the NFL, at 5.8.”

    The Mirage and other MGM books opened the Pats -3.5 and briefly went to 4 Saturday before returning to the opener.

    “Really good two-way on this game,” Shelton said. “It’s 2/1 money on the Patriots and 2/1 tickets on the Chiefs. We’re a small loser to the Patriots.”

    A potential concern for both books will be parlay/moneyline tickets rolling into the final game of the day, with both teams a liability risk.

    Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals – Open: -2.5; Move: -1.5

    Pittsburgh has been inconsistent at best this year without Le’Veon Bell, but got an easy win and cover last week as a 3.5-point home fave against Atlanta. The Steelers (2-2-1 ATS) outscored the Falcons 28-7 in the second half en route to a 41-17 victory.

    Cincinnati finds itself all alone atop the AFC North through five weeks. The Bengals (4-1 SU and ATS) battled back from a 17-0 third-quarter deficit to beat Miami 27-17 laying 6.5 points at home in Week 5.

    The issue for MGM books is a recurring theme: one very large bettor is on the Steelers, both moneyline and pointspread. The same bettor has hit on a few such wagers the past few weeks.

    “We’re gonna need the Bengals pretty good as of right now,” Shelton said. “And it’s all because of that one bettor.”

    The Superbook also opened the Steelers -2.5.

    “A little sharp money on the Steelers knocked it down to 1.5,” Murray said. “The Steelers are also a popular teaser play for people going up through 3 and 7.”

    Jacksonville Jaguars at Dallas Cowboys – Open: -2; Move: -2.5; Move: -3

    Dallas is not off to a good start this season, but fortunately, neither is the rest of the NFC East. The Cowboys were catching 3.5 points at Houston last Sunday night and got the cash, but not the win in a 19-16 overtime setback.

    Jacksonville reached the AFC title game last year and got a convincing win over New England in Week 2 this season, but subsequently dropped two of three. The Jaguars (3-2 SU and ATS) tumbled at Kansas City 30-14 as 3-point road ‘dogs last week.

    “We had a respected player take Dallas +3 (even money) today. The public is heavy on the Jaguars,” Murray said of this 4:25 p.m. ET start. “This will be a heavily bet game on both sides in that afternoon time slot.”

    The aforementioned large player is on Jacksonville pointspread and moneyline at MGM books, helping move the line from -3 (even) to -3.5 (even).

    “But that one’s not so bad,” Shelton said. “The public is playing the Cowboys enough to offset the big bettor.”

    Chicago Bears at Miami Dolphins – Open: +3, Move: +3.5; Move: +4

    Chicago is on a three-game winning streak and well-rested, coming off a bye in Week 5. The Bears (3-1 SU and ATS) had their most explosive output of the season in Week 4, throttling Tampa Bay 48-10 as 3-point home favorites.

    Miami won and cashed in its first three games, then lost and failed to cash in back-to-back roadies. In Week 5 at Cincinnati, the Dolphins (3-2 SU and ATS) held a 17-0 third-quarter lead, but fell apart in a 27-17 loss catching 6.5 points.

    Once again, MGM books face significant pointspread and moneyline liability from the lone large bettor.

    “If Chicago wins by more than 4, it’s a big loss for us,” Shelton said.

    The Superbook opened Chicago -2 and got all the way to -4.5 by Saturday night.

    “Sharps and public on the Bears, pushing this number up,” Murray said. “The book will need Miami.”
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; Yesterday at 12:11 PM.

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    SNF - Chiefs at Patriots

    Last week, I was wrong in expecting the shootout on the scoreboard that SNF TV producers have been anxiously awaiting for weeks, as the Dallas/Houston game was plagued by missed opportunities in the red zone and subsequently never threatened going 'over' the total.

    However, regardless of whether or not this week's SNF game cashes an 'over' ticket or not, those SNF TV producers should be getting all those points they want to see from this Kansas City/New England matchup we've got this week.

    With a total now currently approaching 60 – an extreme rarity for the NFL as it's only happened once before (2004) – there will be plenty of points scored in this game, but where should your money be?

    Odds: New England (-3.5); Total set at 59.5

    Oddsmakers really had no choice but to open up this total as high as possible given how well the KC offense has produced points on a weekly basis this season (35 points per game), and that it's Tom Brady and New England on the other sideline. This is the juiciest game of the week in the eyes of many NFL fans simply for the scoring potential it has, as even with the extremely high total, it's still got a lot of 'over' money already.

