World Cup: Can England Solve Sweden’s Stalwart Defense?

England vs. Sweden, 10 a.m. ET, Fox

  • England -112
  • Sweden +390
  • Draw +225

Bet to Watch:

England To Win By 1 Goal +246 

After England won only their second of eight major tournament penalty shootouts, and first at a World Cup, the English media are starting to believe that anything is possible. “Football’s coming home” as far as fans of the Three Lions  are concerned, but if their team is to lift the trophy for the first time in more than 50 years, there are a few roadblocks still to overcome.

Sweden are, without question, a favorable quarterfinal opponent, but that’s not to say Saturday’s match in Samara will be plain sailing for Gareth Southgate’s men. It never is as far as England are concerned, nor is it when they come to blows with this weekend’s challengers.

England have, after all, won just one of their last eight competitive meetings with the Swedes, who have developed a liking for what has become a familiar underdog status under coach Janne Andersson. Indeed, since exiting Euro 2016 and waving goodbye to their greatest-ever player in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, there has been a realization that without a star name to call upon, the players have needed to accept their limitations and, in a roundabout way, turn that into a strength.

The Scandinavians have shown this summer and well beforehand just how difficult they are to break down, simply by sticking to their rigid positions when out of possession and sitting deep. In the past 18 months, they’ve beaten Portugal, France and Italy, so they aren’t to be underestimated, keeping five clean sheets in their last six matches.

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It’s relatively clear how the pattern of this match will play out, with Sweden having had a lower possession share (36%) at this World Cup than any of the remaining teams. Plus, they’re well-aware that England are struggling to create meaningful chances from open play.

England have the tournament’s top scorer in their ranks, and Harry Kane will know that if he can add to his six-goal tally, he may well wrap up the Golden Boot. While there are those who will point to his duties as the penalty-kick taker as the main reason for his success this summer, he’s taken the chances that have come his way. Plus, his performance against Colombia was arguably the Tottenham star’s best all-around display of the tournament.

Sweden may have conceded only twice, but they have allowed their opponents the most shots on goal (61) of the quarterfinalists, and Kane doesn’t need a second invitation to shoot or indeed score. With odds over evens on the striker to do so at any time, that’s a bet that’s well worth considering, but I like the winning margin odds for England in this one.

It’s never straightforward when they are involved, after all, and Southgate’s charges are the only side remaining that are yet to keep a clean sheet. While their quality should win out, you can bank on a tight result, so England to win by exactly one goal would be my tip.

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Bruins vs. Sabres (October 22)

nhl-odds-preview-prediction-bruins-vs-sabres-october-22

Sabres vs. Bruins Odds

Bruins Odds -195
Sabres Odds +165
Over/Under 5.5o-115
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+, Hulu
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

There probably won’t be too many games this season where the Boston Bruins are looking up at the Buffalo Sabres and looking to catch their division rivals in the standings.

That’s the position the Bruins find themselves in on Friday night as the Sabres are undefeated through their first three games of the season.

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Buffalo Sabres

It’s the first night of a back-to-back for the Sabres, which means goaltending usage will be a critical component to this matchup. Analytics dictates that Dustin Tokarski should get the start, saving primary goalie Craig Anderson for Saturday.

Tokarski’s taken the path less traveled to get to the Chell, playing just 48 games in the league since getting drafted in the fifth round of the 2008 draft. The 32-year-old has a 90.5% save percentage with -9.5 goals saved above average in his big league career. Tokarski looked sharp against the Arizona Coyotes but will face a much different challenge against the Bruins.

It helps that Tokarski has a much improved Sabres team skating in front of him, though. Buffalo has allowed 19 high-danger chances at five-on-five through three games this season. Consequently, that has resulted in an expected goals-for percentage above 60.0% in all three games. This isn’t the Sabres team of seasons past, and they are coming to compete every night.

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Boston Bruins

Linus Ullmark spent the first six years of his career with the Sabres before signing a four-year contract with the Bruins this past off-season. It’s a deliberate move on the Bruins’ part to announce him as their starter well in advance of his Friday night homecoming. Ullmark gets his first start of the season on a typically strong Bruins squad.

Boston put up above-average metrics through their first two games, posting consecutive expected goals-for percentages above 56.5% across all strengths. In their most recent outing, the Bruins were particularly dominant by out-chancing the Philadelphia Flyers 16-5 in high-danger chances and 38-20 in scoring opportunities.

That was a pronounced difference between their first game of the season, in which they attempted just 25 scoring and five high-danger chances. The difference, of course, was Boston played with the lead against the Dallas Stars in their first game and trailed Philadelphia from start to finish in their second game. It is a balance worth monitoring throughout the Bruins schedule.

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Bruins vs. Sabres Pick

Expect the Bruins to play a neutralizing game, focusing on defensive structure rather than playing a run-and-gun style of game.

That should result in a low-scoring contest between these division rivals, taking longer than 60 minutes to resolve. Under 5.5 and regulation draw is how we are approaching this one.

Pick: Under 5.5 -105, Draw +380

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Nets vs. 76ers Odds, Preview, Prediction: Back Philly and Embiid at Home (October 22)

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Nets vs. 76ers Odds

Nets Odds -3
76ers Odds +3
Over/Under 230
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

This Friday evening, two Eastern Conference powerhouses collide as the Philadelphia 76ers host the Brooklyn Nets in each team’s second game of the season.

Last season, the Sixers and Nets finished as the first and second seed in the Eastern Conference, respectively, and they were on a collision course to meet in the Eastern Conference Finals.

However, both teams squandered their series’ leads and ended their seasons in disappointment. Both teams are each going through some drama with their respective point guards, Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons. Each team has a load of talent but is carrying a lot of baggage going into this season.

Less than one week into the season, the Sixers’ injury report is already in midseason form. Joel Embiid is listed as questionable with right knee soreness. I do not anticipate he will miss a game against such a crucial opponent, but keep your eyes out for any updates by following the @FantasyLabsNBA Twitter account.

Ben Simmons had quite an eventful and dramatic offseason. After his disappearing act in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, he demanded a trade in the offseason. Then, he refused to show up for training camp and arrived shortly before the season started. He was suspended in for the season opener due to conduct detrimental to the team and will not play in Friday’s game.

The Sixers are currently three-point underdogs at home. Below, let’s break down why Embiid’s availability could have a large impact on how this line moves and closes on Friday.

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Brooklyn Nets

The NBA schedule makers were not kind to the Nets. They are starting their season with consecutive road games against two of best teams in the NBA.

The Nets looked rusty in their 127-104 loss against the Milwaukee Bucks on opening night. They were no match for the defending champions. Newcomer Patty Mills had a great debut with 21 points on 7-for-7 from behind the 3-point line. However, James Harden went 6-for-16 from the field, and the Nets were out-hustled by the Bucks, who had 21 more field goal attempts (105 vs. 84).

The Nets simply don’t have the defensive personnel to contain Joel Embiid.  Per NBA.com Advanced Stats, the Nets were 29th in second chance points (15.3) allowed last season. This is an area where a dominant big man like Embiid will exploit. The 76ers were fifth in second chance points (13.9) scored last season. With Embiid manning the middle and newcomer Andre Drummond backing him up, the Nets will get crushed on the boards.

In addition, the NBA will also be implementing rule changes to prevent “non-basketball moves” in an effort to draw fouls. This works to the detriment of Harden, whose crafty game is centered around foul-baiting. I anticipate the referees will continue to set the tone with enforcing the rules, and Harden will struggle as he did in the first game.

Two other strong additions to the Nets’ frontcourt are Paul Millsap and the LaMarcus Aldridge. Millsap is a versatile big man who can provide scoring from inside and out while providing veteran leadership and a defensive presence. LMA is returning to the NBA after briefly retiring due to an irregular heartbeat.

However, they may struggle to integrate several new pieces on offense as they adjust to life without Irving. They will need some time to develop a rhythm and chemistry together.

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Philadelphia 76ers

The Sixers started off the season with an easy 20-point victory against the New Orleans Pelicans. Joel Embiid only played 25 minutes, which gave the injury-prone big man some much needed rest to maintain his body for the 82-game grind. The 76ers were able to get contributions up and down their roster as four different Sixers contributed over 20 points.

The Sixers are amazing at home. Since the 2016-2017 season, they are an incredible 114-73-2 (61%) against the spread at home, per our Bet Labs tool. They have the best home court advantage in the league and have consistently delivered. For comparison purposes, here were their splits last season:

    • Home:  29-7 record, 22-14 ATS, 48.6% FG%
    • Away: 20-16 record, 16-18-2 ATS, 46.7% FG%

Embiid was playing at an MVP-level last season. Had he not missed so many games (per usual), he would’ve definitely given Nikola Jokic some competition for the MVP award. With Simmons out, the Sixers are now able to play sharpshooting Seth Curry and Tyrese Maxey more minutes.

This will really open things up for the offense by spacing the floor and complementing Embiid in the post.  With Embiid’s size advantage, I anticipate that he will spend a lot of time at the line.

The Sixers were ranked second in Defensive Rating (107.0) last season. Simmons’ absence will hurt; however, the Sixers still have another ferocious defender, Matisse Thybulle, whom they can stick on Harden on the perimeter.

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Nets-76ers Pick

This will be a fun matchup to look forward to on Friday.  While it is tough to bet against Harden and Durant, I think the Sixers are the right side. They have a better defense and perform well at home.

As of Thursday evening at 11:00 p.m. ET, the Sixers are short home underdogs. The consensus line is +1 on most books, but as high as +3 on FanDuel. If Embiid suits up, I believe the wrong team is favored. Embiid should have a monster game against Brooklyn’s lack of interior presence.

With Embiid, I make the line on this game Sixers -2.5, and I see a nice opportunity to grab them as an underdog or at plus-money on the moneyline.

Pick: Sixers +3 on FanDuel (up to -2 if Embiid plays)

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Saints vs. Seahawks Odds, Promo: Bet $1, Win $100 if Either Team Scores a TD!

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Colts vs. 49ers Odds, Promo: Bet $20, Win $205 if Either Team Scores a Point!

Depending on your NFL fandom, Colts-49ers on Sunday night may not be the most attractive matchup.

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Colts vs. 49ers Odds, Promo: Bet $50, Get $500 FREE Instantly!

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Oddsmakers are separating Indianapolis and San Francisco by just over a field goal on Monday night. Betting on the game won’t be easy …

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Saints vs. Seahawks Odds, Promo: Bet $50, Get $500 FREE Instantly!

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SI Sportsbook MNF Promo: Bet $7,500 on the Saints or Seahawks Risk-Free!

Attention, Colorado sports bettors: There’s a brand new sportsbook in town.

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You know the name from their decades of excellent sports coverage, and now Sports Illustrated has made its move into the sports betting world as well.

SI Sportsbook has launched in Colorado — just in time for Monday Night Football in Seattle.

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Saints vs. Seahawks Odds, Promo: Bet $10, Win $200 if Jameis Winston Throws for 1+ Yard!

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Famous Jameis and the Saints are headed to Seattle for a matchup with the Seahawks on Monday Night Football.

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  • Who’s it for? New users in MI, IN, IA, AZ, WY, CO, PA, NJ, WV, TN, VA, DC*

In the Saints’ last game, Jameis Winston passed for a season-high 279 yards and four touchdowns on just 15 completions to lead New Orleans to victory.

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*DC users must be within 2 blocks of Nationals Park to access the promo.

Browns Win Finishes $1.3M Parlay for Illinois Bettor

browns parlay

Marco Piemonte admits he wasn’t his normal self today. How can you be when you are one parlay leg away from netting $1.3 million?

“I was a bit distracted,” said the 32-year-old man from the Chicago suburbs, who took over his father’s car dealership business in 2014.

That’s because Case Keenum and the banged up Browns beat the Denver Broncos 17-14 on Thursday night, completing a $33,000 parlay at DraftKings. Cleveland moneyline (-130) was the final of four legs.

At +4357, it pays out $1,307,166 plus his $33,000 back. He hedged $330,000 on Broncos +1, so he cleared $1 million.

Piemonte hit the first three legs all on Wednesday night:

  • A Nuggets moneyline bet over the Suns (+195). Denver beat Phoenix by 12 after trailing at half.
  • The Kings (+205) beat the Blazers, but only by three after heading into the fourth quarter leading 100-85.
  • Appalachian State moneyline (+180) cashed as well, which kept his parlay alive when the Mountaineers kicked the game-winning field goal against Coastal Carolina with four seconds remaining (after they fumbled inside the Coastal 10-yard line in a tie game a few minutes earlier).

Despite his relatively young age, Piemonte is a betting veteran, who said he started betting with bookies at 16 and boosted his bankroll with a $78,000 win on an online poker site when he was 19.

He isn’t shy about betting big money, but also is attracted to the multipliers of parlays, despite the long odds. He also isn’t afraid to cash out.

In Week 5, Piemonte needed a Colts win over the Ravens to net him $576,630 on a four-leg parlay.

Up 10-3 at the end of the second quarter, Colts kicker Rodrigo Blankenship missed a 37-yard field goal. Piemonte didn’t like that. He cashed out his parlay at $405,000 and used $193,000 to bet on the Ravens moneyline. When they beat the Colts 31-25, Piemonte netted another $328,000.

Bet Line Result
Nuggets ML vs. Suns +195 Win
App State ML vs. Coastal +205 Win
Kings ML vs. Blazers +180 Win
Browns ML vs. Broncos -130 Win

Colts vs. 49ers Odds, Promo: Bet $10, Win $200 if Either Team Covers +50!

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Sunday Night Football this week features a matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers.

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  • Who’s it for? New users in TN, NJ, WV, VA, PA, MI, IA, IN, CO, AZ, WY, DC*

The 49ers are favored by about a field goal at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday.

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  • Register and deposit at least $10 (you don’t need a specific bonus code)
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Jets & Giants Odds, Promos: Bet $20, Win $205 if the Jets or Giants Score a Point, More!

Both the New York Giants and New York Jets are underdogs in Week 7, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make money betting on your team this weekend.

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The Jets rank dead last in the NFL in terms of scoring, and the Giants haven’t been much better, coming in at 27th.

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Both of New York’s teams are underdogs this weekend. Don’t let that stop you from cashing in by betting on them.

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So you can risk as little as one dollar of your own, and you’ll earn $100 in free bets as long as the Jets or Giants find the end zone. Pretty sweet deal, right?

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The Patriots are favored by about a touchdown over the Jets, while the Panthers are favored by about a field goal over the Giants in Week 7.

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  • Register and deposit at least $10 (you don’t need a specific bonus code)
  • Bet $10 on the Jets or Giants moneyline as your FIRST bet

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NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Sharks vs. Maple Leafs (October 22)

Sharks vs. Maple Leafs Odds

Sharks Odds +180
Maple Leafs Odds -215
Over/Under 6
Time 6 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The San Jose Sharks will head into Scotiabank Arena as one of the league’s most pleasant surprises. After winning 2-1 in Ottawa on Thursday, the longshot Sharks are 3-0 with all three victories coming in regulation and on the road.

Despite the hot start, the Sharks are big-time underdogs against the Maple Leafs on Friday night.

_PromoID=[245]

San Jose Sharks

The Sharks have come flying out of the gates and put together another strong performance on Thursday in a 2-1 win over the pesky Senators.

Perhaps most encouraging is that a handful of key offensive players — most notably Timo Meier, Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl — appear to be in good form in the early going. The proof is in the pudding as the Sharks currently sit third in the NHL in expected goals rate (xGF%) and have scored 11 goals in their three wins.

With top prospects William Eklund and Jonathan Dahlen looking very strong skating in the top six, the offence could shape up to be surprisingly deep should we see continue to see bounce-back performances from Meier, Couture and Hertl.

My long-term concerns with San Jose are more focused on the back-end, as I still think this unit is susceptible to giving up too many good scoring chances. The Maple Leafs will provide a stiff test on Friday.

Adin Hill has been confirmed as the Sharks starter tomorrow after sitting the first leg of the back-to-back. Hill posted a .913 save percentage last season across 19 games, and a 0.0 Goals Saved Above Expectation, so he was basically the definition of average.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Goals have been surprisingly tough to come by for a Leafs team that projects to be one of the league’s most prolific. The Buds have managed just eight goals in four contests and are 2-1-1 on the season. It should be noted that the team was without last season’s Rocket Richard winner, Auston Matthews, for the first three games. Matthews looked sharp in his debut, posting the best xGF% in the game and firing eight shots on goal.

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Even without Matthews, the Leafs have not had issues producing scoring chances. The Buds entered play on Thursday with the fifth-best xGF/60 at all strengths and at 5-on-5.

With Petr Mrazek on the IR and a tough contest Saturday in Pittsburgh, Michael Hutchinson has been confirmed as the Leafs starter for the contest.

For a No. 3 goalie, Hutchinson posted a respectable -1.4 GSAx in a small sample size last season, but his career numbers have been under average.

San Jose vs. Toronto  Pick

The Leafs appear due for an offensive uptick and that breakthrough feels like it could come on Friday night against a Sharks team that figures to be average at best, especially playing on the second night of a back-to-back.

On the other hand, the Sharks have been good offensively in the early going and may take a step forward with Erik Karlsson, Meier, Couture and Hertl all on song and youngsters Dahlen and Eklund looking like the real deal. Getting a few past Hutchinson seems a reasonable ask of this group.

With Hutchinson in goal, it’s hard to trust the Leafs as a big favorite. However, I do see some value taking the Over 6 at -115 and would play it to -130.

Pick: Over 6 (-130 or better)

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Jets & Giants Odds, Promo: Bet $50, Get $500 FREE Instantly!

The New York Jets and New York Giants haven’t gotten off to a great start this year …

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Alabama vs. Tennessee Odds, Promos: Bet $10, Win $200 if the Crimson Tide Cover +50, and More!

No. 4 Alabama is a 25-point favorite against Tennessee in Week 7.

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Alabama-Tennessee Promos

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BetMGM Sportsbook

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The biggest loss to Tennessee in Alabama’s program history came back in 1969, when the Crimson Tide fell to the Vols by 27 points.

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WynnBET Sportsbook

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PointsBet Sportsbook

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Alabama is favored by a significant margin over Tennessee in betting lines. But that spread won’t be a factor with this PointsBet promo.

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Caesars Sportsbook

Offer: Get a $5,000 risk-free bet on Alabama-Tennessee! 

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You probably recognize the name thanks to its longstanding reputation in the casino industry, and now Caesars has made its move into the sports betting world as well.

To take advantage of their ridiculous welcome offer for Alabama-Tennessee on Saturday …

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  • Sign up and deposit up to $5,000 using code ACTIONRF
  • Make your first wager up to $5,000

If your bet on Alabama vs. Tennessee wins, it’s time to celebrate. And if it loses, no sweat. You’ll be refunded the full amount in the form of free bets.

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Head over to Caesars today.

WynnBET New Jersey Promo: Bet $1, Win $100 if the Jets or Giants Score a TD!

The 2021 NFL season hasn’t been kind to New York’s teams so far, but both the Jets and the Giants have an opportunity to get their second win of the season in Week 7.

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Jets & Giants Odds, Promo: Bet $20, Win $205 if the Jets or Giants Score a Point!

Both the New York Giants and New York Jets are underdogs in Week 7, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make money betting on your team this weekend.

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The Jets rank dead last in the NFL in terms of scoring, and the Giants haven’t been much better, coming in at 27th.

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Ohio State vs. Indiana Odds, Promos: Bet $10, Win $200 if the Buckeyes Cover +50, and More!

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Ohio State is a three-touchdown favorite Saturday over Indiana.

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Ohio State-Indiana Promos

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BetMGM Sportsbook

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Friday College Football Odds & Picks for Week 8: Our Top Bets, Including UCF vs. Memphis & Arizona vs. Washington (October 22)

college football-odds-picks-betting-washington vs. arizona-ucf vs. memphis-middle tennessee vs. uconn-colorado state vs. utah state-friday, october 22

Friday Night Lights. Few things are better on a beautiful October night.

Here at The Action Network, we’ll take as much football as we can, whether it’s a MACtion Tuesday, a Fun Belt Friday, a loaded Thursday slate, or a phenomenal Friday. So, we’re more than happy with college football under the lights tonight.

The action features four games and opens with UConn vs. Middle Tennessee and UCF vs. Memphis for the early part of the night. Then, when the sun goes down for the night, we’ll be lucky enough to see a Mountain West battle between Colorado State and Utah State and a Pac-12 After Dark matchup in Washington vs. Arizona. And yes, it’s all on a Friday.

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Week 8 College Football Picks for Friday, Oct. 22

Click the team logos for one of the matchups below to navigate to a specific betting preview for Friday evening’s Week 8 college football slate.

Game
Time (ET)
Pick
6 p.m.
Under 56.5
7 p.m.
Over 63.5
9:30 p.m.
Colorado State -4
10:30 p.m.
Arizona TT Under 14

Specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing.

Always shop for the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.

Photos via Getty Images.


Middle Tennessee

vs

UConn

Under 56.5
6 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network

By Shawn Burns

UConn won its first game in 721 days last Saturday with a hard-fought win over Yale. The Huskies jumped out to a big lead and held on for the 21-15 win. The win ended their 11-game losing streak and gave interim head coach Lou Spanos his first career win.

Middle Tennessee had a bye last week and needs to bounce back after falling to Liberty, 41-13, in its last game. The Blue Raiders have winnable games ahead starting with Connecticut as they try to qualify for their first bowl berth since 2018.

They are heavy road favorites, and the Blue Raiders haven’t played well away from home, going 0-4 overall and 0-4 ATS.

Even though UConn is a 15-point underdog, this is its best opportunity to capture another win this season. It closes its season against Clemson, UCF, and Houston, which all have much stronger squads than Middle Tennessee.


Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders

Chase Cunningham took over at quarterback in the second half of the UTSA game in Week 3, and the junior has 11 touchdowns and only two interceptions over the past four games.

Cunningham has improved the passing game, but the running attack has struggled all season, averaging 90 yards per game and only 2.88 yards per carry. Against Liberty, it recorded only 35 yards rushing on 21 carries.

Connecticut has the 116th-ranked rushing defense in the nation, so Middle Tennessee should have much more success on the ground against the Huskies.

Middle Tennessee has had major problems defensively all season, allowing 31 points per game and 5.60 yards per play. It ranks 104th in the country in total defense. The Blue Raiders have given up a lot of points, but they have been exceptional at forcing turnovers.

They are No. 1 in the nation in turnover margin and No. 2 in turnovers forced with 18, behind only Iowa. UConn will need to take care of the ball and contain Jordan Ferguson, who leads Conference USA with five sacks and has nine tackles for loss to rank 14th in the nation.

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Connecticut Huskies

The Huskies have been abysmal this season on multiple levels. They rank 125th in total offense, 125th in points per game, 119th in passing yards per game and 114th in turnovers. They have been shut out twice and haven’t scored more than 28 points in a game all season.

It’s obviously been a challenging season, but the offense has shown major improvements the last four games, especially in close losses to Wyoming and Vanderbilt. Running back Nathan Carter struggled against Yale but had over 100 yards against Massachusetts and Vanderbilt.

Defensively, UConn has struggled for much of the season, allowing 35 points per game and coming in at 122nd in the country in red-zone defensive efficiency.

The Huskies have allowed the second-most first downs in the country, only behind Missouri, and they’ve allowed over 200 yards rushing per game.

The numbers aren’t pretty, but much like the offense, the defense has improved as the season has progressed. This unit has already forced 10 turnovers, which has it ranked in the top 50 in the nation.

Over the past four games, the defense has given up on average 374 yards per game, and it was competitive in all four games. Spanos has done an incredible job keeping the defense engaged under tough circumstances.


Middle Tennessee vs. UConn Betting Pick

Middle Tennessee and Connecticut have combined to play four straight unders, and the total opened at 54 points and was steamed up to 56.5 points. Both offenses have had major issues due to their inability to consistently sustain any semblance of a rushing attack.

The Connecticut offense is 123rd in the country in creating big plays, and the Blue Raiders’ defense has done a great job of not allowing explosive plays.

Middle Tennessee clearly has its issues on defense, but its last four opponents are all ranked in the top 50 in the country in total offense. This will be a refreshing matchup and one it can take advantage off.

The Huskies have performed better defensively in the second half of the season and will have much-needed confidence after last week’s win.

The Blue Raiders throw the ball on over 50% of their offensive plays, and UConn’s secondary has been a bright spot during a grueling season. The signs point to a low-scoring matchup on a chilly Friday night in Hartford.

Pick: Under 56.5



Memphis

vs

UCF

Over 63.5
7 p.m. ET
ESPN2

By Keg

There are places in college football that stand out from the rest of the crowd: the Big House at Michigan against Ohio State, tailgating on boats at Washington, The Grove at Ole Miss, a Penn State whiteout, and the Bounce House on a Friday night at UCF.

It can be hard to even hear yourself think when the UCF crowd gets the Bounce House going, but Memphis will need to figure it out if it wants put together a winning streak after a solid performance against Navy last week.

No team has faced quite the extreme highs and extreme lows of this season yet quite like Memphis. After starting 3-0 capped off by an upset over Mississippi State, the Tigers lost their next three games, two of which they were favored in.

But they aren’t alone in the ups and downs of college football, UCF has had more challenges than Gus Malzahn could have ever predicted in his first year.

After losing starting quarterback Dillon Gabriel and wide receiver Jaylon Robinson to injury in the Louisville game, UCF’s points per game total has dropped from 45 to 24, and it has lost three of its four games since if you count Louisville.

Can the Tigers break away from the trends this season — 0-3 ATS on the road while 1-2 straight up? Or will the Bounce House revive the Knights offense and keep their home win streak alive?


Memphis Tigers

Memphis Offense

Fingers cant be pointed at the Tigers’ offense for the struggles of this season so far.

They enter this week ranked second in the AAC in total offense and fourth in scoring. They are led by quarterback Seth Henigan, who isn’t quite breaking into the Heisman race but is instead effective with the talent around him.

That talent is running back Brandon Thomas and wide receiver Calvin Austin.

Thomas ranks second in the AAC behind only Cincinnati’s Jerome Ford with 642 yards this season.

While Austin isn’t just one of the best wide receivers in the conference, he’s one of the best in the country. Ranked sixth in the country by PFF, he’s recorded 857 receiving yards and eight touchdown catches.

This offense should be able to put numbers on the board against a UCF defense that ranks outside the top 100 in points allowed per game.


Memphis Defense

If Memphis wants to win and cover the spread on the road for the first time this season, it will need its defense to take a giant leap.

The Memphis defense has allowed five of its seven opponents so far this year to score at least 28 points. It has struggled significantly against the pass, allowing 290 pass yards per game — second-worst in the AAC and 116th in the country.

Fortunately for the Tigers, since the injuries at quarterback and wide receiver, the Knights have leaned heavily on the run. With two of the best tacklers in the AAC, they have been somewhat better, limiting opponents’ rushing attacks to 157 yards per game on the ground.

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Central Florida Knights

UCF Offense

Back home after being routed by Cincinnati, 56-21, last week, Malzahn looks to move forward and improve in the second half of the season.

As previously stated, this offense has taken a hit with injuries this season. However, running back Isaiah Bowser will aim to get back on track in his second game back from injury after being essentially shut down last week by Cincinnati.

I expect him to get more than enough opportunities to do so with how quarterback Mikey Keene has performed since taking over for Gabriel.

Keene has completed 62% of his passes, but the Knights have lost most, if not all, of their explosive ability as Keene averages just six yards per attempt and has struggled to move the ball down the field.

He may be able to build some confidence against the lacking Memphis secondary with the home crowd behind him, though.


UCF Defense

So far this year, the Knights’ defense has been somewhat mediocre, but it is undoubtedly a different unit at home vs. on the road.

They allow opponents to score an average of 44 points per game on the road, but that number is cut in half at home, where they have limited teams to just 20.3 points per game.

While there is truth in the fact the Knights’ defense excels at home, they’ve played only three games there, and one was against FCS Bethune Cookman.

The Memphis offense will be their toughest test yet at home and I don’t see this UCF defense slowing them down much, even with the home-field advantage.


Memphis vs. UCF Betting Pick

I don’t trust either of these teams with how up and down their seasons have been this year. However, I am confident in what both defenses have lacked.

Both rank outside the top 100 in opponent red-zone scoring percentage, and both have allowed opponents to score on average 30+ per game.

The over is 4-1 in the Knights’ last five conference games and 5-1 in their previous six games.

At the same time, all three Memphis road games have gone over this year.

I bet the over at 65 early in the week and got possibly the worst number, as its gone down to 63.5. I’m confident in the over even with the drop in the total and would bet it up to 66.

Pick: Over 63.5 (Play to 66) 



Colorado State

vs

Utah State

Colorado State -4
9:30 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network

By Anthony Dabbundo

A Friday night Mountain West classic kicks off at 7:30 p.m. as Colorado State travels to Logan, Utah to take on Utah State.

This game opened as a pick’em and has since moved toward the Rams past the key number of three, as they are getting healthier and have won two consecutive games against San Jose State and New Mexico.

The Rams’ defense has carried them to those wins and has allowed just 21 points in its last two games. The unit also held nationally-ranked Iowa to 24 points in September.

Utah State picked up a post-bye week road win at UNLV, 28-24, to snap its two-game losing streak at the hands of Boise State and BYU. Friday night is a strength-on-strength matchup as the Aggies’ efficient passing offense goes against one of the better pass defense units in the country.


Colorado State Rams

Colorado State Offense

The Rams’ offense is a fast-paced unit that ranks 16th in pace, but it’s not a particularly efficient group.

The unit is relatively balanced but maintains a slightly run-first attack. The Rams rank 104th in Rushing Success Rate and 81st in Line Yards. They have a relatively even matchup on the ground against this average Aggies run defense.

