Football picksDecember 5, 2019

Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings Betting Preview

detroit lions vs. minnesota vikings betting previewAfter suffering a disappointing loss on Monday Night Football to the Seahawks, the Minnesota Vikings will host the Detroit Lions on Sunday for an NFC North duel. Minnesota looks to stay close to the 9-3 Packers and not let the 6-6 Bears gain any ground on it, as it sits at 8-4, and in second place in the NFC North.

The Lions are at the bottom of the division and lost franchise quarterback Matt Stafford five weeks ago to a season-ending back injury. Then they lost backup Jeff Driskell, who is on injured reserve. Last week on Thanksgiving, David Blough, an undrafted rookie out of Purdue, made his first start with the Lions. Blough didn’t get the win but looked good enough to make for some interesting matchups down the stretch.

The Vikings are favored by -12.5 with an over/under of 43 in the divisional matchup. Read on for a betting preview of this important game.

Detroit’s Luck

After a 6-10 season last year, 3-8-1 is not how second-year head coach Matt Patricia envisioned this season going. Patricia had little experience in losing in New England but is gaining some in Detroit, just as several of his predecessors have had to in recent history. Offensively, the Lions have been in the top half of the league most of the season, but the other side of the ball has been the problem. Not what you’d expect from a defensive specialist like Patricia.

The Lions defense ranks 29th in the NFL in total yards allowed, as well as 30th in first downs allowed, passing yards allowed, and interceptions. For an offense that ranks seventh in the league in total yards, the defense has surely failed them. It’ll be tough for them to handle the likes of Dalvin Cook and the Vikings passing game.

A Fumble and a Loss

After a Cook fumble late against the Seahawks Monday night with the game tied, everything seemed to come unhinged for the Vikings. What could’ve been a huge win on their resume turned into a heartbreaking loss. The Vikings offense ranks eighth in the NFL in yards per game, while their defense is bend, but don’t break, coming in at 16th in opponent yards per game.

The Vikings have done well at controlling the clock and game flow all season as well, utilizing their supreme running game and the flexible defense. Cook has 1,536 yards from scrimmage on the season, with 1,046 of those on the ground, with 12 total touchdowns. The Vikings rank sixth in the league, averaging 137 rushing yards per game. Cook himself ranks fifth amongst running backs in yards per game.

A Tempting Underdog

Taking the dog in the Lions is tempting, given the wide point spread and the new quarterback that looks like he can keep up. The question is, can the Lions defense even keep them within striking distance? Minnesota is .500 against the spread this season. Detroit is just below it at 5-7 against the spread. The Vikings are 3-2 as the home favorite against the spread, while the Lions are 2-2 as road dogs.

Dig into the 12.5 and decide for yourself if the Lions can keep it close. For more info, check out our matchup page. To check out other action from around the league, check out our NFL public consensus page.

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Football picksDecember 5, 2019

Tennessee Titans vs. Oakland Raiders Betting Preview

tennessee titans vs. oakland raiders betting previewWhile this may not be a signature matchup or must-see TV, it’s tough to measure the importance of Sunday’s game between the Tennessee Titans and Oakland Raiders for both teams. The Titans head west to Oakland, sitting at 7-5, second in the AFC South. The Raiders, 6-6, are second in the AFC West. With the Texans one win ahead of the Titans, and the Colts only one win behind, Tennessee can’t afford to lose at all. The Raiders are two wins behind the Chiefs in the AFC West, and catching Patrick Mahomes’ bunch is a tough ask.

The Titans are 6-5-1 against the spread on the season, only 3-3 on the road, and 2-2 when they are favored on the road. The Raiders are 6-6 against the spread this year, 3-2 at home, and 2-1 at home when they are the underdog. Oakland is also 50/50 in the over/under on the season, while Tennessee has hit the over slightly more, at 58.3 percent of the time (seven of 12 games). Tennessee is favored by 2.5 points in this matchup, with the over/under sitting at 46.5. Check out our betting preview of this key AFC game.

Tannehill’s Resurgence

After Marcus Mariota started the season 2-4 in his six starts, former Miami Dolphins starting quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, took the reins. Since becoming the starter in Week 7, Tannehill has led the team to a 5-1 record, completing 72.7 percent of his passes, rushing for 128 yards and three scores, and throwing 12 touchdowns to only four interceptions. Tannehill is a big reason that Titans wideout A.J. Brown is averaging 18.4 yards per catch, which ranks sixth in the NFL.

