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Thread: NFL Trends and Indexes - Week 14 (Thur., Dec. 6 - Mon., Dec. 10)

  1. #16
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    Tech Trends - Week 14
    Bruce Marshall

    Thursday, Dec. 6

    JACKSONVILLE at TENNESSEE (FOX/NFL, 8:30 p.m. ET)

    Jags on 1-7 SU, 1-5-2 spread skid, 0-4-1 vs. line last five away. Titans on 8-2-2 run vs. line at home, and have won and covered last three vs. Jax.
    Tech Edge: Titans, based on team trends.



    Sunday, Dec. 9

    BALTIMORE at KANSAS CITY (CBS, 1:00 p.m. ET)

    Chiefs only one cover last 5 TY (1-3-1), and no covers last two as host. Though still 12-3-1 last 16 vs spread in reg season. Ravens 6-2-1 last eight as dog.
    Tech Edge: Ravens, based on team trends.


    INDIANAPOLIS at HOUSTON (CBS, 1:00 p.m. ET)
    Colts have won last five of last six SU, Texans have won last 9 SU. Houston win streak began Sept. 30 at Indy. Colts 4-0-1 vs. line last five at NRG Stadium. Texans only 3-3 vs. spread as host TY.
    Tech Edge: Slight to Colts, based on series trends.


    CAROLINA at CLEVELAND (FOX, 1:00 p.m. ET)
    Panthers 0-4 SU and vs. line last three TY. Browns 7-5 vs. spread in 2018, 4-2 vs. line at home. Cam on 13-7 “over” run since late 2017.
    Tech Edge: “Over” and slight to Browns, based on “totals” and team trends.


    ATLANTA at GREEN BAY (FOX, 1:00 p.m. ET)
    Falcs only 3-9 vs. points this season, 1-4 vs. spread away, also “under” 4 of last 5. Pack “under” 5 of last 6 TY.
    Tech Edge: Slight to “under, ” based on “totals” trends.


    NEW ORLEANS at TAMPA BAY (FOX, 1:00 p.m. ET)
    Saints had their 10-game SU and 9-game spread win streaks snapped at Dallas. Only previous SU loss this season in opener vs. Bucs. TB only 3-6-1 last 9 on board this season. but has covered last 2 and 6 of last 9 in series.
    Tech Edge: Slight to Saints, based on recent trends.


    N.Y. JETS at BUFFALO (CBS, 1:00 p.m. ET)
    Jets no SU wins L6 TY, only 3-8 L11 vs. line. Bills 7-3 last 10 vs. spread in series.
    Tech Edge: Bills, based on team trends.


    NEW ENGLAND at MIAMI (CBS, 1:00 p.m. ET)
    Belichick has had problems before in Miami, he’s lost and failed to cover 4 of last 5 at Dolphins, and just 1-4-1 last six as series visitor. Dolphins are 4-1 vs. line at home this season. Home team 11-1 vs. spread last 12 in series!
    Tech Edge: Dolphins, based on series trends.


    N.Y. GIANTS at WASHINGTON (FOX, 1:00 p.m. ET)
    Eli has covered five straight on road! Into Monday, Skins on 10-5 “under” run, and “unders” four straight in series.
    Tech Edge: Giants and “under,” based on team and “totals” trends.


    DENVER at SAN FRANCISCO (CBS, 4:05 p.m. ET)
    Broncos have turned around spread fortunes and have covered 6 of last 7 this season. Also four straight on road. Niners just 3-9 vs. line in 2018. Denver on 12-4 “under” run.
    Tech Edge: Broncos and “Under,” based on team and “totals” trends.


    CINCINNATI at L.A. CHARGERS (CBS, 4:05 p.m. ET)
    Cincy 1-6 SU and vs. line last seven TY. Bengals also on 9-4 “over” run. Beginning with fifth game the past two seasons, Bolts 14-5-1 vs. number.
    Tech Edge: Chargers and slight to “over,” based on team and “totals” trends.


    DETROIT at ARIZONA (FOX, 4:25 p.m. ET)
    Cards 6-3-1 last ten on board TY and have covered 3 of last 4 as home dog. Lions 1-5 vs. spread last six TY.
    Tech Edge: Slight to Cards, based on team trends.


    PHILADELPHIA at DALLAS (FOX, 4:25 p.m. ET)
    Surging Dak has won and covered last four this season. Dallas back to “under” in last game and “under” 15-6 since early 2017. Prior to last Monday vs. Skins, Birds only 3-10-1 last 14 on board in reg season since late 2017 though have covered 3 of last 4 at Dallas. Pederson 6-3 last 9 as dog.
    Tech Edge: Cowboys and “under,” based on recent and “totals” trends.


    PITTSBURGH at OAKLAND (FOX, 4:25 p.m. ET)
    Steel 5-2-1 last eight vs. line TY, Raiders on 6-17-3 spread skid since early 2017. Raiders “under” 13-6 last 19 (though “under” only 6-6 TY).
    Tech Edge: Steelers, based on team trends.


    L.A. RAMS at CHICAGO (NBC, 8:30 p.m. ET)
    Surprisingly Rams only 5-8-2 vs. spread last 14 on board, 3-4 last six vs. spread away. Bears 5-1 vs. line last six TY and 5-1 vs. points at Soldier Field, 13-4-2 vs. points at home since mid 2016, 8-2-1 last 11 as home dog.
    Tech Edge: Bears, based on team trends.



    Monday, Dec. 10

    MINNESOTA at SEATTLE (ESPN, 8:25 p.m. ET)

    Hawks on 6-1-1 spread uptick, most of that on road (they play 4 of last 5 at home). Zimmer 7-4-2 vs. line last 12 away from home. Vikes “over” 4-2 away TY, Hawks “over” last 4.
    Tech Edge: Slight to “over,” based on “totals” trends.
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 12-06-2018 at 03:10 AM.

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    TNF - Jaguars at Titans
    Tony Mejia

    Jacksonville at Tennessee (-4.5, 37.5), 8:20 pm ET, FOX/NFLN

    Jacksonville’s defense has the potential to make Blake Bortles look awful by helping pull off a second straight divisional upset as their demoted former starter again watches from the sideline. Cody Kessler benefited as the team’s strongest unit did the heavy lifting in a 6-0 win over the Colts that replaced the Titans-Jags Week 3 meeting as the lowest-scoring game of the season.

    Andrew Luck underwent an on-field root canal in dealing with Jacksonville’s pressure up front and the excellence of a rejuvenated defensive backfield, throwing for 248 yards and getting intercepted once in being shutout.

    With corner A.J. Bouye back to help a healthier Jalen Ramsey and impressive D.J. Hayden, the Jaguars again boast one of the league’s strongest defensive backfields. Up front, they’ll have to replace starting nose tackle Abry Jones off the unit that blanked the Colts but are still well-equipped to make life difficult for Tennessee. For more on who is in and out, read the injury report below.

    Since the best the Jaguars can finish is 8-8, all success they have from this point on won’t affect their playoff chances but will certainly have a toll on the postseason picture. After snapping their seven-game losing streak by ending Indy’s five-game unbeaten run, the Jags now take aim at playing spoiler against Tennessee, which is one of four teams on the outside looking in of the AFC’s top-six, trailing the Ravens by a game.

    Jacksonville will now try and snap a winless run of four games in Nashville and a 2-12 run against AFC South Division foes.

    The Titans got back to .500 against the Jets on Sunday, but only barely. Despite facing veteran backup QB Josh McCown and a banged-up New York squad that hadn’t won since mid-October, Tennessee needed Marcus Mariota to find Corey Davis with 36 seconds left to cap a comeback from a 22-13 fourth-quarter deficit.

    Mariota has shown a knack for saving his best for last but contributed greatly to digging last week’s hole by throwing a pick-six. He led the Titans in rushing and threw for 286 yards to wrap up his 12th career game-winning drive, which does inspire confidence since style points won’t matter against Jacksonville. The Titans have won five of six over the Jags (see series history below) and have found ways to overcome Bortles and a defense that has been among the NFL’s best in low-scoring games and shootouts no matter who the coaches have been, so Doug Marrone will have his work cut out for him on the road with a team that has won only one true road game all season, beating the Giants 20-15 in Week 1.

    The Titans are 4-1 in Nashville and own conquests of the Texans, Eagles and Patriots, so they perform in front of the paying customers. They’ll have to deal with nemesis Leonard Fournette, who returns from a one-game suspension and may be the healthiest he’s been all season since he’s been bothered by injuries most of the way.

    Being unable to count on him early forced Jacksonville to trade for Carlos Hyde, who is also available alongside T.J. Yeldon. Kessler comes into this one averaging 153 passing yards in his two appearances, so count on the run game being the staple of the Jags’ attack. His longest completion spans 23 yards, so it’s likely you’ll see a run defense that ranks 19th against the ground game and has been the weak link in that unit tested exhaustively.

    Count on the Titans challenging Kessler to make plays in the red zone since first-year head coach Mike Vrabel and defensive coordinator Dean Pees have been especially stingy inside the 20-yard line, holding opponents to the lowest touchdown rate in the NFL (44.1 percent).

