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.

MLS Playoffs Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Seattle Sounders vs. LAFC (Tuesday, Nov. 24)

Seattle Sounders vs. LAFC Odds

Seattle Sounders Odds +114 [BET NOW]
LAFC Odds +205 [BET NOW]
Draw +270 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 3.5 (+104/-139) [BET NOW]
Time 10:30 p.m. ET
TV ESPN

The Seattle Sounders and LAFC face off on Tuesday night for the highest-profile first-round matchup of the MLS playoffs.

Seattle has proved time and time again that it is a big threat to win it all. LAFC have had a tough year for their standards but will still be a tough out for the Sounders at home.

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Seattle Sounders

The Sounders finished second in the Western Conference. They were level on 39 points with Sporting KC and Portland, but Kansas City played the fewest games and had the best point-per-game average.

Seattle is tied with the Philadelphia Union at +500 to win MLS Cup. Only Sporting KC (+400) is above those clubs. With the Sounders’ current makeup, they have proven to be a legitimate contender to lift the cup and were a bet of mine to be the last team standing.

I’m always impressed with the shape Seattle plays with and how infrequent it is for the Sounders to be out of position. Also, having attacking options like Raul Ruidiaz, Jordan Morris and Nicolas Lodeiro usually proves to be significant at this point in the season. I think they are going to win it all this year.

From an advanced data perspective, Seattle generated 1.86 expected goals (xG) per game while only conceding 1.07 expected goals allowed (xGA) per game. Those numbers are impressive. If we isolate their home games, the xG jumps to 2.23 per contest and xGA moves to 1.18.


Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.


Seattle was 8-3-2 at home this season, a very good record. The Sounders have dropped a game here and there, but I expect them to be locked in and focused for this matchup with LAFC. On the injury/COVID-19 front, Seattle are in good shape. Ruidiaz was a question mark from playing in the Peruvian national team, but it sounds like he is a go.

At full strength, the Sounders will be an incredibly tough out.

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Los Angeles FC

Having been one of the dominant forces in the MLS since their inception in 2018, including winning the Supporters’ Shield last year, LAFC came back to earth this season. In my opinion, there were two reasons for this. One was the injury/absence of Carlos Vela, who was the best player in the MLS last season, since play restarted in the Orlando bubble. Vela is back, and that should undoubtedly help the club.

The second reason is their struggles defensively. Letting center back Walker Zimmerman go to Nashville was a decision that hurt LAFC at the back.

The biggest storyline in this game for LAFC has to do with positive COVID-19 tests, unfortunately. They will be without Diego Rossi, Brian Rodriguez, Jose Cifuentes and Diego Palacios all due to the virus. Missing Rodriguez is unfortunate, but Rossi is the biggest loss. The Uruguayan took his opportunity while Vela was out and won the MLS Golden Boot this season. Rossi was by far LAFC’s best player this year, and they will need to quickly adjust to life without him against Seattle.

From an xG perspective, LAFC are still a strong side. They generated 1.99 xG per game while conceding 1.36 per game. A +0.63 xG differential is pretty solid relative to Seattle’s +0.79, especially without Vela for a large chunk of the season.

I view LAFC as an extremely dangerous side on the front foot, even more so if both Rossi and Vela were in the team. Rossi generated 0.63 xG per game all by himself over 19 games. That’s even above Vela’s 0.56 for the limited seven fixtures in which he has played.

A final cause for concern is LAFC’s 2-1-7 road record. And one of the two wins came in the MLS Is Back tournament in Orlando.

Seattle Sounders-LAFC Pick

I would back Seattle on a neutral field given its track record in this tournament and the year that the Sounders have had. But this one is in Seattle, and combine that with LAFC’s struggles and absences due to positive COVID-19 tests, one of which is the league’s top scorer? Yeah, this is Seattle for me all the way.

Give me the Seattle moneyline at +114 all the way. I also see a minimum of three goals, so that will be a play for me as well.

Pick: Seattle ML +114, Over 3 (-157) or Over 3.25 (-117)

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Stuckey: The Three College Basketball Futures I Bet for the 2020-21 Season

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We are one day away from the start of the college basketball season, which will amazingly tip off at 9 a.m. ET on Wednesday. The primary storyline ahead of the season is very similar to what we saw prior to the start of college football: uncertainty due to COVID-19 complications. We’ve already seen games canceled, and I expect to see many more throughout this unprecedented season. It’s a lot easier for a football team to play once a week outdoors without a handful of guys than it is for a college basketball team.

That said, I think continuity may end up being extremely valuable. Teams like Kentucky and Duke, which reload with five-star freshmen each season, not only had an interrupted offseason but will also start later than usual and won’t have as many live games leading up to March in order to build chemistry and gain invaluable experience.

With so much uncertainty surrounding this season and whether or not we will even finish the season (fingers crossed), I don’t want to tie up too much money in the college basketball futures market, so I decided to roll with just three teams for a total of two units. That doesn’t mean I won’t add during the season — and if I do, you all will be the first to know.

As always, please make sure you shop around for the best futures price as they can differ (sometimes significantly) depending on the book.

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The Primary Horse

Illinois 16-1 (PointsBet)

Total risked: 1.25 units

I think I’m higher on the Illini than just about everybody heading into the season. It all obviously starts with the inside-out duo of Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn, who each decided to pull out of the NBA Draft to come back for this season. Dosunmu is one of the best point guards in all of college basketball, and Cockburn is an absolute monster down low whose overall game has continued to progress over time. That’s as good of a duo as you will find in college basketball this year.

The continuity and experience should also be there as Illinois returns three other additional contributors in addition to Ayo and Kofi.

  • Senior Da’Monte Williams is your ideal role player who really does a little bit of everything. Plus, he actually started to make some outside jumpers toward the end of last season. And outside shooting was the primary weakness of the Illini in 2019. They shot just 30.3% from beyond the arc, which ranked outside the top 300 nationally.
  • Senior Trent Frazier returns for his fourth year as a starter. He struggled at times with his outside shot and finding where he fits with Dosunmu, but we know the 3-point shooting is there. If Frazier can duplicate the 40% clip we saw in 2018-19, that will provide an enormous boost to this Illini offense.
  • Junior Giorgi Bezhanishvili is also back in the mix. He has started 56 games over the past two seasons but will likely come off the bench this year, which I think is a perfect role for the high-energy Georgian. He also couldn’t have played any worse offensively last year. I lost count of the amount of missed open layups, so expect an increase in production for the big man who shot 42.9% from the floor just one year after finishing at 54.2%.
ncaa-college basketball-futures
James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Kofi Cockburn (21) and Ayo Dosunmu (11)

Those are three upperclassmen who had down years offensively last season as they tried to figure out where they fit offensively with Dosunmu and Cockburn dominating the touches. I expect better performances from each this year for an Illini team that also seemed to figure out late last year that its offense worked best when it went smaller around Cockburn to open up space.

Illinois also has three promising additions who could contribute right away this year and address their primary need of outside shooting:

  • Adam Miller is a top-50 recruit who brings a smooth lefty jumper, which is exactly what the Illinois offense needs on the perimeter, especially if Frazier and Williams can’t find their range. And from a chemistry standpoint, Miller and Dosunmu were ex-high school teammates who won a state championship together in 2018.
  • Austin Hutcherson transfers in from D3 Wesleyan University. He also adds much-needed shooting. Plus, he’s versatile and athletic enough for a D3 player to not cause any concerns on the defensive end. If he can stay healthy (dealing with some back issues), he could be the missing piece on offense.
  • Brad Underwood will have another promising transfer in Jacob Grandison, who came in from Holy Cross after leading the Crusaders in scoring two seasons ago. The junior guard can do a little bit of everything and has the ability to help stretch the floor.
  • Andre Curbelo is another top-50 recruit, who could provide nice depth at point guard.

Bottom line, I love this team. I have the Illini as a top-10 preseason team with many of the intangibles that could make all of the difference in 2020, especially since many of the other top teams have questions when it comes to experience and continuity.

In a year when there’s no elite team head-and-shoulders above the rest, Illinois can cut down the nets. It has two top-25 players who will play at the next level with the necessary other pieces.

I think this team can make a run to the Final Four for the third time in the past 50 years. Its previous two trips came in 1989 and then 16 years later in 2005. Let’s hope 16 is the lucky number in Champaign and we can toast to another come March 2021.

Lowest price I’d go: 15-1

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Dark Horse

Arizona State 35-1 (DraftKings/PointsBet)

Total risked: 0.5 units

This is more of an upside play after potentially the best recruiting class in Arizona State program history. Bobby Hurley brought in both Josh Christopher and Marcus Bagley, who could give the Sun Devils one of the most potent backcourts in America.

Christopher is a five-star shooting guard who many had as one of the top-10 incoming freshman. He dominated in Nike EYBL games earlier in 2020 and should start right away for Hurley. He’s just a massive get for ASU. He makes up one of the best backcourts in the country with Remy Martin and Alonzo Verge, who both came back to school after pondering a jump to the NBA.

And I didn’t even mention Holland Woods, who was granted eligibility after transferring from Portland State, where he led the team in points (17.7), assists 5.2) and steals (2.1). He should fit right in with what Hurley wants to do. Unfortunately, he also struggles to shoot from the outside like too many of the other Sun Devils.

And Bagley, the brother of NBA player Marvin, is a combo guard/forward four-star who could give Arizona State a desperately needed outside shooting threat a year after it shot just 32% from deep.

Guards win in March, and ASU certainly has the talent on the perimeter, especially if Bagley and Christopher live up to the hype. We know ASU can defend, and we know it will force opponents to play at its up-tempo style. If a few more shots can drop from the perimeter and the pieces all fit together, this will be a team nobody wants to face in March.

Lowest price I’d go: 30-1

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Long Shot

St. Louis 100-1 (DraftKings/PointsBet)

Total risked: 0.25 units

Those who follow me on Twitter probably aren’t surprised by this one. I loved this St. Louis team last year and backed it to win the A-10 tournament. After trending up toward the end of last season, the Billikens had a really good chance of making the tournament, where they could’ve given teams fits with their physical, bullying style. Just ask Dayton about their meetings last year.

Just like Arizona State and Illinois, St. Louis had two players who tested the NBA waters before deciding to return to school. Senior guard Jordan Goodwin is the do-it-all leader of the team, and senior power forward Hasahn French is a force in the paint. Both Goodwin and French actually averaged a double-double last year.

There are also other returning pieces to be excited about:

  • Senior Javonte Perkins comes off the bench and provides immediate scoring. He’s just a bucket-getter that finished second on the team in scoring (15.0) last year.
  • Yuri Collins averaged over 30 minutes per game as a freshman point guard. If he can clean up some of the turnover issues, expect a major jump in efficiency in his sophomore campaign.
  • Another sophomore to get excited about is Gibson Jimerson, who only played in 10 games before suffering a season-ending injury. He might be the missing piece on this offense that really struggles with outside shooting. Jimerson shot 42.9% from 3-point land and eclipsed the 20-point mark in two of those 10 games.
  • Junior guard Fred Thatch returns after playing in only six games last year. If nothing else, he’ll provide more depth to a team that didn’t have much last year.
ncaa-college basketball-betting-odds-futures
Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jordan Goodwin (left), Jimmy Bell Jr. (middle), and Yuri Collins (right).

Outside of mainstays French and Goodwin, St. Louis had a ton of new pieces in the fold last season. You could see the growth toward the end of last year, and I think that continues into this year for this senior-laden bunch.

We know Travis Ford has a team that can defend and rebound at an elite level. If the offense continues to progress, this is a scary team that might be among the most physical in all of college basketball.

Let’s just hope French and Goodwin practiced their free throws in the offseason. Last year, St. Louis finished 353rd out of 353 teams in free throw shooting percentage at 57.2%, primarily due to Goodwin and French, who have the ball so frequently. Goodwin finished at 53.8% and French at an absurdly low 32.9%. Any improvement in that area will provide a nice boost for a team that will likely find itself in plenty of grinders.

The A-10 is a very intriguing conference this season with a number of teams you could argue deserve to be preseason favorites. That team for me is St. Louis, so I’ll take a flier on the Billies.

Lowest price I’d go: 100-1

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NFL Prop Bets & Picks For Rams vs. Buccaneers on Monday Night Football

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NFL Prop Bet: Rams vs. Buccaneers

Pick
Bet Now
Tyler Higbee Under 31.5 Rec Yards (-110)
FanDuel

There is no question that Tyler Higbee has the talent to crush this over.

But when it comes to projecting a tight end like Higbee, it all comes down to game plan. If head coach Sean McVay has a game plan to feed Higbee the ball tonight, this prop will be toast by the end of the first half. But the sharp play here is, in fact, on the under.

Looking under the hood of my model, I have Higbee projected to run a route on 45% of dropbacks — right in line with his rate since Week 3, since he and Gerald Everett started to split time time. I’m also projecting Higbee to see a target on 20% of his routes run with a catch rate of 77%. Both are in-line with his current rates on the season as well as my projected usage for him heading into this season — or, translation: Higbee’s usage when he runs a route is pretty predictable.

All that results in 2.7 receptions at a rate of 11.6 yards per catch.

But wait, Sean, doesn’t that mean 2.7 x 11.6 = 31.4 yards? How are you showing that much value?

That’s actually where my simulation comes into play.

First, it’s important to point out that 2.7 receptions is based on a distribution that is heavily skewed toward the under. What I mean is that 2.7 translates into a coin flip at 2.5 receptions. The easiest way to visualize this is to realize that only 0, 1 and 2 outcomes would result in the under, while 3 to 12 (Higbee’s career-high in receptions) are the range of outcomes on the over.

The wider range of outcomes on the over “stretches” the projected receptions.

It’s also important to realize the anatomy of a single reception follows a similar distribution. Higbee’s yards per catch over the past two seasons has been 11.2. However, his median catch has been 8.5 yards. It’s the handful of longer receptions throughout a season that can inflate a player’s yards per catch. When we shrink the sample to a single game of 2-4 receptions, it’s much less likely to have an outlier play.

Long story short, that’s why I can “project” a player to be in-line with their prop yet show a ton of value on the under.

Here are the projected chances of him going over or under various lines based on my simulations:

Rec Yds
Over
Under
26.5
50%
50%
27.5
49%
52%
28.5
47%
53%
29.5
45%
55%
30.5
43%
57%
31.5
41%
59%

I try not to add in too much subjectively into my simulator, but there is an additional reason there’s even more value on the under here.

Andrew Whitworth’s season-ending injury is a devastating loss for the Rams offensive line. It’s going to be a tough task for the offense to function without him against the Bucs’ stout defensive line in particular. As a result, there’s a very real chance that McVay has Higbee stay in and block at a much higher rate tonight, which would be huge for this bet.

It’s worth noting that Whitworth sustained his injury at the very end of the first half last week. And here was Higbee’s production in the first vs. second:

  • First half (with Whitworth): 5 targets, 3 rec, 60 yards
  • Second half (without Whitworth): 1 target, 0 rec, 0 yards

My “theory” certainly held up when looking at those splits.

I would bet this prop down to 29.5 yards (and every yard counts), but I would not be surprised if he ends up in the low 20s tonight.

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NFL Odds & Picks For Rams vs. Buccaneers: Your Guide To Betting Monday Night Football

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NFL Odds: Rams vs. Buccaneers

Rams Odds
+4 [BET NOW]
Buccaneers Odds
-4 [BET NOW]
Over/Under
48 [BET NOW]
Kickoff
8:15 p.m. ET
TV
ESPN
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The 7-3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host the 6-3 Los Angeles Rams in a popcorn-worthy NFC showdown that will likely have major playoff seeding implications.

These teams actually met last season when Tampa Bay pulled off a shocking 55-40 road upset as a 10-point underdog in a game that featured nearly 1,000 yards of total offense. Jared Goff threw for more than 500 yards but had three picks and lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown. I doubt we see a similar type of game on Monday night, but let’s take a closer look at each team before digging into the matchup and how I’m betting it.

Los Angeles Rams

Who exactly are the Rams?

We know they’re 6-3, but five of those wins came against the Bears and the entire dreadful NFC East. That didn’t inspire much confidence in their underlying metrics. However, the perception definitely shifted after an impressive win over the Seahawks last week.

Yes, the schedule has helped inflate some of the Rams’ performance measures. However, there are some aspects to like, primarily as a result of scheme changes on both sides of the ball.

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Rams Offense

After a disappointing 2019 season, Sean McVay went back to the drawing board and tweaked the offense. The results speak for themselves: The Rams have the sixth-ranked offense in Football Outsiders’ DVOA, up from a finish of 15th last season.

It all starts with the three-headed backfield monster of Darrell Henderson, Cam Akers and Malcolm Brown. The trio has helped rejuvenate a Los Angeles rushing attack that ranks first in DVOA. The offensive line has also significantly improved, ranking in the top two in Adjusted Line Yards and Power Success Rate (per Football Outsiders).

Goff still has his limitations — he has a very long, mechanical throwing motion and struggles mightily under pressure. However, McVay has implemented changes to cater to Goff’s strengths and weaknesses: Overall, it’s a fairly short passing attack that utilizes plenty of two tight end sets with Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett. McVay is also putting Goff in more comfortable situations by moving him outside of the pocket more frequently and using more play-action.

Goff has used play-action on 38.4% of his dropbacks, second to only Cam Newton and up from 32% last season. (Tom Brady sits on the other end of the spectrum at only 18.9%). When Goff has thrown for six touchdowns and no interceptions on play-action compared to seven touchdowns and six interceptions otherwise.

Cooper Kupp-Jared Goff
Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images. Pictured: Cooper Kupp, Jared Goff

On third down passing situations, the Rams will heavily rely on Cooper Kupp, who leads a group of wide receivers for an aerial attack that’s vertically challenged.

Rams Defense

By most measures, the Rams defense has performed at an elite level this season. Yes, facing a bottom-three schedule of offenses so far has helped, but so have the schematic changes implemented by new coordinator Brandon Staley.

Staley has brought a lot of college concepts to a much more modern looking defense. He utilizes much more two-high safety looks (No. 2 in explosive pass defense) and has altered the defensive front formations. The key is lots of disguise and pre-snap movement with hybrid man/zone coverages that are intended to confuse opposing quarterbacks.

It helps to have the NFL’s best defensive player up front in Aaron Donald, whose 92.5 pass rush grade from Pro Football Focus leads all defensive lineman. It also doesn’t hurt to have a lockdown corner on the outside in Jalen Ramsey (although he’s lining up in many different positions in Staley’s new defense).

It’s still a stars and scrubs defense, but the emergence of cornerback Darious Williams has given the Rams a legitimate outside corner duo, which is just a massive advantage in today’s NFL.

With Troy Hill moving to slot, Williams has thrived on the outside. Ramsey and Williams actually rank No. 1 and 2 in the NFL in coverage snaps per reception (min. 100 snaps), trailing only Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith. Williams also boasts a league-leading 41.4 quarterback rating when targeted with only one touchdown allowed and four interceptions. What’s promising to me is that the undrafted rookie out of UAB also played well in limited time last season.

Darious Williams
Harry How/Getty Images. Pictured: Darious Williams (31)

The safety play has also been better than expected, especially now with rookie Jordan Fuller returning from injury to slide in at free safety. John Johnson has been tremendous, too — whether it’s as a deep safety, in the box or covering in the slot. Per PFF, he has the fifth-best coverage grade among 70 safeties with at least 300 snaps in 2020.

Rams Jet Lag?

The Rams have had the most brutal travel schedule of any team in the league so far this season. They made back-to-back trips to the East Coast in Weeks 2 and 3, then returned in Week 5 to face Washington and again in Week 8 to face Miami.

Amazingly, this will mark the Rams’ fifth trip out to the eastern time zone in 11 weeks.

Could we potentially start to see all of that travel catch up to the Rams here? Personally, I don’t think it will be much of an issue — they recently had a bye and also get an extra day off ahead of this Monday night affair.

For what it’s worth, West Coast teams playing in the eastern time zone have gone 118-112-7 (51.3%) since 2003, per our Bet Labs database. There was a time when fading the road team was profitable in this spot, but teams have become smarter about travel and the market generally prices away any of those types of inefficiencies over time.

McVay has also had no issues getting his team ready for these East Coast games. He’s 8-3 (72.7%) against the spread (ATS) on the other side of the country, covering by an average of more than seven points per game. He’s 2-2 ATS in this spot in 2020 with two easy wins, a flukey loss to the Dolphins and a last-second loss to the Bills — although you could argue the Rams came out a little sluggish in the latter two.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Whether you go off the eye test or statistics, this is one of the most complete teams in the NFL. I personally have the Bucs power rated as the third-best team in the league.

Bucs Offense

I don’t need to say much about the passing attack — Tom Brady is growing more comfortable in this new system and has as many weapons as any quarterback in the league.

The wide receiver group is also as healthy as it’s been all season and has added Antonio Brown to the mix.

The biggest surprise of the offense has been Ronald Jones, who has provided a welcome boost to their ground game, ranking second in average yards after contact (trailing only Dalvin Cook).

It could be random, but I have to point out that the Bucs have struggled immensely whenever they’ve gone up against top-tier defenses this season: They’re 0-3 vs. top 10 defenses, averaging 15 points per game, while they’re 7-0 vs. defenses I have ranked outside of the top 10, averaging 35.8 points per game. Those defenses had an average rating of 22nd.

We’ll see what they can do in their fourth game against a top-10 defense this week.

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Bucs Defense

While Brady’s bunch gets all of the publicity, Tampa’s defense is no slouch. In fact, it ranks No. 1 overall DVOA.

Todd Bowles is one of the best coordinators in the NFL. His aggressive 3-4 base defense has been extremely stout against the run for the second straight season, once again grading out as the best run defense in the NFL. The defensive line ranks No. 3 in Adjusted Line Yards, No. 1 in running back yards, No. 2 in open field yards, No. 1 in second level yards.

That’ll work.

The Bucs do miss Vita Vea, who had become a top-five interior defensive lineman, but signing Steve McLendon has really helped fill Vea’s void. Even at age 35, McLendon is still very good against the run. They needed to do something other than rely on Rakeem Nunez-Roches, who has major flaws. The rest of the defensive line is great with Ndamukong Suh and William Gholston, who help eat blocks to free up the linebackers can also provide pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

Speaking of the linebackers, this group can really get after the quarterback. Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaq Barrett can wreck havoc off the edge, while Bowles will aggressively blitz his interior backers. Devin White has thrived as a pass rusher. Meanwhile, Lavonte David is arguably the best linebacker in the NFL right now. His game has no holes.

Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Lavonte David

Additionally, the outside corner group is one of the best in the NFL with Sean Davis and Jamel Dean. Safety Antoine Winfield Jr. has also played extremely well for a rookie on the back end. Sean Murphy-Bunting has struggled some in the slot (fourth-highest quarterback rating allowed), which is something the Rams may look to exploit with Kupp.

Overall, this is a top-three defense in the NFL with strengths at all three levels.

Are the Bucs Morning People?

For whatever reason, the Bucs have looked sluggish in both of their primetime games so far this season. Both of their losses came at night against the Bears and Saints, and while it might just be all noise, head coach Bruce Arians did alter the practice schedule to include more night sessions leading up to this game, so it’s at least worth pointing out.

Rams-Buccaneers Pick

Ultimately, this is a great matchup for the Bucs defense.

As I mentioned before, Goff really struggles under pressure:

  • Under Pressure: 2 TDs; 4 INTs; 38.5 com%; (31st of 35 quarterbacks with at least 100 dropbacks); 54.7 adjusted com% (31st); a 36.8 Passer Rating (32nd)
  • Clean Pocket: 11 TDs; 2 INTs; 85% adjusted completion percentage (second); 113.5 Passer Rating (ninth)

And the Bucs can certainly get pressure, ranking No. 3 in Adjusted Sack Rate. Expect Bowles to bring plenty of pressure throughout, which should lead to a few key Goff mistakes.

Also, don’t forget the Rams will be without star left tackle Andrew Whitworth. The impact of his loss can’t be overstated. Whitworth owns a gaudy 90.5 PFF pass blocking rate, which ranks second among all offensive linemen with at least 250 snaps, trailing only the now-injured Ronnie Stanley.

I also mentioned how the Rams offense relies on its rushing attack and short passes. Goff has attempted only 32 deep balls (20 or more yards) — 20 fewer than Brady. Of 30 quarterbacks with at least 15 deep attempts, Goff ranks 24th in deep ball percentage at 10%.

Well, that should play right into the hands of a Tampa Bay defense that has a historically-dominant rush defense and ranks fourth overall against short passes.

On the other side of the ball, while I’m a believer in Staley’s scheme in L.A., Brady is a master of diagnosing defenses, so the disguises may not be as effective. Brady can also attack the intermediary part of the field and exploit a vulnerable group of Los Angeles linebackers. Plus, his receivers are simply too talented on the outside to not make a few critical plays.

It’s also worth noting the Rams’ kicker situation is not ideal at the moment. That could come back to bite them.

Since I made this line Bucs -5, I scooped up -3 earlier in the week, but I do still see a bit of value at -4 given the matchup advantages — I just wouldn’t play it any higher than that.

As for the total, the pace could be above average. The Rams and Bucs rank fifth and 12th in situational neutral pace, respectively. However, each defense has excelled at limiting explosive plays. I also think that Donald could cause some issues with interior pressure and expect the Bucs to fluster Goff all night.

Tampa Bay can also take away everything L.A. wants to do. Therefore, from a matchup perspective, I’d lean under. I’m not sold on the total yet, though, so follow me in the Action app to see if I end up playing anything there.

PICK: Buccaneers -4

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Buccaneers vs. Rams Odds & Picks: How To Bet the Monday Night Football Spread & Total

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Buccaneers vs. Rams Odds& Picks

Click on a pick to skip ahead.
Buccaneers -4.5 vs. Rams
Under 48.5
Odds via PointsBet, where you can bet $20 on the Rams or Bucs to win $250 if they cover.

The last time the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosted a primetime matchup against an NFC contender, they were routed 38-3 by the New Orleans Saints.

Now the Bucs will play host to a different NFC contender on Monday night: The 6-3 Los Angeles Rams, who are beginning to look a lot like their 2018 selves.

So, where’s the betting value on this showdown? Our staff details how they’re betting the spread and total.

Buccaneers -4.5

Brandon Anderson: Oh boy, we got ourselves a doozy.

As things stand, the Bucs and Rams are the most complete teams in the NFC — the Saints has the big Drew Brees question mark, the Packers slipped up Sunday, and neither they nor the Seahawks have much of a defense.

The Bucs and Rams have the whole package: Offense, defense and even special teams. And their Monday night matchup may well be a preview of the NFC Championship Game. The question is which package is better, and by how much.

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The key on Monday will be which team gets more pressure on the opposing quarterback, and which quarterback handles that pressure better. We already know that neither Jared Goff nor old man Tom Brady are particularly adept under pressure.

For the Rams, the entire defensive effort is built around two superstars. Jalen Ramsey will have his hands full with his choice of elite receivers in Chris Godwin, Mike Evans and Antonio Brown — that’s still utterly absurd. Ramsey obviously can’t guard them all, and the rest of the coverage isn’t as strong, particularly the linebackers.

But then there’s the other Rams star, the one who’s probably going to win Defensive Player of the Year again. Can Aaron Donald get to Brady and make his life miserable? Tampa Bay’s line has been good mostly but can be up and down.

It’s the other side of things that’s more worrisome.

Have you wondered what the big difference is between the 2018 and 2020 Rams, who have been so successful, then the 2019 Rams, who missed the playoffs? The difference has been blocking. Last season’s offensive line was decimated, and the offense fell apart around it. And now, unfortunately, the best Rams lineman is out again — Andrew Whitworth will be a huge miss against a swarming, nasty, aggressive Bucs defense, and you better believe coordinator Todd Bowles will have his guys attacking.

Can Brady still handle the heat? Maybe, maybe not. But if you’re asking me to bet on Goff on the road without protection in a marquee game against the GOAT, all while he’s under pressure all game? I can’t get there.

I would definitely feel better about this line below a field goal, but I’ll make a small play at -4.5 and watch for an opportunity to live bet the Buccaneers if the Rams take an early lead and give me a Bucs moneyline at near even odds.

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Rams-Buccaneers Under 48.5

Raheem Palmer: We’ve run out of superlatives to describe first-year defensive coordinator Brandon Staley. Sean McVay was hailed as an offensive genius when he took over the Rams’ head coaching position in 2017, and it appears he’s found his equal on the defensive side of the ball.

The Rams are second in points allowed, holding teams 18.7 points per game. They’re first in expected points added per play, fourth in defensive success rate (41.4%) and they’ve held five out of eight opposing quarterbacks to sub-70 passer ratings. They aren’t just doing it against inferior competition, either — they held Russell Wilson and a Seahawks offense that’s averaging a league-high 31.8 points per game to only 16 points last week.

In the greatest scoring era in NFL history, the Rams’ second-half defense has reached historical levels, allowing just 36 points through nine games with only two second-half touchdowns (both against the Bills). The Rams are only allowing four second-half points per game, too, and have given up only three field goals over the second half of their past six games.

On the other side of the ball, we see quite possibly the biggest mismatch of the week: Jared Goff vs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ first-ranked defense.

When handicapping games featuring Goff, there’s are a couple key questions to answer:

  1. Is he on the road?
  2. Will he face pressure?

The answer to both of those questions this week is yes.

Jared Goff
Getty Images. Pictured: Jared Goff

Goff’s home/road splits may be one of the worst in the NFL as he sees his completion percentage drop by three points and sharp declines in passer rating and yards per game as well as an increase in turnovers.

Todd Bowles’ defense specializes in getting to the quarterback and the Buccaneers are second in both sacks (110) and pressure rate (27.4%). With the absence of left tackle Andrew Whitworth, we can expect this Rams offensive line to struggle, which should subsequently suppress their offensive output. With the Rams having the ninth-highest run/pass ratio (46%/54%), I don’t expect a high-scoring game.

From a numbers perspective this game doesn’t have a substantial edge, though it should still be low-scoring, so take the first-half under down to 24 and full-game under down to 48.

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NFL MVP Odds Tracker: Patrick Mahomes Takes Commanding Lead After Sunday Night Win

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NFL MVP Odds

Player Odds 11/23
Patrick Mahomes -121 [Bet Now]
Russell Wilson +300 [Bet Now]
Aaron Rodgers +500 [Bet Now]
Kyler Murray +1400 [Bet Now]
Ben Roethlisberger +1600 [Bet Now]
Josh Allen +2500 [Bet Now]
Tom Brady +2500 [Bet Now]
Derek Carr +5000 [Bet Now]
Derrick Henry +5000 [Bet Now]
Ryan Tannehill +5000 [Bet Now]
Dalvin Cook +6600 [Bet Now]
Alvin Kamara +8000 [Bet Now]

Odds as of Nov. 23 and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


Nov. 23 Update

It appears Patrick Mahomes has a stranglehold on the NFL MVP race, at least according to DraftKings.

After a sensational comeback on Sunday Night Football against the Raiders, Mahomes has vaulted to -121 for his second MVP honor in three years as a starter. Mahomes only had two touchdowns and did throw an interception, but he completed over 75% of his passes and threw for 348 yards.

On paper, Aaron Rodgers did no damage to his MVP case, but the Packers did not score in the second half against the Colts en route to an overtime loss. Rodgers threw for 311 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, and he impressively led Green Bay on a 10-play, 86-yard drive in just 1:26 toward the end of regulation for a game-tying field goal.

Ben Roethlisberger and Derek Carr made moves up the board as well. As the starting quarterback of a 10-0 team, Roethlisberger is slowly moving up the board, going from +2500 to +1600 this week, while Carr’s impressive Sunday Night Football performance got him up to +5000 from +7000.

Nov. 20 Update

A Thursday Night Football matchup between Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray yielded no conclusive winner in the MVP race, although Murray’s Hail Mary elevation up the board was halted a bit.

Murray threw for 269 yards and two touchdowns on the national stage, but he ran for just 15 yards, his lowest total of the season. That performance saw him go from +700 to +1200.

Wilson, meanwhile, completed 23-of-28 passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns. He surprisingly bested Murray on the ground, totaling 42 yards on 10 carries.

Nov. 17 Update

Week 10 saw a few big moves in the NFL MVP market.

Most notably, Patrick Mahomes took over the top spot from Russell Wilson while the Chiefs enjoyed their bye week. Wilson wasn’t at his best against the Rams, which dropped him to +225 while Mahomes went up to +180.

Another big move was Kyler Murray, whose incredible Hail Mary pass caught enough eyes to vault him up to fourth at +700. He entered the week at +3300.

The highest-ranked non-quarterback is Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, who improved his odds from +3300 to +3000 in spite of a subpar performance against the Bears on Monday Night Football.

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Nov. 10 Update

After throwing multiple interceptions for the second time in three games, Russell Wilson’s stranglehold on the MVP race appears to be weakening. Wilson, who was at minus odds three weeks ago, is now at +125 on DraftKings with two former MVPs right on his tail.

Patrick Mahomes has moved up to +200 thanks to his incredible 25:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio entering his bye week. Aaron Rodgers is third at +350. He has 24 touchdowns and two interceptions, both of which came on consecutive possessions during the Packers’ Week 6 loss to the Buccaneers.

DraftKings has this as a clear three-quarterback race. Josh Allen impressed against the Seahawks, seemingly rejuvenating his season with 415 passing yards and four touchdowns, but he’s still at +2200.

Vikings running back Dalvin Cook is the highest player who is not a quarterback on the board. Following back-to-back massive games that saw Cook gain 478 yards of total offense, he is tied with Tom Brady, Kyler Murray and Ben Roethlisberger at +3300.

Oct. 27 Update

The NFL MVP race is heating up, and the top of the oddsboard is getting tighter.

Russell Wilson (+100) still holds the top spot, while Aaron Rodgers (+400) moved into the second spot after leading the Packers to a Week 7 win over the Texans with a four-touchdown performance. Patrick Mahomes sits in third at +450.

Tom Brady jumped into fourth on the oddsboard, moving from +3300 to +1200 after throwing for 369 yards and four touchdowns (and rushing for one more) in the Buccaneers’ win against the Raiders on Sunday.

Cam Newton’s MVP odds dropped drastically — from +5000 to +10000 — after logging just 98 passing yards and three interceptions in the Patriots’ Week 7 loss to the 49ers.

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Oct. 22 Update

Russell Wilson and the Seahawks didn’t play in Week 6, but Seattle’s quarterback further cemented his status as the favorite to win the NFL MVP. Wilson now leads the oddsboard at -125.

Patrick Mahomes improved his odds from +600 to +400 after leading the Chiefs to a Week 6 win over the Buffalo Bills with 225 passing yards and two touchdowns. Aaron Rodgers (+300 to +600) now has the third-best odds after the Packers lost to the Buccaneers.

The odds drop off significantly after the top three, with Lamar Jackson (+1600), Derrick Henry (+2500) and Ben Roethlisberger (+2800) claiming the next three spots on the oddsboard.

Oct. 16 Update

Aaron Rodgers benefitted from the Packers’ bye week in the MVP race, with Patrick Mahomes moving to third after the Chiefs’ loss at home to the Raiders. Mahomes dropped from +200 to +600 because of the defeat, during which he completed just 51.16% of his passes.

Russell Wilson only threw for 217 yards in Week 5, but his late-game heroics were the kinds of moments that MVPs are made of. Wilson connected with D.K. Metcalf for a game-winning touchdown on fourth down with just 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter. With his three touchdown passes against the Vikings, Wilson is up to 19 through five games. His latest performance moved him down from +200 to +100 in the MVP odds.

The field at the top is beginning to separate itself even more. Dak Prescott was +1600 before Week 5 but is now out of the running due to his season-ending injury. Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson both moved down to +1600, while a close win over the Eagles and strong performance moved Ben Roethlisberger from +3500 to +2500, just outside the Top 5.

Oct. 7 Update

Russell Wilson remains atop the oboard after throwing for 360 yards and two touchdowns in a Week 4 win over the Dolphins, but this week the Seahawks QB is joined at the top by 2018 MVP Patrick Mahomes at +200.

Aaron Rodgers improved his odds from +700 to +300 after a four-touchdown performance in the Packers’ Monday Night win against the Falcons.

Tom Brady remains at +2500, while Cam Newton dropped to +3300 and Drew Brees improved to +3300 to round out the all-QB top 10. Behind Brees and Newton is Ben Roethlisberger at +3500 and Baker Mayfield and Jared Goff at +5000.

Sept. 30 Update

The top of the board hasn’t changed since last week, with Russell Wilson still topping it after throwing another five touchdowns in a victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

But that doesn’t mean things aren’t changing. Josh Allen is now a top-five candidate for the NFL MVP, sitting one spot behind 2019 winner Lamar Jackson.

Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes moved up the board as well. Rodgers went from +800 to +700 in the past week, while Mahomes sits at +350 after a dominant win over the Baltimore Ravens.

Derrick Henry once again holds the shortest odds of any non-quarterback at +5000, but Alvin Kamara took second place at +5500.

Sept. 23 Update

There’s a new favorite in town. After a 35-30 win over the Patriots in which he threw for five touchdowns, Russell Wilson now sits at 3-1 to win MVP this year.

Also making a big move up the board is two-time winner Aaron Rodgers, whose offense has now gone over 40 points in back-to-back weeks. Rodgers comes in at 8-1 after being listed at 14-1 a week ago.

Moving a bit in the other direction, last week’s favorite, Patrick Mahomes, has fallen back slightly to 5-1 — now sharing that spot with Lamar Jackson.

As for the non-quarterbacks on this list, Derrick Henry still owns the highest odds at 40-1. Christian McCaffrey has fallen from 50-1 down to 90-1 after suffering a high-ankle sprain in Week 2.

Sept. 16 Update

After taking down a Super Bowl contender in Week 1, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray saw his name rise up the odds board for NFL MVP.

Murray is now tied with Aaron Rodgers for the fourth-shortest odds at 14-1, trailing only Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, and Russell Wilson.

Mahomes and Jackson remain in the top-two positions at 31-10 and 26-5, respectively. The pair are the most recent MVPs, with Jackson taking the trophy in 2019 and Mahomes earning it in 2018.

Derrick Henry now has the shortest odds of any non-quarterback at 40-1, supplanting Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey.

June 29 Update

As the NFL season continues to approach, the NFL betting market continues to take shape, with its most recent “transformation” coming thanks to Cam Newton’s signing in New England.

The Patriots moved from 25-1 to 20-1 to win the Super Bowl (you can see all of their odds changes here), and saw increases in their conference and division chances, but perhaps the biggest odds change as a result of Cam’s agreement came by way of his own MVP chances.

Newton was down at 60-1 prior to becoming a Patriot, but as of Monday afternoon, he’s been pushed up to 30-1, making him the 11th-most likely player to win the award.

Super Bowl champion Patrick Mahomes (4-1) has held the top spot throughout the offseason, followed closely by reigning MVP Lamar Jackson (6-1).

With a new fleet of weapons in Tampa Bay, Tom Brady is the fifth-most likely MVP at 16-1, a number that was up near 30-1 at the end of last season.

And as for the leader among non-QBs, that would be Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey at 45-1.

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Biden Administration Likely to Boost Online Gaming, Sports Betting

President-Elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration is likely to boost regulated online gambling- largely because it’s given no indication it would seek to curtail it.

Biden mostly avoided the topic of legal gambling on the campaign trail, focusing instead on the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy and a host of other issues. Gambling is not mentioned among several dozen topics listed on his campaign website.

Biden has reportedly said he doesn’t support a Trump Administration decision to reinstate a more stringent view of the Federal Wire Act of 1961, according to Bloomberg’s Chris Palmeri. The reinterpretation of the decades-old law sparked an ongoing legal battle that threatens the legality of online gaming.

The incoming administration has also given little word on federal sports betting legislation. A bipartisan sports betting regulation bill has floundered with little traction in Congress and, with political control of the Senate still undetermined heading into the 2021 term, it seems any legislation faces an uncertain future at best.

Ending the restrictive Wire Act opinion and staying out of federal sports betting legislation have been largely supported by the legal gaming industry. Biden’s action, perhaps through inaction, would be the best decision in the industry’s eyes, especially after four at times tumultuous years under Trump.

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Wire Act Details

Though Biden’s attorney general nominee has not been announced publicly, it’s safe to say he or she will rescind the lawsuit that threatens the future of internet gambling.

Biden severed as vice president during the Obama administration, which determined in 2011 that the Wire Act applied narrowly to interstate sports betting, not online gaming in general. While this means states with legal sports betting still can’t share players across state lines, it allows online casino operators to, for example, accept players in one state and have a computer server in another.

Under a series of attorneys general, President Donald Trump sought to restrict online gambling through the auspicious of the Wire Act of 1961, a measure pushed by the Kennedy administration that was ostensibly designed to stop organized crime. The Trump Justice Department rescinded the Obama Administration’s interpretation, and instead determined the nearly 60-year-old law’s prohibitions on cross-state gambling applied to not just sports betting but online gaming as well.

This broad interpretation threatened the legality of not just the states with legal online poker and casino gaming, but online lottery sales as well.

Officials in New Hampshire, home to the first modern U.S. state lottery, challenged the ruling in court shortly after it was announced in 2019. A district court judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, staying the implementation of the Wire Act’s revised interpretation. Under Attorney General William Barr, the Justice Department appealed the ruling, which is now before an appellate court.

Meanwhile, the inexplicable rationale for the revised Wire Act opinion drew scrutiny, especially considering Trump’s relationship with Sheldon Adelson, an outspoken online gambling adversary and one of the president’s biggest donors. In a separate move independent of the court challenge, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal sued the DOJ for what he said was a failure to explain Adelson’s potential influence on a Justice Department matter.

With Barr set to be removed from his position when the new administration takes office in January, the lawsuit loses its biggest defender. The new attorney general seems like he or she will support the 2011 opinion of the bill and likely withdrawal the government from the lawsuit.

Sports Betting Legislation

A federal sports betting bill never gained much traction under Trump and seems unlikely to do much more under Biden. Introduced a few months after the Supreme Court struck down the federal sports betting ban in May 2018, the bill would require certain minimum standards for each state that choose to legalize wagering.

First introduced by then-Senate President Pro Tempore Orrin Hatch, a sponsor of the original federal sports betting ban, as well as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the bill was largely ignored over by Congress. A follow-up version, this time sponsored by Schumer and Mitt Romney, Hatch’s replacement in the Senate, has likewise gained little support.

Despite bipartisan backing from Schumer, the Senate’s top Democrat, and Romney, a former Republican presidential nominee, there seems little interest or political capital to regulate wagering at the federal level.

Roughly two-dozen states have passed sports betting laws already, all of which seem disinclined to support any federal intervention. Leading advocacy groups such as the American Gaming Association have explicitly asked Congress to stay out of state-level sports betting decisions.

The Biden administration seems more than willing to acquiesce the request. Along with Congress’ relative gambling ambivalence, Biden seems disinclined to waste political capital on such a bill, especially after it was virtually absent from any of his campaign positions.

Additionally, if Republicans win either of January’s two Georgia Senate runoff races, they will maintain control of the Senate which, against a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, makes passing any legislation that much more difficult, even with bipartisan sponsors.

That could be good news for the gaming industry and sports betting in particular, which has largely supported state-by-state autonomy toward sports betting decisions.

More importantly, the existential threat facing online gaming posed by another four years of the Trump administration seems like it will fade away under Biden.

Tuesday Champions League Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: PSG vs. RB Leipzig (Nov. 24)

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PSG vs. RB Leipzig Odds

PSG Odds -177 [BET NOW]
RB Leipzig Odds +425 [BET NOW]
Draw +350 [BET NOW
Over/Under 3.5 (+100/-124)
Time 3 p.m. ET
TV CBS All Access | fuboTV

Odds updated as of Monday at 3 p.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


Powerhouse clubs are set to do battle Tuesday when Paris Saint-Germain hosts RB Leipzig in a crucial Champions League match.

Both European juggernauts are chasing one of the top two spots in Group H that would get them to the knockout stage of the competition.

This is a huge match for PSG, which finds itself sitting behind Leipzig and Manchester United on the table. The Parisians are 1-2 in group play, which includes a 2-1 loss against RB Leipzig the last time these sides played back on Nov. 4 in Germany.

Ángel Di María gave PSG the lead six minutes into that match, but it was all downhill from there, with the visitors playing down two men at the final whistle after they were sent off.

Suffice to say, a win would give either side a huge edge moving forward in their respective pursuits of a tournament championship.

That said, let’s see how things shape up heading into this matchup.

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PSG

Things have not been that hunky-dory in Paris as of late, which really needs to get together starting Tuesday at Parc des Princes.

The Parisians, who made it all the way to the Champions League final last season, have not been their usual selves thus far, but avenging that earlier loss to RB Leipzig would be a major step in the right direction.

PSG didn’t look so hot in its first match following the international break, dropping a 3-2 decision to fellow French stalwart Monaco. Kylian Mbappé finished with two goals, but it wasn’t enough in the hotly contested affair.

Looking at the statistical data, PSG has been quite average in the quartet. The Parisians currently sit on 4.6 expected goals and 4.3 expected goals against, resulting in a +0.3 xGDiff and +0.10 xGDiff/90 minutes.

RB Leipzig

The German side put together a dream run in this competition last year before being bounced by — you guessed it — PSG in the semifinal round.

RB Leipzig exacted a touch of revenge in that win over PSG a few weeks back but needs another strong showing to further its chances of marching on this time around in this tough group.

The club has been in relatively good form as of late, going unbeaten in its last three games across all competitions. Most recently, RB Leipzig picked up a 1-1 draw against Eintracht Frankfurt following the hiatus.

When comparing RB Leipzig’s data against PSG, the visiting side’s advanced metrics are not as strong despite it being better in the group standings. RB Leipzig has just 3.6 expected goals and 4.1 expected goals against, yielding a -0.5 xGDiff and -0.19 xGDiff/90 minutes.

The bottom line is these stats likely won’t get it done in the long run when competing with the likes of PSG and Manchester United for the top spots.

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PSG-RB Leipzig Picks

This showdown really has the makings of being the day’s best match.

There is so much on the line for these clubs, with their tournament futures pretty much on the line.

That said, I am giving the edge to the host.

This is a match the Parisians must have if they’re going to get a stronghold on one of the group’s top two spots. Honestly, I think anything but a win and all three points works against PSG and its UCL title hopes.

