NFL Betting Preview

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Sunday, October 13, 2019

BUCCANEERS VS PANTHERS

Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium | Start: 12:30am AEDT

Cam Newton was off the mark in the first meeting between these NFC South rivals last month, but the Carolina Panthers are in London without Newton this week. The focus of the offense is the NFL’s leader in touches, Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, who missed Wednesday’s practice with a sore back. While he’ll still be saddled with carrying his team in England on Sunday, McCaffrey should get some help from subbing quarterback Kyle Allen. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are showing plenty of potency on offense with a fearless characteristic coming out of Jameis Winston. The Buccaneers attacked downfield in the first meeting between these teams. The 2015 No. 1 overall pick is growing into his own under Bruce Arians. But without the benefit of a strong running game, Winston is still under siege. He was sacked six times last week at New Orleans and 18 times in five games, including three against the Panthers in Week 2. Winston is clicking with wide receiver Chris Godwin, who has a team-high 33 receptions for 511 yards and six touchdowns.

Win: Carolina
Margin: Carolina 1-13
Line: Carolina -2.5
Total Points: Under 47.0

RAVENS VS BENGALS

Venue: M&T Bank Stadium | Start: 4:00am AEDT

Despite cooling off from a hot start, the Baltimore Ravens are back in the AFC North driver’s seat, and they’ll look to widen the advantage when the winless Cincinnati Bengals visit on Sunday. The Ravens pulled out a 26-23 overtime victory on Sunday at Pittsburgh, with the Steelers down to third-string quarterback Devlin Hodges for much of the game. That brought Baltimore to 3-2 after consecutive losses, which regained the Ravens the division lead when the Cleveland Browns were routed in San Francisco on Monday night. Lamar Jackson has five interceptions against four touchdowns while taking nine sacks across the last two games, after opening with seven scores and no picks. As for the Bengals (0-5), their late rally — scoring two touchdowns in the final five minutes — was not enough to beat the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, as they fell on a last-second field goal. Still seeking his first win, new head coach Zac Taylor’s offense has had bright moments but has been short-circuited by a battered offensive line, with Andy Dalton taking 20 sacks through five games. The Bengals’ defense is also an issue, allowing an average of 411.8 yards per game (31st in the NFL0 and 6.5 yards per play (29th).

Win: Baltimore
Margin: Cincinnati 1-13
Line: Cincinnati +12.5
Total Points: Under 47.5

CHIEFS VS TEXANS

Venue: Arrowhead Stadium | Start: 4:00am AEDT

The second and third quarterbacks taken in the 2017 NFL Draft will face off Sunday when the Houston Texans visit the Kansas City Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes (10th overall) and Deshaun Watson (12th) have combined for five career games with at least five touchdown passes, one fewer than the rest of the NFL combined (six) since they were drafted. Watson’s most recent came in Sunday’s 53-32 blistering of the Atlanta Falcons, as he became the first player ever to throw for 400-plus yards and five scores with five or fewer incompletions. Mahomes, meanwhile, is nursing a left ankle injury sustained in a 19-13 home loss to the Indianapolis Colts, in which the Chiefs (4-1) halved their previous low point total since Mahomes became the starter. Mahomes said the injury won’t affect his mobility, but he was sacked four times Sunday and could again have leaky protection. Injuries on both sides of the ball required Kansas City to sign reinforcements in O-lineman Stefan Wisniewski and defensive tackle Terrell McClain this week. The Texans (3-2) hope to take advantage on both fronts, as their pass rush (14 sacks over the last four games) and pass protection (no sacks allowed against the Falcons) are both in good form. Houston’s ground game ranks ninth in yards per carry (5.05) against a Kansas City defense allowing 5.30 yards per carry (31st in NFL).

Win: Kansas City
Margin: Kansas City 1-13
Line: Houston +5.5
Total Points: Under 54.5

JAGUARS VS SAINTS

Venue: TIAA Bank Field | Start: 4:00am AEDT

Since losing Drew Brees in defeat to the Rams in Los Angeles, the New Orleans Saints are 3-0 and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has done more than steady the ship. Surrounding by star talent at running back — Alvin Kamara — and wide recevier — Michael Thomas — the Saints still put defenses on their heels. Unheralded is the offensive line excelling in Sean Payton’s scheme. The group will get a big test this week against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have a talent-laden front seven and fierce pass rush. Bridgewater survives on accuracy and a quick trigger, which should negate the Jacksonville push. The question for Jacksonville this week is how to put up enough points to have a chance in the fourth quarter. Rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew can expect plenty of blitzes and disguised coverage from New Orleans, which will send any player on the field in designed blitz schemes. The best way to set the table for Minshew is another monster effort from running back Leonard Fournette. He has 333 rushing yards the past two weeks. Minshew had issues holding onto the ball last week. He will want to avoid cornerback Marshon Lattimore, who has owned the left side of the field for New Orleans this season.