Colorado State should be able to find some offensive success through the air against a bad Aggies pass defense that’s poor in coverage, mediocre in tackling and allows a lot of explosive plays. C

SU is excellent at preventing Havoc from its opponents and the Rams are usually able to stay in front of the chains on standard downs. They may rank just 81st in Passing Success Rate and 92nd in Big Plays, but they do have the edge in both categories against Utah State.

One issue for the Rams’ offense has come through finishing drives, where CSU is bottom-10 at converting yards into points.

This particularly cost them against Vanderbilt in Colorado State’s bad loss at home, but this tends to be a noisy indicator in the short term and should align more with the Rams’ average offensive indicators going forward.


Colorado State Defense

The Rams overcame some injuries and suspensions in their 22-6 win against Toledo as 14-point underdogs. Head coach Steve Addazio isn’t known for his great defenses in the past, but he’s got the best unit in this game with his defensive squad.

Some of the numbers are schedule-driven, but the numbers are impressive regardless. CSU ranks top-10 in Rushing and Passing Success Rate allowed and its defensive line generates a ton of push with a seventh-ranked Line Yards metric.

The strength of the Aggies is in passing offense, but the Rams are 31st in PFF coverage grades and 30th in tackling grade, which suggests the Success Rate and big-play numbers are not a fluke.

The pass rush should be able to get home on passing downs after the run defense forces Utah State into third and long. It’s very hard to see how Utah State will be able to sustain drives or hit big plays against the Rams.

CSU is also excellent defensively in the short field, protecting its own red zone with a top-20 Defensive Finishing Drives ranking.

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Utah State Aggies

Utah State Offense

Utah State’s most impressive win of the season came in the opening game, a 26-23 road win in Pullman against Washington State.

The Aggies did beat UNLV last week on the road, but they took advantage of a less than 100% Doug Brumfield in that game as UNLV was unable to consistently pass against a bad Aggies defense.

Utah State’s offense found a lot of success through the air against a bad UNLV pass defense but will face significantly more resistance in this game on Friday night.

No one has been able to pass on the Rams all season and despite Utah State’s 11th ranking in Passing Success Rate, CSU is disciplined defensively and doesn’t allow many big plays.

Utah State should get dominated in the trenches with significantly worse ratings in both Line Yards and Pass Blocking.

The Rams should be able to get pressure on graduate transfer Logan Bonner, who won the job of camp and has performed well against mediocre defenses on the Aggies’ schedule but really struggled when they faced BYU.


Utah State Defense

The Aggies’ defense has had a hard time with tackling, coverage and discipline this season and it has had some bad defensive results.

Utah State ranks outside the top 100 in both Passing and Rushing explosiveness allowed, which should provide relief for a Rams’ offense that has had trouble sustaining drives at times.


Colorado State vs. Utah State Betting Pick

Even though the market has moved past the key number of three, I still like the Rams in this spot on the road.

Despite the short week and a second-consecutive road game for the Rams, their defense should be able to limit a mediocre Aggies offense. CSU’s defense is as healthy as it’s been all season and that’s the most dominant unit in this game.

While there are concerns about this CSU offense as a road favorite, the Aggies’ defense allows a ton of explosive plays and should get dominated in the trenches.

Both of these teams play at a really fast pace, which keeps me off the under, but also means there will be plenty of possessions for the Rams to gain separation and win this game by at least a full score.

I wouldn’t play anything past four because the number gets too expensive at that point, but at -3.5, the Rams are the side.

Pick: Colorado State -4 or better



Washington

vs

Arizona

Arizona TT Under 14
10:30 p.m. ET
ESPN2

By Stuckey

Pac 12 After Dark on a Friday night? Yes, please.

The conference of champions will give us a matchup that only a bettor could get excited for: winless Arizona hosting 2-4 Washington.

The Wildcats aren’t just winless this year; they’ve lost 18 straight overall. That losing streak actually started back in 2019 against these same Huskies. Arizona went into that game boasting a 4-1 record, but it’s been all downhill since.


Washington Huskies

Washington Offense

Washington has started 2-4 on the season, including a home loss to FCS Montana. This is primarily due to a lackluster offense that just can’t seem to find its footing.

The Huskies dealt with some injuries at wide receiver earlier in the season and then lost stud tight end Cade Otton for a few games due to COVID-19 protocols.

However, not much changed with all of them back in the mix last week against a suspect UCLA secondary.

The running game has also stalled out so far this season, but the primary culprit of the offense’s woes has been quarterback Dylan Morris, who has an equal amount of touchdowns and interceptions (eight) on the season with a sub-seven yards per attempt average.

I’m not sure why head coach Jimmy Lake hasn’t made a change yet. Even if he doesn’t want to burn the redshirt of five-star Sam Huard, Washington did bring in transfer Patrick O’Brien, who started games at Colorado State.


Washington Defense

Defensively, Washington has been fine but definitely not up to the standards of a typical Huskies defense.

You still can’t throw on the Huskies, who have one of the best cornerback duos in the country, led by future pro Trent McDuffie.

Speaking of future pros, Washington received some recent good news with the return of outside linebacker Zion Tupuola-Fetui, who will likely get drafted in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft.

He was expected to miss the entire season after tearing his Achilles six months ago but returned last week against UCLA and had seven pressures in 10 snaps.

Expect a much more generous snap count this week for the menace off of the edge who makes this defense much more formidable.


Arizona Wildcats

Arizona Offense

It’s not pretty in Tucson, as new head coach Jedd Fisch has a complete rebuild on his hands.

Like Washington, Arizona also lost to an FCS school at home when it fell, 21-19, to Northern Arizona. That was the last game Will Plummer started before giving way to promising freshman Jordan McCloud.

Well, McCloud was lost for the year to injury one week before Gunner Cruz went down for the season. That leaves Plummer and walk-ons playing behind an atrocious line and an offense that just lacks talent overall.


Arizona Defense

As for the defense, it’s not much better. It allows 32 points per game, tied for 25th in the country.


Washington vs. Arizona Betting Pick

From an adjusted EPA per play perspective, Arizona has the worst offense in the country when you account for opponent and home-field advantage.

The Wildcats are just below a Rice team that seems to get shut out on a weekly basis. Now, they’re down to their third quarterback on the depth chart after losing two to injury in the past two weeks.

I’ll make the Wildcats prove they can score more than two touchdowns against an extremely talented Washington defense that won’t give up explosive plays, nor make it easy for Arizona to finish off drives in the red zone.

Arizona shouldn’t get anything through the air. I wouldn’t be shocked if Arizona gets shut out for a second straight week, assuming Washington shows up for this one.

Pick: Arizona Team Total Under 14

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College Football Odds & Picks for Washington vs. Arizona: Huskies to Lock Down Wildcats

college football-odds-picks-arizona vs. washington-betting-october 22

Washington vs. Arizona Odds

Friday, Oct. 22
10:30 p.m. ET
ESPN2
Washington Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-17.5
-110
46.5
-110o / -110u
-1000
Arizona Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+17.5
-110
46.5
-110o / -110u
+650
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Pac 12 After Dark on a Friday night? Yes please.

The conference of champions will give us a matchup that only a bettor could get excited for: winless Arizona hosting 2-4 Washington.

The Wildcats aren’t just winless this year; they’ve lost 18 straight overall. That losing streak actually started back in 2019 against these same Huskies. Arizona went into that game boasting a 4-1 record, but it’s been all downhill since.

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Washington Huskies

Washington Offense

Washington has started 2-4 on the season, including a home loss to FCS Montana. This is primarily due to a lackluster offense that just can’t seem to find its footing.

The Huskies dealt with some injuries at wide receiver earlier in the season and then lost stud tight end Cade Otton for a few games due to COVID-19 protocols.

However, not much changed with all of them back in the mix last week against a suspect UCLA secondary.

The running game has also stalled out so far this season, but the primary culprit of the offense’s woes has been quarterback Dylan Morris, who has an equal amount of touchdowns and interceptions (eight) on the season with a sub-seven yards per attempt average.

I’m not sure why head coach Jimmy Lake hasn’t made a change yet. Even if he doesn’t want to burn the redshirt of five-star Sam Huard, Washington did bring in transfer Patrick O’Brien, who started games at Colorado State.


Washington Defense

Defensively, Washington has been fine but definitely not up to the standards of a typical Huskies defense.

You still can’t throw on the Huskies, who have one of the best cornerback duos in the country, led by future pro Trent McDuffie.

Speaking of future pros, Washington received some recent good news with the return of outside linebacker Zion Tupuola-Fetui, who will likely get drafted in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft.

He was expected to miss the entire season after tearing his Achilles six months ago but returned last week against UCLA and had seven pressures in 10 snaps.

Expect a much more generous snap count this week for the menace off of the edge who makes this defense much more formidable.

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Arizona Wildcats

Arizona Offense

It’s not pretty in Tucson, as new head coach Jedd Fisch has a complete rebuild on his hands.

Like Washington, Arizona also lost to an FCS school at home when it fell, 21-19, to Northern Arizona. That was the last game Will Plummer started before giving way to promising freshman Jordan McCloud.

Well, McCloud was lost for the year to injury one week before Gunner Cruz went down for the season. That leaves Plummer and walk-ons playing behind an atrocious line and an offense that just lacks talent overall.


Arizona Defense

As for the defense, it’s not much better. It allows 32 points per game, tied for 25th in the country.

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Washington vs. Arizona Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Washington and Arizona match up statistically:

Washington Offense vs. Arizona Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 74 44
Line Yards 78 64
Pass Success 79 38
Pass Blocking** 98 120
Big Play 87 66
Havoc 75 61
Finishing Drives 64 97
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Arizona Offense vs. Washington Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 106 102
Line Yards 102 117
Pass Success 129 10
Pass Blocking** 67 69
Big Play 118 24
Havoc 121 109
Finishing Drives 127 64
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 47 80
Coverage 6 123
Middle 8 59 117
SP+ Special Teams 103 101
Plays per Minute 65 18
Rush Rate 47.4% (111) 46.6% (114)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.


Washington vs. Arizona Betting Pick

From an adjusted EPA per play perspective, Arizona has the worst offense in the country when you account for opponent and home-field advantage.

The Wildcats are just below a Rice team that seems to get shut out on a weekly basis. Now, they’re down to their third quarterback on the depth chart after losing two to injury in the past two weeks.

I’ll make the Wildcats prove they can score more than two touchdowns against an extremely talented Washington defense that won’t give up explosive plays, nor make it easy for Arizona to finish off drives in the red zone.

Arizona shouldn’t get anything through the air. I wouldn’t be shocked if Arizona gets shut out for a second straight week, assuming Washington shows up for this one.

Pick: Arizona Team Total Under 14

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College Football Odds & Picks for Colorado State vs. Utah State: Metrics Point to Rams Success in Utah

college football-odds-picks-colorado state rams vs utah state aggies-friday, October 22

Colorado State vs. Utah State Odds

Friday, Oct. 22
9:30 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
Colorado State Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-3.5
+100
59
(-105o/-115u)
-160
Utah State Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+3.5
-120
59
(-105o/-115u)
+140
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

A Friday night Mountain West classic kicks off at 7:30 p.m. as Colorado State travels to Logan, Utah to take on Utah State.

This game opened as a pick’em and has since moved toward the Rams past the key number of three, as they are getting healthier and have won two consecutive games against San Jose State and New Mexico.

The Rams’ defense has carried them to those wins and has allowed just 21 points in its last two games. The unit also held nationally-ranked Iowa to 24 points in September.

Utah State picked up a post-bye week road win at UNLV, 28-24, to snap its two-game losing streak at the hands of Boise State and BYU. Friday night is a strength-on-strength matchup as the Aggies’ efficient passing offense goes against one of the better pass defense units in the country.

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Colorado State Rams

Colorado State Offense

The Rams’ offense is a fast-paced unit that ranks 16th in pace, but it’s not a particularly efficient group.

The unit is relatively balanced but maintains a slightly run-first attack. The Rams rank 104th in Rushing Success Rate and 81st in Line Yards. They have a relatively even matchup on the ground against this average Aggies run defense.

Colorado State should be able to find some offensive success through the air against a bad Aggies pass defense that’s poor in coverage, mediocre in tackling and allows a lot of explosive plays. C

SU is excellent at preventing Havoc from its opponents and the Rams are usually able to stay in front of the chains on standard downs. They may rank just 81st in Passing Success Rate and 92nd in Big Plays, but they do have the edge in both categories against Utah State.

One issue for the Rams’ offense has come through finishing drives, where CSU is bottom-10 at converting yards into points.

This particularly cost them against Vanderbilt in Colorado State’s bad loss at home, but this tends to be a noisy indicator in the short term and should align more with the Rams’ average offensive indicators going forward.


Colorado State Defense

The Rams overcame some injuries and suspensions in their 22-6 win against Toledo as 14-point underdogs. Head coach Steve Addazio isn’t known for his great defenses in the past, but he’s got the best unit in this game with his defensive squad.

Some of the numbers are schedule-driven, but the numbers are impressive regardless. CSU ranks top-10 in Rushing and Passing Success Rate allowed and its defensive line generates a ton of push with a seventh-ranked Line Yards metric.

The strength of the Aggies is in passing offense, but the Rams are 31st in PFF coverage grades and 30th in tackling grade, which suggests the Success Rate and big-play numbers are not a fluke.

The pass rush should be able to get home on passing downs after the run defense forces Utah State into third and long. It’s very hard to see how Utah State will be able to sustain drives or hit big plays against the Rams.

CSU is also excellent defensively in the short field, protecting its own red zone with a top-20 Defensive Finishing Drives ranking.

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Utah State Aggies

Utah State Offense

Utah State’s most impressive win of the season came in the opening game, a 26-23 road win in Pullman against Washington State.

The Aggies did beat UNLV last week on the road, but they took advantage of a less than 100% Doug Brumfield in that game as UNLV was unable to consistently pass against a bad Aggies defense.

Utah State’s offense found a lot of success through the air against a bad UNLV pass defense but will face significantly more resistance in this game on Friday night.

No one has been able to pass on the Rams all season and despite Utah State’s 11th ranking in Passing Success Rate, CSU is disciplined defensively and doesn’t allow many big plays.

Utah State should get dominated in the trenches with significantly worse ratings in both Line Yards and Pass Blocking.

The Rams should be able to get pressure on graduate transfer Logan Bonner, who won the job of camp and has performed well against mediocre defenses on the Aggies’ schedule but really struggled when they faced BYU.


Utah State Defense

The Aggies’ defense has had a hard time with tackling, coverage and discipline this season and it has had some bad defensive results.

Utah State ranks outside the top 100 in both Passing and Rushing explosiveness allowed, which should provide relief for a Rams’ offense that has had trouble sustaining drives at times.

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Colorado State vs. Utah State Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Colorado State and Utah State match up statistically:

Colorado State Offense vs. Utah State Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 104 109
Line Yards 81 77
Pass Success 81 89
Pass Blocking** 82 114
Big Play 92 114
Havoc 28 42
Finishing Drives 120 73
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Utah State Offense vs. Colorado State Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 78 9
Line Yards 107 7
Pass Success 11 2
Pass Blocking** 50 7
Big Play 10 46
Havoc 70 56
Finishing Drives 105 16
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 30 48
Coverage 31 109
Middle 8 62 55
SP+ Special Teams 49 71
Plays per Minute 16 4
Rush Rate 58.8% (40) 51.1% (86)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.


Colorado State vs. Utah State Betting Pick

Even though the market has moved past the key number of three, I still like the Rams in this spot on the road.

Despite the short week and a second-consecutive road game for the Rams, their defense should be able to limit a mediocre Aggies offense. CSU’s defense is as healthy as it’s been all season and that’s the most dominant unit in this game.

While there are concerns about this CSU offense as a road favorite, the Aggies’ defense allows a ton of explosive plays and should get dominated in the trenches.

Both of these teams play at a really fast pace, which keeps me off the under, but also means there will be plenty of possessions for the Rams to gain separation and win this game by at least a full score.

I wouldn’t play anything past four because the number gets too expensive at that point, but at -3.5, the Rams are the side.

Pick: Colorado State -4 or better

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NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Oilers vs. Golden Knights (October 22)

Oilers vs. Golden Knights Odds

Oilers Odds +110
Golden Knights Odds -135
Over/Under 6
Time 10 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Edmonton Oilers face off against the Vegas Golden Knights in what is likely going to be the headliner on Friday night.

The Knights came into the season as the odds-on favorite in the Pacific Division, but Edmonton was right on their heels and after very different opening weeks, you have to wonder which team should be favored now.

Vegas will have a rest advantage with Edmonton playing in Arizona on Thursday night, but the Knights are going to be missing Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty, meaning two-thirds of their top line won’t check into The Fortress on Friday.

Regardless of the missing bodies, I still think this game has the right formula for a back-and-forth affair with several scoring chances at both ends.

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Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers came out of the gates flying with three wins in a row to open the season against the Canucks, Flames and Ducks. It’s not exactly a murderers’ row, but the Oilers scored 14 goals across those three games and that was enough to get tongues wagging in Canada about the Oilers being a legit contender.

Heading into play on Friday, this Oilers team ranks 9th overall in Expected Goals For per 60 minutes in 5-on-5 situations. Edmonton is also 4th in the NHL in High-Danger Chances For per 60 minutes (HDCF/60), proving that the team is doing a great job at generating scoring opportunities close to the net at even strength.

The Oilers defense has been relatively average through three games but the offense has more than made up for it, both of which bode well for the over.

Despite a strong start, Edmonton is having some sudden issues in net which will likely affect this game as well.

Starting goalie Mike Smith was forced to leave the game early against the Ducks earlier this week and is now on IR with a leg injury. That leaves Mikko Koskinen and Stuart Skinner as the only two options in net for Edmonton.

Koskinen is expected to get the start in this one, but that would be his second start in two straight days. Last season Koskinen was not great in net in his 26 appearances, posting a SV% of .903, a High-Danger SV% of .800, and a -11.1 Goals Saved Above Expected (fifth-worst in NHL).

The other option for Edmonton is Stuart Skinner, who gave up five goals in his lone NHL start.


Vegas Golden Knights

Vegas has gotten off to a bit of a bumpy start, but its ability to create scoring opportunities in the offensive zone has been a bright spot for them. The Knights entered play on Friday with the fifth-most goals scored at 5-on-5 and ranked inside the top-10 in xGF/60. Vegas is also 12th in HDCF/60, so there’s nothing alarming about the team’s attack.

However, the defense and goaltending have seen very little success in the early stages of the season.

Robin Lehner is expected to get the start in this one and he has started all three games in net for the Golden Knights, but has struggled up to this point. Lehner has a High-Danger SV% of just .786 and an overall SV% of .900. In addition, Lehner has an xGA of 8.21 which ranks second to last in the NHL.

While Lehner has struggled, all of the blame can’t be placed on him because the defense hasn’t provided much help. Vegas ranks last in the NHL in High-Danger Chances Against per 60 minutes (HDCA/60), giving up 16.53 per game. The Knights are also ranked in the bottom two in xGA/60, showing they have some flaws on that end of the ice.

Oilers vs. Golden Knights  Pick

This is the second game of a back-to-back for Edmonton, but the Oilers are still one of the most dangerous offensive attacks in the league and will likely find the back of the net against a struggling defense and goaltender.

The Golden Knights will be skating on fresh legs for this matchup, as this is only their second game in the last eight days. A refreshed Knights team is a dangerous Knights team, one that is capable of taking advantage of the goaltending situation that the Oilers are facing.

Six goals might come across as a little high, but it is a number that can be reached in this matchup, especially since both teams have seen a combined total of at least seven goals in their first three games.

Pick: Over  6 (-120)

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College Football Odds & Picks for Memphis vs. UCF: Over/Under Holds Betting Value in AAC Affair

college football-odds-picks-memphis tigers vs ucf knights-friday, october-22

Memphis vs. UCF Odds

Friday, Oct. 22
7 p.m. ET
ESPN2
Memphis Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-1.5
-110
64
-105o / -115u
-115
UCF Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+1.5
-110
64
-105o / -115u
-105
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

There are places in college football that stand out from the rest of the crowd: the Big House at Michigan against Ohio State, tailgating on boats at Washington, The Grove at Ole Miss, a Penn State whiteout, and the Bounce House on a Friday night at UCF.

It can be hard to even hear yourself think when the UCF crowd gets the Bounce House going, but Memphis will need to figure it out if it wants put together a winning streak after a solid performance against Navy last week.

No team has faced quite the extreme highs and extreme lows of this season yet quite like Memphis. After starting 3-0 capped off by an upset over Mississippi State, the Tigers lost their next three games, two of which they were favored in.

But they aren’t alone in the ups and downs of college football, UCF has had more challenges than Gus Malzahn could have ever predicted in his first year.

After losing starting quarterback Dillon Gabriel and wide receiver Jaylon Robinson to injury in the Louisville game, UCF’s points per game total has dropped from 45 to 24, and it has lost three of its four games since if you count Louisville.

Can the Tigers break away from the trends this season — 0-3 ATS on the road while 1-2 straight up? Or will the Bounce House revive the Knights offense and keep their home win streak alive?

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Memphis Tigers

Memphis Offense

Fingers cant be pointed at the Tigers’ offense for the struggles of this season so far.

They enter this week ranked second in the AAC in total offense and fourth in scoring. They are led by quarterback Seth Henigan, who isn’t quite breaking into the Heisman race but is instead effective with the talent around him.

That talent is running back Brandon Thomas and wide receiver Calvin Austin.

Thomas ranks second in the AAC behind only Cincinnati’s Jerome Ford with 642 yards this season.

While Austin isn’t just one of the best wide receivers in the conference, he’s one of the best in the country. Ranked sixth in the country by PFF, he’s recorded 857 receiving yards and eight touchdown catches.

This offense should be able to put numbers on the board against a UCF defense that ranks outside the top 100 in points allowed per game.


Memphis Defense

If Memphis wants to win and cover the spread on the road for the first time this season, it will need its defense to take a giant leap.

The Memphis defense has allowed five of its seven opponents so far this year to score at least 28 points. It has struggled significantly against the pass, allowing 290 pass yards per game — second-worst in the AAC and 116th in the country.

Fortunately for the Tigers, since the injuries at quarterback and wide receiver, the Knights have leaned heavily on the run. With two of the best tacklers in the AAC, they have been somewhat better, limiting opponents’ rushing attacks to 157 yards per game on the ground.

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Central Florida Knights

UCF Offense

Back home after being routed by Cincinnati, 56-21, last week, Malzahn looks to move forward and improve in the second half of the season.

As previously stated, this offense has taken a hit with injuries this season. However, running back Isaiah Bowser will aim to get back on track in his second game back from injury after being essentially shut down last week by Cincinnati.

I expect him to get more than enough opportunities to do so with how quarterback Mikey Keene has performed since taking over for Gabriel.

Keene has completed 62% of his passes, but the Knights have lost most, if not all, of their explosive ability as Keene averages just six yards per attempt and has struggled to move the ball down the field.

He may be able to build some confidence against the lacking Memphis secondary with the home crowd behind him, though.


UCF Defense

So far this year, the Knights’ defense has been somewhat mediocre, but it is undoubtedly a different unit at home vs. on the road.

They allow opponents to score an average of 44 points per game on the road, but that number is cut in half at home, where they have limited teams to just 20.3 points per game.

While there is truth in the fact the Knights’ defense excels at home, they’ve played only three games there, and one was against FCS Bethune Cookman.

The Memphis offense will be their toughest test yet at home and I don’t see this UCF defense slowing them down much, even with the home-field advantage.

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Memphis vs. UCF Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Memphis and UCF match up statistically:

Memphis Offense vs. UCF Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 35 84
Line Yards 53 75
Pass Success 9 39
Pass Blocking** 77 54
Big Play 45 66
Havoc 29 106
Finishing Drives 61 111
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

UCF Offense vs. Memphis Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 20 65
Line Yards 7 92
Pass Success 95 96
Pass Blocking** 10 83
Big Play 42 32
Havoc 36 118
Finishing Drives 12 99
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 21 78
Coverage 38 44
Middle 8 70 32
SP+ Special Teams 61 22
Plays per Minute 10 37
Rush Rate 53.5% (72) 52.5% (78)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.


Memphis vs. UCF Betting Pick

I don’t trust either of these teams with how up and down their seasons have been this year. However, I am confident in what both defenses have lacked.

Both rank outside the top 100 in opponent red-zone scoring percentage, and both have allowed opponents to score on average 30+ per game.

The over is 4-1 in the Knights’ last five conference games and 5-1 in their previous six games.

At the same time, all three Memphis road games have gone over this year.

I bet the over at 65 early in the week and got possibly the worst number, as its gone down to 63.5. I’m confident in the over even with the drop in the total and would bet it up to 66.

Pick: Over 63.5 (Play to 66) 

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College Football Odds & Picks for Middle Tennessee vs. UConn: How to Bet These Poor Offenses

college football-odds-picks-uconn vs. middle tennessee-betting-friday, october 22

Middle Tennessee vs. UConn Odds

Friday, Oct. 22
6 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
Middle Tennessee Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-15.5
-108
56.5
-108o / -112u
-750
UConn Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+15.5
-112
56.5
-108o / -112u
+490
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

UConn won its first game in 721 days last Saturday with a hard-fought win over Yale. The Huskies jumped out to a big lead and held on for the 21-15 win. The win ended their 11-game losing streak and gave interim head coach Lou Spanos his first career win.

Middle Tennessee had a bye last week and needs to bounce back after falling to Liberty, 41-13, in its last game. The Blue Raiders have winnable games ahead starting with Connecticut as they try to qualify for their first bowl berth since 2018.

They are heavy road favorites, and the Blue Raiders haven’t played well away from home, going 0-4 overall and 0-4 ATS.

Even though UConn is a 15-point underdog, this is its best opportunity to capture another win this season. It closes its season against Clemson, UCF, and Houston, which all have much stronger squads than Middle Tennessee.

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Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders

Chase Cunningham took over at quarterback in the second half of the UTSA game in Week 3, and the junior has 11 touchdowns and only two interceptions over the past four games.

Cunningham has improved the passing game, but the running attack has struggled all season, averaging 90 yards per game and only 2.88 yards per carry. Against Liberty, it recorded only 35 yards rushing on 21 carries.

Connecticut has the 116th-ranked rushing defense in the nation, so Middle Tennessee should have much more success on the ground against the Huskies.

Middle Tennessee has had major problems defensively all season, allowing 31 points per game and 5.60 yards per play. It ranks 104th in the country in total defense. The Blue Raiders have given up a lot of points, but they have been exceptional at forcing turnovers.

They are No. 1 in the nation in turnover margin and No. 2 in turnovers forced with 18, behind only Iowa. UConn will need to take care of the ball and contain Jordan Ferguson, who leads Conference USA with five sacks and has nine tackles for loss to rank 14th in the nation.

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Connecticut Huskies

The Huskies have been abysmal this season on multiple levels. They rank 125th in total offense, 125th in points per game, 119th in passing yards per game and 114th in turnovers. They have been shut out twice and haven’t scored more than 28 points in a game all season.

It’s obviously been a challenging season, but the offense has shown major improvements the last four games, especially in close losses to Wyoming and Vanderbilt. Running back Nathan Carter struggled against Yale but had over 100 yards against Massachusetts and Vanderbilt.

Defensively, UConn has struggled for much of the season, allowing 35 points per game and coming in at 122nd in the country in red-zone defensive efficiency.

The Huskies have allowed the second-most first downs in the country, only behind Missouri, and they’ve allowed over 200 yards rushing per game.

The numbers aren’t pretty, but much like the offense, the defense has improved as the season has progressed. This unit has already forced 10 turnovers, which has it ranked in the top 50 in the nation.

Over the past four games, the defense has given up on average 374 yards per game, and it was competitive in all four games. Spanos has done an incredible job keeping the defense engaged under tough circumstances.

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Middle Tennessee vs. UConn Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Middle Tennessee and UConn match up statistically:

Middle Tennessee Offense vs. UConn Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 125 117
Line Yards 63 87
Pass Success 98 69
Pass Blocking** 111 111
Big Play 49 32
Havoc 117
Finishing Drives 16 115
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

UConn Offense vs. Middle Tennessee Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 101 122
Line Yards 104 127
Pass Success 125 114
Pass Blocking** 58 127
Big Play 123 24
Havoc 90
Finishing Drives 95 88
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 60 37
Coverage 74 64
Middle 8 62 105
SP+ Special Teams 37 110
Plays per Minute 51 14
Rush Rate 48.6% (107) 49.7% (97)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.


Middle Tennessee vs. UConn Betting Pick

Middle Tennessee and Connecticut have combined to play four straight unders, and the total opened at 54 points and was steamed up to 56.5 points. Both offenses have had major issues due to their inability to consistently sustain any semblance of a rushing attack.

The Connecticut offense is 123rd in the country in creating big plays, and the Blue Raiders’ defense has done a great job of not allowing explosive plays.

Middle Tennessee clearly has its issues on defense, but its last four opponents are all ranked in the top 50 in the country in total offense. This will be a refreshing matchup and one it can take advantage off.

The Huskies have performed better defensively in the second half of the season and will have much-needed confidence after last week’s win.

The Blue Raiders throw the ball on over 50% of their offensive plays, and UConn’s secondary has been a bright spot during a grueling season. The signs point to a low-scoring matchup on a chilly Friday night in Hartford.

Pick: Under 56.5

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Ohio State vs. Indiana Odds, Promo: Bet $1, Win $100 if Either Team Scores a TD!

college football-odds-picks-betting-ohio state vs. rutgers-october 2

Ohio State is a three-touchdown favorite Saturday over Indiana.

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Ohio State vs. Indiana Odds, Promo: Bet $20, Win $205 if the Buckeyes Score a Point!

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No. 5 Ohio State looks to be in pretty good shape as a three-touchdown favorite this weekend.