Back PSG to win this game outright. I’m also going to play the total to go over the number. Neither side can seem to keep its foes off the board, so I will take the total on the alternative number of three goals at a slightly higher price.

Picks: PSG ML (-177) | Total Over 3 Goals (-175)

[Bet the PSG-RB Leipzig at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Week 12 NFL Injury Report: Updates on Joe Burrow, J.K. Dobbins, More Injuries

As we enter Week 12, we have six teams playing on Thanksgiving Day along with a full slate of games on Sunday. On Thursday, all eyes will be on the Baltimore Ravens as the team works to control a COVID-19 outbreak that so far has resulted in the placement of two running backs on the reserve list.

We’ll also be keeping an eye on Carolina as quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (knee) and running back Christian McCaffrey (shoulder) work their way back from injuries.

As always, be sure to check back throughout the week as the page is updated with the latest information.

Week 12 NFL Injury Report

Latest On NFL Injuries

Monday Updates

Bengals QB Joe Burrow (knee): While there were fewer key injuries in Week 11 than in other weeks we’ve seen throughout the season, there was one major injury that overshadowed the slate. Burrow was carted off the field on Sunday after sustaining a knee injury that was later confirmed as both a torn ACL and MCL, closing the door on an excellent rookie campaign.

Burrow’s status to begin the 2021 season also becomes murky given an estimated 8-9 month recovery timeline. Ryan Finley filled in for the Bengals after Burrow left the game and should be first in line to start under center moving forward.

Ravens RBs J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram (COVID-19): Both Dobbins and Ingram were placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 List after testing positive for the virus today.

As of Monday afternoon, backup RBs Gus Edwards and Justice Hill remained off the reserve list, making them likely to be the top two backs on the depth chart when the Ravens face the Steelers on Thanksgiving Day. An ESPN report stated there had been at least four positive tests among the Ravens’ players and personnel.

Week 12 WR/CB Matchups: DeAndre Hopkins vs. Stephon Gilmore, Shadow Grades & More

Wide receiver-cornerback showdowns might be the most important individual matchups in football.

In this piece, I leverage snap data from Pro Football Focus (PFF) to project NFL Week 12 WR/CB matchups, especially shadow situations.

For more, see the FantasyLabs Matchups page, where we provide basic and advanced data — including fantasy and red-zone performance — for each offensive skill-position player based on his matchup.

As we get more clarity during the week on the injury status of receivers and corners, I will update my WR/CB projections.

Let’s start with this week’s featured matchup and then run through all the potential shadow matchups, the most notable upgrades and downgrades and the injury situations to monitor.

Jump To: WR/CB Matchup Matrix

WR/CB Matchup of the Week

Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins vs. Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: FOX

In this matchup, we get a three-time All-Pro receiver going against the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year.

It absolutely must be the featured matchup of the week.

Hopkins has been fantastic in his first season with the Cardinals: He leads the league with 912 yards receiving.

But 2020 has been rough on Gilmore, who was hit with COVID-19 in Week 5 and a hamstring injury in Weeks 8-10.

And on the field he hasn’t been his typical All-Pro self.

  • 2020: 61.9 PFF coverage grade | 8.7 yards per target
  • 2019: 85.4 PFF coverage grade | 5.7 yards per target
  • 2018: 90.8 PFF coverage grade | 5.7 yards per target
  • 2017: 87.2 PFF coverage grade | 5.1 yards per target

In just one game this year has Gilmore allowed more than 25 yards directly in his coverage — but in that game he pretty much had his soul stolen by D.K. Metcalf.

In his three-plus years with the Patriots, Gilmore has held receivers to a 51.3% catch rate and 6.6 yards per target, so he’s still a corner to be feared, but he’s no longer the best cornerback in the game.

Even so, he’s still good enough to slow Hopkins, who has been something of an up-and-down producer this year. Against Xavien Howard and the Dolphins in Week 9, Hopkins was just 3-30-0 receiving on three targets. The next week against Tre’Davious White and the Bills, he was 7-127-1 on 12.

Hopkins could go off against Gilmore, but I think it’s likelier that we see one of his more muted performances this week.

Action: Large downgrade for Hopkins

Potential Week 12 Shadow Matchups

Here are the shadow matchups I’m projecting.

Chargers WRs Mike Williams (& Keenan Allen) vs. Bills CB Tre’Davious White

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: CBS

Ordinarily, we would see White shadow opposing No. 1 receivers, but he almost never goes into the slot, whence Allen has run almost half (47.9%) of his routes.

That’s right, “whence.”

So when Allen is in the slot I expect to see White man up Williams, who has run a supermajority (70.8%) of his routes on the perimeter.

Allen is dominant: He is 75-769-5 receiving on 102 targets in his eight full games with quarterback Justin Herbert. When he’s on the outside, there’s a chance White will be on him.

But Williams is also more than worthy of attention: He is 22-403-4 receiving on 38 targets in six games since returning from injury in Week 5. And since 2018 he has been one of the best receivers in the league on a per-target basis.

He fits the prototype of the big-bodied alpha perimeter White tends to shadow.

A 2019 All-Pro defender, White has had an inconsistent year. On the one hand, he has allowed an egregious 10.7 yards per target. On the other hand, he has shadowed most opposing No. 1 receivers — including D.K. Metcalf and DeAndre Hopkins in Weeks 9-10 before the bye — and allowed only 3.6 targets per game.

For his career, White has a 55.7% catch rate allowed.

Action: Large downgrade for Williams, no change for Allen

Jaguars WR D.J. Chark Jr. vs. Browns CB Denzel Ward

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: CBS

In his three games with rookie quarterback Jake Luton, Chark is No. 4 in the league with 434 air yards and yards after the catch (AirYAC) and easily leads the team with 25 targets, 15 receptions and 243 yards receiving.

AirYAC is a leading indicator of fantasy production and can be found in the RotoViz NFL Player Statistical Summary.

But this week he’s likely to face Ward, whom the Browns have used in shadow coverage over the past two weeks.

For his career, Ward has allowed just 5.9 yards per target with a 51.7% catch rate.

Action: Large downgrade for Chark

49ers WR Deebo Samuel vs. Rams CB Jalen Ramsey

Kickoff: 4:05 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: FOX

Note: I’m writing this before the Rams play on Monday Night Football for Week 11.

Coming out of the bye, the 49ers have an unsettled wide receiver unit. Brandon Aiyuk (COVID-19) was put on the pandemic reserve list a few days ago so he’s highly uncertain for Week 12, as is Deebo Samuel (hamstring).

But before the bye head coach Kyle Shanahan said that the team hoped to have Samuel back this week. Right now I’m tentatively projecting him in and that means he’s likely to face No. 1 cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who typically matches up with top opposing receivers.

Against the Cowboys in Week 1, Ramsey had a tough matchup and allowed a line of 8-81-0 receiving on nine targets. On top of that, he was beat deep for a long reception toward the end of the game that was called back by a questionable pass interference.

By the eyes and the numbers, it was a bad performance.

Since then, however, Ramsey has allowed just 4.2 yards per target on a 40.0% catch rate and 3.6 targets per game.

Opposing quarterbacks want no part of Ramsey.

Action: Large downgrade for Samuel

Bears WR Allen Robinson vs. Packers CB Jaire Alexander

Kickoff: 8:20 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: NBC

Allen Robinson hasn’t always had it easy …

… and this week it’s likely to be even harder. Quarterbacks Nick Foles (hip) and Mitchell Trubisky (shoulder) are uncertain to play, so he could have third-string journeyman Tyler Bray throwing to him.

Plus, he could be shadowed by Alexander.

Not always does Alexander match up with No. 1 receivers: He missed Week 10 with an injury, but in Weeks 9 & 11 he played almost solely at left corner.

But Alexander has shadowed in five games this year, and given the type of receiver Robinson is and how thin the Bears are at the position outside of Robinson, this looks like a shadow spot.

Alexander is No. 1 among all cornerbacks with his 89.9 PFF coverage grade.

Action: Large downgrade for Robinson

Seahawks WR D.K. Metcalf vs. Eagles CB Darius Slay

Kickoff: 8:15 p.m. ET on Monday | TV: ESPN

Metcalf is No. 3 in the league with 135.7 AirYAC and 86.2 yards receiving per game. His second-year breakout has been one of the big stories of the season.

But despite his big performances against Stephon Gilmore (4-92-1 receiving, Week 2) and Tre’Davious White (7-108-1, Week 9), he has struggled recently against the shadow coverage of Patrick Peterson and Jalen Ramsey.

  • Week 7 (at ARI): 2-23-0, five targets
  • Week 10 (at LAR): 2-28-0, four targets
  • Week 11 (vs. ARI): 3-46-1, five targets

Slay lacks the size and physicality of Peterson and Ramsey, but Metcalf is the type of big-bodied receiver Slay typically shadows, so I expect to see him on Metcalf for most of the game.

Slay was one of the league’s most reliable cover men for over half a decade in Detroit.

  • 2014: 70.0 PFF coverage grade | 7.0 yards per target
  • 2015: 77.0 PFF coverage grade | 8.5 yards per target
  • 2016: 80.2 PFF coverage grade | 6.8 yards per target
  • 2017: 80.0 PFF coverage grade | 6.8 yards per target
  • 2018: 78.2 PFF coverage grade | 6.2 yards per target

Slay was especially strong in 2016-18, a period highlighted by a 2017 All-Pro campaign in which he had league-high marks with eight interceptions and 26 passes defensed.

With the Lions, he regularly faced opposing No. 1 receivers and was one of the few shadow defenders who followed his man from the perimeter to the slot.

After a down 2019 season — perhaps because of head coach Matt Patricia’s defensive scheme — Slay has rebounded a little in his first year with the Eagles.

He hasn’t regained the elite form he had with the Lions, but he has a serviceable 67.3 PFF coverage grade and has forfeited only one touchdown.

Action: Small downgrade for Metcalf

Week 12 Shadow Borderline

There are three cornerbacks this week with somewhat complicated potential shadow situations.

Bills WR Stefon Diggs vs. Chargers CB Casey Hayward Jr.

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: CBS

The Chargers used Hayward in shadow coverage in Weeks 9-10, but in Week 11 he returned to his customary spot at left corner, where he is still likely to match up most with Diggs on Sunday.

Diggs is No. 3 in the league with 90.6 yards receiving and No. 6 with 129.2 AirYAC per game.

But Hayward entered the season as PFF’s No. 3 cornerback, and he has allowed a catch rate of just 52.2% since joining the Chargers in 2016.

This year, his catch rate allowed is only 45.6%.

Action: Large downgrade for Diggs

Patriots WR Jakobi Meyers vs. Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: FOX

Peterson has shadowed in each of his past four games — but in those matchups he faced D.K. Metcalf (twice), Stefon Diggs and DeVante Parker.

This week, his options are Jakobi Meyers and Damiere Byrd.

Meyers has team-high marks with 34 targets, 26 receptions, 324 yards receiving and 414 AirYAC in four games without No. 1 receiver Julian Edelman (knee, IR). But he’s 8-97-0 receiving over the past two weeks, whereas Byrd was an explosive 6-132-1 receiving just last week.

It’s not clear which receiver Peterson should shadow, so the Cardinals might put him at his usual spot at left corner, where he will defend Meyers most.

For the year, Peterson has a mediocre 51.0 PFF coverage grade.

Action: No change for Meyers

Bengals WR Tee Higgins vs. Giants CB James Bradberry

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET on Monday | TV: FOX

Although Bradberry has shadowed for most of the year, before the bye the Giants in Week 9 played him primarily at left corner, and I bet they do the same this week, given how similarly the Bengals have used Higgins and veteran A.J. Green.

At left corner, Bradberry will likely match up most with Higgins, who is 40-594-4 receiving on 65 targets in eight games since his Week 3 breakout with a team-high 133.2 AirYAC per game.

A physical, press-man defender, Bradberry has allowed just 5.9 yards per target with a 55.4% catch rate this year.

Action: Large downgrade for Higgins

Notable Wide Receiver Upgrades

Here are a couple of advantageous matchups that should not be ignored.

Panthers WRs D.J. Moore & Robby Anderson vs. Vikings CBs Cameron Dantzler & Kris Boyd

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: FOX

Moore and Anderson will combine to run the supermajority of their routes on the perimeter against rookies Dantzler and Boyd.

Moore is having a very underappreciated season.

Anderson is the No. 7 wide receiver in the league with a 27% market share of targets.

In his five full games, Dantzler has allowed four touchdowns. Boyd has allowed 10.3 yards per target this year.

Action: Large upgrades for Moore & Anderson

Dolphins WRs DeVante Parker & Jakeem Grant vs. Jets CBs Bryce Hall & Lamar Jackson

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: CBS

The Jets are without Week 1 starters Blessuan Austin (neck, IR) and Pierre Desir (waived), so backups Hall and Jackson are manning the perimeter.

Parker has a 26% target share and Grant has six opportunities per game in their two weeks without teammate Preston Williams (foot, IR).

Hall has allowed a 72.7% catch rate in his two NFL games. Jackson has allowed 17-249-3 receiving on 20 targets.

Action: Large upgrades for Parker & Grant

Notable Wide Receiver Downgrades

Here are a couple of disadvantageous matchups to keep in mind.

Steelers WR Diontae Johnson vs. Ravens CB Jimmy Smith

Kickoff: 8:20 p.m. ET on Thursday | TV: NBC

Johnson has suffered injuries in several games this year.

  • Week 3: Concussion
  • Week 5: Back
  • Week 7: Leg/ankle
  • Week 8: Hamstring

But in the seven games in which Johnson has played at least 70% of the snaps (Weeks 1-2, Weeks 7-11), he is 48-539-4 receiving with a team-high 78 targets.

In Week 8 against the Ravens he tweaked his hamstring in the first quarter, but he quickly returned to the game and had a 77% snap rate seemingly without limitation. In the first practice of Week 9, Johnson was a full participant with no mention at all of the hamstring in the practice report, so the injury truly seems to have been a nonissue.

Here’s why it’s important: Johnson was just 1-6-0 receiving on three targets in the game — and people are writing off that performance because of the hamstring.

I think it might’ve had something to do with the Ravens pass defense and Smith in particular.

Smith is a should-be All-Pro corner who has allowed just 4.8 yards per target with a 50% catch rate on just four targets per game since last year.

Action: Large downgrade for Johnson

Cardinals WR Christian Kirk vs. Patriots CB J.C. Jackson

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: FOX

With No. 1 cornerback Stephon Gilmore on DeAndre Hopkins, the smaller Jackson will likely defend Kirk for most of the game.

In seven games since returning from injury in Week 4, Kirk is 28-420-6 receiving.

But Jackson is a ballhawk with a career 5:14 touchdown-to-interception ratio. In his two-plus NFL seasons, he has allowed just 6.6 yards per target with a 50.6% catch rate.

Action: Large downgrade for Kirk

WR/CB Injuries to Monitor

I take a cautious approach to players I think are likely to be questionable at best. If they look probable to play by the weekend, I will include them.

Here are the injury situations I’m monitoring and projecting early in the week.

Wide Receivers: OUT

  • Falcons WR Julio Jones (hamstring) is projected OUT.
  • Lions WRs Kenny Golladay (hip) & Danny Amendola (hip) are projected OUT.
  • 49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk (COVID-19) is projected OUT.
  • Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins (hamstring/calf) is projected OUT.
  • Jaguars WR Laviska Shenault Jr. (hamstring) is projected OUT.
  • Titans WR Adam Humphries (concussion) is projected OUT.
  • Texans WRs Randall Cobb (foot) & Kenny Stills (leg) are projected OUT.
  • Football Team WR Dontrelle Inman (hamstring) is projected OUT.

Wide Receivers: IN

  • 49ers WR Deebo Samuel (hamstring) is tentatively projected IN.
  • Bills WR John Brown (ankle) is tentatively projected IN.

Cornerbacks: OUT

  • Saints CB Marshon Lattimore (abdomen) is projected OUT.
  • Panthers CB Donte Jackson (toe) is projected OUT.
  • Titans CB Adoree’ Jackson (knee) is projected OUT.
  • Bills CBs Levi Wallace (COVID-19) & Josh Norman (COVID-19) are projected OUT.
  • Chris Harris Jr. (foot, IR) is projected OUT.
  • 49ers CB K’Waun Williams (ankle) is projected OUT.
  • Seahawks CBs Quinton Dunbar (knee, IR) & Shaquill Griffin (concussion/hamstring) are OUT & projected OUT.
  • Bengals CB Darius Phillips (knee, IR) is OUT.
  • Jaguars CBs C.J. Henderson (groin, IR) & Sidney Jones (Achilles) are OUT & projected OUT.
  • Jets CBs Brian Poole (knee, IR) & Blessuan Austin (neck, IR) are OUT.
  • Vikings CBs Mike Hughes (neck, IR), Holton Hill (foot, IR) & Mark Fields II (chest, IR) are OUT.

Cornerbacks: IN

  • 49ers CB Richard Sherman (calf, IR) is tentatively projected IN.

NFL Week 12 WR/CB Matrix

Pos = left, right or slot WR or CB
Projected shadow matchups are CAPITALIZED

WR Exp = Wide Receiver Expectation: I rank from 3 to -3 how much I think we should adjust expectations for wide receivers based on matchups. 3: Large upgrade. 2: Medium upgrade. 1: Small upgrade. 0: No change. -1: Small downgrade. -2: Medium downgrade. -3: Large downgrade.

Thanks to Scott Barrett for providing me with some of PFF’s historical data.


Matthew Freedman is 788-631-37 (55.5%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.

The Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs, Freedman is commonly called the Oracle & the Labyrinthian.

Tuesday MLS Playoffs Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Toronto FC vs. Nashville (Nov. 24)

Toronto FC vs. Nashville Odds

Toronto FC Odds +118 [BET NOW]
Nashville Odds +245 [BET NOW]
Draw +220 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 2.5 (+104/-139) [BET NOW]
Time 6 p.m. ET
TV Fox Sports 1

Odds updated as of Monday at 12:30 p.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


Franchises that have never met square off Tuesday when Toronto FC hosts Nashville in the first round of the Major League Soccer playoffs.

This match pits the Reds, who have reached the MLS Cup in three of the past four seasons, against an expansion side coming off an impressive 3-0 win over Inter Miami in an Eastern Conference play-in game.

For Toronto FC, the No. 2 seed in the competition, this is a chance to chase the glory it experienced in the 2017 campaign when it won the title.

On the other side, this is an opportunity for Nashville to take down a league giant and start a potential Cinderella postseason run.

With that all said, let’s take a peak at what could be in store.

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Toronto FC

What a rollercoaster ride it was for the Reds during the final month of the regular season. Toronto FC was on cruise control, sitting comfortably atop the conference standings and on its way to the coveted Supporters’ Shield.

Then, an array of injuries hit the club. Gone for various periods of time were striker Jozy Altidore; midfielders Jonathan Osorio and Pablo Piatti; and, defenders Justin Morrow and Richie Laryea.

Those losses sent the TFC into a downward spiral, resulting in three losses in their final four regular-season fixtures. Gone was first in the conference and Supporters’ Shield, with both rightfully claimed by Philadelphia.

With the possibility of being at or close to full strength, Toronto FC must regain the swagger that helped it dominant the league for the majority of the season. Bottom line, health will be the biggest key to the Reds’ success.

Despite its recent woes, Toronto FC concluded the regular season with the conference’s best overall statistical data. The Reds finished with a whopping 35.9 expected goals for and 25.2 expected goals against, yielding a +10.7 xGDiff and +0.46 xGDiff/90 minutes.

Toronto FC was tops in all advanced metrics  in the 14-team conference .


Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.


Nashville

One of the league’s fresh faces could not have asked for a better start to its first venture in the MLS postseason.

Nashville picked up goals from three different players, including this absolute golazo from Randall Leal, that gave it the early lead:

Unfortunately, that excitement following the win over Inter Miami was tempered when the club after an injury to one of its top players. Midfielder Anibal Godoy, who might be Nashville’s most important player, left Friday’s game with a hamstring injury that could sideline him for this contest.

If Godoy can’t go, that could cause major problems for a team struggled to find goals during its campaign. Nashville finished 12th out of 14 teams in goals scored, collecting just 24 in the 23 regular-season games.

Statistically, Nashville’s numbers are what you’d expect. The club finished with a subpar 24.0 xG, but stellar 25.5 xGA, which generated a -1.5 xGDiff and -0.06 xGDiff/90 minutes.

Nashville’s solid xGA, which was was tied for second-best in the conference with Philadelphia, was generated via a strong defense that’s led by captain Walker Zimmerman, who was recently named MLS defender of the year.

Betting Analysis & Picks

Obviously, the questions surrounding the fitness and health of many Toronto FC players should have bettors cautious if they’re looking to back the conference juggernaut in this spot.

However, if there is anyone that overcome the kind of hurdles set in front of it, it’s these Reds. This is the deepest outfit in the league, which will help manager Greg Vanney fill the gaps against Nashville.

Toronto FC can’t get away with missing a few of its top players. Nashville simply cannot.

That said, I am backing Toronto FC on a Draw No Bet wager. I will also play the total to stay under the number in a low-scoring affair.

Picks: Toronto FC Draw No Bet (-180) | Under 2.5 Goals (-139)

[Bet the Toronto FC-Nashville match at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

BONUS PLAY

Philadelphia ML (-113) over New England: The Union, who were the class of the league during the regular season, should have no issues getting off on the right foot in its postseason opener.

Expect captain Alejandro Bedoya and his teammates to control things from the outset against a New England side that earned a dramatic 2-1 win against Montreal in its play-in match.

[Bet the Philadelphia-New England match at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

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Tuesday Champions League Odds, Picks & Predictions: Lazio vs. Zenit St. Petersburg (Nov. 24)

Lazio vs. Zenit St. Petersburg Odds

Lazio odds -162 [Bet Now]
Zenit St. Petersburg odds +430 [Bet Now]
Draw +320 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 2.5 (-130/+105) [Bet Now]
Time Tuesday, 3:00 p.m. ET
How To Watch CBS All-Access

Tuesday’s match between Lazio and Zenit St. Petersburg will have major implications in the race to make it out of Group F.

Lazio is currently in second place and one point behind Dortmund for the top spot, while Zenit sit in last place on one point and will need to pull the upset to have a chance to advance to the knockout rounds or get one of the drop-down spots into the Europa League.

Lazio are big favorites to take all three points on Tuesday but this doesn’t project to be an easy hill to climb.

Lazio

I Biancocelesti are unbeaten in their last six matches in all competitions, but they have struggled a bit in Serie A with just four wins from their first eight matches. Lazio are in eighth place in the table and have the ninth-best expected goal differential at -0.4.

The main issue for Simone Inzaghi is that his offense has not performed at the same level that it did in 2019/20. Last season, Lazio averaged 1.78 xGF per match. This season that number has dipped down to 1.44.

Lazio was lucky to escape with a 1-1 draw against Zenit three weeks ago as the Russian champions won the xG battle, 1.06 to 0.62. In fact, Lazio has a -1.6 xG differential through their first three Champions League matches.

To make matters worse, Lazio could be without center midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, center-back Luis Felipe and goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha.

Zenit

The Russian champions have had a tough start to Champions League play, but they’ve been a bit unfortunate. They lost their opening match at home to Club Brugge despite completely dominating play and winning the xG battle, 2.59 to 1.8. They also hung with Dortmund and only allowed 0.6 xG through the first 80 minutes before surrendering two late goals.

Zenit have been absolutely dominant in Russian Premier League play, scoring 1.73 xGF per match and allowing only 0.74 xG against. Both of those marks are the best in the league.

Zenit gave Lazio a ton of problems the last time these two played and should be able to not only stay in this match, but potentially win it.

Projections and Pick

Lazio opened as a -117 favorite and have taken plenty of money to push them up to -162 at the time of writing. I think that steam has created a lot of value on the underdogs.

My projections make this match closer to a pick ’em, so I’ll play Zenit +1 (-129) and would play it up to -147.

Pick: Zenit +1 (-129)

NBA Free Agency Impact: Lakers Improvement, Gordon Hayward’s Contract, More

NBA free agency is winding down after a frenetic two-day stretch that saw some impactful moves along with some questionable ones. Overall, the crop of eligible players didn’t quite stack up to seasons past, but some moves should be key in determining if top teams across the league will be better or worse entering the truncated campaign.

Here’s a look at the meaningful moves in free agency that will shape the NBA season next year and beyond.

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Jerami Grant signs with the Detroit Pistons

This was is a bit under the radar, but probably will be the most impactful move of free agency. Not for the Pistons, who we’ll get to in a moment, but for the Denver Nuggets, fresh off a Western Conference Finals run.

The Nuggets sent Oklahoma City a pick for Jerami Grant last summer and celebrated at a louder tone than they typically take for landing the versatile stretch four.

Grant was critical to the Nuggets’ playoff run — he guarded Donovan Mitchell, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Anthony Davis, and LeBron James, and did well in nearly all those matchups. The Nuggets needed a third guy behind Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, and it was Grant.

Their pitch to Grant was winning, and an increased role. He came off the bench last season, but was assured a starting role going forward on a team loaded for a title run.

But Grant wanted more. Despite Denver matching what league insiders felt was an overpay at $20 million in annual value over three years for a low-usage player, Grant chose Detroit because Pistons general manager Troy Weaver — who Grant knows from both his college days at Syracuse and with Oklahoma City — offered, presumably, a chance to be a key contributor.

nuggets vs jazz odds
Kevin C. Cox, Getty Images. Pictured: Jerami Grant

The loss of Grant leaves the Nuggets wounded. They made adjustments to cover for the loss (more on that below), but Denver unquestionably took a step back in the brutal Western Conference with Grant’s departure.

Now, for the Pistons.

Grant is a really good player. As mentioned above, he’s a combination forward who can guard wings and stretch bigs. He shot 39% on 3s last season and has some ability to drive and finish off closeouts. He has a great Eurostep in transition that lets him get to the rim.

However, Grant’s not a primary option. He had a usage rate of just 18% last season and even on OKC teams with fewer offensive options behind Russell Westbrook, his number was even lower. He’s a poor rebounder for his position, though that’s mitigated somewhat by the presence of Blake Griffin (if he’s healthy, the eternal parenthetical).

Grant was absolutely worth $20 million per year … to the Nuggets. It’s tougher to see how he is the missing piece for the Pistons.

Grant’s signing, along with Detroit’s other moves were confusing.

Reaction:


Pistons sign Delon Wright, Jahlil Okafor and Mason Plumlee

The word out of Detroit in NBA circles for the past three weeks was “rebuild.” They were offering to take big contracts off teams’ hands in exchange for draft capital, which is exactly what the team needed to do. Clear the books, add assets, and play the long game.

And then free agency happened.

The Pistons signed Jahlil Okafor to a two-year deal early in the free agency period Friday. OK, cool, they lost Drummond and were probably priced out of Christian Wood, that makes sense. But then they paid Nuggets backup center Mason Plumlee $25 million on a three-year deal before also signing Grant.

The Pistons got involved in a four-team trade late Friday which netted them Delon Wright from Dallas. Wright is a good, talented, versatile guard, but he’s also inconsistent.

The Pistons also drafted Isaiah Stewart Thursday. That’s three centers. This also came after they traded Luke Kennard in a three-way deal to the Clippers, getting draft picks back.

So you have the Pistons on the one hand adding multiple picks and clearing cap space, only to turn around and spend it on role players, including a huge deal for Grant.

It’s hard to figure exactly what it is the Pistons are trying to do or how good they’ll be, and that’s before we start to decipher Blake Griffin’s situation.

Reaction:


Lakers Add Montrezl Harrell, Marc Gasol and Dennis Schröder

It’s very en vogue to question what the Lakers are doing and I don’t really get it. They took shots last season on aging role players and that worked out in a title. Now they’re moving from boom-or-bust veterans (Rajon Rondo, Dwight Howard) to actual rotation impact players and they’re getting worse?

Yes, Harrell was almost the entire reason the Clippers were felled by the Nuggets in Round 2. However, that was partially because the Clippers played small-ball with Harrell and had no rim protection. The Lakers do not play small-ball. They have rim protection on the court every second that Anthony Davis plays.

The Lakers’ best offense is in transition, and Harrell is an elite rim-runner. He’ll benefit from LeBron James’ outlet passes and cleaning up offensive rebounds. Frank Vogel’s defensive scheme will also probably cover for him more, allowing better weakside defense.

Schröder is an upgrade. He just is. Rondo was sensational in the playoffs as he often is, but over the course of an entire season, Schröder is better, no question. He’s comfortable with the ball in his hands creating, and he learned to play off-ball in both Atlanta and OKC as part of multi-guard lineups.

LA can run Schröder-Alex Caruso-Kentavious Caldwell-Pope three-guard lineups, or put Schröder with bench lineups next to AD which struggled last year.

Gasol is an upgrade over Dwight Howard. None of the hijinx. Gasol’s slower than he used to be, but he’s a wickedly smart, bruising center who makes crafty passes and knows how to operate within an offense and how to make callouts on defense.

He’s an upgrade on both of their centers from last season, even if there will be matchups in which he’s invisible or unplayable.

The Lakers needed better offensive players. They got them, and the defense will remain stout.

Reaction:


Celtics Lose Gordon Hayward, Add Tristan Thompson

At some point, we have to talk about how Celtics general manager Danny Ainge has lost Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, the pillars of the title contender he thought he was building three years ago.

Hayward walked outright to the Charlotte Hornets, and losing him hurts the Celtics. He’s versatile and smart. He’s a great playmaker more than anything, and an A-grade defender. He’s a good player, and losing a good player for nothing is bad.

The Celtics badly missed Hayward against the Raptors and his absence against the Miami Heat zone helped put them in a deficit they ultimately could not escape.

Boston was 4.7 points better in Net Rating with Hayward on vs. off-court, the second-best among rotation players behind Jayson Tatum.

However, he was redundant. The Celtics are stocked with wings. Even if Marcus Smart isn’t as good of a shooter, he’s as good of a passer and defender as Hayward. Even if Kemba Walker isn’t as good of a defender, he’s as good of a shooter and passer.

Even if Jayson Tatum isn’t as good of a passer, he’s as good of a shooter and defender. Even if Jaylen Brown isn’t as good of a defender, he’s as good of a scorer and cutter.

The Celtics’ big weakness last year was their frontcourt. Robert Williams AKA Timelord is too incomplete. Grant Williams is really talented, but undersized. Daniel Theis battles and battles, can shoot a little bit, but can also get overwhelmed.

nba player props-betting picks-monday january 27
Pictured: Cavaliers C Tristan Thompson (13), Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus-Getty Images

Boston added Tristan Thompson Saturday, and that helps immeasurably. Thompson can switch 1-5 in the Celtics scheme, finish offensive rebounds, run the floor, and provide help-side rim protection.

Boston had rebounding problems last season, and Thompson immediately helps on that end.

I’m not going so far as to say that Thompson automatically puts the Celtics at the top of the East, but he fills a glaring need and Boston’s roster makes more sense now than it did Friday. They remain the biggest threat to win the Eastern Conference, pending the Brooklyn Nets’ health.

Reaction:


Wait … How Much are the Hornets are Paying Hayward?

This is just a mess. And by “this,” I mean “the Hornets signing Gordon Hayward to a four-year, $120 million deal.”

Last season, the Hornets had a promising, cheap team with good young talent like PJ Washington and Devonte’ Graham. They were poised to add the third pick (LaMelo Ball) and be on a nice, steady, rebuilding course.

So of course, Michael Jordan’s team led by Mitch Kupchak went the other way.

This signing makes zero sense for Charlotte. It accelerates their timeline. In order to make room, they had to waive and stretch Nic Batum, which means they’re paying close to $39 million for the right to have Hayward.

Have I mentioned Hayward turns 31 in March and consistently has injury issues since his devastating freak ankle fracture?

Other than that, though, great job!

Does this put them into the playoff picture in the East depending on Ball’s rookie performance? Sure. But they’re essentially locking themselves into mediocrity unless he is a top-five talent in the league within four years.

Reaction:


Fred VanVleet returns to Raptors on 4-year, $85 million deal

VanVleet was going to get paid one way or another, the Raptors had to decide if they were willing to tie up assets to keep him. They decided they would.

VanVleet was one of just 10 players to finish top-20 in both assists per game and 3-pointers made per game last season.

The Raptors are transitioning out of their championship core, the departures of Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol are proof of that. Kyle Lowry turns 35 in March. The Raptors will be worse next season, but will still have a team that can make a run in the East for a top-four seed while keeping space available for 2021.

VanVleet was worth this money. It would have been cool to see what he could do on his own with a new team, but the man who won them the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals gets to remain a Toronto hero.

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Clippers Add Serge Ibaka

It may not make sense on the surface to think that the Clippers could lose Montezl Harrell, which was a good pickup for the Lakers, and still get better with an older replacement.

But they did.

Harrell was exposed in the Nuggets series. The Clippers had to play him at 5, and Nikola Jokic ate him alive. All season long, Harell and Lou Williams were exploited in pick-and-roll coverage — one of the reasons I bet the Nuggets in that series.

Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images. Pictured: Serge Ibaka

Ibaka is a better small-ball 5 replacement and can play at the 4 as well. The Clippers can run Ibaka-Zubac lineups with Paul George at the 2 and Kawhi Leonard at his natural position of small forward and have five plus defenders on the floor, a rarity last season.

Ibaka can also play stretch-5, allowing the Clippers to play 5-out, which gives Leonard more room to isolate.

This is an upgrade for how their roster is built. The trade for Luke Kennard was also sneakily good, if you’re not big on Landry Shamet, which I’m not. The only downside was giving Marcus Morris $64 million, a drastic overpay.

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The Trail Blazers Did Everything Right

The Trail Blazers have had a simply awesome offseason given their limitations. None of the contracts are massive so here are the additions without needless details. They added Robert Covington, Enes Kanter, Derrick Jones, Jr. and re-signed Rodney Hood.

Covington is a massive upgrade and provides them with one player who’s good defensively. Kanter is a fan favorite; Blazers fans are the only people in the league who believe he’s not bad at defense. This is also the only place he’s been meaningful and while I’m skeptical, the depth is good.

Their wings took a big step up. Hood is coming off a torn Achilles and players usually aren’t the same, but he can shoot and defend.

I’m still unconvinced Portland will be able to defend anyone. Their backcourt is still a liability there, Carmelo Anthony is still a liability there, and if you dig into the metrics, there are a lot of signs that Jusuf Nurkic is not the impact defensive player he’s made to be. But Covington and Hood help in that regard.

Portland got better.

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2020-21 NBA Win Total Odds: Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers Open Ahead of the Pack

2021-nba-win-totals-odds-betting

2021 NBA Win Total Odds

Odds via PointsBet, where you can get $250 FREE instantly after signing up AND your bets automatically sync to the Action app. Learn more about BetSync here.

Team Win Total
Milwaukee Bucks
49 [Bet Now]
Los Angeles Lakers
48 [Bet Now]
LA Clippers
47 [Bet Now]
Boston Celtics
45.5 [Bet Now]
Brooklyn Nets
45 [Bet Now]
Denver Nuggets
43.5 [Bet Now]
Miami Heat
43 [Bet Now]
Philadelphia 76ers
43 [Bet Now]
Utah Jazz
43 [Bet Now]
Dallas Mavericks
41.5 [Bet Now]
Toronto Raptors
41 [Bet Now]
Portland Trail Blazers
40.5 [Bet Now]
Indiana Pacers
39.5 [Bet Now]
Golden State Warriors
39 [Bet Now]
Phoenix Suns
38 [Bet Now]
New Orleans Pelicans
35.5 [Bet Now]
Atlanta Hawks
34 [Bet Now]
Orlando Magic
31.5 [Bet Now]
San Antonio Spurs
31 [Bet Now]
Chicago Bulls
30[Bet Now]
Minnesota Timberwolves
30 [Bet Now]
Memphis Grizzlies
30 [Bet Now]
Sacramento Kings
29 [Bet Now]
Washington Wizards
28.5 [Bet Now]
Charlotte Hornets
26.5 [Bet Now]
Oklahoma City Thunder
26 [Bet Now]
Detroit Pistons
24 [Bet Now]
New York Knicks
22.5 [Bet Now]
Cleveland Cavaliers
22 [Bet Now]
Houston Rockets
OFF [Bet Now]

Nov. 23 Update: Now that the NBA Draft, the frenzied trade period and the peak of free agency are in the rearview mirror, the 2019-20 season is over.

With the the 2020-21 season about one month away we can focus solely on the start of the regular season and what better way to do that than dig into some win totals.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about how next season will look, but we know for sure teams will be playing a 72-game schedule (barring any unforeseen setbacks).

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PointsBet has released its opening win totals for the upcoming season and the Milwaukee Bucks are once again at the top of the list. Oddsmakers have the Bucks listed at 49 wins, with the reigning champion Los Angeles Lakers sitting one spot behind at 48 wins.

For context, the Bucks opened with a 55.5 win total last season, which translates to a .676 winning percentage over a 82 games. That win percentage over 72 games figures out to 48.7 wins, so their expectations are essentially the same.

The Lakers, on the other hand, are expected to be better than their championship season based on their win totals. Last season they opened at 51.5 wins (.628 win pct), but their current odds suggest they would be in the 54.5 range over a normal 82 game season.

The Cavs, Knicks and Pistons have the lowest totals, while the Houston Rockets are off the board because of all the uncertainty around their future with stars James Harden and Russell Westbrook.

Wolves vs. Southampton Odds, Picks, Predictions for Monday Premier League (Nov. 23)

Wolves vs. Southampton Odds

Wolves Odds +128 [BET NOW]
Southampton Odds +235 [BET NOW]
Draw +225 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 2.5 (+125/-155) [BET NOW]
Time 3 p.m. ET
TV NBCSN

Odds updated as of Saturday at 11:30 p.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


Things could get pretty interesting Monday when Wolves hosts Southampton in Premier League action at Molineux Stadium.

This showdown pits clubs sitting in the top 10, separated by just three points in the standings.

A Southampton victory would push the club as high as second in England’s top flight and continue its push a potential Champions League berth down the line. In contrast, Wolves has been in stellar form as of late, going unbeaten in four of their last five contests to move into 10th place in the 20-team league.

That said, let’s take a look at these contest and see what’s in store.

_BookPromo=49

Wolves

Things have been going relatively well for the host side after a sluggish start.

Wolves have been on point as of late, particularly on the defensive side of things. The club is 3-1-1 in its last five matches, highlighted by shutout wins against Fulham, Leeds United and Crystal Palace.

It did suffer a tough-luck, 1-0 setback against powerful Leicester City prior to the international break, but don’t expect that defeat to have a long-lasting effect on this resilient bunch.

When it comes to the statistical data, Wolves have accumulated some interesting (good and bad) numbers this season. The club sits on a brutal 6.9 expected goals, but boast a solid 9.2 expected goals against in league play.

Put those together and they generate a subpar -2.3 xGDiff and -0.29 xGDiff/90 minutes, which shows Wolves struggle to score despite being one of the best in league on the defensive side of things.


Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.


Southampton

The Saints could not have asked for a better start to their league campaign, finding themselves with a 5-1-2 record on 16 points thus far.

How good has Southampton been? The visiting side is just a point behind reigning champion Liverpool and four points back of league-leader Tottenham Hotspur on the table, making this an even more important match.

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Southampton has really put things together offensively, racking up 16 goals this season in eight league games. Danny Ings, Southampton’s leading goal-scorer, will miss the match but his absence hasn’t slowed down the Saints as Che Adams has filled in admirably with Ings on the sidelines.

The Saints, winners of five of their last six league tilts, are coming off an impressive 2-0 win over Newcastle United prior to the break.

Like Wolves, Southampton has compiled some pretty interesting numbers itself, sitting on a mediocre 8.7 xGs and impressive 8.5 expected goals against, yielding a respectable +0.2 xGDiff and +0.02 for xGDiff/90 minutes.


Betting Analysis & Picks

This should be a pretty tight affair, with both defenses taking center stage.

Playing at Molineux Stadium brings out the best in Wolves, who are unbeaten in their last four home games against Southampton. The club has conceded just two goals in its last five matches, which has me believing Southampton won’t find much success going forward.

That said, I am backing the total to stay under the number. Expect the defenses to shine throughout this showdown and goals to be hard to come by in this meeting of marquee sides.

I am also going to sprinkle a little on the game finishing in a draw. These clubs are beyond evenly matched, so I think it’s worth taking a shot on this ripe price.

Picks: Draw +225 | Total Under 2.5 Goals (-155)

[Bet the Wolves-Southampton match at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

College Football Misleading Box Scores: Veritable Victors, Dubious Dominators & Bona Fide Busts from Week 12

ncaa-college-football-betting-odds-advanced box scores-week 12-2020

We’ve all lived through enough bad beats to understand that the final score does not always do the best job of reflecting each team’s performance.

This weekly column highlights matchups in which the advanced box score tells a different story than the game’s result, as well as interesting data points that stick out from certain games.

Sports bettors may want to keep this information in the back of their minds before placing next week’s college football wagers.

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Confounding Conclusions

LSU 27, Arkansas 24

This was a really weird box score. Arkansas was easily the more efficient team from a per-play perspective, but LSU managed to run 90 plays to Arkansas’ 53.

How did LSU manage that? Arkansas somehow did not convert a single third-down attempt. The Razorbacks held a 53% to 43% edge in standard downs Success Rate, but LSU converted 50% of its third-down tries.

Overall, Arkansas held a massive advantage in yards per play (8.4 to 4.7). Additionally, quarterback Feleipe Franks almost doubled up LSU quarterback TJ Finley in terms of yards per attempt (13.0 to 6.6). Arkansas had a post-game win expectancy of 90%, according to College Football Data.

Nevada 26, San Diego State 21

Look, another one in which the losing team had a post-game win expectancy in the 90% range (92%, per College Football Data). The Aztecs continued to dominate on defense, holding Nevada to a 32% Success Rate. San Diego State didn’t exactly light the world on fire on offense but had a clear Success Rate advantage at 40%.

Similar to Arkansas, however, the Aztecs were abysmal on third down. They converted only 2-of-11 attempts, while Nevada went 5-for-16. San Diego State was better at staying ahead of the chains but could not convert when it counted.

Auburn 30, Tennessee 17

Tennessee can’t catch a break this year.

The Vols posted a higher Success Rate, averaged more yards per play, had more scoring opportunities … and were rewarded with a 13-point loss.

Tennessee put up a very high Success Rate of 56% while limiting Auburn to 46%. The Vols also ran 10 more plays, averaged more yards per play, and put up 79 more total yards. Additionally, it moved the ball past the opponent 40-yard line eight times compared to five for Auburn.

However, it was asking a little too much for Tennessee to finally put together a complete game, and the Vols only managed to score 10 points on their eight drives past the Auburn 40. In the end, it probably should have been a toss-up instead of a 13-point Auburn victory.

Pittsburgh 47, Virginia Tech 17

It’s not often that a 54% postgame win expectancy translates to a 33-point margin of victory. Like Tennessee, Virginia Tech continues to be one of those teams that just can’t catch a break. This was actually a two-point game with about three minutes left in the first half, but the wheels fell off after that.

In total, the Hokies were more efficient in terms of yards per play at 6.9 to Pitt’s 6.6. Pitt had the higher Success Rate, however, at 55% to 46%.

Where the game really swung was in opponent territory. Virginia Tech drove the ball past the opponent 40-yard line seven times compared to eight for Pitt, but only one team successfully finished drives. The Hokies only put up seven total points on their seven scoring opportunities, while Pitt turned its eight chances into 40 points. The Hokies were also 0-for-3 on fourth down.

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Puzzling Point Totals

Middle Tennessee 20, Troy 17

This is a good example of why finishing drives is so crucial in college football. These teams combined for nearly 800 yards of total offense, but the game never even sniffed the total of 60.5.

Troy and MTSU combined for 12 trips past the opponent 40-yard line, and neither averaged more than 3.5 points on its opportunities. Middle Tennessee averaged 2.86 points after crossing the 40, while Troy averaged 3.4.

Western Kentucky 38, Florida International 21

If the Hilltoppers score 38 points in any game, it’s safe to assume they had some help.

Western Kentucky posted only 278 yards on 59 plays for an average of 4.7 per play. On the other side, FIU ran 81 plays but averaged only 3.2 per play. Western Kentucky’s 33% Success Rate was well below the national average of 42%, and FIU was even lower at 21%.

However, Western Kentucky managed to score defensive touchdowns on back-to-back plays for FIU, which helped this one fly over the total of 42.

Tuesday Champions League Odds, Picks & Predictions: Rennes vs. Chelsea (Nov. 24)

Rennes vs. Chelsea Odds

Rennes odds +375 [Bet Now]
Chelsea odds -143 [Bet Now]
Draw +300 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 2.5 (-150/+120) [Bet Now]
Time Tuesday, 12:55 p.m. ET
How To Watch CBS All-Access

All of a sudden Frank Lampard’s Chelsea are one of the hottest teams in Europe. The Blues have won five straight matches in all competitions. Chelsea have outscored their opponents, 16-1, in those five contests, including a 3-0 win over Rennes three weeks ago.

The Blues currently sit atop Group E and are eyeing a date with Sevilla on Dec. 2, which will most likely determine the winner of the group.

Rennes, on the other hand, are in quite a poor run of form. The French side has won just once in its last nine matches and has lost five of their last six contests. The low point came at home last Friday when they fell, 1-0, at home to Bordeaux in a match that they completely dominated.


Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.


Rennes

Rennes were really fortunate to finish in third place of Ligue 1 last season. Based on expected points, Les Rennais should have finished with around 41 points instead of the 50 that they actually accumulated.

This season has been a different story. Rennes have endured some poor luck and sit in seventh place in Ligue 1 despite having the third-best expected goal differential in France’s top flight.

[Check out BJ Cunningham’s projected odds for every Champions League match this week!.]

That said, Rennes have really struggled against stronger sides in the Champions League. Les Rennais were only able to muster a total of 0.69 total expected goals in their losses to Chelsea and Sevilla. Both matches unsurprisingly ended in a shutout loss for Rennes.

Rennes is loaded with young talent, including wunderkind central midfielder Eduardo Camavinga. The 18-year-old already has already started for the French National Tram and is being courted by every major club in Europe. He will need to be on song if Rennes want to stay in this match.