    Fournette has run for 95 yards in each of his last two games, finding the end zone three times in losses to the Steelers and Bills before his one-game suspension. He wasn’t in the lineup in Week 3 and ran for just 109 yards on 33 carries in last season’s losses, scoring once. Getting him going in addition to another strong defensive outing is the ideal formula for the Jags to pull this offense.

    Tennessee’s current schedule isn’t daunting, so it has an opportunity to run the table if it can keep the ball rolling by picking up where it left off in Sunday’s fourth quarter. The Titans’ lone road remaining game will be Dec. 16 vs. the Giants and their final contests will come at home against the Redskins and Colts, who each enter Week 14 at 6-6 on the heels of brutal offensive showings.

    That would seem to play right into Tennessee’s wheelhouse, but a running game that was non-existent last week must emerge and Mariota has to stay healthy. Per Titans Online expert Jim Wyatt, the former No. 2 pick has gone 128-for-174, throwing for 1,656 yards, eight TDs and five interceptions in his six previous primetime games, so we’ll see if he’s up to this latest challenge. The offensive line in front of him was reshuffled on the run against the Jets as Corey Levin came into play center, so we’ll see if that change remains in place and guard Quinton Spain in relegated to a backup role.

    Jacksonville also made changes in addition to the high-profile one where Bortles was left stuck holding a clipboard, starting Patrick Omameh at guard up front notorious former Giants flop Ereck Flowers started at tackle for Josh Walker. Ronnie Harrison started at safety ahead of Barry Church while Marcell Dareus moved inside, so there will again likely be some in-game variables.

    As far as the elements go, snow fell in Nashville on Wednesday but we should see clear conditions and temperatures in the high 30s for this Thursday night clash.

    Jacksonville Jaguars
    Season win total: 9 (Over -130, Under +110)
    Odds to win AFC South: OFF to OFF
    Odds to win AFC: 2000/1 to 900/1
    Odds to win Super Bowl: 5000/1 to 2000/1

    Tennessee Titans
    Season win total: 8 (Over -110, Under -110)
    Odds to win AFC South: 25/1 to OFF
    Odds to win AFC: 90/1 to 90/1
    Odds to win Super Bowl: 200/1 to 200/1

    LINE MOVEMENT

    Those who faded the Jaguars to open the season are already planning what to do with their winnings. Jacksonville can no longer reach its projected season win total and will pay out +140 at Westgate by not making the postseason. The Titans are still alive to go over on wins and reach the playoffs at +145, so those who went 'no' on them playing on in January at -170 are hoping for help from the Jags here since a Tennessee loss and Houston weekend win would give the Texans the AFC South.

    When the season began, Jacksonville was a 7/4 favorite to win the division, so its flop is very real. The Texans were 2/1, Tennessee was 7/2 and the Colts brought up the rear in terms of expectations at 4/1. The Texans moved from 1/10 entering Week 13 to that future coming off the board altogether as a foregone conclusion. The Jags do still have life, but placing anything on them from a futures standpoint is flushing cash down the toilet. The Titans' odds didn't budge after they survived the Jets.

    As far as this matchup is concerned, the Titans were a 6.5-point favorite when the Westgate's early numbers were announced last week so the Jags' impressive shutout of the Colts altered things. Westgate opened at -5 but quickly came down to 4.5, which is where most shops opened and where it currently is available in many places. Tennessee -4 was available most of the week, but there is now a lot of -5 out there.

    Tennessee is in the -225/-230 range on the money line. If you like the road 'dog outright, a payout on the Jags win will get you +190 to +200 depending on where you wager.

    INJURY CONCERNS

    Jacksonville's biggest absence with Fournette available again is the aforementioned Jones, who hasn't practiced due to a shin injury and will force more reshuffling from the Jags on the defensive front. DE Calais Campbell did overcome an ankle injury and has been cleared, while Ramsey (knee) is also off the injury repot. Jacksonville backup corners Tre Herndon and Quenton Meeks will join LB Lerentee McCray in the mix, so the Jags have plenty of ammo on that side of the ball.

    The Titans will be without safety Dane Cruikshank and RB David Flueleen due to knee injuries but should be fine without both. Key safeties Kenny Vaccaro and Kevin Byard, DT Jaurrell Casey, corners Adoree Jackson and Malcolm Butler and WR Tajae Sharpe are all good to go. Pass-rusher Derrick Morgan is listed as questionable.

    TOTAL TALK

    The ‘over/under’ for this matchup opened at 38 and most betting shops are holding a number of 37 ½ as of Thursday morning. Weekly “Total Talk” writer Chris David of VegasInsider.com offered up his thoughts on this matchup:

    It’s rare to see totals close in the thirties in the NFL these days and this will be the ninth total that will be in this neighborhood this season and the ‘over’ has gone 5-3 in the first eight totals that closed below 40.

    One of those ‘under’ winners came between this pair as the Titans defeated the Jaguars 9-6 on Sept. 23 and the low side (39 ½) was never in doubt. This was a game dominated by the defensive units as neither offense could move the football and the pair combined for 465 total yards.

    Normally I would use a vice versa handicap and lean to the high side based off the low-scoring result in the first meeting but it’s a tough argument to make. Especially with Cody Kessler under center for Jacksonville. While he wasn’t horrible last week against the Colts, expecting him to move the chains or make big plays seems like a long shot against a Titans scoring defense (18.6 PPG) that has been solid at home.

    Even though Tennessee and Jacksonville both enter this game with 7-5 ‘under’ records, two of the last three meetings in Nashville have gone ‘over’ the number. One of those outcomes occurred in a Thursday contest (2016) as Tennessee ran past Jacksonville 36-22 and the ‘over’ (43 ½) connected. Including that outcome, the Titans have watched the ‘over’ cash in their last five primetime games and that includes two results this season (both on MNF).

    Road underdogs haven’t played well in the midweek matchup this season but I’m expecting a competitive game. If my lean is right that the Jaguars can hang around, then it has to be a low-scoring affair. Instead of leaning to the game total, I believe the better play is the Tennessee team total under (21 ½) on Thursday.

    RECENT MEETINGS (Tennessee 5-1 SU, 5-1 ATS last 8; OVER 4-2)

    9/23/18 Tennessee 9-6 at Jacksonville (TEN +10, 39)
    12/31/17 Tennessee 15-10 vs. Jacksonville (TEN -2.5, 40)
    9/17/17 Tennessee 37-16 at Jacksonville (TEN -1, 42)
    12/24/16 Jacksonville 38-17 vs. Tennessee (JAX +4, 44)
    10/27/16 Tennessee 36-22 vs. Jacksonville (TEN -3, 43.5)
    12/6/15 Tennessee 42-39 vs. Jacksonville (TEN -2.5, 43.5)

    NEXT WEEK'S NUMBERS POSTED

    Westgate Vegas opens its advance lines for the following week on Tuesdays and Week 15 currently has the Titans listed as an 1.5-point road favorite at the Giants. The Jaguars will be back home in another spoiler role as they host the Mark Sanchez-led 'Skins and are an early 6.5-point favorite.
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 12-06-2018 at 01:04 PM.

  3. #18
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    By: Brandon DuBreuil



    FRESH FOURNETTE

    Leonard Fournette returns tonight from his one-game suspension, which means he should have fresh legs in what looks to be a tasty matchup with Tennessee.

    For the season, the Titans are slightly above average against the run in rushing DVOA with a rank of 13 and slightly below average in giving up 119.8 rushing yards per game, ranked 19th in the league. But Tennessee has been exposed via the running game lately, giving up 150.3 rushing yards per game on an average of 5.6 yards per carry over the last three weeks.

    This is Fournette’s first game with Scott Milanovich as offensive coordinator, though he showed his commitment to the run game by calling 21 run plays to 24 pass plays in last week’s win over Indianapolis. Fournette has run for 95 yards in each of his last two games — both against tougher defenses than Tennessee — and we expect him to approach the 100-yard mark tonight as well. Take the Over 78.5 on his rushing yards total.


    PUTTING THE "FOOT" IN FOOTBALL

    If you’re looking for touchdowns, Thursday Night Football might not be for you this week. However, if you enjoy watching a battle of the kickers, this could be must-see TV as Ryan Succop and Josh Lambo figure to play a key role in tonight’s matchup. The last time these two division rivals faced off in Week 3, there were five combined field goals in Jacksonville’s 9-6 win. Last season, there were four field goals in Week 17 and four more in Week 2. You get the idea.

    There are a few other factors which lead us to believe this game will come down to the kickers. Tennessee allows its opponents to convert just 44.1 percent of their red-zone opportunities into touchdowns, the lowest rate in the league.

    The game total tonight is set at one of the lowest totals of the season at 37.5, meaning oddsmakers are also expecting the teams to stay out of the end zone.

    Finally, we have two pretty solid kickers on each sideline, with Lambo converting at 90.5 percent and Succop at 87.5 percent. We’re taking the Over 3.5 on the number of field goals made, which comes in at a nice +110.


