A decent return from last weeks tips. The Houston Texans gave us yet another winning nap but unfortunately that was where it ended for the treble. The 13/5 single tip of David Johnson having a multiple touchdown performance flew home with the Arizona running back having grabbed his second score in the early minutes of the 2nd quarter. This weeks treble features 3 games for the early 6pm fixtures.
Arizona Cardinals @ 6/5 vs Minnesota Vikings (6pm)
Just a few short weeks ago this clash between the Cardinals and Vikings would have been seen by most as a possible playoff preview. At the midway point of the season though it has shaped up more as a battle of two teams desperate to keep their seasons alive. The Cards have been underwhelming at best and have now fallen two games behind the Seahawks in the race for the NFC west. Last weekend they even suffered the indignity of having to rely on a late field goal to defeat the lowly San Francisco 49ers. Meanwhile the Vikings after opening the season with 5 straight victories have now lost 4 games in a row.
The major issue for the Vikings has been trying to get anything going with its running game. This is due to equal parts the loss through injury of Adrian Peterson for the season and also so very ineffective play from its offensive line. Quarterback Sam Bradford started the season playing acceptably but now his play seems to have regressed. His task will be much harder in this one as lead target Stefan Diggs will be shadowed by Patrick Peterson.
Arizona may not have set the world alight in the opening half of the season but they have a clear gulf in class on this Vikings team at the skill positions. In a game where the two defences are likely to cancel each other out there is only one question you need to ask yourself. Do you want to trust the offence that ranks dead last in the NFL in yardage behind the likes of the Rams, 49ers and Browns or one led by Carson Palmer with a fantastic receiver corps to throw to and a primer running back in David Johnson?
Pittsburgh Steelers -7.5 @ 10/11 Vs Cleveland Browns (6pm)
Another team on a four game losing streak are the Pittsburgh Steelers who need to win this one if they are going to start wrestling back control of the division from the Baltimore Ravens. Injury to Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threatened to derail their season but he looked both healthy and back to his best in last weeks ultimately losing effort against the Dallas Cowboys. Luckily the Steelers have the perfect tonic for any team needing a win, a trip to the lowly Cleveland Browns.
The Browns obviously didn’t get the memo about Cleveland sports Franchises showing up this season. After the success of the Cavaliers in the NBA and the Indians in MLB the only record that has been set by the Browns so far is their worst ever start to a season with 10 consecutive losses. Stretch that back over last season as well and you find that they have won just once in their last 21 games. Ironically the Quarterback for that sole victory was Johnny Manziel, subsequently chased out of the organisation!
Any playoff calibre team should basically be an automatic double-digit favourite when facing the Browns regardless of being home or on the road. Despite their recent woes Pittsburgh are to me still every bit this and to get them here minus just 7 and a half is a gift. Leveon Bell and Antonio Brown should have their way with the Cleveland defence here in a rout.
Detroits Lions -6.5 @ 10/11 vs Jacksonville Jaguars (6pm)
When Calvin ‘Megatron’ Johnson decided to hang up his cleats early this past offseason things looked bleak for the Lions chances in 2016. A 1-3 start to the year seemed to confirm that it would indeed be a long year. However despite the lack of a running game or even a particularly good defence QB Matthew Stafford has managed to rally his team to the lead in the NFC north. Even better for the Lions was last week while on their bye week they were able to sit back and watch all their divisional rivals lose.
They face a Jaguars team who promised so much coming into the season but whos season is already all but over at the halfway point. Blake Bortles has been turning the ball over with alarming frequency. Most critically he has been doing so early on matches with three turnovers on the opening drive already this year. With there only road victory having come against the lowly Chicago Bears they will be another tough spot here away to a team who have legitimate postseason aspirations.
A week rested Lions team who are firing on all cylinders should take care of business here and win by more than a TD.
The preferred double is the combination of Arizona and Pittsburgh while the treble would return at odds north of 7/1.
Best of luck,