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Fal­cons (0-5) at Vikings (1-4) LINE: MIN­NESOTA by 4

Fad­ing the Fal­cons is an easy sell as they re­main in a tail­spin and now must deal with a bunch of coach­ing changes af­ter Dan Quinn was fi­nally given his pink slip. How­ever, one has to ques­tion the phys­i­cal and men­tal makeup of the Vikings right now. They blew a game last Sun­day night for all to see when they couldn’t gain a short yard to se­cure a win and then al­lowed the Sea­hawks to march 94 yards for the win­ning score with sec­onds re­main­ing. Not only did Min­nesota lose the game, it lost top multi-pur­pose back Dalvin Cook in the process. While At­lanta owns a leaky de­fence, it has only al­lowed nine more points than the Vikes. Pre­fer to ac­cept the points of­fered. TAK­ING: FAL­CONS +4

Tex­ans (1-4) at Ti­tans (4-0)

LINE: TEN­NESSEE by 3

There’s a funny stench em­a­nat­ing from this one. The un­de­feated Ti­tans are spot­ting just a field goal at home to the 1-4 Tex­ans and this af­ter the en­tire foot­ball world watched Ten­nessee dis­man­tle what was thought to be a very good Buf­falo team? Hous­ton def­i­nitely has a spring in its step af­ter notch­ing its first win and more im­por­tantly, rid­ding it­self of Bill O’Brien’s dic­ta­tor­ship. The Ti­tans were the ben­e­fi­cia­ries of an un­planned 16-day rest be­fore fac­ing the Bills. With COVID-19 is­sues, they are now forced to play on five days rest, some­thing that no team is ac­cus­tomed to. Hous­ton can creep back into the AFC South race with a win here and it has fared well vs. this divi­sion foes with a 12-5-1 mark against the spread in its past 18. Let’s fol­low the heady aroma here.

TAK­ING: TEX­ANS +3

Browns (4-1) at Steel­ers (4-0)

LINE: PITTS­BURGH by 3½

The Browns are work­ing dili­gently at shed­ding mon­keys off their backs. This one is King Kong. Cleve­land has not won at Pitts­burgh since 2003. All eyes will be on this early start as the AFC North is a hotly con­tested divi­sion be­tween these two com­bat­ants and the Ravens. This is also the first time these two teams will have met since the Myles Gar­rett-Ma­son Ru­dolph in­ci­dent from a year ago. The im­pact of Gar­rett’s sus­pen­sion has never been clearer as he has be­come one of the top de­fen­sive ends in the game. While the Steel­ers are un­de­feated in four games, their cre­den­tials leave some­thing to be de­sired af­ter ac­quir­ing the un­blem­ished mark against the Gi­ants, Tex­ans, Bron­cos and Ea­gles -- that group is just 3-15-1 com­bined. Cleve­land’s tal­ented play­ers are re­spond­ing well to their new coach.

TAK­ING: BROWNS +3½

Ravens (4-1) at Ea­gles (1-3-1)

LINE: BAL­TI­MORE by 7½

Birds of a feather flock to­gether. Not so much in this case.

The Ravens re­main a league con­tender while the Ea­gles have been re­duced to mere spar­row-like crea­tures. Even though Philadel­phia has been in de­cline since win­ning the Su­per Bowl just three sea­sons ago, this is an am­ple amount of points for it to be re­ceiv­ing on its own turf. Look­ing back, Philly has not been spot­ted 7½ or more as hosts since the 2006 sea­son. Coach Doug Ped­er­sen won’t back down from any op­po­nent. His Ea­gles went to San Fran­cisco and up­set the Nin­ers while in this same price range. Bal­ti­more’s de­fence re­mains its strength while QB La­mar Jack­son has not been sharp. The Ea­gles could also be get­ting some miss­ing re­ceivers back. The whole world is tak­ing the Ravens here and that is often a red flag.

TAK­ING: EA­GLES +7½

Ben­gals (1-3-1) at Colts (3-2) LINE: IN­DI­ANAPO­LIS by 7½

Wel­come to the NFL, Joe Bur­row. The Cincin­nati quar­ter­back re­ceived a rude awak­en­ing in Bal­ti­more last week when he was bat­ted around like a cat toy af­ter be­ing hit 15 times and sacked seven times be­fore a 27-3 drub­bing at the hands of their hosts. Con­tribut­ing to the loss was a poor of­fen­sive line that was un­able to pro­tect its young pivot. We ex­pect Frank Re­ich to take full ad­van­tage here. His guys are off a loss to the Browns, are on the bye next week and can ill af­ford to over­look this op­po­nent if they want to chal­lenge the Ti­tans for the divi­sion. There is con­cern about the demise of In­di­anapo­lis QB Philip Rivers and his arm strength, but the savvy vet­eran should be able to dis­sect a poor lineback­ing corps while com­bin­ing an ef­fec­tive ground game.

TAK­ING: COLTS –7½

Pack­ers (4-0) at Buc­ca­neers (3-2) LINE: GREEN BAY by 1

We un­der­stand why the Pack­ers are favoured here. Af­ter all, they are un­de­feated and they are rested fol­low­ing their bye week. And the pub­lic has Tampa’s blown lead to the Bears embed­ded in their brains. Joe Bet­tor also isn’t anx­ious to fade Aaron Rodgers as the star QB is among early MVP can­di­dates. As such, we get some value on the home­town Bucs. We also get Tom Brady as an un­der­dog and that’s rarely a bad thing.

