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RED­SKINS (0-5) AT DOL­PHINS (0-4)

LINE: WASHINGTON by 3½ even the Joker would find it ab­surd to be spot­ting road points with the red­skins. turns out, the last laugh may be on him. With Mi­ami re­turn­ing from its bye week, per­haps the odd­s­maker for­got how bad this club re­ally is. Let us re­mind them. the dol­phins have scored 26 points … this sea­son! they have scored just two of­fen­sive touch­downs. they are av­er­ag­ing 225 yards of of­fence per game, rank­ing them only ahead of the use­less Jets, but plac­ing them 40 yards per game be­hind the next-clos­est club. On the rare oc­ca­sion the Fish find them­selves in the red zone, they have scored touch­downs a pal­try 17% of the time in a league that con­verts 55% of red-zone ap­pear­ances into ma­jors. tank­ing would be an up­grade to what­ever it is the Fins are do­ing. the Skins are also a mess. but we’ve seen them move the ball. they should be able to run it down Mi­ami’s throat. also, teams com­monly re­spond to a new coach, in­terim or not, as bill callahan takes over for fired Jay Gru­den.

TAK­ING: RED­SKINS –3½

SAINTS (4-1) AT JAGUARS (2-3)

LINE: JACK­SONVILLE by 1 Jaguars come home af­ter play­ing three of four on the road with only home stint oc­cur­ring on a thurs­day night. Jack­sonville should wel­come this op­por­tu­nity to equal its record in front of a home crowd. they may have found the per­fect vis­i­tor. We say per­fect not as a slight to­ward New Or­leans, but they are ar­riv­ing here af­ter a pair of home games. its stock is up as teddy bridge­wa­ter is 3-0 since re­plac­ing the in­jured drew brees. as a re­sult, this price is dis­counted and an op­por­tu­nity ex­ists. bridge­wa­ter has been mainly a game man­ager. He was able to post some de­cent num­bers against the bucs last week, but tampa ranks dead-last in de­fend­ing the pass. Prior to that, teddy hadn’t reached 200 yards throw­ing in a game. a strong pass rush should also dis­rupt New Or­leans’ of­fen­sive flow. be­sides, Jack­sonville’s of­fence has bet­ter num­bers both pass­ing and rush­ing through fives games. Saints have bears on deck fol­lowed by four of six di­vi­sion games. they could eas­ily get caught nap­ping here. TAK­ING: JAGUARS –1

STEEL­ERS (1-4) AT CHARG­ERS (2-3)

LINE: L.A. CHARG­ERS by 6½ Steel­ers in prime time. What a sur­prise. More im­por­tantly, Pitts­burgh is a sig­nif­i­cant un­der­dog to a team that hardly de­serves to be priced in this range. We saw it just last week when the bolts laid an egg to the then-win­less bron­cos. in ad­di­tion, the Steel­ers relish this role. Un­der Mike tom­lin, Pitts­burgh owns a 21-8-2 against the spread (ats) mark in pre­vi­ous 31 games it’s been spot­ted points. Granted, the Steel­ers be­ing down to their third-string quar­ter­back af­ter sec­ond-stringer Ma­son ru­dolph was knocked out by a raven last week has fac­tored into this spread, but that’s okay. devlin Hodges is likely an up­grade to ru­dolph and he’ll make his first NFL start against a hurt­ing charg­ers sec­ondary. Of­fen­sively, the bolts are trou­bled as well. they man­aged just 35 rush­ing yards a week ago. an in­ept of­fen­sive line can’t open up run­ning lanes, nor can it pro­tect an im­mo­bile Philip rivers. the charg­ers have one win in reg­u­la­tion time this sea­son and that was against the sad-sack dol­phins. can’t see them winning by a mar­gin here, if at all. TAK­ING: STEEL­ERS +6½

PAN­THERS (3-2) VS. BUC­CA­NEERS (2-3) AT LON­DON, ENG­LAND

LINE: CAROLINA by 2½ back to eng­land we go and it fea­tures the first re­match of the year. these two met up in Week 2, on a thurs­day night in char­lotte when the bucs pulled off an upset win as a 6½-point un­der­dog. tampa opened as the favourite here, but ac­tion went to­ward carolina. Makes per­fect sense as Pan­thers haven’t lost since cam New­ton went down and Kyle allen took over, while tampa’s de­fence is a sorry group that forces its of­fence to rack up points in or­der to have a chance to win. How­ever, in that first meet­ing, the bucs held the league’s hottest run­ning back to 37 yards rush­ing and 16 yards re­ceiv­ing for chris­tian Mccaf­fery’s low­est out­put of the year. bucs rarely play two the same, but they know this op­po­nent well and this also marks carolina’s first trip across the pond. bucs get the lean.

