Apologies for a disastrous day at the office last weekend with 0 from 3 on the tips. Not good enough but in many ways the topsy-turvy nature of this season was summed up in the fact that only 5 favourites out of 16 covered the spread and 6 underdogs won outright. The level of performance from many sides has swung dramatically from week to week making it tough to get a handle on them. Anyway onwards and hopefully upwards as we look to make amends in week 7.
New York Giants -2.5 @ 20/23 vs L.A. Rams (2.30pm)
NFL novices who are perhaps less than enthralled at the prospect of another Jose Mourinho bus parking job on Super Sunday could do worse than switch over to Giants Rams matchup. The second UK game of the season will kick off at the earlier time of 2.30pm at Twickenham. Both enter this with identical 3-3 records for the season however the Rams have dropped their last two games while the Giants pulled a victory out of the fire late last week against the Baltimore Ravens.
In that win star receiver Odell Beckham Jr finally overcame his early season woes catching for two touchdowns and 222yards. He will relish being in the spotlight again this week especially considering he has history against this Rams team from a couple of seasons ago. The fact that he is complemented in the receiving corps by Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard will spell trouble for an L.A. secondary that has not only been underperforming but is also decimated by injuries. New York QB Eli Manning has had his own struggles for from this season but in his four career games against the Rams he has won each by double digits. He should make that 5 in London.
Oakland Raiders @ 11/10 (Moneyline) Vs Jacksonville Jaguars (6pm)
I’m not quite sure what logic the layers have applied when making the Jags 2 point favourites in this one. This seems a complete overreaction to both the fact that the Raiders suffered a blowout loss weekend and that the Jags have won two on the trot. As poor as Oakland played last weekend its important to remember that it came against a very good Chiefs side that were coming into the match fresh on the back of a bye week. Meanwhile the aforementioned two Jaguars victories have come against the Colts and the Bears, two of the worst teams in the league.
While the Jags have plenty of offensive talent on their roster but the play of QB Blake Bortles has left a lot to be desired this year having had almost as many turnovers as touchdowns. He should find success here against a woeful Raiders secondary but I still think he’ll come up short in a shootout against opposing QB Derek Carr who’ll have his own RB Latavius Murray back to ease the burden. Oakland has already won three road games this season and with them eager to make amends for last week’s loss I’ll forego the handicap and take them to win this straight up.
New England Patriots -6.5 @ 8/11 Vs Pittsburgh Steelers (NAP – 9.25pm)
Normally I’d steer well clear of opposing an underdog Steelers in their own back yard. However the injury last week to QB Ben Roethlisberger mean that Landry Jones will get the start for Pittsburgh which makes for a much less scary proposition. Luckily for the Steelers they’ll have a bye next week giving Big Ben an extra week to recover but for now the entire offence is massively downgraded.
They will face a New England team that is 5-1 and firing on all cylinders. Even at this early stage of the season, NE Coach Bill Belichick will realise what importance this game will play in who gain the number one seed in the AFC. He will relish the prospect of facing a Steelers side without Roethlisberger and I fully expect him to go for the jugular in this. Over the course of the week the handicap has creeped up to 7 and ½ points so I’m going to play it safe and suggest backing the Patriots -6.5 on the alternative handicap market. While it does slightly hurt the returns it also keeps a New England win by a touchdown on our side.
These three will combine to give a 6/1 treble while for those wanting to bulk out an accumulator I also like Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings (-2.5) as strong plays.
Best of luck,