A nice return to form for us last week. Both the napped Buffalo Bills and next best New York Giants obliged. We had a letdown with the Falcons although in the late game, the also mentioned Philadelphia Eagles covered for those of you who decided to stick them in. In the anytime scorer markets both Cobb and Freeman made touchdown grabs although unfortunately Odell Beckham Jr did just about everything but score to deny us the treble.
This week I’ve gone with a mixture of picks from the handicap and total match point markets.
Jacksonville Jaguars +5 @ 4/5
Jacksonville will be looking to avoid the embarrassment of a 14th consecutive road defeat when they travel to Baltimore, currently the longest streak in the NFL. The signs are there that they are starting to improve though. There last three road losses have been by 7 points or less including last Sundays 28-23 defeat to the Jets when they were undone by a couple of 4th quarter turnovers. 2nd year Quarterback Blake Bortles has shown some great play this year and if he can limit those interceptions, he could have a really good NFL career. He’s been aided by having a deadly duo of receivers to throw to in the two Allens, Hurns and Robinson. Hurns come into this looking to extend his streak of consecutive touchdowns to 7.
He will be aided in that pursuit by facing a Baltimore defence that ranks in the bottom 5 of the NFL against the pass. Defensive leader Tyrell Suggs has been lost to injury for the season as has their number one receiver Steve Smith and TE Dennis Pitta. As good as quarterback Joe Flacco can be at carrying the team at some point losing so many playmakers will take its toll.
I actually think Jacksonville has a really legitimate shot at winning this game outright (2/1). Howver with Baltimore only two victories this year coming by 3 points both times I’ll take the Jaguars plus 5 in what is sure to be a closely run affair.
New England Patriots -7 @ 5/6 (NAP)
No team has been more of a thorn in the side of the Patriots during the Bill Belichick era than the New York Giants. Most notable of these were obviously the two Superbowl victories and overall, Giants coach Tom Coughlin has a 5-1 record versus Belichick. The Giants have been the Patriots bogeyman and you can expect to hear that narrative a lot over the course of the coverage of this game. The Vegas oddsmakers seem to be acknowledging that fact also having set the line here at a meagre 7 points.
However the Patriots are playing with a massive chip on their shoulder following the deflategate scandal off season and there are few team they would like to beat on more than the Giants. Eli Manning can put up big numbers and turn this into a shootout for at least a while but the problem for the Giants will be on the other side of the ball. Their 31st ranked defence hasn’t been able to slow down any Quarterback let alone Tom Brady who been the elite QB in the league this year. Throwing to Edelman and Gronkowski ,he should be able to pick this D apart with ease. With all 8 previous Patriots victories this season coming by 7 points or more I don’t see anything changing here.
Carolina Panthers -4 @ 20/21
The Tennessee Titans will be flying high after last weekend’s upset of the New Orleans Saints to give a first win to interim coach Mike Mularkey. Rookie Quarterback Marcus Mariota returned after missing two games with a knee injury to throw for 4 touchdowns without an interception. However to me this game has reality check written all over it. Mariota has struggled against teams that pressure the quarterback and the Panthers will do this more and better than any side he has faced so far. He isn’t protected very well and this could turn into a very long afternoon for him.
Meanwhile Carolina has steadily been overcoming every challenge that has been put in front of them and currently sits with a perfect 8-0 record. I really like how this game matches up for them and this would have been my nap but for their tendency to leave the door open for teams in recent weeks. However they should have more than enough to overcome the Titans and a double digit defeat wouldn’t surprise me.
Those are my three best for the week. For any insomniacs staying up for the Sunday night football clash with Arizona going to Seattle I wouldn’t bet against the home team in a prime time game with their famous “12th man”. They were competitive in their defeats to the Packers, Bengals and Panthers and with a small line of -2.5 I would give them a slight edge here considering how important this game could be to the outcome of their season.
TOTAL MATCH POINTS PICKS
One of the biggest trends I’ve noticed this season in the NFL is the rise in the number of high scoring games. Underperformance and injuries seem to have decimated the number of strong running backs in the league and teams seem to be airing the ball out a lot more. This has led to more exciting high scoring matchups.
To illustrate this, last week there was only one game in the league where the points total was set at over 50 points. By the end of week 8 games had broken the 50 points barrier. In fact over the last 4 weeks, an average of 6 games a week has broken this total. The Vegas linemakers seem to have reacted quite slowly to this and in week 10 only one game (Patriots@Giants O/U 54pts) has been set above this 50 point mark. Therefore I see some value in a few Over bets this weekend:
Minnesota Vikings vs. Oakland Raiders – Over 44pts @ 10/11
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Baltimore Ravens – Over 47.5pts @ 10/11
Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers – Over 48.5pts @ 10/11
This as a treble would pay around 6/1 but my suggestion would be to back in a series of doubles and a treble keeping stakes small.
For the usual match betting accumulator I suggest Carolina, Philadelphia, Denver, New England and Seattle. This pays 5/1 and backed with Paddy Power will see stakes returned as a free bet if there is one losing leg.
That’s all from me this week. Best of luck.