    However, as much as seemingly everything lines up for an 'over' play, I want no part of trying to sweat out a NFL game getting to 60 points. Kansas City's offense should find plenty of room to make plays against this Patriots defense if they like they have all year long, but you know Bill Belichick will have something special for Patrick Mahomes at least once, and you fall too far behind pace on this total and eventually you'll run out of time. I've got no problem sitting back on the sidelines and watching to see if this total does end up getting surpassed, but from a betting standpoint, it's all about the side here.

    It can be tricky to handicap a game when you've got an upstart undefeated squad against a past champion that never seems to go away. How much to this year's numbers/stats outweigh what your eyeballs have seen from a team like New England for years, if at all, and how willing are you to potentially step in front of a hot, undefeated ATS bet like Kansas City? These are the type of questions to ask yourself at the beginning stage of handicapping any game, and when the matchup is as anticipated as this one is – for a variety of reasons – you can see arguments and action coming in for both sides. Yet, for me this is all about one specific unit on one side of the ball and it's the Kansas City defense.

    A big part of why this total is approaching historic levels is because of this Kansas City defense that's basically been Swiss cheese all year long. Eventually a defense that is 3rd worst in the entire league in yards allowed per play (6.5) is going to get burned both SU and ATS. It probably should have happened already for the Chiefs in their last primetime game against the Broncos a few weeks back, but once again Patrick Mahomes and the offense were able to catch fire for just long enough to take the lead and leave minimal time on the clock for their Swiss cheese defense to hold on.

    So how has Kansas City managed to go 5-0 SU and ATS with such a bad defense overall? Well, that would be a highly unsustainable 3rd down defense for KC that only allows opponents to convert on 29% of their 3rd downs. Getting off the field on 3rd down has meant everything to Kansas City's success defensively this year, and the more possessions that offense gets, the better KC has to like their chances. That's how it's played out for them through five weeks, but things should be plenty different against New England.

    To start, Brady and company have had extra time to prepare a gameplan that not only takes advantages of this KC defense on each play, but one where they can have long, sustained drives where they are often left with short 3rd down tries if needed. Obviously it sounds easier said then done, but with the short dump off game Brady likes to play with his RB's, and the potential for big chunk plays off those looks, Belichick and Brady should have minimal issues picking apart this highly suspect defense. KC's 3rd down conversion percentage can only really go up from here on out, and unless that yards per play number drops significantly – highly unlikely against New England – this KC defense is a spark away from getting torched for 60 minutes.

    And on the other side of the ball, New England has been known for it's bend but don't break defense in suspected shootouts and that's got to be the mentality for any team going up against the Chiefs. Denver had it working for about three quarters against KC with just 1 TD and 2 FG's allowed, and I do think New England is capable of carrying that type of play out for the full 60 minutes. Like I said earlier, Belichick will have a few tricks up his sleeve for the young Mahomes too, so look for this Patriots defense to possibly have some surprising success this week.

    All in all, it adds up to a play on the home side here for a variety of reasons. For one, I don't believe that if this game were played on a neutral field that the line would be basically at a pick'em as this number suggests. New England based on their history alone is always going to be at least -2 there, and if that's the case it means we've actually got quite a bit of value on the Pats at home at just -3.5. Yes, that nasty hook at -3.5 is a deterrent for those that lean New England, especially since the Chiefs are 5-0 ATS, but offense eventually dries up in this league, and with the defense the Chiefs have, their undefeated record SU and ATS looks to me like nothing more than a house of cards that's bound to crash soon.

    I'm betting that KC crash comes this week against a Patriots team that has so many things working in their favor for this spot (more rest, home field, getting healthier/finding rhythm). New England is on a 20-7 ATS run after covering the number in their last outing, and a 16-6 ATS run in their last 22 against a team with a winning record serves as a reminder that they've put down these upstart contenders many times before. I don't think that hook on the -3.5 will matter either as New England comes out and makes a statement here with a double-digit victory.
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; Yesterday at 12:12 PM.

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    Essentials - Week 6
    Tony Mejia

    Sunday

    Arizona at Minnesota (-10/44), 1 p.m. ET, FOX:
    The Cardinals picked up the first victory of the Steve Wilks/Josh Rosen era last weekend in Santa Clara, scoring a season-high 28 points. Arizona’s output in a 10-point win over the 49ers is misleading since they scored on a 23-yard fumble return to really swing a tight game and then capitalized on a short field for the second time to put the game away. The only offensive score that finished off a drive of over 26 yards came on a 75-yard pass from Rosen to fellow rookie Christian Kirk, so it remains to be seen whether this group can string together sustained possessions on the road against Minnesota. It won’t help if tackle Andrew Smith (shoulder/elbow) and guard Mike Iupati are unable to go after missing practice time this week, but both guys are expected to be in the mix despite being listed as ‘questionable.’