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Chelsea

The Blues are starting to round into form. Chelsea splashed a lot of cash around the transfer market this summer, bringing in Timo Werner (RB Leipzig), Hakim Ziyech (Ajax), Ben Chilwell (Leicester) and Kai Havertz (Leverkusen). The moves look like they are going to pay off as the Blues have the second-best expected goal differential in the Premier League.

If Chelsea are going to challenge for the Champions League title, it’s going to be because of their offense. Since the restart last season, the Blues are averaging the second-most xG per match in the Premier League at 1.96.

The biggest change for Chelsea this season from last has been their play between the posts. The Blues finally stabilized their goalkeeping situation by bringing in Eduardo Mendy from Rennes and the team responded by recording six clean sheets in their last seven matches. In fact, Chelsea has not conceded a goal so far in Champions League play.

Projections and Pick

Rennes showed no ability of slowing down Chelsea three weeks ago and I don’t know if they have the talent or tactics to shut down a team as hot as Chelsea at the moment.

I’ll back the Blues spread of -1 at +123, but I wouldn’t play it any lower than that number.

Pick: Chelsea -1 (+123 or better)

[Bet Chelsea now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Fantasy Football Week 12 Waiver Wire Adds: James White’s Resurrection

fantasy football-waiver wire-week 12-pickups-adds-running back-wide receiver-tight end

And down the stretch they come!

Week 12 is a time to fine tune your roster and get prepared for the impending fantasy playoffs. The waiver wire gets thinner every week, but there are always a few gems to help improve your team, even in the slightest way.

Let’s take a close look at the best pickups for Week 12, including old faces that are just now starting to be fantasy relevant.

Also check out Sean Koerner’s rest-of-season tiers and week-by-week projections to prepare for the postseason.

Note: We’ve limited recommendations to players owned in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues. All data as of Monday.

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RB | WR | TE

Week 12 Waiver Wire Pickups

Running Backs

James White, Patriots

Ownership: 40%

Fantasy players have been disappointed all season by receiving back James White. However, an injury to Rex Burkhead may trigger a strong fantasy finish.

White caught six of nine targets for 64 receiving yards in New England’s 27-20 loss at Houston. He also rushed five times for 19 yards.

New England has a soft remaining schedule for White, including the Chargers and Dolphins. White is a great PPR Flex play rest of season with massive upside if his passing-game usage returns to normal.

La’Mical Perine, Jets

Ownership: 34%

There were rumors that coming out of their bye week, the Jets would commit to Perine as the their lead running back. However, it was still veteran Frank Gore leading the way with 17 total touches to Perine’s eight.

It’s hard to trust Perine moving forward, as head coach Adam Gase seems determined to keep this a timeshare backfield.

The Jets do have two favorable upcoming home matchups with Miami and Las Vegas, but it’s too difficult to trust Perine more than an RB4/5.

[Play NFL DFS? Access Our Industry-Leading Tools & Projections For Just $4.95]

Sony Michel, Patriots

Ownership: 27%

Michel was activated off the injured reserve, but was still a healthy scratch in favor of Damien Harris, Rex Burkhead, and James White. However, Burkhead left the game with a serious injury, leaving the door open for Week 12.

The problem is Damien Harris has performed well in Michel’s absence, tallying 100 total yards or a touchdown in three of the past four games.

Michel brings little to the passing game, so his fantasy value is predicated on rushing volume. Unless he supplants Harris in that role, he is not worth a waiver wire claim.

Tony Pollard, Cowboys

Ownership: 19%

There is an argument to be made that Pollard is the Cowboys most efficient running back. On Sunday, he broke free for a 42-yard touchdown run in Dallas’ 31-28 upset of Minnesota.

Pollard now has consecutive games of 57 and 60 rushing yards, but is still limited in volume behind Ezekiel Elliott.

He is intriguing, but is only a bench stash in the event Elliott gets injured.

Frank Gore, Jets

Ownership: 10%

Gore is similar to Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald. Veteran players who are beloved by the coaches, and provide consistent fantasy production with limited fantasy upside.

In Week 11, Gore turned 15 carries into 61 rushing yards and a touchdown. He also caught both of his targets for 10 receiving yards.

If you are desperate at the running back position, Gore is a touchdown-dependent RB4/5.

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RB | WR | TE

Wide Receivers

Emmanuel Sanders, Saints

Ownership: 49%

It was surprising to see that Sanders dropped below 50% ownership in Yahoo leagues.

Sanders is still part of one of the most concentrated target shares in the league. He, along with Michael Thomas, accounted for 17 of New Orleans’ 23 targets in the Saints 24-9 win over Atlanta.

Even with backup quarterback Taysom Hill, Sanders had for 66 receiving yards on four receptions. The Saints will face Atlanta again in Week 14, along with a very wide receiver friendly matchup at home against Minnesota in Week 16.

Sanders is a nice Flex play with Hill under center, maintaining WR3 upside.

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Sterling Shepard, Giants

Ownership: 45%

Shepard could slide under the radar coming off the Giants bye week, but he’s a definite waiver target in PPR formats.

Since returning from a turf toe injury, Shepard has averaged eight targets, 6.5 receptions, and 54.8 receiving yards per game. During that time, he has been a WR3 or better on three occasions.

Shepard will enjoy one of the best fantasy wide receiver schedules for the rest of the year. Here are the Giants upcoming games with their respective rank against opposing fantasy wide receivers:

  • Week 12: at Cincinnati (25th)
  • Week 13: at Seattle (32nd)
  • Week 14: Arizona (26th)
  • Week 15: Cleveland (27th)

Shepard is a top waiver priority in all fantasy formats, but especially PPR leagues.

Michael Pittman Jr., Colts

Ownership: 44%

If you didn’t pick up Michael Pittman last week, you may have one more chance.

The rookie from USC was again the most productive Indianapolis receiver, with three receptions, 66 receiving yards, and a touchdown. This followed Pittman’s Week 10 performance of seven receptions and 101 yards against the Titans.

The Colts have Tennessee at home in Week 12, with two games remaining against Houston’s poor pass defense. Pittman is this week’s top waiver wire pickup.

Allen Lazard, Packers

Ownership: 42%

Lazard was activated but on a limited snap count in Green Bay’s 34-31 overtime loss to the Colts. He caught two of four targets for 18 receiving yards.

Fantasy owners may remember Lazard’s last game before going on injured reserve. He torched the Saints for six receptions, 146 yards, and a touchdown in a 37-30 win at New Orleans.

The Packers have a tough upcoming game at home vs. Chicago, but have a very favorable wide receiver fantasy playoff schedule. During Weeks 13-16, the Packers have three home games, including a Week 16 battle against Tennessee’s poor pass defense.

Jalen Reagor, Eagles

Ownership: 28%

After missing most of the season with a thumb injury, Philadelphia’s rookie wide receiver is making up for lost time.

Reagor battled poor weather to finish with four receptions and 52 yards as the Eagles top wide receiver.  He is one of the few explosive offensive playmakers for Philadelphia.

Reagor is a viable WR3 as a result of a fantastic upcoming schedule. Next week the Eagles host Seattle, which has the most generous defense to opposing wide receivers.  In the fantasy playoffs,  Reagor will face the soft pass defenses of Arizona and Dallas in Weeks 15-16.

Tim Patrick, Broncos

Ownership: 24%

Tim Patrick keeps finding quality fantasy production.

He led Denver in targets (eight), receptions (five), and receiving yards (119) en route to Denver’s 20-13 win over Miami.

Patrick is a WR3 option for the next few weeks, but will face the most difficult slate of opposing pass defenses during Weeks 13-16.

Nelson Agholor, Raiders 

Ownership: 19%

Another week, another touchdown for Nelson Agholor.

The Philadelphia castoff has continued his oscillating fantasy production with a six-catch, 88 receiving yard, one touchdown performance in the Raiders Week 11 loss to the Chiefs. This followed last week’s one-reception, eight receiving yard disappointment against the Broncos.

Agholor is a strong WR3/4 play in favorable upcoming road games at the Falcons and Jets.

Rashard Higgins, Browns 

Ownership: 12%

Cleveland slogged out another ugly win under poor weather conditions.

Higgins remains the Browns most consistent receiver option, with three catches and 65 yards in the 22-17 win over Philadelphia,

With Odell Beckham out for the season, and Jarvis Landry still not looking 100% healthy, Higgins could be Baker Mayfield’s top target rest of season.

Outside of a tough Week 14 home matchup against Baltimore, the Browns have a very favorable slate of opposing pass defenses in Weeks 13-16. The Titans, Giants, and Jets all rank among the league’s eight most generous defenses for opposing fantasy wide receivers.

Higgins should be considered a WR3 rest of season.

Damiere Byrd, Patriots

Ownership: 2%

After watching teammate Jakobi Meyers explode over the past few weeks, Byrd decided it was his turn in Week 11.

Byrd had six receptions for 132 receiving yards and a touchdown. This included a 42-yard bomb from quarterback Cam Newton in the third quarter.

His 4.32 speed always allows for the big play, and that is even more valuable in a shallow Patriots receiving core.

Byrd is worth WR4/5 consideration next week at home against Arizona.

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RB | WR | TE

Tight Ends

Robert Tonyan, Packers

Ownership: 46%

Tonyan found his way back into the end zone for the first team since his three-touchdown performance in Week 4. He caught all five of his targets for 44 receiving yards.

In a year with very few usable weekly tight ends, Tonyan should be owned in all fantasy formats. He has two favorable matchups at home against Chicago and Philadelphia the next two weeks.

Jimmy Graham, Bears

Ownership: 38%

Most fantasy players fail to realize, Jimmy Graham is third among all tight end in touchdowns (five).

Coming off a bye week, Graham is certainly worth a pickup for any team in need of a starting tight end.

The matchup against Green Bay is challenging, as the Packers allow the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends. However, how often is a player with the third-most touchdowns at his position available on the waiver wire heading into Week 12?

Dalton Schultz, Cowboys

Ownership: 21%

Schultz entered Week 11 ranked sixth among all tight ends in targets (55). In the Cowboys 31-28 upset win at Minnesota, Schultz caught four passes for 25 yards and a touchdown.

Dallas has three favorable matchups for Schultz upcoming, including Washington at home on Thanksgiving. He is absolutely worth a claim if you need a starting tight end due to injuries.

Jordan Reed, 49ers

Ownership: 21%

If Reed can stay healthy, he will be the premier fantasy difference-maker at tight end. He inherits the George Kittle role on this offense and is coming off a solid five receptions and 62 receiving yards against the Saints. In a year where tight end production is so tough, that ranked as the overall TE5 stat line for Week 10.

With superb positional home matchups against Buffalo and Washington, Reed is my top tight end waiver wire pickup.

Jordan Akins, Texans

Ownership: 2%

Akins finally looked healthy after a Week 5 concussion sidelined him for three games. Against a tough Patriots defense, Akins totaled five receptions for 83 receiving yards.

Akins splits target with Darren Fells, making him nothing but a desperation play for Week 12.

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RB | WR | TE

Thanksgiving NFL Odds: Spreads & Over/Unders for Texans vs. Lions, Washington vs. Cowboys & Ravens vs. Steelers

thanksgiving-nfl-odds-spreads-over-unders-texans-vs-lions-washington-vs-cowboys-ravens-vs-steelers

Sunday’s NFL Week 11 slate is in the books, meaning it’s a quick turnaround for the six teams playing on Thanksgiving Day.

Let’s take a look at Thanksgiving NFL odds for all three Thursday holiday matchups from DraftKings Sportsbook.

Try PRO betting tools for all 3 Thanksgiving games

Texans vs. Lions

Washington vs. Cowboys

Ravens vs. Steelers

NFL Odds: Texans vs. Lions

12:30 p.m. ET | CBS

  • Spread: Texans -2.5
  • Over/Under: 50.5

After laying an egg against the Carolina Panthers, who were without starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and all-world running back Christian McCaffrey, it’s no surprise to see the Detroit Lions as home underdogs against the Houston Texans in Thursday’s NFL Thanksgiving opener.

It’ll be interesting to monitor how Texans vs. Lions odds move this week, especially if this spread floats to 3.

At that point, we could see Lions money flood the market.

NFL Odds: Washington vs. Cowboys

4:30 p.m. ET | FOX

  • Spread: Cowboys -2.5 (-125)
  • Over/Under: 48

The Washington vs. Cowboys spread was actually Dallas -1 in Thanksgiving lookahead lines last week, but has ballooned to a very juice -2.5 following a straight-up win over Minnesota as a 7-point underdog.

In fact, plenty of sportsbooks are now at Cowboys -3 (the most important number in NFL betting), which could inspire some early action this week.

NFL Odds: Ravens vs. Steelers

8:20 p.m. ET | NBC

  • Spread: Steelers -3
  • Over/Under: 46

Pittsburgh is 10-0 while Baltimore has dropped two straight to fall to 6-4 on the season, but the market is still expecting a very competitive game.

Despite their recent struggles, just the Steelers (+124) and Kansas City Chiefs (+107) have a better point differential this season than the Ravens (+73), suggesting that this team has performed better than its record indicates.

Ravens vs. Steelers is also on the key number of 3, so we should find out just how bullish bettors are on Baltimore for this Thanksgiving NFL matchup.

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Biggest Thanksgiving betting edges

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Tuesday Champions League Odds, Picks & Predictions: Krasnodar vs. Sevilla (Nov. 24)

champions league-soccer-betting-odds-pick-sevilla-krasnodar-november 24 2020

Krasnodar vs. Sevilla Odds

Krasnodar odds +400 [BET NOW]
Sevilla odds -148 [BET NOW]
Draw +290 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 2.5 (-159/+128) [BET NOW]
Time Tuesday, 12:55 p.m. ET
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Krasnodar and Sevilla meet three weeks after a five-goal thriller led to a 3-2 Sevilla win. Krasnodar went up 2-0 in the first half and went up a man when Jesus Navas was sent off right before the end of the first half. However, the Russian outfit was unable to hold on to the advantage, as Youssef En-Nesyri scored two second-half goals to give Sevilla the win.

Krasnodar is struggling in the Russian Premier League, currently sitting in ninth place in the league and only winning one of its last seven matches in all competitions. It has only one point through its first three matches in Group E and needs a result if it’s going to finish in third and qualify for the Europa League.

Sevilla is tied on points with Chelsea in the group and will need all three points if it’s going to finish atop the group. It’s currently sitting in seventh place in La Liga after back-to-back wins over Celta Vigo and Osasuna. It will, however, have to make the trip to Russia without its captain in Navas, who will be suspended for the match.

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Krasnodar

The 2020-21 campaign has been a struggle for Krasnodar. After finishing third in the Russian Premier League last season, the Russian outfit is all the way down in ninth place after its first 15 matches. Offense hasn’t been the issue. It’s scoring the fourth-most xG per match in the RPL at 1.61. However, the Russian Premier League and Champions League are two very different competitions.

So far through it’s first three matches, the biggest issue for Krasnodar has been its defense. It is allowing a whopping 2.43 xG per match, including 2.20 xG to 10-man Sevilla three weeks ago.

Krasnodar’s offense has also been struggling to create quality chances, as it averages only 0.89 xG per match from non-penalty scoring chances. It’s hard to imagine it’ll be able to create steady chances against a stout defense like Sevilla’s.

Sevilla

Although Sevilla is currently in seventh place in La Liga, it’s been one of the best defensive teams in the league since the restart last season. Los Nervionenses have allowed only 0.86 xG per match, which is second only to Atletico Madrid in La Liga.

Sevilla has been outstanding in Champions League play thus far. It already has a +3.5 expected goal differential through its first three matches in Group E.

Considering Sevilla was able to create most of its 2.20 xG on Krasnodar with only 10 men on the field, how much better will it do with a full 11?

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Projections and Pick

I think we will see a much different match the second time around between these two clubs. Sevilla’s defense limited Krasnodar’s non-penalty chances to just 0.70 xG the first time around, and I think it will do it again on Tuesday.

I only have Krasnodar projected for 0.79 xG in this match, so I think there’s some value on its team total at under 0.5 at +185.

Pick: Krasnodar Team Total Under 0.5 (+185)

[Bet the Krasnodar team total now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Week 12, Thanksgiving NFL Odds: Spreads, Totals & Opening Lines For Every Game

Rams-Buccaneers on Monday Night Football is the only matchup remaining on the Week 11 schedule, but oddsmakers have already released Week 12 opening lines.

We’ve outlined all the posted spreads and totals available as of Sunday night below.

Week 12 NFL Odds: Spreads & Totals


Odds as of Sunday night and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


Texans at Lions

  • Odds: Texans -2
  • Over/Under: 50.5
  • Time: 12:30 p.m. ET on Nov. 26
  • TV Channel: CBS

Washington at Cowboys

  • Odds: Cowboys -2.5
  • Over/Under: 48
  • Time: 4:30 p.m. ET on Nov. 22
  • TV Channel: FOX

Ravens at Steelers

  • Odds: Steelers -3
  • Over/Under: 46
  • Time: 8:20 p.m. ET on Nov. 26
  • TV Channel: NBC

Chargers at Bills

  • Odds: Bills -5.5
  • Over/Under: 52
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET on Nov. 29
  • TV Channel: CBS

Titans at Colts

  • Odds: Colts -3.5
  • Over/Under: TBD
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET on Nov. 29
  • TV Channel: CBS

Panthers at Vikings

  • Odds: Vikings -4
  • Over/Under: TBD
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET on Nov. 29
  • TV Channel: FOX

Browns at Jaguars

  • Odds: Browns -6.5
  • Over/Under: 46.5
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET on Nov. 29
  • TV Channel: CBS

Giants at Bengals

  • Odds: Giants -4.5
  • Over/Under: 43
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET on Nov. 29
  • TV Channel: FOX

Cardinals at Patriots

  • Odds: Cardinals -2.5
  • Over/Under: TBD
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET on Nov. 29
  • TV Channel: FOX
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Dolphins at Jets

  • Odds: Dolphins -6.5
  • Over/Under: 46
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET on Nov. 29
  • TV Channel: CBS

Raiders at Falcons

  • Odds: TBD
  • Over/Under: TBD
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET on Nov. 22
  • TV Channel: CBS

Saints at Broncos

  • Odds: Saints -5.5
  • Over/Under: 45.5
  • Time: 4:05 p.m. ET on Nov. 29
  • TV Channel: FOX

49ers at Rams

  • Odds: TBD
  • Over/Under: TBD
  • Time: 4:05 p.m. ET on Nov. 29
  • TV Channel: FOX

Chiefs at Buccaneers

  • Odds: TBD
  • Over/Under: TBD
  • Time: 4:25 p.m. ET on Nov. 29
  • TV Channel: FOX

Bears at Packers

  • Odds: Packers -7.5
  • Over/Under: TBD
  • Time: 8:20 p.m. ET on Nov. 29
  • TV Channel: NBC

Seahawks at Eagles

  • Odds: Seahawks -5.5
  • Over/Under: 52
  • Time: 8:15 p.m. ET on Nov. 30
  • TV Channel: ESPN

 

Rovell: Justin Herbert Becomes Huge Favorite in Offensive Rookie of the Year Race

nfl-justin herbert-offensive rookie of the year-darren rovell-2020

It’s only Week 11, but those who bet on Justin Herbert to win Offensive Rookie of the Year very well might have cashed on Sunday.

In the matter of a few hours, Joe Burrow was carted off the field and tweeted he was done for the season, and Tua Tagovailoa — who was 3-0 going into Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos — was benched for Ryan Fitzpatrick after a lackluster effort.

That opened things up for Herbert, who threw for 366 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in a 34-26 victory over the New York Jets.

“Who else could win?” said Ed Salmons, Vice President of Risk for the SuperBook in Las Vegas. “Herbert will be a huge favorite on Monday.”

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In fact, one sportsbook didn’t even wait until Monday. 

By late Sunday night, PointsBet had posted Herbert at a prohibitive -1000 favorite. Tagovailoa went to 10-1 with Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson, while Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire went to 30-1.

Herbert had started the season at 17-1 and started to close the gap between Weeks 2 and 3 when he jumped from +1500 to +950. He was then named the starter for the Chargers and dropped to +400. The following week, he posted a four-touchdown game against the Saints and went to +130 and into the favorite position. 

While Herbert was the favorite, he wasn’t where the most liability was.

At DraftKings, Burrow made up 29% of the bets and 43% of the handle. Herbert was at 11% of the bets and 16% of the handle, while Tagovailoa sat at 5% of the bets and 4% of the handle. All were in front of Edwards-Helaire, who had 10% of the bets, 7% of the handle.

“We’re spread out pretty good,” DraftKings Head of Sportsbook Johnny Avello said. “This market isn’t really as volatile as some others are.”

The MVP race is, however, and last year Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson could be had at 70-1 before the season started. 

Is it strange that Herbert could win it on a team that is now 3-7 and likely won’t have a winning season? At least more recently, that’s actually commonplace for the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award. 

Four of the last six players who won the honor — Kyler Murray, Saquon Barkley, Todd Gurley and Odell Beckham Jr. — came from teams with losing seasons. The exceptions to the rule? Saints running back Alvin Kamara in 2017 and Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott in 2016.

Freedman’s NFL Week 12 Trends & Early Bets: Find Value Betting Against The Steelers

lamar-jackson-nfl-division-odds-tracker-update-2020

It’s Week 12: Thanksgiving Week. And football gods be good, I’m thankful that we haven’t had one single NFL game cancelled up to this point in the season.

Let’s take a look at some applicable trends for the early Week 12 spreads.

Although I’m not a trends bettor, I find that trends help me identify spots I should consider further when analyzing games. Using our Bet Labs database, I have uncovered some intriguing NFL trends for two games this week.

All lines are from our NFL Odds page.

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Early Week 12 NFL Picks

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Pick Bet Now
Ravens +3 vs. Steelers DraftKings
Packers -7.5 vs. Bears FanDuel

Baltimore Ravens (+3) at Pittsburgh Steelers

Kickoff: 8:20 p.m. ET on Thursday | TV: NBC

The Ravens just suffered a painful 30-24 overtime home loss to the Titans, while the Steelers meandered their way to an easy 27-3 road win over the Jaguars.

Because of these recent results, I expect the betting market to be too low on the Ravens and too high on the Steelers, especially given how familiar with each other these divisional rivals are.

On top of that, I generally want to invest in road dogs coming off a loss.

My theory: Square bettors tend to avoid visitors, underdogs and teams that just lost, which means that in a market flush with new and unsophisticated money we should see road underdogs coming off a loss provide excessive value.

And that is what we’ve seen since 2019, when many inexperienced bettors first entered the market with the widespread legalization of sports speculation. Since last year, road dogs off are 73-50-5 against the spread (ATS), good for an A-graded 14.3% return on investment (ROI).

When these two teams met in Week 8, the Steelers snuck out of Baltimore with a narrow 28-24 win despite getting four turnovers, one of which was a pick-six in the first minute.

No matter what happens in the game, Ravens-Steelers matchups are almost always close at the end. With that in mind, I’ll gladly take the road dog off a loss.

  • Action: Ravens +3 (-110) at DraftKings
  • Limit: +1 (-110)

Green Bay Packers (-7.5) vs. Chicago Bears

Kickoff: 8:20 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: NBC

In his career, Rodgers has thrived in two notable spots: at home and within the division.

  • At home: 55-32-3 ATS | 23% ROI
  • Within division: 44-26 ATS | 23% ROI

And at Lambeau Field vs. NFC North opponents, Rodgers is an improved 22-12 ATS (26.2% ROI).

I’m not worried about the Bears. Although Bears head coach Matt Nagy was 12-5 ATS in his first year with the team, his opponents are 17-8-1 ATS (31% ROI) since the start of last season.

The Bears are coming off the bye, but I’m still not concerned because Nagy is 0-2 with an extra week to prepare.

  • Action: Packers -7.5 (-110) at FanDuel
  • Limit: -9.5 (-110)

Matthew Freedman is 788-631-37 (55.5%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.

The Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs, Freedman is commonly called the Oracle & the Labyrinthian

MLS Playoff Betting Odds: Portland vs. FC Dallas Picks & Predictions (Sunday, Nov. 22)

Portland vs. FC Dallas Odds

Portland Odds +100 [BET NOW]
FC Dallas Odds +250 [BET NOW]
Draw +265 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 2.5 (-152/+117) [BET NOW]
Time 10 p.m. ET
TV ESPN

Odds updated as of Saturday at 4 p.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


If Saturday’s Major League Soccer postseason insanity is any sort of indication as to what still lies ahead, we are in for a wild ride the rest of the way.

That being said, things might not get as crazy (to be honest, I hope they do) in Sunday’s first-round match between Portland and FC Dallas, but it should still be highly entertaining affair nonetheless.

The Timbers, seeded third in the Western Conference playoffs, is hoping to find similar to success from this past summer when it captured the MLS is Back Tournament crown in Orlando at 28-1 odds.

On the other side, FC Dallas comes in as the sixth seed and hopes to start its own run toward a possible MLS Cup title.

Let’s take a look at this intriguing contest and see what’s in store.

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Portland enters this match having finished in a three-way tie atop the conference with Sporting Kansas City and Seattle, all winding up with 39 points through 23 regular-season games.

The Timbers got the worst end of the stick via the MLS tiebreaker system, winding up in third place. Portland, which ended up second in the conference with 46 goals (only one behind Los Angeles Football Club), went 2-1-3 over its last six games.

All in all, the Timbers and coach Giovanni Savarese — who was my pick for MLS coach of the year — should be proud of their effort after losing standouts Sebastian Blanco and Jaroslaw Niezgoda to season-ending ACL injuries during the busy campaign.

As for FC Dallas, the club closed the regular season with a 3-1 record. That lone loss came on Decision Day when it dropped a 3-0 decision to Minnesota United, which actually cost the Toros a chance at hosting a playoff match.


When comparing the common data and statistics between these clubs, they’re closer than what you might have expected.

Portland finished with 31.5 expected goals for and a poor 35.3 xGA during the regular season, giving the club a surprisingly bad -3.8 xGDiff and -0.16 xGDiff/90 minutes. Obviously, these are not the kind of numbers you would have anticipated seeing from one of the conference’s best clubs.


Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.


In contrast, FC Dallas actually has better overall numbers than its host when it comes to the advance metrics. The Toros had a slightly better 31.8 xG goals and relatively solid 30.6 expected goals against for a balanced +1.2 xGDiff, along with a +0.06 xGDiff/90 minutes.

The Toros’ xGDiff and xGDiff/90 minutes were good enough for fifth out of 12 teams in the conference, making this an even more interesting contest on paper as I previously mentioned.


Betting Analysis & Picks

I rode Portland and its 28-1 futures odds all the way to the MLS is Back Tournament crown, so there is no way I am going away from this club.

The Timbers have overcome so much, dealing with so many hurdles during its campaign. So, why would Portland fold up shop and crash out of the playoffs against an opponent that went 1-5-3 on the road during the regular season?

Bottom line, don’t count on it.

With that in mind, I am backing Portland on the money line to earn a spot in the conference semifinals, where it will face LAFC or reigning champion Seattle. Two of the last three meetings between these sides have seen at least three goals scored, which has landed me on this pick.

Picks: Portland ML (+100) | Total Over 2.5 Goals (-152)

BONUS PLAY

  • Sporting Kansas City vs. San Jose — Total Over 3 Goals (-129): This Western Conference battle has goals galore written all over it. These clubs have combined to score at least five goals (yes, five goals) in three of their last four meetings, which has me confident in this play.

If you’re looking for a side, back the No. 8-seeded Earthquakes getting +1.25 on the alternative spread line. I think Chris Wondolowski and his teammates keep it close against the conference’s top seed.

[Bet the Portland-FC Dallas & Sporting Kansas City-San Jose matches at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

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NFL Odds & Picks: How Pros Are Betting the Chiefs vs. Raiders Total

NFL Odds: Chiefs vs. Raiders

Chiefs Odds -7.5
Raiders Odds +7.5
Over/Under 56
PRO Projections Chiefs -7.2 | O/U: 56.1
Time/Channel  8:20 p.m. ET, NBC
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Whether you read my NFL PRO Betting System piece already or tuned into The Action Network’s pre-game betting show “Convince Me!” to see Chris Raybon wax poetic about Chiefs vs. Raiders, you know that the Sunday Night Football total is offering value for bettors.

The betting market has confirmed that suspicion as late money from professional bettors has Chiefs vs. Raiders odds on the move.

Let’s take a look at how sharp betting action is affecting Sunday Night Football.

NFL Picks: Chiefs vs. Raiders

As recently as early this morning, the Chiefs vs. Raiders over/under sat at 57 at DraftKings.

However, a quick visit to our NFL Live Odds page shows that number down to 56.

Why? Because sharps steamed the under late this morning forcing oddsmakers to react by adjusting down to 56.

Steam refers to sudden, uniform line movement across the entire betting market and is often the result of wiseguys making the same bet at multiple sportsbooks, all at once.

Please note that if you haven’t yet bet the Chiefs vs. Raiders under but are considering it, there are still a handful of sportsbooks hanging 56.5, so be sure to shop around and grab the best number possible.

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NFL Prop Picks: Bet Hunter Renfrow’s Over For Chiefs vs. Raiders on Sunday Night Football

nfl-prop-bets-picks-chiefs-vs-raiders-sunday-night-football-2020

Sean Koerner, our Director of Predictive Analytics, is highlighting his favorite prop(s) for every slate throughout the 2020 season. He was 77-57 (57.5%) heading into Sunday’s games with a 287-213-5 (57.4%) all-time record on NFL bets he’s tracked in the Action app.


NFL Prop Bet For Chiefs vs. Raiders

  • The Pick: Hunter Renfrow Over 32.5 Rec Yards (-110)
  • Bet Now: FanDuel

We have an excellent “buy low” opportunity on Renfrow, who is a fairly underrated receiver.

He’s coming off of a three-game stretch in which his median receiving yards was 30. But to put that into context, Derek Carr averaged only 143 passing yards over that stretch — that included the windy game at Cleveland and the 25-point win over the Broncos. Overall, the Raiders just didn’t need to throw much over their three-win streak. However, as 7-point underdogs on Sunday night, they will be forced to throw against the Chiefs.

Renfrow has gone for 33 or more yards in five of the six games when Carr has thrown for at least 200 yards. We can expect Renfrow to benefit heavily from tonight’s game script, and my raw model’s projection (before any tweaking) for his yardage is 49.

I would bet this up to 38.5, but it honestly would not shock me if he ended up posting 50 or more yards tonight.

Here are the chances of him going over various yardages based on my 10,000 player prop simulations:

Yards
Over
Under
32.5
0.581
41.9%
33.5
0.565
43.5%
34.5
0.558
44.2%
35.5
0.551
44.9%
36.5
0.537
46.3%
37.5
0.521
47.9%
38.5
50.6%
49.4%
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Updated 2020 College Football Betting Power Ratings

ncaa-college football-betting-power ratings-week 13-2020

What is a power rating in sports betting?

Well, it’s not all that different from trading stocks — you assign a value to something based on a number of factors, and try to buy it when it’s low, and sell when it’s high.

With stocks, long-term investors look for a clean balance sheet, revenue growth and market capitalization. In sports betting, a gambler should look for price point, market deflation and growth over peers.

For example, Vanderbilt would be a sell due to practice suspensions and one of the lowest returning production marks in college football. I’ll be betting against them if my projected spreads are higher sportsbooks are posting.

In this article, we’ll take a look at our new set of power ratings with the inclusion of active FBS and FCS members.

Simply subtract the lower team’s rating from the higher team’s to create a projected point spread on a neutral field.

How Do I Use These Power Ratings to Bet?

The numbers are designed to be basic for you, the bettor — just take the higher team’s number and subtract the lower team’s number. You’ve got a point spread.

I assign Clemson a 99.5, and North Carolina an 80. That means Clemson would be -19.5 on a neutral field. If an opening point spread was released on Clemson -17, I would likely look to get money down on the Tigers.

Conversely, if the point spread closed North Carolina +21, I would look to back the Tar Heels. Rarely do I ever go against my power ratings, as they are the best indicator to determine market inflation and public perception on a team. But I don’t bet every single discrepancy, either.

When a big discrepancy exists in the market between my Power Ratings and the oddsmaker’s point spread, I need to take a deeper dive to see if there’s something I’m missing, and if there are variables I may not be accounting for in a particular matchup (success rate, explosiveness, trench play, etc).

What Moves a Power Rating?

Earlier this year, I did a sports betting tutorial series examining the scope of power ratings. Conference strength, coaching changes and returning production each play a role during offseason evaluations, but the regular season requires a different approach: Advanced box scores become paramount to adjusting a team’s power rating.

As an example, let’s look at the advanced box score for the 2020 Rose Bowl between Wisconsin and Oregon.

This was an excruciating game for my bankroll with plenty of volume down on Wisconsin as a pick ’em. The Badgers won this game all over the box score — from overall success rate to yardage to negative play percentage.

However, turnovers by the Badgers and explosive drives got Oregon to the window. Nonetheless, Wisconsin earned a positive power rating bump due to its better postgame win expectancy. Meanwhile, the Ducks were docked a point on their overall number.

Terms to Know

Postgame Win Expectancy is a calculation of all variables in a box score that dictate who would win the game if it was played a high number of times. Turnover luck, success rate and yards per play are notable components of this calculation, and can influence a single game. But over a large sample, the team that moved the ball better would win more often than not.

There have been plenty of box scores where a team wins as an underdog, but a negative value is applied to that team’s power rating, because the result was fluky rather than systematic.

Coach scheme changes can adjust a power rating quickly. For example, Oregon will undergo a change from Marcus Arroyo’s conservative play-calling to new offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead’s system. Moorhead’s offense features a heavy dose of 11 personnel, west coast spread concepts and modern RPOs.

That offensive philosophy has led to more explosiveness and higher rates of success on standard downs at each of Moorhead’s previous stops at Penn State and Mississippi State. In a situation like this, a power rating can be useful to quickly adjust a team’s forecast for future games. In the case of Mike Leach, an adjustment of totals is coming with an increase in plays per game.

Success Rate and Explosiveness were first defined in Bill Connelly’s Five Factors and are strong indicators for future box scores. While EPA (Expected Points Added) and IsoPPP (Isolated Points Per Play) can be highly variable from season to season, Success Rate is a stable data point for handicappers to use for projections.

Simply put, if a team consistently achieves the desired amount of yards — determined by down and distance — then this is a “play-on” team with your bankroll. Texas A&M ranked 17th in offensive success rate last season and returns 80% of its offensive production for 2020; that combination makes the Aggies a play-on team.

As the 2020 season quickly approaches with Central Arkansas and Austin Peay kicking off in Montgomery, we’ll be keeping track of all these variables in and out of the box score. Be sure to bookmark our power ratings for the latest update on all FBS and FCS teams playing this fall.

Chiefs vs. Raiders Odds & Picks: How To Bet Sunday Night Football

nfl-odds-picks-chiefs-vs-raiders-betting-total-sunday-night-football-2020

Chiefs vs. Raiders Odds

Chiefs Odds
-7.5 [BET NOW]
RaidersOdds
+7.5 [BET NOW]
Over/Under
56 [BET NOW]
Kickoff
8:20 p.m. ET
TV
NBC
Odds via PointsBet, where you can bet $20 on the Chiefs or Raiders to win $250 if they cover.

The Raiders upset the Chiefs at Arrowhead in Week 5, handing Kansas City its only loss of the season. Should we expect a repeat the second time around?

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs enter Week 11 seeking revenge against a Las Vegas squad that upset them at home and then took victory laps around the stadium.

Andy Reid was irked by the development and is a good bet to craft a pristine game plan coming off the bye,  in spot he is known to excel (per our Bet Labs database):

The Chiefs will be without left tackle Mitchell Schwartz (back) and wide receiver Sammy Watkins (hamstring, calf), so that game plan is likely to include a heavy dose of running backs Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Le’Veon Bell — especially after the Chiefs ran the ball only 20 times compared to 46 passes in their Week 5 defeat. This game plan can be effective, as the Raiders rank 26th in both Football Outsiders’ run defense DVOA (0.3%) and Pro Football Focus run defense grade (49.4).

The Raiders defended well against Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City’s high-volume passing attack in the first matchup. Vegas found success with playing coverage rather than blitzing. Despite sending extra rushers on only five of Mahomes’ 51 dropbacks (9.8%), the Raiders generated 24 pressures while forcing Mahomes into his only interception of the year and a season-high three sacks.

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Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders posted season-highs in points (40) and net passing yards (346) in the first matchup, taking advantage of a Chiefs pass defense that was clearly not at its best.

Derek Carr gashed Steve Spagnuolo’s defense for six explosive pass plays — an 18.8% rate. For context, the Raiders have generated an explosive pass play only 8.3% of the time in their other eight games, while the Chiefs have allowed an explosive passes at just a 6.8% rate in their other eight contests.

The Chiefs defense ended up allowing a pass DVOA of 46.1% in that loss — a far cry from their -5.1% mark over the full season, which ranks seventh-best.

Week 5 also marked the only full game for the Raiders best tackle, Trent Brown, who will miss this game as he continues to reside on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

As such, the Raiders are more likely to have success on the ground than through the air in this matchup, as Kansas City’s vulnerability in the run game has been a constant all season: The Chiefs rank 30th in run defense DVOA. Despite their success in the passing game, the Raiders clearly centered around the run, as they piled up 35 rushing attempts compared to 32 dropbacks.

Chiefs-Raiders Pick

Reid’s bye week proficiency and the revenge narrative puts the trends in favor of the Chiefs on the spread, but picking a team to win by more than eight points on the road after it lost to the same team by 8 at home is dicey.

I see more value on the total. It closed at 54.5 in the first matchup, but the over/under for the rematch sits 1.5 points higher at most sportsbooks, and I’m not sure that is justified.

The Raiders look to have dodged a bullet on defense, with only defensive lineman Clelin Ferrell and linebacker Cory Littleton remaining in the COVID-19 list after more than a half-dozen members of the defense were placed on the list earlier in the week. After an overly pass-heavy game plan did them in the first time around and with a banged up receiving corps, the Chiefs are likely to employ a more run-heavy game plan this time around. And when they do throw, the Raiders will likely continue to sit back in coverage on defense, which has proven to be more successful than the alternative this season against Mahomes.

On the other side of the ball, the Raiders are a good bet to go run-heavy as well, and they’re unlikely to pop off explosive plays at anywhere near the same rate that they did in the first meeting.

Divisional matchups tend to be tighter the second time around, often resulting in lower-scoring games. According to our Bet Labs data, divisional over/unders of 45 or more from November on have gone under at a 59.3% clip by an average of 2.42 points per game.

Pick: Under 56 (down to 55.5)

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Chiefs vs. Raiders Spread & Total Picks For Sunday Night Football

nfl-picks-chiefs-vs-raiders-sunday-night-football-spread-total-2020

The Kansas City Chiefs head to Las Vegas to take on the Raiders — the only team to hand the reigning Super Bowl champions a loss this season.

Patrick Mahomes and Co. are 7-point road favorites despite the results of their last meeting. Can you trust the Chiefs to cover in this spot? And what should we think about the total?

Our staff details how they’re betting the Sunday Night Football spread and over/under.

Chiefs vs. Raiders Picks

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Chiefs -7
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Under 56
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Chiefs -7

Matthew Freedman: With the Chiefs, head coach Andy Reid has markedly overperformed in two regular-season situations.

  • On Road: 39-19-1 against the spread (ATS) | 32.2% Return on Investment (ROI)
  • In Division: 29-15-1 ATS | 29.3% ROI

On the road inside the AFC West, Reid is 17-5 ATS (52.2% ROI).

And it’s just an added bonus that the Chiefs are coming off the bye. In his Kansas City tenure, Reid is 7-4 ATS (23.1% ROI) with an extra week to prepare.

As for quarterback Patrick Mahomes, he is 29-14-2 ATS (32.3% ROI) for his career. It’s not often a bad idea to bet on the Chiefs.

Bet $20 at PointsBet to win $250 if the Chiefs cover

Brandon Anderson: I loved the Chiefs the last time they played the Raiders.

Vegas has no real defense — particularly no real pass defense — and Kansas City is, well, Kansas City. Patrick Mahomes was primed to pass all over the Raiders in that Week 5 matchup, and the Chiefs’ pass defense had played great so far to that point. The only way the Raiders would beat the Chiefs was to put up like 40 points and straight up outscore the Chiefs, and what were the odds of that happening?

Well, it happened, and it’s the only time the Chiefs have been beaten this season. And Jon Gruden and the boys were so excited that they took a literal victory lap around Arrowhead Stadium celebrating.

The Chiefs remember, and they just had an extra week to prepare something extra special for the Raiders.

Las Vegas still doesn’t play much D, and Kansas City has averaged 35 points per game against Las Vegas over the last five meetings. The Chiefs are going to score on this defense, so the Raiders might need another 40 to keep up the pace.

The Chiefs have won 10 of their last 12 against this team, and remember that extra week? Perhaps you forgot that Reid is 18-3 straight up coming off a bye. He’s basically Mario star invincible. Oh, and in case you missed it, the Raiders had about half their defense on the COVID-19 list all week and are missing their best offensive lineman again too.

The Chiefs typically dominate the Raiders and everything lines up for them to do so again here. My eyes lit up when I saw this matchup on the schedule coming out of the bye. Mahomes is going to put on a Sunday night show.

Bet $20 at PointsBet to win $125 if Patrick Mahomes throws for 1+ yard


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Chiefs-Raiders Under 57

Chris Raybon: Reid’s bye week proficiency and the revenge narrative puts the trends in favor of the Chiefs on the spread, but I see more value on the total. The over/under closed at 54.5 in the first matchup, but currently sits 1.5 points higher at most sportsbooks, and I’m not sure that is justified.

The Raiders look to have dodged a bullet on defense, with only defensive lineman Clelin Ferrell and linebacker Cory Littleton remaining in the COVID-19 list after over half-dozen members of the defense were placed on the list earlier in the week.

After an overly pass-heavy game plan did them in the first time around and with a banged up receiving corps, the Chiefs are likely to employ a more run-heavy game plan this time around. When they do throw, the Raiders will likely continue to sit back in coverage on defense, which has proven to be more successful than the alternative this season against Mahomes.

On the other side of the ball, the Raiders are a good bet to go run-heavy as well, and they’re unlikely to pop off explosive plays at anywhere near the same rate that they did in the first meeting.

Divisional matchups tend to be tighter the second time around, often resulting in lower-scoring games. According to our Bet Labs data, divisional over/unders of 45 or more from November on have gone under at a 59.3% clip by an average of 2.42 points per game.

I would bet this down to under 55.5 points.

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2020 College Football Havoc Ratings For Week 13

college football-havoc

Our Havoc Hub looks at defensive Havoc and offensive Havoc allowed each week in visual form, with the full data below. This post will be updated weekly through the college football season.

Havoc is simply the cumulative number of tackles for loss, interceptions, fumbles and passes defensed divided by the number of plays. We calculate it for both defense and offense.

Don’t forget to check out my updated Power Ratings and follow me in The Action Network App to see when I bet on games that have the biggest Havoc discrepancies.

Week 13 Havoc Comparison

Week 13 Havoc Ratings

2020 College Football Pace Report & Projected Totals For Week 13

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All of Collin’s projected totals and edges against the betting market are available in our college football model projections, part of Action PRO.

This hub will house his weekly total projections and a full-season, visual pace report, which compares seconds per play and Success Rate.

Week 13 Pace Report

Week 13 Projected Totals

Away Home Total
Colorado State Air Force 49.8
New Mexico Utah State 42.8
Oregon Oregon State 56.9
Washington Washington State 58.6
UMass Liberty 42.9
Southern Miss UAB 50.3
Stanford California 47.5
Central Michigan Eastern Michigan 51.7
UCF South Florida 61.1
Notre Dame North Carolina 68.3
Iowa State Texas 58.3
Nebraska Iowa 49.9
San Diego State Fresno State 57.9
Wyoming UNLV 47.6
Memphis Navy 55.1
Louisville Boston College 53.6
Louisiana Tech Florida International 41
UTEP Rice 48.8
Louisiana ULM 49.8
Troy Appalachian State 56.6
North Texas UTSA 63.5
Western Kentucky Charlotte 44.5
Nevada Hawai’i 56.8
Memphis Tulane 60.8
Penn State Michigan 54.6
Kentucky Florida 54.9
LSU Texas A&M 59.7
Mississippi State Ole Miss 59.6
Tennessee Vanderbilt 46.2
Penn State Michigan 54.6
Minnesota Wisconsin 55.1
Nebraska Iowa 49.9
Ohio State Illinois 61.2
Northwestern Michigan State 44
Maryland Indiana 54.5
Rutgers Purdue 50.6
Auburn Alabama 63.4
San Jose State Boise State 52.7
Arizona UCLA 56.5
Colorado USC 63.2
Utah Arizona State 48.5
Ball State Toledo 65.4
Bowling Green Ohio 44.7
Kent State Buffalo 71.8
Miami Ohio Akron 46.1
Northern Illinois Western Kentucky 41.8
Georgia South Carolina 49.7
Arkansas Missouri 51
South Alabama Arkansas State 55.7
Duke Georgia Tech 51.7
Coastal Carolina Texas State 53.8
Florida Atlantic Middle Tennessee 46.4
Georgia Southern Georgia State 52.4
SMU East Carolina 59.9
Texas Tech Oklahoma State 52.9
Tulsa Houston 57
Miami Wake Forest 58.9
NC State Syracuse 42.6
Pittsburgh Clemson 58.9
Virginia Florida State 53.4
Kansas State Baylor 43
Oklahoma State West Virginia 55.3
TCU Kansas 43.1
Cincinnati Temple 54.7

European Soccer Forecast: Projected Odds, Totals For This Week’s Champions League Matches (Nov. 24-25)

After the international break and a weekend of Domestic action, the Champions League returns this week with rematches of the last round of action. Here is what we saw the last time the Champions League was in play:

    • RB Leipzig beat an injury-riddled PSG, 2-1, at home to move into second place in Group H.
    • Manchester United were upset on the road at Istanbul Basakehir, 2-1.
    • Liverpool routed Atalanta, 5-0, behind a Diogo Jota hat trick.
    • Real Madrid’s Rodrygo scored an 80th-minute winner to secure a 3-2 win at home against Inter Milan.
    • German clubs Bayern Munich and Borussia Monchengladbach both hung six goals on the road to secure victories.
    • Down to 10 men, Sevilla were still able to erase a two-goal deficit against Krasnodar.