    SANDERS TEARS ACHILLES

    The Denver Broncos were hit with terrible news yesterday as receiver Emmanuel Sanders tore his Achilles in practice and is out for the season. Denver moves forward with a pair of rookies at wideout, with Courtland Sutton sliding into the No. 1 role and DaeSean Hamilton getting bumped into the starting lineup.

    Sutton’s arrow is trending way up and the Broncos' matchup with the 49ers this week is nice for their passing game. But we’re going to stay away for now, to see how Sutton handles the added attention that comes with being the WR1 and how Case Keenum deals with three rookies running routes for him.

    Instead, we’ll go back to Phillip Lindsay who got us a double winner last week by going Over 76.5 rushing yards and Over 0.5 rushing touchdowns. He has been nothing short of spectacular of late, posting seven yards per carry on 44 carries over his last three games.

    He has also racked up 111.2 combined yards on 17.3 touches per game over his last six games. This week, Lindsay gets a 49ers defense that was just torched by Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny for 134 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.

    The game script also sets up nicely for Lindsay as the Broncos are a four-point road fave. Lindsay is as hot as can be and he could see additional touches on Sunday as the Broncos deal with their paper-thin receiver depth chart. We’re doubling-down on Lindsay for the second week in a row: Take the Over for his rushing yards total and the Over 0.5 on his rushing touchdowns total.


    TRUBISKY RETURNS

    Bears coach Matt Nagy said on Wednesday that he “feels strong” about quarterback Mitchell Trubisky playing on Sunday night against the Rams.

    Trubisky has missed the last two games and the Bears have managed to go 1-1 in his absence, though there was a massive drop off in their passing game as Trubisky averages 8.23 yards per attempt and Chase Daniel managed just 6.26. He returns for a key NFC matchup on Sunday Night Football as the Bears host the Rams as a three-point underdog.

    There are slight concerns as Trubisky returns from an injury to his throwing shoulder but we can’t look past the matchup he faces in Week 14.

    The Rams, perhaps because they generally play with a big lead, are allowing 248.9 passing yards per game and have given up some huge weeks to opposing quarterbacks, notably Patrick Mahomes’ 478 passing yards in Week 11 and Drew Brees’ 346 passing yards in Week 9. OK, Trubisky isn’t quite at their level, but opposing QBs have thrown for 245 or more yards against them in six of the last nine games (the only QBs not to reach 245 were C.J. Beathard and Russell Wilson twice).

    We’ll be monitoring the prop market closely and leaning towards the Over for Trubisky’s passing yards total, especially if it’s set at the expected 225-235 range.


    MIAMI'S LOSS IS NEW ENGLAND'S GAIN

    Dolphins top cornerback Xavien Howard is week to week with a knee injury and will likely miss Sunday’s game against the Patriots, though he hasn’t officially been ruled out yet. This would be a boost to New England’s passing game as Howard was just named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week after his third two-interception game of the season.

    Howard has been a pest to the Pats’ top receivers, holding Josh Gordon to two catches for 32 yards back in Week 4 (though that was Gordon’s first game in New England) and Brandin Cooks to one catch for 38 yards in last year’s shocking loss at Miami in Week 14.

    Howard usually covers a team’s top wideout, meaning Gordon should benefit most from Howard’s absence. Gordon is averaging 5.8 targets per game over his last four and turned a tough matchup last week against Minnesota’s Xavier Rhodes into 58 receiving yards and a touchdown.

    We’re expecting slightly higher production this week in what will be a much easier matchup if Howard is indeed ruled out.

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    NFL Underdogs: Week 14 pointspread picks and predictions
    Jason Logan

    The best Christmas gifts are often the ones you didn’t see coming. In the age of gift cards and subtle hinting (my wife just sends me links to stuff she wants on Amazon), that rare surprise can bring you the most joy.

    The Arizona Cardinals are that mystery package in Week 14 of the NFL season – the Cardinals defense to be exact. At first shake, you have a stop unit allowing almost 26 points per game for a 3-9 team that has surrendered 45 points in two separate outings this season. Not much to get excited about.

    But, as you tear into the layers of wrapping, you find some shocking statistics around the Arizona defense. The Cardinals do many things right – the same things that elite-level defenses do – like getting opponents off the field on third down (allowing foes to convert just under 31 percent of the time the past three games). They also give up just 5.3 yards per play on the season (5.1 the last three games). Oh, and did you know Arizona’s defense is tied for third in the NFL in sacks with 38?

    The Cardinals are primed to surprise the Detroit Lions Sunday, getting a field goal at home from the bookmakers. Detroit is playing its first road game in almost a month and has really struggled to score, going all the way back to October. The Lions have averaged just over 16 points in their last six showings, and that’s exactly what they put up in losses to the Bears and Rams the past two weeks.

    Detroit is extremely banged up heading into this game, with just about every key player on both sides of the ball making their way to the injury list in some form for Week 14. Rookie running back Kerryon Johnson is likely out of order again and what’s left of the receiving corps is limping into Sunday. The Lions have leaned heavily on their tight ends and running backs to make up for a lack of targets, but the Cards have done well defending the pass against both those positions.

    I know there’s the potential for a letdown spot from Arizona after stunning Green Bay in Lambeau last Sunday, but as I said, this team is full of surprises. And honestly, I’m surprised this spread is where it’s at right now.

    Pick:
    Arizona +3


    Carolina Panthers at Cleveland Browns (+2, 47)

    The Panthers are pitiful on the road, going 1-5 SU and ATS as visitors. Week 14 sends them to Cleveland for their second straight road game and their fourth contest away from home in the past five weeks.

    Carolina averages 11 points less per road game compared to at home, and Cam Newton’s throwing shoulder sounds like a bag of broken glass every time he cocks his arm back. Newton is in such bad shape, he was yanked and replaced by backup Taylor Heinicke for a last-second Hail Mary after noodle-arming a deep throw in the dying seconds in Tampa Bay last Sunday.

    Cleveland is somehow being discounted at home against a team that’s dropped four straight. The Browns fell into an obvious letdown spot at Houston in Week 13, playing their second straight road game, coming off an emotional win over Cincinnati and former head coach Hue Jackson as well as stringing together consecutive wins for the first time since Jesus was a baby. I’m going to cut them some slack here.

    The Browns are back home and hungry for another taste of victory, boasting a 4-2 ATS mark inside FirstEnergy Stadium. Hopefully, Baker Mayfield wakes up feeling dangerous Sunday morning. I know I will.

    Pick:
    Cleveland +2


    Pittsburgh Steelers at Oakland Raiders (+10.5, 51.5)

    Oh man, there are so many things going sideways for this Steelers team, it makes betting the Raiders almost too obvious. And that’s crazy talk.

    Pittsburgh is still reeling from a blown 23-7 halftime lead at home to the Chargers last week, a game in which they lost running back James Conner for at least this Sunday’s trip to Oakland. This cross-country hike is also the team’s third road game in four weeks and this squad doesn’t do as well away from home, averaging more than 11 points less per game as a visitor.

    Annnnnnd, the Steelers just so happen to have a monster of a matchup on tap in Week 15, welcoming the New England Patriots to Heinz Field in a red-hot revenge spot (remember that Jesse James non-TD catch in Week 15 last year? My bankroll does). Pittsburgh has failed to cover in its last three regular season games immediately followed by a meeting with the Patriots. Perhaps the Steelers hold back on the playbook – and the points - as to not give too much away to Belichick & Co (because you know that creep has cameras everywhere).

    As for the Raiders, well, they didn’t look as bad in the second half versus the Chiefs last week, completing the classic backdoor cover with a 17-point fourth quarter to land inside the two-touchdown spread. Derek Carr seems to have his turnover troubles under control, having not thrown an interception in seven straight games, and has a passer rating of 100.4 over his last three outings.

    Pick:
    Oakland +10.5

    Last week: 3-0 ATS
    Season: 26-12-1 ATS

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    By: Brandon DuBreuil



    K.C. GRABS BENJAMIN, WATKINS QUESTIONABLE

    The Kansas City Chiefs have taken a flyer on Kelvin Benjamin, signing the receiver to a one-year contract on Thursday after Buffalo had cut him Tuesday. Benjamin looked completely disinterested with the Bills, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him become re-engaged with Patrick Mahomes and the high-flying Chiefs offense. When the Chiefs are at full strength, Benjamin could slide in as the third receiver behind Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins and could potentially contribute down the stretch and in the playoffs. For this week, we recommend staying away from Benjamin, even if he’s active.

    Watkins has practiced in a limited fashion over the last two days, which is an upgrade to his chances of suiting up on Sunday, but he’s still very much questionable. Even if he does go, we’re staying away from all Chiefs receivers in Week 14 as they match up against a Baltimore secondary that has only allowed two receivers to get 80-plus yards through the air this season. Instead, we’ll be backing the ever-consistent Travis Kelce who has five or more catches in every game this season and ridiculous lines of 10-127-1 and 12-168-2 over his last two weeks. Baltimore has a great defense but actually struggles against tight ends with 25.9 percent of receptions and 29.4 percent of receiving yards against them going to the position. We’re banking on another huge game from Kelce and taking the Over on his receptions total and receiving yards total.