    It’s been a challenging first few weeks for a Vikings defense that has given up big plays in unexpectedly getting carved up by a banged-up Aaron Rodgers and Jared Goff in addition to being run over by rookie Josh Allen. Last week’s win over the Eagles featured their best performance despite surrendering a pair of long fourth-quarter drives, but they did hold the defending champs to just a pair of field goals for three quarters. Minnesota has missed DE Everson Griffen (mental issues) and won’t have safety Andrew Sendejo in this one, but there are enough pieces in place to expect a strong performance at home. QB Kirk Cousins has completed 141 passes over his last four games, throwing for an average of 361 yards and nine touchdowns. He’s earning his money so far, but needs to be wary of not letting Patrick Peterson make an impact. The Vikings lost their only game as a double-digit favorite outright against Buffalo and are 2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS in this role as heavy chalk over the past season-plus. RB Dalvin Cook is likely to play despite the hamstring injury that has limited him the past few weeks, but tackle Riley Reiff will be unable to play. The Chargers have won four of six against Cleveland but failed to cover in any of the games, last doing so in 2004.

    L.A. Chargers at Cleveland (-1.5/47), 1 p.m. ET, CBS:
    The Browns have won multiple games in a season for the first time since 2015 and can match that season’s win total with a victory here, but what is even more impressive is that they’ve been in position to win in every fourth quarter, either up or driving for a game-winning score. Cleveland seeks out consecutive wins for the first time since November 2014 after squandering a late lead in Oakland to close September in their first opportunity to string together victories. Rookie No. 1 pick Baker Mayfield threw for 342 yards last week and faces a Chargers defense still without top DE Joey Bosa. Corey Liuget did return for L.A. last week to help upgrade the level of play on the defensive front and helped hold the Raiders to just 10 points. This game's biggest question mark surrounds the availability of Chargers tackles Russell Okung and Joe Barksdale, who are expected to play despite being listed as game-time decisions.

    The Chargers will be playing outside California for only the second time this season, having won in Buffalo on Sept. 15. L.A. is averaging 27.4 points per game and is looking to put together a three-game winning streak that would improve them to 10-3 over their last 13 regular-season games. Philip Rivers has a 13-2 TD-INT ration thus far this season that will be tested by a defense that leads the NFL with 15 takeaways. For all the credit Mayfield is rightfully getting, safety Denzel Ward has been their most impactful rookie. He had an interception and blocked a field goal last week and has a forced fumble, a recovery and three picks on an impressive ever-growing resume. Terrance Mitchell remains sidelined by a broken wrist, so the Browns will need E.J. Gaines to continue stepping up as a starter in a rebuilt secondary that is entrusted with a lot considering how often the defense brings the blitz. Rivers has been pressured 49 times thus far and has a completion percentage of nearly 70 percent with four TDs and no INTs when facing heat, building up an NFL-high QB rating of 128.8 when under pressure. After temperatures dipped into the upper 30s overnight, both teams will be treated to a clear day with perfect fall football conditions come kickoff.

    Chicago (-4/41.5) at Miami, 1 p.m. ET, FOX:
    At one point, it appeared inevitable that Adam Gase would be in the position Matt Nagy currently holds with the Bears, being lauded for their revival in part due to his offensive ingenuity. After putting in a solid year of work as offensive coordinator in Chicago under John Fox, the Dolphins hired him. He immediately reached the playoffs and is now looking to pick up where he left off in ’16 with Ryan Tannehill back under center. Unfortunately, Tannehill (shoulder) is unlikely to play this week, unable to heal up enough for Week 6. Brock Osweiler is expected to start. Nagy, who replaced Gase’s former boss, is having similar first-year success in overseeing Mitch Trubisky’s improvement, so there are a lot of similarities despite these teams playing in separate conferences and running into one another only every four years. Both employ creative offensive systems reliant on speed, blocking and clever schemes, so the team that executes best is likely to thrive here. The Bears beat the Cards as a road favorite earlier this season but didn't cover and haven't been in this position multiple times in the same season since 2013.