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ATP Tennis Odds, Picks: Best Bets for Friday’s Action at the Kremlin Cup and European Open (Oct. 22)

atp-tennis-odds-picks-best-bets-friday-action-kremlin-cup-european-open-october-22

Quarterfinal Friday on the ATP Tour is here. Six seeds are in action throughout Europe, including Diego Schwartzman, Jannik Sinner and Karen Khachanov.

With several upsets taking place on Thursday, there are a number of intriguing matchups to keep an eye on.

Here’s how I’ll be betting the unique slate of matches.

Match times are subject to change. 

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Jannik Sinner (-460) vs. Arthur Rinderknech (+350)

10:20 a.m. ET, European Open

World number 65 Rinderknech may not be a household name on tour, but if he continues to hit the ball as he did against Dusan Lajovic on Wednesday, Rinderknech will soon become one.

The Frenchman put on a clinical ball-striking performance that got him by a tough opponent in Lajovic. The Serbian played far better than I projected he would and adjusted well to the fast courts of Antwerp. Nevertheless, Rinderknech utilized his power to hit through Lajovic and secure a comfortable third set victory.

Sinner had a similarly impressive performance against Lorenzo Musetti, raising his level of play against his fellow countryman who also performed better than odds indicated he would. He’ll have to play at a similar level to get by the surging Rinderknech.

If one thing is assured in this contest, it’s big hitting. Both Rinderknech and Sinner like to pressure their opponents with pace and limited time. The Italian may be better in that department, but I’m not sure there’s such a gap for the duo when meeting on a fast indoor hard court.

In fact, Rinderknech was able to upset the world number 13 on clay, so he’ll have even more confidence behind his game. Rinderknech has been serving at a relentless level, combining for 18 aces in his first two matches against a lone double fault.

A similar level on Friday would force Sinner to return very well, and if he doesn’t, there will be a number of high-leverage service games he’ll have to face.

I’m confident that will be the case, and it bodes well for a competitive effort from Rinderknech.

Pick: 0.5u Arthur Rinderknech to win a set +100 | 0.5u Arthur Rinderknech +350 via FanDuel

Aslan Karatsev (-350) vs. Gilles Simon (+240)

1 p.m. ET, Kremlin Cup

Simon has accumulated two quality wins against Laslo Djere and Mackenzie McDonald, but the 36-year-old is primed to struggle with the powerful Karatsev.

Though I’m not particularly bullish on the Russian’s indoor hard court prowess, he looked like a man on a mission against Egor Gerasimov. The Belarusian hit with depth and maintained his typically solid serving, but Karatsev was too consistent and impactful for Gerasimov to ever get real traction in the match.

Karatsev appeared to be in the best form he’s had since the Serbia Open, where he beat Novak Djokovic before falling to Matteo Berrettini in the final. The relentless nature of Karatsev’s strokes were present against Gerasimov, and anything similar against Simon will be extremely problematic for the Frenchman.

Simon’s game is predicated on consistent strokes, but against a player like Karatsev, he should have difficulty putting any pressure on his opponent in rallies. Simon simply doesn’t have the strength to contend with Karatsev from the baseline as Karatsev has the ability to expose anyone when in form.

Back Karatsev to continue his great form and excel against Simon.

Pick: Aslan Karatsev -1.5 Sets -120 via PointsBet

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Red Sox vs. Astros Odds, Preview, Prediction: Offense In Order Again As Houston Looks To Clinch Pennant (October 22)

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Red Sox vs. Astros Odds

Red Sox Odds -110
Astros Odds -110
Over/Under 8.5 (-115 / -105)
Time 8:08 p.m. ET
TV FS1
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Offense has certainly been the story in this series. After a close one-run Game 1 win for the Astros, the next four games have all ben lopsided affairs. Boston blew out the Astros in Games 2 and 3, and Houston ran away with Games 4 and 5.

The first five games of this series have averaged 11.8 runs per game and every game has gone over the total. Is the best bet to continue to attack the total, or is the value on a side as the Astros try to close out the series in Houston?

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Game 6 starter Nathan Eovaldi was the center of a controversial call that swung Game 4 and possibly the entire series. Eovaldi came out of the bullpen to pitch the ninth inning in a 2-2 ballgame.

With two outs, he threw a breaking ball that looked like it caught the corner of the zone, which would have resulted in a strikeout to end the innings with the game tied. Instead, it was called a ball and led to an RBI single and eventually a seven-run inning.

Eovaldi will now get the ball for his fourth start of the postseason. The Red Sox are 3-0 in his starts this playoffs and he has posted a 3.45 ERA allowing six runs with 19 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings as a starter.

Unsurprising, two of the best offenses all year have continued to produce this postseason. After finishing the season third in wOBA, the Red Sox lead the playoffs with a .285 average and .872 OPS. They are averaging six runs per game.

Boston has clubbed 22 home runs this poseason, 10 more than Houston, which sits second with 12. Rafael Devers and Enrique Hernández alone have hit 10 home runs, with each hitting five dingers this postseason.

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Astros Need More From Garcia

If the Astros are going to advance on Friday, they will need a bounce back performance from 24-year-old Luis Garcia. He has had a rough first two starts this postseason, lasting fewer than three innings and allowing five earned in each outing. Garcia has a fat 24.55 ERA this postseason. That’s not good.

Game 2 for Garcia was cut short when he left the game after one batter in the second inning due to a knee injury. His first full season in the big leagues finished with an 11-8 record and 3.48 ERA in 30 games.

Back in June, Garcia allowed just five hits and one run in a career-high seven inning performance against the Red Sox. The Astros will need Garcia to look more like that than he did on Saturday.

Houston’s offense finished the regular season ranked first in wRC+ and second in wOBA. The Astros had the lowest strikeout rate in the league and generate a ton of walks. They are averaging 6.9 runs per game this postseason, the most of any team, and have scored at least five runs in eight of their nine games.

Depth has been the key for the Astros’ lineup. Michael Brantley leads the team in hits this postseason, Jose Altuve leads them in runs, Carlos Correa has the most doubles, Kyle Tucker has the most home runs and RBI, and Yordan Alvarez leads them in on-base percentage.

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Red Sox-Astros Pick

How can we not continue to back these two offenses? The over has cashed in each of the first five games of this series and both lineups are just crushing the ball right now.

I do think Boston has a decent starting pitching advantage with Eovaldi on the mound and I would probably play the Red Sox on the first five moneyline if it gets to -110 or better.

However, another reason to like the over is the Boston bullpen has been a nightmare. Of the 47 earned runs the Red Sox have allowed this postseason, 27 have been surrendered by the bullpen. They have allowed 21 runs in the seventh inning or later this postseason, the most by far and three times as many as Houston.

Garcia has really struggled, and Boston should have a ton of confidence against him. There is also the added possibility of him reaggravating that knee injury.

These two teams have the two highest OPS numbers of any postseason teams. They are first and second in runs per game by a wide margin, as well as hits and home runs.

The total on Friday is just 8.5, and not only has at least nine runs been scored in all five games of this series, but one team has cleared this total by themselves in each of the last four games. Until we see something change, I will continue back the over between these two teams.

Pick: Over 8.5

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Titans vs. Chiefs Odds, Promos: Bet $10, Win $200 if the Titans Cover +50, and More!

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Lions vs. Rams Odds, Promos: Bet $20, Win $205 if Jared Goff Completes a Pass, and More!

The Lions are still winless through Week 6, and they’ll have a difficult matchup this weekend against the Los Angeles Rams.

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Cardinals vs. Texans Odds, Promos: Bet $10, Win $200 if Kyler Murray Throws for 1+ Yard, and More!

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Thursday College Football Odds & Picks: UNLV vs. San Jose State Betting Guide (Oct. 21)

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UNLV vs. San Jose State Odds

Thursday, Oct. 21
11 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
UNLV Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+6
-110
44
-110o / -110u
+190
San Jose State Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-6
-110
44
-110o / -110u
-230
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

The San Jose State Spartans travel to the Sin City to take on the UNLV Rebels at Allegiant Stadium on Friday night.

Repeating as Mountain West champions may be out of contention for San Jose State after starting the season 3-4 (1-2 in conference).

Losing starting quarterback Nick Starkel a month ago didn’t help the Spartans’ chances. But this is a big game for the program to keep their hopes of going to bowl season alive.

UNLV hasn’t tasted victory over an FBS opponent in over 700 days. The Rebels have been on the cusp of pulling an upset on multiple occasions over the last month.

The program suffered a one-score loss as 30-point underdogs to Fresno State. They followed that performance with a 24-17 defeat as a three-touchdown underdog to No. 24 ranked UTSA. And last time out, they let a win slip away in the final possession losing 28-24 to Utah State.

Will homecoming weekend at Allegiant Stadium be enough to propel the Rebels to their first FBS victory in over two years?

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San Jose State Spartans

San Jose State Offense

The San Jose State offense has lost its mojo from last season as the group ranks 115th in Rushing and Passing Success Rates.

Starkel’s availability is unlikely after missing the last three games with an arm injury. Nick Nash is slated to make his fourth-career start after averaging 7.7 yards per passing attempt while tossing five touchdowns to two interceptions.

The rushing game has been a non-factor, averaging just 3.7 yards per carry as a team.

The offense has totaled 27 points in their last two games, including a double-overtime loss to San Diego State.

In that game, the Spartans’ only touchdown came in overtime and they failed to move the chains, completing just 5-of-18 third-down attempts.


San Jose State Defense

The San Jose State defense has put up similar numbers to what they saw last season. The Spartans have allowed just over 23 points per game and 5.0 yards per play, but it hasn’t been enough to make up for the offensive woes.

The unit has been solid in slowing down passing attacks, as they rank 57th in Success Rate. But the Spartans haven’t been able to force turnovers, as they have just one interception on the season.

The run defense will be crucial in this matchup and it has been a mixed bag for San Jose State. They were gashed for 217 yards on the ground two weeks ago against Colorado State while they held San Diego State to just 1.9 yards per carry last week.

The defense will need to slow down Charles Williams and the UNLV rushing attack if they want to escape Sin City with a victory.

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UNLV Rebels

UNLV Offense

Williams has been the steadiest source of offense for the Rebels this season.

He’s averaging over 100 yards per game and 5.2 yards per carry to go along with his two six touchdowns. Last time out against Utah State he rushed for 221 yards and three touchdowns.

The quarterback carrousel once again is dominating headlines for the Rebels.

Presumptive starter Doug Brumfield is still day-to-day after missing the last two games with a back injury. His replacement Cameron Friel left the Utah State game in the fourth quarter with a knee injury and is also limited at practice.

If Friel can’t go, that leaves head coach Marcus Arroyo with either Week 1 starter Justin Rogers or the Miami transfer Tate Martell.

Regardless of who is under center, the Rebels’ offense has looked rejuvenated, maybe in part to everyone wanting a pull on the new slot machine after a touchdown.


UNLV Defense

The UNLV defense has had a brutal schedule that includes four teams which have been ranked inside the AP Top-25 at one point this season.

UNLV has had the 29th toughest strength of schedule through the first six games this season, according to PFF.

The Rebels showed improvement off their bye week, identifying areas that needed improvement. They ranked among the bottom of the nation in tackles for loss and last week, they came up with 11 of them against Utah State.

UNLV has been strong at controlling the line of scrimmage of late and slowing down opponents’ rushing attack. They have really struggled against the pass, where they’ve allowed 8.8 yards per pass attempt against FBS opponents.

Opponents complete on average 73% of their pass attempts, which has the Rebels’ defense ranked in the bottom of the nation.

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UNLV vs. San Jose State Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how UNLV and San Jose State match up statistically:

San Jose State Offense vs. UNLV Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 115 45
Line Yards 105 51
Pass Success 115 128
Pass Blocking** 97 123
Big Play 87 130
Havoc 75 122
Finishing Drives 90 86
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

UNLV Offense vs. San Jose State Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 84 82
Line Yards 73 80
Pass Success 118 57
Pass Blocking** 113 82
Big Play 71 58
Havoc 125 29
Finishing Drives 58 81
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 35 101
Coverage 56 86
Middle 8 47 126
SP+ Special Teams 46 73
Plays per Minute 62 119
Rush Rate 47.6% (110) 57.3% (50)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.


UNLV vs. San Jose State Betting Pick

There are still a lot of question marks up in the air entering this matchup, specifically around the quarterback situation.

The Rebels have been playing better football the last month and the fan base looks to be revitalized after playing their first home game at Allegiant Stadium. UNLV has been an underdog in all six of its matchups this year but covered the spread in five of them.

Williams is poised for another big game on the ground, which will open opportunities in the passing game.

San Jose State has been floundering as of late with the offense showing little signs of putting together scoring drives.

Over the last two games with Nash under center, the Spartans have had 27 offensive drives with only three resulting in touchdowns. Another two of those drives ended with field goals, with the remainder resulting in no points.

The Rebels are due for a victory and what better time than homecoming at the new Allegiant Stadium while playing against a San Jose State team that has been trending in the wrong direction.

Pick: UNLV +5 (Play to +3.5)

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College Football Group of 5 Parlay: Our Top Picks for Week 8, Featuring Nevada vs. Fresno State

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Each week, to coincide with the release of the “Group of Five Deep Dive” under the Big Bets On Campus podcast banner, I’ll be sharing my Group of Five Parlay of the week.

After a rocky Week 7, I’m back in the saddle with three favorites that are well-positioned to lower the boom on their opponents in Week 8.

So, that means I’m banking on a Seminole rout at Doak Campbell, a Ball State bludgeoning in Muncie and a late-game victory formation in the Valley for Fresno State.


Reported odds and specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing.

Always shop for the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.


UMass vs. Florida State

Saturday, Oct. 23
Noon ET
ACC Network

Florida State -35.5

Florida State used to be in the same boat as Texas and USC, with the national media quick to anoint the ‘Noles as “back” after a quality win.

The problem for Florida State is that it hasn’t been able to string together quality wins, and as a result, it has fallen completely out of the national consciousness. For perspective, until last Saturday, the ‘Noles hadn’t beaten a pair of Power Five opponents in back-to-back weeks since Willie Taggart’s first season in Tallahassee.

But this is a tailor-made “buy low” situation. When teams are flying below the radar, that’s when I love to play them. Florida State is fitting that bill right now.

After an 0-4 start, the ‘Noles have scored 68 points in their last two games while securing a pair of upset wins over Syracuse and North Carolina.

Their offensive line has played significantly better, thanks in large part to the return of a few previously sidelined starters. Maurice Smith at center particularly helped the ‘Noles prevent a single sack against UNC last week.

With more continuity and talent up front, Jordan Travis has had time to operate. The dual-threat QB has accounted for 510 total yards and seven touchdowns in his last two games.

UMass, meanwhile, is still the same team that can’t seem to stop anyone defensively. The Minutemen rank 122nd in plays from scrimmage that go for 20 yards or more, and 118th in that same metric at 30+.

FSU will hit plenty of long gains and hang north of 50 on UMass as they march toward bowl eligibility.

Pick: Florida State -35.5


Miami (OH) vs. Ball State

Saturday, Oct. 23
3:30 p.m. ET
ESPN+

Ball State -5.5

Ball State was on the road to ruin. After a very rocky start that included a beatdown in State College, the Cardinals sat at 1-3 and looked lost offensively.

But a Week 5 upset of Army has rejuvenated the 2020 MAC Champs. In short, Ball State has righted the ship. Winners of three in a row, the Cardinal passing attack is humming behind Drew Plitt. He just posted a QBR of 82.3 at Eastern Michigan last week, and their running game is finally starting to chip in.

Ball State won the MAC last season behind their passing game and now that the trio of Yo’Heinz Tyler, Jordan Hall and Plitt are rolling again, I’ll be betting BSU until it burns me.

Miami (OH), on the other side of this matchup, has just three wins this season, two of which came against college football doormats (Long Island and Akron). Defensively, the RedHawks are feisty, having held their last four opponents to just 18.5 points per game. But upon closer inspection, they fail to do anything noteworthy on that side of the ball.

Teams are able to pass and run with relative ease (162 rush yds, 75th; 214 pass yds, 47th), and Ball State can’t seem to take the ball away from anyone (.8 Takeaways, 109th).

I’ll take the home team on a heater against an average MAC opponent.

Pick: Ball State -5.5


Nevada vs. Fresno State

Saturday, Oct. 23
7 p.m. ET
FS2

Fresno State -3

This is probably the best Group of Five game in the country this week, with elite quarterback play on display.

Fresno State proved early on, in a narrow loss to Oregon and an upset of UCLA on the road, that it can move the ball on anyone. Jake Haener has helped the passing game blossom into one of the best aerial shows in college football (332 yards, 10th).

But it’s really the Fresno defense that has me siding with the Bulldogs in this one. They check in top-20 nationally in Run Stuff Rate, hold opponents to just 4.8 yards per play (24th) and lead the country in opponent completion percentage (47.9%). Carson Strong has been playing well as of late, but he showed in games against Boise State and Kansas State that he and the Wolf Pack passing attack can be reined in.

My power rankings call for this one to be Fresno -7.5, so I’m happy to walk this line all the way down to the key number of three before pulling the trigger.

Pick: Fresno State -3


College Football Week 8 Group of Five Parlay (+600)

Florida State -35.5

Ball State -5.5

Fresno State -3

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Suns vs. Lakers Odds, Preview, Prediction: Value on LeBron and the Lakers as Home Underdogs (October 22)

suns-vs-lakers-odds-preview-prediction-pick-nba-october-22-2021

Suns vs. Lakers Odds

Suns Odds -1
Lakers Odds +1
Over/Under 223
Time 10 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The last time these two teams faced off, the Phoenix Suns handed LeBron James his first first-round playoff exit in his entire career.

Although the Lakers were maligned with injuries, the Suns showed they were a worthy second seed and represented the Western Conference in the NBA Finals.

Now with LeBron getting one of the longest rests he’s had in his career, can the Lakers avenge their early postseason exit?

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Phoenix Suns

The Suns are coming off a loss to the Denver Nuggets and are looking to rebound against the Lakers. Phoenix is healthy aside from the continued absence of Dario Saric, who will miss the entire season due to an ACL injury.

The Suns return a very similar roster compared to last season while adding Chandler Hutchinson, JaVale McGee, and Landry Shamet to supplement their depth.

While each year brings differences in data and sample sizes, considering the continuity of the Suns’ roster, it’s relevant to note that they rely on midrange shots and corner 3s on the offensive side of the ball while playing staunch defense.

Ordinarily, this offensive approach is not particularly efficient, but when they have elite mid-range scorers such as Chris Paul and Devin Booker, they can get away with it.

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Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers and GM LeBron made quite the splash this offseason as they tore apart the roster and reconstructed a new beast to take on the Western Conference.

While they will be without a few rotational pieces, such as Kendrick Nunn, Wayne Ellington, Trevor Ariza, and Talen Horton-Tucker, the Lakers should have plenty of firepower in this matchup.

One hope was that Anthony Davis would play more minutes at the five, but with DeAndre Jordan starting the season in the starting lineup against the Warriors, this is obviously not the case. Another observation from their season opener is that the Lakers hoisted 41% of their shots from 3-point range.

This is a shocking development because they don’t have the greatest set of 3-point shooters, and last season they attempted just 33.4% of their shots from 3 point range, per Cleaning the Glass. To put that in perspective, if this trend holds they would move from 23rd to fourth in 3-point frequency. That being said, you don’t need to be as efficient due to the math problem this can create for opponents.

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Suns-Lakers Pick

The Lakers are still trying to figure out their rotations and what works best with their big three of Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis. Despite Westbrook’s struggles, the duo of LeBron and Davis look as healthy as ever after combining for 67 points and 22 rebounds against the Warriors.

What I’m most curious to see is whether the Lakers’ shot selection continues. We already know they are ruthless finishers at the rim, but if they are able to effectively stretch the floor, it should open up the interior for James and Westbrook to drive into the lane.

Ayton is excellent, and Kaminsky and McGee give the Suns some more size, but neither of them is an adequate counter for Anthony Davis if he actually plays the five. The question there is motivation and given the early playoff exit last season, I expect the Lakers (and Anthony Davis) to be motivated to prove themselves in this spot and actually take on some minutes at the 5.

The Lakers typically bounce back after a loss and avoid multi-game losing streaks. Over the last two seasons, when the Lakers are off a single loss they are 17-12 ATS and 19-10 straight up, per our Action Labs database.

Although this line has seen significant movement from the open and has been bet down from Lakers -3.5 to Lakers +1 at some books. This seems like an overreaction to last postseason and the Lakers’ loss to the Warriors.

Pick: Lakers +1 or better

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Broncos vs. Browns Odds, NFL Picks, Predictions: A Case For Denver Covering The Thursday Night Football Spread

nfl odds-picks-predictions-broncos vs browns-betting preview-thursday night football-week 7

Broncos vs. Browns Odds

Broncos Odds +1.5
Browns Odds -1.5
Over/Under 41
Time 8:20 p.m. ET
TV FOX, NFL Network
Odds via BetRivers. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

The Browns opened up as four-point favorites, but the line has dropped to 1.5 due to numerous key offensive players — including star running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt and Baker Mayfield — expected to be out come Thursday. That’s also why the total has also dropped from 43 to 41. The Broncos are banged up as well as Teddy Bridgewater deals with a foot injury. But can the Broncos overcome Case Keenum as he leads the Dawg Pound for Thursday Night Football?

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Click to expand injury reports for both teams

Browns vs. Broncos Injury Report

Browns

  • QB Baker Mayfield (left shoulder): Out
  • RB Nick Chubb (calf): Out
  • RB Kareem Hunt (calf): Out
  • WR Odell Beckham Jr. (shoulder): Questionable
  • C JC Tretter (knee): Questionable
  • T Jedrick Wills Jr. (ankle): Questionable
  • T Jack Conklin (knee): Questionable
  • CB A.J. Green (shoulder/groin): Out
  • DE Jadeveon Clowney (ankle/chest/knee): Questionable
  • DT Malik Jackson (knee): Questionable
  • LB Malcolm Smith (abdomen): Questionable
  • LB Mack Wilson (calf): Questionable

Broncos

  • QB Teddy Bridgewater (foot): Questionable
  • T Garett Bolles (knee): Questionable
  • ILB Baron Browning (concussion): Out
  • S Caden Sterns (illness): Questionable

Browns vs. Broncos Matchup

Broncos DVOA Rankings Browns
22 Total 7
16 Offense 8
24 Defense 13
14 Pass Offense 16
21 Pass Defense 20
19 Rush Offense 2
20 Rush Defense 3
Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.

Back Broncos, Teddy Covers

Given the plethora of injuries for Cleveland, the Broncos could implement a run-heavy conservative game plan to secure a win. Teddy Bridgewater is essentially the definition of a “game manager” quarterback, making this a great spot to back him. LT Garett Bolles suffered a knee injury in Week 6 but is expected to be fine for Thursday Night Football. His availability makes me like the Broncos even more here.

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Dustin Bradford/Getty Images. Pictured: Broncos WR Courtland Sutton (#14), WR Tim Patrick (#81), QB Teddy Bridgewater (#5)

Cleveland Browns

The Browns are dealing with multiple key injuries heading into this Week 7 matchup: Baker Mayfield has been ruled out due to his non-throwing shoulder injury. Case Keenum will start in his place and I’m only docking the Browns 2-3 points due to the QB change. However, the Browns will also be without both Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.

The offensive line is also banged up as Jedrick Wills, JC Tretter and Jack Conklin are all questionable. The Browns have arguably the best offensive line and running back duo in the NFL. With both RBs out and the offensive line playing at less than full strength, that advantage has been wiped out. As a result, I’m lowering the Browns’ team rating by 1-3 more points depending on how many of their offensive line starters are ruled out.

As if things couldn’t get worse, the Browns may also be without both Odell Beckham Jr. (shoulder) and Jarvis Landry (nearing a return from IR). It’s going to be difficult for the Browns to be missing so many key players on offense with only a few days to prepare.

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Browns vs. Broncos Picks

I already locked in the Broncos +3.5 before the Mayfield news, but as I pointed out above — it’s also the absence of both RBs, offensive line injuries, and the potential to be without their top two WRs that has me projecting this game as a pick’em.

I still like the Broncos +2 here. If Beckham, Landry and at least one Browns offensive lineman are ruled out for TNF, I will be projecting the Broncos -1 or better.

Pick: Broncos +2 | Bet to: Pick’em

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Fantasy Injury Report For Week 7: Khalil Herbert, Antonio Gibson, Chase Edmonds, Damien Harris & More

fantasy-injury report-for-week 7-khalil herbert-antonio gibson-chase edmonds-damien harris-more

Below is a recap of injuries around the NFL to fantasy-relevant players that will help you set your lineups and dominate your leagues. I also included my very non-scientific “worry-o-meter,” which indicates on a scale of zero to five just how concerned I am about that player’s injury status when it comes to their Week 7 outlook.

Trey Lance, QB, 49ers (knee)

Lance has not practiced this week after suffering a knee sprain in Week 5. I thought it was possible he could heal up over the bye week in time for the 49ers’ Week 7 matchup against the Colts, but that is looking less and less likely now. Jimmy Garoppolo will likely get the start.

Worry-o-meter: 5 out of 5.

Rob Gronkowski, TE, Buccaneers (ribs)

Gronkowski has yet to practice again this week while dealing with an ongoing rib injury he suffered in Week 3, which means it’s unlikely we’ll see him play against the Bears.

If Gronkowski is a no-go come Sunday, expect Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard, who was upgraded to a limited participant on Thursday, to step up. Howard caught six of seven targets for 49 yards and a touchdown in Week 6 and could be an attractive streamer this week.

Worry-o-meter: 5 out of 5.

Saquon Barkley, RB, Giants (ankle)

Barkley did not practice this week while dealing with a sprained ankle he suffered in Week 5 and is expected to miss his second game in a row. Devontae Booker would be next in line to handle his carries with Elijaa Penny backing him up. Consider Booker a top-24 play this week in a tough matchup against the Panthers.

Worry-o-meter: 5 out of 5.

Latavius Murray, RB, Ravens (ankle)

Murray has not practiced in back-to-back days while dealing with an ankle injury. The issue wasn’t initially considered serious, but it appears he is now trending in the wrong direction. Murray has been leading this backfield after the Ravens seemingly tossed aside Ty’Son Williams.

If Murray cannot play, Devonta Freeman and Le’Veon Bell could both be low-end RB3s against the Bengals.

Worry-o-meter: 5 out of 5.

Kenny Golladay, WR, Giants (knee)

Golladay missed Week 6 while dealing with a knee injury and has not practiced all week. He is not expected to play this week, though he hasn’t officially been ruled out as of writing this on Thursday.

Whichever receivers are healthy for the Giants will likely get a boost this week, especially with Kadarius Toney also injured.

Worry-o-meter: 5 out of 5.

Kadarius Toney, WR, Giants (ankle)

Toney missed practice again on Thursday and is not expected to play in Week 7 against the Panthers, though he has not been officially ruled out yet. This should give Sterling Shepard a bump this week as one of the lone healthy receivers for the G-Men, assuming he plays since he’s also dealing with a nagging hamstring injury.

Worry-o-meter: 5 out of 5.

Curtis Samuel, WR, Washington (groin)

Samuel didn’t play in Week 6 dealing with a groin injury and hasn’t practiced in back-to-back days. It feels unlikely that he’ll play in Sunday’s matchup against the Packers and he is droppable in most formats.

Worry-o-meter: 5 out of 5.

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Sammy Watkins, WR, Ravens (thigh)

Watkins did not practice for the second day in a row while dealing with a thigh injury. He missed Week 6 and it’s likely he misses his second game in a row. This should elevate the statuses of Marquise Brown, Rashod Bateman and Mark Andrews in the Ravens’ Week 7 matchup agains the Bengals.

Worry-o-meter: 5 out of 5.

Antonio Gibson, RB, Washington (shin)

Gibson has been dealing with a stress fracture for multiple weeks that didn’t appear to be problematic in terms of workload in Week 5. He saw 20 carries for 60 yards and two touchdowns, but was clearly hampered by it in Week 6 and saw half the workload, tallying just three fantasy points in half PPR.

He did not practice on Wednesday and practiced in a limited fashion on Thursday, which is a major concern heading into Week 7 against the Packers. If he cannot start, J.D. McKissic would stand to see the biggest uptick in workload and would be a high-end RB2. Jaret Patterson could also be an interesting deep-league dart throw if Gibson sits. Even if he starts, he could be on a snap count which makes me very nervous for fantasy purposes.

Worry-o-meter: 4.5 out of 5.

Antonio Brown, WR, Buccaneers (ankle)

Brown has been sidelined for two consecutive practices while dealing with an ankle injury. It’s quite concerning given he has been on fire of late, scoring three touchdowns and tallying 217 yards in the last two weeks. He’s a high-end WR2 if he starts.

If Brown is ruled out on Sunday, expect Mike Evans and Chris Godwin to see a significant uptick in targets. Both Evans and Godwin would be high-end WR2s with WR1 upside.

Worry-o-meter: 4.5 out of 5.

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts (quad)

Hilton has yet to practice this week after suffering a quad injury in his return to action in Week 6. You have to feel for him, given it was his season debut after missing five weeks with a neck issue. His status for Week 7 is very much up in the air at this point. He appeared effect in Week 6 and caught all four passes for 80 yards. He could be a deep-league flex if he plays against the 49ers this week. If he misses the game, Michael Pittman Jr. would remain the unrivaled WR1 in this offense. Zach Pascal would stand to see more targets, as would Mo Alie-Cox.

Worry-o-meter: 4 out of 5.