Titans running back Derrick Henry practiced in full on Wednesday after nursing a hamstring injury all week. If Henry is full-go, Oakland will have to stack the box to slow him down. Henry ranks third in the NFL in rushing yards at 1,140 on the season. He’s only one rushing score behind Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffrey for the NFL lead.

A Tad Erratic

The best way to describe the Raiders’ play as of late is erratic, as they’re all over the place. At times, when they’re locked in, they look like a playoff team, and then there are those other times. They’ve only put up a total of 12 combined points in their last two games, a 40-9 loss to the Chiefs, and getting their butts handed to them by the Jets two weeks ago, 34-3. The Raiders had won three straight before the two blowouts.

While Josh Jacobs was limited in practice with a shoulder injury, he is expected to play on Sunday. Jacobs has easily been the highlight of the offense this season. He’s run for 1,061 yards and seven TDs so far and averages 4.9 yards per rush attempt, exactly what Henry averages across the field.

Surges and Slumps

Surging quarterbacks, slumping teams, superstar running backs, and a must-win game for two teams. This AFC battle has a little bit of everything, and we could see fireworks. With the tight spread, it’s tough to tell where the action will go, but wherever it lands, best of luck to you. Check out our matchup page for the latest info. For more action from around the NFL, check out our NFL public consensus page.

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Football picksNovember 28, 2019

Oakland Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs Betting Preview

oakland-raiders-at-kansas-city-chiefs-betting-previewA battle for AFC West supremacy will go down this Sunday, as the 7-4 Kansas City Chiefs are set to host the 6-5 Oakland Raiders, who could tie things up in the division with a victory with only a few weeks left in the NFL season. The Raiders are reeling off of an ugly loss to the Jets a week ago, one in which they were unable to get into the end zone even once. The Chiefs come in after beating the Chargers on the road two weeks ago, 24-17, and having a bye last week.

Since quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ return from injury, he has steadily improved every week. Mahomes will be facing a Raiders passing defense that’s ranked 28th in the league. Oakland signal-caller Derek Carr heads into a contest in which he will face a passing defense that’s ranked 14th in the league, in a game that could turn into a shootout.

Both teams come in mostly healthy, but Raiders leading rusher Josh Jacobs has been limited with a shoulder injury all week. Jacobs does hope to play Sunday but is currently questionable.

Read on to learn more about the game in our Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs betting preview.

The Gruden Effect

Raiders coach Jon Gruden didn’t look very happy as the clock reached zeroes last week. His team walked off the field following a 34-3 defeat, a game in which Carr was benched late so he wouldn’t get injured in a blowout. The Raiders had won three straight before allowing the Jets to run them all over the field on Sunday. Gruden and Carr look to rebound against the Chiefs this Sunday.

Carr is completing an elite 70.9 percent of his passes in 2019, tallying up 2,621 yards and 15 touchdowns on the season. He only has six interceptions but has been sacked 16 times for 102 yards in losses. The Raiders must improve up front in protection, and also in penalty yards as well. If any coach in this league hates penalties, it’s Gruden, so his players should be well motivated to improve.

Oh Patrick, My Patrick

With all the recent talk of Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson being the best quarterback currently in football, Mahomes will look to make fans and pundits remember who he is this week. Although the Jackson chatter is likely a case of recency bias at its finest, Jackson has looked elite, and since returning from injury, Mahomes has looked, well, slightly injured. Mahomes and head coach Andy Reid say he is healthy, though, and ready to get back on track Sunday.

On an offense that hasn’t been great running the ball, Mahomes has been able to spread it out to a variety of receivers, not only due to a few injuries in the receiving corps this year but also because his guys are just a really deep group. Tight end Travis Kelce remains one of the few elite receiving tight ends in the game. Kelce has four touchdowns on the season and leads the team with 834 yards. Match that with the speed of Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, and Demarcus Robinson, and you’ve got quite a dynamic bunch.

Enter Stage West

In what is set up for what could be the most important game for both teams on the season, look for an epic matchup Sunday. Both teams are 6-5 against the spread this season, covering just 54.5 percent of the time. The Chiefs are 2-3 ATS at home this season, with the Raiders marching them at 2-3 away. Their betting trends don’t exactly spell a clear favorite, so their on-field play will have to determine where your money goes.

For more on this contest, check out our matchup page for the game. And for a look at other games around the NFL, take a look at our public consensus page.