    GUS THE BUS RUMBLES ON

    In sticking with the Chiefs-Ravens game on Sunday, Ravens running back Gus Edwards could be in for a big afternoon. Edwards has turned himself into Baltimore’s lead back, with rushing lines of 21-82-0, 23-118-0, and 17-115-1 over the last three weeks. Week 14 might be his best matchup to date as he gets a Chiefs defense that is ranked dead last in rushing DVOA. Kansas City is giving up 122 rushing yards per game and was scorched last week for 156 yards on 24 carries by Doug Martin and Jalen Richard.

    Lamar Jackson is fully expected to start on Sunday and that means the Ravens will be running the ball — a lot. Since Jackson took over three games ago, Baltimore is running the ball on 70.7 percent of its offensive plays. The Ravens have also rushed for over 200 yards in each of those three games, the longest streak in franchise history. The Ravens are a rushing team and the only way they are going to keep the game close on Sunday is by running the ball and keeping the Chiefs’ offense off the field. It’s a great spot for Edwards and we’re taking the Over on his rushing yards total.


    GORDON STILL OUT

    Chargers running back Melvin Gordon missed practice again on Thursday and is highly doubtful to play in Week 14, even though he hasn’t officially been ruled out yet. Last week, it was expected that Austin Ekeler would be used as a feature back but his unimpressive first-half performance on Sunday Night Football allowed Justin Jackson to shine in the second half, running for 63 yards on eight carries and catching one pass for 19 yards. It looks as if the Chargers will roll out a committee on Sunday and we’d expect Jackson to do the early-down work with Ekeler sliding in on passing downs and as a change of pace.

    It’s unfortunate there’s not more clarity heading into Sunday as the Chargers’ backfield has an absolute dream matchup against a Bengals defense that is allowing league-highs to the opposing backfield in total yards per game (179.3), touches per game (30.8), and total touchdowns (19). Game script is also in the favor of the Chargers’ backs as L.A. is favored by 14 at home. Tread lightly as we’re basically guessing as to which back will see more work Sunday, but it was a telling sign that Jackson out-touched Ekeler 7-4 in the fourth quarter last week as the Chargers were playing in a tight game against Pittsburgh. We also think that Jackson would be the preferred back to close out a blowout, which could lead to more touches late in the game. We’re backing the Over for Jackson’s rushing yards total in Week 14.


    ALLEN ON FIRE

    In sticking with the Bengals-Chargers matchup on Sunday, we must highlight how good Keenan Allen has been of late. Since L.A.’s bye in Week 8, Allen has six or more catches in each game, touchdowns in four straight, and has put together stat lines of 9-89-1, 7-72-1, and the incredible 14-148-1 on 19 targets last week against Pittsburgh. Are we buying high here? Absolutely. But Allen gets one of his best matchups of the season on Sunday against a Bengals defense that ranks 27th in passing DVOA. He is also playing with a quarterback who targeted him on 53 percent of passes last week, which was the highest rate for skill-position players in 2018. Philip Rivers also has a streak going where he has thrown multiple touchdown passes in every game this season and he’s not going to want that snapped against a Bengals defense that has given up 26 touchdown passes on the season (27th in the league). We expect Allen to make it five straight games with a touchdown catch and backing him to score a touchdown at any time.


    JOHNSON OUT AGAIN

    Lions rookie running back Kerryon Johnson missed practice again on Thursday and is expected to sit out his third consecutive game on Sunday as Detroit heads to Arizona. As has been the case in the past three games, LeGarrette Blount will handle the early-down carries while Theo Riddick gets the targets.

    While we’re always hesitant to back Blount and his 2.9 yards per carry, we can’t deny the opportunity he’ll have to get into the end zone on Sunday. Blount has received 10 red-zone carries over the last two weeks (to Riddick’s three) which he has turned into two scores. The Cardinals have allowed 17 rushing touchdowns on the season, which is the most in the NFL, and three in the last two weeks. Blount does not catch passes, so we don’t need to eat the extra vig with his anytime touchdown, so we’re backing the Over 0.5 for his rushing touchdowns total on Sunday.

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    Total Talk - Week 14
    Chris David

    Week 13 Recap

    Bettors expecting points in the early action last week took it on the chin as the ‘under’ posted an 8-1 mark in the1:00 p.m. ET starts. Fortunately, if you weren’t capped out, the ‘over’ rallied with a 4-1 performance in the final five games and all of those results to the high side were clear-cut winners. Overall, the ‘under’ went 11-5 in Week 13 and for all those pundits that believe the NFL has turned into a glorified video game, the low side now sits at sits at 99-93 on the season.

    2018 Total Results - Game & Halves
    O/U Game 1st Half 2nd Half
    Week 13 5-11 6-10 7-9

    O/U Game 1st Half 2nd Half
    Year-to-Date 93-99 97-95 86-101-5

    2018 Results - Other
    O/U AFC-NFC Divisional Indoor Coast to Coast
    Week 13 0-1 2-4 0-3 1-1

    O/U AFC-NFC Divisional Indoor Coast to Coast
    Year-to-Date 27-19 27-35 18-20 10-4

    Line Moves and Public Leans

    Listed below are the largest line moves for Week 14 as of Saturday morning.

    Baltimore at Kansas City: 49 to 51
    Atlanta at Green Bay: 48 to 51
    New Orleans at Tampa Bay: 57 ½ to 54 ½
    L.A. Rams at Chicago: 54 to 51

    Listed below are the five largest leans for Week 14 per the betting trend percentages as of Saturday morning.

    Philadelphia at Dallas: Over 94%
    Carolina at Cleveland: Over 92%
    Atlanta at Green Bay: Over 88%
    Indianapolis at Houston: Over 88%
    Denver at San Francisco: Over 87%

    Final Quarter

    As we approach the last four weeks of the regular season, it’s always good to keep an eye on seasonal tendencies. Whether you press or fade the trends is up to you but be aware of them this December.

    Chicago, Cincinnati and Tampa Bay have been the best ‘over’ teams in the NFL, all producing an 8-4 (67%) mark to the high side. The Bengals (30.9 PPG) and Buccaneers (29.6 PPG) have helped that cause with their weak defensive units but the Bears (20.1 PPG) are ranked fourth in scoring defense. Chicago owns the fifth best scoring offense at 28.7 points per game and it’s also seen a lot of lower totals posted due to its solid defense.

    Denver owns the best ‘under’ record at 9-3 and that includes a current streak to the low side of five in a row heading into Week 14.

    The Eagles defeated the Patriots in a Super Bowl shootout last season but the pair both own 8-4 ‘under’ marks this season.

    Carolina and Pittsburgh own the best ‘over’ marks at home (5-1) while Tampa Bay (6-0) and Kansas City (6-1) have been tremendous leans to the high side on the road.

    Dallas and Miami haven’t travelled well offensively and both own 5-1 ‘under’ marks on the road. Meanwhile, Philadelphia continues to play solid defense at home and that’s contributed to a great ‘under’ (6-1) mark. Denver and Minnesota have both seen the ‘under’ go 5-1 at home.

    Divisional Matchups

    The downward trend in these contests continued last week with a 4-2 record, which pushed the ‘under’ to 35-27 (56%) in divisional games this season.

    Indianapolis at Houston:
    The Texans captured a 37-34 overtime win in Week 4 over the Colts in game that should’ve probably ended in a tie. Houston did blow a big lead and it was outscored 21-10 in the second-half by Indy. Either way, the ‘over’ (48 ½) was never in doubt. Prior to that result, the ‘under’ was on a 3-0 run in this series but Colts QB Andrew Luck only played in one of those games. In four games at Houston, Luck has gone 2-2 with a 3-1 ‘over’ mark and Indy has averaged 25 PPG. The Colts are coming off a rare NFL shutout loss (4 total this season) last week and its road numbers (22.8 PPG) haven’t been as glaring. Take out the 34 points they allowed to Indy in Week 4 and the Texans have surrendered 15.8 PPG in their last eight games.

    New Orleans at Tampa Bay:
    Revenge spot for the Saints, who dropped a 48-40 decision to Tampa Bay in Week 1 at home and the ‘over’ (49 ½) hit by halftime. The total (54 ½) has been pushed up for the rematch but the Buccaneers defense (13 PPG) has been solid the last two weeks and much better at home (19.3 PPG) this season. New Orleans is coming off a 13-10 loss to Dallas, its worst offensive effort of the season. The Saints are on a 3-0 ‘under’ run and their defense (12.3 PPG) has been great during this span. Make a note that the ‘under’ is 8-2 in the last 10 meetings between the pair from Raymond James Stadium and last year’s ‘over’ result in Week 17 was very fortunate to cash.