Darius Slayton, WR, Giants (hamstring) 

Slayton missed practice on Wednesday but was upgraded to limited on Thursday. He has not played since Week 3, however, and is yet another injured receiver for the Giants. If he miraculously starts, I would consider him a deep league dart throw in a tougher matchup who could see some targets considering how many receivers are out this week.

Worry-o-meter: 4 out of 5.

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Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington (hamstring)

McLaurin was upgraded to limited participation on Thursday after not practicing on Wednesday while dealing with a hamstring injury. It’s a good news he is moving in the right direction, but it’s unclear how serious this injury is and his recent production has been unimpressive. If he starts, he should be a WR1 with Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander out. If he sits out, Adam Humphries, Dyami Brown, Ricky Seals-Jones and J.D. McKissic could all see additional targets.

Worry-o-meter: 3 out of 5.

Sterling Shepard, WR, Giants (hamstring)

Shepard is dealing with an ongoing hamstring injury, but practiced in a limited fashion on Thursday, making him one of the healthiest receivers on the Giants right now. Assuming he plays, he will be a WR2 with upside, even in a tough matchup against the Panthers with Toney and Golladay presumably out.

Worry-o-meter: 3 out of 5.

Tyreek Hill, WR, Chiefs (quad)

Hill was a noteworthy absence on both Wednesday and Thursday as the Chiefs prepare to take on the Titans. The star wideout is dealing with a quad contusion that also kept him sidelined during practice last week. He started the game and caught nine of 12 targets for 76 yards and a touchdown. His recent absences are more likely a product of veteran rest and the team exercising caution, though it’s worth monitoring Friday’s injury report.

In the unlikely event he does not dress come Sunday, Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle would likely see an uptick in targets against Tennessee.

Worry-o-meter: 2.5 out of 5.

T.J. Hockenson, TE, Lions (knee)

Hockenson did not practice on Wednesday, but was upgraded to a limited participant on Thursday as the Lions prepare to take on the Rams. Their star tight end has been dealing with a knee injury for multiple weeks, but has yet to miss a game this year. It appears this is a precautionary situation with Hockenson, who should be good to suit up in Week 7, though I would temper expectations given the limitations of Detroit’s offense and his waning health.

Worry-o-meter: 2 out of 5.

Ricky Seals-Jones, TE, Washington (quad)

Seals-Jones was upgraded to a limited participant on Thursday after not practicing on Wednesday. He has been dealing with a quad injury but appears to be trending in the right direction. With Logan Thomas out and so much of the Washington depth chart injured, Seals-Jones is a solid streamer this week if he plays.

Worry-o-meter: 2 out of 5.

Travis Kelce, WR, Chiefs (neck)

Kelce was limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday with a stinger he suffered last week. He still finished top five at the position in half PPR with eight catches on 11 targets for 99 yards and should be good to go come Sunday.

Worry-o-meter: 1.5 out of 5.

A.J. Brown, WR, Titans (illness)

Brown has not practiced in back-to-back days with an illness, likely the same illness that gave him the questionable designation heading into Monday night that he described as food poisoning from Chipotle. He still played in Week 6 and caught seven of nine targets for 91 yards.

Since this does not seem like the type of illness that would escalate over time, I feel fairly confident he will play this Sunday in a plush Week 7 matchup against the Chiefs.

Worry-o-meter: 1.5 out of 5.

Allen Robinson II, WR, Bears (ankle)

Robinson missed practice on Wednesday but returned in a limited capacity on Thursday while dealing with an ankle injury. It appears he should be on track to play this weekend against the Buccaneers, which should be a good matchup for him and Justin Fields given how leaky the Tampa secondary has been.

Worry-o-meter: 1.5 out of 5.

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, 49ers (calf)

Garoppolo missed Week 5 while dealing with a calf injury but is on track to return for the 49ers’ Week 7 matchup against the Colts. Rookie Trey Lance is still recovering from a sprained knee and will likely sit this one. Garoppolo is a low-end QB2 for fantasy purposes.

Worry-o-meter: 1 out of 5.

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D’Andre Swift, RB, Lions (groin)

Swift was a limited participant in back-to-back practices this week while dealing with a groin injury that has plagued him all year. This has become a weekly ritual and Swift has yet to miss a game. He is a locked-in RB1 this week against the Rams.

Worry-o-meter: 1 out of 5.

Chase Edmonds, RB, Cardinals (shoulder)

Edmonds was limited in back-to-back practices while dealing with a shoulder injury this week. He was limited all last week, too, and has not missed a game this year. I am concerned about his workload, which has dropped of late, but the matchup against the Texans is too juicy to pass up. He’s an RB2 this week assuming he plays.

Worry-o-meter: 1 out of 5.

Damien Harris, RB, Patriots (ribs)

Harris’ status has been up in the air all week as he has been dealing with a rib injury that has plagued him for multiple weeks. It hasn’t kept him sidelined from action yet, however, and he was absent from the Patriots’ injury report on Thursday. It appears he will play against the Jets barring a setback and should be a high-end RB2, downgrading Rhamondre Stevenson to a dart throw RB4.

Worry-o-meter: 1 out of 5.

Khalil Herbert, RB, Bears (shoulder)

Herbert was a full participant in Thursday’s practice while dealing with a shoulder injury as the Bears prepare to take on the Buccaneers this week. He will likely start, and could see a big workload if his counterpart, Damien Williams, cannot play. The matchup against the Buccaneers is brutal, however. Tampa is allowing the fewest rushing yards per game and there’s a good chance the Bears abandon the run quite early.

Worry-o-meter: 1 out of 5.

Malcolm Brown, RB, Dolphins (ribs)

Brown was limited in back-to-back practices with a rib injury. He will probably play in this week’s matchup against Atlanta (to the dismay of Myles Gaskin managers), though he isn’t an attractive start, even in this positive matchup.

Worry-o-meter: 1 out of 5.

Chris Evans, RB, Bengals (hamstring)

Evans was a limited practice in back-to-back days and will likely play in the Bengals’ Week 7 contest in Baltimore. He had a fantastic Week 6 and reeled in a touchdown against the Lions, but will likely take a backseat to Samaje Perine once again with Perine returning from the COVID-19/reserve list.

Worry-o-meter: 1 out of 5.

Darren Waller, TE, Raiders (knee)

Waller did not participate in Wednesday’s practice, but was upgraded to a full participant on Thursday. He is listed as dealing with a knee injury, but the absence seems more like a rest day than anything else. He should be fine to play the Eagles on Sunday.

Worry-o-meter: 0 out of 5.

Bryan Edwards, WR, Raiders (hamstring)

Edwards was limited on Wednesday, but was upgraded to a full participant on Thursday. He is dealing with a hamstring issue and should start come Sunday against the Eagles.

Worry-o-meter: 0 out of 5.

Henry Ruggs III, WR, Raiders (knee)

Ruggs was upgraded to full participation on Thursday after being limited on Wednesday. He is dealing with a knee injury but should be fine to start on Sunday.

Worry-o-meter: 0 out of 5.

Browns vs. Broncos Odds, NFL Picks, Predictions: How We’re Betting Thursday Night Football Spread & Props

nfl-odds-picks-predictions-broncos-vs-browns-spread-prop-bet-thursday-night-football

Browns vs. Broncos Odds & Picks

Pick
Broncos pick’em or better
Teddy Bridgewater Over 19.5 Completions

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Broncos PK or better

Sean Koerner: I locked in the Broncos +3.5 before news broke that Case Keenum would start in place of an injured Baker Mayfield, but as I detailed in my full betting preview — it’s also the absence of running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, the offensive line injuries, and the potential to be without their top two wide receivers that has me projecting this as a pick’em.

I still like the Broncos down to a pick’em here. If Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry and at least one Browns offensive lineman are ruled out, I will be projecting the Broncos -1 or better.

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Teddy Bridgewater Over 19.5 Comp

Mike Randle: This number is too low for an accurate quarterback like Bridgewater, who has completed more than 70% of his passes on the season. He’s beat this prop in four of his five games, excluding the loss to the Ravens that he left early with an injury.

The only game he failed to reach this number was their 26-0 home shutout of the Jets, but this game is projected as a close battle at Cleveland, with short spread and a low 41.5 point total (check real-time odds here). The Browns have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs, indicating the likelihood of increased pass volume for the Broncos.

Even in last week’s 37-14 blowout loss to the Cardinals, the Browns still allowed quarterback Kyler Murray to reach 20 completions. The defense has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, providing opportunities for Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick to generate targets in the short to intermediate area of the field.

We project Bridgewater for 21.6 completions in our Action Labs props tool, which is 2.1 competitions above this total.

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Broncos vs. Browns NFL Weather Forecast: Expect Wind & Rain in Cleveland for Thursday Night Football

broncos-vs-browns-nfl-weather-forecast-wind-rain-cleveland-thursday-night-football

Broncos vs. Browns NFL Odds

Broncos Odds +2
Browns Odds -2
Over/Under 41.5
Date Thursday, Oct. 21
Time 8:20 p.m. ET
TV FOX

*Odds as of Thursday morning

There’s no other way to say it: The Cleveland Browns are riddled with injuries ahead of their matchup with the Denver Broncos on Thursday Night Football.

Case Keenum will start at quarterback for injured Baker Mayfield behind a line that will be without both starting tackles on an offense missing Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, who Cleveland’s top running backs.

Ouch.

Unsurprisingly, the Broncos vs. Browns point spread plummeted from Cleveland -5.5 on Monday down to -2 (click here for live NFL odds) on Thursday morning, with the over/under falling from 44 to 41.5 as well.

Obviously, their slew of injuries makes the Browns less likely to score points and therefore win the game, but there will also be another factor at work against both offenses: the weather.

The latest Broncos vs. Browns NFL weather forecast is showing windy and wet conditions in Cleveland.

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Broncos vs. Browns NFL Weather Forecast

According to the National Weather Service, there is a 90% chance of rain throughout the day, and the precipitation at FirstEnergy Stadium drops a tad to 70% tonight.

But even if the players are able to avoid the rain, windy weather appears to be a constant. Steady breezes of 13-20 mph are expected Thursday night, which certainly won’t help either team put points on the board.

Strong winds make connecting accurately on explosive, downfield throws more difficult, while also affecting kickers, especially on longer field-goal attempts.

In fact, according to our Bet Labs software, 54.9% of NFL games played in double-digit breezes have gone under the closing total since 2003 —  a windy threshold that the Broncos vs. Browns matchup on Thursday Night Football should easily clear.

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Braves vs. Dodgers MLB Odds, Picks: 3 Bets For NLCS Game 5, Including Moneyline (Oct. 21)

braves vs. dodgers-odds-expert picks-predictions-nlcs game 5-mlb-october 21

Braves vs. Dodgers MLB Odds

Braves Odds +125
Dodgers Odds -145
Over/Under 8 (-105 / -115)
Time 8:08 p.m. ET
TV TBS
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The Braves can clinch their first NL pennant since 1999 with a win over the Dodgers on Thusday night in Los Angeles.

Atlanta will send ace Max Fried to the mound, while Los Angeles will counter with a bullpen game. It will be all-hands-on-deck for the Dodgers as they look to keep their season alive and send the series back to Atlanta.

Our analysts are riding with the red-hot Braves tonight, with a couple moneyline picks and a pitcher prop.

Here are our best bets for Thursday night’s NLCS Game 5 in Los Angeles.

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Braves vs. Dodgers Picks

Click on a pick to skip ahead
Braves +125
Braves +125
Max Fried Over 4.5 Strikeout (-105)

Braves +125

Anthony Dabbundo: Braves lefty Max Fried has been one of the league’s best pitchers in the last two months. Dating back to the end of July, Fried has posted 14 consecutive quality starts of at least six innings pitched and three or fewer runs allowed. His 3.04 ERA, 3.31 FIP and 3.49 xERA are all among the upper-echelon of pitchers in the National League.

Los Angeles is just 17th in on-base percentage against lefties this season and is now missing two key sources of power after Justin Turner joined Max Muncy on the injured list. Despite Cody Bellinger’s recent playoff success, he has just a .383 OPS against lefties this year and the Dodgers barely touched Fried in any of the three times they faced him this season.

Fried’s curveball — his main secondary pitch — is an excellent matchup for a Dodgers lineup that has mediocre numbers against curveballs this season. Fried gives out very few free passes and the Dodgers’ lineup hasn’t produced enough without the help of walks in this series.

The Dodgers counter Fried with another bullpen game, but it’s getting thin out there for the dodgers. Phil Bickford and Justin Bruihl worked back to back days and long man Tony Gonsolin is likely unavailable. It only takes one pitcher to not have his best stuff and cough up some runs.

Atlanta continues to be undervalued in Game 5 and at +125, it’s got a good chance to close out the series on Thursday.

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Braves +125

Kenny Ducey: Similar to Game 3 and Game 4, the series script would seem to point to the Dodgers winning here. They can’t possibly go down at home without a fight, right?

Well, they sure can. Atlanta’s offense continues to rake — and has proven itself against just about every pitcher the Dodgers have. L.A. will have an all-hands-on-deck situation developing in Game 5 as it tries to stave off elimination, potentially adding David Price to the roster to pitch here.

I’d tilt this game even further toward the Braves in that case, given Price hasn’t pitched since October 2 and was struggling prior to that point. At 36, his strikeout rate has cratered and he’s allowed some bad home runs to lackluster offenses in the past few months.

Max Fried, meanwhile, has a couple of advantages here. He’s left-handed, and we know the Dodgers prefer to hit righties. They’re also without Justin Turner, who is one of their biggest weapons against southpaws. Fried also leans on a curveball, and Los Angeles ranked 21st against hooks during the regular season.

Fried has pitched to a 1.50 ERA in two postseason starts, and although he did allow eight hits and a homer to the Dodgers earlier in this series, that would hardly be too much for this red-hot offense to overcome. When you mix in the fact that he has yet to walk a hitter in 12 postseason innings, the road for L.A. to have a big night at the plate gets even tougher.

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Max Fried Over 4.5 Strikeout (-105)

Tanner McGrath: Max Fried has been a stud in Atlanta’s last two playoff runs. He’s made six starts for the Braves during that stretch, and he’s posted a 2.52 ERA while pitching almost six innings per start. The Braves are also 5-1 in those games.

More importantly, however, is that he’s struck out five or more batters in five of those six starts. That includes the three starts he’s had against the Dodgers during that stretch, wherein he’s posted stat lines of:

2020 NLCS GM1: 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 9 K
2020 NLCS GM6: 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 8 H, 4 BB, 5 K
2021 NLCS GM1: 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 H, 0 BB, 5 K

Fried was a little off to begin this season, but he cranked it up in the second half. He steadily dropped his ERA throughout the year, and he’s cashed over 4.5 strikeouts in 18 of his last 20 starts.

Today, FanGraphs SaberSim projections have Fried notching 5.09 strikeouts, while the Action Labs Player Props tool has him striking out 5.9. Either way, there’s plenty of value on the over 4.5 number BetMGM is offering.

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Braves vs. Dodgers MLB Odds, Picks, Model Projections: How Our Expert Is Betting NLCS Game 5 In Los Angeles

braves vs. dodgers-odds-picks-projections-nlcs game 5-mlb-october 21

Throughout the Major League Baseball postseason, I will provide a daily breakdown summarizing my thoughts on futures and individual games.

I will also address betting these playoff series, whether on the series moneyline or a game-by-game basis, while using my daily MLB Model projections.

Let’s talk series prices and World Series futures before digging into Thursday’s NLCS Game 5 between the Braves and the Dodgers.

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Series Moneyline Corner

Here are my updated ML projections for the two league championship series matchups:

The pennant chances for the Astros and Braves both improved dramatically following their wins on Wednesday.

Atlanta gained 29% (from 55% to 84%) after taking a 3-1 series lead against the Dodgers.

I would need at least +614 (14% implied) to bet the Dodgers’ series ML at a two percent edge compared to their break-even point at +525 (16% implied).

Conversely, you could lay up to -454 (82% implied) on Atlanta. Still, I’m not interested in laying any price near that number, especially with a pennant ticket (+700) and a series ticket (+130) already riding on the Braves.

Moreover, you can presumably find more value on their ML from game to game over the remaining matchups in this series.

Houston improved its AL pennant chances by 26% (from 54% to 80%) following their pivotal road win in Game 5.

I would now require +456 (18% implied) to bet Boston on the series ML.

Alternatively, I would need -355 (78% implied) to bet Houston.

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World Series Futures Update

Here are my updated World Series projections for the four remaining teams, alongside listed odds at DraftKings:

Boston remains the only team showing value in the World Series futures market, and I would bet the Red Sox futures down to +1150 (implied 8%) at a two percent edge compared to my projection.

As has been the case all week, the Red Sox offer more value in the World Series market than they do on their series ML.

However, I have yet to pull the trigger on their futures, and I have been riding a bet on Boston’s ALCS series ML instead.

Today’s price is the last best price that you’ll get on the Red Sox, and they’re still just six wins away from cashing that ticket.

As a refresher, here’s how my World Series projections have evolved throughout the season:

Braves vs. Dodgers Odds

8:08 p.m. ET start

The defending champions are already in deep water down 3-1 against the Braves — and they likely lost one of their best players in Justin Turner (127 wRC+, 4.0 WAR) to a hamstring injury late in Game 4.

Combined with the late-season injury to Max Muncy (140 wRC+, 4.9 WAR), the Dodgers have lost significant production from their expected playoff lineup — even though Cody Bellinger’s bat is starting to come around.

Additionally, the Braves won a bullpen game on Wednesday, and their three best starters can take the ball in the final three games of this series. Meanwhile, the Dodgers have to overcome a bullpen game of their own on Thursday to extend their season.

Tony Gonsolin is unavailable after pitching on Wednesday. Justin Bruihl and Phil Bickford may not be either; in Game 3, each pitched for the second consecutive day and for the third time in four games.

Corey Knebel (2.96 xERA, 3.26 xFIP) — who has allowed a run in both of his appearances in this series — could serve in an opener role. Brusdar Graterol (3.81 xERA. 4.18 xFIP) and his electric fastball (average 99.5 mph) could complete up to two innings. And Alex Vesia (2.87 xERA, 4.61 xFIP) may provide a similar amount of length.

Kenley Jansen (2.83 xERA, 4.04 xFIP) and Joe Kelly (3.27 xERA, 3.15 xFIP) both worked Games 1-3 in this series but should be ready to go after an off day on Wednesday. And Blake Treinen (2.45 xERA, 3.25 xFIP) — who hasn’t pitched since Game 2 — should be fresh.

That’s about seven or eight innings worth of output from the Dodgers’ staff, so Dave Roberts will have to manufacture a few additional outs and mix and match his way to victory.

Atlanta will deploy Max Fried (3.49 xERA, 3.45 xFIP), who has been dominant in both playoff starts (combined 12 innings, 11 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 14 K) after a solid final two months (1.46 ERA, 2.94 xFIP over last 11 starts) to close out the regular season.

Fried is fastball dominant against lefties (combined 62% four-seamer and sinker). Against righties, he leans on the breaking balls much more (52% combined) than he does against lefties (37.7%). And he mostly puts away his sinker (2.9% vs. 23.9% vs. lefties) against righties too.

Still, Fried owns a high groundball rate (51.8% GB%, fifth among SP) thanks to his slider (78% GB%), four-seamer (60%), and curveball (50%), and he limits both home runs (0.89 HR/9) and hard contact (82nd percentile) which gives him a high floor in any outing.

The Dodgers have struggled against left-handed breaking balls in this series. On Wednesday, Atlanta recorded 22 outs with left-handed relievers, including 10 from Drew Smyly, who threw a curveball on 37 of his 56 pitches (66%).

A.J. Minter, Tyler Matzek and Will Smith combined for the other 12 outs. That trio threw 52 pitches to the Dodgers’ lineup, but only fed them 17 four-seam fastballs (33%), as compared to 18 breaking balls (35%), 12 cutters (23%), and five changeups (9%)

This season, the Dodgers crushed fastballs (second on a per-pitch basis), while Atlanta (21st after the trade deadline) struggled against the pitch. However, the Braves hammer secondary stuff, and they appear to have a similar philosophy concerning opposing offenses — avoid the straight fastball and make them hit breaking balls or offspeed pitches.

Matzek has worked all four games in this series, while Minter has worked in the past three. Their availability for Thursday’s Game 5 is in serious doubt.

And even with one of their best starters on the mound, facing an overworked Dodgers bullpen, I still make the Braves a decent underdog:

I would need -118 or better to bet the Dodgers’ Game 5 ML. Conversely, I would need +140 or better to play the Braves at a similar edge.

And I would set the F5 price targets for these two teams at -113 and +133, respectively.

As for the total, the Under receives a boost with plate umpire Lance Barksdale (career 54.4% under) behind the dish. A consistent $100 bettor would be up nearly $3,300 betting the Over in each of Barkdale’s assignments, dating back to 2005.

I would bet an Under 8 to +105 or an Over 7.5 to -105.

Additionally, an F5 Under 4.5 (to -110) or an Over 4 (to +105) would grab my attention.

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Summary

I will update this post immediately after tracking plays in the Action Network App. If you want bet notifications right away, make sure to follow me there.

The Bets

  • TBD

Watching

Atlanta Braves vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Atlanta ML (wait for +140) or Los Angeles ML (wait for -118)
  • Atlanta F5 ML (wait for +133) or Los Angeles F5 ML (wait for -113)
  • Atlanta — Series ML (value to -454)
  • Braves/Dodgers, Under 8 (to +105) or Over 7.5 (to -105)
  • Braves/Dodgers, F5 Under 4.5 (to -110) or Over 4 (to +105)

Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros

  • Boston — Series ML (value to +456)
  • Boston — To Win World Series (value to +1150)
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Braves vs. Dodgers MLB Odds, Picks: NLCS Game 5 Prop Betting Preview

mlb odds-player props-braves vs. dodgers-max fried-october 21

With the Braves and Dodgers continuing their exciting championship series tonight, our team has spent the morning breaking down the player prop market.

At the time of this writing, no starting pitcher has been announced for the Dodgers. However, my research and the Action Labs Player Prop tool both suggest value on the starting pitcher for the Braves.

The tool grades each play on a scale from 1-10, and Max Fried’s strikeout total is a top-rated play.

So, read on to see our top player prop bet for today’s Braves-Dodgers matchup.

MLB Player Props & Picks

Max Fried Over 4.5 Strikeouts (-105)

Braves vs. Dodgers Braves (+115)
Time 8:08 p.m. ET
Best Line BetMGM

Fried has been a stud in Atlanta’s last two playoff runs. He’s made six starts for the Braves during that stretch, and he’s posted a 2.52 ERA while pitching almost six innings per start. The Braves are also 5-1 in those games.

More importantly, however, is that he’s struck out five or more batters in five of those six starts. That includes the three starts he’s had against the Dodgers during that stretch, wherein he’s posted stat lines of:

  • 2020 NLCS GM1: 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 9 K
  • 2020 NLCS GM6: 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 8 H, 4 BB, 5 K
  • 2021 NLCS GM1: 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 H, 0 BB, 5 K

Fried was a little off to begin this season, but he cranked it up in the second half. He steadily dropped his ERA throughout the year, and he’s cashed over 4.5 strikeouts in 18 of his last 20 starts.

Today, FanGraphs SaberSim projections have Fried notching 5.09 strikeouts, while the Action Labs Player Props tool has him striking out 5.9. There’s plenty of value on the over 4.5 number BetMGM is offering.

Action Labs Grade: 10/10

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Braves vs. Dodgers MLB Odds, Picks: NLCS Game 5 Betting Preview (October 21)

thursday-mlb-odds-picks-predictions-braves vs. dodgers-october 21-2021-max fried

Braves vs. Dodgers Odds

Braves Odds +125
Dodgers Odds -145
Over/Under 8 (-110 / -110)
Time 8:08 p.m. ET
TV TBS
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The Dodgers would already be cleaning out their lockers if not for Cody Bellinger’s game-tying three-run shot in the eighth inning of Game 3. However, that momentum was short-lived as Atlanta pounded Los Angeles for nine runs in Game 4 — including four insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning. Five of those runs came against the Dodgers’ Julio Urías, who was baseball’s only 20-game winner in baseball this season.

Injuries have been a big part of the Dodgers’ struggles as they’ve prevented them from setting up their rotation as they would’ve liked. The Dodgers resorted to a bullpen game in the series opener against the Braves. Now, with Max Scherzer intimating that he’s pitching with a dead arm, Los Angeles is left to cobble a bunch of relievers again in a win-or-go-home scenario in Game 5.

Can the Dodgers salvage a win to keep their season alive? Let’s take a look.

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Fried Is The Man For Braves

Atlanta has a 3-1 advantage in the NLCS against the Dodgers for the second straight year. Much of the postseason talk centered on the winner of the Dodgers-Giants series representing the National League in the World Series. Not too many included Atlanta in that discussion, especially since it would be up against an opponent that won at least 106 regular-season games.

However, in a postseason that’s been marred by subpar pitching in both leagues, the Braves’ hitters are displaying the kind of power that led to a .191 ISO during the regular season. Atlanta can certainly do some damage up and down its batting order. And when you add that hitting to a rotation that’s been relatively intact this postseason, that’s a dangerous combination for any team.

The Braves won the division, so they didn’t have to worry about disrupting their rotation for the postseason. That’s why they can send Max Fried to the mound on his regular four days of rest for this Game 5 start.

Fried has been scintillating this postseason as he’s produced a quality start in his two outings. In 12 innings of work, he’s only allowed two runs, and his 1.86 GB/FB ratio is right in line with his production during the regular season (1.87).

Keep in mind that the Dodgers haven’t been as successful against left-handers compared to righties. During the regular season, Los Angeles had a .319 OBP vs. left-handers compared to .334 against right-handers. In the playoffs, that number’s down to .259 against lefties and .327 when facing righties.

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Dodgers Must Win To Survive

While Los Angeles has yet to announce a starter for Game 5, it’ll likely be a bullpen game for the Dodgers as they try to stave off elimination. I suspect that we’ll probably see some combination of Justin Bruihl, Tony Gonsolin, Alex Vesia, Joe Kelly, and Blake Treinen on Thursday night.

Los Angeles used all five pitchers in Game 1, and neither has thrown more than 20 pitchers in the last three days. Although the Dodgers’ bullpen held the Braves to two runs through eight innings in that game, Atlanta’s third baseman, Austin Riley, sent everyone home with a dramatic walk-off hit in the ninth inning.

The problem for the Dodgers is they’ve been beset by injuries leading into the postseason. First, they lost their future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw for the season with a forearm and shoulder injury. Then their first baseman, Max Muncy, suffered a dislocated shoulder on the final day of the regular season.

On Wednesday, third baseman Justin Turner hobbled off the field with a Grade-2 hamstring strain. There’s no question that the Dodgers are a deep team, but this is an uphill challenge if they’re to be without their two starting corner infielders for the remainder of this series.

Los Angeles used its experience to come back from a 3-1 deficit against the Braves last year. That disappointing collapse stayed with Atlanta through the season. And now it’s their turn to exact some revenge.

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Braves-Dodgers Pick

I’m not one to subscribe to the theory of must-win games. Perhaps that’s the only reason why the Dodgers are as high as -148 favorite. It’s one thing if Los Angeles has a bullpen that’s head and shoulders above the teams in the playoffs, but that’s not the case here.

Atlanta’s 2.60 bullpen ERA is the lowest in the playoffs, while the Dodgers rank second (2.74). The injuries mentioned above are also a significant concern for the Dodgers. I know that Atlanta’s the visiting team, but if it gets some early runs on the scoreboard, there won’t be much of a home-field advantage left at Dodgers Stadium.

DraftKings is offering the Braves as a +125 underdog, and that price is just too reasonable to pass up against a depleted Dodgers team in this spot.

Pick: Braves ML (+125)

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Indiana vs. Ohio State Odds, Promos: Bet $20, Win $205 if the Hoosiers Score a Point, and More!

The Hoosiers have a tough matchup this weekend against No. 5 Ohio State … but making money on the game won’t be nearly as tough.

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The over/under for this game is set at around 60 points, so you’d be wise to bet on the Hoosiers scoring at least a single point against the Buckeyes — especially because it pays you $205 with PointsBet!

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The Buckeyes are favored by oddsmakers by almost three touchdowns, but don’t worry, Hoosiers fans.

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There’s no downside with WynnBET’s promo, since your original bet doesn’t even need to hit for you to earn $100. As long as Indiana scores a touchdown, it’s all yours!

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Florida Atlantic vs. Charlotte Betting Odds & Pick: Take Under Despite 49ers’ Defensive Woes

fau vs. charlotte-odds-pick-prediction-betting-college football-october 21-2021

Florida Atlantic vs. Charlotte Odds

Thursday, Oct. 21
7:30 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
FAU Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-6.5
-122
57
-108o / -112u
-280
Charlotte Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+6.5
+100
57
-108o / -112u
+220
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Entering Thursday night, Charlotte sits at the top of the Conference USA East standings with a 2-0 record in conference play. The 49ers have bounced back from a disappointing 2-4 finish in 2020 and have utilized an efficient passing game to sport a 4-2 record.

Meanwhile, Florida Atlantic enters the contest at 3-3 after some bad losses to Air Force and UAB over its past three games.

To date, the Owls haven’t really played in a competitive contest. Its three losses have come by an average of more than 20 points per game, while its three wins have come by 32, 31, and 37 points.

It’s probably not the start that FAU fans were hoping for after ranking in the top five in preseason conference championship odds, but a win here would put the Owls right back at the top of the divisional standings.

Both teams have shown their fair share of definite strengths and significant weaknesses in 2021. With that in mind, who is best set up to capitalize in this matchup?

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Florida Atlantic Owls

Florida Atlantic Offense

The FAU offense hasn’t been anything special this year, but it has definitely improved from a horrendous 2020 performance.