    Thunderstorms are in the forecast but may come later in the day, which means they’ll get this one in under humid conditions with temperatures in the high 80s. That may be more of an adjustment for the Bears, but coming in off a bye should aid their cause. The time off has allowed corner Prince Amukamara and rookie WR Anthony Miller to get healthy, so Chicago has that advantage over a Dolphins team that will again be missing pass rusher Cameron Wake and may again be without WR DeVante Parker. Guard Laremy Tunsil (conucission) will be out there to try and help Miami snap a two-game losing streak by protecting whoever lines up under center. The Bears defense has surrendered just 13.7 points during their current three-game winning streak and lead NFL in sacks per game (4.5) with Khalil Mack imposing his will. Tannehill has been sacked 11 times and would be extremely vulnerable if Tunsil suffers a setback. His backup, Sam Young, flopped miserably in Cincinnati and was cut, so swing tackle Zach Sterup would have to play if Tunsil is unable to.

    Carolina at Washington (-1/44.5), 1 p.m. ET, FOX:
    Grahama Gano’s 63-yard field goad to beat the Giants prevented this past week around the Panthers’ facility from being awful. In blowing a double-digit fourth-quarter lead to New York, Carolina put itself in position to heed warnings and refocus all week without suffering any of the sting of actually losing. Meanwhile, the ‘Skins are facing a short-week situation after losing in New Orleans on Monday but can exit Week 6 with the NFC East lead with a victory here. The spotlight is on former Panthers star corner Josh Norman in the D.C. area since he’s gotten sliced up and reportedly got benched by head coach Jay Gruden after refusing to take off headphones at halftime of the Saints loss, so we’ll see whether Cam Newton will be able to make his week even worse.

    Newton has thrown for multiple touchdowns in each of the last three games and has run for three scores on the season, so not having a true No. 1 receiver hasn’t derailed him thus far. He’s expected to get top target Greg Olsen back after missing the last few weeks with a broken foot. Defensively, the Panthers are also getting closer to full strength with LB Thomas Davis’ suspension over and DT Kawann Short set to play following an ankle injury. Carolina is looking to extend its winning streak over the ‘Skins to six, last losing at FedEx Field back in ’06. Alex Smith beat the Packers last time he was in front of his new team’s fans at home but played terribly against the Saints and could get irrevocable proof that the natives are restless if he struggles here since they seem ready to boo him. It doesn’t help his cause that RB Chris Thompson has already been ruled out, removing one of his favorite and most effective check-down options. WRs Jamison Crowder (ankle), Paul Richardson (knee) and Josh Doctson (head) all have injury concerns to be aware of and late word is Crowder is doubtful to play. RB Adrian Peterson (shoulder) is likely to be in for a heavy workload as long as Washington can hang around.

    Indianapolis at N.Y. Jets (-2.5/47.5), 1 p.m. ET, CBS:
    The Jets are in the unfamiliar position of favorite for the second time this season and are hoping to handle the role with more success than they did in losing their Week 2 home opener against Miami. Not only does form play a large role in the spread, but also health, since the Colts feature one of the NFL’s longest injury reports. Starting guard Matt Slauson is the latest lineman ruled out, while center Ryan Kelly is a huge question mark. Safety Clayton Geathers remains out, one of a number of defensive catalysts that won’t participate for Indy, while WR T.Y. Hilton is considered doubtful due to a hamstring issue. As a result, Andrew Luck is playing with a lot of inexperience surrounding him on that side of the ball.

    New York rookie Sam Darnold has benefited by continuity on an offense that hasn’t faced the same health-related obstacles as Indy. RB Isaiah Crowell, one of the key cogs in their early success in handling carries in tandem with Bilal Powell, has been upgraded to probable despite an ankle issue. He ranks third in the NFL is yards from scrimmage. The Jets will be without corner Trumaine Johnson (quad) and fellow DB Buster Skrine (concussion), so their secondary depth will be suspect in this one. New York has covered in eight of its last 11 home games.

    Pittsburgh at Cincinnati (-1.5/51), 1 p.m. ET, CBS: Steelers CB Joe Haden may be in a different uniform than the one he wore for years with the Browns, but the division remains the same. Although he no longer has to cover Antonio Brown, the challenge of dealing with A.J. Green remains and should play a critical role in this one. Andy Dalton has gone to his top target when it has mattered most despite looking to spread the ball out among receivers better, resulting in the emergence of No. 2 wideout Tyler Boyd. The Steelers defense comes off an impressive performance against the Falcons and will be looking to slow a Cincy attack that rallied for a turnover-driven 27-17 win over the Dolphins last week and has managed to top the 30-point mark in three of 2018’s five games.