    N.Y. Jets at Buffalo:
    The Bills stunned the Jets 41-10 on the road in Week 10 with their best output of the season and the ‘over’ (37 ½) slid in easily. The total for round two is in the same neighborhood (38 ½) and this seems like another toss-up with both squads rolling out their rookie quarterbacks. Even though the Jets put up 22 points last week, they had a defensive TD and five field goals. New York (300.4 YPG) and Buffalo (285.7 PPG) are ranked 30th and 31st in total offense, so expecting a crisp offensive game is likely a stretch.

    New England at Miami:
    The Patriots ran all over the Dolphins for a 38-7 win in Week 4 at home and that lopsided margin helped the ‘under’ (50 ½) cash. A lot of pundits are pointing to New England’s struggles in Miami, in particular a 27-20 loss last season. Including that setback, the Patriots are 1-4 in their last five trips to South Florida. Miami enters this game on a 4-0 run to the ‘under’ and expecting a big effort from its offense (302.1 YPG) doesn’t seem likely due to a patched-up offensive line and banged up receiving group.

    N.Y. Giants at Washington:
    The ‘under’ is on a 4-0 run in this series and has hit in seven of the past 10 encounters. The Redskins have been decimated by injuries all season and it’s tough to imagine the offense doing much on Sunday. The Giants (29.3 PPG) have shown some pop the last four weeks and that’s resulted in a 3-1 ‘over’ mark. Due to the injuries at QB, New York has been made a favorite. For what it’s worth, the Redskins are 4-0 ATS (3-1 SU) in that role this season and the defense (18.5 PPG) has carried them in those games.

    Philadelphia at Dallas:
    Big NFC East game here and the Eagles will be looking to avenge a 27-20 loss to the Cowboys when the pair met in Week 10 from Philadelphia. That game was 13-3 at half before both teams combined for 31 points in the final half to cash the ’over’ (45 ½). The total opened (43 ½) a tad lower for this contest and scoring on the second-ranked Dallas defense (18.6 PPG) won’t be easy. The Eagles defense (26.4 PPG) hasn’t been as sharp on the road but that number drops to 21 PPG if you take out the woodshed treatment they got at New Orleans (48-7). Prior to the first meeting this season, the ‘under’ was on a 3-0 run.

    Under the Lights

    The ‘under’ posted a 2-1 record last week and two of the results were never in doubt. The Titans-Jaguars barely went ‘over’ this past Thursday and including that result, the high side sits at 22-19 through 41 primetime games.

    Primetime Total Results (O/U): TNF (9-5), SNF (5-8), MNF (8-6)

    L.A. Rams at Chicago:
    Despite averaging 32.1 PPG on the road, the Rams have seen the ‘under’ go 4-2 this season. Against teams above .500, Los Angeles has surrendered 32 PPG. Chicago is averaging 31 PPG at home and that’s led to a 4-2 ‘over’ mark. This game is more important for the Rams, who are battling New Orleans for the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Los Angeles is averaging 158.7 rushing yards per game on the road, which is ranked first. The temperatures will be low (30s) for this game by kickoff and I would expect the Rams to try to grind this one out and stay the course for the top seed. Chicago has played in three primetime games this season and the ‘over’ has gone 2-1 in those contests but the ‘under’ could easily be 3-0 if it wasn’t for a few breaks.

    Minnesota at Seattle:
    This is a tough contest to handicap and should be viewed as a possible playoff elimination game for both clubs. The Vikings defense (25.7 PPG) hasn’t been sharp on the road but outside of a game against the Jets, the other five teams were all formidable opponents. Seattle has been on a roll offensively in its last four games (32.3 PPG) and that’s led to a 4-0 ‘over’ mark. The conditions may not be pleasant for this game and it will be interesting to see if the Seahawks top-ranked rush offense (148.8 YPG) can move the ball against the Vikings run defense (99.2 YPG), ranked ninth.

    Fearless Predictions

    The hot streak ($220) came to an end last Sunday but the bankroll remains positive ($1,085) on the season. We’ve only got 16 plays left in the regular season so let’s try to get back on track. As always, Press, Pass or Fade but in the end – Good Luck!

    Best Over: Carolina-Cleveland 47
    Best Under: Philadelphia-Dallas 44
    Best Team Total: Over Green Bay 27 ½

    Three-Team Total Teaser (+7.5, +105)
    Over 42 ½ Indianapolis-Houston
    Under 48 ½ N.Y. Giants-Washington
    Under 58 ½ L.A. Rams-Chicago

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    By: Brandon DuBreuil



    GRAHAM, COBB ALL SET

    Jimmy Graham (thumb) and Randall Cobb (hamstring) will both suit up for Green Bay Sunday against the Falcons. This is good news for Aaron Rodgers as begins life after Mike McCarthy in what’s a great matchup for him individually as the Packers welcome the Falcons as a 4.5-point favorite and a game total of 51.

    Atlanta is as good as it gets when looking at matchups for the opposing passing game. The Falcons rank 32nd in overall DVOA and 31st against the pass and are giving up 263.5 passing yards per game, a number that is deflated after a string of games where Atlanta faced quarterbacks or game scripts that didn’t lead to much passing from the opponents. Rodgers is coming off back-to-back tough passing matchups against the Cardinals and Vikings and the last time we saw him go against a soft passing matchup he laid 332 yards on the Seahawks. There’s also the whole narrative of Rodgers having a huge game without McCarthy, which is not quantifiable but still something we can’t ignore. We’re expecting Rodgers to have a big game and backing the Over 284.5 on his passing yards total.


    THOMAS OFF INJURY REPORT

    New Orleans receiver Michael Thomas was taken off the injury report for Week 14 after he had missed Wednesday’s practice to rest his sore ankle. Thomas has been quiet of late by his standards with lines of 4-38 and 5-40 over his last two weeks but is in a great spot for a huge performance on Sunday as the Saints head to Tampa Bay as a 9.5-point favorite and a total of 54.5.

    The Buccaneers are a team we target pretty much every week in the receiving prop market. They routinely get smoked by opposing wideouts and are ranked 29th in DVOA and are giving up 8.2 passes and 77.7 passing yards to the opposing top receiver. Thomas also enjoys smoking the Bucs with at least 94 receiving yards in three of the four games he has played against them, including his ridiculous line of 16-180-1 back in Week 1. We’re taking the Over 90.5 on his receiving yards total.


    EVANS IN A NICE SPOT

    Let’s stick with the Saints-Buccaneers matchup in what should be a fun game to watch, especially if you like offense. Sure, the Saints’ defense is improving but it is still vulnerable to the pass with a rank of 22nd in DVOA as compared to third against the run. That’s great news for Bucs fans this week as they feature the league’s top passing offense (344.5 yards per game) but the 26th-ranked rushing offense (98.2 yards per game).

    The Saints have been especially hurt by perimeter receivers as they rank 27th in DVOA against WR1s and 32nd against WR2s. This was made clear in primetime last week as they got smoked for 13 catches and 151 yards by Dallas’ Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, while Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley exploded for 19 catches, 240 yards, and a touchdown two weeks ago. We wrote earlier in the week about backing Chris Godwin’s receiving yards total of 61.5 but we think there are enough passing yards to go around on Sunday and we’re doubling down by backing Mike Evans to go Over 87.5 passing yards.


    WARD OUT WITH CONCUSSION

    Cleveland’s defense took a hit on Friday when rookie cornerback Denzel Ward was ruled out for Sunday with a concussion. This is bad news for a Browns defense ranked fourth in passing DVOA and obviously good news for Carolina’s receivers, notably D.J. Moore. The rookie out of Maryland is coming on strong late in the season and has become the Panthers’ top receiver, meaning he likely would have been shadowed by Ward.

    Moore has at least eight targets in three straight games and even though he disappointed last week with four catches for 44 yards, he’s still averaging 6.3 catches for 97.3 yards over his last three. The Browns have given up some big games to top receivers of late, notably DeAndre Hopkins’ seven catches for 91 yards last week and Tyler Boyd’s seven catches for 85 yards two weeks ago and those were with Ward, their top corner, on the field. We like Moore’s spot this week and are backing the Over 60.5 on his receiving yards total.


    WATKINS SETBACK

    Reports out of Kansas City are that receiver Sammy Watkins has had a setback to his foot injury and is out 4-6 weeks, which now tells us why the Chiefs went out and signed Kelvin Benjamin on Friday. Coach Andy Reid has said that he doesn’t expect Benjamin to play on Sunday after practicing for the first time on Friday and that he’s hoping the former Bills wideout will be ready for the Chargers on Thursday night.

    This means that the Chiefs roll out Tyreek Hill and Chris Conley as their top-two wide receiver options for Sunday’s game against the Ravens. We mentioned earlier this week that we don’t love the matchup as the Ravens have only allowed two 80-yard receivers on the season, but in backing Conley we don’t need him to get anywhere near 80 yards as his receiving total for the week is set at just 29.5 yards. Conley has 15 targets over the past two games which he has turned into 10 grabs for 99 yards and we just can’t ignore this opportunity to buy such a cheap piece of the Chiefs’ offense. Take the Over 29.5 on Conley’s receiving yards total.