Miami transfer quarterback N’Kosi Perry has elevated FAU’s play at the position, and he currently ranks just outside the top 40 quarterbacks in adjusted yards per attempt.

However, the surrounding parts aren’t making Perry’s job any easier. The offensive line ranks 115th in pressure rate allowed, and the receiving corps’ PFF grade of 62 ranks outside the top 100 as well. Perry has played fine individually, but the passing game hasn’t been great overall because of those other factors.

The ground game has been better, ranking 41st in Expected Points Added (EPA) per rush. Running back Johnny Ford has arguably been the biggest bright spot on offense and leads the Conference USA in missed tackles forced per attempt, per PFF.

Florida Atlantic Defense

So far, the FAU defense has outpaced the offense.

The highlight of the defense has been the secondary, which is good news when considering where the strength of Charlotte’s offense is.

The leader of the back end has been safety Teja Young, who has allowed just eight catches for 72 yards on 182 coverage snaps, per PFF. As of now, his 89.4 coverage grade ranks fourth in the nation among safeties, and Young has been a major part of a defense that ranks 16th in Passing Success Rate Allowed.

To date, the Owls haven’t allowed a single opponent to pass for eight yards or more per attempt.

While the secondary is easily one of the best in the conference, FAU’s front seven hasn’t been particularly effective in terms of raw numbers.

The Owls rank 51st in Rushing Success Rate Allowed, due largely to some rough games against two very efficient rushing attacks in Florida and Air Force.

While those games were bad for the run defense, FAU has completely stifled its four other opponents on the ground, so there is definitely room for optimism despite an unspectacular ranking.

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Charlotte 49ers

Charlotte Offense

Charlotte quarterback Chris Reynolds has been the highlight for the 49ers in his fourth year as a starter, as he ranks 22nd in adjusted yards per attempt on the year.

Reynolds has two effective weapons on the outside in Grant DuBose and Victor Tucker, who have combined for 892 yards in two games and have generated 68% of the team’s total receiving yards.

In terms of PFF receiving grade, each ranks in the top 10 at their position in the conference, and are heavy contributors to a passing attack that ranks 25th in EPA per throw.

One clear weakness of this group is the offensive line. It ranks 106th in pass-blocking grade and 87th in run-blocking grade, per PFF. The ground game has been impacted by the weak line more than the passing attack has, as Charlotte sits 73rd in EPA per carry.

Overall, this is a top-40 offense in terms of Success Rate. While it has been productive in total, it has done so against the 105th-ranked offensive strength of schedule, per my numbers.

The Owls, especially in the secondary, will be a step up in competition from most of the defenses Charlotte has played so far.

Charlotte Defense

There aren’t many good things to say about the 49ers’ defense. In terms of EPA, Charlotte ranks outside the top 100 against the pass and the run. Outside of Week 2 against FCS Gardner Webb, Charlotte’s defense hasn’t really had a solid performance all year.

It seems like Charlotte’s defense gets abused in one facet in every game, including the wins.

It was absolutely gashed on the ground by the likes of Duke and Illinois and then was chasing its tail in the passing game against Florida International and Middle Tennessee, despite coming away with wins in both of those games.

Markees Watts has been a bright spot for this team on the edge with 5.5 tackles for loss. He’s also generated four of Charlotte’s 10 sacks on the year. Additionally, he’s second on the team in tackles and has even added a pass breakup. There aren’t a ton of pieces in this group, but Watts has definitely been the highlight.

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Florida Atlantic vs. Charlotte Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Florida Atlantic and Charlotte match up statistically:

Florida Atlantic Offense vs. Charlotte Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 30 96
Line Yards 38 118
Pass Success 41 65
Pass Blocking** 110 117
Big Play 51 81
Havoc 79 63
Finishing Drives 54 42
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Charlotte Offense vs. Florida Atlantic Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 56 51
Line Yards 59 82
Pass Success 49 16
Pass Blocking** 106 102
Big Play 25 10
Havoc 88 101
Finishing Drives 25 31
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 89 106
Coverage 21 110
Middle 8 7 75
SP+ Special Teams 89 74
Plays per Minute 31 121
Rush Rate 53.3% (73) 57.4% (49)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.


Florida Atlantic vs. Charlotte Betting Pick

It’s scary to say this with how Charlotte’s defense has performed this season, but the under is definitely worth a look here.

One big factor in that reasoning is pace, especially on Charlotte’s side of the ball. The 49ers rank 128th in seconds per play on offense and 114th in drives per game. While Florida Atlantic ranks in the middle of the pack in seconds per play, it joins Charlotte in ranking outside the top 100 in possessions per game.

I’m projecting just under 23 total possessions in this matchup, nearly two possessions lower than the national average.

This total opened at 54.5 on Sunday but shot up to 57 by Monday afternoon. Compared to my projection of 51.3, the over steam has turned this total into one of my bigger edges on the board.

It’s key to remember to always respect the market and understand that there’s usually good reason for line movement, but I do like the under at this price based on my projections.

A very strong FAU secondary could cause problems for an offense that has picked on a terrible schedule of opposing defenses so far, and the overall pace could limit possessions on both sides.

Pick: Under 57

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NFL Prop Picks For Browns vs. Broncos: Bet This Donovan Peoples-Jones Over/Under On Thursday Night Football

nfl-prop picks-browns vs broncos-bet Donovan peoples-jones under-thursday night football

Sean Koerner, our Director of Predictive Analytics, is highlighting his favorite player prop for every primetime game throughout the 2021 season. He has a 428-326-6 (56%) all-time record on NFL bets he’s tracked in the Action app.


Broncos-Browns Prop Bet

Donovan Peoples-Jones Under 2.5 Receptions

Editor’s Note: Now that Odell Beckham Jr. is officially active, Browns player props are off the board at most books.

Peoples-Jones has been on fire over the past two weeks, posting lines of 5/70/0 & 4/101/2 against the Chargers and Cardinals, respectively. However, I believe it’s time to “sell high” on him as he’s due for some regression.

He’s caught a ridiculous 86.7% of his targets this season despite seeing an aDot of 15.7. Players with an aDot that high typically average a catch rate in the 57-60% range.

There are a few other reasons why my projections are lower for him compared to the market:

  • Case Keenum is starting in place of Baker Mayfield tonight. Peoples-Jones has shown great chemistry with Mayfield over the past couple of games. The QB change seems like a setback for him.
  • Weather could be a factor tonight. Steady winds of approximately 20 mph are expected with the possibility of some occasional rain. That would (in theory) negatively impact a high-aDot player like Peoples-Jones.
  • Jarvis Landry is making his return from IR. He should be Keenum’s main target tonight, while the TE group should also see an increase in target share after a season-low five targets as a group last week. I also expect RB/WR Demetric Felton to have an expanded role tonight and he has been heavily targeted (37.5% of routes run) when on the field this season.

I’m projecting DPJ for 2.3 receptions tonight with a median projection of 31.5 receiving yards (market is currently at 38.5) — I’d give this under about a 60% chance of hitting. He’s the type of player who could clear his yardage prop on a couple of deep catches, so the safer play here is to take the under for his receptions, especially since we are getting + money. I would bet this down to -105.

Pick: Donovan Peoples-Jones Under 2.5 Receptions (+115) at BetMGM

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Thursday NBA Odds & Betting Pick for Clippers vs. Warriors: Golden State Getting Too Much Love After First Win?

clippers-vs-warriors-odds-preview-prediction-pick-nba-october-21-2021

Clippers vs. Warriors Odds

Clippers Odds +3.5
Warriors Odds -3.5
Over/Under 222.5 (-110 / -110)
Time 10 p.m. ET
TV TNT
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Clippers look to kick off their season against a Warriors team that just upset the Lakers to begin their campaign.

While the Clippers sustained a deeper playoff run than the Warriors last year, it was not without consequence as they likely will be without superstar Kawhi Leonard for the bulk of, if not, the entire season.

Will the Warriors start the season with two victories against the teams from L.A., or will the Clippers do what the Lakers could not?

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Los Angeles Clippers

As I mentioned before, the Clippers will be without Leonard as he recovers from a torn ACL. They also will be without Serge Ibaka, who remains out due to back surgery.

The Clippers are a bit retooled from last season and I think it’s relevant to discuss their roster changes:

Additions: Eric Bledsoe, Isaiah Hartenstein, Justise Winslow, Keon Johnson (21st overall)

Subtractions: Patrick Beverley, Patrick Patterson, Rajon Rondo, Daniel Oturu

The addition of Bledsoe (31) is interesting and one that was necessary. He replaces both Beverley (33) and Rondo (35), who were older and more likely to miss games.

While Beverley may have been a slightly better on-ball defender than Bledsoe, in today’s NBA on-ball pressure is less important compared to team defense.

In that respect, Bledsoe is better when switching and playing off-ball defense. This type of defender should benefit the Clippers more considering Paul George can always be deployed in a one-on-one capacity if it is absolutely necessary.

The Clippers ran a bit cold during the preseason, only draining 31.5% of their 3-point attempts, per Cleaning the Glass. However, I don’t envision this to be a lasting issue considering they led the league in 3-point percentage last season with a blistering 41.8%.

While the loss of Beverley could hurt this number a bit, the Clippers should still be elite from 3-point range with Marcus Morris Sr., Luke Kennard, Reggie Jackson, Terance Mann, George and Nicolas Batum all topping 40% from 3-point range last season.

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Golden State Warriors

The Warriors showed up on Tuesday night and defeated the Lakers by seven to kick their season off with a win.

They will remain without Klay Thompson and James Wiseman and the status of Jonathan Kuminga (strained patella tendon) is up in the air, per our Action Network Injury Report.

One takeaway from the Warriors’ season opener is their barrage of 3 pointers — 41% of their shots came from 3-point range and they sank 35.9% of them.

This is despite Curry shooting just 2-of-8 from 3 and Damion Lee making just 1-of-5. The shot selection the Warriors want is there and they have the ball movement to continue getting good looks.

The big development for the Warriors is the rise of Jordan Poole. His role has continued to increase since his rookie season. After the All-Star Break last season, he averaged 14.4 points per game in 23.4 minutes.

He has plenty of opportunities to secure a significant role while the Warriors await Thompson’s return.

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Clippers-Warriors Pick

This is a fun matchup, and it’ll be good to see the Clippers back in action. This could be a shootout between two teams that rely on the 3-ball.

I’m turning to the spread rather than the total, though.

When underdogs play their first game of the season against a team who has already played, they are 25-13-1 ATS.

I think the Warriors are slightly overvalued in this spot against the Clippers and I’ll back the road dogs to cover.

Pick: Clippers +3.5

Kings vs. Stars Preview, Prediction: Target the Total in Western Conference Battle (Oct. 22)

kings-stars-preview-prediction-odds-take-under-western-conference-battle-october-22

Kings vs. Stars

Kings Odds +132
Stars Odds -156
Over/Under 5.5 (Over +104 / Under -128)
Time 8:30 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+, Hulu
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

After starting their season with a 2-2 road trip, the Dallas Stars will host the Los Angeles Kings (1-2) for their home opener on Friday night.

Often in these situations, teams will try to put on a show for their fans. But these are two teams who take pride in their defensive games, and they haven’t shown much scoring pop in the early going.

This game projects to be a low-scoring affair that could be decided by a single goal. For the pragmatic bettor, it makes sense to take the under.

Los Angeles Kings

After coming out of the gate with a rousing 6-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights, the Kings slid back to earth in their two subsequent contests. L.A. lost close games to both Minnesota and Nashville, scoring just three goals.

The Kings’ expected goal percentage aligns with those results. Ranked 21st in the league in all situations at 47.91%, L.A.’s games have been played almost exclusively at even strength. The Kings have had eight power plays in three games so far, scoring on three of them. They’ve been shorthanded just four times, and have allowed one goal.

The Kings go into Friday’s contest with two days of rest and practice in Dallas. Drew Doughty, Viktor Arvidsson and Phillip Danault were all given maintenance days on Wednesday to help recover from early-season bumps and bruises, but all are expected to play on Friday.

That’s great news for the Kings. At 31, Doughty is out to prove that he’s still an elite defenseman that is deserving of a spot on Team Canada at the Olympics. He’s off to a good start, with points on seven of his teams’ nine goals so far.

Thanks to Danault’s defense-oriented deployment, the two-time Selke winner Anze Kopitar can focus more on the offensive side of his game. He was named the NHL’s first star of the week thanks to seven points in his first two games. Arvidsson has been skating with Kopitar and Dustin Brown, and has two points in his first three games as a King.

In net, Los Angeles is shifting to Cal Petersen as starter. He has been solid in his first two outings, giving up just two goals in each game. It wasn’t confirmed yet on Thursday afternoon, but he’s expected to get the nod in Dallas on Friday while Jonathan Quick will start Saturday in St. Louis.


Dallas Stars

The Stars come home after a road trip that saw them bookend losses to the Bruins and Senators with extra-time wins over the Rangers (OT) and the Penguins (shootout). They’re also coming off two days of rest, and their next game isn’t until Monday in Columbus.

Hoping to get back on track after a difficult 2020-21 season, the Stars’ big guns are still sputtering. Tyler Seguin is pointless so far, while Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov have just one assist apiece. Offensively, the team has been led by do-everything forward Radek Faksa (1-3-4) and new acquisition Michael Raffl (2-1-3).

Jason Robertson, the rookie who provided some scoring pop last season, hasn’t played yet this year due to an upper-body injury. He’s not expected to be ready on Friday. Depth center Blake Comeau and defenseman John Klingberg are also doubtful.

Averaging just 1.75 goals per game, the Stars’ expected goal percent ranks just below the Kings at 23rd.

So far, netminders Braden Holtby and Khudobin have been alternating games with decent results. If the pattern holds, it should be Khudobin’s net on Friday.

Stars vs. Kings Pick

The Stars and Kings both end up in a lot of low-scoring, one-goal contests. Since hockey is such a fast game, luck and randomness end up playing big roles in games like that. A single bounce can spell the difference between winning and losing.

For bettors walking along that kind of knife’s edge, it makes sense to stay away from the moneyline. The value here lies on the under, even at a low 5.5 number. Between both teams, they’ve beaten that mark just once in seven games so far this season.

Behind the benches, coaches Todd McLellan and Rick Bowness are both looking to spark more offense, but not at the expense of their teams’ defensive structure. That’s unlikely to change on Friday night.

Pick: Under 5.5 (-122); play down to -150

Thursday NBA Betting Picks & Predictions: Our Favorite Bets for Mavs vs. Hawks, Bucks vs. Heat, Clippers vs. Warriors

nba-odds-picks-predictions-best bets-hawks mavs-heat bucks-warriors clippers

We’re just two days into the NBA season and things have been already been frantic around the league with overtime games and wild comebacks.

Thursday’s slate will being three more exciting matchups: Dallas Mavericks vs. Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers vs. Golden State Warriors.

Out analysts have picks on each of those games and make their case for their six favorite bets below.

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NBA Odds & Picks

Click on a game to skip ahead
Mavericks vs. Hawks Prop
7:30 p.m ET
Bucks vs. Heat Live Moneyline
8 p.m. ET
Bucks vs. Heat Spread
8 p.m. ET
Clippers vs. Warriors Spread
10 p.m. ET
Clippers vs. Warriors Moneyline
10 p.m. ET

Dallas Mavericks vs. Atlanta Hawks

Pick
Luka Doncic Over 2.5 3s (-135)
Book
PointsBet
Tipoff
7:30 PM ET
TV
TNT

Joe Dellera: Jason Kidd has been hired as the coach of the Dallas Mavericks and whether that was a good or bad hire remains to be seen despite some initial concerns. Kidd made some anachronistic comments about taking fewer 3-pointers per game but if we actually dive into the numbers, there’s an interesting dynamic.

While the Mavericks saw a downtick in frequency of 3-point attempts from 40.8% last regular season to 37.2% during this preseason — that still would have ranked in the top half of the league in regards to 3 point frequency, per Cleaning the Glass.

This brings me to Luka Doncic, who saw a significant uptick in his 3-point attempts after the All Star Break last season. In 39 regular season games he averaged 3.3 3-pointers made on 9.1 attempts. More importantly, he cleared a 2.5 3-pointer threshold in 24-of-39 (61.5%) games post All-Star, and 29 of 46 (63%) including the playoffs, while shooting 40.8% from 3-point range.

I’ll back Doncic to drain three 3’s in tonight’s showdown with Trae Young and the Hawks and would play this to -140.

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Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat

Pick
Heat -2
Book
DraftKings
Tipoff
8:00 PM ET
TV
TNT

Roberto Arguello: Expect this game to have the physicality and intensity of a postseason game as the Heat were eliminated at home against a very similar Bucks team to end last season. However, the Bucks have been decimated by injuries as they are without two key starters in Holiday and Lopez while they also have just two frontcourt players available.

The Heat didn’t have a strong point-of-attack defense against the Bucks last season, and this led to some over-switching and Bucks bigs matched up against smaller Heat players when fighting for rebounds. This time around, the Heat will be the bigger team, and the Bucks will likely switch much more than they are used to without Lopez anchoring the drop (and also Holiday running over screens).

The Bucks will also switch heavily when Antetokounmpo is off the floor. If this was a playoff game, I would expect Antetokounmpo to play about 40 minutes given the lack of depth around him in the frontcourt, but with this being just the second game of the season, there is no need to play him that much, especially considering the other injuries this Bucks team is already dealing with.

Expect the Heat to come out guns blazing in a revenge game against this depleted Bucks team. The addition of Lowry will help the Heat get some easy looks in transition, and Butler and Adebayo will take advantage of the Bucks’ switching defense by getting mismatches that will lead to buckets or free throws.

The Bucks will need a superhuman effort from Antetokounmpo and Middleton to win or cover, and although this is very possible, this feels like an unlikely spot for that to happen against a Heat team that will be able to focus its defensive efforts on those two with the other leading scorers for the Bucks out.

Confidently take the Heat at -2 with value down to -4.5 against the shorthanded Bucks for one unit. If you want a little more action than just one unit, I recommend a live bet on the spread or moneyline (only at a better number than you bought pregame) when Antetokounmpo goes to the bench for the first time.

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Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat

Pick
Miami Heat +2.5
Book
PointsBet

Raheem Palmer: Stepping in front of this Bucks train is tough, but this feels like a great situational spot to back the Heat as the Bucks are shorthanded with injuries to Donte DiVincenzo, Bobby Portis, Rodney hood, and Semi Ojeleye.

While Jrue Holiday is expected to play after suffering a heel bruise in the opening game, they will be facing a deep Heat team in their home opener in a classic revenge spot after being swept from the postseason last year. Although the Bucks were able to survive a short handed lineup against the Brooklyn Nets in their home opener, I’m not sure that will be the case here.

The Heat are a much improved team after this off season. The addition of veteran point guard Kyle Lowry in free agency should help the Heat get into sets quicker, so I’m expecting this offense to be more efficient this season.

The addition of Tucker adds one more piece to throw at Antetokounmpo. Overall, I like the Heat to put up a solid showing and possibly win this game outright in what should be a close game. I’ll take the Heat +2.5

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Los Angeles Clippers vs. Golden State Warriors

Pick
Warriors -3.5
Book
Caesars
Tipoff
10:00 p.m. ET
TV
TNT

Brandon Anderson: I’m going to keep this one nice and easy and just go with my preseason read on these teams. I love the Warriors this season, especially after what we saw in the opener, and I am really queasy on this Clippers roster.

That makes this an easy decision.

Put simply, the Warriors look like the Warriors again. Jordan Poole has officially been adopted into the Splash Brothers family with the ultimate green light, bombing 11 3-point attempts from all over the place in the opener. Nemanja Bjelica looks like Draymond Green II as a short role passer, but if you traded in Green’s defense for spacing and shooting instead.

Stephen Curry couldn’t even make a shot against LeBron, like usual, and it didn’t matter. We already knew this defense would be good, but I wonder if I underestimated the offense. This is the picture of a team that knows exactly what it is (finally!) and built the exact right roster around the key stars.

If the playoffs started right now at this exact moment, I honestly might take the Warriors out of the West. (Overreaction SZN!)

As for the Clippers, I’m just not seeing it. Kawhi Leonard is one of the best players in the world. How far out would we be on the Bucks without Antetokounmpo or the Lakers without LeBron James?

And yet with Leonard out for maybe the entire season, everyone is just assuming the Clips will win a few less games and Paul George is just going to do his best Kawhi impression? PG is not Kawhi, and this roster has a ton of guys who have outperformed expectations in the past but may not necessarily maintain that level.

Nic Batum was probably the best Clipper outside of that top two last year, but he was a waiver pick up with a very unexpected bounce back that probably won’t be repeated, and he’s already injured and missing for this one. Reggie Jackson and Terance Mann were playoff monsters for three weeks, but can they do it for six months? Luke Kennard and BJ Boston looked great in the preseason, but are they ready for the real games?

The Clippers are squarely in the play-in hunt for me. I don’t like the roster and don’t see the upside, and I’m going to be betting these Warriors until the market catches up to how good they might be again. I would’ve liked Golden State on the road in this spot honestly, so I love getting them as a short home favorite here.

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LA Clippers vs. Golden State Warriors

Pick
Clippers +140
Book
Caesars

Kenny Ducey: After a confidence-building comeback win over the Lakers, the Golden State Warriors may very well be overvalued here against last year’s Western Conference finalists.

Shooting from deep was the story of that game; the Lakers shot 42 3-pointers and converted on just 35.7%, but with a roster full of guys who have historically struggled to shoot the three, that much was understandable. A whopping 37 of those 42 3s came without a defender within four feet of the shooter, according to NBA.com, further illustrating that Golden State’s 3-point defense likely came down to good luck.

The Clippers were the league’s best 3-point shooting team a season ago and return their best shooters (minus Leonard, obvoiousl), and even brought back Eric Bledsoe, who began his career in L.A. While he won’t make many 3s, he will help draw the defense in on the drive to open up space a little more for shooters.

The Warriors, on the other hand, chose to take 41% of their shots from deep on Tuesday and made just 35.9% of them. They won’t find it any easier to shoot against this Clippers defense, which was excellent around the perimeter in the playoffs this summer and ranked sixth against the three during the regular season.

I think L.A. can find a win here behind its shooting and while it won’t exploit the Warriors’ weak interior defense with a natural post scorer, it won’t meet much resistance when Reggie Jackson, Paul George and Eric Bledsoe come knocking with the ball in their hands.

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NBA Odds & Betting Pick for Mavs vs. Hawks: Can Atlanta Hold Serve at State Farm Arena?

thursday-mavericks vs hawks-odds-preview-prediction-pick-nba-october 21-2021

Mavericks vs. Hawks Odds

Mavs Odds +2.5
Hawks Odds -2.5
Over/Under 224.5 (-110 / -110)
Time 7:40 p.m. ET
TV TNT
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The NBA is finally back!

No better way to start off this season than to have two high-powered, playoff-contending teams battling it out when the Dallas Mavericks play the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena.

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Did Mavs Get Worse This Summer?

The Mavericks’ offseason was the prime example of a swing and a miss.

After swallowing a tough Game 7 loss in the playoffs, the Mavericks looked to add key pieces to build around Luka Doncic in the offseason, while also entertaining the idea of landing a superstar free agent to pair with the point guard.

Unfortunately, neither fell into place for the Mavericks, thus they returned the same starting five as last season.

Since no new acquisitions were made, we should see the same Dallas Mavericks issues: a high octane offense that is paired with a lackluster defense.

The Mavericks, per NBA Advanced stats, had the league’s 22nd-ranked defense coming in at 113.1 rating.

Will this team’s defensive woes carry over into this 2021-2022 season?

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Hawks Look to Build on Last Year

The Hawks will look to continue their second-half success from last season in their season opener at home.

The Hawks bring back the same starting five and the same head coach that sparked this team for a second-half run and an Eastern Conference Finals appearance.

The Hawks should expect similar numbers to carry over from last season.

A few key stats to consider: the Hawks possessed the seventh-best home record in the NBA last season at (25-11). A key reason for the home court success was that the Hawks were lethal from three, shooting an NBA best 37.3%, per NBA Advanced stats.

The Hawks’ biggest offseason move, resigning John Collins was a major point of emphasis. Collins, in his two games vs. the Mavericks, has had his way, scoring 33 and 35 points.

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Mavericks-Hawks Pick

Applying a few situational trends, we can string them together to make a sound investment on the Hawks moneyline.

The Hawks were a solid (21-6) straight up as a home favorite. Building on this, since 2017, home favorites across the whole NBA when it’s the team’s first game of the season are a hot (24-7) SU.

Finally, we have a proficient fade trend active on the Mavericks. Since the 2017 NBA season, away dogs, when the line is greater than or equal to four, are just a lousy (8-25).

I predict to see a continuation of these trends. Expect the Hawks to continue their home court success and pick up a win.

Pick: Atlanta Hawks ML (-135)

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Premier League Odds, Pick, Prediction: Arsenal vs. Aston Villa Betting Preview (Oct. 22)

arsenal vs aston villa-odds-pick-prediction-preview-premier league-october 22-2021

Arsenal vs. Aston Villa Odds

Arsenal Odds -105
Aston Villa Odds +295
Draw +270
Over/Under 2.5 (-115 / -105)
Day | Time Friday | 3 p.m. ET
How To Watch NBCSN | fuboTV
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Arsenal and Crystal Palace played to a thrilling 2-2 draw on Monday afternoon to conclude Matchweek 8 of the Premier League season, as the Gunners’ stoppage-time equalizer prevented an embarrassing defeat at home in a London derby.

Arsenal will also kickoff Matchweek 9 on Friday when Aston Villa — fresh off a 3-2 collapse defeat to rivals Wolves — visits North London. The Gunners lost their first three matches in the league by a combined nine goals, then won three in a row. Now, two consecutive draws have halted any potential progress under maligned manager Mikel Arteta.

Aston Villa may not have star man Jack Grealish anymore, but the Villans have replaced him by committee and pose a dangerous threat on the counterattack to a vulnerable Arsenal side.

Villa is undervalued here away from home and should be able to take at least a point at The Emirates on Friday.

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How Good Are the Gunners?

Arsenal wasn’t as bad as the narrative suggested after injuries and two difficult fixtures against Chelsea and Manchester City left it with zero points and zero goals through three matches. The Gunners also weren’t back just because of wins against Norwich City, Burnley and Tottenham.

It’s simply not clear what the true level of this Arsenal team is.

The Gunners attack is fifth in shots per 90, but just ninth in big scoring chances and 13th in xG per 90. Their average shot quality is among the lowest in the league and their average shot distance is among the longest in the PL. They are extremely slow in build-up play and lack cutting edge to create high-quality chances.

Against an Aston Villa side happy to concede low-quality chances and allow excellent goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez make saves on any needed long-range attempts, this game sets up for periods of Arsenal possession that leads to very little production. Villa concedes few high-quality chances and lots of shots from distance.

Defensively, Arsenal has looked vulnerable in transition, as evidenced by Crystal Palace’s success in winning the ball high up the pitch and scoring the second goal to go ahead. Arsenal’s total pressures, pressure success rate and ball recoveries are all really low for a team that wants and needs to have the ball, and Villa should face little resistance in its direct attacks.

The biggest injury note for the Gunners is that Bukayo Saka returned to training on Thursday after coming off early against Palace. The Englishman suffered a knock at the foot of James McArthur and was replaced at halftime on Monday. Thursday was his first day back in training, which puts his status for the game in doubt.

Grealish’s Exit Forces Villa to Adapt

The loss of Grealish is evident in almost all of Aston Villa’s attacking numbers. The Villains were the darlings of the first half of the 2020-21 season as Grealish’s leap to elite PL player dragged the Villa attack with him.

The regression began when Grealish got hurt in the second half of the season and has continued throughout the start of the 2021-22 season. But Villa is much more solid defensively with an excellent goalkeeper, a settled center-back pairing and improved set piece defense after leaking goals in 2019-20 and nearly being relegated.

Villa has a top-eight defense in crossing, box entries, ball recoveries and passes per defensive action. The Villans apply pressure at the right time and know how to prevent high-quality chances. They’ll allow plenty of possession and even shots because most of those shots are of low quality.

The Villa attack has underwhelmed with very mediocre numbers across the board, but it could have winger Leon Bailey back for this match and Emi Buendia — the top players in the Championship last year — return to the starting XI to help bolster this attack.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

These two teams played twice last season and both had very similar flows. Arsenal won the possession battle and outshot Villa in both. The Gunners had to settle for mostly low-quality chances, and Villa was able to rip them apart in transition or when defensive mistakes on the ball were made in their defensive half.

Aston Villa did the double, winning 3-0 after a dominant second half, and the Villans won 1-0 in the spring after a costly defensive error in the second minute was too much for the Gunners to overcome. It’s not a good matchup stylistically for Arteta’s Gunners and even at home, Arsenal should struggle to break down a solid defensive unit.

My projections make Arsenal +125 to take all three points in this match, and Villa +0.5 -125. Anything -115 or better on Villa to take at least a point away from home is a price worth playing for me.

Pick: Aston Villa +0.5 (-115 or better)

College Football Betting News & Notes: Injury Updates & Weather Forecast for Week 8

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College Football Betting News & Notes for Week 8

Our college football betting staff has joined together to cut through the noise and bring you the most timely and relevant player news, team notes, and betting market analysis throughout the week.

Collin Wilson, Stuckey, Brett McMurphy and BJ Cunningham deliver you “inside access” to the most relevant betting news they’re monitoring each week. That includes betting market movement, strike prices they’re waiting for, players and teams they’re fading based on recent news, statistical research and more.

Today’s Week 8 update is courtesy of Stuckey, Prime Minister of Degenerate Nation.

Follow each of our college football betting experts in our app so you can track the bets they place this week.