    Pittsburgh remains reliant on James Conner for to handle running back duties for another week before Le’Veon Bell is back following next week’s bye, so he’ll be looking to leave a lasting impression to try and keep at least some share of the workload. Cincinnati got RB Joe Mixon back last week and watched him pick up 115 yards of offense, supplying juice that Giovani Bernard simply couldn’t when Mixon absent. The Steelers have won eight of nine in the series, including the last five over their AFC North rival. They’ve won four straight in Cincy, last losing in 2013, and have averaged 30.5 points in the victories. Both teams come into this game relatively healthy, with few new injuries popping up last week. Pittsburgh remains without safety Morgan Burnett while Cincy has lost TE Tyler Eifert for the season and won’t get back speedster John Ross, who remains out with a groin injury. Light rain is in the forecast all afternoon but shouldn’t play too much of a role.

    Tampa Bay at Atlanta (-3/57), 1 p.m. ET, FOX:
    Jameis Winston returns to his role as the unquestioned starter after serving out his suspension and sitting behind Ryan Fitzpatrick for a disastrous half in a lopsided loss to Chicago. The former No. 1 pick finished out the 48-10 loss to the Bears and took first-team reps during the bye week, so he’ll be good to go here as he tries to pick up where Ben Roethlisberger left off in torching the Falcons’ depleted defense. DT Grady Jarrett remains sidelined for Atlanta, which combined with a depleted secondary and the loss of top LB Deion Jones in Week 1, has really left its group exposed. New Orleans, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh have combined to average over 40 points per game in handing Dan Quinn’s group their last three losses.

    Matt Ryan has been inconsistent in attempting to have the offense make up for the defense’s deficiencies but will give the Falcons their best chance to win since he’s been cleared to participate despite a minor foot injury. RB Devonta Freeman is out again following a brief return to the lineup, so the Bucs will have to deal with backups Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith, who have done a nice job filling in. Despite all the attrition, Atlanta is at home and favored to defeat Tampa Bay for a fourth straight time. The Bucs’ last win in this series came at Mercedes-Benz Stadium to open the 2016 season.

    Seattle (-3/48) at Oakland, 1 p.m. ET, FOX:
    This game will be played in London’s Wembley Stadium, so there will be no Black Hole for Russell Wilson to be concerned with. What will trouble him is the potential lack of a tight end, a staple in a Wilson-run offense, since preferred target Will Dissly injured a knee to open the month and backup Nick Vannett is listed as questionable with a knee injury. Tyrone Swopes has been promoted from the practice squad and will play in London, so that could be one challenge the Seahawks will have to overcome. Another could be rain, which Seattle would obviously be used to given its climate and the fact it has played a couple of games dealing with inclement weather already this season. Wind will also be a factor across the pond.

    The Raiders were held to a season-low 10 points by the Chargers last week and could be down multiple starting offensive linemen with guard Kelechi Osemele listed as doubtful. Oakland missed him last week and is already down tackle Donald Penn. Combined with an inability to generate pressure without sending multiple blitzers, Jon Gruden isn’t getting a lot from the team he inherited and won’t benefit from being the “home” team here. Wilson has been sacked 18 times this season since he lets plays develop, often buying time for them, and has a suspect offensive line himself, so if the Raiders can’t get to him, they’re at risk of getting embarrassed overseas. One way to counter being put at a disadvantage is to feed Marshawn Lynch and work the clock, so that could be a strategy in this one, potentially combining with the weather to deliver on the low-side of the posted total.

    L.A. Rams (-7/51) at Denver, 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX:
    - The Rams will have to deal with one of the league’s premier pass rushers in Von Miller, but the element that may slow them down most could be snow. The fast-paced offense that has empowered Jared Goff and produced more than 30 points in all five of the team’s wins this season will have to deal with the elements in Denver, where it has been snowing off and on overnight and should feature a steady sprinkling of Santa’s salt throughout this contest.

    Fortunately for the L.A., it will get back Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp after both left last week’s game with concussions, so the Broncos’ secondary should still be tested considering winds aren’t expected to compliment the snow flurries. After getting carved up by the Jets in New York, count on the Broncos being locked in to keep from getting embarrassed at Mile High. Keep in mind that this team has done their best work there, beating the Seahawks and Raiders to open the season 2-0 and losing to the Chiefs late in a game that they led throughout. Denver’s defense held Kansas City to a season-low 27 points in that Monday night loss, so there’s certainly proof that this unit can still step up and being a factor on that side of the ball despite losing Aqib Talib. Replacement Adam Jones (leg) has been ruled out for this one, but the secondary does get Darian Stewart (foot) and Tramaine Brock (groin) in the mix to deal with an offense that has produced an ‘over’ in each of their last three wins.