TAK­ING: BUC­CA­NEERS +2½

BEN­GALS (0-5) VS. RAVENS (3-2)

LINE: BAL­TI­MORE by 11½ af­ter some duds, La­mar Jack­son can flex his mus­cles again. We saw him do that to the dol­phins and car­di­nals. the ben­gals could have a worse de­fence than those two. cincin­nati’s sec­ondary can’t cover any­one. Last week saw the car­di­nals shred this de­fence with more than 500 yards of to­tal of­fence. Only the dol­phins have al­lowed more rush­ing yards and to­tal yards. cincin­nati has just two sacks in its past four games. this should be an­other show­case game for bal­ti­more’s of­fence, de­spite its medi­ocrity against more re­spectable teams. Have to be­lieve that the lines­maker re­al­izes how poor the ben­gals re­ally are as this pointsprea­d did seem un­usu­ally high con­sid­er­ing the ravens’ lessthan-im­pres­sive cur­rent form. cincin­nati’s aw­ful de­fence com­bined with its abysmal of­fen­sive line left them no choice. We’re tak­ing no­tice. TAK­ING: RAVENS –11½

SEA­HAWKS (4-1) AT BROWNS (2-3)

LINE: SEAT­TLE by 1½ it ap­pears that cleve­land’s bling is no more than some cos­tume jewellery. Now this disgruntle­d bunch will come home on a short week af­ter be­ing hu­mil­i­ated na­tion­ally on Mon­day night. Of­ten, we see that as a “sell high, buy low” op­por­tu­nity, but the browns just can’t be trusted. Qb baker May­field is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the sopho­more jinx. you can see his lack of con­fi­dence with poorly thrown balls and ques­tion­able de­ci­sions. con­di­tions here won’t help him. a short week of prepa­ra­tion won’t be ben­e­fi­cial. to add in­sult to in­jury, the sched­ule-maker al­lot­ted the Sea­hawks ex­tra days to pre­pare af­ter Seat­tle played 10 days ago in that dra­matic win against the rams. cleve­land is 0-3 ats as hosts while this vis­i­tor has cov­ered 7 of past 8 games when trav­el­ing. can’t count on the brown­ies to get right here. TAK­ING: SEA­HAWKS –1½

TEX­ANS (3-2) AT CHIEFS (4-1)

LINE: KANSAS CITY by 4 this has al­ways been a “what have you done for me lately” type of league. Sun­day night was proof of that as the chiefs were feared by bet­tors ev­ery­where un­til 11-point un­der­dog colts am­bushed Kansas city at ar­row­head. that re­sult caused an open­ing point spread of Kc – 7 to shrink to chiefs giv­ing 4½ now af­ter a sim­ple for­mula of us­ing up the clock against a soft de­fence while keep­ing Qb Patrick Ma­homes on the side­lines was ap­plied. can such a blue­print work here? What we do know is that the tex­ans have the abil­ity to trade punches should this de­velop into a shootout. if that tran­spires, we are more con­fi­dent need­ing Hous­ton’s

de­fence to come up with a stop or two than we would Kansas city’s. chiefs have just one cover in past seven played here. TAK­ING: TEX­ANS +4

EAGLES (3-2) AT VIK­INGS (3-2) LINE: MIN­NESOTA by 3

af­ter watch­ing Min­nesota man­han­dle the Gi­ants last week, we’re not go­ing to get char­lie brown’d here. Let’s see the Vik­ings knock off a winning team or two be­fore we start en­dors­ing them against any team that is not be­low .500. Kirk cousins owns a dis­mal 4-28 record ver­sus win­ners. there are some con­cerns with the eagles as the in­fir­mary is full. they are hurt­ing in their sec­ondary and are very thin at the wide­out po­si­tion. Still, to over­come some of the vul­ner­a­ble spots, Philadel­phia’s edge rush­ers can pres­sure cousins into mak­ing some mis­takes. if Min­nesota opts to have rb dalvin cook take some of the bur­den off of their volatile Qb they will do so against the league’s top run de­fend­ers (eagles al­low­ing just 63 yards per game on the ground). in a close one, pre­fer the points. TAK­ING: EAGLES +3

49ERS (4-0) AT RAMS (3-2) LINE: L.A. RAMS by 3½

the Super bowl run­ner-up epi­demic could be in­fect­ing the rams right now as they’ve lost con­sec­u­tive games and there are many ar­eas of con­cern. L.a.’s of­fen­sive line is prov­ing to be a flimsy unit that can­not pro­tect Qb Jared Goff. in his past three games, Goff has tossed five touch­downs to six in­ter­cep­tions. He has not had the skill­ful run­ning of rb todd Gur­ley to bail him and the rams out this year as the on­ce­feared back has not ex­ceeded 51 yards on the ground in that trio of games. con­versely, the Nin­ers are on a roll. Play­ing well on both sides of the ball, they are the only un­de­feated team in the NFC. they ar­rive in Los an­ge­les on a short week but they barely broke a sweat when clob­ber­ing the browns on Mon­day night. in a big game, have to back the stronger club tak­ing points. TAK­ING: 49ERS +3½