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Notable Injury Situations to Monitor

Quarterbacks

Matt Corral, Ole Miss

As reported by Nick Suss of the Mississippi Clarion Ledger, Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin is pessimistic about Matt Corral’s injury status for the Rebels’ Week 8 matchup against LSU (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS).

“He’s not in very good shape,” Kiffin said Monday. “He hasn’t been for the last two days. You guys know how we are on injuries. Hopefully he will play but I don’t feel good about that right now.”


Sean Clifford, Penn State

Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford is questionable for Week 8 after sustaining an undisclosed injury vs. Iowa on Oct. 9. Per Audrey Snyder of The Athletic,

“Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford is splitting practice reps with backups Ta’Quan Roberson and Christian Veilleux ahead of the No. 7 Nittany Lions’ game Saturday against Illinois, James Franklin said Wednesday night.”


Lucas Johnson, San Diego State

Aztecs head coach Brady Hoke has confirmed that quarterback Lucas Johnson will start on Saturday vs. Air Force. Per Kirk D Kenney, San Diego Union-Tribune sportswriter, via Twitter:

“SDSU head coach Brady Hoke just said in his midday press conference that Lucas Johnson will be the starting quarterback for [the Aztecs] Saturday afternoon at Air Force. Hoke added that true freshman Will Haskell will be the backup QB in the game.”


Brandon Peters, Illinois

As of early this week, Jeremy Werner of the Illini Inquirer reported that quarterback Brandon Peters still had not been cleared to participate in team practices:

“Brandon Peters threw the ball yesterday. At some point this week, he could possibly return but isn’t cleared for Tuesday’s practice. Art and Ryan Johnson and Matt Robinson will take the work during the course of the week.”

— Bret Bielema, Illinois head coach


Luke Doty, South Carolina

Gamecocks Coach Shane Beamer announced that quarterback Luke Doty — who sustained an injury to his foot earlier this season — will require surgery and will miss the remainder of the 2021-22 season.

In Doty’s stead, Zeb Noland earns starting duties for South Carolina’s Week 8 road game against Texas A&M on Saturday.


UNLV Rebels

Rebels quarterbacks Doug Brumfield and Cameron Friel are both questionable for Thursday night’s tilt against the San Jose State Spartans. Per UNLV coach Marcus Arroyo — as reported via Twitter by Sam Gordon of the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

“UNLV football coach Marcus Arroyo at his weekly press conference said quarterback Doug Brumfield is still day-to-day with a back injury. Backs can be tricky and team wants to be cautious. Quarterback Cameron Friel will likely be limited today (Oct. 18). Hopeful that he can play Thursday.”

Rebels third-string QB Justin Rogers struggled in relief vs. Utah State last Saturday. Rogers has appeared in four games this season, completing 10-of-20 passes for 43 yards, one touchdown and one interception.


Hawaii Rainbow Warriors

Hawaii quarterback Chevan Cordeiro played in a very limited role last week, entering the game for one play: A punt. He also did not play against Fresno State in Week 6. Per Hawaii coach Todd Graham, as reported by Stephen Tsai of the Star Advertiser:

“[Cordeiro] practiced some this week,” Graham said. “But he wasn’t ready to go. I’m not going to put him in there until I know he’s ready.”


Tai Lavatai, Navy

Midshipmen quarterback Tai Lavatai suffered an apparent head injury near the end of the third quarter vs. UCF last week. No further update is available regarding his status for Saturday’s game vs. Cincinnati.


Hendon Hooker, Tennessee

Volunteers quarterback Hendor Hooker exited the Week 7 game vs. Ole Miss with a hamstring injury. Per Tennessee coach Josh Heupel, via Dan Harralson of Volswire.com:

“Heupel said Hooker is ‘probably day-to-day at this point’ and ‘we’ll see as the week unfolds where we end up with Hendon. […] I don’t think it’s a long-term injury,’ Heupel said. ‘As for his status for this week, we’ll find out as we go.'”

This is not good news for Tennessee with a looming matchup against Alabama on Saturday — especially given the Vols’ banged-up offensive line.


Gunner Cruz, Arizona

As reported via Twitter by Justin Spears of the Tucson Star, Wildcats quarterback Gunner Cruz will miss the rest of the 2021-22 season due to a thumb injury sustained on his throwing hand:

“Arizona head coach Jedd Fisch says QB Gunner Cruz is out for the season with a thumb injury on his throwing hand. The QB depth chart is Will Plummer and walk-ons Luke Ashworth and Brayden Zermeno.”


Mike Wright, Vanderbilt

Vandy Hustler Sports — Vanderbilt’s student-run sports editorial for The Vanderbilt Hustler — reported the following quote by head coach Clark Lea on Oct. 19:

“We’re going to start Mike Wright this weekend. Ken Seals is still week-to-week and not fully healthy.”


Will Rogers, Mississippi State

Per Andy Kostka of the Mississippi Clarion Ledger, Bulldogs quarterback Will Rogers has a sprained AC joint in his shoulder. Rogers played vs. Alabama despite the injury, but it bothered him during the contest. His status is questionable for Mississippi State’s Week 8 game vs. Vanderbilt.


Layne Hatcher, Arkansas State

Arkansas State’s official depth chart for Week 8 lists Layne Hatcher as the starting quarterback. Freshman Wyatt Begeal is listed as the backup.

Per Chris Hudgison of Region 8 News, James Blackman is “out a couple more weeks with [a] shoulder injury.”


Levi Williams, Wyoming

Wyoming could make a quarterback change by going with Levi Williams over Sean Chambers. Based on recent comments from coach Craig Bohl, there appears to be a serious quarterback competition ongoing in Laramie. As reported by Ryan Thorburn of the Casper Star Tribune,

“Craig Bohl […] has reopened the competition between Chambers and Williams for the starting spot entering UW’s homecoming game against New Mexico this Saturday at War Memorial Stadium (1:30 p.m. MT, Stadium).

‘I had both of those guys in my office today, had candid conversations with them, very transparent,’ Bohl said during his Monday press conference. ‘Both of them are team guys and they both know we need to play better offense. We’ll name a starter probably right at the game time.’

Bohl said Chambers and Williams will split the first-team snaps evenly in practice.”


Jake Lange, Southern Miss

Expect quarterback Jake Lange to start this week despite an ankle injury:


Jake Constantine, Rice

Per Steve Helwick of SB Nation, via Twitter:

“Rice head coach Mike Bloomgren said he does not know QB Jake Constantine’s status for Saturday at UAB after he went down in the UTSA game. Non-contact injury, but not season-ending.”

Constantine was splitting reps with Luke McCaffrey. The Owls’ original starter, Wiley Green, has been banged up and potentially has been demoted.


Running Backs

Drake Anderson, Arizona

Michael Lev of the Arizona Daily Star reported the following Wildcats injury updates via Twitter as of Oct. 18:

“Game-time decisions Friday: C Josh McCauley, OG Josh Donavan, DT Kyon Barrs, RB Drake Anderson (least likely to play among four, per [head coach Jedd Fisch].)


Tiyon Evans, Tennessee

Volunteers head coach Josh Heupel told reporters on Oct. 18 that leading rusher Tiyon Evans is day-to-day. Evans is questionable to play against No. 4 Alabama on Saturday night.


Rodrigues Clark, Memphis

Memphis head coach Ryan Silverfield said running back Rodrigues Clark is one of three players who is “day-to-day” ahead of Friday night’s game against UCF, according to the The Commercial Appeal. Clark is averaging 6.7 yards per game in his first six games of the season, playing behind starter Brandon Thomas.


Cam’Ron Harris, Miami

Miami has lost running back Cam’Ron Harris for the rest of the season, according to the Miami Herald. Harris was averaging 5.8 yards per carry and is the latest key Hurricanes player to hit the shelf.


South Carolina Gamecocks

South Carolina’s top four running backs are expected to be available, but The State reports “that’s certainly not set in stone.”

“Perhaps no position group on the roster is as beleaguered as running back, with Kevin Harris, MarShawn Lloyd and ZaQuandre White all nursing injuries following last Saturday’s 21-20 win over Vanderbilt. Freshman standout Juju McDowell also missed that game due to an unspecified ‘accountability issue’ with the team, but he is expected to return this week.”

Harris and White lead the way on the ground with 247 and 232 yards, although the latter is averaging 6.8 yards per carry compared to Harris’ 3.4.


Deon McIntosh, Washington State

Last week against Stanford, running back Deon McIntosh left the game and was then spotted on crutches not the sidelines after suffering a right ankle injury. There has been no update on his injury status this week, given the other things going on in the Washington State program.


Kevin Marks, Buffalo

Buffalo running back Kevin Marks did not dress for last week’s game, and he’s going to be a game-time decision this week against Akron, according to The Buffalo News.

Marks leads the Bulls in carries this season, but he was listed this week behind Dylan McDuffie on the team’s official depth chart. Marks is averaging just 3.9 yards per carry this season.


Zach Evans, TCU

After missing TCU’s loss to Oklahoma due to an ankle injury, head coach Gary Patterson said running back Zach Evans is “probable” to return against West Virginia.

It would be a big boost for the Horned Frogs, with Evans having run for at least 110 yards in fourth straight games and averaging 7.9 yards per carry this season.


Dae Dae Hunter, Hawaii

According to the Star-Advertiser, Hawai’i running back Dae Dae Hunter’s status if “iffy” for Saturday’s game against New Mexico State. Hunter had touchdown runs of 75 and 81 yards last week against Nevada in the first half, but he missed the second half after “landing awkwardly.”

Hunter is averaging 7.2 yards per carry on 78 totes this season.


Wide Receivers

Demario Douglas, Liberty

Liberty leading receiver Demario Douglas missed last week’s loss to UL-Monroe after suffering an ankle injury on Oct. 9. There has been no update on Douglas’ status ahead of this week’s game against North Texas, although he was dressed in his uniform last week according to The News Advance.


Kyle Phillips, UCLA

After missing last week, UCLA receiver Kyle Phillips returned to practice this week and was listed on the team’s depth chart before its game against Oregon. Head coach Chip Kelly told media, according to Duck Territory, that he expected Phillips to be available against the Ducks.

Phillips leads the Ducks in receptions and receiving touchdowns.


Braylon Sanders, Ole Miss

Ole Miss wide receiver Braylon Sanders left last week’s win over Tennessee with an upper body injury, and the Daily Journal described his status as “murky” for Saturday’s game against LSU.

Sanders had his biggest game of the season on Oct. 9 against Arkansas with 127 yards and a touchdown.


Mario Williams, Oklahoma

Mario Williams left Oklahoma’s win over TCU with an apparent hamstring injury, according to a team reporter. No update has bene provided on his status ahead of Saturday’s game at Kansas.


CT Thomas, Boise State

Wide receiver CT Thomas has left the Boise State program, according to the Idaho Press. The senior only had 10 catches this season in his fifth year with the Broncos.


Reggie Todd, Troy

Troy wide receiver Reggie Todd has been suspended indefinitely. Todd was arrested on a charge of “hindering prosecution,” according to AL.com. The arrest is related to a shooting that took place during a high school football game on Oct. 15.

“Mr. Todd’s arrest was based upon circumstances and information obtained by Troy Police Department,” according to Mobile police spokesperson Katrina Frazier. “He was booked and charged with Hindering Prosecution and Possession of Marijuana.”

Todd is the second-leading receiver for Troy, which is tied for first place in the Sun Belt East.


Jacory Sullivan, Central Michigan

According to Central Michigan Life, JaCorey Sullivan is questionable to face Northern Illinois on Saturday.

Sullivan, who is tied for the team lead with six touchdowns, has missed the Chippewas’ last two games due to a hand injury.


Tight Ends

Michael Mayer, Notre Dame

According to The Athletic, Notre Dame tight end “will start” against USC after practicing this week.

The Fighting Irish had a bye last week, but Mayer missed their win over Virginia Tech on Oct. 9. He has 15 catches in his last two games against Wisconsin and Cincinnati.


Defensive Players

Andrew Booth, Clemson

Cornerback Andrew Booth is set to play on Saturday against Pitt, barring any setbacks, according to The Clemson Insider.

“It’s the first time in a while we’ve got all six corners available,” Swinney said.

Booth was a late scratch last week against Syracuse because of a hamstring injury. Fellow cornerback Fred Davis is set to feature for Clemson, as well.


Keyshon Camp, Pitt

Senior defensive lineman Keyshon Camp appears set to play on Saturday against Clemson.

“I think he’ll be OK,” Panthers head coach Pat Narduzzi said according to the Post Gazette. “We’ll see.”


Jermaine Waller, Virginia Tech

Virginita Tech cornerback Jermaine Waller is questionable to face Syracuse, according to The Roanoke Times.

“I really don’t (know),” head coach Justin Fuente said. “I know Jermaine will be out there if he can. I don’t think this is a long-term issue. It’s just that I don’t know how short-term.”


Zion Tupuola-Fetui, Washington

Six months after Achilles surgery, linebacker Zion Tupuola-Fetui played 10 snaps last week against UCLA. He was listed as a co-starter on the Washington depth chart this week, according to SI.com.

“He came out of the game healthy,” Huskies coach Jimmy Lake said on Monday, “and I would expect for him to have more plays this Friday night.”


D.J. Grahamin, Oklahoma

Oklahoma cornerback D.J. Graham suffered an apparent concussion last week, which could put the Sooners down three corners ahead of this week’s game against Kansas.


Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, TCU

TCU cornerbacks Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson and Noah Daniels are hopeful to play against West Virginia. Hodges-Tomlinson was eventually referred to as “questionable” by head coach Gary Patterson, who said Daniels was going to try to play, according to 247sports.com.

“He’s going to be a guy that’s trying to get back this week. How ever many plays, we don’t know that yet,” Patterson said. “But, he’s going to try to get back this week.”


Weather Updates

Doesn’t look like a crazy weather late October Saturday as of right now. Some rain expected for Washington State vs. BYU and Oregon State vs. Utah. Some wind (15 mph+) to monitor in normal wind spots:

Laramie, Wyoming


Denton, Texas


Lubbock, Texas


Honolulu, Hawai’i

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NFL Player Prop Picks For Broncos vs. Browns: D’Ernest Johnson & More PrizePicks Plays For Thursday Night

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One of the best ways to enjoy a standalone game like Thursday Night Football is to bet player props.

When it comes to NFL prop projections, there is simply no one better than our Director of Predictive Analytics, Sean Koerner. Using his projections in our Player Props Tool at Action Labs, we can easily identify the biggest advantages to help build our bankroll.

Each Thursday, I’ll identify which TNF props on PrizePicks have the most attractive value when compared with Sean’s projections. Let’s take a closer look at the Week 7 matchup between the Denver Broncos and the Cleveland Browns.


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NFL Prop Picks for Thursday Night Football

Teddy Bridgewater Over 19.5 Pass Completions

This number is too low for an accurate quarterback like Teddy Bridgewater, who has completed over 70% of his passes on the season. He has beat this prop in four of his five games, excluding the loss to the Ravens that he left early with an injury. 

The only game he failed to reach this number was Denver’s 26-0 home shutout to the Jets. This game is projected as a close battle at Cleveland, with a 2-point spread and a low 41.5 point total. The Browns have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs, so that might funnel Bridgewater into more attempts.

Even in last week’s 37-14 blowout loss to Arizona, the Browns still allowed quarterback Kyler Murray to reach 20 completions. The Browns defense has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, providing opportunities for Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick to generate targets in the short to intermediate area of the field. 

We project Bridgewater for 21.6 completions, which is 2.1 competitions above this total. This is an 8-rated prop in the Action Labs Player Prop Tool.

D’Ernest Johnson Under 59.5 Rushing Yards

Cleveland will start its third-string running back tonight after injuries to both Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. While the Browns are a run-first team, I have doubts about whether D’Ernest Johnson can just recreate the same production in the running game against the Broncos defense. 

Denver’s run defense ranks eighth in fewest fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs and allowed just 3.7 ypc last week against the Raiders.

The 25-year old Johnson bring limited athleticism, with just a 4.86 40-yard dash time and just a 110.4 (14th percentile) burst score per PlayerProfiler. He has just 11 total rushing yards on the season, and just one game in his NFL career with more yards than this total. 

He tallied 95 rushing yards last year against Dallas, in a 49-38 win at Dallas. Tonight’s game projects to be the complete opposite, especially with a backup quarterback starting for Cleveland against a stout Denver defense. 

We project Johnson for 55 rushing yards, 4.5 yards under the posted total on PrizePicks.

Javonte Williams Over 2.0 Receptions

The North Carolina rookie has gradually become more involved in the passing game, with a season-high 20 routes run in last week’s game against the Raiders.

Williams has four straight games with three receptions, and should be heavily utilized tonight in a game with projected 18 mph winds. Williams’ receiving ability is built on an 11.02 (89th percentile) agility score and 73rd percentile college target share (PlayerProfiler).

With injuries to both KJ Hamler and Jerry Jeudy, the Broncos have shown a willingness to deploy both Williams and backfield mate Melvin Gordon in passing routes. We project Williams for 2.3 receptions tonight in our Player Props Tool.

Week 7 Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Start Zach Ertz & Chuba Hubbard, Sit Damien Williams & Daniel Jones

week- 7-fantasy football-start sit-start-zach ertz-chuba hubbard-sit-damien williams-daniel jones

A Category Five Bye-nado is upon us with the Bills, Cowboys, Jaguars, Vikings, Chargers and Steelers all out this week.

The good news is it’s the only week this year with six teams on bye.

The bad news is you still need to find nine or so starters for this week that are playing.

There’s no shortage of matchups to avoid in Week 7: BroncosBrowns will be a slop fest, and the PanthersGiants, JetsPatriots, SaintsSeahawks and Colts49ers all have sub-45 point totals, which could be tough for some fantasy players.

Below are players at each position you should definitely start, as well as others you should consider sitting based on matchups, injuries and trends.

Week 7 Start ‘Em

Quarterbacks to Start

Ryan Tannehill, Titans vs. Chiefs

Tannehill was QB7 last season, but has seriously struggled this year. He is QB23 on a per-game basis behind Daniel Jones, Taylor Heinicke, Carson Wentz and Teddy Bridgewater. Tennessee’s offensive line woes have hurt his performance, as the unit has allowed the third-most sacks per game this year. I still believe better days are ahead for Tannehill, especially against the Chiefs’ leaky defense this week, which is allowing the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks per game. Opposing signal-callers have finished top four or higher in four of six games this year. Consider Tannehill a mid-tier QB1 in what should be a shootout with the highest point total of the week (over/under 57).

Derek Carr, Raiders vs. Eagles

Carr performed well in Week 6 in spite of a difficult matchup against the Broncos and significant off-field distractions. He completed 18 of 27 attempts for 341 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions, finishing as QB11. He has another suboptimal matchup this week against the Eagles, who have allowed the fifth-fewest passing yards per game this year, but I’m confident he finishes within the top 12 based on the offense’s upside. You could certainly do worse than Carr as a low-end QB1 and bye-ocalpyse fill-in. 

Jameis Winston, Saints at Seahawks

Winston has been a far cry from the gunslinger we knew for the first five seasons of his NFL career. His attempts have been low and he surprisingly went three games without passing for more than 148 yards. He looked strong in Week 5 against Washington and completed 15 of 30 attempts for 279 yards, four touchdowns and one interception, finishing as QB5 for the week. He will be well-rested coming off of a Week 6 bye and will face the Seahawks, who have given up the fifth-most passing yards per game this year. He should also be a serviceable streamer this week.

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Wide Receivers to Start

Jaylen Waddle, Dolphins vs. Falcons

Waddle reeled in a season-high 70 yards and two touchdowns in Week 6 against the Jaguars. He is the only wide receiver on this team that could be considered even remotely reliable with DeVante Parker and Will Fuller dealing with injuries. The Dolphins face the Falcons this week, who are giving up the eighth-most fantasy points to wide receivers this year. Consider Waddle a solid WR2 play.

Courtland Sutton, Broncos at Browns

Sutton is a start for me no matter who’s at quarterback. It’s highly unlikely that Jerry Jeudy returns from injury in time for the Broncos’ Thursday night showdown against the Case Keenum-led Browns. Sutton has 25 targets, 15 catches, 214 yards and two touchdowns over the last two weeks playing stronger defenses than the Browns have; Cleveland is allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to receivers this year and Sutton’s role as the No. 1 option in this offense remains solid. 

nfl-odds-picks-predictions-broncos-vs-browns-spread-prop-bet-thursday-night-football
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images. Pictured: Broncos WR Courtland Sutton, QB Teddy Bridgewater

Terry McLaurin, Washington at Green Bay

McLaurin has struggled over the last two weeks, including in a plush game against the Chiefs in Week 6. He finished as WR51 and WR64 in half PPR, but he is still WR17 through six weeks. The Washington wideout is banged up with a hamstring injury that is certainly concerning. If he starts, he should be considered a low-end WR1 with Jaire Alexander unlikely to return for this game.

Allen Robinson II, Bears at Buccaneers

Robinson has been one of the biggest busts of the year thus far. He is currently WR58 in half PPR and has yet to score more than double-digit fantasy points this season. The good news is his target share hasn’t dropped. Justin Fields did have his best game of the season last week, and the Bears play the Buccaneers’ leaky secondary this week. Tampa ranks seventh-worst against fantasy wide receivers, making Robinson and Darnell Mooney both good WR3/flex plays this week.

Christian Kirk, Cardinals vs. Texans 

Kyler Murray has been playing absolutely phenonomenal football, which has benefitted all of his receivers including Kirk, who is WR26 through six weeks in half PPR. He had a strong Week 6 performance in Cleveland and caught five of eight passes for 75 yards and a touchdown. The Cardinals face the Texans this week, which should be another favorable matchup in which Kirk should be considered a WR3/flex.

Running Backs to Start

Cordarrelle Patterson, Falcons at Dolphins

Patterson has been a fantastic story this season. This Year 9 breakout isn’t one I had on my bingo card and it’s been an absolute joy to watch. He was RB4 in half PPR through five weeks and will be well-rested coming off of the team’s Week 6 bye to face Miami. He’s a hybrid passer and rusher, which works well against the Dolphins, who struggle to protect against both. Consider him a low-end RB1 this week.

Chuba Hubbard, Panthers at Giants

Hubbard is a must-start once again with Christian McCaffrey now on injured reserve for at least the next two weeks. Including the game McCaffrey went down early in Week 3, Hubbard is RB17 in half PPR. He found the end zone for the first time in his career last week and should have a field day against the Giants defense, which ranks third-worst in the NFL against the run. Hubbard is a low-end RB1 this week.

Elijah Mitchell, 49ers vs. Colts

Mitchell didn’t necessarily blow the doors off in his Week 5 return from dealing with a shoulder injury. He saw nine carries for 43 yards and caught both of his targets for 19 yards, finishing as RB40 in half PPR. What he does have going for him is Kyle Shanahan seems to hate Trey Sermon, who saw just one carry all game. Mitchell has a somewhat difficult matchup this week against the Colts, but should perform well in light of volume alone. He is a locked-in RB2 this week.

fantasy-impact-if-49ers-rb-elijah-mitchell-is-active-vs-out-in-week-4-what-it-means-for-trey-sermon
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images. Pictured: 49ers RB Elijah Mitchell (#45)

J.D. McKissic, Washington at Packers

McKissic had another good game in Week 6 and benefitted from Antonio Gibson exiting early. He saw eight carries for 45 yards and caught eight of 10 targets for 65 yards, finishing as RB17 in half PPR. Gibson’s status is questionable heading into Week 7 in Green Bay. If he sits out, McKissic will have high-end RB2 value, and if he plays, expect McKissic to still produce as a flex, especially given his safe floor with rushing.

Michael Carter, Jets at Patriots

Carter appears to have taken over this backfield for now over Ty Johnson and Tevin Coleman. He saw 10 carries for 38 yards and scored for the second game in a row and caught three passes for 20 yards in Week 5. I anticipate this week will be difficult for Zach Wilson and the passing game, which likely spells more carries for the running backs. Carter is a high-end RB3/flex play this week.

Tight Ends to Start

Ricky Seals-Jones, Washington at Packers

The popular waiver wire pickup delivered in the Football Team’s plush Week 6 matchup against the Chiefs. He caught four of six targets for 48 yards and a touchdown and finished as TE6 in half PPR. Tight end is basically a crapshoot at this point, though I like Seals-Jones’ situation with Logan Thomas out. He is getting the targets and has a solid matchup against the Packers this week.

Zach Ertz, Cardinals vs. Texans 

Zach Ertz is free from the Eagles’ two-man tight end committee and should get a huge boost by joining the Cardinals. For one, the team is better coached and has an infinitely better passer in Kyler Murray over Jalen Hurts. He faces Houston, which should be a cupcake matchup and immediately vaults him into TE1 territory.

Hunter Henry, Patriots vs. Jets 

Henry saw just two targets in Week 6 but scored for the third game in a row. He has finished as a top-12 tight end in each of the last three games and faces the Jets this week, who have given up the tenth-most fantasy points to tight ends this year. He is a solid top-12 play in Week 7.

Defenses to Start

Saints Defense at Seahawks

The Saints have been sneaky good this year on defense and have finished top two in two weeks this year. This should be a fantastic matchup for them opposite a Geno Smith-led Seahawks team that seriously struggled against the Steelers last week. New Orleans is a top play in Week 7.

Packers Defense vs. Washington 

The Packers defense doesn’t have the “wow factor” that other teams do, especially with star cornerback Jaire Alexander still on injured reserve. They have been consistent, however, scoring exactly seven points in each of the last four games. Green Bay faces Washington’s anemic offense this week, which should be a moderate- to low-scoring affair and present some takeaway opportunities from Taylor Heinicke.

Week 7 Sit ‘Em

Quarterbacks to Sit

Daniel Jones, Giants vs. Panthers

Jones has been a complete dud for fantasy in each of the last two weeks. He scored five fantasy points in Week 5 and seven fantasy points in Week 6, finishing as QB34 and QB28 (with four teams on bye), respectively. Remind me how many teams play in the NFL? In theory, it should be an okay matchup for the Giants, as the Panthers were just lit up by Kirk Cousins last week for 373 yards and three touchdowns, but I have next to no faith in Jones as a viable starter in one-quarterback leagues, even with six teams on bye.

Taylor Heinicke, Washington at Green Bay

Heinicke has struggled of late and has finished as QB25 and QB24 in Weeks 5 and 6. He was unable to capitalize on a positive matchup in Week 6 against the Chiefs and surprisingly saw zero rushing attempts in the game. His rushing abilities were a major component of what made him an attractive QB play in previous weeks. Washington could fall behind fast against the Packers in a game that isn’t expected to be particularly close (Packers -8.5). He is a QB2 with downside this week.

Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers vs. Colts

It appears Garoppolo will get the start this week with rookie Trey Lance dealing with a knee injury he suffered before the 49ers’ Week 6 bye. It may be tempting to start Garoppolo in this spot, especially against the Colts’ exploitable secondary, but I would definitely temper expectations. He has yet to finish inside the top 12 in any start this year and is a low-upside QB2 in Week 7.

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Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images. Pictured: Jimmy Garoppolo.

Wide Receivers to Sit

Kadarius Toney, Giants vs. Panthers

Toney is banged up with an ankle injury and there’s a good chance he actually sits this game out. Regardless, he isn’t an attractive play this week against Carolina’s pass defense, which has allowed the second-fewest passing yards this year. His workload will also take a hit now that Sterling Shepard is back and seems to not have missed a step at all. Shepard was peppered with targets (14) in Week 6 in his return and should be considered the No. 1 option in this lackluster offense.

Corey Davis, Jets at Patriots

Davis will be well-rested coming off of the Jets’ Week 6 bye only to be met by the rookie quarterback kryptonite, Bill Belichick. To say Gang Green’s Zach Wilson struggled in his first meeting against New England would be a vast understatement: The rookie threw zero touchdowns and four interceptions in an embarrassing meltdown in the Meadowlands. Davis scored just two fantasy points in half PPR in the game and will likely struggle in their second meeting this week. Consider him a risky WR3 with a near-zero floor.

Odell Beckham Jr., Browns vs. Broncos

Beckham is banged up with a shoulder injury that may keep him out of this game entirely. Even if he plays, he’s not an attractive start opposite Case Keenum, who is subbing in for Baker Mayfield (dealing with a non-throwing shoulder injury of his own). Weather is also expected to be a factor in this game with high winds and rain. Beckham is a definitive sit for me.

Tyler Boyd, Bengals at Ravens

Boyd has had three solid games and three bad games this year. Two of his good games came with Tee Higgins sidelined in Weeks 3 and 4. He has since fallen off a cliff and finished as WR74 and WR100 in the last two weeks in half PPR. Boyd is borderline droppable at this point in light of his low volume and low upside.

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Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Tyler Boyd.

Robby Anderson, Panthers at Giants

I, for one, refuse to fall for the Robby Anderson honey pot. It’s definitely going to be tempting to start him against the Giants and after he was targeted a whopping 11 times last week and scored a touchdown — his first since Week 1. Unfortunately he caught just three of those 11 targets, which has been a theme this year. He has an abysmal 37.5% catch rate which ranks third-worst in the NFL right now among pass-catchers. Consider him a low-upside WR4 this week.

Running Backs to Sit

Damien Williams, Bears at Buccaneers

Williams performed very well in his last two games, finishing as RB20 in each week with David Montgomery sidelined for most of that time. He missed Week 6 after testing positive for COVID-19 and was placed on the reserve list. There’s a looming chance Williams will not be activated  in time for the Bears’ Week 7 game and even if he is, it’s a brutal matchup against the Buccaneers, who are allowing a NFL-low 54.8 rushing yards per game. Toss in the fact that Khalil Herbert looked good last week and Williams will likely split work with him, he’s an easy sit for me.