If you’d like to read more about how I determine my projected lines and totals using an expected goals model, you can read about it here.

For the Champions League, my projections factor in UEFA Coefficients for every country represented in the competition. The projections also factor in the talent of each squad based on their total transfer value on Transfer Market. That way, the projections can account for the strength of the domestic league each club plays in and the talent level of each club.

You can use these projections to identify early betting value on the opening lines, and follow me in The Action Network App to see any bets I make throughout the week. 

Note: These projections do not take injuries into account. The injury news highlighted below is for players that regularly would start in each team’s starting XI:

Tuesday’s Matches

Notes for Tuesday’s Matches: 

    • RB Leipzig vs. PSG: The French champions will try and enact some revenge from the 2-1 loss when these two met 20 days ago. Neymar and Kylian Mbappe were injured for the last match between these two teams, so PSG should have a better showing on Tuesday. This will be the third time these two teams have met in a little over three months, with PSG winning, 3-0, in last season’s Champions League semifinal. Leipzig drew with Frankfurt in the Bundesliga on Saturday, while PSG lost on the road at Monaco in Ligue 1 action on Friday.

Tuesday’s Injury News:

    • Zenit: Wendel (CM) and Vyacheslav Kaeavaev (RB) are doubtful to face Lazio, and Sardar Azmoun (ST) and Magomed Ozdoev (RM) are questionable.
    • Lazio: Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (CM), Luis Felipe (CB) and Thomas Strakosha (GK) are all questionable to face Zenit.
    • Chelsea: Christian Pulisic (RM) and Kai Havertz (CAM) are both questionable to face Rennes.
    • Manchester United: Luke Shaw (LB) is out against Istanbul Basakeshir, and Paul Pogba (CM) and Mason Greenwood (RW) are both questionable.
    • Istanbul Basakeshir: Mert Gunok (GK) is questionable to face Manchester United.
    • Rennes: Daniele Rugani (CB), Faitout Maouassa (LB), and Dalbert (LB) are all out against Chelsea.
    • PSG: Idrissa Gueye (CM), Julian Draxler (CAM), Mauro Icardi (ST) and Juan Bernat (LB) are all out versus RB Leipzig.
    • Dynamo Kiev: The club is currently dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak and could be without nine first-team players against Barcelona.
    • Barcelona: Lionel Messi (CF), Frankie de Jong (CM),, Samuel Umtiti (CB), Gerard Pique (CB), Ansu Fati (LW) and Sergi Roberto (RB) are all out vs. Dynamo Kiev.
    • Juventus: Frederico Chiesa (LWB), Aaron Ramsey (CAM), Giorgio Chiellini (CB), and Leonardo Bonucci (CB) are all questionable to face Ferencvaros.
    • Krasnodar: Sergey Petrov (RB) is out against Sevilla and Matvey Safonov (GK) is questionable.
    • Sevilla: Jesus Navas (RB) is out against Krasnodar.

Wednesday’s Matches

Notes for Wednesday’s matches:

    • Atalanta vs. Liverpool: Liverpool routed Atalanta in Italy three weeks ago, 5-0. However, Liverpool will potentially be without the services of half their regular starting XI. If you like goals, this is the match for you. Atalanta was the highest-scoring team in Europe last season at 2.58 goals per match and is averaging 2.17 xG this season. Liverpool, on the other hand, is averaging 2.36 xGF per match so far this season.
    • Real Madrid vs. Inter Milan: Los Blancos almost blew a two-goal lead against Inter before Rodrygo’s late winner. Both teams need all three points from this match, as they are behind Borussia Monchengladbach and Shakhtar Donetsk, respectively, in Group B.

Wednesday’s Injury News:

    • Lokomotiv Moscow: Fedor Smolov (ST), Mikhail Lysov (CB) and Dmitri Barinov (CM) are all out against Atletico Madrid.
    • Atletico Madrid: Luis Suarez (ST) and Sime Vrsaljko (RB) are out against Lokomotiv Moscow, and Hector Herrera (CM) is questionable.
    • Shakhtar Donetsk: Dentinho (CF) and Yevhen Konoplyanka (LW) are questionable to play against Borussia Monchengladbach.
    • Borussia Monchengladbach: Alassane Plea (ST) and Jonas Hofman (RM) are questionable to play against Shakhtar.
    • Liverpool: Virgil van Dijk (CB) and Jordan Henderson (CM) are out against Atalanta. Thiago (CM), Trent Alexander-Arnold (CM), Mohamed Salah (RW), and Joe Gomez (CB) are questionable.
    • Manchester City: Fernandinho (CM) and Benjamin Mendy (LB) are out against Olympiacos.
    • Bayern Munich: Alponso Davies (LB), Joshua Kimmich (CM), and Lucas Hernandez (RB) are out against Salzburg.
    • Salzburg: Patson Daka (ST) is out against Bayern Munich.
    • Real Madrid: Sergio Ramos (CB) is out against Inter.
    • Mitdjylland: Evander (CAM) is questionable to face Ajax.
    • Porto: Pepe (CB) is questionable to face Marseille.

NFL Sunday Night Football Odds & Picks: The Winning System To Bet for Chiefs vs. Raiders

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NFL Odds: Chiefs vs. Raiders

Chiefs Odds -7.5
Raiders Odds +7.5
Over/Under 56.5
PRO Projections Chiefs -7.2 | O/U: 56.1
Time/Channel  8:20 p.m. ET, NBC
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For the second consecutive NFL primetime matchup, we have a game with an over/under total in the upper 50s.

Thursday night’s Arizona Cardinals vs. Seattle Seahawks game closed at 57, just a half point higher than the Kansas City Chiefs vs. Las Vegas Raiders over/under for Sunday Night Football.

Cardinals-Seahawks finished with 49 points, easily cashing for under bettors.

Should we expect similar results tonight? Or does history expect a high-scoring Sunday Night Football affair?

With the help of our NFL PRO Betting Systems, let’s look at an angle with a 62% win rate that fits Chiefs vs. Raiders tonight.

NFL Picks: Chiefs vs. Raiders

The Chiefs and Raiders are both in the AFC West, which qualifies this game for our Divisional Unders PRO Betting System.

According to this angle, games between divisional opponents trend toward the under later in the season.

This PRO system specifically boasts a win rate of 62% with a robust sample of 320 games since 2005.

Think about it. Teams that play each other twice every season are familiar with the others’ players, schemes and play-calling, giving the edge to the defenses.

And just like we saw in Thursday night’s divisional game between the Cardinals and Seahawks, even the most explosive offenses can underperform expectations in this historically-profitable situational spot.

PRO Betting System Pick: Chiefs-Raiders Under 56.5

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2020 Heisman Odds Tracker: Kyle Trask Jumps to Top of Odds Board

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2020 Heisman Odds

Player Odds (11/22)
Kyle Trask, QB, Florida +125 [Bet Now]
Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State +175 [Bet Now]
Mac Jones, QB, Alabama +250 [Bet Now]
Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson +900 [Bet Now]
Zach Wilson, QB, BYU +2000 [Bet Now]
Najee Harris, RB, Alabama +5000 [Bet Now]
DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama +5000 [Bet Now]
Ian Book, QB, Notre Dame +8000 [Bet Now]
D’Eriq King, QB, Miami +8000 [Bet Now]
Brock Purdy, QB, Iowa State +15000 [Bet Now]
Spencer Rattler, QB, Oklahoma +15000 [Bet Now]

Above are updated Heisman Trophy odds at DraftKings Sportsbook.

For those new to sports betting, +200 odds mean a $100 bet would win $200 (in addition to the $100 risked).

Last updated November 22.

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November 22 update

We have a new frontrunner in the Heisman race yet again.

Florida quarterback Kyle Trask now has the shortest odds of the bunch at +125, knocking back former leaders Justin Fields (+175) of Ohio State and Trevor Lawrence (+900) of Clemson.

Trask rose to the top after throwing for 383 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions against Vanderbilt on Saturday. Trask now has thrown for 2,554 yards and 31 touchdowns on the season compared to only three picks.

Fields fell after tossing three interceptions against Indiana last week, while Lawrence didn’t play after Clemson’s game against Florida State was postponed.

Alabama quarterback Mac Jones now sits at +250, down from+200, after spending recent weeks near the top of the board.

Crimson Tide running back Najee Harris and wide receiver DeVonta Smith are now tied for the shortest odds of any non-quarterback on the board, sitting at +5000.

November 15 update

Trevor Lawrence is back at the top.

After a week off, the Clemson quarterback joined Ohio State signal-caller Justin Fields as a co-favorite at +175. Lawrence, who reached -167 odds at one point in the season, sat at +450 last week.

Alabama quarterback Mac Jones keeps the race tight with the third-shortest odds, moving to +200 this week.

Florida’s Kyle Trask jumped to +500 after throwing six touchdowns without an interception against Arkansas on Saturday. Trask has now tossed at least four touchdowns in every game this season.

The top non-quarterback on the odds board remains Crimson Tide wide receiver DeVonta Smith, but he dropped from +2200 to +6600 after Alabama’s game against LSU was canceled.

November 8 update

For the second week in a row, we have a new favorite to win the Heisman Trophy.

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields took the top spot from Alabama signal-caller Mac Jones after Week 10.

Fields completed 24-of-28 passes for 314 yards and five touchdowns in the Buckeyes’ 49-27 win over Rutgers on Saturday. The Georgia transfer now has 11 touchdowns and only 11 incompletions through three games.

Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book made a significant jump after beating Clemson, as he rose from +8000 to +2000 — the fifth-shortest odds on the board.

Florida’s Kyle Trask also cut his odds by half, going from +1200 to +600 after the Gators toppled a top-five Georgia squad.

Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith still holds the shortest odds of any non-quarterback, sitting at +2200.

November 3 update

We officially have a new Heisman frontrunner.

After Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence tested positive for COVID-19 game ahead of last week’s game against Boston College, Alabama quarterback Mac Jones took the spot at the top of the board.

Jones takes the shortest odds after completing 24-of-31 passes for 291 yards and four touchdowns without an interception.

Jones now sits at +125 up from +250, while Lawrence fell to +400 after sitting with a wide lead at -167.

Ohio State signal-caller Justin Fields also saw a solid increase this week, jumping to +150 after floating at +400 last week.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard saw a significant shift down the board, going from +4000 to +10000 after recording 72 yards rushing on 2.9 yards per carry in a loss to Texas.

October 27 update

Two non-quarterbacks have shot up the Heisman Trophy odds board after Week 8: Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith and Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard.

Smith’s rise comes after fellow Crimson Tide wideout Jaylen Waddle fractured his ankle. Waddle sat at +800 — the shortest odds for any non-QB — before the week, while Smith was at +5000. Smith now sits at +2500 and owns the second-shortest odds of any non-QB behind teammate Najee Harris.

Hubbard, meanwhile, jumped to +4000 from +8000 after his 139-yard performance against Iowa State.

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence still sits at the top of the board as the clear favorite at -167, followed by Alabama quarterback Mac Jones (+250) and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields (+400).

October 19 update

The NCAA Football video game may be defunct now, but Trevor Lawrence is making it look like it’s still up and running.

Lawrence jumped from +110 to -167 to win the Heisman Trophy after 404 yards and five touchdowns in Clemson’s 73-7 demolition of Georgia Tech in Week 7.

Alabama quarterback Mac Jones rose to +350 after downing then-No. 3 Georgia. The game also caused Bulldog quarterback Stetson Bennett to drop from +1000 to +3300.

Crimson Tide wide receiver Jaylen Waddle has the best odds of any non-quarterback at +800, while Alabama running back is next at +2500.

With the Big Ten opening play this week, five players from the conference sit inside the top 20: Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields (+600), Ohio State running back Trey Sermon (+4000), Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford (+5000), Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan (+8000), and Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez (+10000).


October 13 update

Alabama is no stranger to the Heisman Trophy. Now, its players’ chances of taking home college football’s most coveted individual trophy are rising again.

Mac Jones, Jaylen Waddle, Najee Harris, and DeVonta Smith all shot up the board after Alabama’s 63-48 victory over Ole Miss on Saturday.

Harris saw the biggest increase in odds, going from +4000 to +1600 after running for 206 yards and five touchdowns against the Rebels. Jones still has the shortest odds of any Crimson Tide player, jumping from +1000 to +500. Waddle now sits at +1000, and Smith is at +5000.

Florida quarterback Kyle Trask and Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger both took tumbles after Week 6 losses. Trask went from +700 to +1400, while Ehlinger dropped to +8000 from +5000.

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence now owns the top spot by himself at +110, but Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields still sits right behind him at +250.


October 7 update

Stetson Bennett has joined the Heisman race.

The Georgia quarterback made his first career start in Week 5 against Auburn and did not disappoint, throwing for 240 yards on 17-of-28 passing with a touchdown and no interceptions. Stetson also appeared in the Bulldogs’ Week 4 win over Arkansas, completing 20 of 29 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns. The Georgia native’s Heisman odds are currently +1400.

K.J. Costello‘s odds took a hit this week, as the Mississippi State QB tumbled to +4000 after throwing three interceptions in a loss to Arkansas. Texas QB Sam Ehlinger also took another notable drop from +2000 to +5000, while Texas A&M QB Kellen Mond fell all the way to +10000 after sitting at +2700 entering Week 5.

Ohio State QB Justin Fields and Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence remain atop the oddsboard at +250 heading into Week 6.


September 29 update

The weeks’ biggest winners — and losers — came from the SEC.

Florida quarterback Kyle Trask delivered an efficient and impressive 416-yard, six-touchdown in performance in the Gators’ victory over Ole Miss. Trask’s Heisman odds subsequently rose from +1800 to +500 after that single performance. His +8.4% week-over-week increase in implied probability was the highest among any Heisman contender in Week 4.

Not to be outdone, Mississippi State QB K.J. Costello also rose to national acclaim following his audacious 623-yard five-touchdown passing performance in the Bulldogs’ 44-34 upset over defending national champions LSU in Baton Rouge. Costello’s Heisman odds rose from relative obscurity at +3300 to +800 exiting Week 4 action. Costello now boasts the fourth-highest odds to take home college football’s most illustrious individual award.

Costello’s dueling partner, LSU QB Myles Brennan, lost substantial ground in the Heisman race following the Tigers’ defeat. His odds fell from +2000 to +10000 week-over-week. Joining Brennan among the week’s losers is Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler, whose odds fell from +600 to +3300 after the Sooners’ home loss to Kansas State. Texas QB Sam Ehlinger also witnessed a marked decline from +1000 to +2000 after failing to dispatch a below-average Red Raiders defense in regulation.

Once a trendy longshot earlier this season, Louisville QB Micale Cunningham’s Heisman odds fell from +3300 on Sept. 14 to +8000 on Sept. 21 after Miami dismantled the cardinals in Week 3. Louisville lost again last week in a hard-fought game against Pittsburgh, pushing the Cardinals to 1-2 on the season — and pushing Cunningham’s name completely off the Heisman Trophy oddsboard.

Other notable players who followed Cunningham off the oddsboard include Louisville running back Javian Hawkins, LSU wide receiver Racey McMath and Arkansas QB Feleipe Franks.


September 21 update

The Big Ten’s decision to return to play has resulted in sweeping changes across the Heisman Trophy Winner futures oddsboard.

At the top of the board, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (+175 to +250), Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler (+400 to +600), Texas QB Sam Ehlinger (+600 to +1000) and Clemson running back Travis Etienne (+1400 to +2500) experienced a combined decline of 21.5% in their implied probability to win the Heisman Trophy.

That decline is directly attributable to the installation of Ohio State QB Justin Fields (+250), who joins Lawrence as the co-favorite to win the award. Among newly added Big Ten Players, Fields hold a commanding edge over Penn State QB Sean Clifford, Nebraska QB Adrian Martinez and Wisconsin QB Jack Coan, each of whom now slots in at +8000 (1.23% implied probability to win).

The other major development in the Heisman Trophy futures market is the ongoing QB battle at Georgia. For the majority of the offseason, Wake Forest transfer QB Jamie Newman was considered the overwhelming favorite to earn the starting job. Then on Sept. 2, Newman chose to opt out of the 2020 season to prepare for the NFL Draft.

Immediately, stock for USC transfer JT Daniels shot through the roof, climbing as high as +1000 as of Sept. 14. But since then, Daniels still has not been cleared for contact, and redshirt freshman D’Wan Mathis has earned extended opportunity practicing with the team’s first string.

Mathis’ impressive play has resulted in a full-blown QB battle in Athens, and speculation runs rampant that Mathis may earn the job outright. Subsequently, Daniels’ odds have fallen to +2000, while Mathis has risen to +4000 — even higher than established stars like Oklahoma State RB Chuba Hubbard (+5000). DraftKings sportsbook didn’t even list Mathis on its Heisman board as of one week ago.


September 14 update

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (+175) consolidated his position as the clear-cut favorite to win the Heisman Trophy following the Tigers’ 37-13 win over Wake Forest on Saturday. Lawrence went 22-for-28 passing for 351 yards and three total TD in just over two quarters of action.

Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler (+400) was one of the week’s biggest movers. He passed for 290 yards and four touchdowns, leading the Sooners to a 41-0 halftime lead over Missouri State before head coach Lincoln Riley pulled the Oklahoma starters. Rattler’s move from +700 to +400 represents a 7.5% increase in his implied probability to win the Heisman Trophy.

Lawrence and Rattler notwithstanding, no player did more to improve his Heisman candidacy than Texas QB Sam Ehlinger. He amassed 438 total yards and five touchdowns in the Longhorns’ 59-3 rout of UTEP on Saturday. His Heisman Trophy odds moved from +2500 to +600 — a staggering 10.44% increase in his implied probability to win.

In order to take home college football’s most esteemed individual award, Ehlinger and the Longhorns likely must win the Big 12 regular season, which indeed is no small task. Texas has looming dates against Oklahoma (neutral-site) on October 10 and must travel to Stillwater to play No. 11 Oklahoma State on October 31. Nonetheless, Ehlinger’s performance in Week 1 has placed him squarely in the Heisman Trophy conversation.

Here’s a quick rundown of the week’s other notable risers and fallers:

  • Miami QB D’Eriq King falls from +800 to +1800 (5.85% decrease in implied probability).
  • North Carolina QB Sam Howell falls from +2000 to +3300 (1.82% decrease in implied probability).
  • Notre Dame QB Ian Book falls from +2000 to +4000 (2.32% decrease in implied probability).
  • Louisville QB Micale Cunningham improves from +5000 to +3300 (0.96% increase in implied probability).

MLS Playoff Betting Odds & Picks: Minnesota United vs. Colorado Rapids (Sunday, Nov. 22)

Minnesota United vs. Colorado Odds

Minnesota Odds +118 [BET NOW]
Colorado Odds +195 [BET NOW]
Draw +270 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 3.5 (+128/-167) [BET NOW]
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
TV ESPN

Odds updated as of Saturday at 4 p.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


Minnesota United hosts Colorado in the first round of the Major League Soccer playoffs Sunday at Allianz Field in St. Paul, Minn., highlighting the stacked Western Conference card.

Both teams are enter the meeting in solid form, which should lead to hotly contested match.

Let’s take a look at what might be in store for this contest taking place on a chilly, yet dry, November night in Minnesota.

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Minnesota United

The Loons finished fourth in the Western Conference standings, finishing the regular season with a 9-5-7 record and 34 points.

It was a solid campaign for Minnesota, especially given some of the injuries it had to endure. Losing Ike Opara — the 2019 MLS defender of the year — early on was tough. However, Michael Boxall has stepped in to lead the line.

Luis Amarilla, the Loons’ big off-season signing,  was a big flop, which has led to the striker position being a weakness. Luckily for them, they hit an absolute home run by signing Emanuel Reynoso. The former Boca Juniors standout is far and away Minnesota’s best player on the pitch. He is a creative, playmaking midfielder, who provides more opportunities for the club’s skilled wingers.

Minnesota enters the game in strong form, going unbeaten in its last eight matches. One of those matches was a close, 2-1 win over Colorado just a few weeks ago.

The Loons went 5-1-3 at home this season, with its lone loss coming against  Sporting Kansas City back in August at Allianz Field. Minnesota is tough to beat at home, which should give it an advantage.

Over the course of their season, including MLS is Back, Minnesota generated 1.47 expected goals per game and 1.78 expected goals against.


Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.


However, in their nine home matches, the Loons’ numbers were 1.68 xG and 1.65 xGA, which is much better than the overall data. The season long numbers are weighted to more away games.

Suffice it to say, Minnesota is a better at home, and I think this is an advantage. The Loons don’t have a natural goal scorer, so midfield creativity and execution will be keys for the Loons.

Colorado

The Rapids enter the playoffs winners of three consecutive games, including victories over Seattle and Portland.

You could tell Colorado was playing with a sense of urgency, even in their tough, 2-1 loss against Minnesota prior to their current winning streak.

One item of note is the fact Colorado played 18 games this season, which three less than any other team due to COVID-19 issues. Regardless, I would be encouraged if I were a Colorado fan, especially due to the foes it did beat over that recent run of form.

The Rapids’ xG wound up at 1.1/game, with a 1.0 xGA as well. Maybe Colorado was a bit fortunate to win all three of those contests, but it’s playing better and will be a handful for Minnesota.


Over their 18-game schedule, Colorado generated 1.43 xG/game while conceding 1.27 xGA on the numbers. Those are pretty solid statistics, which would give them a slight leg up on Minnesota if this were on a neutral field.

The Rapids’ 5-3-1 away record is definitely solid, but the advanced data shows them tailing off a bit from season-long stats. Their xG were 1.32/game, with 1.46 xGA in those road games.

Colorado plays solid defense, does well on set pieces and doesn’t make a ton of errors. All those things make them a side that can be difficult to put away.

I do think it’s somewhat tough to say if the Rapids deserved the No. 5 seed or if they would have been higher or lower had they played those three extra games.

Regardless,, Colorado can hang around in this contest.

Betting Analysis & Picks

Bottom line, this is a very even first-round playoff matchup.

However, I give a slight edge to the host and will back Minnesota United at -0.25 and the total going over three goals, which are both alternative numbers in the betting markets.

The main reason I am backing Minnesota is largely due to the home/road splits of each team. The Loons are tough to beat at home, and the Rapids have struggled at time in road contests.

I expect the Loons to have their full lineup, with all of their attacking players at manager Adrian Heath’s disposal. Colorado has been playing more aggressively, so I would expect the same from as well.

That said, give me the Loons with confidence.

Picks: Minnesota United -0.25 (-108) | Total Over 3 Goals (-122)

[Bet the Minnesota United-Colorado match at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

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2021 College Football Playoff National Title Odds Tracker: Northwestern Rises as Indiana Falls

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2020-2021 National Championship Odds

 

Team Odds (11/22)
Alabama +135 [Bet Now]
Ohio State +225 [Bet Now]
Clemson +350 [Bet Now]
Florida +1000 [Bet Now]
Notre Dame +1400 [Bet Now]
Northwestern +5000 [Bet Now]
Cincinnati +6600 [Bet Now]
BYU +10000 [Bet Now]
Iowa State +10000 [Bet Now]
Oklahoma +10000 [Bet Now]
Oregon +10000 [Bet Now]
USC +15000 [Bet Now]
Miami (FL) +20000 [Bet Now]
Texas A&M +20000 [Bet Now]
Washington +20000 [Bet Now]
Iowa +25000 [Bet Now]
Indiana +35000 [Bet Now]
Wisconsin +35000 [Bet Now]
Georgia +50000 [Bet Now]
Colorado +75000 [Bet Now]
Marshall +75000 [Bet Now]
Missouri +75000 [Bet Now]
Oklahoma State +75000 [Bet Now]
Utah +75000 [Bet Now]
Army +100000 [Bet Now]
Auburn +100000 [Bet Now]
Memphis +100000 [Bet Now]
North Carolina +100000 [Bet Now]
West Virginia +100000 [Bet Now]

Above are updated College Football National Championship odds from DraftKings Sportsbook.

For those new to sports betting, +150 odds mean a $100 bet would win $150 (in addition to the $100 risked).

Last updated November 22.

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November 22 update

It was more of the same after Week 12 of the college football season, as there was little movement at the top of the odds board.

The biggest change came after Northwestern‘s victory over Wisconsin. The Wildcats jumped to +5000 after sitting at +1500 before the game. As a result, the Badgers dropped from +8000 to +35000.

Another key change came from the Ohio State vs. Indiana game. After the Hoosiers’ loss, they fell from +8000 to +35000, while the Buckeyes rose to +225 from +250.

Texas A&M dropped from +6600 to +20000. Notre Dame jumped to +1400 from +2000, and Florida went from +1100 to +1000.

November 15 update

There was very little movement in the national title odds after a Week 11 that saw many games across the slate get canceled.

Nine of the 10 teams with the shortest odds remained the same. The only difference in that group was Georgia falling from +8000 to +10000.

Meanwhile, Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Florida, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, BYU, Cincinnati, and Indiana all kept their same odds from last week.

November 8 update

The Clemson Tigers are no longer the favorites to win the national championship.

After Notre Dame topped Clemson in a double-overtime thriller on Saturday, Alabama claimed the top spot, rising to +125 from +200. The Tigers subsequently fell to the third spot and dropped from +125 to +350, while the Fighting Irish rose to +2000.

The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party also had a big impact in the national title odds. After Florida‘s victory over Georgia, the Gators jumped to +1100. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs fell significantly from +1100 to +8000.

BYU and Cincinnati are the top teams outside of the Power Five, both sitting at +8000 after Week 10.

November 3 update

The top-four teams favored to win the national title this season remain unchanged.

Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State, and Georgia still sit in the first four slots on the board, with the Tigers falling slightly and the Crimson Tide, Buckeyes, and Bulldogs taking small jumps.

Clemson now sits at +175 after sitting at +120 before its scare against Boston College.

Outside of the top favorites, Notre Dame has slid into the top five. The Fighting Irish are now at +3300  while they sat at +4000 with the seventh-shortest odds last week.

Either Clemson’s or Notre Dame’s odds will move significantly next week as the teams battle to remain undefeated.

Michigan, which sat at +3300 last week, fell down to +15000 after dropping a rivalry game to Michigan State on Saturday.

Wisconsin found itself sliding down the board as well after its game against Nebraska was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. The Badgers are now at +8000 — down from +5000 — and won’t face Purdue this week as originally scheduled.


October 26 update

The Big Ten is back, and it’s showing up in the national title odds.

After toppling Nebraska, Ohio State remains with the team with the third-shortest odds, trailing only Clemson (+120) and Alabama (+275).

Michigan also picked up a big victory over Minnesota, shooting up to +3300 from +6600. The Wolverines now boast the sixth-shortest odds, while the Golden Gophers fell from +10000 to +25000.

Penn State suffered one of the biggest drop-offs of the week after its loss to Indiana (+25000 to +10000), falling to +10000 after sitting at +3300 last week.

LSU, the defending national champion, is now at +25000 with a 2-2 record.

October 19 update

Despite one loss among the top-four teams from a national title odds perspective, the group remains intact. That’s because Georgia‘s loss came at the hands of Alabama

After toppling the then-No. 3 Bulldogs, the Crimson Tide jumped past Ohio State for the second-shortest odds and now sit at +300. Georgia, meanwhile, dropped from +900 to +1200.

Clemson remains in the top spot after a dominant 73-7 win over Georgia Tech. The Tigers keep inching closer toward the “even” mark, moving from +175 to +120.

Despite entering Week 7 as a top-five team, North Carolina sat at +12500. Now, after a loss to Florida State (+75000), the Tar Heels own a +25000 mark.

With the Big Ten opening play this weekend, five teams — Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota — are within the top 12 programs on the odds board.


October 13 update

The top-three teams atop the national championship odds board remain unchanged. However, the previous No. 4 took a tumble.

Florida fell from +1400 to +2200 after suffering a loss to Texas A&M (+5000) in College Station on Saturday. The Gators were replaced by Georgia, which jumped from +1400 to +900 after toppling Tennessee. An upcoming matchup against Alabama (+350) will play a key role in both teams’ odds moving forward.

Texas and Miami both fell down the board as well. The Longhorns dropped to +15000 from +8000 after falling to Oklahoma (+10000), while the U also went to +15000 from +6600 after its loss to Clemson.

LSU, the defending national champions, sit at +25000 after falling to Missouri (+50000) in Columbia.


October 8 update

Not much changed atop the odds board after Week 5, as Clemson remains the favorite at +200. The Tigers are followed closely by Ohio State (+250) and Alabama, whose odds improved from +400 to +300 after a blowout victory over Texas A&M.

Georgia‘s odds shortened to +1400 after a win over Auburn (now +10000) and sits right behind the top three along with Florida (+1400). Oklahoma dropped to +6600 after losing to Iowa State (+25000), while Mississippi State fell from +4000 to +10000 and Texas A&M tumbled from +5000 to +10000.

Reigning champion LSU remains at +10000 to take home this year’s title.


September 29 update

Clemson (+200), Ohio State (+250) and Alabama (+400) remain the three clear prohibitive favorites to win the 2020-21 College Football Playoff National Championship. All three teams have remained at heir currently listed futures odds since Sept. 16. Unless, or until, the Tigers, Buckeyes or Crimson Tide loses, the real National Championship race is for the No. 4 playoff spot behind that trio.

Throughout the offseason, the Oklahoma Sooners appeared to be a strong contender, but their Week 4 loss to Kansas State is now a stubborn smudge on their resume. The Sooners’ national championship odds fell from +2000 to +2800 following their defeat, while Kansas State’s odds subsequently rose from +50000 to +20000.

The defending champion LSU Tigers (+3300 to +10000) also seemed like a reasonable bet to reload after last season’s title, but those hopes were sullied after their season-opening defeat to the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Mississippi State so impressed futures investors in its 44-34 upset, that the Bulldogs’ national championship odds rose staggeringly week over week. As of Sept. 21, Mississippi State was still listed at +25000. But after the Bulldogs’ Week 4 win over LSU, they now boast top-10 odds to win at +4000.

From one Bulldogs team to another: The Georgia Bulldogs were wholly unimpressive in their season opener against Arkansas. Georgia’s first points came via defensive safety, and the Bulldogs trailed the Razorbacks 5-7 entering halftime. They flipped a switch in the third quarter and eventually pulled away in a 37-10 win, but futures investors were clearly dissatisfied with the Bulldogs’ showing — especially their lingering uncertainty at the quarterback position.

As a result, Georgia’s odds dropped from +1200 to +2000, which translates to a 2.93% decrease in implied probability. That drop was the largest of any team in Week 4, which is somewhat surprising considering that the Bulldogs did, in fact, win by a 27-point margin. Texas A&M (+4000 to +5000) suffered a similarly precipitous decline of around 1.45% despite the Aggies’ victory over Vanderbilt.


September 21 update

Week 3 did little to distinguish teams as legitimate national title contenders, but it did rescind a couple of invites to the party.

Louisville’s national championship odds fell from +15000 to +25000 after the Cardinals’ primetime defeat by Miami. The Hurricanes jumped out to a 20-6 halftime lead and maintained at least a two-score lead for the entire ballgame. Miami’s title odds increased concurrently, rising from +12500 on Sept. 16 to +10000 by the end of the weekend.

Other notable risers include Boston College (+25000 to +20000) and Marshall (+35000 to +3000), neither of whom project as legitimate threats to topple the current college football hierarchy.

Duke, Georgia Tech, South Florida, Syracuse and Tulane each fell from +50000 to +10000 following their respective Week 3 losses.

Expect plenty of movement at the top of the ladder this weekend as the SEC finally inaugurates its 2020 conference campaign.


September 16 update

Welcome back to the party, Big Ten.

With the conference’s announcement that they would be returning to the fall college football season, a few notable futures updates followed. Ohio State is the most notable of the bunch, jumping right into the No. 2 spot at +250 odds. As such, Clemson was pulled back from +150 to +200.

Other top contenders, like Alabama (+225 to +400) and Georgia (+400 to +1200) also took considerable hits to their title chances with the insertion of the Buckeyes.

As for the other big names returning with the Big Ten, Penn State comes in at +2800, while Michigan and Wisconsin are both listed at +4000.


September 14 update

The college football National Championship futures market remained mostly stagnant following Week 2 action, as we anxiously await the SEC joining into the mix on September 26.

Among this week’s biggest movers, the Texas Longhorns (+1400) improved from +3300 following their 59-3 shellacking of UTEP. Texas’ implied odds increased 3.73% week-over-week, corresponding with a huge improvement in quarterback Sam Ehlinger’s Heisman Trophy odds.

The Syracuse Orange improved to +20000 despite a Week 2 loss to North Carolina, and the Pittsburgh Panthers moved from +25000 to +10000 after dispatching Austin Peay 55-0.

Notre Dame was this weeks biggest faller after an uninspiring 27-13 win over Duke in South Bend. The Fighting Irish dropped from +2200 to +3300 following Week 2 action, which represents a 1.41% decrease in their implied probability to win the National Championship.

Here’s a quick rundown of the week’s other notable fallers:

  • The Iowa State Cyclones fell from +8000 to +15000 after their home loss to Louisiana-Lafayette.
  • The Florida State Seminoles and Kansas State Wildcats each fell from +15000 to +50000 following home losses to Georgia Tech and Arkansas State respectively.

Week 11 NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions, Props & Previews For Every Game

nfl-odds-picks-predictions-props-sunday-week-11-2020

NFL Odds

Odds below as of early Sunday and via DraftKings, where you can get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus. Compare real-time lines from various sportsbooks using our NFL Odds page.

Spread
Kickoff
Preview
Titans at Ravens -6.5 [Bet Now]
1 p.m. ET
Read More
Lions -2 at Panthers [Bet Now]
1 p.m. ET
Read More
Steelers -10.5 at Jaguars [Bet Now]
1 p.m. ET
Read More
Patriots -2 at Texans [Bet Now]
1 p.m. ET
Read More
Eagles at Browns -2.5 [Bet Now]
1 p.m. ET
Read More
Falcons at Saints -3.5 [Bet Now]
1 p.m. ET
Read More
Bengals at Washington -1.5 [Bet Now]
1 p.m. ET
Read More
Dolphins -3.5 at Broncos [Bet Now]
4:05 p.m. ET
Read More
Jets at Chargers -9.5 [Bet Now]
4:05 p.m. ET
Read More
Packers at Colts -1.5 [Bet Now]
4:25 p.m. ET
Read More
Cowboys at Vikings -7 [Bet Now]
4:25 p.m. ET
Read More
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NFL Picks

Click on a pick to read our staff’s analysis.
Eagles +3 at Browns
1 p.m. ET
Ravens -6 vs. Titans
1 p.m. ET
Steelers-Jaguars Over 46
1 p.m. ET
Dolphins -3.5 at Broncos
4:05 p.m. ET
Packers +2 at Colts
4:25 p.m. ET
Packers-Colts Under 51.5
4:25 p.m. ET

NFL Predictions

Three of the five analysts behind our NFL PRO Projections break down their Week 11 picks. Here are their records on NFL bets tracked in the Action app as well as links to their full cards:

NFL Props

Sean Koerner has a 77-57 (57.5%) record on his favorite props of the season so far. Go to his 19 (!) favorite picks for Week 11.

Five more player props are showing value according to our FantasyLabs NFL Player Prop Tool. Matt LaMarca outlines how to bet each one.

NFL Pick ‘Em Rankings

Straight up. Against the spread. Whether you’re playing in your office’s (virtual) pool or in a higher-stakes contest, Sean Koerner has you covered with his Week 11 Pick ‘Em Confidence Ratings.

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NFL Injury Report

We’re tracking all the key injuries with real-time updates throughout Sunday as final actives/inactives are announced. Find the latest news.

How & Where To Bet On the NFL

You can find reviews of the best online sportsbooks in your states, their latest promos and more in this hub.

Legal online sports betting is currently available in the following states:

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And here are some of the top online sportsbooks:

Dolphins vs. Broncos Odds & Picks: Sunday Isn’t The Time To Fade Miami

nfl-odds-picks-dolphins-vs-broncos-betting-week-11-2020

Dolphins vs. Broncos Odds

Dolphins Odds
-3.5 [BET NOW]
BroncosOdds
+3.5 [BET NOW]
Over/Under
46 [BET NOW]
Kickoff
4:05 p.m. ET
TV
CBS
Odds via PointsBet, where you can bet $20 on the Dolphins or Broncos to win $250 if they cover.

Winners of five straight, the Dolphins have planted themselves firmly in the mix for the team’s first playoff berth since 2016. In Week 10, the Fins takes its talents from South Beach to the Mile High City to take on the reeling Broncos.

Drew Lock, who is nursing a rib injury, is expected to start. But if he can’t go, the team will turn to Brett Rypien, whose lone career start came in Week 4 against the Jets.

The news of Lock’s potential absence contributed to the public-favorite Dolphins being pushed up to 3.5-point favorites, but can you trust them in this spot?

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins can do no wrong during this five-game heater, including changing quarterbacks. The club went from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Tua Tagovailoa during its bye week and have not missed a beat. Despite being outgained in two of the Alabama rookie’s three starts, the Fins have gone undefeated with him as the signal caller.

An indicator of these potentially inflated results has been the defense and special teams. Miami has three defensive/special teams touchdowns in as many games and has caused six turnovers. The six takeaways have given Tua great field position to generate scoring chances.

This is a defense that is turning the opponent over way above expectations and I expect there is some regression coming.

While the offense may not be as good as the results under the rookie quarterback, the play-calling all year has been strong.

Miami has been dominant on first downs, posting a passing success rate of 65.9% on first down plays, tops in the NFL. This means that the offense is picking up sufficient yards to deem it a “successful” play according to Sharp Football Stats. With plays leading to second-and-short, or a chunk play that moves the sticks, the Dolphins have been feasting on first down and calling efficient plays.

Miami will be facing a stiff test against Vic Fangio’s defense. The defense does not give up an inordinate amount of big plays, and is strong at defending all running plays. The Broncos defense is allowing a rushing success rate of 46%, above the league average. This is a defense that keeps plays in front of them, and it is surely going to make Tua beat them underneath and not with the deep ball.

Denver Broncos

The Broncos are on the ropes after getting their doors blown off by the Raiders last week. And while Lock is expected to start, the Broncos may be forced to go back to Rypien, but at least he has his feet wet from the Week 4 victory over the Jets on the road.

Miami will be a more formidable opponent, especially with the turnover streak the Dolphins are riding. And considering the Broncos have the second-worst turnover differential in the NFL, it may be in their best interest to put the ball on the ground and attack a Dolphins defense that is susceptible to the run.

Miami’s defense is bottom five in both running back success rate and explosive rush defense in 2020. Denver should try to reintegrate Phillip Lindsay into the offense — he had only four carries last week — as he can find the second level against this Miami front seven. Lindsay has been nursing a handful of injuries this season, a concussion and foot ailments, but should be good to go in this one with no injury designation heading into the weekend.

Denver is going to try and do what it does most games: Hang around and make its move in the second half. With Miami traveling to Denver, this could give the Broncos a bit of life if the Dolphins are not prepared for the altitude, but also if Fangio has his offense attacking the weak spot of the Miami defense, on the ground, for long drives.

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Dolphins-Broncos Pick

Miami is going to regress heavily once the turnovers even out over time. Tua has looked fine to start, but not as good as Miami’s record is. This win streak is a product of some favorable bounces that come back towards the median.

There will be a spot for me to fade Miami, but this isn’t it. I can’t back Denver on a short number given what we have seen from the offense of late. Even if Rypien is an upgrade over the banged-up Lock, I can’t pull the trigger.

This leads me to the under. I make this total closer to 41, so I see some value in the current line of 45.5. The only way Denver hangs in this game is running the ball, which will eat away at the clock and avoid careless turnovers from Rypien through the air.

On the other end, this Miami offense is going to need to work for its points against a stout Denver defense that limits big plays and gets off the field on third down, 4% better than the league average with a 38% third down defense.

PICK: Under 46 (down to 44)

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Colts vs. Packers Odds & Picks: Back Aaron Rodgers As An Underdog On Sunday

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Colts vs. Packers Odds

Colts Odds
-2 [BET NOW]
Packers Odds
+2 [BET NOW]
Over/Under
52.5 [BET NOW]
Kickoff
4:25 p.m. ET
TV
FOX
Odds via PointsBet, where you can bet $20 on the Packers or Colts to win $250 if they cover.

In one of the most anticipated matchups of the Week 11 slate, Aaron Rodgers and the 7-2 Packers head to Lucas Oil Stadium to take on Phillip Rivers and the 6-3 Colts.

The Packers narrowly escaped with a 24-20 win against the lowly Jaguars in Week 10 while the Colts are coming off 10 days rest and a 34-17 Thursday night victory over the Titans.

Oddsmakers opened the Colts as as 1-point favorites with a total of 49, and we’ve since seen movement on both the side and the total. The Colts were bet up to as high as -2.5 before being bet down to -2, while the total was bet up from 49 to where it sits at 52.5 as of Sunday afternoon.

So where’s the betting value in this matchup?

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Green Bay Packers

The Packers come into this game in the unfamiliar underdog role.

This may be the last time we see them there this season, as their upcoming games are against the Bears (twice), Eagles, Lions, Panthers and Titans.

Nonetheless, during the Matt LaFleur era, the Packers have been successful as underdogs, going 5-1 straight up and against the spread over the past two seasons. Their only loss was a 38-7 setback at the hands of the eventual NFC champion 49ers, who had the Packers’ number last season.

Trends aside, Rodgers is showing why he has the third-best MVP odds. The 36-year-old is first in ESPN’s Total QBR (84.7), passer rating (116.4), sixth in passing yards, and second in both touchdown passes (26) and Football Outsiders’ DVOA. It’s no coincidence the Packers are second in offensive efficiency this season (per Sharp Football Stats).

The Packers have seen their offensive numbers suppressed playing games with heavy winds at Lambeau field two out of the last three weeks.

The same Packers who put up 30-plus points in every game except their matchup against a No. 1-ranked Bucs defense were held to fewer than 30 points for the first two times all season against the Jaguars and Vikings. Now that the Packers are playing in a dome, we should expect to see higher output, even for a team that’s third in points scored with 30.8 per game and sixth in yards per game at 395.8.

Left tackle David Bakhtiari returned from broken ribs last week and signed a four-year, $103.5 million contract extension that makes him the highest-paid offensive lineman in the game. Nonetheless, he should be good to go, as is wide receiver Allen Lazard, who returned from injured reserve on Tuesday.

Davante Adams will play Sunday after missing practice this week, and hopes to build on his fantastic season with 61 receptions for 741 yards and nine touchdowns. Of course, Aaron Jones is one of the best running backs in the league and although Indianapolis’ run defense is giving up just 3.5 yards per carry, he’s also a threat to catch passes out of the backfield.

The Packers are just 16th in defensive efficiency, 16th against the pass and 22nd against the run. Defending running backs and tight ends have been a major issue for this unit, as they rank 31st in both. Fortunately, the Packers get cornerbacks Jaire Alexander and Kevin King back this week which should be huge in their ability to cover T.Y. Hilton and Michael Pittman Jr.

Indianapolis Colts

There’s some interesting trends that support the Colts in this matchup, as they are 11-1 straight up and 10-1-1 against the spread when laying four or fewer points under head coach Frank Reich. Still, the Colts have yet to prove they can beat good teams in 2020.

Despite starting the season with a 6-3 record, the Colts’ six victories come against teams that have a combined record of 21-33 with a point differential of -246: Vikings, Jets, Bears, Bengals, Lions and Titans. Even removing the lowly Jets from the equation, this still doesn’t look good.

Nearly every advanced defensive metric tells us that the Colts have a top-tier defense as they’re ranked fourth in defensive efficiency and fourth against both the pass and the run. They’re also fifth in expected points added per play, fifth in total success rate and seventh in early down success rate.

This stingy defense is allowing a league-best 290.4 total yards and only 19.7 points per game, fourth behind the Ravens, Rams and Steelers.

On the surface it’s impressive, but upon digging into the schedule, it becomes immediately clear that the Colts haven’t played anyone. They’ve played just one quarterback who is in the top 10 in QBR this season in Ryan Tannehill, and it took a disastrous performance from the Titans’ special teams unit to hand the Colts the game on a silver platter.

QBR Ranks of Colts Opposing QBs So Far

  • Gardner Minshew:  26th (53.8)
  • Kirk Cousins: 21st (63.8)
  • Sam Darnold: 29th (39.6)
  • Nick Foles: 28th (44.4)
  • Baker Mayfield: 14th (71.3)
  • Joe Burrow: 23rd (59.0)
  • Matthew Stafford: 17th (66.4)
  • Lamar Jackson: 18th (65.3)
  • Ryan Tannehill: 9th (75.0)

Now the Colts face Rodgers, who is first in QBR and leads a second-ranked offense, which means this game comes down to whether you think the Colts can keep up offensively.

colts vs. titans-odds and promos-philip rivers
Photo credit: Nic Antaya/Getty Images. Pictured: Philip Rivers

Rivers has been solid. He’s seventh in completion percentage (68.7) and he has a healthy batch of weapons in Zach Pascal, Mo Alie-Cox, Hilton, Michael Pittman Jr., Nyheim Hines and Jonathan Taylor.

However, the Colts are just 18th in offensive efficiency, 20th in passing efficiency and 18th in rushing efficiency despite having an offensive line that’s allowed a league-low nine sacks all year. The Packers defense leaves a lot to be desired, so you’d expect a decent output from this unit, however, the Colts aren’t a dominant offense despite playing the seventh-easiest schedule of opponent offenses.

The Colts are also just 25th in red-zone touchdown percentage, scoring on just 55.9% (19-34) of their trips inside the opponents’ 20-yard line and they are also 30th in third down conversion percentage (37.50).

Although, the Packers have been susceptible to the run, the Colts’ offensive line is just 23rd in adjusted line yards and has struggled to generate a consistent push all season. Indianapolis running backs Taylor and Hines are averaging just 3.8 yards per carry this season. The Colts ran for just 3.1 yards per carry against a Lions defense that gives up 4.7 yards per carry and 141.6 yards per game on the ground.