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    Top 6 picks for Week 14 of Westgate SuperBook NFL handicapping contest (3,123 entries)

    1) Indianapolis Colts +5 (988)

    2) Kansas City Chiefs -6.5 (797)

    3) Los Angeles Rams -3 (791)

    4) Buffalo Bills -3 (761)

    5) New Jersey Giants -3.5 (711)

    6) Chicago Bears +3 (694)

    Season record: 40-35-3

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    Cowboys LT Tyron Smith (neck) is expected to play today at home against the Eagles. Dak Prescott was dropped for seven sacks in his absence last week.
    Current Pointspread: DAL -3
    Current Total: 45


    According to reports, Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (shoulder) is expected to play today @ Texans.
    Current Pointspread: Colts +4
    Current Total:49.5
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 12-09-2018 at 12:54 PM.

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    Essentials - Week 14
    Tony Mejia


    Baltimore at Kansas City (-6.5/49.5), 1 p.m. ET, FOX:
    If Lamar Jackson is still unbeaten as a starting QB in the NFL when this one is over, Joe Flacco better get used to wearing a baseball cap on the sidelines. The 11-year starter has been out the past few weeks after injuring his hip in a Nov. 4 loss to Pittsburgh but has practiced enough that he’d ordinarily be starting this game if it weren’t for the rookie sporting the 3-0 record as the fill-in. The Ravens are averaging 4.4 points more with Jackson under center than with Flacco, racking up 28.5 more yards per game. The 21-year-old has completed 39 of 65 passes while running for 88 yards per game b ut has done his damage against three teams with sub-.500 records.

    To pull off an upset over the Chiefs, Jackson will need to extend drives with his legs and complete enough passes to keep pace with the league’s highest-scoring offense (37.0 ppg). Safety Eric Berry won’t return for the Chiefs but is getting closer. The Ravens defense is likely to be without starting safety Tony Jefferson, which would be a significant loss if he can’t make it back from an ankle injury. Standout corner Marlon Humphrey should play, but Patrick Mahomes is likely to have a number of matchups to exploit due to the pressure Travis Kelce will put on the defense. Temperatures will warm up to just above freezing and hang around the mid-30’s.

    Indianapolis at Houston (-4.5/49.5), 1 p.m. ET, CBS:
    The Texans won’t be able to clinch the AFC South since the Titans won on Thursday, but they can move to the brink of capturing a third division title in four years by winning their 10th straight game. Houston has won its last three home games by at least 16 points and square off against the team they saved their season against back in Week 4. After starting 0-3, the Texans finally managed to get on the board this season after surviving blowing a 28-10 lead in a game where Andrew Luck threw four TD passes.

    The Colts are now the team in must-win mode, looking to bounce back from being blanked by Jacksonville last Sunday to drag them down into a pack of AFC teams on the outside looking in as far as the playoffs are concerned. Center Ryan Kelly is out with a knee injury and has been a major asset when out there, so the fact Indy’s offensive front got soundly beat down by the Jags last week is disconcerting. WR T.Y. Hilton (shoulder) and TE Eric Ebron (back) will be in the mix if Luck is given time to find him. The resurgent quarterback had thrown for at least three touchdowns in eight straight games before being held to under five yards per completion in Jacksonville. Luck completed 40 passes for 464 yards in the first meeting, both season-highs. J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney each sacked him twice.

    Carolina (-1/47.5) at Cleveland, 1 p.m. ET, FOX:
    Cam Newton participated full and deemed himself ready to play. His shoulder issue is obviously a concern. The four interceptions he threw against the Bucs last week may be one indication it’s really bothering him, but his miscues were also made due to questionable decision-making. After not throwing for a few days this week, we’ll know early how healthy he looks. With Myles Garrett on the hunt and Gregg Williams’ set to attack despite the absence of prized rookie safety Denzel Ward, this is set to be one heck of a chess match. Newton will have to make due without one of his top targets with TE Greg Olson done after breaking his foot again.

    The Browns will have center J.C. Tretter snapping to Baker Mayfield and calling out signals, so there’s a good chance they can rebound after being held to just 13 points by Houston last week, snapping a run of three straight games topping 20 following the firing of head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Nick Chubb got just nine carries last week after gaining 345 yards on 70 carries during the surge, so the expectation is that Freddie Kitchens will go out of his way to get him going early. That might set up some nice play-action opportunities. Wind isn’t expected on the southern shore of Lake Erie, but Sunday’s high temperature “may” climb above the freezing point. Still, compared to what it can feel like this time of year, Newton might arrive in beachwear.

    Atlanta at Green Bay (-4/50), 1 p.m. ET, FOX:
    The first game of the post-Mike McCarthy era finds the Packers hosting one of the few teams in the conversation with them for most disappointing. While Aaron Rodgers has played most of the season limited by a knee injury, he’s still got a 21-to-1 TD-to-INT ratio. Matt Ryan has thrown for 25 scores and only been picked up five times but hasn’t won since Nov. 4, dropping four straight. One of these quarterbacks will only have four wins after Week 14.

    Truth be told, Rodgers is probably far more concerned that he’s not going to have tackle Bryan Buluaga more than he’s bemoaning the fact McCarthy won’t be out there calling plays. Interim head coach Joe Philbin will get those honors, although Rodgers will obviously run what he thinks will work best against a defense that will have LB Deion Jones back for his second game since Week 1. After being forced to deal with Baltimore’s Jackson last week, this more conventional matchup should help him get his feet under him. The defense may have to do the heavy lifting since the Falcons haven’t reached the 20-point mark since Nov. 4. Snow isn’t expected but the frozen tundra will be enveloped by temperatures that aren’t likely to reach 30 degrees. Wind gusts won’t be substantial but are expected to be in the 10-15 mile per hour range.

    New Orleans (-9.5/54.5) at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. ET, FOX:
    The Saints will look to avoid getting swept by a Bucs team that up until November’s final Thursday, handed them their only loss. Drew Brees has been intercepted in consecutive games for the first time this season and was stuck running for his life often by the Cowboys, so not having left tackle Terron Armstead again due to a pectoral injury could prove troublesome since the Bucs were able to get after Newton in last week’s upset and have a healthier front seven than they’ve had in weeks. Michael Thomas (ankle) will be around to serve as his top target and will be working against a banged-up secondary that can at least count on veteran corner Brett Grimes being out there despite a knee issue.

    Jameis Winston watched from the sideline as Ryan Fitzpatrick racked up four touchdown passes in the season opener, throwing two deep balls to Desean Jackson, who will miss this contest with a thumb injury. O.J. Howard caught two balls for 54 yards but is out with an ankle injury, so the Saints defense will get a decidedly different look from Winston, who engineered a fourth-quarter comeback in Week 17 of the ’17 season in his last outing against New Orleans. He was intercepted three times. Tampa Bay hasn’t swept a season series from the Saints since 2007. Although the high is expected to be 75 degrees, inclement weather is also a possibility since a threat of thunderstorms exists and wind gusts as high as 14 miles per hour could factor in.

    New England (-9/48.5) at Miami, 1 p.m. ET, CBS:
    The Dolphins won five of six from the Patriots in Miami from ’07-’12 but have only won once in the past five years, making the “Pats struggle in South Florida” narrative a little stale. Most of the games have indeed been close, which is what bettors taking points and fading Tom Brady in December will be clinging to. The future Hall of Famer is 86-37 in all road games this month but is just 1-5 in South Florida and has a losing record there over his career (7-9). He’ll have his full complement of weapons in place against a Dolphins defense that will be missing corner Xavien Howard (knee). There are still excellent playmakers to be wary of in LB Kiko Alonso and safety Reshad Jones, but Miami ranks in the league’s top four in fewest sacks with just 20, so Brady should have time to dissect.

    The Patriots have only 19 sacks – tied with the Giants for second-fewest behind Oakland’s 10, so there’s a good chance that Ryan Tannehill can also have success since he’s thrown five touchdowns since returning two weeks ago, pushing the Colts to the brink in Indy and holding off Buffalo at home last week. He’ll have Brady favorite Danny Amendola to throw to and is expected to deal with a secondary at full strength since Stephon Gilmore (ankle) made the trip and is expected to play. Wind gusts could reach 20 miles per hour but temperatures are expected to reach the mid-80s, the warmest of the day around the NFL.

    N.Y. Giants (-3/40) at Washington, 1 p.m. ET, FOX:
    Mark Sanchez won’t face the Jets this season, so this is the closest New Yorkers will get to reconnecting with the former Jets’ starter charged with trying to extend Washington’s star-crossed season. The first two guys who have played the position for the ‘Skins this season have suffered broken legs, leaving Sanchez in the unlikely position of taking over a .500 team in December despite sitting out most of the season. He failed to lead the offense to a single point in Philadelphia’s Monday night win after replacing an injured Colt McCoy, throwing for just 100 yards and an interception. Jamison Crowder returns to give him another quality target to work with and the absence of standout safety Landon Collins makes it easier to imagine him having some success against New York given the zip he put on his throws.