Trey Sermon, 49ers vs. Colts

The real question is, why is Sermon still on your team? He had every opportunity to take hold of this backfield while Elijah Mitchell was out with a shoulder injury and failed to do so. When Mitchell returned in Week 5, Sermon saw just one carry for seven yards. He is droppable at this point. Requiem en terra pax, Sermon season.

Jamaal Williams, Lions at Rams

Williams’ workload has gone down significantly over the course of the season. He saw a whopping nine targets in Week 1 and has seen nine targets total since. He also saw a season-low four attempts last week and finished with one fantasy point in half PPR. The Lions face the Rams this week, which won’t be a good matchup for the running backs, as Detroit could fall behind very quickly in this one. Williams is a low-floor dart throw for Week 7.

Devonta Freeman, Ravens vs. Bengals

Freeman made it into the end zone in Week 6 for the first time all year and posted his best game as a member of the Ravens. Some of that had to do with Latavius Murray getting injured in the game, which resulted in more carries and scoring opportunities for Freeman and Le’Veon Bell. Freeman is a passable desperation play this week with six teams on bye, though I’d rather have nothing to do with this backfield all together. Cincinnati’s run defense has also actually been quite solid this year, allowing the eighth-fewest rushing yards per game.

Kenneth Gainwell, Eagles at Raiders

Gainwell started the year quite strong against Atlanta and finished as RB20. His workload has declined over time, however, and he saw zero carries in a brutal Week 6 matchup against Tampa. He isn’t seeing nearly the volume necessary to be a viable starter, even in a good matchup against the Raiders.

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Tight Ends to Sit

Robert Tonyan, Packers vs. Washington

I am once again asking why you are considering starting Tonyan at all. I understand he was drafted as a top-12 tight end, but it’s past due to cut ties. He disappointed once again in Week 6, posting his fifth week of two or fewer fantasy points in half PPR. It’s a nice matchup against Washington’s exploitable defense, but he simply isn’t getting anything near the volume needed to be a reliable starter.

Evan Engram, Giants vs. Panthers

Engram has had ample opportunities with much of the Giants’ wide receiver corps banged up, but hasn’t done much with it. He has yet to score a touchdown and faces the Panthers this week, who will be a tough matchup for Daniel Jones et al. He’s also banged up with a calf injury and did not practice on Thursday. It’s a hard pass for me in Week 7, even in light of the limited bye week options.

Mo Alie-Cox, Colts at 49ers

Alie-Cox scored for the third time in three games last week as the Colts made swift work of the Texans. He did that on just one catch, however, and isn’t seeing the necessary volume to be a viable starter, especially if T.Y. Hilton plays. This offense is simply too low volume to sustain multiple fantasy-relevant players.

Defenses to Sit

Washington  Defense at Packers

Washington’s defense has been very exploitable this season for opposing offenses, but has been somewhat serviceable in the right matchups as a streamer. That said, I do not trust them against the Packers, who have given up the seventh-fewest fantasy points to team defenses.

washington-vs-falcons-odds-picks-week-4-nfl-predictions-which-disappointing-team-will-cover-this-spr
Joshua Bessex/Getty Images. Pictured: Washington Football Team DE Chase Young

Bears Defense at Buccaneers

The Bears are 12.5-point underdogs in this game, which has a point total of 47, giving the Buccaneers an implied total of well over 30 points. It isn’t going to be pretty against one of the top offenses in the NFL that has allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing team defenses. This game that could very easily get away from the Bears; they are an automatic sit for me this week.

Louisiana vs. Arkansas State Odds, Predictions, Picks: Betting Value Lies With Friday’s Over/Under (October 21)

college football-odds-picks-louisiana ragin cajuns vs arkansas state red wolves-thursday, oct-21

Louisiana vs. Arkansas State Odds

Thursday, Oct. 21
7:30 p.m. ET
ESPNU
Louisiana Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-18
-105
70
-110o / -110u
-900
Arkansas State Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+18
-115
70
-110o / -110u
+600
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Few things make me happier than Sun Belt football — one of them being midweek Sun Belt football.

On Thursday night, the red-hot Ragin’ Cajuns will head to Jonesboro, Arkansas, to square off against the Red Wolves in this matchup of best vs. worst in the Sun Belt’s West Division.

Louisiana is coming off of a blowout win over App State in which it led by double digits from the end of the first quarter on. Since losing their first game of the season, the Ragin’ Cajuns have won five games in a row but have only covered the spread in two of the five.

Arkansas State has gone in the opposite direction, though. After winning its first outing, it has lost every game since and only covered the spread in two of those five losses.

Can Louisiana keep its streak alive on the road this week? Or will the Red Wolves find a way to get their season back on track?

More importantly, after opening at 15.5 and still climbing past 17.5, is this spread going to be too large for a Ragin’ Cajuns team that is 0-3 ATS on the road this year?

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Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns

Louisiana Offense

Senior quarterback Levi Lewis has led a balanced Louisiana attack that averages 30.5 points and 405 yards per game. 

So far this year, Lewis has completed 62.3 percent of his passes for 1,305 yards while only throwing two interceptions and accounting for six touchdowns. Lewis also has an elite group of receivers, which makes his life even easier.

A huge benefit for Lewis has been a veteran offensive line that has been solid in pass protection, allowing only nine sacks in six games. And while it’s not the bulk of their offense the Ragin’ Cajuns’ rushing attack can be dangerous, with talent all the way down the depth chart. 

Four players alone have collectively accounted for 1,062 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground in six games


Louisiana Defense

On the opposite side of the ball, Louisiana defensive lineman Zi’Yon Hill leads the Ragin’ Cajuns in sacks and tackles for a loss. 

The Red Wolves’ high-powered passing attack will be put to the test against a veteran Louisiana defense that allows just 347 yards on 20 points per game.

Louisiana ranks in the top 50 in points per game, yards per play and is fourth in the nation at converting fourth downs. The defense ranks almost 100 spots higher than Arkansas State in rushing yards allowed and points per game. 

Billy Napier hopes to improve his career record against divisional foes to a perfect 14-0 with a win on Thursday night. Napier also will be in search of his 12th straight regular-season road win against Sun Belt competition.

The Ragin’ Cajuns have at points seemed unstoppable, most recently last week against App State. They limited the Mountaineers’ offense to just 211 yards and capitalized on four turnovers in the 41-13 victory.

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Arkansas State Red Wolves

Arkansas State Offense

The Red Wolves are very good offensively, averaging 440.2 yards on 30 points per game. Nearly all of their offense has come through a passing attack that ranks No. 1 in the Sun Belt.

The Red Wolves average 358.3 passing yards per game. 

Unfortunately, they will be without five-game starter James Blackman (shoulder injury) at quarterback on Thursday night.

Layne Hatcher, who has been splitting time under center and has had success, will be in his place. So far this year, Hatcher has connected on 57.4 percent of his passes for 806 yards with nine touchdowns and three interceptions.


Arkansas State Defense

There is no team worse in all of D-I college football defensively overall than the Arkansas State Red Wolves.

They rank last in the FBS in yards allowed per game (584 per game), scoring defense (46.7 points per game), rushing yards allowed per carry (6.94) and yards allowed per pass attempt (10.3). 

As a result, they have surrendered 18 touchdowns on the ground and 18 additional scores through the air.

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Louisiana vs. Arkansas State Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Louisiana and Arkansas State match up statistically:

Louisiana Offense vs. Arkansas State Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 47 101
Line Yards 41 116
Pass Success 71 112
Pass Blocking** 27 45
Big Play 12 123
Havoc 39 113
Finishing Drives 26 120
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Arkansas State Offense vs. Louisiana Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 100 39
Line Yards 47 108
Pass Success 54 76
Pass Blocking** 72 78
Big Play 32 92
Havoc 115 93
Finishing Drives 103 22
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 116 127
Coverage 92 128
Middle 8 105 130
SP+ Special Teams 105 32
Plays per Minute 54 11
Rush Rate 55.2% (63) 35.8% (128)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.


Louisiana vs. Arkansas State Betting Pick

Louisiana leads the all-time series against Arkansas State, 26-20-1. 

The Ragin’ Cajuns have won each of the last three meetings in the series, including a 27-20 victory over the Red Wolves last season in Lafayette.

The over is 4-0 in the Ragin’ Cajuns’ last four road games vs. a team with a losing home record.

The over is also 4-1 in the Red Wolves’ last five games after allowing more than 450 total yards in their previous game.

Arkansas State should be able to put some points on the scoreboard with its explosive passing game. But Louisiana will likely score points at will against the worst defense in the nation.

Because of that, I’m taking the over at 70, and I would take it up to 71.5

Pick: Over 70 (Play to 71.5)

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San Jose State vs. UNLV College Football Betting System Pick: The Model Edge to Bet for Thursday Night

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San Jose State vs. UNLV Odds

San Jose State Odds -4
UNLV Odds +4
Over/Under 44
Date Thursday, Oct. 21
Time 11 p.m. ET
TV CBS Sports

*Odds as of Thursday morning

Let me start by saying that there’s absolutely no chance I’ll be awake for this game.

College football 11 p.m. ET kickoffs aren’t my cup of tea these days, but this also serves a subtle reminder that betting value and games you’ll be watching aren’t tied at the hip.

Yes, you can bet on games that you’re too busy (or old) to see live and visa versa.

Many, especially those living on the East Coast, might have little interest in Thursday night’s San Jose State vs. UNLV matchup, but according to our College Football PRO Projections, those who bet solely for value should.

In fact, according to our college football betting model, San Jose State vs. UNLV is providing the fifth-largest spread betting edge of any Week 8 matchup.

Here’s the side of tonight’s matchup popping with so much value.

San Jose State vs. UNLV Betting Prediction


The Spartans currently sit as 4-point favorites (click here for live college football odds) against the Rebels and The Action Network’s PRO Projections suggest that line should be higher.

Our college football betting model projects the San Jose State vs. UNLV spread at -7.3, an edge of 6.3% when compared to the widely-available -4.

At the time of writing, there are just five college football Week 8 edges (both spread and over/under) bigger than San Jose State -4, so be sure to check out our College Football PRO Projections feature for all of the weekend’s top value bets.

PRO Projections Picks: San Jose State -4

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NFL Betting Notes & Trends: Is Home-Field Advantage Being Overvalued Early in the Season?

home-field-advantage-overvalued-odds-notes-trends

The NFL is a notoriously tough market to beat. With readily-available info shaping ultra-sharp lines, many trends and patterns typically don’t make it too long.

However, fading home teams – particularly early in the season – continues to fill bettors’ pockets at a rapid pace.

Adjusting for home-field advantage is nothing new for bettors. It’s a necessary handicapping tactic in any sport involving travel, fans and an array of different variables.

But are bettors overvaluing home teams in the NFL too early when the stakes aren’t as high? That may be the case.

Visiting teams covered nine of 13 spreads in Week 7. That might be a shock on the surface, but blindly betting against home teams in the months of September and October has yielded ridiculous results.

NFL Home Teams ATS in September/October

  • 2021: 37-54 ATS (40.7%)
  • 2020: 47-59 ATS (44.3%)
  • 2019: 45-72-2 ATS (38.5%)

That’s a collective 129-185-2 clip, which comes out to a gross 41.1% win rate for the home side over the last three years. Only once this season have eight or more home teams covered over a given week (Week 3).

For decades, the standard adjustment for home teams in the NFL had been roughly three points.

However, that number is on the decline, and it’s sharpened by a handful of different factors, according to Bet Labs product manager Travis Reed.

“On average, home-field advantage is worth 1.5 points in my model, although it will vary based on divisional matchups, byes and Thursday games, among other factors,” he said. “I haven’t deliberately lowered home-field advantage this season yet, as it’s still possible there’s a lot of variance that has led to poor results from home teams thus far.”

Perhaps there was an over-adjustment by the market in last year’s pandemic season, in which stadiums were either empty or filled in limited capacities. But we can’t make many excuses for 2019 and the current season, which have produced worse win rates for home teams than the COVID year.

The Action Network’s Raheem Palmer is even more bearish when projecting home-field advantage.

“It’s worth less than a point in the NFL this season,” he added.

Here’s who is in action for the upcoming slate, with six teams on bye. This is the penultimate week to cash in on the visitors before the calendar flips to November.

Week 8 Spreads

Home Team Road Team Spread
Browns Broncos CLE -1
Patriots Jets NE -7
Ravens Bengals BAL -6.5
Dolphins Falcons ATL -2.5
Titans Chiefs KC -4.5
Packers Washington GB -7.5
Giants Panthers CAR -3
Rams Lions LAR -15
Raiders Eagles LV -3
Buccaneers Bears TB -12.5
Cardinals Texans ARI -17.5
49ers Colts SF -4.5
Seahawks Saints NO -4.5

 

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College Fantasy Football & CFB DFS Rankings: Top 10 Players by Position in Week 8

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Our friends at theCFFsite have graciously delivered Week 8 college fantasy football rankings to share for those of you who are CFF die-hards, CFB DFS players and college football player props degenerates.

Below, check out theCFFsite’s top-10 college football DFS/fantasy players at each skill position — Quarterback, Running Back, Wide Receiver, Tight End, D/ST and Kicker.

Become a member of theCFFsite and gain access to all exclusive DFS and college fantasy football content, which includes all write-ups and Weekly Player Rankings/Projections.

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Top 10 College Fantasy Football Quarterbacks for Week 8

Team
Quarterback
Opponent
Malik Willis, Liberty
at North Texas
Bailey Zappe, Western Kentucky
at FIU
Caleb Williams, Oklahoma
at Kansas
Tanner Mordecai, SMU
vs. Tulane
Matt Corral, Ole Miss
at LSU
KJ Jefferson, Arkansas
vs. UAPB
Malik Cunningham, Louisville
vs. Boston College
Brennan Armstrong, Virginia
vs. Georgia Tech
Jake Haener, Fresno State
vs. Nevada
Jordan Travis, Florida State
vs. UMass

Top 10 College Fantasy Football Running Backs for Week 8

Team
Running Back
Opponent
Jerome Ford, Cincinnati
at Navy
Sean Tucker, Syracuse
at Virginia Tech
Brian Robinson Jr., Alabama
vs. Tennessee
TreVeyon Henderson, Ohio State
at Indiana
Lew Nichols III, Central Michigan
vs. Northern Illinois
Breece Hall, Iowa State
vs. Oklahoma State
Tyrion Davis-Price, LSU
vs. Ole Miss
Kyren Williams, Notre Dame
vs. USC
Deuce Vaughn, Kansas State
at Texas Tech
Calvin Turner, Hawaii
vs. New Mexico State

Top 10 College Fantasy Football Wide Receivers for Week 8

Team
Wide Receiver
Opponent
Jerreth Sterns, Western Kentucky
at FIU
Drake London, USC
at Notre Dame
Deven Thompkins, Utah State
vs. Colorado State
Treylon Burks, Arkansas
vs. UAPB
Calvin Austin III, Memphis
at UCF
Chris Olave, Ohio State
at Indiana
Skyy Moore, Western Michigan
at Toledo
Danny Gray, SMU
vs. Tulane
Jalen Cropper, Fresno State
vs. Nevada
Justin Hall, Ball State
vs. Miami (OH)

Top 10 College Fantasy Football Tight Ends for Week 8

Team
Tight End
Opponent
Trey McBride, Colorado State
at Utah State
Cole Turner, Nevada
at Fresno State
Sean Dykes, Memphis
at UCF
Derrick Deese Jr., San Jose State
vs. UNLV
Michael Mayer, Notre Dame
vs. USC
Trae Barry, Boston College
at Louisville
Jelani Woods, Virginia
vs. Georgia Tech
Greg Dulcich, UCLA
vs. Oregon
Charlie Kolar, Iowa State
vs. Oklahoma State
Tyrick James, Tulane
at SMU

Top 10 College Fantasy Football Defense/Special Teams Units for Week 8

Team
Defense/Special Teams
Opponent
Arkansas Razorbacks
vs. UAPB
Wyoming Cowboys
vs. New Mexico
UAB Blazers
vs. Rice
Cincinnati Bearcats
at Navy
Florida State Seminoles
vs. UMass
Penn State Nittany Lions
vs. Illinois
Texas A&M Aggies
vs. South Carolina
Washington Huskies
at Arizona
Michigan Wolverines
vs. Northwestern
Oklahoma Sooners
at Kansas

Top 10 College Fantasy Football Kickers for Week 8

Team
Kicker
Opponent
Gabe Brkic, Oklahoma
at Kansas
Cayden Camper, Colorado State
at Utah State
Hunter Duplessis, UTSA
at Louisiana Tech
Will Reichard, Alabama
vs. Tennessee
Noah Ruggles, Ohio State
at Indiana
Jake Moody, Michigan
vs. Northwestern
Brandon Talton, Nevada
at Fresno State
Nick Sciba, Wake Forest
at Army
Brayden Narveson, Western Kentucky
at FIU
Cam Little, Arkansas
vs. UAPB

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Thursday NBA Odds & Pick for Bucks vs. Heat: Can Giannis Antetokounmpo Will Milwaukee to Win?

bucks-vs-heat-odds-preview-prediction-pick-nba-october-21-2021

Updated Bucks vs. Heat Odds

Editor’s note: This story was published before Jrue Holliday and Brook Lopez were ruled out for the Bucks, and has been updated since, including our betting angle.

Bucks Odds +2.5
Heat Odds -2.5
Over/Under 223.5
Time 8 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Miami Heat tip off their NBA season by hosting the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night.

The Bucks began their bid to repeat by knocking off the Nets, 127-104, in their season opener on Tuesday night. Giannis Antetokounmpo picked up where he left off in The Finals by posting team highs in points (32), rebounds (14), and assists (seven) in the win.

The Heat upset the top-seeded Bucks in the second round of the 2020 playoffs in the bubble, but after the Bucks added Jrue Holiday, they swept the Heat in the first round of the 2021 playoffs.

This season the Heat have added a point guard of their own with the signing of Kyle Lowry in free agency. Will the addition of Lowry be enough to lift the Heat over the Bucks on Thursday night? Let’s find out as the Bucks are a short two-point road favorite.

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Milwaukee Bucks

If the Bucks win and cover as road favorites, it will be because Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo have huge nights while players like Grayson Allen and Pat Connaughton shoot efficiently from beyond the arc.

The Bucks have a long injury report as Jrue Holiday (heel), Brook Lopez (back) Donte DiVincenzo (ankle), Bobby Portis (hamstring), Semi Ojeleye (calf), and Rodney Hood (foot) are all out.

With Holiday, Lopez, DiVincenzo, and Portis out, the Bucks will be without their third, fourth, fifth, and sixth leading scorers from last season. Pair this with the fact that Bryn Forbes is no longer on the roster, and the Bucks have just two players who scored more than seven points per game last season: Antetokounmpo and Middleton.

Middleton is the Bucks’ best scorer from the midrange and beyond the arc, and he will need to take advantage of the open looks that he will get when the Heat go all out to stop Antetokounmpo from getting easier looks at the rim.

If this is a close game late, like Game 1 of the playoff series between these teams last year, Middleton will need to hit clutch shots for the Bucks to escape what should be a rocking atmosphere in Miami.

In their four playoff games against the Heat last season, the Bucks outrebounded the Heat by an average of 16.75 rebounds per game, but they will need to make threes in this game to make up for their lack of size and depth inside.

The Bucks will need to weather the storm when Antetokounmpo checks out as the Bucks only have one other center or power forward available: rookie power forward Sandro Mamukelashvili.

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Miami Heat

If the Heat pull off the upset, they will need Kyle Lowry to have a big game in his Heat debut while shooters Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro score efficiently from beyond the arc. The Heat’s injury report is much shorter than that of the Bucks as Victor Oladipo (quadriceps) is the only player listed as he remains out indefinitely.

Kyle Lowry’s debut is the most interesting part of this game for me. The Heat didn’t have a true point guard last year, and with their two best players, Jimmy Butler and Adebayo, not being above-average three-point shooters, the Heat will need Lowry to set them up in advantageous positions.

In the preseason, Lowry has made it a priority to push the ball in transition so that the Heat’s athletic and savvy playmakers can get easier buckets without facing a set defense.

This will be important against a Bucks defense that likes to pack the paint and will likely force Butler and Adebayo to become jump-shooters as much as possible in the halfcourt. However, without Lopez available, expect the Bucks to switch much more often than they otherwise would at full strength.

The addition of Lowry is also significant because it means that the Heat won’t need to run their offense through Adebayo at the elbow by using as many dribble handoffs as last year. Lowry’s presence as both a quality shooter and shot creator means that the Heat can get the ball to Adebayo with more spacing so that he can utilize his freakish size, explosiveness, and touch to score more easily than settling for pull ups from the elbow.

For more on how Lowry’s addition affects Adebayo’s role offensively, check out this breakdown from Brady Hawk of Five Reasons Sports.

Robinson, Herro, and even Max Strus should also benefit from Lowry’s addition into the offense, and their shooting will be key against a Bucks defense that wants to force jumpshots.

Last season, the Bucks allowed the most non-corner three-point attempts last season (30.6% of opponent shots) and the most long midrange shot attempts (13.2% of opponent shots) in the NBA, per Cleaning The Glass. With Goran Dragic and Kendrick Nunn gone, the Heat will need Herro and other shooters to step up in the midrange as well as beyond the arc.

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Bucks-Heat Pick

Expect this game to have the physicality and intensity of a postseason game as the Heat were eliminated at home against a very similar Bucks team to end last season. However, the Bucks have been decimated by injuries as they are without two key starters in Holiday and Lopez while they also have just two frontcourt players available.

The Heat didn’t have a strong point-of-attack defense against the Bucks last season, and this led to some over-switching and Bucks bigs matched up against smaller Heat players when fighting for rebounds. This time around, the Heat will be the bigger team, and the Bucks will likely switch much more than they are used to without Lopez anchoring the drop (and also Holiday running over screens).

The Bucks will also switch heavily when Antetokounmpo is off the floor. If this was a playoff game, I would expect Antetokounmpo to play about 40 minutes given the lack of depth around him in the frontcourt, but with this being just the second game of the season, there is no need to play him that much, especially considering the other injuries this Bucks team is already dealing with.

Expect the Heat to come out guns blazing in a revenge game against this depleted Bucks team. The addition of Lowry will help the Heat get some easy looks in transition, and Butler and Adebayo will take advantage of the Bucks’ switching defense by getting mismatches that will lead to buckets or free throws.

The Bucks will need a superhuman effort from Antetokounmpo and Middleton to win or cover, and although this is very possible, this feels like an unlikely spot for that to happen against a Heat team that will be able to focus its defensive efforts on those two with the other leading scorers for the Bucks out.

Confidently take the Heat at -2 with value down to -4.5 against the shorthanded Bucks for one unit. If you want a little more action than just one unit, I recommend a live bet on the spread or moneyline (only at a better number than you bought pregame) when Antetokounmpo goes to the bench for the first time.

Pick:  Heat -2 (bet to -4.5)

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Eagles vs. Raiders Odds, Promo: Bet $10, Win $200 if the Eagles Cover +50!

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The Philadelphia Eagles have been underdogs in the betting market for every game this season, and that won’t change when they play the Raiders on Sunday.

Not so sure the Eagles can cover the spread? Well, maybe you’d feel safer betting on TNF tonight with this boosted option:

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Las Vegas is favored over Philadelphia by about a field goal at home in Week 7.

Would you rather bet on the Eagles +3 or the Eagles +50? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

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Alabama vs. Tennessee Odds, Promo: Bet $10, Win $200 if the Crimson Tide Cover +50!

No. 4 Alabama is no longer the top team in the nation after falling to Texas A&M in Week 6, but they’ll have a great chance to get back in the College Football Playoff. The Crimson Tide host the Tennessee Volunteers in Week 8.

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Indiana vs. Ohio State Odds, Promo: Bet $10, Win $200 if the Hoosiers Cover +50!

The Hoosiers fell to Michigan State last weekend, and they’ll have another tough Big Ten matchup in Week 8 against No. 5 Ohio State.

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Thursday NHL Odds & Picks for Hurricanes at Canadiens: Will Montreal’s Struggles Continue?

Hurricanes at Canadiens Odds

Hurricanes Odds -120
Canadiens Odds +100
Over/Under 6o+100
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Montreal Canadiens are off to their worst start since 1996 and risk losing their fifth straight game to start the season. The Habs host the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night, as the Canes look to begin the season with three consecutive victories.

The advanced metrics support that the Hurricanes have a substantive advantage, but that’s not reflected in the betting price.

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Carolina Hurricanes

The Canes are buzzing to start the seasons, outplaying their opponents across all strengths in both of their games. In total, Carolina has the eighth-best expected goals-for percentage at 57.7%, thanks to their impressive powerplay metrics.

The Canes are capitalizing on 22.2% of their powerplay opportunities through two games, with three of their nine goals being scored with the man advantage.

That is noteworthy production; however, there is more room to grow for the Canes. Carolina finished last season with the second-ranked powerplay unit, scoring on 25.6% of their powerplay chances, recording the third-most goals. The Canes will have room to operate against an ineffective Habs penalty kill, increasing their production metrics and dragging output up with it.

Tonight’s contest is also a homecoming for Jesperi Kotkaniemi. The young forward signed an offer sheet from the Canes this off-season that the Canadiens didn’t match, and now he’s set for his first game back in Montreal as a visitor. Kotkaniemi will have a chance to shine against his former team, playing on the Canes’ top line with Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen.

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Montreal Canadiens

The Habs have been an unadulterated mess this season. The team is 0-4-0 to start the season, and their metrics suggest that there’s little relief within reach. Montreal has been badly outplayed and that should continue on Thursday night.

Through four games, Montreal’s expected goals-for percentage sits at 44.4%, which is the sixth-worst in the league. On a game-by-game basis, the Habs have been outplayed in three of four, despite getting some ideal matchups against inferior opponents.

Granted, Montreal’s metrics are slightly improved at five-on-five; but, they remain below 50.0% in most relative metrics to start the season, meaning they are attempting fewer chances than they are creating. It’s going to be challenging to break out of their funk against a team that continues to dictate the game flow and overpower their opponents.

Carey Price and Shea Weber remain unavailable to the Habs, and it’s not clear when, or if, either player will rejoin the team. Until then, the Habs are destined for more ongoing challenges like they’ve had to start the season.

Canadiens vs. Hurricanes  Pick

The Habs have given up at least one power play goal in every game this season, and the Canes remain among the best in the league in capitalizing on those chances. Carolina will benefit from the extra time and space in the attacking zone, prolonging Montreal’s misery to start the season.

This is a short price on a much better team, and it’s worth making a play on the Canes beyond the -120 currently available.

Pick: Hurricanes -120

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Memphis Grizzlies Odds, Promos: Bet $10, Win $200 if They Hit a 3-Pointer, and More!

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Thursday NBA Player Prop Betting Picks: Clint Capela, Reggie Bullock and Grayson Allen Lead Card

thursday nba player props-picks-bets-grayson allen-october 21-2021

Well, that was more like it!

We hit two of our three props last night to get on the board for the season, and we did it in style with LaMelo Ball and Robert Williams smashing their overs. There’s typically real value on some of these overs early in the season as the books haven’t quite adjusted to new roles and are relying on last year’s data, so we’re going back to the well with three more overs tonight. Shooters gonna shoot.

For those who are new to this article, we’ll be using the Action Labs Player Prop tool to compare our NBA projections to the props posted at a variety of sportsbooks. Each bet is then graded on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best possible grade. I typically recommend almost exclusive 9s and 10s in this article, so you know you’re getting some of the best available plays, but there are plenty more props to play in the tool.

Below, I have laid out three prop bets that I’m playing, the case for each bet and the best books to find odds on those player props.

NBA Player Props & Picks

Reggie Bullock, over 1.5 threes (+125)

Mavericks at Hawks Hawks -2.5
Time | TV 7:30 p.m. ET | TNT
Best Book DraftKings

You know that great quotable scene between Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly on the classic comedy, Step Brothers? Reggie Bullock and Luka Doncic are about to become best friends.

Bullock is a new member of the Mavericks, and if history is any indication, his 3-point shooting results are about to explode. Just take a look at the last Knicks wing shooter who came to Dallas. Before Tim Hardaway Jr. came to Dallas, he was making one 3-pointer every 14.3 minutes and hitting 34% of them. Since then? He’s draining one every 10.2 minutes at a dazzling 39%, one of the top shooters in the league.

So what changed? Luka.

Doncic is one of the greatest playmakers in the game, and he is magical at drawing the defense to himself and hitting his shooters in the pocket for rhythm 3s. And Reggie Bullock is about to have a lot of fun.

Bullock is already a pretty good shooter. It’s literally what he’s out there for. Even in Tom Thibodeau’s outdated system, Bullock made a trey every 11.96 minutes last year, and he was around one every 12 minutes over the last three seasons, hitting 40%. Imagine what that will look like with Luka teeing him up.

Bullock played only one preseason game, but he got up five 3s in 14 minutes and made two of them. He made multiple 3s in 47 of 65 games last year with the Knicks, going over this line in 72% of his appearances.

We don’t know what Bullock’s role or minutes will look like yet in Dallas, and we know Jason Kidd doesn’t exactly believe in 3s, but we only need a pair of 3s from an outstanding shooter and he’s playing with Luka. So I have to like our chances here. I can’t believe we’re getting this at plus money. I’d play to -120.


Clint Capela, over 23.5 points + rebounds (+105)

Mavericks at Hawks Hawks -2.5
Time | TV 7:30 p.m. ET | TNT
Best Book DraftKings

Clint Capela quietly exploded last season for the Atlanta Hawks. He was a stealth Defensive Player of the Year candidate at one point, and he finished the season averaging 15.2 points, 14.3 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game. He then had a great playoff run all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Those 14.3 RPG led the entire NBA, and Capela was a rebounding monster. He had 15 or more rebounds in 30 games last season, a whopping 48% of his appearances. He actually went over this combo line on rebounds alone in a couple of his games.