This is also an offense that struggles to get the ball to their wide receivers. Their wide receivers have just 107 catches for 1,322 yards and two touchdowns on the season, which rank 20th, 24th and 31st, respectively, among all NFL teams.

Packers-Colts Pick

The Colts have a top-five defense, but they allowed 27 points in a loss to Gardner Minshew and a 23rd-ranked Jaguars offense. That could be forgiven given that it was the first week of the season in a year with limited training camp and no preseason. However, the Colts also gave up 27 points in a comeback win to rookie Joe Burrow and the Bengals in a Week 6 home game.

The Colts’ troubles didn’t stop there, as they have since given up 32 points to Baker Mayfield and 24 points to Lamar Jackson.

Here’s the kicker: None of those offenses are in the top 10 in offensive efficiency, and none are ranked higher than 19th in passing offense. So how do the Colts slow down the Packers, who will be playing in a dome after weeks of playing in windy games that suppressed their offensive output?

Do you have faith in Old Man Rivers to keep up with Rodgers and a Packers offense that’s second in offensive efficiency and is scoring 30.8 points per game?

I don’t.

Although the Packers defense isn’t anything to write home about, the Packers have the defensive reinforcements they need with Alexander and King returning from injury.

There’s been some sharp money on the Colts this week, however, I don’t agree with it as my model makes this game a pick’em. I like the Packers to win this game outright and recommend taking them with the points or the moneyline.

I’d also recommend adding them to 6-point teasers with the Eagles.

PICK: Packers +2

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Vikings vs. Cowboys Odds & Picks: How To Fade Dallas On Sunday

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Vikings vs. Cowboys Odds

Vikings Odds
-7 [BET NOW]
Cowboys Odds
+7 [BET NOW]
Over/Under
50 [BET NOW]
Kickoff
4:25 p.m. ET
TV
FOX
Odds via PointsBet, where you can bet $20 on the Cowboys or Vikings to win $250 if they cover.

This was supposed to be a marquee game before the season, but the Cowboys and Vikings have been two of the most disappointing teams in the NFL.

The Cowboys are 2-7 and have been miserable all season. They last won a game over a month ago and have scored only 41 points since. The good news — maybe? — is that Andy Dalton is back healthy.

Minnesota started even worse than Dallas at 1-5, but unlike the Cowboys, the Vikings appear to have righted the ship. Minnesota has won three straight and looks like the better team here, and the Vikings are favored by a touchdown at home. Has Minnesota improved enough to deserve their status as a seven-point favorite?

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Dallas Cowboys

Dallas has been littered with injuries up and down its roster. Early on, the Cowboys were at least competitive and relatively fun to watch. They played with great pace on offense, and Dak Prescott piled up yardage to his talented receivers while the Dallas defense allowed pretty much anything the opponent wanted.

The defense has tightened up some as the pace has slowed down, but the offense has gone MIA since Prescott’s devastating injury.

Dallas is just 2-7 coming out of its bye, and those two wins have come by just one and three points against bad Falcons and Giants teams. Put another way, the Cowboys are six points away from matching the putrid New York Jets at 0-9.

The Cowboys defense has not allowed more than 25 points in four games, so that’s something. Of course, they haven’t scored more than 19 in five games, and the offense has averaged 10.3 points per game in their four games without Prescott. Dalton’s return may not even be a boost. He’s been downright terrible in limited time.

Dallas’ offense is not good, and the truth is that it never was this season.

Even when the Cowboys were scoring more, a lot of that was due to pace. The offense itself was more average than good, and it’s only gotten worse as the injuries have piled up. The defense hasn’t improved as much as it looks, either. They’re benefiting from a slowed-down game and from a stretch of games against weaker offenses.

The Cowboys are not good. The question is whether Minnesota is good enough now to punish them.

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings started 1-5 but were never quite as bad as their record looked. They lost by one to good Tennessee and Seattle teams and very well could have won both for a 3-3 start. Kirk Cousins has had some real clunkers, like always, but Minnesota’s run game has been dominant as usual with Dalvin Cook.

The Vikings have the No. 3 rushing attack per Football Outsiders’ DVOA. Minnesota’s offense as a whole ranks inside the top 10. In fact, so does their defense. The Vikings have moved up to 13th overall in DVOA. They’re as good as they’ve looked these last few weeks.

The real story there is the defense. Minnesota’s defense has always been very good under Mike Zimmer but looked almost as bad as Dallas’ early. The Vikings have been hurt by the loss of their best two pass rushers for the season in Danielle Hunter and Anthony Barr, and the secondary remains banged-up.

But Zimmer knows how to coach up defense, and the Vikings’ defense has gotten better and better as the season has gone on. They’ve allowed only 18.3 points per game in three weeks since Minnesota’s bye, and — not coincidentally — the Vikings have won all three.

If Minnesota’s defense plays well enough to keep them in the game, the Vikings can run, run, run to their heart’s desire. When the game stays on script, Minnesota looks good.

_BookPromo=311

Cowboys-Vikings Pick

This feels like a mismatch and a game the Vikings certainly should win with relative ease. Cook and the rushing attack are running all over opponents, and the Cowboys have a bottom-five run defense.

Minnesota’s improving defense should surely be able to handle this decrepit Dallas attack, too. Dalton’s return may not even help, as bad as he’s been, and Ezekiel Elliott is nursing a sore hamstring. It would have been hard to believe six weeks ago, but Dallas should have a seriously difficult time moving the ball or scoring on this Vikings defense.

The Cowboys total is at 20.5 points, and it’s hard to see them breaching that number. Dallas has averaged 10.3 points in games without Prescott, remember, and the Cowboys have scored exactly two touchdowns in those four games — one of them deep into garbage time. They’re getting field goals, but without two touchdowns, it takes a whole lot of three-point drives to get to 21.

You never know when Kirk Cousins might lay an egg, but playing at home with a solid defense and run attack against a bad team leaves no particular reason to worry.

The Vikings should win by double digits, though it would sure feel better betting a 6.5-point cover if the line budged. The Vikings are a prime teaser candidate as things stand, perhaps with a Chiefs team coming out of a bye and looking for revenge on a similar line.

If I’m playing a side in this one, I’d go with a Vikings cover, even at -7 or -7.5. But the better play is a Minnesota tease, then grabbing a piece of that Dallas under 20.5. If the Vikings does find a way to blow this, it’s more likely to be because of the offense stalling than the Cowboys magically finding theirs.

PICK: Cowboys Under 20.5

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Your NFL Betting Guide: Odds, Picks & Predictions For Every Game

NFL Odds, Picks & Predictions

Click on a matchup to skip to that matchup preview and pick.
Titans-Ravens
1 p.m. ET
Eagles-Browns
1 p.m. ET
Falcons-Saints
1 p.m. ET
Steelers-Jaguars
1 p.m. ET
Patriots-Texans
1 p.m. ET
Bengals-Washington
1 p.m. ET
Lions-Panthers
1 p.m. ET
Jets-Chargers
4:05 p.m. ET
Dolphins-Broncos
4:05 p.m. ET
Cowboys-Vikings
4:25 p.m. ET
Packers-Colts
4:25 p.m. ET

Titans at Ravens Odds & Pick

Titans Odds
+6.5 [BET NOW]
Ravens Odds
-6.5 [BET NOW]
Over/Under
49.5 [BET NOW]
Kickoff
1 p.m. ET
TV
CBS
Odds as of early Sunday and via BetMGM, where you can bet $1 on the Titans or Ravens to win $100 if a touchdown is scored.

Raheem Palmer: The Ravens are a schoolyard bully.

Outside of last week’s loss to Bill Belichick’s Patriots and last season’s playoff loss to the Titans, the Ravens typically beat the teams they’re supposed to beat. And even with a 6-3 record, the Titans are a team that the Ravens are supposed to beat: The Titans have a point differential of only +14, which measures out to fewer than three points per win. As a result, their Pythagorean expectation tells us that the Titans should have won about five games while losing four.

At 6-3, the Titans have clearly over-performed their point differential. And teams that over-perform their point differential are likely to see regression.

If there’s a magic elixir for a Ravens offense, it’s the Titans 24th-ranked defense that is simply a step down in class compared to recent weeks.

My projections make this game closer to 7, however, I’m not willing to lay nearly a touchdown with a struggling Ravens run defense without Campbell and Williams against a run-heavy offense. That said, I do like the Ravens to avenge their playoff loss, so this is an ideal spot for a 6-point teaser.

Tease the Ravens down and pair them with the Eagles.

PICK: Tease Ravens [Bet now at BetMGM]

Read the full Titans-Ravens preview or return to the table of contents

Eagles at Browns Odds & Pick

Eagles Odds
+2.5 [BET NOW]
Browns Odds
-2.5 [BET NOW]
Over/Under
47 [BET NOW]
Kickoff
1 p.m. ET
TV
FOX
Odds via PointsBet, where you can bet $20 on the Eagles or Browns to win $250 if they cover.

Brandon Anderson: In the end, what we have here is a game that’s important but really shouldn’t be — neither team is good, and neither looks like a threatening playoff team. This feels like a game that would be the first one to kickoff the playoffs.

Technically we have to care, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be ugly.

The Browns don’t have quite as much urgency as the Eagles yet. The Browns still get to play the Jaguars, Giants and Jets later on, and we know how dominant the Browns are against bad teams. This game matters far more to the Eagles, and it’s fair to wonder whether Wentz and Doug Pederson are playing for their jobs at this point.

We should expect Philly to pull out every stop.

_BookPromo=311

Cleveland looks perhaps slightly the better team, but factor in Philly’s return to health then the trump card of a missing Garrett, and this looks like a coin flip for the Browns (at best).

The line didn’t budge at all when Garrett went out, and that feels like a mistake. Garrett is Cleveland’s most important player, and Wentz is far better when he’s not under pressure and holding the ball too long all game.

This won’t be pretty, and it will likely be close late. It feels too close to call and could come down to a turnover or a late play. In a game like that, I’m typically taking the points. But given what’s at stake for Philly here and how close this should be, I’ll grab the +120 moneyline and let the Eagles finish the job.

PICK: Eagles +120 [Bet now at PointsBet]

Read the full Eagles-Browns preview or return to the table of contents

Falcons at Saints Odds & Pick

Falcons Odds
+3.5 [BET NOW]
Saints Odds
-3.5 [BET NOW]
Over/Under
49 [BET NOW]
Kickoff
1 p.m. ET
TV
FOX
Odds via PointsBet, where you can bet $20 on the Falcons or Saints to win $250 if they cover.

Mike Randle: There are simply too many variables going against New Orleans in this heated AFC South rivalry. Atlanta’s ability to limit Alvin Kamara in these matchups combined with Taysom Hill making his first start provide two big advantages.

The Falcons have been a different team under Raheem Morris and can hide their pass defense deficiencies behind a strong front four defensive line. We saw the Saints struggle against the Packers offense in Week 2, and Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley bring many of the same problems.

I’m backing the Falcons with the 3.5-point hook in a game they could absolutely win. Hill will flash some big moments, but could also make some critical mistakes due to lack of experience. This line has come down since it opened at 5.5, but I would make sure to use our NFL odds page to shop around to ensure you get it at this key number.

PICK: Falcons +3.5 [Bet now at PointsBet]

Read the full Falcons-Saints preview or return to the table of contents

Steelers at Jaguars Odds & Pick

Steelers Odds
-10 [BET NOW]
Jaguars Odds
+10 [BET NOW]
Over/Under
46 [BET NOW]
Kickoff
1 p.m. ET
TV
CBS
Odds via Parx, which offers new customers a 20% profit boost + $500 risk-free wager on their first bet.

Mike Randle: This is a tricky situational spot for the Steelers, who have a rematch with AFC North rival Ravens coming up on Thanksgiving Day. Pittsburgh has also historically struggled as a huge road favorite under head coach Mike Tomlin.

As a double-digit road favorite under Tomlin, the Steelers are just 1-10 against the spread, per our Bet Labs data:

The talent disparity is too great between Pittsburgh and Jacksonville for a Steelers loss, but the 10-point spread and big-play passing ability with Luton gives me pause.

I’m teasing the Steelers down to -4 as well as the over down to 40 total points. The Steelers will score, and even if they are up big, the Jaguars should be able to generate enough points to crest this adjusted total.

PICK: Tease Steelers to -4, total to 40 [Bet now at Parx]

Read the full Steelers-Jaguars preview or return to the table of contents

Patriots at Texans Odds & Pick

Patriots Odds
-2.5 [BET NOW]
Texans Odds
+2.5 [BET NOW]
Over/Under
49 [BET NOW]
Kickoff
1 p.m. ET
TV
CBS
Odds via PointsBet, where you can bet $20 on the Patriots or Texans to win $250 if they cover.

Brad Cunningham: Even though this is a lost season for the Texans, Watson is still playing like one of the best quarterbacks in the league.

When you think of a Belichick defense, your mind automatically goes to them being one of the best in NFL. However, this season has been a different story, especially in the secondary. Watson should be able throw all over the Patriots.

I have the Texans favored by -2.37 points at home, so there’s some value on them at +2.5, and would play them down to +1.

PICK: Texans +2.5 [Bet now at PointsBet]

Read the full Patriots-Texans preview or return to the table of contents

Bengals at Washington Odds & Pick

Bengals Odds
+1 [BET NOW]
Washington Odds
-1 [BET NOW]
Over/Under
46.5 [BET NOW]
Kickoff
1 p.m. ET
TV
CBS
Odds as of early Sunday and via BetMGM, where you can bet $1 on the Bengals or Washington to win $100 if a touchdown is scored.

Brad Cunningham: Even though the Washington defense has been stellar vs. the pass, Joe Burrow and the Bengals’ passing attack will be able to break off a number of big plays. On the flip side, if Alex Smith is able to match his level of play from last week, he could repeat his career-high numbers against the Bengals’ weak secondary.

I have the total projected at 52.31 points, so there’s value on the over at 46.5 points and would play it up to 47.5.

PICK: Over 46.5 points [Bet now at BetMGM]

Read the full Bengals-Washington preview or return to the table of contents


_BookPromo=143

Lions at Panthers Odds & Pick

Lions Odds
-2.5 [BET NOW]
Panthers Odds
+2.5 [BET NOW]
Over/Under
OTB [BET NOW]
Kickoff
1 p.m. ET
TV
FOX
Odds as of early Sunday and via BetMGM, where you can bet $1 on the Lions or Panthers to win $100 if a touchdown is scored.

Phillip Kall: Bridgewater’s uncertain status has caused movement in the line throughout the week and makes choosing a particular side difficult. If you can, wait until he is officially ruled in or out before making a pick.

If Bridgewater is cleared to play, neither of these two defenses have shown the ability to stop anyone recently. With the playmakers available on both sides of the ball, the over is the way to go.

If Walker is the starter, however, he will try to recreate some of those plays that made him an XFL sensation. But in the NFL, these can lead to big plays for the defense, and a couple of mistakes will be enough to get the Lions to cover.

If Bridgewater starts, back the over up to 48. If Walker starts, back the Lions down to -3.5.

[Bet at BetMGM and win $100 if a touchdown is scored]

Read the full Lions-Panthers preview or return to the table of contents

Jets at Chargers Odds & Pick

Jets Odds
+10 [BET NOW]
Chargers Odds
-10 [BET NOW]
Over/Under
45.5 [BET NOW]
Kickoff
4:05 p.m. ET
TV
CBS
Odds as of early Sunday and via BetMGM, where you can bet $1 on the Jets or Chargers to win $100 if a touchdown is scored.

Reed Wallach: I make this spread -11 but can’t possibly lay that number with a Chargers club that is constantly playing one-score games. I am inclined to bet the Jets, but I also can’t in this spot with Adam Gase as the coach — Gase is 4-13 as a road underdog with the spread a touchdown or greater.

The Chargers have played six straight over games, while the Jets are coming off a surprisingly high-scoring affair against the Patriots.

While bettors expect the Jets to be a classic under team because of a bad offense, the team is just 5-4 to the under this season. With a total 45.5, I’ll play the over.

If there is any time for the Jets to show an ounce of motivation, it is off of a bye with maximum time to prepare and maybe work in some quick-hitting plays to hit a Chargers defense that is bleeding points.

PICK: Over 45.5 (up to 47.5) [Bet now at BetMGM]

Read the full Jets-Chargers preview or return to the table of contents

Dolphins at Broncos Odds & Pick

Dolphins Odds
-3.5 [BET NOW]
BroncosOdds
+3.5 [BET NOW]
Over/Under
46 [BET NOW]
Kickoff
4:05 p.m. ET
TV
CBS
Odds via PointsBet, where you can bet $20 on the Dolphins or Broncos to win $250 if they cover.

Reed Wallach: Miami is going to regress heavily once the turnovers even out over time. Tua Tagovailoa has looked fine to start, but not as good as Miami’s record is. This win streak is a product of some favorable bounces that come back towards the median.

There will be a spot for me to fade Miami, but this isn’t it. I can’t back Denver on a short number given what we have seen from the offense of late.

This leads me to the under. I make this total closer to 41, so I see some value in the current line of 45.5. The only way Denver hangs in this game is running the ball, which will eat away at the clock and avoid careless turnovers.

On the other end, this Miami offense is going to need to work for its points against a stout Denver defense that limits big plays and gets off the field on third down, 4% better than the league average with a 38% third down defense.

PICK: Under 46 (down to 44) [Bet now at PointsBet]

Read the full Dolphins-Broncos preview or return to the table of contents

Cowboys at Vikings Odds & Pick

Cowboys Odds
+7 [BET NOW]
Vikings Odds
-7 [BET NOW]
Over/Under
47.5 [BET NOW]
Kickoff
4:25 p.m. ET
TV
FOX
Odds via PointsBet, where you can bet $20 on the Cowboys or Vikings to win $250 if they cover.

Brandon Anderson: This feels like a mismatch and a game the Vikings certainly should win with relative ease. Cook and the rushing attack are running all over opponents, and the Cowboys have a bottom-five run defense.

Minnesota’s improving defense should surely be able to handle this decrepit Dallas attack, too. Dalton’s return may not even help, as bad as he’s been, and Ezekiel Elliott is nursing a sore hamstring. It would have been hard to believe six weeks ago, but Dallas should have a seriously difficult time moving the ball or scoring on this Vikings defense.

The Cowboys total is at 20.5 points, and it’s hard to see them breaching that number. Dallas has averaged 10.3 points in games without Prescott, remember, and the Cowboys have scored exactly two touchdowns in those four games — one of them deep into garbage time. They’re getting field goals, but without two touchdowns, it takes a whole lot of three-point drives to get to 21.

You never know when Kirk Cousins might lay an egg, but playing at home with a solid defense and run attack against a bad team leaves no particular reason to worry.

The Vikings should win by double digits, though it would sure feel better betting a 6.5-point cover if the line budged. The Vikings are a prime teaser candidate as things stand, perhaps with a Chiefs team coming out of a bye and looking for revenge on a similar line.

If I’m playing a side in this one, I’d go with a Vikings cover, even at -7 or -7.5. But the better play is a Minnesota tease, then grabbing a piece of that Dallas under 20.5. If the Vikings does find a way to blow this, it’s more likely to be because of the offense stalling than the Cowboys magically finding theirs.

PICK: Cowboys Under 20.5 [Bet now at PointsBet]

Read the full Cowboys-Vikings preview or return to the table of contents

Packers at Colts Odds & Pick

Packers Odds
+1.5 [BET NOW]
ColtsOdds
-1.5 [BET NOW]
Over/Under
51.5 [BET NOW]
Kickoff
4:25 p.m. ET
TV
FOX
Odds via PointsBet, where you can bet $20 on the Packers or Colts to win $250 if they cover.

Raheem Palmer: The Colts have a top-five defense, but they allowed 27 points in a loss to Gardner Minshew and a 23rd-ranked Jaguars offense. That could be forgiven given that it was the first week of the season in a year with limited training camp and no preseason. However, the Colts also gave up 27 points in a comeback win to rookie Joe Burrow and the Bengals in a Week 6 home game.

The Colts’ troubles didn’t stop there, as they have since given up 32 points to Baker Mayfield and 24 points to Lamar Jackson.

Here’s the kicker: None of those offenses are in the top 10 in offensive efficiency, and none are ranked higher than 19th in passing offense. So how do the Colts slow down the Packers, who will be playing in a dome after weeks of playing in windy games that suppressed their offensive output?

Do you have faith in Old Man Rivers to keep up with Rodgers and a Packers offense that’s second in offensive efficiency and is scoring 30.8 points per game?

I don’t.

Although the Packers defense isn’t anything to write home about, the Packers have the defensive reinforcements they need with Alexander and King returning from injury.

There’s been some sharp money on the Colts this week, however, I don’t agree with it as my model makes this game a pick’em. I like the Packers to win this game outright and recommend taking them with the points or the moneyline.

I’d also recommend adding them to 6-point teasers with the Eagles.

PICK: Packers +1.5 [Bet now at PointsBet]

Read the full Packers-Colts preview or return to the table of contents

Jets vs. Chargers Odds & Picks: How to Bet the Lowest Total of Week 11

nfl-odds-picks-jets-vs-chargers-betting-total-week-11-2020

Jets vs. Chargers Odds

Jets Odds
+10 [BET NOW]
Chargers Odds
-10 [BET NOW]
Over/Under
45.5 [BET NOW]
Kickoff
4:05 p.m. ET
TV
CBS
Odds as of early Sunday and via BetMGM, where you can bet $1 on the Jets or Chargers to win $100 if a touchdown is scored.

After squandering their best opportunity two Mondays ago against the New England Patriots in the final minutes, the New York Jets remain winless.

However, Sunday presents another opportunity for Gang Green to get in the win column as they travel out West to take on the Chargers — losers of their last three and whose season is quickly heading for the gutter.

Can the Jets get off the schneid and grab win No. 1 of 2020 with Joe Flacco under center, or will they move to 0-10?

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New York Jets

While the loss to New England is another blemish on a long list of blunders this season, the Jets did show some signs of competence. The underlying cause to their success in that one was not Flacco’s play at quarterback, but the return of the team’s full depth chart at receiver.

Jamison Crowder, Breshad Perriman and rookie Denzel Mims have all battled injuries this season but all started in that Monday Night Football matchup, and the Jets were able to move the ball against the Patriots defense throughout the game.

While it will be nice for Flacco to have professional pass catchers out there, the Jets are going to need to attack this Chargers defense on the ground.

L.A. has allowed more than 100 rushing yards over each of its past four games. Behind the veteran Frank Gore, the Jets should look to establish the run early and set up some favorable situations for Flacco.

The game script can play out favorably for New York in this one. If Flacco avoids throwing to the opposition, the Jets can control the field and try and shorten the game. L.A. has the fourth-fewest takeaways this season, so Flacco should be able to maintain possession.

With a clear advantage in the Jets’ ability to get going on the ground, whether explosive or not, this can keep Justin Herbert and the Chargers offense on the sideline for as long as possible and shorten the game a bit.

Los Angeles Chargers

Even though the record is disappointing, Justin Herbert has cemented himself as a future star in the NFL. The rookie out of Oregon is completing more than 66% of his passes and has a 19-to-6 touchdown-to-interception ratio through eight starts.

Herbert ranks in the top 10 in yards per pass attempt, which signals he is already moving the ball downfield with his strong group of receivers. Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Hunter Henry have all established chemistry with their quarterback already, and the Chargers offense has been able to keep its team in games despite the poor record.

The Bolts’ average margin of defeat is 4.5 points per game. To me, that highlights a sign of poor coaching late in games. To go 2-7 with that slim margin of defeat shows that the team is struggling to get over the hump, but it also says that the Chargers are always in close games.

Considering the Chargers have played both good and bad teams, we can surmise that the Chargers play up to their competition (as seen by an overtime loss to the Saints on Monday Night Football last month) and play down to their competition (blowing a 21-point second-half lead to the lowly Broncos).

The Chargers do get Joey Bosa back, which should help a team that can use another pass rusher and Bosa is the glue to that front seven, posting 4.5 sacks in seven games this season.

The Chargers defense does not generate many turnovers, and struggles to slow down the rush, but is matched up against the lowly Jets. This is a gut check for a Chargers team that is getting its best defensive player back.

_BookPromo=143

Jets-Chargers Pick

I make this spread -11 but can’t possibly lay that number with a Chargers club that is constantly playing one-score games. I am inclined to bet the Jets, but I also can’t in this spot with Adam Gase as the coach — Gase is 4-13 as a road underdog with the spread a touchdown or greater.

The Chargers have played six straight over games, while the Jets are coming off a surprisingly high-scoring affair against the Patriots.

While bettors expect the Jets to be a classic under team because of a bad offense, the team is just 5-4 to the under this season. With a total 45.5, I’ll play the over.

If there is any time for the Jets to show an ounce of motivation, it is off of a bye with maximum time to prepare and maybe work in some quick-hitting plays to hit a Chargers defense that is bleeding points.

PICK: Over 45.5 (up to 47.5)

Bet at BetMGM and win $100 if a touchdown is scored

Bucs vs. Rams Odds & Promos: Bet $20, Win $125 if Tom Brady Throws for 1+ Yard, More!

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Bucs vs. Rams Promos

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The Rams have a top-ranked defense in 2020, but they certainly aren’t capable of holding Brady to zero (or negative … yes, it’s possible) yards.

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Bucs vs. Rams Odds & Promos: Bet $20, Win $125 if Tom Brady Throws for 1+ Yard, More!

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Bucs vs. Rams Promos

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The Rams have a top-ranked defense in 2020, but they certainly aren’t capable of holding Brady to zero (or negative … yes, it’s possible) yards.

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Offer: Bet $5 on Tampa Bay +50, Win $100 if they cover

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Tom Brady and the Bucs are 3.5-point favorites against the Rams. Well, they’re 3.5-point favorites for most bettors. Not new customers at William Hill, where you can get +50 and turn $5 into $100 in the process.

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Tom Brady is one of, if not the best quarterback in NFL history from both a normal and betting perspective. Chances are he’ll cover the normal spread, but why not get an extra 50 points above the market price just in case?

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Wilson: My Projected Odds for Every Week 13 College Football Game

Although the top teams in the nation were devoid of upsets, Week 12 still gave us some exciting action.

Oregon remaining undefeated in the Pac-12, despite facing a UCLA team that took an early lead without quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson. The Pac-12 remains in the College Football Playoff picture, with BYU and Cincinnati collecting wins over North Alabama and Central Florida, respectively.

Speaking of the Playoff, the first rankings will be released Tuesday night. Notre Dame, Alabama and Ohio State are expected to take the top spots. The Buckeyes did not have a clean Week 12, as evident from Indiana gaining a negative number in rushing yards.

Michael Penix Jr. of Indiana threw close to 500 yards against the Buckeyes secondary, as the 42-21 lead evaporated for Ohio State.

Will Clemson, who had its game with Florida State canceled, remain in the top four? Cincinnati came back from double-digits down against Central Florida, while Florida toyed with Vanderbilt through the second half.

BYU may have covered the spread, but how will the committee look at a Cougars team that allowed two scores to 0-4 North Alabama?

In other action, Coastal Carolina’s game against Liberty may have more of a national impact than the eventual Sun Belt Championship.

Every Sunday, The Action Network publishes updated Power Ratings — now including all 127 teams playing FBS football this fall.

Look here to identify early betting value when opening lines are released, and follow me in The Action Network App to see when I bet those lines on Sunday afternoon.

Here are the projections for Week 13:

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Check out our new NCAAF PRO Report, where we highlight factors that provide betting edges — like large wagers, historically profitable betting systems, model projections and expert picks — that when combined with sharp money can powerfully detail the smartest bets on a given slate.


Projected College Football Odds, Week 13

A negative number indicates the home team is favored by that many points; a positive number means the home team is an underdog.


Check out our free NCAAF odds page, which automatically surfaces the best line for every game.


Week 13 Notes

  • Wake Forest, Duke, Clemson, Florida State, Michigan State, Maryland, Houston, SMU, Charottle, Marshall, Louisiana, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Texas, Kansas, UNLV, Colorado State, Georgia Tech, Miami, Navy, South Florida, Arizona State and Colorado all come off COVID-19 disruptions.
  • Kent State has the highest offensive success rate, ranking just ahead of Alabama and Ohio State.
  • Oregon now ranks seventh as the most explosive offense per expected points per play.
  • Despite losses in Week 12, San Diego State and Wisconsin lead the nation in defensive success rate.
  • The Aztecs are joined by Iowa and Tulsa as the nation’s best against the explosive pass, while Utah opens as the best defense against the explosive run.
  • Kent State, Eastern Michigan, Florida, Alabama and BYU round out the top-ranked teams in points per opportunity, also known as finishing drives.
  • Florida Atlantic and Northwestern are the best defenses in the nation in opponent scoring opportunities.

Week 13 Situational Spots to Play

  • Arkansas had a 90% postgame win expectancy against LSU. The Razorbacks had more total yards on 38 less plays.
  • Indiana must overcome a hangover of playing Ohio State in a Week 13 game with Maryland. The Hoosiers also have overlook to Wisconsin in Week 14.
  • Coastal Carolina has wrapped up the Sun Belt East division. Will a game against 2-9 Texas State matter before a G5 titanic battle with Liberty?

Week 13 Injury Report

  • Auburn running back Tank Bigsby was lifted from the game against Tennessee with a right hip injury.
  • Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett sat with a sprained AC joint. JT Daniels made his debut against Mississippi State.

  • Georgia State quarterback Shai Werts left due to an unspecified injury. His status for Georgia State is unknown.
  • Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders was lifted from the Oklahoma game with an unlisted injury.
  • UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson sat out with an undetermined ailment. It is unknown if he will suit up for Arizona.

Terms to Know

Postgame Win Expectancy is a calculation of all variables in a box score that dictate who would win the game if it was played a high number of times. Turnover luck, success rate and yards per play are notable components of this calculation and can influence a single game. But over a large sample, the team that moved the ball better would win more often than not.

There have been plenty of box scores in which a team wins as an underdog, but a negative value is applied to that team’s power rating because the result was fluky rather than systematic.

Coach scheme changes can adjust a power rating quickly. For example, Oregon will undergo a change from Marcus Arroyo’s conservative play-calling to new offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead’s system. Moorhead’s offense features a heavy dose of 11 personnel, west coast spread concepts and modern RPOs.

That offensive philosophy has led to more explosiveness and higher rates of success on standard downs at each of Moorhead’s previous stops at Penn State and Mississippi State. In a situation like this, a power rating can be useful to quickly adjust a team’s forecast for future games. In the case of Mike Leach, an adjustment of totals is coming with an increase in plays per game.

Success Rate, Finishing Drives and Explosiveness were first defined in Bill Connelly’s Five Factors and are strong indicators for future box scores. While EPA (Expected Points Added) and IsoPPP (Isolated Points Per Play) can be highly variable from season to season, Success Rate is a stable data point for handicappers to use for projections.

Simply put, if a team consistently achieves the desired amount of yards — determined by down and distance — then this is a “play-on” team with your bankroll. Texas A&M ranked 17th in offensive success rate last season and returns 80% of its offensive production for 2020; that combination makes the Aggies a play-on team.

Sunday Serie A Odds, Picks and Predictions for Napoli vs. AC Milan (Nov. 22)

Napoli vs. AC Milan Odds

Napoli Odds +118 [BET NOW]
AC Milan Odds +235 [BET NOW]
Draw +240 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 2.5 (-125/+100) [BET NOW]
Time Sunday, 2:45 p.m. ET
How To Watch ESPN+

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The San Paolo Stadium will host one of the biggest matches of the weekend as first-place AC Milan travels to Naples to take on Napoli, who have won five of the six games they’ve played (they were handed a 3-0 forfeit loss in a match against Juventus that they had to abandon due to COVID issues).

The international break always makes these games tougher to gauge, but it should be an entertaining contest, regardless.

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Napoli

Napoli have had a strong start to the season, taking 15 from a possible 18 points in the matches they’ve played. Gli Azzurri’s only loss came against an up-and-coming Sassuolo side in an unlucky 2-0 defeat. That match saw Napoli win the the expected goals (xG) battle, 2.14 to 1.52.


Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.


The truly surprising part of Napoli’s success has been on the defensive side of the ball. While the competition hasn’t been overly difficult, conceding only 0.66 xG against per game is the best mark in the Serie A by quite a bit. Even when they played Atalanta, Napoli held them to just 0.64 xG.

Napoli’s 1.81 xG per match sounds impressive, but it only puts them on par with Sassuolo and well behind the top teams in Serie A through the early part of the season. Another issue is that, compared to their peers at the top of the table, Napoli has more trouble finishing off the chances they do create.

On top of that, their new striker Victor Osimhen is out with a shoulder injury. I wouldn’t say it’s a death blow to their chances, but I do think it’s noteworthy. He has been good, leading the team with 3.19 xG created through six games. Osimhen is physical and holds up place nicely as well. In a game this tight, his absence could be the difference between a draw and a loss.

AC Milan

AC Milan come into this match on top of the Serie A table with five wins and two draws from their first seven matches. That is quite the accomplishment considering that Milan are balancing their Serie A schedule with a packed Europa League itinerary.

The Rossoneri are second in the league with an average of 2.51 xG per match and even when they are struggling to create chances, Milan has an effective Plan B by playing direct football with the ageless Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the top. Milan can beat you in open play and Ibrahimovic is still a nuisance to defend on set pieces, so this is a well-balanced team that is really tough to keep off the scoresheet.

One thing to note is that while a lot of Europe’s top players were off on international duty over the past few weeks, Zlatan was able to rest. That could be key as he looked a bit fatigued over Milan’s last few contests.

Defensively the Rossoneri grade out pretty well. They have allowed just seven goals on 9.16 expected goals against through their first seven matches. Their 1.31 xG per match is not outstanding but their sparkling offensive numbers help provide cover for a defense that is good, not great.

Betting Analysis & Picks

I like a few angles backing AC Milan and the over in this spot.

I think Napoli’s defensive numbers flatter them a bit, so I expect AC Milan’s offense to have enough success to make this a contest. At 2.75 (which is an Asian handicap, meaning half your bet goes on Over 2.5 and the other half on Over 3), I think this total is in reach because I am confident that Napoli’s offense will get on the board, too.

I don’t see AC Milan losing this game as often as the odds imply, so I would back them on the spread at +0.5 and would also consider sprinkling the moneyline at +215.

[Bet Napoli vs. AC Milan now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Sunday Premier League Odds, Picks & Predictions for Leicester City vs. Liverpool (Nov. 22)

Liverpool vs. Leicester City Odds 

Liverpool Odds -122 [BET NOW]
Leicester City Odds +310 [BET NOW]
Draw +295 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 2.5 (-186/+148) [BET NOW]
Time Sunday, 2:15 p.m. ET
TV NBCSN

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Liverpool play host to Leicester City on Sunday in a battle between two top-four clubs dealing with mess of injuries. I will do my best to handicap this matchup thoughtfully, but it will be imperative for bettors to check the starting lineups before submitting any bets.

With that said, this should be a high quality soccer match and I’m excited to see who prevails.


Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.


Liverpool

The Reds have started off the year on a really strong foot, considering the circumstances. Their squad is riddled with injuries.

Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez are now out for the long-term. Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mo Salah are out Sunday. Thiago Alcantara and Fabinho sound like game-time decisions.

Most of my analysis will be contingent on who is in the lineup tomorrow unfortunately.

I do think that Liverpool can survive without Salah. Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane are still a dominant front-three that can execute plenty of chances.

The bigger concern will be in the midfield. If Joel Matip, Fabinho and Thiago play, I would feel a lot more confident about backing Liverpool.

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Injuries aside, Liverpool still lead the league with 1.8 non-penalty expected goals (npxG) per match and rank third in npxG allowed at 0.97 per match. That defensive form could dip without Alexander-Arnold and Gomez, but Andy Robertson, Matip and Fabinho are far from a disaster if the latter two are fit.

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Leicester City

What a start for the Foxes this season. They currently sit in third and would move back into first with an upset at Anfield Sunday.

Leicester have also been dealing with some injuries. They will again be without Caglar Soyuncu, Ricardo Pereira, and Wilfried Ndidi. Wesley Fofana and Timothy Castagne are also dealing with injuries. It sounds like the latter two should be able to give it a go, but Leicester are far from fully healthy as well.

If Leicester are able to field a front-three featuring James Maddison, Youri Tielemans, and Jamie Vardy they should be a handful for Liverpool’s depleted defense.

While they do sit near the top of the table, the advanced metrics are not kind to the Foxes. Leicester have created 1.73 xG/game but they’re only generating 0.97 npxG/game. That is double the difference between Liverpool’s xG and npxG. Point blank: Leicester’s production significantly has come from the penalty spot this season. Part of that is due to the talents of Jamie Vardy, but long-term that screams regression.

Leicester’s defense has been solid, allowing a respectable 1.16 xGA per match. Brendan Rodgers has done a terrific job setting up this team for success, but they will to stop being so dependent on penalties if they want to contend for a top-four spot.

Betting Analysis & Pick

Like I said in the intro, this is a tough match to forecast because of the injuries. I am confident that Liverpool’s front-three will be able to create enough scoring opportunities, but this match could come down to who plays in the middle for the Reds.

If either Thiago or Fabinho start or are available, I would back the Reds. Leicester’s penalty luck will regress, and I would need to see more shot creation to back them in this spot.

I do expect both teams to be able to score here, so I will be playing the total going over three goals at minus-117 odds on the alternative number.

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Falcons vs. Saints Odds & Picks: How To Bet Taysom Hill’s First Start

nfl-odds-picks-falcons-vs-saints-betting-week-11-2020

Falcons vs. Saints Odds

Falcons Odds
+3.5 [BET NOW]
Saints Odds
-3.5 [BET NOW]
Over/Under
49.5 [BET NOW]
Kickoff
1 p.m. ET
TV
FOX
Odds via PointsBet, where you can bet $20 on the Falcons or Saints to win $250 if they cover.

The Falcons-Saints rivalry is one of the NFL’s best.

After an 0-5 start, the Falcons are 3-1 under interim head coach Raheem Morris. Can Atlanta keep the momentum going in a road game against a Drew Brees-less New Orleans team?

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons’ only player projected to miss this game is defensive end Dante Fowler, who is still on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list. Wide receiver Calvin Ridley (foot) had three consecutive limited practices, making him likely to return after missing the Falcons’ Week 10 win over the Broncos.

This team is much improved since their winless start, averaging six more points on offense while allowing 10 fewer points per game on defense.

Quarterback Matt Ryan has thrown for at least 281 yards in each of those four games, with seven touchdowns and just two interceptions. Ryan has tallied three top-12 overall fantasy quarterback performances over that span.

In his past four games against the Saints, Ryan has been superb:

Atlanta’s passing attack may have an even better advantage if New Orleans starting cornerback Marshon Lattimore (abdomen) is ruled out. Lattimore had limited practices all week and is officially listed as questionable. With Ridley and All-Pro Julio Jones, Atlanta should again find success through the air, especially if Lattimore doesn’t play.

While New Orleans’ run defense is playing at a historically-elite level, the Atlanta run defense is among the league’s best as well. The Falcons rank seventh in run defense Football Outsiders’ DVOA, and have allowed the second-fewest rushing yards (573) of any team this season.

Atlanta has annually been poor against pass-catching running backs, and have yielded the 11th-most receptions to the position this season.

However, the Falcons have always limited star running back Alvin Kamara. In six career games against the Falcons, Kamara is averaging 6.8 fewer fantasy points per game and has yet to score a touchdown.

The Falcons’ pass defense has been one of the worst all season, ranking near the bottom of the league in almost every major category.

Will Taysom Hill, in his first NFL start, be able to take advantage?

New Orleans Saints

The loss of Brees is a huge factor. In New Orleans’ short-area passing attack, the timing and precision of Brees was the foundational catalyst. He was formally placed on Injured Reserve with rib and shoulder injuries.

In addition, running back Dwayne Washington (back) and tight end Josh Hill (concussion) have been ruled out. The potential loss of Lattimore (abdomen) would be another critical injury against the explosive Falcons.

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We expect a heavy dose of Kamara (foot), who returned to practice fully on Friday. Right tackle Ryan Ramczyk (knee), wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith (concussion), defensive end Cameron Jordan (back) and nose tackle Malcom Brown (calf) should all be available on Sunday.

The unknown question is how Hill will perform at quarterback. Over his three-year career, the versatile Hill has attempted just 18 pass attempts for 205 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception.

Expect head coach Sean Payton to take advantage of Hill’s rushing ability, with a 5.5-yard-per-attempt average on his career 98 attempts.

All-Pro Michael Thomas has returned after battling a high-ankle sprain and hamstring strain, but has not produced near his normal level. Thomas has averaged just 6.5 targets, 3.5 receptions and 39 receiving yards with no touchdowns.

Tight end Jared Cook has been an inconsistent producer, too. Over the past six games, Cook has three top-12 TE fantasy finishes to pair with three games outside the top 38 at the position.

Along with Kamara, the Saints’ defense has been one of their keys to success. As mentioned, the New Orleans run defense is playing at one of the highest levels in the past 20 season. Per Football Outsiders, the Saints allow more than 37% less production on all running plays in comparison to the league average.

Will that be effective enough against an Atlanta team that has one of the league’s best passing attacks?

Falcons-Saints Pick

There are simply too many variables going against New Orleans in this heated AFC South rivalry. Atlanta’s ability to limit Kamara in these matchups combined with Hill making his first start provide two big advantages.

The Falcons have been a different team under Morris and can hide their pass defense deficiencies behind a strong front four defensive line. We saw the Saints struggle against the Packers offense in Week 2, and Ryan, Jones and Ridley bring many of the same problems.

I’m backing the Falcons with the 3.5-point hook in a game they could absolutely win. Hill will flash some big moments, but could also make some critical mistakes due to lack of experience. This line has come down since it opened at 5.5, but I would make sure to use our NFL odds page to shop around to ensure you get it at this key number.

PICK: Falcons +3.5

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Lions vs. Panthers Odds & Picks: How To Capitalize on Teddy Bridgewater’s Inactive Status

nfl-odds-picks-lions-vs-panthers-betting-teddy-bridgewater-week-11-2020

Editor’s note: Teddy Bridgewater has been ruled inactive for Sunday and P.J. Walker will get the start.

Lions vs. Panthers Odds

Lions Odds
-2.5 [BET NOW]
Panthers Odds
+2.5 [BET NOW]
Over/Under
OTB [BET NOW]
Kickoff
1 p.m. ET
TV
FOX
Odds as of early Sunday and via BetMGM, where you can bet $1 on the Lions or Panthers to win $100 if a touchdown is scored.

Teddy Bridgewater will be a game-time decision against the Lions. His status is something to track throughout Sunday as backup P.J. Walker impressed in the XFL — but there was a reason he was in the XFL.

Bridgewater’s anticipated status has had significant impacts on the spread throughout the week. We saw the line go from Panthers -2.5 on Wednesday when Bridgewater was able to get in a limited practice, down to Panthers +2.5 when the reports on Friday marked him as a game-time decision, with NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reporting that Bridgewater did “basically nothing” in practice on Wednesday and Thursday.

Whether Bridgewater plays greatly influences the spread and total. We will have to monitor his status on Sunday, but if he does play, playing the over on the total should be the way to go. However, if he is ruled out, back the Lions against the Walker-led Panthers.

Let’s take a closer look at how I arrived at both conclusions.

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Detroit Lions

After gaining a commanding lead of 24-3, the Lions needed a last-second field goal to stave off a Washington comeback as they won 30-27 in Week 10. This game perfectly embodied the Lions, as they have lead in four of their five losses, and three of their four wins have come on a walk-off score.

A defense that ranks fourth-worst in points allowed per game and sixth-worst in yards allowed per game is likely the reason for most of their struggles. Cornerbacks Desmond Trufant and Jeff Okudah were brought in to help with these issues. However, they’ve done more harm than good, as Trufant has allowed a passer rating of 121.6 when targeted and Okudah is no longer a starter due to his poor play.

While the coverage unit has struggled, the addition of Everson Griffen has brought life to their pass rush. Griffen was able to force six pressures against Washington, which already has him ranked third on the Lions for the whole season, per Pro Football Reference.

Whether it’s a hurt Bridgewater or Walker starting, they will be under pressure, which will make it difficult to take advantage of the Lions coverage unit.

Offensively, the Lions have been struck hard with injuries. They will be without Danny Amendola, Kenny Golladay and D’Andre Swift.

Luckily, they’re facing a Panthers defense that’s gone from bad to worse recently, allowing an average of 33 points and 439 yards over the past four weeks. Things may have gotten even worse for the Panthers, since starting cornerback Donte Jackson is likely to miss Sunday and his replacement, Troy Pride Jr., ranks last in Pro Football Focus’ cornerback grades.

The main weapon who will be available for Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford will be wide receiver Marvin Jones, who has been able to find his old self, going from 146 yards and one touchdown through the first six weeks to 258 yards and four touchdowns over the previous four.

Carolina Panthers

After a surprising 3-2 start to the season, the Panthers have hit a wall and lost their last five games. Their Week 10 matchup showed how vulnerable the defense is at levels, as the Buccaneers threw for 334 yards and ran for 210 against the Panthers.

The offense has also slowed down since the hot start. The Panthers averaged 400 yards of total offense over the first five games but only 302 over their past five games.

Plugging in Walker could extend those struggles. As Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus addressed in their Week 11 preview podcast, Walker made his name in the XFL by making big plays, but has not consistently graded well at any level.

P.J. Walker
Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images. Pictured: P.J. Walker

It’ll be a test to see if Walker can bring that same big playmaking ability to the NFL, and if he can provide those same electric plays how Carolina handles playing a quarterback with that style compared to the conservative style of Bridgewater.

The good news for whoever gets the start is that their receivers should be able to get open against the Lions’ defensive backs. Despite pulling Okudah for his performance, the Lions’ starting corners’ PFF grades rank 70th and 110th out of 119 players at the position. They will be trying to cover the Panthers’ duo of Robby Anderson and D.J. Moore, who rank 25th and 49th out of 118 wide receivers, according to PFF.

Lions-Panthers Pick

Bridgewater’s uncertain status has caused movement in the line throughout the week and makes choosing a particular side difficult. If you can, wait until he is officially ruled in or out before making a pick.

If Bridgewater is cleared to play, neither of these two defenses have shown the ability to stop anyone recently. With the playmakers available on both sides of the ball, the over is the way to go.