    Jacksonville (-3/40) at Dallas, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS:
    The Cowboys follow up their disappointing overtime loss at Houston by hosting the Jaguars in a game that carries high stakes since a loss would drop them to 2-4, which even in a wide open and disappointing NFC East, puts their hopes of serious playoff contention in doubt. Owner/GM Jerry Jones criticized Jason Garrett’s decision to punt and not gamble on 4th down in OT but gave him the vote of confidence later in the week, so it’s anyone’s guess whether the long-time Cowboys coach and former backup QB would keep his job on Monday if things go poorly here.

    Dallas won’t have to deal with Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette, who remains sidelined by a hamstring injury. Blake Bortles threw for 430 yards in last week’s loss in Kansas City but ended up being picked up four times as the Chiefs employed a strategy of dropping defenders into coverage and forcing Bortles to make throws to beat them, resulting in numerous red zone stops. The Cowboys won’t have top LB Sean Lee in the mix to help them effectively execute a similar look, but are likely to have Demarcus Lawrence in the mix in addition to David Irving. Defensive end Randy Gregory and DT Maliek Collins are question marks, so the front seven is likely to be led by emerging backup linebacker Jaylon Smith and rookie first-round pick Leighton Vander Esch. The 'under' has prevailed in eight of the Cowboys' last nine games and is 3-2 in Jags' contests.

    Baltimore (-2.5/43) at Tennessee, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS:
    The Ravens had no one to blame but themselves in losing to the Browns, a statement that takes nothing away from how improved Cleveland looks. Joe Flacco played his worst game of a resurgent season and left a number of throws out there, wasting an excellent effort from a defense that has emerged as one of the NFL’s best, allowing just 12.3 points over the last three games. We’ll see if they can continue executing n that side of the ball despite a few injuries in the secondary, but they’re playing the right team for that in these Titans.

    Due to Marcus Mariota’s elbow issues, he’s not looking to throw the ball down the field, although the speed and ability of last year’s top pick, Corey Davis, still produces a threat who must be respected. Getting tackle Taylor Lewan in the mix to help protect Mariota provides a boost, especially given how effectively the Ravens have been able to pressure QBs to date. Tennessee’s defense remains without safety Kenny Vaccaro (elbow), won’t have LB Will Compton (hamstring) and lists DT Bennie Logan (elbow) and LB Wesley Woodyard (shoulder) as game-time decisions. Rain is likely to impact this contest too.

    Kansas City at New England (-3.5/59.5), 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC:
    This is being billed as battle between QBs Tom Brady and the emerging Pat Mahomes or as a summit meeting between elite tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce, so few are mentioning what will ultimately decide this shootout. Since both teams are capable of producing big plays through the air, it’s the ability of both defenses to get off the field and minimize damage that should produce results here. To that end, one can understand why the Patriots are favored. It’s more complicated than simply coming out of the home locker room at Gillette Stadium.

    Justin Houston, one of the top pass rushers in the game, is doubtful with a hamstring issue that should have Brady breathing a sign of relief. Safety Eric Berry is also unlikely to play, while versatile DB Eric Murray is also out. Rookie safety Armani Watts is questionable with a groin injury and will be a game-time decision, so an untested patchwork group will be out there in the Chiefs secondary attempting to keep Brady from carving them up. The Patriots list corner Eric Rowe as questionable in addition to DT Danny Shelton, Geneo Grissom and DE John Simon, but all those guys should play. Temperatures are expected to dip into the low 40s, but wind won’t stand in the way of a shootout if neither defense does.
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; Yesterday at 12:13 PM.

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    MNF - 49ers at Packers
    Kevin Rogers

    LAST WEEK

    The 49ers (1-4 SU, 1-4 ATS) suffered their third consecutive loss and fell to 0-2 without Jimmy Garoppolo as their starting quarterback. After a valiant effort in a two-point road loss to the Chargers as 10-point underdogs in Week 4, San Francisco was surprised at home by a previously winless Arizona squad, 28-18. However, the final score doesn’t tell the entire story at Levi’s Stadium.