The scoring was pretty good too, thanks to Trae Young. Capela is a huge vertical threat and a great dive man on the pick and roll, catching lobs for easy buckets from his talented point guard. He scored 15 or more points in 29 of his games last year, almost as often as he hit that rebounding total, and he cleared this combo line with just points 13 times.

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With all that scoring and rebounding, that makes this combo prop a great play. Capela went over 23.5 points + rebounds in 46 of his 63 games last year, hitting this over 73% of the time. And though he went under in both Dallas games, that was mostly because of foul trouble.

Capela had five and four fouls in those games and that limited his minutes, but he’s actually curbed his fouling tendencies — he had four or more fouls only eight times all year, and that was his only game with five. And with Onyeka Okongwu out for the Hawks, Capela may play even bigger minutes early.

As long as Capela doesn’t get into quick foul trouble, he should smash this number. He averaged 29.5 points + rebounds last year. That’s a full six points and rebounds above this line, and we are getting plus juice?!

Sign me up. I expect this number to be closer to 30 pretty soon.


Grayson Allen, over 9.5 points (-115)

Bucks at Heat Bucks -1
Time 8 p.m. ET
Best Book DraftKings

I really liked the Grayson Allen pickup for Milwaukee this offseason, and we’re already seeing why in the opener. The Bucks are missing Donte DiVincenzo for the foreseeable future, and Allen made his Milwaukee debut in DDV’s spot in the starting lineup. That makes sense. Allen is a terrific shooter who fights hard on defense, similar to DiVincenzo.

And it sure looks like Allen will get his shots up in this offense. Allen attempted 10 3-pointers, already one of the 10 highest-volume games of his career, and he did that in only 28 minutes, thanks in part to a few garbage time minutes to close out the game with him on the bench.

That’s one 3-point attempt every 2.8 minutes on the court, and while Allen probably won’t keep up that frenetic rate forever, he did take one trey every 3.7 minutes in the preseason. And we know the man can shoot. He’s made 38% of his 3s in the NBA and was a sharpshooter at Duke, too.

And remember the opponent. Miami’s defense is built to allow opponent 3-point attempts. The Heat allowed the second most 3-point attempts in the league last season and the third most the year before that. Defenses can’t take away everything, and this D is built to force the opponent to beat it with shooting. We saw what happened when those shots fall last year in the playoffs when the Bucks swept these Heat right out of the postseason.

I like Grayson’s chances of getting up plenty of shots tonight. He scored 10 in the opener on an off-shooting night. DiVincenzo had double-digit points in 38 of his 66 games last year as the starting two-guard on this team, and Allen is a much better scorer.

Allen also had six dimes in his Bucks debut, and you can play his points + assists over at plus money at DraftKings, so I was tempted to grab that here and make this a PLUS JUICE DAYYYY!!!

But I decided to keep things simple as we keep trying to get a few early wins on the board.

Have fun rooting for Grayson Allen tonight. I’m sure it’ll be a trip.

Brooklyn Nets Odds, Promo: Bet $1, Win $100 if the Nets Make a 3!

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NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions: Pick’Em Spreads For Week 7 Pools, Including Patriots, Eagles & Chiefs

nfl-odds-picks-predictions-pickem-spreads-week-7-patriots-eagles-chiefs-colts-saints

I’ll be picking five NFL sides each week of the season for DraftKings‘ Pro Football Millionaire Pick’Em contest.

Note that the spreads for this contest lock on Wednesdays, so some will be stale by the time you read this and thus not readily available outside of the contest. But you can check real-time NFL odds here.


NFL Pick’Em Spreads For Week 7

Here were the five sides for this week’s entry:

  1. Patriots -6.5: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday
  2. Chiefs -5.5: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday
  3. Eagles +3.5: 4:05 p.m. ET on Sunday
  4. Colts +3.5: 8:20 p.m. ET on Sunday
  5. Saints -4.5: 8:15 p.m. ET on Monday

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1. Patriots -6.5 vs. Jets

Home-field advantage is worth less than a point in the NFL this season, but still, this line is slightly perplexing.

The Patriots closed as 5.5-point favorites before their Week 2 win over the Jets. The Jets looked overmatched in that 25-6 loss — Zach Wilson finished 19-of-33 for 210 yards and four interceptions — and yet there’s only been a one-point adjustment moving from MetLife Stadium to Gillette Stadium.

Nevertheless, I’m not expecting things to change as Bill Belichick-coached teams are 21-6 straight up against rookie quarterbacks. This Jets offense is downright abysmal, ranking dead last in EPA/play and 30th in Success Rate, so I’m not sure if anything changes on the offensive side of the ball for the Jets.

Looking back at that Week 2 matchup, the Patriots didn’t play a great game, going just 3-of-12 on third down with Mac Jones throwing no touchdown passes as he completed 22-of-30 passes for 186 yards — his lowest yardage output of the season. I’m projecting a better offensive performance from the Patriots than their first matchup, which should be more than enough to cover.

2. Chiefs -5.5 at Titans

One of my favorite axioms in NFL betting is “always avoid the public underdog,” and there will be no greater public dog in Week 7 than the Titans, who are coming off a 34-31 victory over the Bills on Monday Night Football.

Josh Allen and the Bills offense did whatever they wanted against the Titans, out-gaining them in first downs (28 vs. 16), yards (417 vs. 362) and passing yards (335 vs. 216). However the Bills lost the game in the red zone, where they were just 2-5 including a crucial fourth-down stop to end the game. They also had a tipped passed interception that led to a Titans touchdown to make it a 17-13 game in the second quarter.

Outside of the turnover and explosive plays from Derrick Henry and Julio Jones, though, it felt like the Bills dominated the Titans in the first half.

Making matters worse, the Titans are dealing with a cluster of injuries at cornerback with Caleb Farley out for the season after suffering a torn ACL and Kristian Fulton on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. With a beat-up secondary, expect the Chiefs offense to score on nearly every possession against a Titans defense that’s 28th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA.

The injuries don’t stop there for the Titans, as left tackle Taylor Lewan is in the concussion protocol and Jones didn’t practice with a hamstring injury. The Chiefs, meanwhile, will welcome back defensive end Chris Jones and cornerback Charvarius Ward.

Overall, this is great spot to back the Chiefs.

nfl-odds-picks-predictions-bet-chiefs-eagles-wft-covers-titans-raiders-packers-week-7
David Eulitt/Getty Images. Pictured: Chiefs TE Travis Kelce, Titans S Kevin Byard

3. Eagles +3.5 at Raiders

The underdog has covered in every single Raiders game this season, and I’m not expecting that to change in Sunday’s matchup against the Eagles, who are coming off extended rest following their 28-22 loss to the Bucs on Thursday Night Football before the Week 6 bye.

My model makes this game closer to a pick’em for the Raiders, so at +3.5, there’s value in this matchup.

The Eagles have played an extremely tough schedule with games against the Buccaneers, Chiefs, Cowboys and 49ers who rank first, second, fourth and 10th in offensive DVOA. By comparison, the Raiders are just 22nd in DVOA. They’re also 19th in EPA/play, 24th in Success Rate and 24th in Early Down Success Rate and will have to deal with this Eagles defense, which is fourth in ESPN’s pass rush win rate (52%).

Given the Eagles’ ability to rush the passer, Derek Carr could struggle in this matchup as he sees his passer rating drop from 108.1 in a clean pocket to 72.7 when under pressure. Nevertheless, this offense — which is first in explosive pass play rate — likely won’t get big plays against an Eagles defense that’s allowing an average depth of target (aDOT) of just 6.6 yards, fifth-fewest in the NFL.

With the return of RT Lane Johnson, Jalen Hurts should have time to throw and put the Eagles in position to potentially win this game outright. I’ll back them at +3.5.

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4. Colts +3.5 at 49ers

The Colts have been playing solid football recently, winning two out of the last three games and probably should have won their Monday Night matchup against the Ravens if it weren’t for a blocked field goal.

Nevertheless, I want to back the Colts against the 49ers, who have lost three straight games. As I’ve stated before, I’ve never been big on trends, but road underdogs of six or fewer points are 25-9 (73.5%) against the spread (ATS) this season.

Trends aside, this feels like an ideal spot for Carson Wentz and the Colts, who face a 49ers defense that has really struggled in the secondary They’re just 26th in Dropback Success Rate (48.5%), and the loss of cornerback Jason Verrett in Week 1 is notable given the struggles of Emmanuel Moseley, Deommodore Lenoir and K’waun Williams, who is returning from a calf injury.

It’s tough to know what to expect from the 49ers offense with the possible return of Jimmy Garoppolo, who wasn’t particularly great this season. Overall, this line is too high. And with my model making this game 49ers  -2, I’ll back the Colts at +3.5.

5. Saints -4.5 at Seahawks

I’ve never been a big trends guy, but since 1999, road favorites coming off a bye are 83-42-2 ATS and 97-37 straight up. And the Saints are a match for their Monday night matchup against the Seahawks.

The Seahawks had a solid performance in their Week 6 loss to the Steelers, coming back from a 14-0 halftime deficit to tie the game and take it into overtime. Still, Geno Smith had an aDOT of just 3.4 yards, and it’s clear they won’t be able to rely on simply running the ball against a Saints defense that’s second in rush defense DVOA and eighth in rushing success rate (43.7%).

I’m still pricing the loss of Russell Wilson to Smith as one of the biggest drop-offs we would see from a starting quarterback to a backup in the NFL, and I think it could rear its ugly head in this matchup. 

The Seahawks are still a bad defense that ranks 22nd in defensive DVOA and has benefited from a favorable schedule of opposing offenses. Outside of the Titans, Vikings and Rams, the Seahawks opened the season in Carson Wentz’s first start with the Colts after not playing or practicing during the preseason, a 49ers team that lost Jimmy Garoppolo mid-game and had to turn to rookie Trey Lance, and the Steelers with an old Ben Roethlisberger. Although a washed up Big Ben didn’t take advantage of this defense that’s 31st in Dropback Success Rate (54.1%), I’m confident Jameis Winston will.

I’ll back the Saints at -4.5.

College Football Odds, Picks: Our Top Week 8 Thursday Bets, Including Tulane vs. SMU & San Jose State vs. UNLV (October 21)

college football-odds-picks-thursday-week 8-betting-unlv vs. san jose state-smu vs. tulane-charlotte vs. florida atlantic-louisiana vs. arkansas state-october 21

There are very few things better than midweek college football, and on Thursday, we’ll see four games. Queue up the LeBron James GIF. Not one. Not two. Not three. Four.

The action starts with three showdowns at 7:30 p.m. ET and includes SMU vs. Tulane, Florida Atlantic vs. Charlotte, and Louisiana vs. Arkansas State. Then, San Jose State and UNLV will close out the slate with some late-night action.

Our college football experts came prepared for this very moment, breaking down all four games along the way.

Check out all four picks, complete with full breakdowns for every game, below.

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Week 8 College Football Picks for Thursday, Oct. 21

Click the team logos for one of the matchups below to navigate to a specific betting preview for Friday evening’s Week 8 college football slate.

Game
Time (ET)
Pick
7:30 p.m.
SMU -13.5
7:30 p.m.
Under 57
7:30 p.m.
Over 70
11 p.m.
UNLV +5

Specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing.

Always shop for the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.

Photos via Getty Images.


Tulane

vs

SMU

SMU -13.5
7:30 p.m. ET
ESPN

By Kody Malstrom

Call me Andy Williams because I am here to proclaim that it is the most wonderful time of the year. Football is in full swing, MLB playoffs, NHL, and the return of basketball. Sports everywhere, bets to be placed, and money to be made.

So, with nearly every sport in effect, where should your attention go? If you ask me, midweek football gets my eyes 11 times out of 10. We have an AAC showdown on Wednesday as Tulane travels to SMU.

Tulane started off the season by giving potential playoff team Oklahoma a scare, losing 35-40. After dismantling Morgan State the following week, Tulane has found itself on a losing streak, as it dropped the next four.

SMU, meanwhile, has come out of the gates strong, standing at a perfect 6-0. Possessing one of the best passing attacks in the nation, it will look to once again show out on a national broadcast.

Can Tulane slow down SMU’s buzzsaw of an offense? Let’s find out.


Tulane Green Wave

Tulane Offense

Tulane came into this season looking like it could match up with the best of them. That’s looking more like a fluke result as it has not been pretty since then, and the metrics show it.

The passing game is practically nonexistent, ranking mid-80s in both Pass Success and pass blocking. On the rare occasion quarterback Michael Pratt gets time in the pocket, he’s been decent.

Throwing for 1,364 yards, 13 touchdowns, and five interceptions thus far, Tulane will look to attack an SMU defense that struggles against the pass.

Turnovers and disruptions have been an Achilles heel for the Green Wave, ranking near the bottom of the nation in Havoc. If they can avoid the mistakes, and move the ball past the 40, they actually pose a threat to put up points. Tulane’s also a top-20 team in Finishing Drives.

Tulane Defense

The Tulane defense looks to have a long night ahead of it. Not only is the Green Wave defense really poor, especially in the passing department, but the SMU offense is also very good.

Tulane ranks 115th in Def. Pass Success, which could be a problem against an SMU offense that tops the nation in that metric.

The Tulane defensive line also struggles to get to the quarterback. Ranking 109th in Def. Pass Rush, SMU will look to exploit this all-around bad unit.

Expect yards to come in bunches for SMU, as this secondary is constantly getting torched. It has a Def. Big Play rating of 111th, a product of poor tackling, quarterbacks getting time in the pocket to develop plays, and a bad secondary.

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Southern Methodist Mustangs

SMU Offense

SMU’s offense is sneakily one of the best units in the nation.

It excels everywhere for the most part, but especially in passing. Quarterback Tanner Mordecai has led this passing unit to rank No. 1 in Pass Success. He’s been slinging it all over the field, throwing for 1,893 yards, 26 touchdowns, and seven interceptions.

SMU limits mistakes, and the offensive line gives Mordecai plenty of time and protection in the pocket — recipe for great success, and it shows.

The Mustangs will look to constantly torch the Tulane secondary by converting big play after big play. Tulane can’t stop a nosebleed, so good luck stopping SMU.

While SMU’s Finishing Drives rate isn’t the best, it’s still above average and a metric it will look to improve on. This is something the Mustangs will need to figure out if they want a chance to upset Cincinnati down the road for the AAC crown.

SMU Defense

While the SMU offense is one of the best in the nation, the defense leaves much to be desired. Not all hope is lost, though, as it does excel in some areas.

While the Def. Pass Success is 74th, the Def Rush Success is actually top-20 in the nation. Tulane is as balanced as it gets, rushing at a 50% clip. SMU will have to continue its defensive rush dominance if it wants to avoid the upset.

The secondary has question marks, but SMU’s defensive front does its part to help it out as much as possible. The Mustangs are very successful at getting to the quarterback, with a top-10 ranking in Def. Pass Rush.

SMU will need to rely on generating pressure in the backfield and keeping gains to a minimum, as it cannot tackle in the open field. It possesses a PFF Tackling rank of 126th, one of the worst in the nation.


Tulane vs. SMU Betting Pick

Tulane’s defense looks to be in for a long night.

SMU’s offense will put up video game numbers by the end of this one. Tulane ranks bottom-100 in all defensive passing metrics, an area that SMU is best in the nation. Mordecai is drooling at the thought of what he is going to throw for.

I simply do not see how Tulane will stop SMU every time the Mustang offense takes the field. Better yet, SMU is more than capable of stopping Tulane. This is shaping up to be a serious mismatch in strengths.

If SMU can consistently generate a pass rush like it’s shown, this will ease the burden on its secondary.

We project this as SMU -16, showing value to -13.5. It’s always great to grab the football number for the favorite, and I’d play this up to -14.

The lack of tackling on both defensive units also piques my interest in a live play. If either team starts off slow, I may look to take a live over, knowing that a big play can happen at any moment.

Pick: SMU -13.5



Florida Atlantic

vs

Charlotte

Under 57
7:30 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network

By Darin Gardner

Entering Thursday night, Charlotte sits at the top of the Conference USA East standings with a 2-0 record in conference play. The 49ers have bounced back from a disappointing 2-4 finish in 2020 and have utilized an efficient passing game to sport a 4-2 record.

Meanwhile, Florida Atlantic enters the contest at 3-3 after some bad losses to Air Force and UAB over its past three games.

To date, the Owls haven’t really played in a competitive contest. Its three losses have come by an average of more than 20 points per game, while its three wins have come by 32, 31, and 37 points.

It’s probably not the start that FAU fans were hoping for after ranking in the top five in preseason conference championship odds, but a win here would put the Owls right back at the top of the divisional standings.

Both teams have shown their fair share of definite strengths and significant weaknesses in 2021. With that in mind, who is best set up to capitalize in this matchup?


Florida Atlantic Owls

Florida Atlantic Offense

The FAU offense hasn’t been anything special this year, but it has definitely improved from a horrendous 2020 performance.

Miami transfer quarterback N’Kosi Perry has elevated FAU’s play at the position, and he currently ranks just outside the top 40 quarterbacks in adjusted yards per attempt.

However, the surrounding parts aren’t making Perry’s job any easier. The offensive line ranks 115th in pressure rate allowed, and the receiving corps’ PFF grade of 62 ranks outside the top 100 as well. Perry has played fine individually, but the passing game hasn’t been great overall because of those other factors.

The ground game has been better, ranking 41st in Expected Points Added (EPA) per rush. Running back Johnny Ford has arguably been the biggest bright spot on offense and leads the Conference USA in missed tackles forced per attempt, per PFF.

Florida Atlantic Defense

So far, the FAU defense has outpaced the offense.

The highlight of the defense has been the secondary, which is good news when considering where the strength of Charlotte’s offense is.

The leader of the back end has been safety Teja Young, who has allowed just eight catches for 72 yards on 182 coverage snaps, per PFF. As of now, his 89.4 coverage grade ranks fourth in the nation among safeties, and Young has been a major part of a defense that ranks 16th in Passing Success Rate Allowed.

To date, the Owls haven’t allowed a single opponent to pass for eight yards or more per attempt.

While the secondary is easily one of the best in the conference, FAU’s front seven hasn’t been particularly effective in terms of raw numbers.

The Owls rank 51st in Rushing Success Rate Allowed, due largely to some rough games against two very efficient rushing attacks in Florida and Air Force.

While those games were bad for the run defense, FAU has completely stifled its four other opponents on the ground, so there is definitely room for optimism despite an unspectacular ranking.

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Charlotte 49ers

Charlotte Offense

Charlotte quarterback Chris Reynolds has been the highlight for the 49ers in his fourth year as a starter, as he ranks 22nd in adjusted yards per attempt on the year.

Reynolds has two effective weapons on the outside in Grant DuBose and Victor Tucker, who have combined for 892 yards in two games and have generated 68% of the team’s total receiving yards.

In terms of PFF receiving grade, each ranks in the top 10 at their position in the conference, and are heavy contributors to a passing attack that ranks 25th in EPA per throw.

One clear weakness of this group is the offensive line. It ranks 106th in pass-blocking grade and 87th in run-blocking grade, per PFF. The ground game has been impacted by the weak line more than the passing attack has, as Charlotte sits 73rd in EPA per carry.

Overall, this is a top-40 offense in terms of Success Rate. While it has been productive in total, it has done so against the 105th-ranked offensive strength of schedule, per my numbers.

The Owls, especially in the secondary, will be a step up in competition from most of the defenses Charlotte has played so far.

Charlotte Defense

There aren’t many good things to say about the 49ers’ defense. In terms of EPA, Charlotte ranks outside the top 100 against the pass and the run. Outside of Week 2 against FCS Gardner Webb, Charlotte’s defense hasn’t really had a solid performance all year.

It seems like Charlotte’s defense gets abused in one facet in every game, including the wins.

It was absolutely gashed on the ground by the likes of Duke and Illinois and then was chasing its tail in the passing game against Florida International and Middle Tennessee, despite coming away with wins in both of those games.

Markees Watts has been a bright spot for this team on the edge with 5.5 tackles for loss. He’s also generated four of Charlotte’s 10 sacks on the year. Additionally, he’s second on the team in tackles and has even added a pass breakup. There aren’t a ton of pieces in this group, but Watts has definitely been the highlight.


Florida Atlantic vs. Charlotte Betting Pick

It’s scary to say this with how Charlotte’s defense has performed this season, but the under is definitely worth a look here.

One big factor in that reasoning is pace, especially on Charlotte’s side of the ball. The 49ers rank 128th in seconds per play on offense and 114th in drives per game. While Florida Atlantic ranks in the middle of the pack in seconds per play, it joins Charlotte in ranking outside the top 100 in possessions per game.

I’m projecting just under 23 total possessions in this matchup, nearly two possessions lower than the national average.

This total opened at 54.5 on Sunday but shot up to 57 by Monday afternoon. Compared to my projection of 51.3, the over steam has turned this total into one of my bigger edges on the board.

It’s key to remember to always respect the market and understand that there’s usually good reason for line movement, but I do like the under at this price based on my projections.

A very strong FAU secondary could cause problems for an offense that has picked on a terrible schedule of opposing defenses so far, and the overall pace could limit possessions on both sides.

Pick: Under 57



Louisiana

vs

Arkansas State

Over 70
7:30 p.m. ET
ESPNU

By Keg

Few things make me happier than Sun Belt football — one of them being midweek Sun Belt football.

On Thursday night, the red-hot Ragin’ Cajuns will head to Jonesboro, Arkansas, to square off against the Red Wolves in this matchup of best vs. worst in the Sun Belt’s West Division.

Louisiana is coming off of a blowout win over App State in which it led by double digits from the end of the first quarter on. Since losing their first game of the season, the Ragin’ Cajuns have won five games in a row but have only covered the spread in two of the five.

Arkansas State has gone in the opposite direction, though. After winning its first outing, it has lost every game since and only covered the spread in two of those five losses.

Can Louisiana keep its streak alive on the road this week? Or will the Red Wolves find a way to get their season back on track?

More importantly, after opening at 15.5 and still climbing past 17.5, is this spread going to be too large for a Ragin’ Cajuns team that is 0-3 ATS on the road this year?


Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns

Louisiana Offense

Senior quarterback Levi Lewis has led a balanced Louisiana attack that averages 30.5 points and 405 yards per game. 

So far this year, Lewis has completed 62.3 percent of his passes for 1,305 yards while only throwing two interceptions and accounting for six touchdowns. Lewis also has an elite group of receivers, which makes his life even easier.

A huge benefit for Lewis has been a veteran offensive line that has been solid in pass protection, allowing only nine sacks in six games. And while it’s not the bulk of their offense the Ragin’ Cajuns’ rushing attack can be dangerous, with talent all the way down the depth chart. 

Four players alone have collectively accounted for 1,062 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground in six games


Louisiana Defense

On the opposite side of the ball, Louisiana defensive lineman Zi’Yon Hill leads the Ragin’ Cajuns in sacks and tackles for a loss. 

The Red Wolves’ high-powered passing attack will be put to the test against a veteran Louisiana defense that allows just 347 yards on 20 points per game.

Louisiana ranks in the top 50 in points per game, yards per play and is fourth in the nation at converting fourth downs. The defense ranks almost 100 spots higher than Arkansas State in rushing yards allowed and points per game. 

Billy Napier hopes to improve his career record against divisional foes to a perfect 14-0 with a win on Thursday night. Napier also will be in search of his 12th straight regular-season road win against Sun Belt competition.

The Ragin’ Cajuns have at points seemed unstoppable, most recently last week against App State. They limited the Mountaineers’ offense to just 211 yards and capitalized on four turnovers in the 41-13 victory.

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Arkansas State Red Wolves

Arkansas State Offense

The Red Wolves are very good offensively, averaging 440.2 yards on 30 points per game. Nearly all of their offense has come through a passing attack that ranks No. 1 in the Sun Belt.

The Red Wolves average 358.3 passing yards per game. 

Unfortunately, they will be without five-game starter James Blackman (shoulder injury) at quarterback on Thursday night.

Layne Hatcher, who has been splitting time under center and has had success, will be in his place. So far this year, Hatcher has connected on 57.4 percent of his passes for 806 yards with nine touchdowns and three interceptions.


Arkansas State Defense

There is no team worse in all of D-I college football defensively overall than the Arkansas State Red Wolves.

They rank last in the FBS in yards allowed per game (584 per game), scoring defense (46.7 points per game), rushing yards allowed per carry (6.94) and yards allowed per pass attempt (10.3). 

As a result, they have surrendered 18 touchdowns on the ground and 18 additional scores through the air.


Louisiana vs. Arkansas State Betting Pick

Louisiana leads the all-time series against Arkansas State, 26-20-1. 

The Ragin’ Cajuns have won each of the last three meetings in the series, including a 27-20 victory over the Red Wolves last season in Lafayette.

The over is 4-0 in the Ragin’ Cajuns’ last four road games vs. a team with a losing home record.

The over is also 4-1 in the Red Wolves’ last five games after allowing more than 450 total yards in their previous game.

Arkansas State should be able to put some points on the scoreboard with its explosive passing game. But Louisiana will likely score points at will against the worst defense in the nation.

Because of that, I’m taking the over at 70, and I would take it up to 71.5

Pick: Over 70 (Play to 71.5)



San Jose State

vs

UNLV

UNLV +5
11 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network

By Kyle Remillard

The San Jose State Spartans travel to the Sin City to take on the UNLV Rebels at Allegiant Stadium on Friday night.

Repeating as Mountain West champions may be out of contention for San Jose State after starting the season 3-4 (1-2 in conference).

Losing starting quarterback Nick Starkel a month ago didn’t help the Spartans’ chances. But this is a big game for the program to keep their hopes of going to bowl season alive.

UNLV hasn’t tasted victory over an FBS opponent in over 700 days. The Rebels have been on the cusp of pulling an upset on multiple occasions over the last month.

The program suffered a one-score loss as 30-point underdogs to Fresno State. They followed that performance with a 24-17 defeat as a three-touchdown underdog to No. 24 ranked UTSA. And last time out, they let a win slip away in the final possession losing 28-24 to Utah State.

Will homecoming weekend at Allegiant Stadium be enough to propel the Rebels to their first FBS victory in over two years?


San Jose State Spartans

San Jose State Offense

The San Jose State offense has lost its mojo from last season as the group ranks 115th in Rushing and Passing Success Rates.

Starkel’s availability is unlikely after missing the last three games with an arm injury. Nick Nash is slated to make his fourth-career start after averaging 7.7 yards per passing attempt while tossing five touchdowns to two interceptions.

The rushing game has been a non-factor, averaging just 3.7 yards per carry as a team.

The offense has totaled 27 points in their last two games, including a double-overtime loss to San Diego State.

In that game, the Spartans’ only touchdown came in overtime and they failed to move the chains, completing just 5-of-18 third-down attempts.


San Jose State Defense

The San Jose State defense has put up similar numbers to what they saw last season. The Spartans have allowed just over 23 points per game and 5.0 yards per play, but it hasn’t been enough to make up for the offensive woes.

The unit has been solid in slowing down passing attacks, as they rank 57th in Success Rate. But the Spartans haven’t been able to force turnovers, as they have just one interception on the season.

The run defense will be crucial in this matchup and it has been a mixed bag for San Jose State. They were gashed for 217 yards on the ground two weeks ago against Colorado State while they held San Diego State to just 1.9 yards per carry last week.

The defense will need to slow down Charles Williams and the UNLV rushing attack if they want to escape Sin City with a victory.


UNLV Rebels

UNLV Offense

Williams has been the steadiest source of offense for the Rebels this season.

He’s averaging over 100 yards per game and 5.2 yards per carry to go along with his two six touchdowns. Last time out against Utah State he rushed for 221 yards and three touchdowns.

The quarterback carrousel once again is dominating headlines for the Rebels.

Presumptive starter Doug Brumfield is still day-to-day after missing the last two games with a back injury. His replacement Cameron Friel left the Utah State game in the fourth quarter with a knee injury and is also limited at practice.

If Friel can’t go, that leaves head coach Marcus Arroyo with either Week 1 starter Justin Rogers or the Miami transfer Tate Martell.

Regardless of who is under center, the Rebels’ offense has looked rejuvenated, maybe in part to everyone wanting a pull on the new slot machine after a touchdown.


UNLV Defense

The UNLV defense has had a brutal schedule that includes four teams which have been ranked inside the AP Top-25 at one point this season.

UNLV has had the 29th toughest strength of schedule through the first six games this season, according to PFF.

The Rebels showed improvement off their bye week, identifying areas that needed improvement. They ranked among the bottom of the nation in tackles for loss and last week, they came up with 11 of them against Utah State.

UNLV has been strong at controlling the line of scrimmage of late and slowing down opponents’ rushing attack. They have really struggled against the pass, where they’ve allowed 8.8 yards per pass attempt against FBS opponents.

Opponents complete on average 73% of their pass attempts, which has the Rebels’ defense ranked in the bottom of the nation.


San Jose State vs. UNLV Betting Pick

There are still a lot of question marks up in the air entering this matchup, specifically around the quarterback situation.

The Rebels have been playing better football the last month and the fan base looks to be revitalized after playing their first home game at Allegiant Stadium. UNLV has been an underdog in all six of its matchups this year but covered the spread in five of them.

Williams is poised for another big game on the ground, which will open opportunities in the passing game.

San Jose State has been floundering as of late with the offense showing little signs of putting together scoring drives.

Over the last two games with Nash under center, the Spartans have had 27 offensive drives with only three resulting in touchdowns. Another two of those drives ended with field goals, with the remainder resulting in no points.

The Rebels are due for a victory and what better time than homecoming at the new Allegiant Stadium while playing against a San Jose State team that has been trending in the wrong direction.

Pick: UNLV +5 (Play to +3.5)

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