November 28, 2019
A 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.
Tags: Kansas City Chiefs, nfl, NFL Picks, Oakland Raiders
November 27, 2019
The 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.
Tags: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, nfl, NFL Picks
November 22, 2019
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.
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.
Tags: Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Rams, nfl, NFL Picks
November 21, 2019
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.
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.
Tags: Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, nfl, NFL Picks
November 13, 2019
An NBA Western Conference heavyweight match will take place Wednesday night in Houston. The Clippers come to town to square off against the Rockets, in a battle that you’ll want to tune your televisions to ESPN for.
The Rockets haven’t lost since dropping back-to-back games against the Nets and Heat at the beginning of November. The Clippers are coming off of two straight victories, with their last loss coming at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks last Wednesday.
Both teams have 7-3 records and are tied in third place in the West with the Denver Nuggets. The Lakers lead the West with an 8-2 mark, with Utah sitting a half-game back at 8-3.
The Clippers are 6-3-1 overall and 1-2 on the road, against the spread this season. The Rockets are 3-7 overall and 1-3 at home against the spread, interestingly enough. The Rockets are favored by two points headed into the contest, with the O/U set at 234.
Who Runs Los Angeles?
The Lakers and the Clippers both made over their respective rosters this offseason, and so far, it looks like both teams made moves in the right direction. The Clippers only trail the Lakers by a game in the West, and with the return of Paul George imminent, they have no intention of slowing down. It doesn’t look like George will be ready to go Wednesday night, but he should return to the lineup Thursday against the Pelicans.
The Clippers defense has fared very well even without the defensive-minded George. They force 15.9 turnovers per game, which ranks 11th in the NBA. They also rank in the top 10 in both steals and opponents’ field-goal percentage.
The combination of lockdown defenders Kawhi Leonard and Patrick Beverley has already proven deadly to the opposition. Leonard is averaging an astounding 2.3 steals to go along with his 27 points per game, and Beverley isn’t far behind, averaging 1.6 steals per game.
Offensively, the Clippers have been led by Leonard along with Montrezl Harrell and NBA veteran Lou Williams. Williams has been named the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year three times in the last five seasons and is second on the team in both assists and scoring this season, averaging 22.3 points per game to go along with his 5.6 assists. Leonard leads the team in both categories at 26.9 and 5.9, respectively.
The sharp-shooting JaMychal Green coming off the bench hasn’t hurt either. Green is shooting 42 percent from three-point range this year.
Revamping A Winner
The Rockets didn’t do much this offseason, just a few minor moves. You know, little things like swapping two future Hall of Fame point guards with the Thunder. Since swapping Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook, the team somehow looks even faster-paced than it did a season ago. Which is no knock to Paul; Westbrook just plays a more uptempo game than he does. The addition of Westbrook has certainly made the Rockets an even more must-watch team.
The Clippers will be facing a defense that, on paper, shouldn’t be quite as bad as it’s been. Houston has five players that average at least one steal per game, including both James Harden, who averages 1.4, and Westbrook, who averages 2.0. Clint Capela has been a plus rim-protector, averaging 2.2 blocks and 11.7 rebounds per game.
The Rockets offense gets a lot of the spotlight and rightfully so. They rank second in the league in points per game, averaging over 120. Harden has been on a complete scoring tear all season, putting up 37.3 points per game to go with 8.3 assists, while Westbrook is averaging 21.9 points, 7.4 assists, and 8.8 rebounds per game.
P.J. Tucker, Austin Rivers, and Daniels House have all shot great from deep, while they wait for fellow three-point sharpshooters, Harden and Eric Gordon to get it going, though House and Gordon will miss this contest with injuries.
Weighing Your Options
This matchup will certainly give bettors out there a lot to think about. I would love to see what the betting lines would look like with a healthy George for LA. Look for this game to be a high-scoring shootout. There should be outbursts of good defense and turnovers on both sides, but a fast, up-tempo game nonetheless.