    San Francisco outgained Arizona, 447-220 in the yardage department, while holding the ball for over 40 minutes. The nail in the coffin for the 49ers was five turnovers, including three lost fumbles and a pair of interceptions thrown by quarterback C.J. Beathard, who finished with 349 yards through the air. The difference for this struggling Arizona team was a 75-yard touchdown connection between rookies Josh Rosen and Christian Kirk, while the Cardinals’ defense returned a fumble recovery for a score as the two teams combined for 26 fourth quarter points to finish OVER the total of 40 ½.

    The Packers (2-2-1 SU, 2-3 ATS) are trying to find their footing following an up and down start as Green Bay fell behind early in a 31-23 setback at Detroit last Sunday. The Lions built a 24-0 halftime lead before the Packers made it interesting in the second half by outscoring Detroit, 23-7. The normally reliable Mason Crosby missed four field goals and an extra point for Green Bay, while the Packers also lost three fumbles in the defeat.

    Crosby knocked down a field goal in the final seconds for a late morale boost, as the Packers have allowed 29 points or more in their three non-victories. Aaron Rodgers tossed up 442 yards and three touchdowns in the loss, the first game this season that the Green Bay star quarterback has thrown for at least 300 yards. The bad news is Green Bay suffered its first divisional loss in three tries this season, as Detroit and Minnesota are the only teams in the NFC North without a defeat to a divisional foe.

    ROAD WOES

    In Kyle Shanahan’s first season as head coach of the 49ers, San Francisco owned a solid 5-2 ATS record in the role of a road underdog. However, that number has not transferred over to the season as the Niners have stumbled to a 1-2 SU/ATS mark away from Levi’s Stadium (all as an underdog). Granted, the competition has been stiff by facing the Vikings, Chiefs, and Chargers with the only cover coming in a 29-27 setback at Los Angeles in Week 4 as 10-point underdogs. In the first eight weeks of the season dating back to 2015, the Niners own a dreadful 0-15 SU and 5-10 ATS record on the highway.

    UNDER THE LIGHTS

    The Packers have won in three of their last four appearances on Monday night football dating back to 2014. The only loss in this stretch came last season against the Lions at home, but Rodgers was out due to the collarbone injury he suffered three weeks prior. The last time Green Bay lost with Rodgers starting and ending a Monday night game came in the infamous “Fail Mary” loss to Seattle in 2012.

    Who would have thought that the 49ers own a nine-game winning streak on Monday night dating back to 2010? It’s true, the last time San Francisco fell on a Monday night was back in Week 2 of 2010 in a 25-22 home setback to New Orleans. During this nine-game hot streak, the Niners have covered eight times, including recent underdog wins over the Rams (2016) and Vikings (2015). The Niners haven’t played a road Monday nighter since 2014, when San Francisco went into St. Louis and routed the Rams, 31-17.

    HANDICAPPER’S CORNER

    NFL expert Joe Nelson points out the Packers should get on track simply due to their success at Lambeau Field, “Green Bay is 27-9-1 SU at home since the start of the 2014 season with a 22-14-1 ATS run though there has been a short term 3-5 ATS slide since last October. Many of those late season losses last season came without Rodgers and while the two-time MVP has played most of the snaps this season, he hasn’t matched his career numbers while playing at less than 100 percent since sustaining a knee injury in Week 1.”

    The running game will definitely be a factor in this contest as both these teams are sitting in the top-10, “San Francisco and Green Bay have had surprising success running the ball, sitting 4th and 9th respectively in yards per rush this season. San Francisco is also in the league’s top 5 in yards per rush allowed defensively. Both teams are also in the top 10 in yards per pass attempt allowed as the defenses have posted more successful numbers than expected,” Nelson notes.

    GAME PROPS

    Total Completions – C.J. Beathard
    OVER 22 ½ (-110)
    UNDER 22 ½ (-110)

    Total Touchdown Passes – C.J. Beathard
    OVER 1 ½ (+150)
    UNDER 1 ½ (-180)

    Total Gross Passing Yards – Aaron Rodgers
    OVER 292 ½ (-110)
    UNDER 292 ½ (-110)

    Total Touchdown Passes – Aaron Rodgers
    OVER 2 ½ (+120)
    UNDER 2 ½ (-140)

    Total Receiving Yards – Davante Adams
    OVER 83 ½ (-110)
    UNDER 83 ½ (-110)

    Will Davante Adams score a touchdown?
    YES (-130)
    NO (+110)

    LINE MOVEMENT

    The Packers opened up as 10-point favorites, but that number has dropped to 9 ½ at several books and even down to nine at the Westgate Superbook. The total hasn’t seen much movement, staying at 46 ½ for most of the week as both the Packers and 49ers are currently 4-1 to the OVER this season.