    Leading Washington to a win could be as simple as avoiding mistakes and putting his defense in bad positions since they’re likely to do the heavy lifting against an offense that will be missing Odell Beckham, Jr. due to a quad injury. His absence could mean that Eli Manning won’t try force-feeding him the ball, giving the offense a better flow with Saquon Barkley as the bell cow. The rookie No. 2 pick has picked up at least 100 yards of total offense in all but one game this season.It’s expected to be a great day weather-wise in Landover, light on wind despite temperatures in the high-30s.

    Denver (-3/45.5) at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS:
    The Broncos pulled off their third consecutive win last week, winning convincingly in Cincinnati to cover a spread for the sixth time in seven games. They’ve been a road favorite three times this season, losing at the Jets while blowing out the Cardinals and beating the Bengals last week. Since the 49ers have been crushed by a combined score of 70-25 over the past two weeks and have only covered once in their last six outings, seeing how small this spread is has sounded off “trap game” alarm bells.

    Rookie Phillip Lindsay hasn’t been as productive as Barkley but has been exceptional in his own right, racking up five touchdown runs over the past three weeks while coming off his best performance of his young career, gaining 157 yards on 19 carries. He gained 65 of those yards in one chunk and faces a 49ers defense that has been effective against the run but has struggled since releasing LB Reuben Foster.

    San Francisco won’t have to deal with WR Emmanuel Sanders, who tore his Achilles in practice, leaving Case Keenum without his top target as he looks to rookies Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton to fill prominent roles. The Broncos will look to set the tone on defense, a task made it easier by not having to face 49ers top rusher Matt Breida, who has been ruled out with an ankle injury. An overcast day with temperatures topping out around 60 degrees should make for excellent football weather, especially since winds are expected to be scarce.

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    MNF - Vikings at Seahawks
    Kevin Rogers

    LAST WEEK

    One season after sitting one victory away from the Super Bowl, the Vikings (6-5-1 SU, 6-5-1 ATS) are in danger of missing the playoffs. It’s been an up and down season in Minnesota as the Vikings are coming off a 24-10 setback at New England as six-point underdogs. The Vikings trailed 10-0 early before Kirk Cousins hit Adam Thielen on a five-yard touchdown in the final minute before halftime to cut the deficit to 10-7.

    Minnesota tied the game at 10-10 in the third quarter on a Dan Bailey field goal, but the Patriots struck for two touchdowns to pull away for the victory and cover. Cousins finished with 201 passing yards in spite of 32 completions, while getting intercepted twice. The Patriots picked up 27 first downs compared to 16 by the Vikings, as Minnesota has lost its past two road games and failed to cover each time as an underdog.

    The Seahawks (7-5 SU, 7-3-2 ATS) have come back to life in the NFC Wild Card race by pulling out three consecutive victories. The latest triumph came in a 43-16 rout of the 49ers last Sunday as 10-point favorites to move above .500 at home with a 3-2 mark. Russell Wilson completed only 11 passes, but four of those went for touchdowns, including two scoring strikes to Jaron Brown.

    Seattle’s rushing attack continued to punish the opposition by gaining 168 yards, while Bobby Wagner finished off the blowout with a 98-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Although Seattle allowed 49ers’ quarterback Nick Mullens to throw for 414 yards and two touchdowns, the Seahawks allowed 17 points or less for the fifth time this season.

    TOTAL RECALL

    The Seahawks began the season cashing the UNDER in six of eight games. However, Seattle has turned up the offense by hitting the OVER in each of the past four contests. The offense has provided 27 points or more in each of the last four games, while eclipsing that total in seven of the past eight contests. Seattle has drilled the OVER in three of the previous four games at CenturyLink Field, while allowing 24 points or more three times in this span.

    The Vikings hit the OVER in four of their first seven contests, but have finished UNDER the total in four of the last five games. The Minnesota offense has been inconsistent during this stretch by failing to score 21 points or more in consecutive games, while allowing 24 points or more in losses to New England, Chicago, and New Orleans, all division leaders.

    ROAD WOES

    Last season, Minnesota won six of eight games away from U.S. Bank Stadium, but has stumbled to a 2-3-1 road mark this season. The only victory for the Vikings in the road underdog role came at Philadelphia in a Week 5 triumph, 23-21 as 3 ½-point ‘dogs. Minnesota has compiled a 2-2 ATS record when receiving points on the highway, while going 4-6 ATS in this role since 2016.

    SERIES HISTORY

    The Seahawks and Vikings haven’t hooked up since facing each other twice in 2015. Seattle destroyed Minnesota, 38-7 in Week 13 of that season, while the Seahawks edged the Vikings, 10-9 in the Wild Card round. The playoff win for Seattle came in the bitter cold as Vikings’ kicker Blair Walsh missed a chip-shot field goal that would have given Minnesota the victory. In the two losses, the Vikings reached the end zone only once, which came on a 101-yard kickoff return in the December defeat when Minnesota trailed, 35-0.

    Seattle has captured each of the past four matchups in the series, including a pair of wins at CenturyLink Field by double-digits in 2012 and 2013. Minnesota’s last win over Seattle came in 2009, back when Brett Favre was still the quarterback of the Vikings in a 35-9 blowout at the Metrodome.

    MONDAY NIGHT LIGHTS

    The Vikings are making their first appearance on Monday night football this season, as Minnesota won in each of their Monday matchups in 2017. Last season, the Vikings defeated the Saints in the season opener at home, while edging the Bears at Soldier Field, 20-17 as 3 ½-point favorites. Minnesota is listed as an underdog on Monday night for the first time since 2013, when the Vikings fell to the Giants, 23-7 as four-point ‘dogs.

    Seattle last appeared under the Monday night lights in Week 2 at Chicago in a 24-17 setback as 4 ½-point underdogs. Since Wilson was drafted by the Seahawks in 2012, Seattle has won six of eight times in Monday action, but the two losses have come in each of the past two seasons, including a home defeat to Atlanta in 2017.

    TREND WATCH

    Trends expert Vince Akins checks in with a pair of trends to keep an eye on for Monday’s contest, both involving Minnesota. “The Vikings are 10-0-1 ATS (7.91 ppg) since Dec 21, 2006 as a dog coming off a loss where they allowed at least 300 passing yards,” Akins notes, which includes an underdog victory at Philadelphia in Week 5.

    From a totals perspective, Akins provides an UNDER situation for Minnesota, “The Vikings are 0-12 OU (-9.00 ppg) since Oct 12, 2014 when they are coming off a road game where they were not more than TD-dogs and gained less than 310 total yards.” This situation occurred back in Week 12 against Green Bay, as the Vikings won, 24-17 and stayed UNDER the total of 48 ½.

    LINE MOVEMENT

    The Seahawks opened up as 3 ½-point favorites at the Westgate Superbook, while the total sat at 45 last Monday. Nearly seven days later and not much movement on the number as Seattle is laying three at most spots with the juice at -115 or -120. The total has taken a split uptick to 45 ½ as the Vikings are 3-0 to the OVER on road totals of 45 ½ or less this season.
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 12-10-2018 at 01:25 PM.

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    Betting Recap - Week 14
    Joe Williams

    Overall Notes

    National Football League Week 14 Results

    Wager Favorites-Underdogs
    Straight Up 8-7
    Against the Spread 6-9

    Wager Home-Away
    Straight Up 11-4
    Against the Spread 9-6

    Wager Totals (O/U)
    Over-Under 7-8

    National Football League Year-to-Date Results
    Wager Favorites-Underdogs
    Straight Up 131-73-2
    Against the Spread 92-107-7

    Wager Home-Away
    Straight Up 127-78-2
    Against the Spread 102-97-7

    Wager Totals (O/U)
    Over-Under 98-108

    The largest underdogs to win straight up
    Raiders (+10, ML +425) vs. Steelers, 24-21
    Dolphins (+9, ML +350) vs. Patriots, 34-33
    Jets (+4.5, ML +180) at Bills, 27-23
    Colts (+4, ML +170) at Texans, 24-21

    The largest favorite to cover
    Saints (-9.5) at Buccaneers, 28-14
    Titans (-5.5) vs. Jaguars, 30-9
    Packers (-4) vs. Falcons, 34-20
    Cowboys (-3.5) vs. Eagles, 29-23 (OT)

    Bay Area Winners

    -- The Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers each won on the same day for the first time since Dec. 3, 2017, making Bay Area football fans happy for the first time in a while. The Raiders surprised the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-21 as double-digit home 'dogs, while the 49ers fired out to a big lead against the Denver Broncos and they held on for a 20-14 victory as short 'dogs at home. The 49ers entered the day 1-5 ATS in their first six games, and 3-9 ATS overall on the season. One of those wins and covers for the Niners were against the Raiders back on Nov. 1.

    Carolina Reaper

    -- The Carolina Panthers are skidding hard after opening the season 6-2 SU/5-3 ATS. The Panthers took a 26-20 loss against 'The Bake Show' and the Cleveland Browns, losing and failing to cover for the fifth consecutive outing. The defense has allowed 20 or more points in seven straight outings, and 11 of the past 12. On the flip side, the Browns are suddenly resembling an NFL caliber team for the first time in years, winning three of their past four outings while also going 3-1 ATS during the span. They're also 8-5 ATS overall in their 13 outings while going 5-7-1 SU.