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Football picksNovember 27, 2019

Los Angeles Rams vs. Arizona Cardinals Betting Preview

Los Angeles Rams vs. Arizona Cardinals Betting PreviewThe bottom half of the NFC West will square off this Sunday when the reeling Los Angeles Rams head to Phoenix to face the Arizona Cardinals as part of NFL Week 13. The Rams are coming off a massive loss to the Ravens, as has been said about a lot of teams this season after playing Baltimore. The Cardinals sit in last place in the West and are only 3-7-1, while the Rams sit in third and are currently 6-5 on the season.

Regardless of where they sit in the standings, these two teams have had polar opposite seasons. The Rams have at least been in playoff contention for most of the year, while the Cardinals have been out of the playoff picture since day one, as they are early on in a rebuild. All eyes have been on the standings for the Rams, while all eyes have been on Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury for the Cardinals.

The Rams are favored by three points in this one, with the over/under set at 47 in the matchup. Check out our betting preview for this contest.

The Hangover, LA Style

Sean McVey and the Rams are out to disprove the myth of the Super Bowl hangover this year; unfortunately, they aren’t doing a very good job of late. McVey’s decision-making has come into question for the first time in his tenure as head coach, and question marks are back to haunt Jared Goff for the first time during his time under McVey. And even scarier for Rams fans, Todd Gurley, whose health has been in question all season, has seemingly lost a step.

Moving forward, Goff’s decision-making must improve. He’s thrown more picks than touchdowns this season, with 12 and 11, respectively. His completion percentage is down from nearly 65 percent a year ago to 61 percent in 2019. Goff’s ability to read defenses has always been in question, and, moving forward, he must improve to keep the Rams alive in the NFC.

High Hopes Dashed

Arizona fans had high hopes after drafting Murray No. 1 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft; unfortunately, those hopes have been dashed to bits. At times in this offense, Murray has looked like a game manager. The question is, was it his fault, or is he just playing within the Kingsbury system? I believe it’s the latter, as, at times, Murray has shown his explosiveness with both his legs and arms. The offense itself may need some adjusting.

The Cardinals defense ranks 31st in the NFL in yards allowed this season. Not great for a rookie quarterback and coach trying to make an impression, as the other side of the ball hasn’t been much help. At times, it’s looked like Chandler Jones, Jordan Hicks, and Budda Baker have been taking an entire offense on by themselves.

Making Your Wager

Against the spread this season, these have been two of my favorite teams to bet, and moving forward, should remain that way. The Rams are 7-4 ATS overall, while the Cardinals are 7-3-1. The Cardinals have been dogs in nearly every game this season, and are 7-2-1 when they are, including 3-1 at home. The Rams are 3-1 ATS on the road as favorites, 6-3 ATS overall when they’re favored.

The Rams’ recent mishaps should make for some interesting moves in Vegas this week, especially with Arizona playing well against the spread. For more on this battle, check out our matchup page for the game.

And for more from around the NFL, go to our public consensus page.

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Football picksNovember 22, 2019

Baltimore Ravens vs. Los Angeles Rams Betting Preview

Prepare yourself for some fireworks heading into Monday Night Football this week. The Baltimore Ravens and their league-best rushing attack head to Los Angeles for a game with the Rams. Baltimore has won six straight games coming into the contest and doesn’t look to slow down. The Rams have won two of their last three but haven’t looked much like the defending NFC Champs from a year ago.

The Ravens are 8-2 and have a commanding three-game lead over the Steelers in the AFC North headed into the weekend. They’ve scored 341 points on the season, blowing the field away. The Rams are 6-4, trailing both the 9-1 49ers and the 8-2 Seahawks in the NFC West. They cannot afford to lose this game and remain in the NFC playoff picture. Baltimore is favored by -3.5 points, with the over/under set at 46.5. Check out this betting preview of this exciting game.

Coast To Coast

Baltimore comes into the week leading the league in a lot of offensive categories. Most of them involving rushing, as you would assume. The Lamar Jackson/Mark Ingram tandem has been incredibly difficult to stop all season, as the rushing attack is No. 1 in yards, attempts, yards per attempt, and touchdowns on the season. They rank second in first downs and total yards, as well.

Jackson is averaging over five yards before first contact this season. He’s going untouched at linebackers that he can clearly outrun. While his passing game doesn’t get a ton of hype, it’s been very good. They just don’t use his arm that much. He’s thrown 19 touchdowns to only five picks, with a passer rating of 105.6. Put that together with a Michael Vick-like run game, and it is potent stuff.

California Love

The Rams have played so well since their move to Los Angeles, that even weird wins seem to worry fans. While they haven’t played their best football in 2019, they aren’t far off the mark. If any team can negate the Baltimore rushing attack, it’s the front seven of the Rams. The Rams allow the second-fewest rushing yards per game to opponents. Runners only average 1.8 yards before contact against the Rams, best in the NFL, and hopefully for them, Jackson’s kryptonite.