Win: New Orleans
Margin: New Orleans 1-13
Line: New Orleans +1.0
Total Points: Over 44.0

DOLPHINS VS REDSKINS

Venue: Hard Rock Stadium | Start: 4:00am AEDT

Winless teams experiencing hard knocks meet at Hard Rock Stadium and the quarterback matchup says everything observers need to know about where the clubs stand more than one-fourth of the way through the regular season. It’s Josh Rosen, quickly tossed overboard in Arizona after the Cardinals invested a first-round pick to take him in the 2018 draft, for the Miami Dolphins and Case Keenum — journeyman passer on his fourth team in four seasons — for the Washington Redskins. The Redskins could show a few new looks under interim coach Bill Callahan, who prefers to play with power and stress winning in the trenches. Callahan is in his first game as head coach after Jay Gruden was fired five games into his sixth season in Washington. Trouble for Callahan is, the offensive line has been a chronic weak spot and the running back position lacks a bell-cow option at the moment. The Dolphins are having similar headaches up front. Rosen has been sacked seven times with one touchdown in two starts. Skill-position help isn’t great for the Dolphins, either.

Win: Washington
Margin: Washington 1-13
Line: Miami +3.5
Total Points: Over 41.0

BROWNS VS SEAHAWKS

Venue: FirstEnergy Stadium | Start: 4:00am AEDT

Fresh off their most complete performance of the season – a dramatic 30-29 home win over NFC West rival Los Angeles – the Seahawks travel to Cleveland to battle both the Browns and a potential emotional letdown. Quarterbacks often earn too much credit for wins and too much blame in defeats but the contrast thus far this season between Russell Wilson and Baker Mayfield is jarring. Wilson, the NFL’s leader with 12 passing touchdowns over the first five weeks, has yet to throw an interception, establishing himself as a legitimate MVP candidate. Mayfield on the other hand, has throw twice as many picks (eight) as touchdowns. Both teams would love to complement their passing attacks with the running game. After losing fumbles in each of Seattle’s first three games, Chris Carson has reverted back to the bulldozer that helped him finish fifth in the NFL in rushing yards (1,151 yards in 14 games) last year. Nick Chubb has proven to be Cleveland’s most dependable player, finishing just outside of the 1,000-yard club as a rookie (996 yards, starting just nine games), currently ranking fourth in the NFL with 484 yards and four touchdowns. Chubb could be challenged by Seattle’s dominant linebacker corps as will Seahawks left tackle Duane Brown against the Browns’ star edge rusher Myles Garrett.

Win: Seattle
Margin: Seattle 1-13
Line: Cleveland +1.5
Total Points: Over 47.0

VIKINGS VS EAGLES

Venue: U.S. Bank Stadium | Start: 4:00am AEDT

The Minnesota Vikings have been nearly flawless against non-division foes this season, and they’ll look to improve to 4-0 in such games when the Philadelphia Eagles visit on Sunday. Sandwiched around losses at the Packers in Week 2 and Bears in Week 4, the Vikings have beaten the Falcons, Raiders and Giants by a combined score of 90-36, including a 28-10 win at New York last week. Kirk Cousins (22 of 27, 306 yards, two TDs) had easily his best performance of the season, soothing concerns about the team’s passing game after a shaky start through four weeks. Cousins’ performance didn’t take away from the run game, either — Dalvin Cook had 21 carries for 132 yards, his fourth 100-yard game of the campaign, while chipping in six catches for 86 yards. The Eagles, also 3-2, enter on a two-game win streak. After running over the Packers on Thursday night in Week 4, they racked up 10 sacks the Sam Darnold-less Jets on Sunday in a 31-6 shellacking. Carson Wentz was kept under 200 yards for the second straight game, but he went a third straight contest without an interception. Running back Jordan Howard has 149 rushing yards over the last two weeks and has scored five total touchdowns over the last three games. Philadelphia is expected to remain without wideout DeSean Jackson (abdomen).

Win: Minnesota
Margin: Minnesota 1-13
Line: Philadelphia +3.0
Total Points: Under 44.0

RAMS VS 49ERS

Venue: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum | Start: 7:05am AEDT

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and the undefeated San Francisco 49ers have been as impressive as any team in the league over the first month, including in a 31-3 thrashing of the Cleveland Browns at home on Monday night. Unlike previous playoff contenders from San Francisco, this year’s 49ers team is finding gold via the running game and defense, ranking first in rushing — averaging a cool 200 yards per contest and second in overall defense, surrendering just 257.5 yards per game. The Rams, quietly, are tied for the league with eight rushing touchdowns (five by Todd Gurley) but check in just 22nd overall in rushing this season, averaging just 96.2 yards per contest. The league’s second-best passing attack (behind only Kansas City) will be tested by a suddenly fierce 49ers pass rush. While the 49ers have shined thus far, the task gets much tougher against Aaron Donald, who continues to be the most disruptive defender in the NFL. The Rams may appear desperate at 3-2 but could bounce back quickly with a home win over the current NFC West leaders and the Falcons (currently 1-4), Bengals (0-5) and Steelers (1-4) up next.

