A horrible return from me week 8. I’ll hold my hands up and say it, I got the main bet way off the mark and in hindsight it was too risky a game to Nap. In the others I again have to bemoan my luck. Baltimore missed out by the ½ point on the handicap (the third time this has happened us in as many weeks), Meanwhile Pittsburgh were controlling the game against Cincinnati and as predicted Dalton was having his usual stinker in a big game. Then disaster struck with Leveon Bell going down injured and the Bengals somehow pulling the game out of the fire in the final two minutes. However those of you who have been following from the beginning should still be well ahead as we reach the midpoint of the regular season and hopefully this week sees a change of fortune.
Here are my 3 tips handicap tips for this weekend, plus a 5 team acca and some touchdown-scoring picks:
Buffalo Bills -2.5 @ 5/6 (NAP)
As regular readers may know backing my beloved Bills is something I rarely do due to the overwhelming superstition that I will jinx them! Sometimes though, you just see too much potential value in a handicap not to roll with it. The Bills are coming off two straight defeats including the debacle in the London game where they turned the ball over 4 times, twice for touchdowns, aiding the Jaguars to put up 21 points in two minutes. They now find themselves with a 3-4 record and desperately needing the win to stay in the race for the playoffs.
Since that defeat they have had their bye week to lick their wounds. They return week 9 in a much healthier state. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor, one of the bright spots this season for the Bills, return to replace struggling EJ Manual who was responsible for 3 of those turnovers in the matchup with Jacksonville. With Taylor at centre this year the Bills offence has been a lot more dynamic and error free. Also probable to return is running back Karlos Williams who has recovered from concussion to boost a running core that despite numerous injuries is still ranked 10th in the league. Earlier this year he ran for over 100yds and a TD against the Dolphins.
The Dolphins following a disastrous start to the season under Joe Philbin were seemingly finding their way under new coach Dan Campbell.
Expect the Bills to shutdown RB Lamar Miller forcing QB Ryan Tannehill to try to win the game through the air. He has a historically bad record against Buffalo including throwing 3 interceptions in a 41-14 defeat to the Bills in Miami earlier this season. While the margin may not be as great this time the Bills should prevail by more than a touchdown.
Former Dolphin, Charles Clay had 82yds and a TD in that Bills win back in September and at 6/4 is a good bet for repeat TD this time.
New York Giants -2.5 @ 10/11
Last week Eli Manning threw for 6 touchdowns, 0 interceptions and somehow still ended up on the losing side as the Giants Jekyll and Hyde season continued. It really takes some doing to score 49 points and still lose the game. Take a bow Drew Brees who managed to throw 7 touchdowns (tying the NFL record) to defeat the Giants while avoiding getting sacked in the process.
Luckily for the Giants they this week activated Jason Pierre-Paul to the active roster to help their beleaguered pass rush. He was eighth in the league last year with 12 ½ sacks. He returns minus his index finger following an offseason fireworks incident hoping to improve the team’s league low 9 sacks.
Luckily also they do not have to face Drew Brees this week. While the play of rookie Jameis Winston has improved in recent weeks I still feel the Giants are more likely to create a crucial turnover in this one. Doug Martin has been playing well at running back for the Bucs but this is one area where the Giants defence has been quite good this season, stopping the run. If this comes down to a battle between Manning and Winston there is only going to be one winner.
Atlanta Falcons -7 @ 10/11
The Falcons offence has been struggling to get going over the last few weeks. Sloppy play and 12 turnovers have led to them losing two of their last three games. What better tonic then than a trip to the struggling San Francisco 49ers.
The 49ers this week decided to bench QB Colin Kaepernick in favour of backup Blaine Gabbert. The problem though is that Gabbert just isn’t that good. He has a record of just 5-22 as a starter including a ten consecutive game losing streak while with Jacksonville. Perhaps more worrying is the number of injuries san Francisco have to contend with most notably running back Carlos Hyde and receiver Anquan Boldin. It’s hard to see where the points are going to come from for the 49ers while the Falcons have big play ability in Julio Jones and Davonta Freeman and reaching 20 points here should see them cover the spread.
Leaving it at the three main bets for this week. For anybody staying up for the late game Sunday night (1.30AM Monday morning British time) I do also really like the Philadelphia Eagles minus 2.5 versus the Dallas Cowboys and came very close to including it. The Cowboys have been hanging in there valiantly in games but just look like they have no real confidence they can get the win without Tony Romo. Chip Kelly has had an extra week to get things figured out offensively for the Eagles and their league high 19 takeaways looks like a great stat when facing an offence led by Matt Cassel.
Match Bet Acca
For the match betting accumulator this week my selections are the NY Jets, New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers for a total of 7/2. Backed with Paddy Power stakes will be returned as a free bet with one losing selection.
Anytime Scorer Markets
Randall Cobb (Green Bay Packers) 5/6 Vs Carolina Panthers
Cobb has not caught a touchdown pass since his 3 score performance vs. Kansas City all the way back in week 3. In the meantime he’s been hampered by a shoulder injury which was limiting his performance before finally returning to full fitness last week. Unfortunately for him he ran into a stonewall Denver defence. Green Bay come up against one of the leagues other best defences this week at the Carolina Panthers although I still see this as a good spot for Cobb to find the endzone. The Panthers don’t often move shutdown corner Josh Norman into the slot meaning Cobb should have a decent matchup and a good shout at a touchdown grab.
Odell Beckham (NY Giants) 4/7 Vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Davonta Freeman (Atlanta Falcons) 3/5 Vs San Francisco 49ers
Not great odds for singles here but doubled a very strong 6/4 bet. Tampa’s corners have been struggling all year and the connection between Manning and Beckham is so good that you just can’t see him not getting a touchdown in this one. Freeman meanwhile after going in for 9 touchdowns in his previous 5 games has been out of the endzone for the last two. The 49ers were battered in the rushing game last week by Tood Gurley and given the strength of Atlanta’s passing attack can’t simply load the box to stop Freeman who should find some joy here.
These odds can be found under Bet365s score props markets and all three add up to a 7/2 accumulator.
Best of luck.