While Jared Goff and the Sean McVey offense haven’t looked as explosive, and Todd Gurley seems to have lost a step, especially in the last few games, the offense still ranks top 12 in total yards. Brandin Cooks is still in concussion protocol and questionable for Monday night, so Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods will lead the way for Rams receivers. Kupp has frustrated corners and safeties alike all season.

Clash of the Titans

Aaron Donald vs. Lamar Jackson on Monday Night Football? It looks like the NFL will have no issues getting high ratings this week. The battle between the Ravens offense and Rams defense should be one for the ages, but it could likely be the other side of the ball for both teams that determines the winner of this game.

The Rams have been in the under in seven of their 10 matchups this season. They’re 6-3 against the spread when favored and 1-0 when they’re the underdog. The Ravens are only 3-4 against the spread when they are favored and 5-5 against the spread overall. The Rams are also 3-2 against the spread at home, while the Ravens are 3-1-1 against the spread on the road.

For more details on this contest, check out our matchup page for this game. And for more from around the NFL, go to our NFL consensus page.

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Football picksNovember 21, 2019

Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints Betting Preview

The NFL season is to Week 12, so strap in for an NFC South battle this Sunday, as the Carolina Panthers head to the Bayou to square off against the New Orleans Saints. In what has become a two-horse race in the South, this matchup is the most important that Carolina has played in this season, as they trail the NFC South-leading Saints by three wins. A loss would all but destroy the Panthers’ chances at a comeback win of the division.

The Superdome is a difficult place to go into and steal a win from the home team as it is. It’s as potent a home-field advantage as anywhere in the league. Drew Brees is not only looking for his sixth NFC South championship but also his eighth playoff appearance since joining the Saints, and he is chasing down a few more records to add to the several he already owns.

New Orleans is an 8.5-point favorite in this contest, with the over/under being set at 47. Check out our betting preview for this important game.

Allen’s Panthers

New Orleans will see someone other than Cam Newton at the helm of the Panthers for the first time in a while as Kyle Allen took over for an injured Newton in Week 3. Since taking over for the 0-2 Panthers, Allen has led the team to a 5-3 record. Unfortunately, he’s also thrown nine interceptions to only 10 touchdowns, though the eye test tells you that he hasn’t been as bad as those numbers may suggest.

Offensively, this team’s identity has a name, and it’s Christian McCaffrey. The video game numbers he’s putting up have helped Carolina and fantasy footballers decimate defenses all season. McCaffrey is averaging over 157.6 total yards per game and is on pace for over 2,521 total yards, which would beat Chris Johnson’s yards from scrimmage record from 2009 of 2,509 yards.

Led defensively by linebacker Luke Kuechly, the Panthers have the talent to have a tough unit on that side of the ball. Even outside of Kuechly, the players’ individual stats look like they should be a force, but it just isn’t a cohesive unit, and the Panthers’ secondary is pretty weak. The defense gives up 5.5 yards per play.

And They Come Marching

Not a bad situation for Brees to return from injury to, as backup Teddy Bridgewater played out of his mind and ended up going 5-0 in the veteran quarterback’s absence. That being said, the Saints are coming into the game with a disappointing 27-9 loss to the divisional rival Falcons, who have only won three games all season, in recent memory. Although beating the Bucs 34-17 last week did wipe some of the taste out of their mouths, they know they can’t take anyone lightly.

With Brees at the helm and a suspect passing defense for Carolina, look for Brees to air it out to the NFL’s leader in targets, yards, and catches, Michael Thomas. Thomas averages 114 yards per game. Alvin Kamara will likely get his workload in both the pass and run game, as he’s been the team’s second-best receiver as well as its best back.

Defensively, the one thing that the Saints do well is stop the run. Their defense ranks third in the league in rushing yards per game, so McCaffrey will have his work cut out for him. Cam Jordan and company will need to get to Allen early to keep McCaffrey from continually turning check-downs into first downs, something they’re familiar with in Kamara.

Do You Feel Lucky?

The Saints are lights out at home, every season since forever it seems like; however, they’re only 3-2 against the point spread at home this season. Not that that is bad, as it’s just a bit worse than their 4-1 overall at home. The Panthers are 3-2 on the road both straight up and against the spread.

This matchup always seems to bring the best out of both teams, and with playoff implications, expect somewhat of a battle here. For more on this battle, check out our matchup page.

To check out some other great matchups around the league, go to our NFL consensus page.

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