If Walker is the starter, however, he will try to recreate some of those plays that made him an XFL sensation. But in the NFL, these can lead to big plays for the defense, and a couple of mistakes will be enough to get the Lions to cover.

If Bridgewater starts, back the over up to 48. If Walker starts, back the Lions down to -3.5.

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Bengals vs. Washington Odds & Picks: How To Bet Sunday’s Total

nfl-odds-picks-bengals-vs-washington-betting-week-11-2020

Bengals vs. Washington Odds

Bengals Odds
+1 [BET NOW]
Washington Odds
-1 [BET NOW]
Over/Under
46.5 [BET NOW]
Kickoff
1 p.m. ET
TV
CBS
Odds as of early Sunday and via BetMGM, where you can bet $1 on the Bengals or Washington to win $100 if a touchdown is scored.

Joe Burrow and the Bengals head to the nation’s capital on Sunday for a matchup with the Washington Football Team.

Cincinnati came back down to earth last Sunday, losing to the undefeated Steelers. Before the Pittsburgh game, Burrow and the Bengals’ offense were starting to finally show they belong among the top half of NFL attacks. Burrow will have a tough task ahead of him against Washington’s strong secondary.

Washington almost pulled a crazy comeback win in Detroit in Alex Smith’s first start in more than two seasons. The Football Team is starting to build something special on the defensive side of the ball, while Smith looks like his old self again.

Washington could be a team to keep an eye on for the second half of the season. But are they work backing on Sunday? Let’s examine the matchup.

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Cincinnati Bengals

Offense

Even though Burrow is throwing for a ton of yards, he hasn’t been very efficient at 6.7 yards per pass attempt. The problem for the No. 1 overall pick is he hasn’t had much time to throw because of one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. The Bengals’ offensive line has already allowed Burrow to get sacked 32 times in nine games.

The good news for Burrow is Cincinnati has a solid group of receivers. Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins and A.J. Green all have more than 60 targets through the first nine games. Higgins has been the best receiver, averaging almost 10 yards per target. The rookie had 115 receiving yards and a touchdown against Pittsburgh last week.

Friday brought some bad news for the Bengals’ offense, when it was announced that starting running back Joe Mixon was placed on Injured Reserve. Cincinnati is 14th in rushing success (per Sharp Football Stats) and missing Mixon is going to have an effect, as Giovani Bernard is carrying the ball for only 3.6 yards per carry.

Defense

The Bengals defense has one huge issue: They give up way too many explosive plays. They’re dead last in explosive rushing allowed and second-last in explosive passing allowed. And even though Washington’s offense hasn’t been very consistent, this will be the worst defense that the Football Team played all season long.

The biggest problem for Cincinnati is their linebacking corps. They had the worst-graded linebacking group over the last three years according to Pro Football Focus and haven’t been able to find any production so far this season.

The Bengals’ have also been hit by the injury bug on their defense, as tackle Geno Atkins, cornerback LeShaun Sims and nose tackle Xavier Williams are all questionable for Sunday.

Washington Football Team

Offense

The Football Team has gone through a lot of adversity on the offensive side of the ball. It is now on its third quarterback, and the unit has suffered because of it. Washington is near the bottom of the NFL in both passing and rushing success.

However, Smith lit up the Lions in his first start in two years, putting up a career high 390 yards on 55 attempts last week. Smith should be able to put up similar numbers on Sunday given how bad Cincinnati’s defense has been against the pass.

The biggest issue for Washington on offense is that they don’t have a stable running back. Rookie Antonio Gibson has emerged as the starter, but he’s averaging only 4.2 yards per carry this season. However, they should be able to break off a few big runs since the Bengals are dead last in explosive rushing allowed.

Defense

Washington’s defensive has been much improved in 2020, mainly due to how good they’ve been against the pass. The Football Team is third in defensive passing success and is allowing only 6.6 yards per attempt. However, Washington has been prone to giving up big plays, ranking 23rd in explosive passing allowed.

Washington has been pretty average vs. the run, allowing 4.3 yards per carry. However, the Bengals run game shouldn’t be much of a factor with Mixon out.

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Bengals-Washington Pick

Even though the Washington defense has been stellar vs. the pass, Burrow and the Bengals’ passing attack will be able to break off a number of big plays. On the flip side, if Smith is able to match his level of play from last week, he could repeat his career-high numbers against the Bengals’ weak secondary.

I have the total projected at 52.31 points, so there’s value on the over at 46.5 points and would play it up to 47.5.

PICK: Over 46.5 points

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Patriots vs. Texans Odds & Picks: The Value Is On Deshaun Watson & Co.

nfl-odds-picks-patriots-vs-texans-betting-week-11-2020

Patriots vs. Texans Odds

Patriots Odds
-2.5 [BET NOW]
Texans Odds
+2.5 [BET NOW]
Over/Under
49 [BET NOW]
Kickoff
1 p.m. ET
TV
CBS
Odds via PointsBet, where you can bet $20 on the Patriots or Texans to win $250 if they cover.

After getting their season back on track against the Ravens, the Patriots will continue their march toward a playoff spot against the Texans.

It’s been a roller coaster of a season in New England, but the Patriots seemingly seem to have righted the ship after a tough start to the season. Sitting at 4-5, they have no breathing room and can’t afford to lose games like this one given how difficult the AFC is.

On the other side, this season has gone about as poorly as possible for the Texans. They haven’t beaten a team not named the Jaguars this season. However, the NFL did the Texans no favors as far as scheduling was concerned: Houston’s opponents are a combined 47-25 so far this season.

So are the Texans being undervalued as home underdogs on Sunday? Let’s take a closer look.

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New England Patriots

Offense

Cam Newton has really struggled since arriving in New England. He’s averaging only 7.4 yards per passing attempt and has three touchdown passes to seven interceptions. That has led the Patriots to the bottom half of the NFL in passing success and explosiveness (per Sharp Football Stats).

The Pats are really missing wide receiver Julian Edelman, who is currently on injured reserve. But the bread and butter of their offense is the run game.

They are top 10 in both rushing success rate and explosiveness, averaging 4.8 yards per carry. It’s been a rotating cast at running back, but Damien Harris has emerged as the best of the bunch while averaging 5.5 yards per attempt. New England may be down two starters on the offensive line, though, as both guards (Shaq Mason and Joe Thuney) are questionable to play this weekend.

Defense

The 2020 Patriots defense sure doesn’t look like a Bill Belichick-led unit.

The Patriots are in the bottom eight in both defensive rushing and passing success. However, they’ve been one of the worst teams in the NFL against the pass this season.

They’re allowing a crazy 8.2 yards per passing attempt and are dead last in passing explosiveness allowed. Last season’s Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore has missed the last three games but looks like he’s set to return Sunday. Even with Gilmore, though, the Patriots are going to have a tough time shutting down Deshaun Watson.

Houston Texans

Offense

Despite the 2-7 record, Watson has been playing really well this season. He’s completing almost 70% of his passes and is averaging 8.4 yards per attempt. That has led Houston to being inside the top 10 in both passing success rate and explosiveness. He and Will Fuller have one of the best connections in the NFL, with the speedy receiver averaging 10.46 yards per target.

Watson will be licking his chops, because the Patriots are the worst team in the NFL against the pass.

The Texans’ run game has been a different story. Houston is running the ball for only 3.9 yards per carry. To make matters worse, David Johnson is on Injured Reserve, and star left tackle Laremy Tunsil is reportedly not expected to play.

However, most of Houston’s success on Sunday is going to come through the air.

Defense

The defense has dealt with all sorts of issues against both the run and pass. Houston is allowing a whopping 5.2 yards per rush, which is the league’s worst mark. That’s going to be a problem on Sunday considering the strength of the Patriots’ offense is its rushing attack.

The Texans also haven’t been very good against the pass, allowing 7.3 yards per attempt and ranking 25th in defensive passing success. They’re also last in sack rate.

If the Texans are going to be victorious against New England, it’s going to be on the back of Watson. 

Patriots-Texans Pick

Even though this is a lost season for the Texans, Watson is still playing like one of the best quarterbacks in the league.

When you think of a Belichick defense, your mind automatically goes to them being one of the best in NFL. However, this season has been a different story, especially in the secondary. Watson should be able throw all over the Patriots.

I have the Texans favored by -2.37 points at home, so there’s some value on them at +2.5, and would play them down to +1.

PICK: Texans +2.5

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Eagles vs. Browns Odds & Picks: Our Model’s Edge For Sunday

eagles-vs-browns-odds-pick-betting-edge-sunday-november-22-2020

Eagles vs. Browns Odds

Eagles Odds +2.5
Browns Odds -2.5
Over/Under 45.5
PRO Projections Browns -1.3 | O/U: 48.2
Time/Channel  1 p.m. ET, FOX
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Best bets for every Week 11 game

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Profitable data-driven system picks

One of the best strategies to improve your win rate when betting on NFL spreads is by shopping for the best line.

Taking an extra 30 seconds to snag that extra half-point can turn potential losses into pushes and even pushes into wins, improving your against-the-spread win rate over the long haul.

This is even more crucial when an NFL spread is dancing around a key number, which is exactly the case with today’s Eagles vs. Browns Week 11 matchup.

Let’s take a look at the smart way to bet this game, including how to make a solid edge even bigger.

Eagles vs. Browns Pick

Big Money

According to The Action Network’s NFL public betting data, Philly has landed 45% of spread tickets, but that slight minority of bets accounts for 55% of the money (click here for updated betting percentages).

This is a clear signal that bettors with bigger bankrolls are jumping on the road underdog.

Model Projection

Thanks to our NFL model’s Eagles vs. Browns projection, we know that this spread should be closer to a pick’em — Philadelphia +1.3 to be exact.

The difference between the current consensus line of +2.5 and projected line of +1.3 represents a 4.2% edge for the Eagles.

While that’s bettable in its own right, we can improve that even more simply by comparing prices at different sportsbooks.

For example, BetMGM is one of a handful of shops still offering Eagles +3 (the most important line in NFL betting), meaning savvy bettors looking to play Philly should jump on that number right now to maximize their edge.

If model projections are your thing, be sure to sign up for a FREE PRO Trial right now to see all of today’s biggest NFL betting edges.

Top Experts

Our top NFL experts have rushed to back the Eagles as well, with four locking in Philadelphia and the points.

PRO Report Angle: Eagles +3

Unlock all of Sunday’s biggest betting edges!

Lions vs. Panthers

Steelers vs. Jaguars

Jets vs. Chargers

NFL Sharp Picks: How Pros Are Betting Falcons vs. Saints & Cowboys vs. Vikings

nfl-odds-picks-week-11-falcons-vs-saints-cowboys-vs-vikings-sharp-betting

Sharps have taken a liking to Sunday’s NFL Week 11 slate as our PRO Report shows professional bettors taking positions on 17 different bets when you combine both spreads and over/unders.

While each of these indicators is noteworthy for bettors (click here to sign up for a FREE PRO Trial and track sharp action for every Week 11 game), we’re going to focus specifically on the Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints and Dallas Cowboys vs. Minnesota Vikings matchups as ones offering value heading into Sunday’s games.

Let’s examine why wiseguys are so bullish on each of these two Week 11 games.

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Titans vs. Ravens

Patriots vs. Texans

Dolphins vs. Broncos

NFL Pick: Falcons vs. Saints

Sharp Action

It’s not all that surprising to see this spread coming down in reaction to Drew Brees’ injury status (Brees won’t play Sunday), but sharps have continued betting this game all week, even after it was clear that some combination of Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill would be under center.

For example, Sports Insights’ Bet Signals are reporting that pros steamed the Falcons on Thursday afternoon, a key piece of data that tells us why the line dropped to Atlanta +4 as recently as Friday morning before the news that Hill will get the start broke, which kicked the number down another half-point to +3.5.

Big Money

Our NFL Public betting data confirms that sportsbooks are heavy with Atlanta money as 67% of the loot (click here for updated betting percentages) has come in on the Falcons.

With building liability from pro bettors and lopsided money, it’s not at all surprising to see this line pushing to 3.

Top Experts

The Action Network’s analysts are on the road underdog as well with two of our top NFL betting experts playing Atlanta.

PRO Report Pick: Falcons +3.5

NFL Pick: Cowboys vs. Vikings

Sharp Action

Earlier this week, I highlighted why Cowboys +8.5 was a smart bet against the Vikings and sharps are in complete agreement.

Smart money has pushed this number down to Dallas +7, and historical betting data is likely contributing to the move.

PRO Systems

After the first five weeks of an NFL season are in the books, teams with poor against-the-spread (ATS) records are undervalued when playing teams with winning ATS records.

This theory is the backbone of our Team ATS Records PRO Betting System that has produced a 179-114-11 (61%) ATS win rate since 2005.

Dallas comes into Sunday’s game with a 1-8 ATS record while Minnesota is 6-3 against the number, making the Cowboys a match for this system.

Our portfolio of NFL PRO Betting Systems is pegging six Week 11 matchups as smart bets based on historical betting data, and you can see them all by test driving the Action PRO subscription for FREE right now.

Top Experts

Two of our experts are expecting a close game and are backing the Cowboys as well.

PRO Report Pick: Cowboys +7

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Steelers vs. Jaguars Odds & Picks: How To Bet Sunday’s Matchup

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Steelers vs. Jaguars Odds

Steelers Odds
-10 [BET NOW]
Jaguars Odds
+10 [BET NOW]
Over/Under
46 [BET NOW]
Kickoff
1 p.m. ET
TV
CBS
Odds via Parx, which offers new customers a 20% profit boost + $500 risk-free wager on their first bet.

The Steelers remain the NFL’s last undefeated team while the Jaguars have lost eight straight games.

Will this game be as comfortable a Steelers win as most expect? Let’s examine how to find betting value on Sunday’s mismatch.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers offense has started to click on all cylinders. They rank fifth in the NFL with 30.1 points per game, including a league-leading 33.2 points per game at home.

Yet, despite their high weekly scoring totals, the Steelers offense has been less than efficient all season — they’re only 16th in Football Outsiders’ offensive DVOA, including an abysmal 29th in run defensive DVOA.

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They also rank just 31st in adjusted line yards per rushing attempts, barely ahead of the last-place Giants.

However, their offensive line has done a wonderful job of protecting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, ranking first with an impressive 3.5% adjusted sack rate. Roethlisberger has transformed the Steelers passing attack after recovering from offseason elbow surgery. Despite ranking just 27th among all quarterbacks in yards per attempt (6.7), he’s in the midst of one of the most efficient seasons of his 17-year career. Roethlisberger ranks fifth in passing touchdowns (22) and has tallied consecutive QB7 and QB3 fantasy performances.

Their trio of elite wideouts should find success against a Jaguars defense that has allowed the eighth-most receiving yards and ninth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.

In the games in which second-year wideout Diontae Johnson wasn’t injured, he averaged 11.8 targets, seven receptions, 84.4 receiving yards and 0.8 touchdowns.

Meanwhile, rookie Chase Claypool ranks second among all wideouts with nine total touchdowns. He’s seen a huge increase in volume, with 32 targets over the last three games.

Finally, veteran JuJu Smith-Schuster has dominated in the middle of the field, ranking fourth at the position with a 79.6% slot rate. He’s also fourth at the position in red-zone targets (12) and ninth in yards after catch (249.5).

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Rookie quarterback Jake Luton will be making his third appearance, this time against a top-ranked Steelers pass defense that’s averaging 4.0 sacks per game, most in the NFL.

He’s found an early connection with leading wideout D.J. Chark. In Week 9, Chark registered the overall fantasy WR5 performance with 12 targets, seven receptions, 146 receiving yards and a touchdown. Luton will need to connect often with Chark and veteran Keelan Cole, especially given Laviska Shenault’s absence.

The key to the Jacksonville offense has been undrafted free agent James Robinson — the Illinois State product has been complete bell cow running back, ranking first in positional opportunity share (85.1%).

Unfortunately, the Steelers’ rush defense has provided one of the most difficult matchup for opposing running backs this season. The Steelers have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to the position, and a league-best 27 receptions. Robinson’s impact will be limited, putting even more pressure on the rookie Luton.

Jacksonville’s biggest challenge will be on defense. The Jaguars ranks 31st in defense DVOA, including 31st against the pass. They’ve allowed the eighth-most receiving yards and ninth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.

Here are the wide receiver tandem performances allowed by Jacksonville over just the past two weeks:

  • Will Fuller (5/100/1), Brandin Cooks (3/83/1)
  • Davante Adams (8/66/1), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (4/149/1)
  • Keenan Allen (10/125), Jalen Guyton (2/84/1)

Against the Steelers’ talented trio of wide receivers, the Jaguars will need their best effort of the season.

Steelers-Jaguars Pick

This is a tricky situational spot for the Steelers, who have a rematch with AFC North rival Ravens coming up on Thanksgiving Day. Pittsburgh has also historically struggled as a huge road favorite under head coach Mike Tomlin.

As a double-digit road favorite under Tomlin, the Steelers are just 1-10 against the spread, per our Bet Labs data:

The talent disparity is too great between Pittsburgh and Jacksonville for a Steelers loss, but the 10-point spread and big-play passing ability with Luton gives me pause.

I’m teasing the Steelers down to -4 as well as the over down to 40 total points. The Steelers will score, and even if they are up big, the Jaguars should be able to generate enough points to crest this adjusted total.

PICK: Tease Steelers to -4, total to 40

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Eagles vs. Browns Odds & Picks: Bet On Philly To Win This Sunday

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Eagles vs. Browns Odds

Eagles Odds
+2.5 [BET NOW]
Browns Odds
-2.5 [BET NOW]
Over/Under
45.5 [BET NOW]
Kickoff
1 p.m. ET
TV
FOX
Odds via PointsBet, where you can bet $20 on the Eagles or Browns to win $250 if they cover.

It’s been quite a season for the Cleveland Browns. After a letdown in Week 1, the Browns fired off four straight wins and are now 6-3 and tied for second place in the AFC North.

They’re also tied at the top of the AFC wild card standings, in prime position for their first playoff berth in an eternity.

Meanwhile, the Eagles’ season has been quite a different story. They lost to Washington in Week 1 in what felt like an upset at the time, but it turns out the entire NFC East is just bad, including the Eagles. They’re 3-5-1 but still somehow lead the division. They lost to the Giants now, too, and are only even still relevant because of their division.

The Eagles are 1-3 on the road. The Browns are 3-1 at home. This looks like an utter mismatch working in Cleveland’s favor, but zoom out past that big picture, and you’ll see a very different story.

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Philadelphia Eagles

A win over the Giants last week would have left the Eagles comfortably in first place in the NFC East. They were coming off their bye and finally getting healthy before completely crapping the bed.

The Eagles gave up an opening-drive touchdown, then fell behind 14-3 on the first play of the second quarter. The terrible Giants offense scored every quarter and won by double digits, and remember, they haven’t even beaten a single team outside of the NFC East this season.

Philadelphia was undone on third downs, going 0-for-9 in conversion opportunities. It was a serious dud.

The Eagles are kind of just mediocre at mostly everything right now, like they have been pretty much ever since winning the Super Bowl.  They’re not bad, but they’re not great (or even good).

Carson Wentz continues to struggle. The defense has played better than the offense, until they gave up points every quarter to the Giants. The Eagles are best at defending the run, and that certainly matters against the Browns.

The best news out of Philly is the injury report and the motivation factor. The Eagles are finally looking healthy. The offensive line is as healthy as it will get this season now with Jason Peters, Isaac Seumalo and Lane Johnson all playing.

Miles Sanders and Alshon Jeffery are healthy, too, and so are Fletcher Cox and Malik Jackson on the defensive line. The first-half Eagles were not good — but they also weren’t the real Eagles.

Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: Miles Sanders

The motivation for a win will also be urgent. Philadelphia still leads the division, but only by a half-game now, and the opportunities for wins are running out. After this game, the Eagles play the Seahawks, Packers, Saints and Cardinals before closing out with two NFC East games.

In many ways, the Eagles are playing for their season.

Cleveland Browns

The Browns may be 6-3 and tied atop the AFC wild card standings, but they’ve been far from dominant.

The Browns are a tale of two teams thus far. They’ve piled up five wins against teams with two or fewer wins, scoring at least 34 points in all but one of them. But they’re only 1-3 against teams with more than two wins, and they’ve failed to score more than seven points in all three of their losses.

Of course, Philadelphia has more than two wins, but the Eagles aren’t exactly good either. And we don’t really know what the Browns look like against a middling team.

The truth is that the Browns might be a middling team that has boosted their record by piling up those easy wins. Despite their record, they ranks just 21st overall in Football Outsiders’ DVOA. They’re below average on both offense and defense and downright terrible at special teams.

To be fair, the Browns haven’t exactly been healthy all season, either. The strength of the team at its best has been the offensive line and run game, and that’s exactly where the injuries have come. The line is relatively healthy now and Nick Chubb is back, too, but they’ll face a stout test against the one strength of the Eagles: Their run defense.

But Cleveland isn’t fully healthy. The Browns are missing arguably their most important players on both sides: Odell Beckham Jr. is out for the season, remember, so there’s no one to take the top off of a leaky Philly secondary. And, most importantly, Myles Garrett was placed on the COVID-19 list and will miss the game.

Garrett leads Cleveland with 9.5 sacks and has been a strong contender for Defensive Player of the Year. The next best Browns pass-rusher has 2.5 sacks. Garrett has dragged their defense to average. How bad might they be without him?

Eagles-Browns Pick

In the end, what we have here is a game that’s important but really shouldn’t be — neither team is good, and neither looks like a threatening playoff team. This feels like a game that would be the first one to kickoff the playoffs.

Technically we have to care, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be ugly.

The Browns don’t have quite as much urgency as the Eagles yet. The Browns still get to play the Jaguars, Giants and Jets later on, and we know how dominant the Browns are against bad teams. This game matters far more to the Eagles, and it’s fair to wonder whether Wentz and Doug Pederson are playing for their jobs at this point.

We should expect Philly to pull out every stop.

Cleveland looks perhaps slightly the better team, but factor in Philly’s return to health then the trump card of a missing Garrett, and this looks like a coin flip for the Browns (at best).

The line didn’t budge at all when Garrett went out, and that feels like a mistake. Garrett is Cleveland’s most important player, and Wentz is far better when he’s not under pressure and holding the ball too long all game.

This won’t be pretty, and it will likely be close late. It feels too close to call and could come down to a turnover or a late play. In a game like that, I’m typically taking the points. But given what’s at stake for Philly here and how close this should be, I’ll grab the +120 moneyline and let the Eagles finish the job.

PICK: Eagles +120

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Titans vs. Ravens Odds & Picks: How To Bet On Baltimore In A Revenge Spot

nfl-odds-picks-titans-vs-ravens-betting-week-11-2020

Titans vs. Ravens Odds

Titans Odds
+6.5 [BET NOW]
Ravens Odds
-6.5 [BET NOW]
Over/Under
49.5 [BET NOW]
Kickoff
1 p.m. ET
TV
CBS
Odds as of Sunday at 10:30 a.m. ET and via BetMGM, where you can bet $1 on the Titans or Ravens to win $100 if a touchdown is scored.

Lamar Jackson led the Ravens to a dream season in 2019.

With the Jackson crowned the league MVP and 12 straight wins to close the season, the Ravens finished with a 14-2 record, entering their 2019 AFC Divisional Round matchup against the Titans as 10-point favorites. But despite racking up 530 yards of offense, the Ravens saw their Super Bowl dreams die at their home stadium with a 28-12 loss to the Titans as Derrick Henry rushed for 195 yards on 30 carries.

Ten months later, the two teams meet again at M&T Bank Stadium, with both sitting at 6-3 and looking to rebound from Week 10 losses to keep pace in the AFC playoff race.

Can Jackson and the Ravens avenge their devastating playoff loss? Or will Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry and the Titans prove to be their Achilles’ heel?

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Tennessee Titans

The Titans come into this game reeling, losing three out of their last four games. If you’ve been watching them this season, you’re aware that their 31st-ranked special teams unit has been their Achilles’ heel, and it certainly came back to bite them in last Thursday’s loss to the Colts.

The struggles of kicker Stephen Gostkowski have been well documented, as he’s made just 12-of-20 field goal attempts and went 1-for-2 last week, missing a 44-yarder. However, it was Trevor Daniel’s blocked punt that the Colts returned that ultimately cost the Titans that game.

Things don’t get any easier this week as the Titans come into it with injuries on both sides of the ball.

The absence of left guard Rodger Saffold (ankle) and the questionable status of center Ben Jones (knee) are major concerns for an offensive line that is already missing left tackle Taylor Lewan, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 6. When you factor in right tackle Jack Conklin’s departure to the Browns over the offseason, the Titans will be without three — possibly four — players from the offensive line that helped them win last season’s playoff game against the Ravens.

Tennessee’s offense has been trending downward.

We’ve seen the Titans go from first in passing success rate, fourth in rushing success rate and first in total success rate through the first six weeks to 26th in passing success rate, 21st in rushing success rate and 26th overall over the past four weeks (per Sharp Football Stats). They also went from scoring 32.8 points per game and averaging 423.2 yards of offense to only 19.5 points per game with 313.75 average yards while producing fewer than 300 total yards in three of their last four games.

texans-vs-titans-odds-pick-spread-betting-week-6-2020
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images. Pictured: Ryan Tannehill.

Although they’ve faced top-five defenses in the Steelers and Bears, the Titans still struggled offensively against lesser units, scoring just 20 points against the 30th-ranked Bengals defense.

One of their biggest issues over the past four weeks has been their third-ranked run/pass ratio on first down (62%/38%) despite having just a 43% success rate. With Tannehill facing second- and third-and-long frequently, we’ve seen this offense decline after its early-season success. Unfortunately, the Titans will also be without wide receiver Adam Humphries, who hasn’t played since suffering a concussion in Week 8.

The Titans are just as banged-up on defense as they are on offense.

Recent free-agent addition and linebacker Jadeveon Clowney (knee) has been placed on Injured Reserve while cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (knee) and defensive lineman Larrell Murchison (ribs) have been ruled out.

With cornerback Kareem Orr (groin) also questionable for Sunday, this doesn’t bode well for a defense that’s 24th in defensive efficiency, 25th against the pass and 19th against the run while allowing 54% of pass plays to be successful and 55% of runs to be successful (27th and 30th, respectively).

The Titans also tied for 31st in sacks (11) and 29th in pressure rate (17.9%), which means they’ll likely struggle to get to Jackson.

If the Titans end up winning this game, it’ll be because of their offense, which hasn’t been the same over the past four weeks.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens haven’t been much better.

They come into this game losing two out of the last three games, with their lone win coming on the road in a game in which we saw the Ravens struggle until a Colts fumble and subsequent 65-yard return for a touchdown completely changed the flow of the game.

Nevertheless, much of the talk heading into this matchup is whether opposing defensive coordinators have caught up with Jackson. I’m not so sure that’s the case, however.

Although the Ravens are just 24th in offensive efficiency, 22nd against the pass and 11th against the run, their issues mirror the Titans’ issues — the Ravens too have had issues on the offensive line. Future Hall of Fame right guard Marshal Yanda retired last offseason and they lost All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley for the rest of the season with a broken ankle.

They’ve also put Jackson behind the eight ball with their game script as they have the third-highest run/pass ratio but have just a 47% success rate. The Ravens are just 25th in early down success rate at 42.8%, which means they’ve faced a ton of unfavorable third-and-long situations.

Despite that, Jackson and the Ravens are scoring 27.1 points per game, good for 12th in the NFL. Even with a four-turnover performance against the second-ranked Steelers in Week 8, the Ravens scored 24 points and put up 457 total yards of offense and came within an incomplete pass to Willie Snead away from winning.

nfl-odds-picks-ravens-vs-colts-betting-week-9-2020
Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Lamar Jackson

The Ravens have done a good job at beating up on bad defenses, particularly those with poor passing defenses:

  • Week 1 vs. Browns: 38 points (20th defensive passing efficiency)
  • Week 2 at Texans: 33 points (28th defensive passing efficiency)
  • Week 5 vs. Bengals: 27 points (29th defensive passing efficiency)*
  • Week 6 at Eagles:  31 points (21st defensive passing efficiency)

*impacted by rain

After last week’s monsoon-aided loss to the Patriots, this shapes to be a bounce-back spot for Jackson and the Ravens offense. Mark Ingram is back in the lineup, which should provide a boost to their run game, too.

The Ravens defensive is giving up just 18.3 points per game, first among all NFL teams. They’re also sixth in defensive efficiency, 10th against the pass and third against the run. However, this week they may have problems stopping Henry from having a repeat of his 30-carry, 195-yard performance in last year’s playoff meeting, as they could be missing defensive linemen Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams, who are both listed as doubtful.

There is some good news on the injury front, as their best run defender in L.J. Fort is set to play, as is cornerback Jimmy Smith and safety Anthony Levine.

Nevertheless, it won’t be easy for this Ravens defense this weekend.

Titans-Ravens Pick

The Ravens are a schoolyard bully.

Outside of last week’s loss to Bill Belichick’s Patriots and last season’s playoff loss to the Titans, the Ravens typically beat the teams they’re supposed to beat. And even with a 6-3 record, the Titans are a team that the Ravens are supposed to beat: The Titans have a point differential of only +14, which measures out to fewer than three points per win. As a result, their Pythagorean expectation tells us that the Titans should have won about five games while losing four.

At 6-3, the Titans have clearly over-performed their point differential. And teams that over-perform their point differential are likely to see regression.

If there’s a magic elixir for a Ravens offense, it’s the Titans 24th-ranked defense that is simply a step down in class compared to recent weeks.

My projections make this game closer to 7, however, I’m not willing to lay nearly a touchdown with a struggling Ravens run defense without Campbell and Williams against a run-heavy offense. That said, I do like the Ravens to avenge their playoff loss, so this is an ideal spot for a 6-point teaser.

Tease the Ravens down and pair them with the Eagles.

PICK: Tease Ravens

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NFL Picks Against the Spread: Why We Like the Eagles, Dolphins & Packers To Cover

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NFL Picks

Click on a pick to skip ahead.
Eagles +2.5 at Browns
Dolphins -3.5 at Broncos
Packers +2 at Colts
Rams-Buccaneers Under 48.5

Eagles +2.5 at Browns

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday | More Odds

I’m sure you read the reports before last week’s matchup against Giants: The Philadelphia Eagles are as healthy as they’ve been all season.

Coming off a bye, the Eagles welcomed back running back Miles Sanders, wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey, right tackle Lane Jackson, left guard Isaac Seumalo and left tackle Jason Peters. As a result, they took professional money all week as sharp money pushed the line up from -3 to the closing line of -5.

The results weren’t very favorable, however: They lost 27-17 outright on the road with Carson Wentz completing just 21-of-37 passes for 208 yards. The offense was downright abysmal as they went just 0-for-9 on third down and 1-for-3 on fourth down. Wentz has been dreadful this season with a league-high 12 interceptions, ranking 31st in quarterback rating (71.1) and 28th in ESPN’s Total QBR (47.6).

The good news is that the Eagles now travel to Cleveland to play the Browns, who are actually a step down in class defensively and will be missing the NFL’s sack leader in Myles Garrett (9.5), who tested positive for COVID-19.

The Browns are just 26th in defensive success rate (49.1%), 19th in expected points added, 19th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA while playing the second-worst schedule of opposing offenses. Cleveland is also 20th in points allowed at 27.2 points per game despite playing in two consecutive games aided by heavy rain and winds that restricted offensive output. That appears to be the case this week as well, with 10 mph winds and a 71% chance of precipitation forecasted.

In a game that could be decided on the ground, the Browns are just 25th in defensive rushing success rate (per Sharp Football Stats), so we should expect a solid game from Sanders — with another week under his belt and the offensive line getting healthy, this feels like a good spot for the Eagles offense.

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Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Miles Sanders, Dallas Goedert

Zach Ertz will be absent for this game, but look for Dallas Goedert to have a big game against a Browns defense that’s giving up a 59% success rate to opposing tight ends (24th in the NFL).

Even with the favorable offensive matchup, defense is where the Eagles could win this matchup.

They’re 11th in defensive efficiency, allowing only a 46% success rate on runs (ninth) and a 45% success rate against the pass (10th). The Browns may have Garrett, but the Eagles’ front line of Brandon Graham, Malik Jackson and Fletcher Cox is just as dangerous — Jim Schwartz’s defense is third in sacks and sixth in pressure rate. This unit’s ability to generate pressure without blitzing will be huge against Baker Mayfield, who has struggled against pressure throughout his career.

The Browns want to run the ball with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, however this provides a favorable matchup and game script for an Eagles defense that’s 10th in rushing efficiency — the Eagles allowed 152 yards on 36 carries in last week’s loss, but 64 came on nine rushes from Daniel Jones, who thrived in the read option, which is not something we’ve seen from Mayfield this season.

Overall, this is a good buy-low spot for an Eagles team that came out flat off the bye against a divisional opponent. They’ve been competitive against better teams in the Steelers and Ravens, and if Wentz doesn’t turn the ball over, we could see a bounce back performance. They could even have a chance to win this game outright.

My projections make this game a pick’em, and while I did take the Eagles at +3.5 earlier in the week, there’s still value on them at +2.5 and on the moneyline at +115 (shop real-time lines here).

I would also recommend adding the Eagles in 6-point teasers along with the Packers — with the weather concerns in Cleveland, this total is likely to come down, making the +8.5 more valuable.

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Dolphins -3.5 at Broncos

Kickoff: 4:05 p.m. ET on Sunday | More Odds

With the Dolphins winning three straight games since Tua Tagovailoa became the starting quarterback, it feels like we’re buying in at the highest point — something you never want to do in sports betting.

But is that what we’re actually doing?

The Dolphins are a top tier defense, allowing only 20.2 points per game while generating the fourth-most takeaways with 15. They’ve punished Jimmy Garoppolo, Joe Flacco and Jared Goff — they even forced Kyler Murray and Justin Herbert into mistakes. Enter Drew Lock, who has thrown eight interceptions to just six touchdowns passes. And while turnovers may not be predictive, some quarterbacks just can’t stop turning the ball over, and Lock is one of them.

Lock is also dead last in completion percentage (55%), 32nd in QBR (36.3) and 31st in DVOA. By all metrics, this is not the quarterback of the future in Denver, and it’s no coincidence that the Broncos have found themselves down at the half in each of the past four games.

broncos-vs-steelers-odds-pick-betting-week-2-2020
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images. Pictured: Drew Lock

In some ways, Denver’s points spreads are being artificially suppressed by Lock’s garbage time output.

This is more of a fade of the Broncos, but I would still feel comfortable laying the points with Brian Flores and the Dolphins and I would bet them up to -4.

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Packers +2 at Colts

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday | More Odds

Nearly every advanced defensive metric tells us that the Colts have a top tier unit: They’re fourth in defensive efficiency as well as fourth against the pass and the run. They’re also fifth in expected points added per play, fifth in total success rate and seventh in early down success rate (per Sharp Football Stats).

This stingy Indianapolis defense is allowing a league-best 290.4 total yards and only 19.7 points per game, fourth behind Baltimore, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh.

On the surface, it’s impressive. But upon digging into the schedule, it becomes immediately clear that the Colts haven’t played anyone. They’ve played just one quarterback within the top 10 of QBR in Ryan Tannehill, and it took a disastrous performance from a Titans special teams unit that handed the Colts the win on a silver platter.

The Colts have yet to prove they can beat good teams in 2020.

Despite starting the season 6-3, their six victories have come against teams that have a combined record of 21-33 with a point differential of -246: The Vikings, Jets, Bears, Bengals, Lions and Titans. Even removing the lowly Jets, from the equation, this still doesn’t look good.

Now the Colts face Aaron Rodgers, who is first in QBR (84.7) and quarterback rating (116.4), sixth in passing yards, as well as second in touchdown passes (26) and Football Outsiders’ DVOA while leading a second-ranked Packers offense. His performance truly demonstrates why he has the third-best odds to win MVP.

Nevertheless, this game comes down to whether you think Old Man Rivers and the Colts can keep up offensively.

I don’t.

The Packers have been successful as underdogs in the Matt LaFleur era, going 5-1 straight up and against the spread over the past two seasons. Their only loss came at the hands of the eventual NFC champion 49ers, who had the Packers’ number last season.

I see no reason to buck the trend. I like the Packers at +2 or on the moneyline as I project this game as a pick’em.

I’d also recommend adding the Packers to 6-point teasers. Here are my picks for Week 11 teaser legs:

  • Eagles +2.5 up to +8.5
  • Packers +1.5 up to +7.5
  • Kansas City Chiefs -7.5 down to 1.5
  • Ravens -6 down to -1

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Rams-Buccaneers Under 48.5

Kickoff: 8:15 p.m. ET on Monday | More Odds

We’ve run out of superlatives to describe first-year defensive coordinator Brandon Staley. Sean McVay was hailed as an offensive genius when he took over the Rams’ head coaching position in 2017, and it appears he’s found his equal on the defensive side of the ball.

The Rams are second in points allowed, holding teams 18.7 points per game. They’re first in expected points added per play, fourth in defensive success rate (41.4%) and they’ve held five out of eight opposing quarterbacks to sub-70 passer ratings. They aren’t just doing it against inferior competition, either — they held Russell Wilson and a Seahawks offense that’s averaging a league-high 31.8 points per game to only 16 points last week.

In the greatest scoring era in NFL history, the Rams’ second-half defense has reached historical levels, allowing just 36 points through nine games with only two second-half touchdowns (both against the Bills). The Rams are only allowing four second-half points per game, too, and have given up only three field goals over the second half of their past six games.

On the other side of the ball, we see quite possibly the biggest mismatch of the week: Jared Goff vs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ first-ranked defense.

When handicapping games featuring Goff, there’s are a couple key questions to answer:

  1. Is he on the road?
  2. Will he face pressure?

The answer to both of those questions this week is yes.

Jared Goff
Getty Images. Pictured: Jared Goff

Goff’s home/road splits may be one of the worst in the NFL as he sees his completion percentage drop by three points and sharp declines in passer rating and yards per game as well as an increase in turnovers.

Todd Bowles’ defense specializes in getting to the quarterback and the Buccaneers are second in both sacks (110) and pressure rate (27.4%). With the absence of left tackle Andrew Whitworth, we can expect this Rams offensive line to struggle, which should subsequently suppress their offensive output. With the Rams having the ninth-highest run/pass ratio (46%/54%), I don’t expect a high-scoring game.

From a numbers perspective this game doesn’t have a substantial edge, though it should still be low-scoring, so take the first-half under down to 24 and full-game under down to 48.

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Sunday NFL Picks: 4 Underdogs & An Under To Bet For Week 11

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Sunday NFL Picks

Click on a pick to skip to that analysis.
PICK
BET NOW
Titans +6.5 at Ravens
BetMGM
Eagles +3.5 at Browns
PointsBet
Bengals +1.5 at Washington
DraftKings
Falcons +3.5 at Saints
BetMGM
Dolphins -3.5 at Broncos
FanDuel
Chiefs-Raiders Under 57
PointsBet

Titans +6.5 at Ravens

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | More Odds

Both of these teams are banged up, so I don’t think the line should be lopsided in the Ravens’ favor this much.

Baltimore will be without key defensive lineman Calais Campbell (calf, doubtful) and Brandon Williams (knee, doubtful), which hurts them in the run game against Derrick Henry. This should allow Tennessee to mitigate its offensive injuries and stay in reasonable down-and-distance, which should ultimately give their second-ranked red zone offense opportunities to exploit a Ravens red zone defense that ranks last in the NFL with a 76.2% conversion rate allowed.

Lamar Jackson is 11-5 ATS on the road but tends to be overvalued at home, where the Ravens have posted an ATS record of 6-9 in his starts.

Bet down to: Titans +6

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Eagles +3.5 at Browns

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | More Odds

The Browns are 6-3 while the Eagles are 3-5-1, yet the Eagles’ point differential of -29 is only one point worse than Cleveland’s -28 mark.

The Eagles match up well here, as their 25.3% pressure rate is sixth-best, while Baker Mayfield’s 30.8 rating under pressure ranks 38th of 39 qualifiers, according to Pro Football Focus.

The Eagles are also capable of containing the Browns on the ground. The Eagles rank second in yards per carry allowed to running backs (3.37), and the defensive line ranks fourth in Adjusted Line Yards allowed (3.55).

Carson Wentz has been awful this season, but I don’t trust him any less than Mayfield in this matchup, as the Browns defense will be without Myles Garrett (reserve/COVID-19) and ranks 20th in points allowed per game (27.1) and 18th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA despite benefiting from two straight “wind” games at home in which they gave up a combined 23 points.

Bet down to: Eagles +3

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Bengals +1.5 at Washington

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | More Odds

This is undoubtedly a matchup between two bad teams — the Bengals enter Week 11 with a 2-6-1 record while the Football Team clocks in at 2-7 —
but I think Cincinnati is undervalued compared to each team’s strength of schedule.

Over the past five weeks, Washington has lost twice to the 3-7 Giants and also were defeated by the 4-5 Lions. The Football Team’s last two games saw them get outscored 20-3 in the first half by the Giants and 24-3 in the first half by Detorit, a combined 47-6 margin.

Meanwhile, five of the Bengals’ six losses have come at the hands of 8-0 Pittsburgh, 6-3 Baltimore, 6-3 Indianapolis and 6-3 Cleveland (twice) with the sixth coming after a missed chip-shot field goal against a 2-8 Chargers team that is much better than their record.

The Bengals offense will benefit from getting back its two top tackles, Bobby Hart and Jonah Williams, who both practiced in full and don’t carry an injury designation.

This also fits one of our Bet Labs systems, which has produced a 59% win rate since 2003:

Bet down to: Bengals PK

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Falcons +3.5 at Saints

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | More Odds

The Falcons are playing a lot better under interim coach Raheem Morris, coming a Todd Gurley TD away from a perfect 4-0 record. (Yes, you read that right: If Gurley would have stopped short of the end zone against the Lions, Atlanta could have run out the clock).

The improvement has been particularly notable on defense, where Atlanta is allowing 22.5 points per game under Morris after allowing 32.2 under Dan Quinn.

With the inexperienced Taysom Hill starting at quarterback and the turnover-prone Jameis Winston behind him, New Orleans’ ability to outscore Atlanta shouldn’t be taken for granted, especially since Atlanta is getting dangerous wide receiver Calvin Ridley back to take pressure off of Julio Jones while the Saints’ top cornerback, Marshon Lattimore (abdomen, questionable), is not 100%.

The Saints have been mostly excellent in head coach Sean Payton’s tenure, which has allowed sportsbooks to prey on bettors overconfident in home-field advantage by inflating their lines at home.

Road underdogs at New Orleans are 3-2 ATS this season and have finished with a winning record ATS in five of the past six seasons for an overall record of 26-19-1 (57.8%) since 2014 (30-19-1; 61.2% including postseason).

Bet down to: Falcons +3

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Dolphins -3.5 at Broncos

Kickoff: 4:05 p.m. ET | More Odds

This isn’t about Tua Tagovailoa, it’s about Miami’s decisive edge in the other two facets. The Dolphins rank 13th in defensive DVOA while the Broncos are dead last on offense, and Miami ranks first on special teams while Denver is 26th.

This should allow Tagovailoa to continue to game manage the offense effectively despite facing a Broncos defense that has struggled of late but still ranks 11th in DVOA.

Brian Flores is probably the NFL’s most underrated coach. Flores inherited an undermanned team that was routinely a huge underdog early in his career, but when the Dolphins are a favorite or an underdog by under 11 points, he is 12-5 ATS, including a perfect 2-0 record as a favorite.

I expect Flores to remain perfect as a favorite.

Bet up to: Dolphins -4

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Chiefs-Raiders Under 57

Kickoff: 8:20 p.m. ET | More Odds

Andy Reid’s bye week proficiency and the revenge narrative puts the trends in favor of the Chiefs on the spread, but picking a team to win by more than 8 on the road after it lost to the same team by 8 at home is dicey.

I see more value on the total. The over/under closed at 54.5 in the first matchup, but currently sits 2 points higher at most sportsbooks, and I’m not sure that is justified.

The Raiders look to have dodged a bullet on defense, with only defensive lineman Clelin Ferrell and linebacker Cory Littleton remaining in the COVID-19 list after over half-dozen members of the defense were placed on the list earlier in the week.

After an overly pass-heavy game plan did them in the first time around and with a banged up receiving corps, the Chiefs are likely to employ a more run-heavy game plan this time around. When they do throw, the Raiders will likely continue to sit back in coverage on defense, which has proven to be more successful than the alternative this season against Mahomes.

On the other side of the ball, the Raiders are a good bet to go run-heavy as well, and they’re unlikely to pop off explosive plays at anywhere near the same rate that they did in the first meeting.

Divisional matchups tend to be tighter the second time around, often resulting in lower-scoring games. According to our Bet Labs data, Divisional over/unders of 45 or more from November on have gone under at a 59.3% clip by an average of 2.42 points per game.

Bet down to: Under 55.5

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NFL Picks For Week 11: Why the Falcons-Saints Spread & Packers-Colts Total Are Among Biggest Edges

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NFL Picks For Week 11

Pick
Bet Now
Falcons +4 at Saints
PointsBet
Packers-Colts Under 51.5
BetMGM

Falcons +4 at Saints

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | More Game Info

Last season, the Saints went 6-0 when Drew Brees was out of the lineup due to a thumb injury. The main reason they were able to do so was backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s ability to run a similar offense. With Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill as the replacement options this time around, head coach Sean Payton will have to alter his offense dramatically for either QB.

For Week 11, Payton will go with Hill under center. On a per-play basis, Hill has been one of the most valuable quarterbacks in the league. He ranks 25th in expected points added (8.7) despite attempting only five passes this season.

Hill’s main asset is his rushing ability, so I expect Payton to put together a creative game plan to build around that. However, it’s going to be tougher to get the same per-play value out of Hill if opposing defenses can put all of their attention on him.

Taysom Hill
Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Taysom Hill

I had this line projected at Saints -5 if Brees were healthy. And I already liked the Falcons heading into this game, as they have played much better than their 3-6 record. We could see a similar situation to last season when they were 1-7 entering their bye week and went 6-2 in the second half of the season.