FAL­CONS (1-4) AT CAR­DI­NALS (1-3-1) LINE: AT­LANTA by 2½

af­ter the braves were elim­i­nated from the base­ball playoffs ear­lier this week, we sure hope at­lanta sports fans aren’t turn­ing to the Fal­cons for some re­lief. How­ever, if they re­quire an at­lanta sports-team fix, this might be the right time to tune in. the car­di­nals got off the schneid last week when they de­feated win­less cincin­nati. that has the cards feel­ing all warm and fuzzy, but they are a work in progress. While to­day’s guest has been aw­ful, the Fal­cons bring enough ex­pe­ri­ence to war­rant some sup­port here. this car­di­nals’ de­fence has yet to make an in­ter­cep­tion. Only three teams have al­lowed more yards per game than ari­zona. and it’s not like home field has been much of ad­van­tage as the cards have just eight cov­ers in past 20 played here. TAK­ING: FAL­CONS –2½

COW­BOYS (3-2) AT JETS (0-4) LINE: DAL­LAS by 7

Out since open­ing week, Sam darnold re­turns from his con­cus­sion to lead his strug­gling Jets. it won’t be an instant fix. the Jets have scored only 39 points this sea­son. Fac­ing dal­las’ stel­lar de­fence isn’t sud­denly go­ing to pro­duce an of­fen­sive out­burst. On the de­fen­sive side, key Lb c.j. Mosely re­mains side­lined for the home team and his ab­sence (also since open­ing week) has been pro­found. dal­las gets some class re­lief af­ter fac­ing the Saints and Pack­ers in pre­vi­ous two games. Prior to that pair, the cow­boys’ low­est winning mar­gin against the Gi­ants, red­skins and dol­phins was 10 points. No home-field edge here as Jets have failed to cover in pre­vi­ous seven games on their own field. On a two-game skid, dal­las plays hard on this day and earns an easy win. TAK­ING: COW­BOYS –7

TI­TANS (2-3) AT BRON­COS (1-4) LINE: DEN­VER by 2

this fig­ures to be a low-scorer as both teams ex­hibit their lack­lus­tre of­fences. With lim­ited pass­ing games, ex­pect a lot of work for to­day’s run­ning backs and if that holds true, we give the up­per hand to the ti­tans. We saw Leonard Four­nette tram­ple den­ver’s 22nd-ranked run de­fence for 225 two weeks ago. ten­nessee’s of­fence is sim­i­lar to Jack­sonville’s and, as such, der­rick Henry can have the same type of suc­cess as Four­nette did. Of course, it is dif­fi­cult to put much faith into the ti­tans with their in­con­sis­tent be­hav­iour, but we also can­not trust the bron­cos. den­ver has yet to win at home, it has lost both times when favoured and last week’s mild upset of the charg­ers was den­ver’s first win in nine games. Pre­fer any points of­fered here. TAK­ING: TI­TANS +2

LIONS (2-1-1) AT PACK­ERS (4-1) LINE: GREEN BAY by 4

Strange that the NFL does this, but detroit re­turns from a bye with an ex­tra day added as this is the Mon­day-night matchup. that has af­forded the Lions 15 days to pre­pare for this im­por­tant con­test with di­vi­sion-lead­ing Pack­ers. Maybe it is slight com­pen­sa­tion for detroit as it is forced to face Patrick Ma­homes and aaron rodgers in con­sec­u­tive games. that be­ing said, the Leos did not al­low Ma­homes to throw a touch­down pass in detroit’s most re­cent game. One could ar­gue that this is the best detroit team we’ve seen a cou­ple of years. that should bode well for the Lions here as they are cur­rently on a 4-0 run (straight up and ver­sus spread) against Green bay, sweep­ing the Pack the past two sea­sons. Pack­ers play­ing well, but Lions are a tough out. TAK­ING: LIONS +4

Quar­ter­back Gard­ner Min­shew’s Jack­sonville Jaguars are one-point favourites over the vis­it­ing New Or­leans Saints, who are 3-0 since Teddy Bridge­wa­ter took over at QB.

GETTY IMAGES

Cleve­land Browns quar­ter­back Baker May­field is suf­fer­ing the sopho­more jinx as he pre­pares to take on the Seat­tle Sea­hawks this week­end.

GETTY IMAGES

Bal­ti­more Ravens QB La­mar Jack­son should feast on the win­less Cincin­nati Ben­gals on Sun­day.

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