It is par­tic­u­larly strong when Brady’s team is off a loss as Tom Ter­rific is 14-1 ATS when tak­ing any points fol­low­ing a de­feat. The Buc­ca­neers are also re­turn­ing from some much­needed rest (10 days) as Brady’s strong re­ceiv­ing group could be in­tact for the first time this sea­son. Tampa’s de­fen­sive front seven fig­ure to give Rodgers more pres­sure than he’s been ac­cus­tomed to this sea­son. Should be a good one. TAK­ING: BUC­CA­NEERS +1

Rams (4-1) at 49ers (2-3) LINE: L.A. RAMS by 3½

Let’s go with the sheeple on this one. Few want any part of the 49ers right now and with good rea­son. The Nin­ers just lost con­sec­u­tive home games to the Ea­gles and Dol­phins, re­spec­tively, both times as a pro­hib­i­tive favourite. Those types of re­sults will alien­ate the mar­ket­place in a hurry. While the Rams appear to be back in con­tend­ing form af­ter a sub­par 2019 sea­son, we must tem­per our be­liefs in them as Los

An­ge­les’ four wins have all come against NFC East op­po­nents. That divi­sion is eas­ily the league’s worst at the mo­ment. How­ever, we can counter such sen­ti­ment when San Fran­cisco’s pair of wins have come against the 0-10 New York teams. Not aid­ing San Fran is one of the long­est in­jury lists in the league. We can’t see bat­tered the Nin­ers turn­ing things around here. TAK­ING: RAMS –3½

Jets (0-5) at Dol­phins (2-3)

LINE: MI­AMI by 9½

The Jets don’t have to worry about con­tract­ing COVID-19,

they can’t catch any­thing. This New York bunch is av­er­ag­ing a league-low 176 yards per game. They can’t pass, they can’t run and they can’t de­fend. The Jets are ba­si­cally un­bet­table. Things are so bad that the odd­s­mak­ers had no choice to make the Dol­phins a huge favourite. No dis­re­spect to Mi­ami, but they’ve only been favoured by nine or more points once in the past 12 sea­sons and that was back in 2006 to the 1-14 Browns. This lofty price might ac­tu­ally be flat­ter­ing. Ex­cept for a nine-point loss to the Bron­cos, the Jets have lost their

other four games by 18 or more points each out­ing. Mi­ami’s of­fence should have no trou­ble dis­miss­ing this hope­less guest by a mar­gin.

TAK­ING: DOL­PHINS –9½

Bron­cos (1-3) at Pa­tri­ots (2-2)

LINE: NEW ENG­LAND by 10

A Bill Belichick-coached team with 13 days’ rest and fol­low­ing a loss is a lot more dan­ger­ous than a Vic Fan­gio guided team on 17 days’ rest. This game has been moved around over the past cou­ple of weeks due to pan­demic-re­lated is­sues. The de­lay has al­lowed both clubs

to likely have their start­ing quar­ter­backs back in ac­tion as New Eng­land’s Cam New­ton has been cleared to play while Den­ver’s Drew Lock ap­pears to have re­cov­ered from a shoul­der in­jury. Lock may have wished for an­other week by the time this one ends. Belichick is a mas­ter at con­fus­ing young quar­ter­backs. This will be just Lock’s sev­enth ca­reer start and none were against a qual­i­fied de­fence such as this one. Pa­tri­ots have cov­ered 15 of pre­vi­ous 21 as a home favourite. TAK­ING: PA­TRI­OTS –10

Car­di­nals (3-2) at Cow­boys (2-3)

LINE: ARI­ZONA by 1½

Maybe Dal­las isn’t an un­der­achiev­ing team. Maybe they just don’t have good play­ers. How else can you ex­plain their two nar­row vic­to­ries have oc­curred against a pair of dread­ful teams that are a com­bined 0-10 (Fal­cons and Gi­ants)? An over­whelmed Mike McCarthy as coach doesn’t help ei­ther. Things have gone from bad worse for the Cow­boys when QB Dak Prescott went down last week with a bru­tal an­kle in­jury, promptly end­ing his sea­son. En­ter Andy Dal­ton. The Red Ri­fle comes over from Cincin­nati where ex­pec­ta­tions were never met. Dal­ton’s fi­nal four years there pro­duced a 20

35 record as a starter. He played rea­son­ably well off the bench vs. the Gi­ants last week, but this is a step up. The Car­di­nals are a for­mi­da­ble op­po­nent and one we hardly be­lieve that the ‘Boys wlll be ready for. Cheap price. Let’s lay it.

TAK­ING: CAR­DI­NALS –1½

Chiefs (4-1) at Bills (4-1) LINE: KANSAS CITY by 4

Tough one to hand­i­cap as both teams laid eggs last week, per­haps in an­tic­i­pa­tion of this one. There is a def­i­nite con­cern with Buf­falo’s pass de­fence and that plays into the hands of one of the league’s best passers. Pa­trick Ma­homes should get his fair share of points against a Buf­falo de­fence that ap­pears to be in dis­ar­ray. The usu­ally con­ser­va­tive Ti­tans dropped 42 points upon this stop unit on Tues­day night, even though costly turnovers con­trib­uted to the abun­dance of scor­ing. Bills have not been pres­sur­ing op­pos­ing quar­ter­backs nor has their cov­er­age been par­tic­u­larly ef­fec­tive. Doom and gloom aside, we ex­pect Buf­falo to com­pete here. QB Josh Allen is play­ing at a high level and the Bills are never an easy out at home. Buf­falo also a good bounce-back squad with five cov­ers in past seven tries fol­low­ing a loss.

TAK­ING: BILLS +4

USATODAYSP­ORTS

Tampa Bay Buc­ca­neers quar­ter­back Tom Brady is in a rare po­si­tion for him­self this week: Un­der­dog.

GET­TY­IM­AGES

Philadel­phia Ea­gles QB Car­son Wentz (left) faces off with the Ravens on Sun­day,

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