Matchups like these typically hype up the superstars for each respective team, and for good reason. The role players for both teams will be extremely significant, but it will likely come down to how well Harden/Westbrook/Capela match up against Leonard/Williams/Harrell with a little Beverley defense sprinkled in. Strap in folks, this should be a fun one.
This is a close matchup, so to see what everyone thinks about it, check out our NBA consensus page. Check out our matchup page for this game for an in-depth look at this contest.
Tags: Houston Rockets, LA Clippers, NBA, NBA Picks
November 13, 2019
A couple of AFC division leaders square off this Sunday in Baltimore. The 7-2 AFC North-leading Baltimore Ravens host the 6-3 AFC South-leading Texans. The two teams haven’t met since 2017 and have faced off 10 times overall. The Ravens are 8-2 in matchups against the Texans since 2002. Both teams look to stay hot, as the Ravens have won five straight, and the Texans have won three straight.
The Ravens are 3-1 at home this season, while the Texans are 3-2 on the road. These two teams have historically been known for their defenses, but this season it’s the offenses of both teams that have been impressive.
The Ravens rank second in the NFL in yards per game, and the Texans are right behind them, sitting at fourth. Only 225 total yards separate the teams on offense. Baltimore is currently a four-point favorite in the contest, with the over/under sitting at 49.5.
Not Bad For A Running Back
Ravens rushing leader Lamar Jackson was asked after one of his better passing performances earlier this season how he thought he did. His response was epic, “not bad for a running back.” A shot at NFL Draft scouts and teams that chose not to draft Jackson.
While it has been his running game that’s elite, in fact, on pace to break Michael Vick’s quarterback rushing record, his ability to throw from both within the pocket and scrambling has been far from pedestrian as well.
The Jackson-led rushing attack is ranked No. 1 in the NFL in yards, yards per attempt, and touchdowns. While the Ravens are only ranked 20th in passing yards per game, much of that can be attributed to the fact they rank 29th in passing attempts. This isn’t a cause for concern as they just haven’t really been tested enough to throw it around a lot.
The Ravens defense hasn’t been the old Ray Lewis and Ed Reed-led dynasty defense that Baltimore fans are used to this season. In an effort to help the D out a bit, the Ravens acquired cornerback Marcus Peters from the Rams a few weeks ago.
While Peters isn’t a complete shutdown corner, he takes chances at the right moments. In the three games he’s played for Baltimore, Peters has two pick-sixes, including a dazzling 89-yard return for a touchdown last week against Cincinnati.
Making Teams Pay
Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is doing the same thing his counterpart for the Ravens is doing this season, making every NFL team that passed on drafting him pay. Watson has been a vocal leader of the Texans, especially since the loss of J.J. Watt.
The Texans’ passing attack has been quite a bit better than Baltimore’s. The Texans rank 12th in passing yards and fifth overall in touchdowns with 18. Coincidently, that’s the same number of scores their pass defense has given up.
Much like the defense of their opponent, the Texans sit right in the middle of the NFL in total defense. However, if there’s one huge thing that the Texans do better than the Ravens, it’s stop the run. They have only allowed 758 rushing yards this season, good for third in the league.
Teams don’t even try to run against them as they lead the league in attempts against, which is not a bad stat to lead the league in when you’re up against this year’s Ravens.
Upsetting For Some
The Ravens aren’t just beating teams; they’ve been blowing them out. Not only that, but two of their last three wins have come against the Seahawks and the Patriots. They may be the only team that has made the Pats look fairly easy to beat this season; however, Baltimore is 4-4-1 against the spread this season and only 1-3 at home.
The Texans haven’t quite beaten the firepower that Baltimore has this season, but they were able to blow out the Jags last week and the Chiefs last month. They are only 5-4 against the spread this season but are 4-1 on the road. This, combined with their better passing game and ability to slow down the run, should make for an interesting matchup, to say the least, this week. Certainly, one that you won’t want to miss.
For predictions on this epic battle, go to Wunderdog’s matchup page for this contest. For a deeper look into other matchups around the NFL, check out Wunderdog’s NFL public consensus page.
Tags: Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans, nfl, NFL Picks