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    Patriots should attract public bettors as short faves vs. Bears in NFL Week 7 odds
    Patrick Everson

    Tom Brady and New England outlasted Kansas City on Sunday night, but didn't cover. The Patriots opened as 3-point favorites at Chicago in Week 7, the same number as last week's lookahead line.

    Week 7 on the NFL schedule doesn’t have a game that just leaps off the page, but there are some intriguing matchups nonetheless. We check in on the opening lines and early action for four such contests, with insights from John Murray, sportsbook manager at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.

    New England Patriots at Chicago Bears (+3)

    New England put up tons of points in each of the last three games, and in Week 6 needed pretty much all of them. The Patriots (4-2 SU, 3-3 ATS) blew a 24-9 halftime lead in a Sunday night shootout with Kansas City, but escaped with a 43-40 victory as 3.5-point home favorites

    Chicago had plenty of time to rest up for Week 6, with a Week 5 bye, and got to face a backup quarterback. All that wasn’t enough, though, as the Bears (3-2 SU and ATS) lost to Brock Osweiler and Miami 31-28 in overtime as 7.5-point road faves.

    “We saw a lot of money show up on the Bears +3 when we put up the lookahead line for this game last Tuesday,” Murray said early Sunday evening, prior to the Chiefs-Patriots contest. “This will be the Patriots’ first road game in a month, and the Bears crowd should be wild. But the public perception of the Bears may change a lot after that terrible loss to Osweiler and the Dolphins. The public will be all over the Patriots in this game if they have an impressive showing against the Chiefs.”

    The offense was certainly impressive, but the New England defense got torched.

    Per Superbook policy, the Pats-Bears line was taken down during the Sunday night game and will be rehung Monday morning.

    Carolina Panthers at Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5)

    Philadelphia is the defending Super Bowl champion, but sits at just 3-3 SU and ATS through six weeks. The Eagles hope they’re back on track after rolling over the New York Giants 34-13 as 1.5-point road chalk in the Thursday night game.

    Carolina barely escaped against the visiting Giants in Week 5, winning on a 63-yard field goal as time expired, but didn’t have such luck in Week 6 at Washington. The Panthers (3-2 SU, 2-3 ATS) fell behind 17-0 in the first half and had their rally fall short in a 23-17 setback as 1-point faves.

    “Philadelphia has three extra days to prepare for this game, and Carolina struggled for a second week in a row in its loss to the Redskins,” Murray said. “The Panthers would be on a two-game losing streak without the heroics of Graham Gano.”

    Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins (-2.5)

    With Philadelphia out of the gate slow, Washington is actually atop the NFC East at 3-2 SU and ATS. The Redskins went off as 1-point home ‘dogs against Carolina in Week 6 and held on for a 23-17 victory after blowing much of a 17-0 lead.

    Dallas has been tough to peg this season, but put together its best scoring output of the season in Week 6, and against a good defense, no less. The Cowboys (3-3 SU and ATS), catching 3 points at home, darted out to a 24-0 halftime lead and coasted past Jacksonville, 40-7.

    “Great win for Dallas at home over Jacksonville,” Murray said, before turning his attention to next weekend. “This feels like the kind of home game the Redskins always lose. I expect the public to back the Cowboys pretty heavily on the road here.”

    In fact, the early move in this division clash was toward Dallas, with the line dipping to 2 at the Superbook.

    Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs (-6)

    Kansas City was the talk of the league through five weeks, and rightly so, winning on the field and cashing for bettors every week. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs (5-1 SU, 6-0 ATS) continued to cash in Week 6 with a big rally at New England, but fell short on the scoreboard, losing 43-40 as a 3.5-point pup.

    Cincinnati blew a great opportunity to prove it was the best team in the NFC North. The Bengals (4-2 SU and ATS) went off as 1.5-point home favorites against Pittsburgh and took a 21-20 lead with 1:18 remaining in the game, then gave up a waning-seconds touchdown in a 28-21 loss.

    “Marvin Lewis always finds a way to blow a few games every season,” Murray said. “Sunday’s loss to Pittsburgh was particularly brutal. A win there would’ve made the Bengals 5-1 and put them in great position in the AFC North. This line may change depending on the result of the Sunday night game.”

    The Superbook took down the Cincy-KC line during the Chiefs-Patriots game and will repost the number Monday morning.

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