    Total Recall

    -- The game with the highest total on the board (55) never even came close to going 'over'. The New Orleans Saints-Tampa Bay Buccaneers ended up well 'under' in a 28-14 win for the Saints. New Orleans held up their end of the bargain, but head coach Dirk Koetter said after the game he was disappointed in his offense. The second-highest total on the board was the Pittsburgh-Oakland (51) game, and that game ended up going under, too. In fact, there were just 24 points on the board through three quarters and only a 21-point outburst in the fourth made that a closer total that maybe it should have been.

    -- The lowest totals on the board were a pair of 37-point lines in the New York Jets-Buffalo Bills contest, and that ended up with a total of 50 points. The Jacksonville Jaguars-Tennessee Titans on Thursday night saw a total of 39 points, as the Titans routed the Jags 30-9. It looked like the total was close, but it was actually over by the end of the third quarter before a scoreless fourth.

    -- The 'over/under' is 1-1 this week with the Monday nighter between the Minnesota Vikings-Seattle Seahawks (45.5) still pending. Overall for the 2018 season the 'over' in primetime games is 22-20 (52.4%).

    Officially, the 'over' finished 25-23-1 (52.1%) in 49 games under the lights in 2017.

    In 2016, the 'over' in night games went (52.9%) through 51 games.

    In 2015, the over finished 20-28-1 (41.7%) in 49 primetime games.

    In 2014, the over went 33-17 (66.0%) in primetime games, and the over was 28-22 (56.0%) in 2013.

    Injury Report

    -- Bills RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring) pulled a hamstring in Sunday's battle against the Jets in the first quarter and he wasn't able to return. We've seen this movie before.

    -- Broncos WR Courtland Sutton (thigh) suffered a thigh injury in the team's road loss in San Francisco and he was unable to return.

    -- Jets RB Isaiah Crowell (foot) left Sunday's game in Buffalo and he was unable to return to action.

    -- Redskins TE Jordan Reed (foot) suffered a foot injury against the Giants and he was helped to the locker room and unable to return.

    Looking Ahead

    -- The Chargers and Chiefs will square off on Thursday in a key AFC West Division battle. The Chiefs punched their ticket to the postseason with a win on Sunday, and they can take charge (see what I did there?) of the AFC West with a win over the visitors from Los Angeles, currently one-game back of K.C. The Chargers are 4-0 ATS in the past four road games, while the Chiefs are 12-3 ATS in their past 15 inside the division. The road team is 6-1 ATS in the past seven meetings, while the Chargers are 0-4 ATS in the past four in this series.

    -- The Packers travel down to Chicago to take on the red-hot Bears, who looked good in their win over the Rams on Sunday night. The Pack are just 1-6-1 ATS in the past eight road games and 1-5 ATS in the past six inside the division. The Bears are 5-0 ATS in the past five divisional games, and 6-1 ATS in the past seven overall. The Packers have dominated this series lately, at least against the number, going 16-5 ATS in the past 21 at Soldier Field and 12-4 ATS in the past 16 meetings overall. The 'over' is 5-0 in the past five in Chicago, and each of the past four overall in this series.

    -- The Seahawks and 49ers do battle in the Bay Area, and San Francisco looks to play spoiler. Seattle is 4-0 ATS in the past four road games, and 3-0-1 ATS in the past four overall. San Fran has failed to cover four in a row inside the division, five in a row against NFC foes and they're just 7-19-1 ATS in the past 27 aginst teams with a winning record while going 6-15 ATS in the past 21 at home. Seattle is 11-2-1 ATS in the past 14 meetings overall, while going 5-1 ATS in the past six trips to San Francisco. The under is also 5-1 in the past six meetings in the Bay Area.

    -- The skidding Panthers host the Saints on Monday night in Week 15. New Orleans is 16-6 ATS in the past 22 inside the division, while going 20-6 ATS in the past 26 on the road. They're also 4-0 ATS in the past four against teams with a losing overall mark. Carolina is 8-3 ATS in the past 11 at home, and 5-2 ATS in the past seven against winning teams. However, they're just 2-5 ATS in the past seven inside the division. New Orleans has covered four in a row in Charlotte, while going 6-1 ATS in the past seven in this series. The under is also 11-4 in the past 15 in Carolina.
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 12-10-2018 at 01:24 PM.

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    Sharps take early shot at Chargers' odds for NFL Week 15 clash vs. Chiefs
    Patrick Everson

    Star tight end Travis Kelce has helped the Chiefs compile the AFC's best record. However, the surging Chargers drew early sharp money for Thursday's Week 15 AFC clash against host Kansas City.

    As mid-December approaches, it’s definitely getting down to crunch time in the NFL’s race for postseason berths. We check in on the opening lines and early action for four Week 15 games, with insights from John Murray, director of The SuperBook at Westgate in Las Vegas.

    Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (-3.5)

    Kansas City is in the driver’s seat for the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs, but this Thursday night clash will be key to staying in that seat. The Chiefs (11-2 SU, 8-4-1 ATS) converted two fourth downs to get a late fourth-quarter touchdown that forced overtime against Baltimore, then won 27-24 as 6.5-point home favorites in Week 14.

    Los Angeles isn’t getting the headlines, but is having an excellent season and can tie K.C. for the best mark in the AFC with a win in the first game of Week 15. The Chargers (10-3 SU, 7-6 ATS) went off as hefty 17-point home faves against Cincinnati in Week 14 and bolted to a 14-3 lead, then held on for a 26-21 victory.

    “Crazy turn of events for the Chiefs, with them pulling out the victory over Baltimore and New England’s stunning loss to the Dolphins. The Steelers and Texans both lost, too,” Murray said. “Kansas City can basically wrap up the division and home field with a win here, but this is usually when Philip Rivers and the Chargers are at their best as a road ‘dog. This should be the best Thursday night game of the season and a very high-volume game for the books.”

    To Murray’s point, the Chargers got a little sharp play early at +3.5, so The SuperBook adjusted Los Angeles’ price to -120.

    “The wiseguys love betting the Chargers as a road ‘dog,” he said.


    New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers (Off)

    New England is coming off an absolutely stunning Week 14 loss. Leading at Miami 33-28 with 16 seconds left and the Dolphins at their own 31-yard line, the Patriots (9-4 SU, 8-5 ATS) gave up a 69-yard pass play/double lateral for a touchdown to fall 34-33 laying 9.5 points.

    Pittsburgh’s wheels have fallen off over the past three weeks, with Mike Tomlin’s troops dropping three in a row SU and ATS. In Week 14, the Steelers (7-5-1 SU, 6-6-1 ATS) had a major toe-stub as 10.5-point favorites, giving up a final-minute touchdown in a 24-21 loss to Oakland.

    Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suffered a rib injury in the setback, though he did return and nearly rallied Pittsburgh to a victory.

    “We left this off the board because at the time we were doing the numbers, Roethlisberger was out of the game with the injury,” Murray said. “It should open with the Steelers a small favorite.”


    Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Rams (-7.5)

    Los Angeles had the best record in the league entering Week 14 and an offense averaging 34.9 points per game, second in the NFL to Kansas City. None of that was evident in the Sunday nighter at Chicago, as the Rams (11-2 SU, 5-7-1 ATS) fell 15-6 giving 3 points.

    Defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia is very likely looking at a much shorter season this year. The Eagles (6-7 SU, 4-9 ATS) desperately needed a win at Dallas in Week 14 and got a late TD to force overtime, but never saw the ball again in a 29-23 loss as 3.5-point road underdogs.

    “The Rams have failed to deliver as a big favorite several times this season,” Murray said, while noting that won’t necessarily stop bettors in the Week 15 Sunday nighter. “A lot of moneyline parlays and teasers this week will go to the Rams and the Saints (at Carolina) the following night. We will need the Eagles pretty big here.”

    The line quickly went to Rams -8, then -8.5, but Murray said that was more about getting in line with the market than any early action. Per standard SuperBook policy, the Eagles-Rams line was then taken off the board before the Rams-Bears game. The number will be rehung Monday morning.


    Dallas Cowboys at Indianapolis Colts (-3)

    Dallas was 3-5 through eight games, then strung together five straight wins and covers to take control of the NFC East. The Cowboys (8-5 SU and ATS) gave up a late TD to Philadelphia, tying the game at 23, but got a touchdown on the only drive of overtime for a 29-23 victory giving 3.5 points at home.

    Indianapolis is having a pretty good second half of the season, too, winning six of its last seven games (4-2-1 ATS). The Colts (7-6 SU, 6-6-1 ATS) halted red-hot Houston’s nine-game win streak by notching a 24-21 victory as 4-point road pups in Week 14.

    “We thought we would take some money if we opened the game Dallas +3, and we did,” Murray said, noting early action moved Dallas’ price to -120 at the +3. “We are fine with that. And the Colts were very impressive in winning at Houston.”
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 12-10-2018 at 01:23 PM.

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