The Falcons have averaged 34:21 game time (leading), which ranks sixth on the season, and would indicate they have played more like a team that would be 6-3.

Hill presents a wide range of outcomes. Typically that would help a team if they were an underdog, but it hurts them if they’re a favorite. I have the Saints as only 3-point favorites for this matchup, as a result, and I like the idea of taking the points here.

It’s worth noting that Calvin Ridley and Cam Jordan are both questionable. If Ridley is active and Jordan is out, I would move the line down to Saints -2.5.

It’s ideal to lock this in at +3.5 or +4 while you can (shop real-time lines here).

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Packers-Colts Under 51.5

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET | More Game Info

The 7-2 Packers take on the 6-3 Colts in what should be a playoff-like atmosphere with both teams giving maximum effort. It’s a scenario that could lower this matchup’s scoring potential, especially considering it’s projected to be the fourth-slowest game of the week.

The Colts’ defense ranks fourth in Football Outsiders’ DVOA against both the run and the pass. They should be able to slow down the Packers just enough to prevent a high-scoring game. Davante Adams is probable with an ankle injury, but if he’s playing at less than 100% it’ll help lower the scoring environment that much more.

On the other side of the ball, the Colts offense will likely take advantage of the Packers’ run-funnel defense (16th vs. pass and 22nd vs. run in DVOA).

The Colts’ running game has struggled this season, ranking 29th in success rate. I expect them to get going here and use their running game as a way to eat up the clock and keep Aaron Rodgers off the field.

The potential return of Jaire Alexander will help slow down the Colts passing offense that is starting to heat up with both T.Y. Hilton and Michael Pittman back in the lineup.

I have this matchup projected at 49.5. Both 50 and 51 are key numbers for a total, so I like locking this in before the market (correctly) bets this number down.

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NFL Picks & Predictions: The 6 Spreads & Totals To Bet On Sunday

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NFL Picks & Predictions

Click on a pick to skip ahead.
Eagles +3 at Browns
1 p.m. ET
Ravens -6 vs. Titans
1 p.m. ET
Steelers-Jaguars Over 46
1 p.m. ET
Dolphins -3.5 at Broncos
4:05 p.m. ET
Packers +2 at Colts
4:25 p.m. ET
Packers-Colts Under 51.5
4:25 p.m. ET

Eagles +3 at Browns

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | More Odds

Stuckey: This is a very good matchup for the Eagles.

Baker Mayfield is easy to figure out. If you can get pressure on him, he struggles. Of the 35 quarterbacks with at least 100 dropbacks this season, only Drew Lock has a lower quarterback rating than Mayfield’s 30.8 mark. He’s thrown one touchdown and four interceptions when under pressure and has completed only 41% of his passes.

And the Eagles can get pressure — they rank fifth overall in Football Outsiders’ adjusted sack rate.

The strong aspect of the Browns’ offensive attack is a run game that ranks third in yards per attempt. They feature two of the best running backs in the business in Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb, who run behind a now-stellar offensive line.

But can the Eagles match up? They certainly can. They’ve been hurt a bit by wide receiver and quarterback runs (see: Daniel Jones and Lamar Jackson), but have been the second-best defense against running backs.

On the other side of the ball, the Browns won’t have Myles Garrett, who has made a huge game-swinging play in each of their six wins. His absence will be a massive loss. Meanwhile, the Eagles — who are as healthy as they’ve been all season — can exploit the Browns’ linebackers and safeties. Plus, some of their defensive numbers are inflated after two straight games in insanely windy conditions.

Over the past two seasons, the Eagles always seem to win these road games with their backs against the wall. Give me the Birds.

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Ravens -6 vs. Titans

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | More Odds

Mike Randle: The Ravens’ enter this matchup having lost two of their last three games, including a surprising 23-17 loss at New England on Sunday Night Football last week.

They now return home in a revenge spot against a Tennesse team that pulled out the 28-12 upset win over them in the 2019 AFC Divisional Round.

The Titans’ defense has been among the NFL’s worst all season. They’ve allowed the fifth-most schedule-adjusted fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, including a head-scratching 308 passing yards at home to Philip Rivers in Week 10. Their defensive line has generated only a 3.7% sack rate (second-worst in the league) and now Jadeveon Clowney (knee) has been placed on Injured Reserve.

The Ravens will have the full trio of running backs available, with Mark Ingram now fully recovered from his high-ankle sprain. Ingram returned last week, but was limited in the poor weather conditions. Along with J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, Baltimore should find success against a Tennessee defense that’s allowed the sixth-most fantasy points and 13 combined touchdowns to running backs.

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Scott Taetsch/Getty Images. Pictured: Mark Ingram

While the sample size is small, the Ravens have performed well in these spots under head coach John Harbaugh. In eight games in which the Ravens have returned home off a loss as up to a 7-point favorite, they’ve covered 71.4% of the time — and backing them in these situations would have yielded a 32.5% return on investment according to our Bet Labs database.

The Titans will need to rely heavily on Derrick Henry to generate offense, as the Ravens’ pass defense is among the NFL’s elite. They’ve allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers and the fourth-fewest receiving yards. Drawing Jimmy Smith, A.J. Brown has another difficult matchup after an uninspiring performance (one reception for 21 yards) last week.

I’m betting on the revenge game narrative for a comfortable Ravens win. Henry will likely have a big rushing performance against a Baltimore run defense without both defensive tackle Brandon Williams and defensive end Calais Campbell. However, I expect Baltimore to score at will against Tennessee, forcing the Titans away from their preferred ball control offense.

As of Saturday, 62% of bets but only 48% of the money are on the Titans (find real-time public betting data here), indicating sharps are on the Ravens. I would bet this line up to Baltimore -6.5.

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Steelers-Jaguars Over 46

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | More Odds

Brad Cunningham: The Jaguars are allowing a league-high 8.6 yards per pass attempt and will be facing arguably the most talented receiving corps they’ve seen all season long. Ben Roethlisberger has found the fountain of youth, throwing for 22 touchdowns to only four interceptions this season, and should be able to throw all over a Jaguars secondary that ranks 29th in defensive passing success and 27th in explosive passing allowed per Sharp Football Stats.

On the other side, the Jaguars have run the ball with a lot of success, averaging 4.5 yards per carry — and they’ll need to establish the run against the NFL’s best defense. Jake Luton has been fine through his first two starts, averaging 6.6 yards per attempt. But the Steelers are prone is giving up big plays in the passing game, averaging an explosive pass on 10% of passes, which ranks 25th in the NFL.

If the Jaguars are going to stay in this game, they’ll have to take shots down the field, which should happen considering they’re 10-point underdogs and have nothing to lose with their 1-8 record.

Ben Roethlisberger
Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Ben Roethlisberger

This total is way too low given how bad the Jaguars defense is and how prone the Steelers are to giving up the big play. I have it projected around 54 points, so there’s plenty of value on the over at 46.

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Dolphins -3.5 at Broncos

Kickoff: 4:05 p.m. ET | More Odds

Brandon Anderson: A month ago, this looked like an irrelevant game between two teams going nowhere. That’s still true about the Broncos, but the Dolphins are relevant (and then some) now.

The Dolphins were supposed to be a season or two away — and they definitely looked the part after a 1–3 start. Then dominant wins over the banged-up 49ers and Jets heading into the bye week hardly seemed significant, and no one even raised much of an eyebrow when Tua Tagovailoa was inserted into the starting lineup. But the Fins still haven’t lost since, winning five straight to get right into the thick of the AFC playoff race.

Miami is winning with defense and special teams, more than anything else.

Brian Flores is looking a bit like his old mentor Bill Belichick, with the Dolphins confusing and stymieing opponents. All Tua has to do is take care of the ball and hit an open receiver occasionally — and they’re open, because Miami is scheming up that end of things, too.

The Dolphins probably aren’t quite as good as their five-win streak looks on paper, and against a more dangerous opponent, we would exercise some caution. Luckily, this is only the Broncos.

Denver started 1–3 like Miami, but after a decent middle month, the Broncos have fallen back off the map and are coming off their worst performance of the season, a 37–12 drubbing at the hands of the Raiders.

Denver is scoring just 20.7 points per game, good for bottom five in the NFL. The Broncos are now dead last in Football Outsiders’ offensive DVOA — yes, dead last, even after the New York Jets. The same New York Jets that Miami shut out 24–0 one month ago.

Drew Lock ain’t it for Denver. When you throw four interceptions against a shoddy Raiders defense, what will you do against a real scheme with pressure and blitzes and confusing coverages? Do you know who Denver’s backup quarterback is right now? Because we might be seeing him in the second half if Lock can’t get things right.

I liked this even more earlier in the week at -2.5 — on the right side of that key number — but I’m not afraid. Grab the Dolphins at -3.5, and feel free to play another point as needed. Miami is not going anywhere.

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Packers +2 at Colts

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET | More Odds

Raheem Palmer: Nearly every advanced defensive metric tells us that the Colts have a top tier unit: They’re fourth in defensive efficiency as well as fourth against the pass and the run. They’re also fifth in expected points added per play, fifth in total success rate and seventh in early down success rate (per Sharp Football Stats).

This stingy Indianapolis defense is allowing a league-best 290.4 total yards and only 19.7 points per game, fourth behind Baltimore, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh.

On the surface, it’s impressive. But upon digging into the schedule, it becomes immediately clear that the Colts haven’t played anyone. They’ve played just one quarterback within the top 10 of ESPN’s Total QBR in Ryan Tannehill, and it took a disastrous performance from a Titans special teams unit that handed the Colts the win on a silver platter.

The Colts have yet to prove they can beat good teams in 2020.

Despite starting the season 6-3, their six victories have come against teams that have a combined record of 21-33 with a point differential of -246: The Vikings, Jets, Bears, Bengals, Lions and Titans. Even removing the lowly Jets, from the equation, this still doesn’t look good.

Now the Colts face Aaron Rodgers, who is first in QBR (84.7) and quarterback rating (116.4), sixth in passing yards, as well as second in touchdown passes (26) and DVOA while leading a second-ranked Packers offense. His performance truly demonstrates why he has the third-best odds to win MVP.

Nevertheless, this game comes down to whether you think Old Man Rivers and the Colts can keep up offensively.

I don’t.

The Packers have been successful as underdogs in the Matt LaFleur era, going 5-1 straight up and against the spread over the past two seasons. Their only loss came at the hands of the eventual NFC champion 49ers, who had the Packers’ number last season.

I see no reason to buck the trend. I like the Packers at +2 or on the moneyline as I project this game as a pick’em. I’d also recommend adding the Packers to 6-point teasers along with the Eagles.

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Packers-Colts Under 51.5

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET | More Odds

Sean Koerner: The 7-2 Packers take on the 6-3 Colts in what should be a playoff-like atmosphere with both teams giving maximum effort. It’s a scenario that could lower this matchup’s scoring potential, especially considering it’s projected to be the fourth-slowest game of the week.

The Colts’ defense ranks fourth in DVOA against both the run and the pass. They should be able to slow down the Packers just enough to prevent a high-scoring game. Davante Adams is probable with an ankle injury, but if he’s playing at less than 100% it’ll help lower the scoring environment that much more.

On the other side of the ball, the Colts offense will likely take advantage of the Packers’ run-funnel defense (16th vs. pass and 22nd vs. run in DVOA).

The Colts’ running game has struggled this season, ranking 29th in success rate. I expect them to get going here and use their running game as a way to eat up the clock and keep Aaron Rodgers off the field.

The potential return of Jaire Alexander will help slow down the Colts passing offense that is starting to heat up with both T.Y. Hilton and Michael Pittman back in the lineup.

I have this matchup projected at 49.5. Both 50 and 51 are key numbers for a total, so I like locking this in before the market (correctly) bets this number down.

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Make Your Fantasy Start/Sit Decisions with Updated Rankings & Tiers For Week 11

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To help answer your start/sit questions for Week 11, I’ve outlined the latest version of my fantasy football rankings into tiers so you can better visualize the drop-off in expected production at each position.

Note that these are as of Saturday evening and final inactives could still impact certain players, so be sure to check my updated rankings before making your final decisions.

Note: Players who played on Thursday are denoted with an asterisk.

Fantasy Rankings & Tiers

Jump To
QB | RB | WR | TE | K | DEF

QUARTERBACKS

Tier 1

Kyler Murray (@ SEA)*

Tier 2

Patrick Mahomes (@ LV)
Russell Wilson (vs. ARI)*

Tier 3

Lamar Jackson (vs. TEN)

Tier 4

Justin Herbert (vs. NYJ)
Deshaun Watson (vs. NE)

Tier 5

Ben Roethlisberger (@ JAX)

Tier 6

Cam Newton (@ HOU)
Aaron Rodgers (@ IND)
Tom Brady (vs. LAR)

Tier 7

Matt Ryan (@ NO)
Joe Burrow (@ WAS)

Tier 8

Carson Wentz (@ CLE)
Derek Carr (vs. KC)
Tua Tagovailoa (@ DEN)
Taysom Hill (vs. ATL)

Tier 9

Philip Rivers (vs. GB)
Alex Smith (vs. CIN)
Matthew Stafford (@ CAR)

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Tier 10

Jared Goff (@ TB)
Kirk Cousins (vs. DAL)
Andy Dalton (@ MIN)

Tier 11

Baker Mayfield (vs. PHI)
Drew Lock (vs. MIA)
Ryan Tannehill (@ BAL)

Tier 12

P.J. Walker (vs. DET)
Joe Flacco (@ LAC)
Jake Luton (vs. PIT)

Tier 13

Not likely to start, but worth a stash in deeper 2QB/Superflex

Will Grier (vs. DET)
Jameis Winston (vs. ATL)

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RUNNING BACKS

Tier 1

Dalvin Cook (vs. DAL)

Tier 2

Alvin Kamara (vs. ATL)

Tier 3

Josh Jacobs (vs. KC)
Aaron Jones (@ IND)
Derrick Henry (@ BAL)

Aaron Jones
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images. Pictured: Aaron Jones

Tier 4

Miles Sanders (@ CLE)
James Robinson (vs. PIT)
Mike Davis (vs. DET)
James Conner (@ JAX)
Nick Chubb (vs. PHI)

Tier 5

Ezekiel Elliott (@ MIN)
Kalen Ballage (vs. NYJ)
Duke Johnson Jr. (vs. NE)
Antonio Gibson (vs. CIN)
Giovani Bernard (@ WAS)
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (@ LV)
Kareem Hunt (vs. PHI)

Tier 6

Salvon Ahmed (@ DEN)
Todd Gurley (@ NO)
Carlos Hyde (vs. ARI)*
Ronald Jones II (vs. LAR)

Tier 7

Adrian Peterson (@ CAR)
J.D. McKissic (vs. CIN)
Melvin Gordon (vs. MIA)
Damien Harris (@ HOU)
Leonard Fournette (vs. LAR)
Nyheim Hines (vs. GB)
La’Mical Perine (@ LAC)
Chase Edmonds (@ SEA)*

Tier 8

Kenyan Drake (@ SEA)*
Kerryon Johnson (@ CAR)
Jamaal Williams (@ IND)
Jonathan Taylor (vs. GB)
J.K. Dobbins (vs. TEN)
Rex Burkhead (@ HOU)
Darrell Henderson (@ TB)
Jordan Wilkins (vs. GB)
Latavius Murray (vs. ATL)
Joshua Kelley (vs. NYJ)

Tier 9

Le’Veon Bell (@ LV)
Malcolm Brown (@ TB)
Gus Edwards (vs. TEN)
Mark Ingram (vs. TEN)

Tier 10

Tony Pollard (@ MIN)
James White (@ HOU)
Frank Gore (@ LAC)
Phillip Lindsay (vs. MIA)
Matt Breida (@ DEN)
DeeJay Dallas (vs. ARI)*
Rodney Smith (vs. DET)
Alexander Mattison (vs. DAL)
Brian Hill (@ NO)
Devontae Booker (vs. KC)
Samaje Perine (@ WAS)
Cam Akers (@ TB)

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WIDE RECEIVERS

Tier 1

DeAndre Hopkins (@ SEA)*
Davante Adams (@ IND)
Tyreek Hill (@ LV)

Tier 2

D.K. Metcalf (vs. ARI)*
Keenan Allen (vs. NYJ)

Tier 3

Terry McLaurin (vs. CIN)
Julio Jones (@ NO)

nfl-picks-falcons-vs-panthers-spread-total-thursday-night-football-2020
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images. Pictured: Julio Jones

Tier 4

Tyler Lockett (vs. ARI)*
Adam Thielen (vs. DAL)
Justin Jefferson (vs. DAL)
JuJu Smith-Schuster (@ JAX)

Tier 5

Will Fuller V (vs. NE)
Calvin Ridley (@ NO)
Tee Higgins (@ WAS)
Chase Claypool (@ JAX)
Jamison Crowder (@ LAC)
Cooper Kupp (@ TB)
Chris Godwin (vs. LAR)
Robby Anderson (vs. DET)
Tyler Boyd (@ WAS)
Diontae Johnson (@ JAX)
Brandin Cooks (vs. NE)
A.J. Brown (@ BAL)
Robert Woods (@ TB)

Tier 6

Mike Evans (vs. LAR)
Jakobi Meyers (@ HOU)
Amari Cooper (@ MIN)
Michael Thomas (vs. ATL)
DeVante Parker (@ DEN)
D.J. Chark (vs. PIT)
Marvin Jones (@ CAR)

Tier 7

Christian Kirk (@ SEA)*
Antonio Brown (vs. LAR)
CeeDee Lamb (@ MIN)
Mike Williams (vs. NYJ)
Jerry Jeudy (vs. MIA)
Travis Fulgham (@ CLE)
D.J. Moore (vs. DET)
Jarvis Landry (vs. PHI)
Curtis Samuel (vs. DET)

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Tier 8

Mecole Hardman (@ LV)
Marquise Brown (vs. TEN)
Breshad Perriman (@ LAC)
Corey Davis (@ BAL)
Michael Pittman Jr. (vs. GB)
Denzel Mims (@ LAC)
Henry Ruggs (vs. KC)
Jalen Reagor (@ CLE)
Josh Reynolds (@ TB)
T.Y. Hilton (vs. GB)
K.J. Hamler (vs. MIA)

Tier 9

Chris Conley (vs. PIT)
A.J. Green (@ WAS)
Marvin Hall (@ CAR)
Michael Gallup (@ MIN)
Keelan Cole (vs. PIT)
Demarcus Robinson (@ LV)
Jakeem Grant (@ DEN)
Tim Patrick (vs. MIA)
Zach Pascal (vs. GB)
David Moore (vs. ARI)*
Randall Cobb (vs. NE)
Hunter Renfrow (vs. KC)
Rashard Higgins (vs. PHI)
Nelson Agholor (vs. KC)
Marquez Valdes-Scantling (@ IND)
Larry Fitzgerald (@ SEA)*
Willie Snead (vs. TEN)
Emmanuel Sanders (vs. ATL)
Russell Gage (@ NO)

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TIGHT ENDS

If you play in a league in which Taysom Hill has tight end eligibility, congrats — he has Tier 1 all to himself. Otherwise, my tight end tiers are as follows:

Tier 1

Travis Kelce (@ LV)

Tier 2

Darren Waller (vs. KC)

Tier 3

Mark Andrews (vs. TEN)
T.J. Hockenson (@ CAR)

Tier 4

Hayden Hurst (@ NO)
Dallas Goedert (@ CLE)
Hunter Henry (vs. NYJ)
Eric Ebron (@ JAX)

Tier 5

Noah Fant (vs. MIA)
Rob Gronkowski (vs. LAR)
Austin Hooper (vs. PHI)
Dalton Schultz (@ MIN)
Logan Thomas (vs. CIN)
Mike Gesicki (@ DEN)

nfl-prop-bets-picks-player-props-week-5-2020-copy
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images. Pictured: Mike Gesicki.

Tier 6

Jonnu Smith (@ BAL)
Robert Tonyan Jr. (@ IND)
Mo Alie-Cox (vs. GB)

Tier 7

Trey Burton (vs. GB)
Gerald Everett (@ TB)
Jared Cook (vs. ATL)
Tyler Higbee (@ TB)
Kyle Rudolph (vs. DAL)
Anthony Firkser (@ BAL)

Tier 8

Tyler Eifert (vs. PIT)
Greg Olsen (vs. ARI)*
Drew Sample (@ WAS)
Dan Arnold (@ SEA)*
Jordan Akins (vs. NE)
Irv Smith Jr. (vs. DAL)

Tier 9

Richard Rodgers (@ CLE)
Darren Fells (vs. NE)

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KICKERS

Tier 1

Harrison Butker (@ LV)

Tier 2

Jason Myers (vs. ARI)*
Justin Tucker (vs. TEN)
Chris Boswell (@ JAX)
Michael Badgley (vs. NYJ)

Tier 3

Dan Bailey (vs. DAL)
Nick Folk (@ HOU)
Rodrigo Blankenship (vs. GB)
Wil Lutz (vs. ATL)
Zane Gonzalez (@ SEA)*
Ryan Succop (vs. LAR)
Mason Crosby (@ IND)
Matt Prater (@ CAR)

Tier 4

Ka’imi Fairbairn (vs. NE)
Jason Sanders (@ DEN)
Dustin Hopkins (vs. CIN)
Cody Parkey (vs. PHI)
Daniel Carlson (vs. KC)
Randy Bullock (@ WAS)
Younghoe Koo (@ NO)

Tier 5

Matt Gay (@ TB)
Greg Zuerlein (@ MIN)
Stephen Gostkowski (@ BAL)
Joey Slye (vs. DET)
Jake Elliott (@ CLE)
Brandon McManus (vs. MIA)

Tier 6

Sergio Castillo (@ LAC)
Chase McLaughlin (vs. PIT)

Return to the table of contents

DEFENSES

Tier 1

Pittsburgh Steelers (@ JAX)

Tier 2

Los Angeles Chargers (vs. NYJ)
Miami Dolphins (@ DEN)
Washington Football Team (vs. CIN)
Minnesota Vikings (vs. DAL)
Cleveland Browns (vs. PHI)
New Orleans Saints (vs. ATL)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. LAR)

Tier 3

Detroit Lions (@ CAR)
New England Patriots (@ HOU)
Baltimore Ravens (vs. TEN)
Cincinnati Bengals (@ WAS)
Philadelphia Eagles (@ CLE)
Carolina Panthers (vs. DET)
Green Bay Packers (@ IND)
Denver Broncos (vs. MIA)
Kansas City Chiefs (@ LV)

Tier 4

Los Angeles Rams (@ TB)
Houston Texans (vs. NE)
Atlanta Falcons (@ NO)
Indianapolis Colts (vs. GB)
Seattle Seahawks (vs. ARI)*
Arizona Cardinals (@ SEA)*
New York Jets (@ LAC)
Dallas Cowboys (@ MIN)
Tennessee Titans (@ BAL)
Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. PIT)

Tier 5

Las Vegas Raiders (vs. KC)

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Sunday NFL Injury Report: Teddy Bridgewater, Matthew Stafford, More Week 11 Updates

nfl-picks-packers-vs-49ers-thursday-night-football-week-9-2020

Week 11 NFL Injury Report

Latest On NFL Injuries

Sunday Morning Updates

Lions QB Matthew Stafford (thumb): Stafford is dealing with a minor ligament tear in his thumb on his throwing hand, but he is expected to play on Sunday according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. While this is certainly good news for Detroit, the team will be missing key pieces on offense, including running back D’Andre Swift (concussion) as well as wide receivers Kenny Golladay (hip) and Danny Amendola (hip).

Broncos QB Drew Lock (ribs): Lock is also expected to play through his “questionable” tag on Sunday Lock has a strained muscle that caused him to miss Wednesday’s practice, but he was able to get in limited sessions on both Thursday and Friday of this week. Teammate Noah Fant (rib) is also expected to be available.

Panthers Teddy Bridgewater (knee): Of the questionable QBs, Bridgewater’s status remains the most uncertain as of Sunday morning. While Teddy “has steadily improved throughout the week,” he’s still considered a true game-time decision. If Bridgewater is unable to go against the Lions, XFL alum P.J. Walker is expected to get the start. Bridgewater’s final status will be updated in the table above as soon as the team releases its inactives list.

Friday Updates

Packers WR Davante Adams (ankle): After being downgraded to “DNP” (did not participate) in Thursday’s practice, Adams was back on the practice field as a limited participant Friday. He does not carry a game status designation, meaning he should be all systems go against the Colts this weekend.

Panthers QB Teddy Bridgewater (knee): Although the expectation all week has been that Bridgewater would miss Week 11, the team has not yet ruled him out for this weekend’s matchup against the Lions. Head coach Matt Rhule said of Bridgewater today, “I truly feel it will be a game-time decision.” Stay tuned.

Broncos QB Drew Lock (ribs): Like Bridgewater, Drew Lock is also trending towards a game-time decision after the team designated him as “questionable” to play against Miami. Lock was held out of practice on Wednesday, but he was able to get in limited sessions on both Thursday and Friday. On Monday, head coach Vic Fangio hinted that Lock would be held out if he missed too much practice time this week.

Detroit Lions Update: The Lions’ offense is looking like it will be very short-handed this weekend against the Panthers. At running back, the team will be without D’Andre Swift, who was placed in the concussion protocol yesterday. At receiver, Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola have been ruled out with hip injuries. At quarterback, Matthew Stafford is officially questionable to play after ending the week with consecutive limited practice sessions. For whatever it’s worth, Stafford did say he “liked his chances” of being on the field when asked about his injury earlier in the week.

Thursday Updates

Seahawks RB Chris Carson (foot): The expectation is now that Carson will miss Thursday night’s game against the Cardinals due to a foot injury he sustained in Week 7. There was some optimism that Carson would be able to play after he returned to practice on Wednesday for the first time since suffering the injury, but it appears that the team will wait one more week due to the short turnaround. Carlos Hyde (hamstring) is expected to return to the lineup tonight, while Travis Homer (hand) is considered doubtful to play. The team also promoted Bo Scarbrough from its practice squad for added depth at the position.

Packers WR Davante Adams (ankle): Adams was listed as a limited practice participant on Wednesday and he was downgraded to “DNP” (did not participate) on Thursday’s report. Adams’ Week 10 usage — an 82% snap share and 36% target share — is largely in line with his season averages, but the Packers have been notoriously cautious in managing injuries this season (much to Adams’ frustration). His Friday practice participation will likely go a long way in determining his Week 11 availability.

Panthers QB Teddy Bridgewater (knee): According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Bridgewater is now considered unlikely to play in Week 11 due to his sprained MCL injury. This report comes after head coach Matt Rhule called Bridgewater “extremely limited right now”. If there’s any silver lining, it’s that Teddy has been able to participate in practice on a limited basis on both Wednesday and Thursday, but it’s looking more and more likely that it will either be P.J. Walker or Will Grier under center for Carolina this weekend.

Lions RB D’Andre Swift (concussion): Swift was a surprise addition to the Lions’ Thursday injury report following his breakout Week 10 performance. After practicing in full on Wednesday, the rookie was listed as a “DNP” (did not participate) on today’s practice report and he’s been placed into the league’s concussion protocol. Because Swift was not listed on yesterday’s injury report, it’s unclear when he sustained the injury. In any event, it seems unlikely that Swift will be able to clear the protocol before Sunday given the late week downgrade. If that’s the case, Detroit will likely utilize a backfield by committee involving Adrian Peterson and Kerryon Johnson.

Wednesday Updates

Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett (knee): Lockett is listed as questionable to play in tomorrow night’s divisional showdown against the Cardinals with what head coach Pete Carroll called “a bit of a knee sprain.” Despite the Q tag, Lockett is expected to play.

Seahawks RB Chris Carson (foot): Seattle has been without its top two running backs on the depth chart — three if you include Rashaad Penny, who has missed the first 10 weeks of the season after tearing his ACL last season — for the past several games, but it looks like that is going to change in Week 11. Carson was able to return to practice this week for the first time since injuring his foot in Week 7 and is considered “questionable” to play. Meanwhile, Carlos Hyde carries no game status designation and is fully expected to play against Arizona.

Lions WR Kenny Golladay (hip): Golladay was back at practice today for the first time since injuring his hip in Week 7, albeit as a limited participant. Head coach Matt Patricia has not updated Golladay’s status, but as long as he’s able to make it through the week of practice unscathed, the Lions’ WR1 should have a chance to return against the Panthers this weekend.

Falcons WR Calvin Ridley (foot): A foot injury suffered in Week 8 kept Ridley out of the lineup in Week 9 before the Falcons went on bye last week. Ridley kicked off Week 11 on a positive note by returning to the practice field as a limited participant today, though his status for this weekend’s game against the Saints is unclear. Head coach Raheem Morris said the team would have a better feel after seeing how Ridley’s foot responded to today’s increased level of activity.

Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey (shoulder): The Panthers ruled out McCaffrey — who’s dealing with a shoulder injury — for the second consecutive week on Wednesday. There has been some optimism that McCaffrey will be able to return sooner rather than later from his latest injury, but it’s not a good sign that he was ruled out so early in the week.

Monday Updates

Saints QB Drew Brees (ribs): Brees was knocked out of Sunday’s victory over the 49ers in the first half with a rib injury after completing eight passes for 76 yards and a touchdown. According to ESPN’s Ed Werder, further testing revealed that Brees is dealing with multiple fractured ribs along with a collapsed lung. Though his recovery timeline has not yet been announced, Brees seems very likely to miss multiple games for New Orleans. Jameis Winston filled in after Brees left on Sunday, but head coach Sean Payton said today he has not yet decided who will start under center in Week 11.

Broncos QB Drew Lock (ribs): Lock is dealing with a strained muscle near his ribs, though thankfully none of his bones are broken or fractured. Head coach Vic Fangio called Lock “questionable for Wednesday’s practice” on Monday. If Lock misses too much practice this week, he’ll likely be held out in Week 11, according to Fangio, who went on to say, “We definitely want Drew to have a good week of preparation so he’s ready to play the game. So that could enter into the equation as we go into the week.”

Panthers QB Teddy Bridgewater (knee): Head coach Matt Rhule passed along some good news regarding Bridgewater on Monday after his starting quarterback was forced to leave the Panthers’ Week 10 loss with an injury. Updating Bridgewater’s status, Rhule said that Teddy “doesn’t have a significant injury,” though his Week 11 outlook is currently murky. For the time being, Bridgewater is being considered day-to-day, and if he’s unable to go this weekend, Will Grier and P.J. Walker will compete for the starting job.

Lions QB Matthew Stafford (thumb): After leading the Lions to a victory over the Washington Football Team on Sunday, Stafford underwent an X-ray on this thumb, which came back negative. Stafford suffered the injury in the first quarter of the game but was able to play through it, throwing for 276 yards with three touchdowns. When asked whether the injury may cause him to miss time, Stafford said, “I’m going to do everything I can to be out there. I like my chances.” Consider him probable to play this weekend until we hear otherwise.

NFL Prop Bets & Picks: Aaron Rodgers, DeVante Parker, More Week 11 Player Props

nfl-prop-bets-picks-player-props-week-11-2020

Sean Koerner, our Director of Predictive Analytics, is highlighting his favorite prop(s) for every slate throughout the 2020 season — he’s 77-57 (57.5%) so far and has a 287-213-5 (57.4%) all-time record on NFL bets he’s tracked in the Action app. Find his prop bets for Sunday’s main Week 11 slate below.

NFL Prop Picks & Bets

Click On A Pick To Skip Ahead
Browns QB Baker Mayfield Under 9.5 Rush Yards
Browns TE Austin Hooper Over 2.5 Receptions
Eagles WR Greg Ward Under 33.5 Rec Yards
Steelers WR Diontae Johnson Under 5.5 Rec & Under 63.5 Rec Yards
Jaguars TE Tyler Eifert Under 27.5 Rec Yards
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers Under 288.5 Pass Yards
Packers RB Jamaal Williams Over 13.5 Rec Yards
Bengals QB Joe Burrow under 282.5 Pass Yards
Bengals WR Tee Higgins Under 5.5 Receptions
Washington WR Steven Sims Over 25.5 Rec Yards & Over 2.5 Receptions
Chargers WR Jalen Guyton Under 34.5 Rec Yards
Jets TE Chris Herndon Under 15.5 Rec Yards
Jets WR Jamison Crowder Over 54.5 Rec Yards
Saints WR Michael Thomas Under 68.5 Rec Yards
Dolphins WR DeVante Parker Over 51.5 Rec Yards
Patriots RB Rex Burkhead Over 9.5 Rec Yards
Vikings WR Justin Jefferson Over 59.5 Rec Yards

Browns QB Baker Mayfield Under 9.5 Rush Yards (-115)

Rushing props for a pocket passer like Baker can always be deceiving.

Mayfield has gone under this number in seven of nine games. Sure, he will have games like Week 8, where he ran for 29 yards, but he won’t clear double digits most of the time.

Bet to 8.5 at PointsBet

Browns TE Austin Hooper Over 2.5 Receptions (-129) 

Hooper only went 1/11/0 in his return but ran a route on 82% of dropbacks. A lot of that was due to the high winds last week, but we should expect much higher production going forward with that amount of playing time.

I would set this as a coin flip at 3.5. Getting over 2.5 here would be worth about -200 juice, and I would bet this up to -160.

Bet to -160 at BetMGM

Eagles WR Greg Ward Under 33.5 Rec Yards (-130)

With Jalen Reagor, Dallas Goedert and Alshon Jeffery returning to the lineup, it would force one of the Eagles’ WRs to take a back seat. That WR appears to be Ward, who saw his routes run per dropback fall from the 85-90% range to 56% last week. It will only go down as Jeffery increases his playing time over the coming weeks.

Bet to 26.5 at DraftKings

Steelers WR Diontae Johnson Under 5.5 Rec (-130) & Under 63.5 Rec Yards (-106) 

I’m doubling down on Diontae’s reception and yard unders here.

The Jaguars are unlikely to score enough points for the Steelers to keep their foot on the gas for all four quarters. Look for Pittsburgh to get their running game on track this week, and I think it’s unlikely we see JuJu Smith-Schuster, Johnson and Chase Claypool all exceed expectations in limited volume. Diontae’s props seem a bit inflated here.

Bet Receptions to -150 & Yards to 58.5 at FanDuel

Jaguars TE Tyler Eifert Under 27.5 Rec Yards (-106)

Yes, James O’Shaughnessy is out this week. No, I do not think that will lead to Eifert putting up 28+ yards.

Eifert ran a route on 74% of dropbacks last week, which is probably his ceiling at this point in his career, and only put up 2/15/0 against the Packers. He’s not going to fare any better against the Steelers. Expect Ben Ellefson and Tyler Davis to chip in for O’Shaughnessy and Eifert to have pretty much the same role here.

Bet to 24.5 at BetMGM

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers Under 288.5 Pass Yards (-115)

The Colts’ defense has been elite against both the pass (fourth in Football Outsiders’ DVOA) and the run (fourth). It will be a tough test for Rodgers and the Packers.

I’m also expecting Indy’s running game to get going against Green Bay’s run-funnel defense and keep Rodgers on the sideline. This line is pretty inflated, and I would bet it down to 283.5.

Bet to 283.5 at PointsBet

Packers RB Jamaal Williams Over 13.5 Rec Yards (-110)

Tyler Ervin is out this week, which only raises Jamaal’s floor in terms of receiving yards. He should see 40-50% routes run per dropback, which is more than enough usage for him to post 2+ catches and clear this number.

Bet to 15.5 at FanDuel

Bengals QB Joe Burrow under 282.5 Pass Yards (+105)

The Washington pass defense has been solid this season (fifth in DVOA against the pass), and I’m projecting the Bengals -1 here. I think this line is way too high and should be closer to 270.5.

Bet to 275.5 at BetMGM
nfl-picks-spreads-totals-betting-power-ratings-week-4-2020
Jason Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Joe Burrow.

Bengals WR Tee Higgins Under 5.5 Receptions (+106) 

As I pointed out in the Burrow prop, I don’t expect the Bengals to fall behind and get into a pass-heavy game script we have seen at times this year. To be clear, I still love Higgins as a high-end WR2 in fantasy due to his yardage and TD potential, 5.5 receptions feels a bit steep. 

Bet to -125 at FanDuel

Washington WR Steven Sims Over 25.5 Rec Yards (-110) & Over 2.5 Receptions (+115)

I expect Sims’ playing time to increase as we advance, and he’s the type of receiver Alex Smith loves to target. I would bet this up to 28.5, but if Dontrelle Inman or Isaiah Wright is ruled out, I would bet it up to 32.5. If both are ruled out? It would be my play of the day.

Editor’s Note: Inman was ruled out of Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury. 

Bet Receptions to -130 & Yards to 32.5 at BetMGM

Chargers WR Jalen Guyton Under 34.5 Rec Yards (-110)

Guyton is a player with a wide range of outcomes. This number is way too high most weeks, but especially in a matchup where the Chargers are favored by 9.5 points. I don’t see them needing to take many deep shots for him to see enough targets to get here.

Bet to 29.5 at FanDuel

Jets TE Chris Herndon Under 15.5 Rec Yards (-106) 

I love the fact that a book is willing to take action against Herndon right now. His playing time has hit rock bottom with a 38% routes run per dropback last week. It’s just not going to happen for Herndon this season, but hopefully he will play up to his potential in the post-Adam Gase era.

Bet to 12.5 at BetMGM

Jets WR Jamison Crowder Over 54.5 Rec Yards (-115)

Crowder was eased into the lineup in his Week 10 return, running a route on 73% of dropbacks. Expect that to go up this week and for Joe Flacco to target him often. 

Bet to 58.5 at PointsBet

Saints WR Michael Thomas Under 68.5 Rec Yards (-141)

This number would make sense if Drew Brees were healthy. However, with Tayson Hill likely to play QB for most of the game, it is way too high.

Bet to 55.5 at DraftKings

Dolphins WR DeVante Parker Over 51.5 Rec Yards (-110)

It’s a great time to buy low on Parker here. He’s been getting the underlying usage to clear this number but has yet to click with Tua under center.

The Dolphins lost both Preston Williams and Isaiah Ford, which will only boost Parker’s floor. This might be the last time we get Parker in the low 50s.

Bet to 54.5 at FanDuel

Patriots RB Rex Burkhead Over 9.5 Rec Yards (-115) 

Burkhead has been splitting time with James White as the pass-catching back. Last week he ran a route on 47% of dropbacks compared to White’s 26%. It’s an easy over bet for me.

Bet to 13.5 at BetMGM

Vikings WR Justin Jefferson Over 59.5 Rec Yards (-115)

While I miss the days of us being able to get his prop at 17.5, the market has yet to treat Jefferson as the elite wideout he is.

I think Dallas can keep this game competitive enough to keep the Vikings’ passing volume at a high enough level for JJ to see plenty of targets. 

Bet to 63.5 at PointsBet

 

Burnley vs. Crystal Palace Odds, Picks, Predictions for Monday Premier League Match (Nov. 23)

Burnley vs. Crystal Palace Odds

Burnley Odds +170 [BET NOW]
Crystal Palace Odds +185 [BET NOW]
Draw +205 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 2.5 (+138/-175) [BET NOW]
Time 12:30 p.m. ET
TV NBCSN

Odds updated as of Saturday at 11:30 p.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


Clubs going in completely different directions go at it Monday when Burnley hosts Crystal Palace in Premier League action.

The Clarets are in dire straits, sitting in 19th place out of 20 teams, and seek their first league win of the season. Burnley has been downright awful thus far, going 0-2-5 (W-D-L) through its first seven fixtures.

On the other side, Crystal Palace has silenced the naysayers thus far and finds itself on 13 points with a solid 4-1-3 record.

This is a massive game for both clubs for very different reasons, so let’s take a look at these sides and what’s on deck.

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Burnley

To say things are going terribly bad at Turf Moor would be an understatement.

The Clarets have scored just two goals over the course of seven league tilts, with its most recent goal coming in a 3-1 loss to Newcastle United on October 3 at St. James’ Park.

Burnley is just a point ahead of league cellar dweller Sheffield United, but could start easing its way out of the relegation zone with a win or draw in this ultra-important contest.

As you probably guessed, the Clarets have produced some brutal statistical data this season. Burnley sits on 5.4 expected goals and 8.3 expected goals against in league play.

Those numbers translate into a -2.9 xGDiff and -0.43 xGDiff/90 minutes, which have the Clarets looking up at most teams in the same categories.


Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.


Crystal Palace

It has been a season of excitement and exceeded expectations for the Eagles, who find themselves just three points from the top five on the table.

Manager Roy Hodgson has Crystal Palace playing a really nice brand of football that’s led to wins against Southampton and Manchester United along the way. If this proactive kind of play continues, there’s no reason to believe the club can’t contend for a Europa League berth down the stretch.

Wilfried Zaha continues to shine up top for the Eagles, leading the way with five goals in league action.

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Defensively, things must improve for the outfit if they’re going to continue this early success. The back has been porous in many games, but a 4-1 win against Leeds United before the international break has me believing they could be turning the corner when it comes to those defensive woes.

When comparing statistical data, Crystal Palace is much better off than its counterpart in all advanced metrics. However, the Eagles don’t have a lot to brag about in any category as well.

Crystal Palace has compiled a mediocre 7.7 xGs and subpar 10.8 expected goals against, yielding a dismal -3.1 xGDiff and -0.40 for xGDiff/90 minutes.


Betting Analysis

On paper, this has a Crystal Palace win written all over it.

The Eagles are the better side and should have their way against the Clarets, who are just trying to get their heads above the relegation-zone water. That said, I do think Crystal Palace comes away with a positive result, but believe there’s better value on the overall scoring.

That being said, I am backing the total to go over the alternative number of two goals and both teams to score in this affair.

Crystal Palace has given up at least one goal in seven of their eight league fixtures, which has me optimistic Burnley can make it eight of nine in that trend. Add in the fact the Clarets and Eagles are conceding 1.5 goals per match, and you have to like the chances of both plays hitting at nice prices.

Picks: Total Over 2 Goals (-132) | Both Teams To Score — Yes (-104)

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Sunday Premier League Betting Odds, Predictions & Picks for Arsenal vs. Leeds (Nov. 22)

leeds united vs. arsenal-odds-picks-betting predictions-premier league-2020

Arsenal vs. Leeds United Odds

Arsenal odds +123 [BET NOW]
Leeds odds +205 [BET NOW]
Draw +270 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 2.5 (-139/+114) [BET NOW]
Time 11:30 a.m. ET
How to Watch NBCSN

Odds updated as of Sunday at 9 a.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


Two mid-table Premier League sides will face off in North London on Sunday as newcomers Leeds United meet with  struggling Arsenal at The Emirates.

The Gunners attack has been lackluster thus far in 2020, but Leeds have the league’s worst defense by goals allowed, which could make for a free-flowing match.

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Arsenal

I came into the season with low expectations for Arsenal, who masked a poor Premier League season with a strong FA Cup run and a trophy at the end of the season. The Gunners’ underlying expected goals numbers are quite concerning, given that they are underwater for the year.

Their pressing rates are down, they aren’t completing as many passes in the opponent final third as usual, and striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is now past-peak age and well past peak performance based on his paltry expected goals numbers thus far in 2020-21.

The Gunners have four wins and four defeats, but were quite fortunate to win two of those. West Ham outplayed them for large stretches of that match, and won on expected. And neither team felt like scoring in the Manchester United-Arsenal match, until Aubameyang and Arsenal were given a penalty.

The Gunners have had one comprehensive performance all year — a 3-0 thrashing of Fulham in the opening weekend — and haven’t been good since.
The market is showing them way too much respect, and I don’t think they should even be favorites here.

Leeds United

The return of Leeds United to the Premier League combined with manager Marcelo Bielsa is a match made in heaven for football purists. Leeds have been the league’s most fun watch — high pressing, lots of shots, wide open play.

Leeds are first in pressing intensity, rank fourth in passes completed within 20 yards of the opponents’ goal, and last in passes allowed within their own penalty area.

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The result has been goals, and lots of them. Leeds rank sixth in xGF, 19th in xGA and 10th in expected goal differential. They are a fun watch that lacks the defensive quality to compete for a European place, but they’ve shown against Liverpool and Manchester City they can challenge any team in this league.

Striker Patrick Bamford will be the best attacking player on the pitch on Sunday, as he ranks seventh in xG individually in the Premier League. And top creator Jack Harrison ranks fifth in expected assists. Leeds have more firepower than Arsenal at this point this season, as impossible as that seems.

Betting Analysis

Arsenal will try to play out from the back against this Leeds pressing unit, and I don’t trust their ability to break a high press. The Gunners have been too shaky through the midfield and don’t have enough attacking output when they do break through it.

The wrong team is favored here, according to my projections. I project Leeds with 1.3 expected goals to 1.23 for the Gunners, and that’s with a weaker home field advantage than most models are taking into account. Leeds are my biggest value bet of the Premier League weekend. I’ll take them to get at least a point here.

Pick: Leeds Pick’em (+128)

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Sheffield United vs. West Ham United Odds, Picks & Predictions for Premier League (Sunday, Nov. 22)

Sheffield United vs. West Ham Odds

Sheffield United Odds +235 [BET NOW]
West Ham Odds +125 [BET NOW]
Draw +225 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 2.5 (+115/-143) [BET NOW]
Time 9 a.m. ET
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Clubs with plenty on the line go at it Sunday when Sheffield United hosts West Ham United in Premier League action at Bramall Lane.

This is a huge fixture for Sheffield United, who has just one point through eight games this season. The Blades are just one of three winless clubs in England’s top flight, which has led them to a spot in last place on the table.

On the other side, West Ham has played well enough to find itself in the middle of the pack in the 20-team league. The Hammers are in 12th place, holding a 3-2-3 record that’s good for 11 points.

With that said, let’s take a look at these sides and what’s on deck.

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Sheffield United

It goes without saying that pretty much nothing has gone right for the Blades in the first half of their campaign.

Sheffield United has lost seven of its opening eight matches, with its lone positive result coming four matches back via a 1-1 draw against Fulham. That shock start has the Blades fighting for their lives in the relegation zone, meaning any points in this spot is a must.

Offensively, things are beyond brutal for Sheffield United. The Blades have scored just four goals this season, with David McGoldrick responsible for two of them. That is simply not going to cut it, especially when Sheffield United has conceded 14 goals at the other end of the pitch.