Win: LA Rams
Margin: LA Rams 1-13
Line: San Francisco +3.5
Total Points: Under 50.5

CARDINALS VS FALCONS

Venue: State Farm Stadium | Start: 7:05am AEDT

Evidence that real football is played between the white lines and not on stat sheets will be shown Sunday in Glendale with Matt Ryan – currently the NFL’s second-leading passer – hoping to get the Falcons back on flight against reigning Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray, whose Cardinals have mustered an NFC-worst eight total touchdowns in five games. Injuries and inexperience along the offensive line has left the Falcons essentially one-winged. While Ryan ranks behind only Patrick Mahomes with 1,655 passing yards and 11 touchdowns, he’s also thrown seven interceptions – matching his total all of last year. The Falcons have been even worse running the ball, averaging just 67.6 yards per game with just two touchdowns (one by Ryan) on the ground, thus far this season. At least the Cardinals’ eight scores are split evenly with four apiece via the running and passing attacks. Arizona not only has the more balanced offense; it boasts a significantly better defense – at least on paper – as well. Perhaps even more disconcerting for embattled Falcons head coach Dan Quinn (a defensive guru) is the fact that Atlanta has collected just five sacks in as many games this season (tied for last in the league) while surrendering 30.4 points per game. Only the winless Dolphins (40.8) are giving up more.

Win: Atlanta
Margin: Atlanta 1-13
Line: Atlanta -2.5
Total Points: Under 51.0

JETS VS COWBOYS

Venue: MetLife Stadium | Start: 7:25am AEDT

The New York Jets hope the return of starting quarterback Sam Darnold can fix their woes on Sunday when the Dallas Cowboys visit East Rutherford, N.J. With Darnold out the last three games due to mononucleosis, the Jets (0-4) lost by a combined margin of 84-23. The offense — led by a combination of Trevor Siemian, Luke Falk and David Fales — was even less productive than those 23 points would indicate, as 14 of them were the product of defensive or special-teams touchdowns. The Jets totaled just 299 passing yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions while taking 19 sacks over that span. The Cowboys (3-2), meanwhile, hope to snap out of a funk of their own, having lost two straight at New Orleans and at home to Green Bay. Dallas totaled 563 yards of offense against the Packers, the fifth-highest total in team history, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a 31-3 deficit. Ezekiel Elliott has been limited to 97 rushing yards on 30 carries over the last two weeks after topping 100 yards in each of the previous two games. His 77.2 weekly average is well below his career mark (98.5), as Elliott led the league in the category in each of his first three NFL seasons.

Win: Dallas
Margin: Dallas 1-13
Line: NY Jets +7.5
Total Points: Over 43.0

BRONCOS VS TITANS

Venue: Empower Field at Mile High | Start: 7:25am AEDT

Fresh off Vic Fangio’s first win as an NFL head coach, the Denver Broncos will look for their first home win of the season when the Tennessee Titans visit on Sunday. The Broncos (1-4), came oh-so-close to a 2-0 start at home, but last-second field goals by the Bears and Jaguars sunk them in Weeks 2 and 4. In its first game without Bradley Chubb (torn ACL), Denver didn’t sack Philip Rivers but intercepted him twice and held him to 4.4 yards per attempt, his worst in any game since 2007 and worst ever in a game with at least 32 attempts. Marcus Mariota averaged 8.3 yards per attempt against the Bills last week but took five sacks despite the return of left tackle Taylor Lewan. It was the fourth time this season Mariota has been sacked at least four times. Tennessee lost 14-7 with four missed field goals by kicker Cairo Santos, who was promptly released this week and replaced by Cody Parkey. The Titans are 2-1 on the road with a point margin of 74-43 across the three games, but they haven’t won in Denver since 1987, with five losses (including two in the postseason) since. The Broncos have never started a season 0-3 at home.

Win: Denver
Margin: Denver 1-13
Line: Tennessee +2.5
Total Points: Under 39.0

CHARGERS VS STEELERS

Venue: Dignity Health Sports Park | Start: 11:20am AEDT

Mason Rudolph was back at practice on Wednesday just days after being knocked out on the field, and there’s no guarantee the Pittsburgh Steelers won’t be taking their one-win team to LA with a third-string quarterback at the helm on Sunday night. The primetime matchup is a high-profile mulligan for the Chargers. Head coach Anthony Lynn apologized to fans for sitting through the Week 5 loss to the Denver Broncos. In that game, running back Austin Ekeler put up a record showing with 15 receptions out of the backfield and could get company this week with the expected return of Melvin Gordon. That’s all overwhelming news for the Steelers, whose defense spends too much time on the field as the offense seeks an identity and consistently healthy quarterback. It could be Devlin Hodges behind center for the Steelers this week, which would invite a heavy dose of running back James Conner against the stout Chargers’ front seven.

Win: LA Chargers
Margin: LA Chargers 1-13
Line: Pittsburgh +7.5
Total Points: Over 41.5