As you could probably imagine, the Blades have accumulated some terrible statistical data thus far. Sheffield United sits on 7.2 expected goals and 12.5 expected goals against in league play. Those numbers result in a -5.3 xGDiff and -0.66 xGDiff/90 minutes, putting the Blades at or near the bottom of the league in all categories.

Sheffield United’s xGDiff/90 is last on the 20-team table.

West Ham

The Hammers have actually been one of the bigger surprises in my opinion, putting several impressive efforts in their last five outings during an absolutely brutal stretch of games.

West Ham picked up a stunning 3-0 victory over Leicester City to start that five-match slate, then followed it up with hard-earned draws against Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City. A 2-1 loss to defending champion Liverpool followed those stalemates, but the Hammers closed with a 1-0 triumph over Fulham prior to the international break.

Michail Antonio and Jarrod Bowen each have three goals for West Ham, which could find itself as high as seventh place on the table with a win.

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When comparing statistical data, West Ham obliterates Sheffield United in every category. The Hammers have compiled a solid 10.6 xGs and 9.5 expected goals against, yielding a +1.1 xGDiff and +0.13 for xGDiff/90 minutes.

How well do West Ham’s advanced metrics match up against some of the marquee clubs? It’s xG are better than Southampton (8.7 xG), which is fourth in the league standings. The club is also better than powerhouses Manchester City (10.0 xG) and Manchester United (8.5 xG) in that same category.

Betting Analysis & Picks

West Ham is in much better form, showing it can hang with the league’s best on any occasion. In contrast, Sheffield United can’t get anything going and I don’t see it righting the ship in this latest fixture.

That said, I’m backing West Ham via the Draw No Bet wager.

I am also sprinkling a little on the total to stay under the number. There have been fewer than three goals in seven of the last eight meetings between these sides across all competitions, and Sheffield can’t generate any offense.

Sheffield United’s last five home matches in league play haven’t reached three goals, giving me even more confidence in this selection.

Picks: West Ham — Draw No Bet (-139) | Total Under 2.5 Goals (-141)

[Bet the Sheffield United-West Ham match at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

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Sunday Premier League: Best Bets, Odds and Picks for Fulham vs. Everton (Nov. 22)

english premier league-betting-odds-pick-fulham-everton-dominic calvert-lewin

Fulham vs. Everton Odds

Fulham odds +290 [BET NOW]
Everton odds -112 [BET NOW]
Draw +280 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 2.5 (-136/+108) [BET NOW]
Time 7 a.m. ET
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Everton looks to rebound from a bad run of form when it takes on Fulham in Premier League action Sunday morning at Craven Cottage.

The Toffees had the best start of any team in England, sitting top of the table for the first few weeks of the season. Since then, they’ve been playing terribly, losing three consecutive matches and falling to seventh place on the table.

Suffice it to say, Everton’s match against Fulham is a perfect opportunity for the club to get its season back on track.

Fulham’s return to England’s top flight started out in horrible fashion and hasn’t gotten much better. The Cottagers have amassed only four points through their first eight matches and have struggled in front of net, scoring only seven goals on the season.

The host side will likely be in the relegation battle all season long, so it needs points wherever it can get them if they want to stay up in the first division.

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Fulham

As previously mentioned, the Cottagers have gotten off to a disastrous start. They have lost six of their first eight matches, allowing the fourth-most goals in the league so far this season.

Fulham, which allowed 1.30 xG per match in the Championship, is projected to allow more than two xG/game this season. That’s something we’re already seeing a trend toward, as the Cottagers have conceded 1.62 xG thus far.


Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.


Also, the club has struggled to generate quality chances, creating only 1.13 xGF per match in the league. Fulham made a lot of purchases during the transfer to bolster its attack, but so far it hasn’t made any drastic improvements. The Cottagers need to improve on both ends of the pitch if they are going to get a result against this kind of talented opposition.


Everton

It’s been tough sledding for the Toffees the last few weeks, but it’s not all bad news. Everton has been creating a ton of high quality chances, as it’s averaging 1.73 xGF per match. Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been on fire up front for the Toffees, scoring eight goals in his last eight appearances. He’s averaging a ridiculous 0.79 xG per 90 minutes, which is the fourth-highest scoring rate in the league.

Everton has also been better defensively than its results have shown. The Toffees are allowing only 1.28 xG per match, which is much lower than their actual 1.75 goals allowed per match. The other piece of good news is that this will be one of their easiest defensive tests, outside of West Bromwich Albion.

Projections and Pick

Despite the bad run of form, I think Everton is undervalued on the road in this spot. The visiting side is a significantly better team than Fulham and should be able to create a ton of high-quality chances.

I have the Toffees projected at -139, so I think there is value on them at -112 via DraftKings. However, I would only play it up to -119 on the money line.

Pick: Everton -112

[Bet the Fulham-Everton match at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

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UFC 255 Odds, Pick & Prediction: Best Bets for Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Alex Perez

Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Alex Perez Odds

Figueiredo odds
-334 [BET NOW]
Perez odds
+230 [BET NOW]
Over/Under
1.5 (-189/+148) [BET NOW]
Venue
UFC APEX, Las Vegas
Time
Saturday, 11:55 p.m. ET
Channel
ESPN PPV

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Deiveson “Deus de Guerra” Figueiredo is back in the octagon defending his Flyweight belt against up-and-coming challenger Alex Perez Saturday. Figueiredo has been on a tear since 2019 with four straight wins, including back-to-back finishes over Joseph Benavidez.

Perez is in his third bout this year and stepped in as a replacement for Cody Garbrandt. Perez went from Dana White’s Contender series to championship challenger in just three years and has just one loss on his UFC record entering this bout.

Below I break preview the matchup and odds for the UFC 255 main event. For more analysis on the rest of the card, you can check out my projections for the entire slate here.

Tale of the Tape

Main Event Figueiredo Perez
Record 19-1 24-5
Avg. Fight Time 9:44 6:49
Height 5’5″ 5’6″
Weight (pounds) 125 125
Reach (inches) 68″ 65″
Stance Orthodox Orthodox
Date of birth 12/18/87 3/21/92
Sig Strikes Per Min 2.80 4.68
SS Accuracy 55% 47%
SS Absorbed Per Min 2.81 3.10
SS Defense 51% 61%
Take Down Avg 1.71 3.03
TD Acc 50% 50%
TD Def 61% 87%
Submission Avg 2.9 1.4

_BookPromo=154

Figueiredo vs. Perez Pick

Figueiredo finally secured Flyweight gold with his second win over Joseph Benavidez in July, and his finishing ability is proving to be an outlier in the 125-pound division.

Unfortunately, his style is fundamentally flawed if he isn’t able to secure a finish, as Figueiredo rarely wins minutes — he tries to line his opponents up and knock them down. He also doesn’t check leg kicks with regularity, which is one of Perez’s better weapons, so I do expect the underdog to look very competitive at the start of this fight.

Perez is the more technical boxer and he was an All-American wrestler, but even though Deiveson was taken down a combined 10 times by Jarred Brooks and Jussier Formiga, I think his grappling has come a long way, and his scrambles are incredibly fast.

Even though he hurt Benavidez in his last fight, which led to the choke, Deiveson is still the first man to ever force “Joe Jitsu” to tap. Every time Figueiredo fights, I get the feeling that I am witnessing something special.

Unfortunately, he just doesn’t let his hands go, as Perez lands an additional 1.86 significant strikes per minute, with a far superior differential (+1.58 to -0.01).

There is certainly a path to victory for the underdog, but Perez was knocked out by Benavidez, and Figueiredo looks like you’ll have to run him over with a truck to knock him out at 125.

Spending 25 minutes inside of a cage with “Daico,” there’s no question that Perez will get clipped at some point.

I thought Deiveson would put his original opponent, Cody Garbrandt, down with relative ease, but I do think Perez has more of a chin on him.

That said, it still might not matter, and I projected Deiveson to win inside the distance 71% of the time (implied odds of -245). You can bet that prop to win a half unit up to -212 (implied 68%).

The Brazilian’s moneyline was bet up from a soft opener at -210 up to -300, but has seen some resistance trending towards Perez roughly 24 hours before the fight.

The Pick: Deiveson Figueiredo wins Inside the Distance (-159)

[Bet UFC 255 now at PointsBet risk-free up to $250]

RSM Classic Round 4 Buys & Fades: Finding Value Using Strokes Gained Data

Robert Streb took a two-shot lead into Saturday’s third round at The RSM Classic, only to better that edge heading into Sunday’s final round.

The 2015 event champion has played fantastic golf, navigating his way through difficult winds Saturday to shoot a bogey-free 67 and secure a three-shot lead. By my count, Streb has gone 42 holes without a bogey. If that trend continues Sunday, he’ll be difficult to keep out of the winner’s circle.

Zach Johnson and Bronson Burgoon will join Streb in the final threesome, tied at 14 under par and three shots behind Streb. It was Johnson who matched the best round of the day, firing a round of 65 to get in the mix.

Emiliano Grillo also shot 5 under par and begins the final round four shots back in fourth place. Kevin Kisner, Kyle Stanley and Camilo Villegas round out the top 5 at 12 under par.

We finally have all the players on the same course to give us some viable strokes gained data heading into Sunday’s final 18 holes, as we look to find someone to run down Streb. Let’s see who stands out in the chasing pack.

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Strokes Gained Explanation

Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer is truly playing by measuring each shot in relation to the rest of the field.

Using the millions of data points it collects, the TOUR calculates how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. If a player beats those averages, he’s gaining strokes on the field.

Every situation in golf is different — Strokes Gained measures how players perform relative to the situation.

In this piece, we’ll touch on a variety of Strokes Gained metrics…

  • Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
  • Strokes Gained: Approach
  • Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
  • Strokes Gained: Putting
  • Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking (which is Off-the-Tee + Approach)
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (which is Ball-Striking + Around-the-Green)

In general, ball-striking and tee-to-green are the most stable long term, while putting is more prone to volatility.

You can often find live-betting advantages by identifying golfers who are hitting the ball well, but just not getting putts to drop. Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.

3 Golfers to Buy in Round 4

Time after time, the announcers were questioning Streb off the tee or giving him minimal chance to hit difficult shots. However, “Big Shot Bob” pulled off his shots every time. If he continues to do that Sunday, it will take something special for another player to chase him down.

The main thing that has me buying Streb is not only the three-shot lead, but the fact neither player joining him in the final group is standing out either. Each of them is showing similar flaws, with their respective iron play a touch below par versus the field. Simply, they’re all rolling it well on the greens.

Obviously, Streb has the most margin for error, but he’s clearly made little to none over the first 54 holes. And honestly, there’s no reason to expect him to falter Sunday in my opinion.

I’m buying Streb for the win and would focus on him mostly in DFS Showdown.

Emiliano Grillo is the player whose stats stand out the most heading into the final round. Grillo matched the best round of the day through great ball-striking, which  had him gain more than three shots on the field.

Grillo was the third best in the field tee-to-green, but it’s always about putting for the Argentinian. He was able to roll it at just above field average, which is a big success for him. In fact, Emiliano has averaged more than a stroke gained on the greens in each of his two rounds on the Seaside Course.

If Grillo can continue that trend, he may still need some help from Streb, but will be right there if the opportunities to capitalize present themselves.

My final buy will have to come from six strokes back, but Matthew NeSmith has shown he knows how to go low on the Seaside Course.

NeSmith shot a blazing 61 on Friday, playing the harder of the two courses that day, as most of the other low scorers did their work on the Plantation Course. He followed it up Saturday with a 66, which would’ve been much better had his putter cooperated.

Most notably, NeSmith missed a birdie putt from less than 3 feet on his 11th hole in the third round, contributing heavily to his lost strokes on the greens during the round.

If NeSmith can keep the magic going with his ball striking and do better putting, he could throw himself into contention. He might need another round of 61 or 62, but could pull off the improbable victory.

I’ll take a bite in all betting markets, but most prominently in DFS Sunday Showdown.

GolfBet

3 Golfers to Fade in Round 4

Just about everyone I have faded this week has gone out to compete for the best round of the day, so I’m reversing course and putting the fade in on Camilo Villegas.

Naturally, he was a buy for me going into Saturday’s round, which jinxed him into an even-par effort. Hopefully, this fade can do the reverse for the Colombian.

Villegas lost just about all of his game during Saturday’s 18 holes. He was field average tee-to-green, thanks to a good day around the greens, but lost strokes in both ball striking metrics. The putter also failed him, losing more than a full stroke to the field on the greens.

If the ball striking continues to be an issue, he will only drop further down the leaderboard and out of contention.

I’ll reverse course on Villegas to a double down on Patton Kizzire. The Sea Island native has performed absolute magic on the greens, putting himself in a tie for eighth place and six shots back. I wrote about his ball-striking issues after the first round, which are still a problem.

Kizzire has averaged 3.54 strokes gained on the greens, while losing 1.63 tee-to-green, including dropping shots both off-the-tee and on approach. It’s truly a miraculous act he has performed to be in this position, so I’ll side with the show losing steam in a big way.

Chesson Hadley was on track for the round of the day, as he was bogey-free and 4 under through 11 holes. He would add another birdie before dropping a shot at his final hole to post a round of 66, moving into a tie for 19th place. I think many will see that round and chase it, as he’s typically a player that can run hot. Yet, the way he did it in the third round as a cause for pause.

Hadley lost strokes to the field tee-to-green, off-the-tee and on approach in the third round, but made up for it with 3.12 strokes gained putting. If that’s not a career-best day on the greens, then it has to be close for a guy that ranked 121st in putting last season.

Needless to say, I am  looking for every way I can to play against Hadley.

Strokes Gained Data for All Players in Round 3

UFC 255 Co-Main Event Odds, Pick & Prediction: Best Bets for Shevchenko vs. Maia

Valentina Shevchenko vs. Jennifer Maia Odds

Shevchenko odds
-1667 [BET NOW]
Maia odds
+900 [BET NOW]
Over/Under
3.5 (+110/-134) [BET NOW]
Venue
UFC APEX, Las Vegas
Time
Saturday, 11:30 p.m. ET
Channel
ESPN PPV

Odds via PointsBet, where you can get $250 FREE instantly after signing up AND your bets automatically sync to the Action app. Learn more about BetSync here.


The No. 3 pound-for-pound woman in the UFC and current women’s Flyweight champion makes her fourth title defense against Jennifer Maia in the UFC 255 co-main event.

Shevchenko is riding a five-fight winning streak, which includes her stoppage win against Katlyn Chookagian (also on this card) in February. Maia last fought in August and scored a first-round submission win. Shevchenko is a historically huge favorite in this matchup, but can Maia pull the huge upset?

Below I break preview the matchup and odds for what should be an exciting co-main event. For more analysis on the rest of the card, you can check out my projections for the entire slate here.

Tale of the Tape

Shevchenko Maia
Record 19-3 18-6
Avg. Fight Time N/A 4:19
Height 5’5″ 5’4″
Weight (pounds) 125 lbs. 125 lbs.
Reach (inches) 66″ 64″
Stance Southpaw Orthodox
Date of birth 3/7/88 10/6/88
Sig Strikes Per Min 3.06 4.08
SS Accuracy 50% 39%
SS Absorbed Per Min 2.12 3.92
SS Defense 63% 53%
Take Down Avg 2.09 0.23
TD Acc 54% 50%
TD Def 77% 70%
Submission Avg 0.4 0.2

_BookPromo=154

Valentina Shevchenko vs. Jennifer Maia Betting Pick

Shevchenko could close as the most significant favorite in UFC history against Maia, as she needs to fight someone in order to defend her Flyweight belt, but there is nobody in the Flyweight division who can offer her much of a challenge.

In her past three fights, Shevchenko closed at -1250 against Chookagian, -1400 against Liz Carmouche and -1696 against Jessica Eye.

She has run through other top strikers at 125, including Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Holly Holm and Chookagian, and submitted a high-end grappler in Julianna Pena.

Her only losses in the past 10 years have both come against Amanda Nunes at Bantamweight, and Shevchenko was favored in both of those bouts, each a decision loss.

Unless Shevchenko injures herself, I don’t see Maia finding a path to victory. It’s more about how much respect Shevchenko gives her, and whether she decides to pursue a performance bonus quickly.

Four of her eight UFC fights that didn’t involve Nunez have gone the distance, and Maia hasn’t been finished since early in her career (2012), but Shevchenko represents a different level of striking than anything she has encountered, and I do think that Valentina closes the show.

I projected Shevchenko to win inside the distance at odds of -316 (implied 76%), and I would bet that prop to -245 (implied 71%).

Furthermore, I used Valentina to complete my moneyline parlay to bump the odds to even money – though that bet is for degenerates only.

The Pick: Valentina Shevchenko wins Inside the Distance (-197)

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NFL Pick ‘Em Rankings: Straight Up & Against the Spread Picks For Week 11

nfl-pick-em-straight-up-ats-picks-rankings-week-11-2020

With my final round of projections complete, I’ve updated my straight up and against the spread pick ’em rankings for Week 11.

These confidence ratings are based on my NFL Power Ratings, which help power the model projections in our PRO Projections. They account for various factors such as travel, injuries and any news that could impact betting odds.

Now let’s run through the final edition of my Week 11 ratings!


Jump to ATS Ratings


NFL Pick ‘Em Rankings

These are for straight-up pick ’em pools.

Conf
Team
Opp
Win Prob%
T-1
Steelers
@ JAX
82%
T-1
Chargers
vs. NYJ
82%
3
Chiefs
@ LV
79%
4
Ravens
vs. TEN
72%
5
Vikings
vs. DAL
71%
6
Buccaneers
vs. LAR
68%
7
Dolphins
@ DEN
65%
8
Seahawks
vs. ARI
60%
9
Saints
vs. ATL
59%
10
Lions
@ CAR
54%
T-11
Browns
vs. PHI
54%
T-11
Patriots
@ HOU
54%
13
Colts
vs. GB
54%
14
Bengals
@ WAS
53%
15
Football Team
vs. CIN
47%
16
Packers
@ IND
46%
T-17
Texans
vs. NE
46%
T-17
Eagles
@ CLE
46%
19
Panthers
vs. DET
46%
20
Falcons
@ NO
41%
21
Cardinals
@ SEA
40%
22
Broncos
vs. MIA
35%
23
Rams
@ TB
32%
24
Cowboys
@ MIN
29%
25
Titans
@ BAL
28%
26
Raiders
vs. KC
21%
T-27
Jets
@ LAC
18%
T-27
Jaguars
vs. PIT
18%

Week 11 NFL Pick ‘Em Rankings

I’ll update the embedded table featuring my ATS confidence ratings throughout the week, but your contest may use different lines, so I’ve also created this downloadable spreadsheet so you can calculate ratings specific to your pool.

Simply add the odds your contest is using into Column D, then the edge and ratings will automatically recalculate.

Boise State vs. Hawaii Odds, Weather: Wind in Saturday Forecast Creates Betting Value (Nov. 21)

ncaa-college football-betting-odds-weather-boise state-hawaii-wind-over/under-week 12-november 21 2020

College Football Odds: Boise State vs. Hawaii

Boise State Odds -13.5
Hawaii Odds +13.5
Over/Under 55
Time 11 p.m. ET
TV CBS Sports Network
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Looking for an edge on tonight’s Boise State-Hawaii chaser? Perhaps you should be looking to the flags flying around Aloha Stadium.

Mother Nature certainly can impact the outcome of football games, and her most impactful element — from a betting perspective — has been wind. In fact, one of our most steady PRO Betting Systems has a simple recipe of taking unders in windy games.

To be specific, games played in winds of 13 mph or more since 2005 have hit the under at a 57% rate. And that sample consists of more than 1,000 games.

That brings us to tonight’s forecast.

Note: Odds, forecast as of 1 p.m. ET.

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College Football Weather: Boise State vs. Hawaii

The wind in Honolulu tonight will be well past our profitable threshold, with an average of 20 mph projected throughout the game.

And given the especially strong wind, you might be curious to know how an increase in wind relates to changes in that historical under win rate mentioned above.

Wind Speeds of …

  • 13+ mph: 564-432-14 (56.7%)
  • 17+ mph: 176-120-9 (59.5%)
  • 20+ mph: 71-38-3 (65.1%)

And while it’s a tiny sample, the two Aloha Stadium games within our database that have reached the 20-mph mark have both gone under the total — by an average margin of 20 points, even at the closing numbers.

Oddsmakers are aware of the trend as well. They’ve moved this total from openers as high as 63.5 down to a consensus of 55 as of Saturday afternoon.

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UFC 255 Best Bets: Mike Perry vs. Tim Means Odds, Picks and Predictions (Saturday, Nov. 21)

Mike Perry vs. Tim Means Odds

Perry odds
-121 [BET NOW]
Means odds
+100 [BET NOW]
Over/Under
2.5 (+110/-134) [BET NOW]
Venue
UFC APEX, Las Vegas
Time
Saturday, 11 p.m. ET
Channel
ESPN PPV

Odds as of Saturday morning and via BetMGM. Get an INSTANT $500 deposit match at BetMGM today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


One of the most colorful personalities in the UFC will be in action on Saturday’s main card when Mike Perry faces off against Tim Means at UFC 255. Neither man is in contention for a top spot in the division, but Perry has been able to bring a lot of attention (whether positive or not) to his recent fights.

Perry will seek to string together back-to-back wins for the first time since 2017, while Means is seeking his first win streak since 2016.

Below I break preview the matchup and odds for this truly interesting bout. For more analysis on the rest of the card, you can check out my projections for the entire slate here.

Tale of the Tape

Perry Means
Record 14-6 30-12-1 (1 NC)
Avg. Fight Time 10:32 4:19
Height 5’10” 6’2″
Weight (pounds) 175.5 lbs. 170 lbs.
Reach (inches) 71″ 75″
Stance Orthodox Orthodox
Date of birth 9/15/91 2/20/84
Sig Strikes Per Min 4.36 4.92
SS Accuracy 48% 46%
SS Absorbed Per Min 4.41 3.53
SS Defense 56% 61%
Take Down Avg 0.66 0.98
TD Acc 46% 42%
TD Def 76% 63%
Submission Avg 0.0 0.2

_BookPromo=107

Mike Perry vs. Tim Means Betting Pick

It’s embarrassing that the UFC is giving Perry a feature spot on the main card of a PPV amidst domestic violence allegations and following his assault of an elderly man over the summer.

And Perry has treated this opportunity like a joke, badly missing weight for this bout — after which he dabbed, because of course he did — while flaunting a diet consisting of burgers, pizza and brownies just two weeks out from the fight.

Perry only shed 1.5 pounds in the next seven hours after sending the above tweet, and he’ll forfeit 30% of his purse as a result.

Perry has the power to put Means away at any point, but given his lack of respect for this bout in addition to Means’ size advantage (three inches taller, four inches of reach), experience and output (+1.39 to -0.05 significant strike differential), it’s easy to see Means staying on the outside and forcing an out-of-shape opponent to chase him for 15 minutes.

I think Perry’s grappling is underrated — he actually engaged with and controlled Mickey Gall on the mat for more than a round (5:44) — but Means is still the more well-rounded competitor.

He was hurt by both Daniel Rodriguez and Niko Price within the past two years, however, showing a potentially declining chin in the latter stages of his career (44 professional fights).

I show projected value on Means to win by decision (projected +267), and I would look to play that prop down to +312. BetMGM currently has that prop listed at +260, so be sure to shop around for the best odds on that prop.

The Pick: Means to win by Decision (bet at +312 or better)

[Bet 255 at BetMGM and get a $500 INSTANT deposit match]

Saturday College Football Odds & Picks for Boise State vs. Hawaii: Bet the Broncos Over the ‘Bows

college football-hawaii-boise state-broncos-betting-odds-picks

Boise State vs. Hawaii Odds

Boise State Odds -13.5 [BET NOW]
Hawaii Odds +13.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -600/+420 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 55.5 [BET NOW]
Time 11 p.m. ET
TV CBS Sports Network
Odds as of Saturday at 8:10 p.m. ET and via FanDuel. Get up to a $1,000 risk-free bet at FanDuel today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

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Boise State Broncos

In the past two games, it has been a quarterback merry-go-round with Hank Bachmeier, Jack Sears and Cade Fennegan. Head coach Bryan Harsin mentioned that 14 players missed the Colorado State victory due to quarantine procedure. The defensive trench analytics may be skewed, as Boise has had offensive and defensive lineman switch roles due to depth issues entering the season.

Boise’s strength comes via pass explosiveness — particularly from Bachmeier. The starter returned to action last week, throwing for 202 yards along with four passes of 15 yards or more.

The Broncos now rank fifth in Finishing Drives, averaging 5.2 points per trip past the opponent 40-yard line. Boise State is an astounding 12-for-12 in red-zone-trips to-touchdown ratio. That incredible red-zone efficiency has helped the Broncos cover for their defensive deficiencies, from allowing pass explosiveness to Defensive Finishing Drives. The updated special teams boost came from multiple punt blocks against the Rams.


Hawaii Rainbow Warriors

A nightmare trip to San Diego ended in a 24-point loss as the Aztecs exposed the biggest hole of the Hawaii defense: Front seven run-stoppers. San Diego State rushed for 326 yards on an average of 6.4 yards per carry.

The Rainbow Warriors gave up six runs of 20 yards or more, which falls squarely in line with their 102nd-place rank in Opponent Rush Expected Points this season. Missed tackles also continued to be a problem for the ‘Bows. Hawaii now ranks 123rd out of 126 FBS teams in tackling grade, per Pro Football Focus.

On the other side of the ball, the story is Hawaii’s new GoGo offense under G. J. Kinne and wide receivers coach Brennan Marion. The scheme transition has successfully achieved chunk yardage on the ground, but the passing game lacks sustainability. Quarterback Chevan Cordeiro has been asked to lead an offense that primarily lines up in 10 and 20 personnel with a few wrinkles.

Cordeiro is the team leader in rushing categories such as yards per attempt and avoided tackles. The offensive line ranks sixth in Line Yards, but Cordeiro has contributed 136 yards on 20 scramble attempts. The quarterback’s legs are vitally important to the passing game. Keeping the secondary grounded allows home run-hitting wide receiver Calvin Turner to get free.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

The news to monitor heading into Saturday night’s contest is who exactly will be on Boise State’s charter jet to the island. The Broncos have dealt with COVID-19 weekly, including 14 players in quarantine in last Friday’s game.

The Broncos are expected to have a full boat of players make the six-hour flight to Honolulu for their Week 12 matchup against the ‘Bows.



The No. 1 handicap in this game is whether or not Cordeiro can be stopped on designed and scramble rush attempts. Those plays have given Hawaii the 15th-most explosive ground attack at a tempo that ranks 23rd in seconds per play.

Boise State reports very poor numbers against the rush, and it’s important to remember that the defense has suffered the most with regards to COVID-19. Meanwhile, the Rainbow Warriors will only cover the spread if they improve in Offensive Finishing Drives.

The Boise pass defense has been excellent, posting a rank of 24th in Opponent Success Rate and a top-10 ranking in Opponent Third-Down Conversions. Despite those daunting opposing numbers, Hawaii will run an uptempo offense similar to that of Colorado State, which had 17 possessions in the game against Boise State.

If the Broncos are granted 15 offensive possessions due to Hawaii’s pace, then Boise State should deliver a lengthy highlight reel. The ‘Bows rank 85th in opponent pass explosiveness and 123rd in tackling — both of which serve as propellants enabling the Broncos to put ample points on the board.

Considering Boise State’s sterling red-zone efficiency, taking the traveling Broncos over their team total and against the spread is the best bet.

Picks: Boise State -14 or better | Boise State Team Total Over 37.5

[Bet Boise State at FanDuel completely risk-free up to $1,000]

_BookPromo=24

Saturday UFC 255 Picks & Predictions: Our Favorite Bets for Brandon Moreno vs. Brandon Royval, Mike Perry vs. Tim Means (Nov. 21)

It’s time! Saturday’s UFC 255 card is stacked with great fights throughout, including title fights in both the women’s and men’s Flyweight divisions. The action kicks off with seven prelim bouts beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2 with the five-fight main card switching over to ESPN PPV at 10 p.m. ET.

With 12 action-packed bouts on the slate, there is plenty of value to be found on the card. So where should you be looking to place your bets? Our crew has pinpointed two fights on Saturday’s card that present betting value in three different ways.

You can find their analysis and picks on those matches below.

Sean Zerillo: Brandon Moreno vs. Brandon Royval

Betting Analyst, The Action Network

I was against Royval in his bout against Kai Kara-France (and paid for it), but Moreno presents another significant jump in competition, and the Mexican contender is too well-rounded to find a true edge for Royval in this fight.

Royval’s advantage is in the chaos and unpredictably that he creates – spinning attacks, flying knees, submission attempts from every angle in his rubber guard. He’s uncomfortable to watch, and I can’t imagine how overwhelmed some of his opponents must feel.

While this scrap should be highly entertaining, Royval has gassed out in the past when he has been unable to secure an early finish. He is 1-4 on the scorecards and has never been finished himself, including in a 25-minute battle with Casey Kenney in LFA.

_BookPromo=59

Similarly, Moreno has never been finished, and despite the opportunities that might present themselves for both men, I think this fight goes to the judges at a decent rate (projected 64%), which obviously plays to Moreno’s hand.

Though the moneyline projection looks spot-on for this fight, I bet Moreno to win by decision at +140 (implied 41.7%) relative to my projection at -111 (implied 52.6%). You can play that to +110.

I also made a smaller play on the fight to go the distance at -120 (implied 54.5%), which I would play to -144 (implied 59%).

Check out my full undercard and main card preview for more ways to bet on this matchup.

The Bet: Brandon Moreno wins by Decision (+140, 1u) | Moreno / Royval goes the Distance (-120, 0.5u)

Bet UFC 255 at DraftKings and get a 200% profit boost.

Reed Wallach: Mike Perry vs. Tim Means

Contributor at The Action Network

Tim Means is set to fight in his 44th professional scrap, and will be facing an interesting and very likely spiraling opponent in Mike Perry.

This line has dropped precipitously as Perry continues displaying erratic behavior. “Platinum” tweeted early Friday that he was not going to be able to make weight ahead of the morning’s weigh in, and questioned his career in the process. When he got to the scales, he missed it by 4.5 pounds!

The fight will go on, but Perry may be swimming in deep waters against veteran Means. Perry has taken on bigger men and came out victorious, but it doesn’t hurt “The Dirty Bird” that he has a 4-inch height and reach advantage on Perry.

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Perry has been all over the place of late, but what he is also riding is a misplaced reputation. Perry is known for being a violent striker, but has not landed a knockout since 2017. Perry was able to score an ugly decision victory over Mickey Gall in July as a -335 favorite.

In his corner for that fight was just his girlfriend, who has zero MMA experience. Means’ has fought in nearly five times as many fights as Gall, and will not let Perry control a grind-it-out fight like the July co-main.

While who is in Perry’s corner is not the end all be all, it does show where his head is at. Up against a veteran like Means, it will be exploited. Means is a smart fighter who defends strikes at a 61% clip, per UFC Stats.

As this fight potentially drags into the third round, Perry will be outmanned and out coached. His corner for this fight will be his girlfriend once again, and his friend Matthew, according to Perry on media day this week.

At any plus number I’m going to back Means to win as a professional and put the hurt on Perry.

The Pick: Tim Means ML (+105)

[Bet UFC 255 now at PointsBet risk-free up to $250]

_BookPromo=154

College Football Odds & Picks for USC vs. Utah: Bet Against Both Teams by Taking the Under

ncaa-college football-betting-odds-pick-usc-utah-november 21 2020

USC vs. Utah Odds

USC Odds -2 [BET NOW]
Utah Odds +2 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -124/+102 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 57.5 [BET NOW]
Time 10:30 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
Odds as of Thursday evening and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

USC enters its matchup against Utah on a two-game winning streak after dispatching both Arizona schools, albeit in somewhat disappointing fashion. The Trojans have yet to cover the spread or eclipse the total despite having an established quarterback and one of the top wide receiver rooms in the country.

Meanwhile, Utah will be making its season debut after back-to-back cancellations. Kyle Whittingham enters his 16th season as the Utes head coach following an 11-3 season that saw the Utes contend for a Pac-12 championship.

Whittingham will have to rebuild his team after losing his starting quarterback and bell-cow running back. The Utes also must replace most of their formidable 2019 defense that allowed the sixth-fewest points per game in FBS.

USC’s struggles to put up points against Arizona and Arizona State point to the value in this matchup. And given Utah’s team overhaul, points look like they’ll be at a premium in this game.


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USC Trojans

USC might be 2-0, but neither of its wins have been particularly impressive, especially when you consider the spread for each game. The win against Arizona State appears to be a fluke, as the Trojans finished with a 17% post-game win expectancy. Their post-game win expectancy in the win against Arizona was only 56%.

Announcers speculated that there may be a minor injury hindering quarterback Kedon Slovis, but there has been no confirmation from the program that Slovis is dealing with any kind of injury. It’s impossible to say that the passing game is completely struggling, because USC is averaging 353 passing yards per game and has only thrown one interception.

However, given the weapons available at the skill positions and the Trojans’ offensive scheme, it feels like there’s something missing in the passing game. That missing piece is particularly impactful, because USC’s passing attack was expected to be the strength of the offense. The Trojans report a passing success rate of 41.7% and are only averaging 7.1 yards per attempt.

The running game was expected to be the weaker part of the offense, but it has played above expectations. The Trojans have a rushing success rate of 49.2% and are averaging 4.8 yards per rush attempt. Five of the team’s eight total touchdowns have come on the ground.

Offensive line appears to be a concern as the Trojans have allowed 7.5 tackles for a loss per game. The line is generating just 2.81 line yards per rush attempt and has allowed a stuff rate of 23.1%. Considering the magnitude of those struggles in the trenches, it’s fairly surprising that the team’s rushing success rate is as high as 49.2%.

Defense appears to be the strength of this team through two games. USC has an overall defensive success rate of 40.2% and has generated Havoc on 20.5% of its opponents’ offensive plays. The Trojans fare better against the pass (36.1% passing success rate allowed) than against the run (43.7% success rate allowed). However, the USC defense has also stuffed 21.1% of opposing rush attempts, which helps to mitigate the disparity.

Utah Utes

Utah ranked as high as fifth in the country in 2019, but with serious changes to the roster this offseason Whittingham will have a challenge on his hands to make the most of a four-game season.

Long-time South Carolina starter Jake Bentley is expected to start at quarterback after the exit of Tyler Huntley. Bentley was a strong option as a freshman, but has shown signs of regression in each of the past three years. In particular, he’s demonstrated a tendency to turn the ball over, logging two seasons with more than 10 interceptions. And, unlike Huntley, Bentley does not possess a strong rushing skillset: He has less than 150 career rushing yards.

In addition to Huntley, the Utes will also have to replace running back Zach Moss, who rushed for 1,416 yards and accounted for 17 total touchdowns last season. Devin Brumfield and Jordan Wilmore are expected to split Moss’ vacated workload, but they combined for just 108 carries in 2019 and only managed 4.2 yards per carry.

The strength of the offense is expected to be the offensive line that returns four starters. However, that group is only average. Utah’s linemen allowed a stuff rate of  20.3% and 6.14 tackles for loss per game last season. This unit will need to show improvement as the new starters develop.

Only two starters remain from the 2019 defense that may have been the best in program history. They allowed the ninth-lowest success rate and the ninth-fewest points per opportunity. But after that campaign, they’ll return just one starter from the defensive line and one linebacker. But, Whittingham has proven himself capable of coaching up a defense: His teams have allowed less than 24 points per game in each of the last five seasons.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

The Utes were the slowest team in the FBS in 2019, averaging more than 31.5 seconds per play. And while the Trojans rank as the 16th-fastest offense over their first two games, their general inefficiency is keeping their scores lower and games closer than the lines have projected.

If USC’s struggles continue, the totals on their games will plummet. So, there’s a limited window to bet the under.

I’m playing under 58 and would play it as low as 54.5.

Pick: Under 58 (down to 54.5)

[Bet the USC-Utah under now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 bonus, including a $500 risk-free bet]

_BookPromo=49

Fantasy Streamers: Chargers Defense, Taysom Hill, More Week 11 Picks

Taysom Hill

Streaming quarterback, kicker and defense has been a strategy I’ve used successfully for years.

I’ve parlayed that success into a series of weekly recommendations of the top streaming options at those three positions as well as tight end — a position I don’t recommend streaming week-to-week, though still offer recommendations for fantasy players who may need a short-term rental.

Go To Sean Koerner’s Full Week 11 Rankings

Here are this season’s results through Week 10:

  • Defense: DEF4
  • Quarterback: QB13
  • Kicker: K5
  • Tight end: TE17

Now without further ado, let’s go streaming!

Note: Availability as of Tuesday and via Yahoo Fantasy. Rankings also as of Tuesday.


Week 11 Defense Streamer

Chargers vs. Jets

The Chargers are a high-floor play against the Jets. I’m assuming Joey Bosa will return from his concussion for this game, but if he’s ruled out again, we can revisit which defense is the top streaming play in my Updated Streamers.

Week 11 QB Streamer

Updated QB Pick: Taysom Hill, Saints (62% availability as of Saturday)

There’s still a chance Sean Payton could play both Hill and Jameis Winston, and if Payton hints at that before the game, I would pivot to Derek Carr (35% owned). But if Hill is still ranked inside my top 15 about 30 minutes before the 1 p.m. ET games kickoff, he will be my streaming pick.

Editor’s note: Sean’s original streaming pick, Jameis Winston, has been removed.

Fantasy Football CTA for PRO

Week 11 Kicker Streamer

Vikings K Dan Bailey vs. Cowboys

The Vikings have the third-highest team total of Week 11 and should provide Bailey with plenty of scoring chances.

The weather has started to become more of a factor as we approach winter. It’s ideal to lock in a kicker who is playing in a dome to prevent us from making a weather-related decision later in the week.

Play NFL DFS? Access Our Industry-Leading Tools & Projections For Just $4.95

Week 11 TE Streamer

Washington TE Logan Thomas vs. Bengals

Thomas is an extreme high-floor TE option, which is always nice to have when streaming the position. His routes run per dropback were 98% last week, making him practically a WR at this point.

Alex Smith could also be a boost to Thomas’s value, as they connected for 4/66/0 last week.  He also has a plus matchup this week since the Bengals have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends.

Saturday UFC 255 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Jordan Wright vs. Joaquin Buckley: Plenty Of Betting Value On Underdog (Saturday, Nov. 21)

Buckley vs. Wright Odds

Buckley odds
-250 [BET NOW]
Wright odds
+195 [BET NOW]
Over/Under
1.5 (+126/-162) [BET NOW]
Venue
UFC APEX, Las Vegas
Time
Saturday, 9 p.m. ET
Channel
ESPN2

Odds as of Saturday morning and via PointsBet, where you can get $250 FREE instantly after signing up AND your bets automatically sync to the Action app. Learn more about BetSync here.


Joaquin Buckley enters UFC 255 with plenty of buzz from around the Mixed Martial Arts world for his highlight reel kick last month. His spinning kick off one foot that knocked Impa Kasanganay out cold was one of the most impressive finishes in the promotion’s history and oddsmakers have jumped on the hype, placing him as a hefty favorite in his third fight against undefeated Jordan Wright.

Both men are seeking to jump into the middleweight rankings with a win on Saturday’s undercard. I’ll break down where I see some potential betting value in this matchup below.

Tale of the Tape

Buckley Wright
Record 11-3 11-0 (1 NC)
Avg. Fight Time 8:48 1:06
Height 5’10” 6’2″
Weight (pounds) 185 lbs. 185 lbs.
Reach (inches) 76″ 77″
Stance Southpaw Orthodox
Date of birth 4/27/94 10/07/91
Sig Strikes Per Min 3.92 7.79
SS Accuracy 32% 77%
SS Absorbed Per Min 6.09 7.79
SS Defense 49% 19%
Take Down Avg 0.85 0.00
TD Acc 25% 0%
TD Def 0% 0%
Submission Avg 0.0 0.0

You can’t take too much from Wright’s statistics. He finished his first opponent in the UFC, Ike Villanueva, in 91 seconds, so his stats are noticeably inflated. I will give some more color to that quick debut below, but it was very impressive for a first go in the octagon.

Buckley stands 5-foot-10 with a chiseled frame, but will look diminutive against the 6-foot-2 Wright. However, Wright will only have a one inch advantage in the reach department.

Buckley has made it clear in his opening two fights that he likes to stand and let his hands go, a bit recklessly to be fair. He has landed 3.92 significant strikes per minute, but has also absorbed 6.09, according to data from UFC Stats.

_BookPromo=154

Wright vs. Buckley Betting Pick

This is a great sell high spot on Buckley, who was priced +350 and +210 in his first two matches in the promotion, quickly becoming a trendy chalk pick.

While everyone will point to Buckley’s highlight reel finish, Wright scored his first win in his debut at light heavyweight against the veteran Villanueva in a vicious matter. Wright cut up Villanueva so bad in the opening round that the doctor called the fight less than two minutes into the action.

Wright is 11-0 and possesses the size advantage, as stated above. While he began his UFC career at light heavyweight, he is a natural middleweight so I don’t foresee any weight cutting issues.

While the hype is around Buckley, let’s go back to his prior two fights in the octagon. He was a late fill in against Kevin Holland, and a substantial +350 underdog. Buckley was outmatched by the ranked Holland and got knocked out in the third round.

His follow up performance against Kasanganay was competitive up until Buckley turned the lights out on his opponent. Buckley was higher than a 2-1 dog in that fight as well, so I see this number incredibly inflated based on that one kick.

This is a play on the price. The number of -280 at PointsBet has drifted way too far for Buckley against an undefeated fighter. “The Beverly Hills Ninja” is a finishing savant, with all 11 of his wins coming inside of the distance and 10 of them coming in the first round. As we saw above, Wright is hunting early and often for a finish.

If Buckley tries to engage Wright, Wright can turn this into a grappling bout where his size can really take over and put Buckley in some serious trouble.

While Buckley is an imposing figure, I think that Wright can hang and land a knockout blow early and finish the overvalued Buckley.

The Pick: Jordan Wright +215 (play down to +160)

[Bet UFC 255 now at PointsBet risk-free up to $250]

College Football Odds & Picks for Arizona vs. Washington: Bet the Over in Pac-12 Matchup

ncaa-college football-betting-odds-pick-arizona-washington-november 21 2020

Arizona vs. Washington Odds

Arizona Odds +11.5 [BET NOW]
Washington Odds -11.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +370/-520 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 52.5 [BET NOW]
Time 8 p.m. ET
TV FOX
Odds as of Saturday evening and via FanDuel. Get up to a $1,000 risk-free bet at FanDuel today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

After losing a close game against USC, Arizona will have to turn around for another tough matchup as it heads to Washington.

The Huskies are coming off a win over Oregon State in Week 1 and receive another advantageous matchup for their offense here. Arizona kept it close against USC after going nearly a full year without playing a game, but will the Wildcats be able to cover another spread on the road against the Huskies?

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Arizona Wildcats

Offense

Arizona seems to have found a good one in quarterback Grant Gunnell. The 6’6, former three-star recruit performed well as a true freshman last year and continued to impress against USC last week.

Gunnell ranked highly in a lot of metrics last season as a true freshman, but the sample size was small. Going into the year, I was interested to see if he could keep up his 2019 performance or if it was a result of a small sample size. Against USC, he definitely showed the potential to be a quality starter going forward. In terms of Expected Points Added, Gunnell averaged 0.436 per play. There are only 16 quarterbacks with at least 100 snaps who rank higher.

In total, Arizona ranks 37th in EPA per play on offense after Game 1. The Wildcats gained 444 yards on 76 plays and put up 30 points.

Defense

Arizona was one of the worst defenses in the country in 2019 and lost its top six tacklers from that unit.

The 2019 Arizona defense ranked 128th in Success Rate, 123rd in First Down Rate, 127th in Busted Drive Rate, and 121st in Sack Rate. From what it showed against USC, I’m not sure we can expect much of an improvement this year.

The Wildcats rank 116th in Success Rate and 125th in Available Yards Allowed. Arizona allowed 9.3% of USC’s offensive plays to go for at least 20 yards, while the national average sits at 6.8%. Unsurprisingly, the Wildcats rank 116th in that department. They allowed the Trojans to cross their 40-yard line nine times and did not record a single sack of Kedon Slovis. Arizona will also be facing a Washington offensive line that did not give up any sacks against Oregon State.


Washington Huskies

Offense

The Washington offense underwent a lot of changes after 2019, so it was hard to get a read on how the offense would look in 2020 with a new quarterback and head coach. The 2019 offense ranked 70th in EPA per play, so there was definitely room for improvement going forward.

Against Oregon State, the Huskies posted a 47% Success Rate and kept quarterback Dylan Morris clean throughout the whole game. Washington gained 70% of available yards, which has it ranking third nationally in that department after one game. The Huskies also rank third in First Down Rate.

Quarterback Jacob Eason declared for the NFL Draft after last season, which left Morris as the starter in 2020. Morris performed well in his first game of the season and currently ranks sixth among Pac-12 quarterbacks in Pro Football Focus grade.

Defense

Washington is known for its defense, and with former defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake taking over as head coach, it figured to continue performing well in 2020.

Washington’s defensive performance against Oregon State was interesting. It allowed Oregon State to successfully move the ball on a per-play basis but also did not give up a single play over 20 yards. However, the Huskies will look to improve in Success Rate.

Oregon State posted a 48% Success Rate on the game, and it increased to 61% on standard downs. Currently, the Huskies are third-worst in the nation in standard downs Success Rate Allowed.

Washington also had problems up front and ranks 124th in Line Yards and 123rd in Opportunity Rate on the defensive line. Washington has only played one game, so it’s tough to tell if this is actually a cause for concern or just a one-game outlier. Washington’s top two interior defensive linemen currently grade in the 50s, according to PFF.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

There is a lot of uncertainty here, as we are dealing with a one-game sample size for both teams.

However, my numbers show value on the total of 52.5. Both teams ran at least 75 plays in their first games, so we can expect a relatively fast pace. I project the total at 60.3 and admittedly took a bad number on the opener, but I see a good bit of value on the over here. I don’t see Arizona stopping Washington here — or any Power Five offense in general.

Pick: Over 52.5 (up to 54.5)

[Bet the Arizona-Washington over at FanDuel completely risk-free up to $1,000]

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