Ditching a Diggs prop, and Thursday’s NFL bets you need to make in Week 8

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Week 8 opens with a lopsided matchup between Washington and Minnesota, but can Stefon Diggs take advantage? We look into the odds for the Thursday nighter, as well as our favorite picks and best bets for the rest of the NFL board: from spreads, totals to props and everything in between. **video

THURSDAY NIGHT ACTION

Washington is getting 16 points against the Minnesota Vikings tonight after opening at 14.5. Minnesota is allowing just 15 points at home and is 4-1 ATS in their last five and 3-0 ATS at home, but they haven’t seen a double-digit spread this year. Washington has seen three games as double-digit underdogs in 2019 and is 2-1 ATS in those games.

One name that Minnesota will be aware of is Washington corner, Quinton Dunbar. Dunbar holds a top-of-the-class PFF grade of 91 as his Redskins are the best in the league at limiting opposing WR1s. Team’s best receivers are averaging just 49 yards per game against Dunbar who will see Vikings’ Stefon Diggs as Adam Thielen has been ruled out.

With the possibility that the game script will dictate a heavy run presence from Mike Zimmer and the Vikings, as well as the shutdown game of Dunbar, we are taking the Under of Diggs’ 85.5 receiving yards.

KEEPING THE TOP ON IT

We are going to make Thursday night’s contest a little more watchable — yes, even Washington’s offense. Of Minnesota’s 24 touchdowns, four have gone for more than 38 yards and three of those four are by Stefon Diggs (see above). Their defense has yet to allow a TD longer than 35 yards.

In Week 1, Washington scored two long TDs of 48 and 69 yards but since they have just one longer than 38 yards and their defense has given up just one long TD since Week 2.

As we mentioned, Diggs will have a tough time getting loose versus one of the best corners giving us great value on the Under 38.5 for the game’s longest touchdown.

LAST CALL ON CARSON

The Atlanta Falcons have the No.4 rush DVOA defense but will have a difficult time Sunday versus Chris Carson who is averaging 24.5 carries for 103 yards a game over his last four. Those last four games included a 118-yard performance versus the No. 2 rush DVOA defense.

The Seattle Seahawks won’t abandon the run, like many of the Falcons’ opponents, as they are running the ball at the third-highest rate since Week 5. Carson is the alpha-dog in the backfield hitting 80 percent or more of the offensive snaps over the last three and hitting a season-high 89 percent last week.

The Seahawks/Falcons prop markets aren’t currently open as books are waiting to see if Atlanta QB Matt Ryan will suit up Sunday. Once it opens, we will take the Over on Carson’s rushing yards on any total below 85 yards.

DEFENSIVE CARE

Yesterday we talked about how bad Baker Mayfield has been this year and how difficult a task he has ahead of his matchup with the best DVOA defense in the New England Patriots. Today, we are going to try to talk you into another great prop bet that is paying +200.

The Pats have scored three defensive touchdowns, which is the second-most in the league. Conversely, Tom Brady’s offense has allowed three defensive TDs while their special teams have crossed the plane twice to date.

Combine these New England stats with the fact that the Cleveland Browns are averaging three giveaways a game over the last four weeks, and we are hopping on Sunday’s prop bet of a special team or defensive touchdown scored and hitting the yes at +200.

 

PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE

Did you lose money on Melvin Gordon’s suck attack last Sunday? Yes, us too. We are going to focus our fade hate on the one-yard fumbler this week ahead of his match versus the Chicago Bears.

In Gordon’s 36 carries since coming back from his holdout, the runner has plodded to three-or-less yards on 27 of those carries with a long of seven yards. We may see Austin Ekeler’s snap count increase in Week 8 after seeing 59 percent last week and Gordon fumbling twice over his last 12 runs.

Want more reasons to get your revenge on Melvin? The Los Angeles Chargers’ opponent, the Denver Broncos, lead the league in yards per rush attempt against at 2.4 since Week 5. Hop on the hate-wagon and take Gordon’s Under on his total of 54.5 rushing yards.

Running up the points with Rockets, and the college football bets you need to make in Week 12

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Are you ready for some more MAC-tion? Because there are two more games on the schedule Wednesday night. We break down the best bets for these games and take a look at the weekend ahead in college football – from sides and totals to props and everything in between.

ROOM TO ROAM

The Toledo Rockets might be only slight favorites for Wednesday night’s MAC tilt with visiting Northern Illinois, but they have a significant advantage in at least one area – and it could turn this one into a bit of a laugher. The Rockets come into the game with the nation’s No. 12 rushing offense, averaging nearly 251 yards per game on the ground – and they’ve been especially dominant over their previous two games, racking up a combined 664 rushing yards in narrow victories over Eastern Michigan and Kent State. The Huskies, meanwhile, are coming off getting routed 48-10 to Central Michigan in which the Chippewas posted 327 rushing yards.

An edge like this makes Toledo a terrific option in a variety of different bet scenarios; we recommend buying a few points in their favor and taking an alternate line of -6.5.

MIAMI (OH) FOR 3

The Miami (OH) Redhawks should have little trouble filling the board Wednesday night as they host a Bowling Green defense that ranks among the worst in the nation in points allowed. But while the Falcons have surrendered a mind-boggling 33.8 points per game so far this season, the Redhawks might not necessarily be headed for a parade to the end zone. Miami (Ohio) has one of the worst touchdown-to-field-goal ratios in the country coming into Week 12, having scored 22 TDs compared with 16 FGs – six of those coming over the course of their current three-game winning streak.

Miami (Ohio) is a big-time favorite here, and is a good bet to open the scoring given BGSU’s 2.5 first-half-points-per-game average on the road this season. We like the Redhawks FG to kick off the point parade.

GILBERT  GETTING BACK

Kansas State’s premier rushing threat might be back on the field this weekend. Wildcats senior James Gilbert practiced on Tuesday and is trending in the right direction as he recovers from an undisclosed ailment that kept him out of last week’s 27-24 loss to the Texas Longhorns. It was originally thought that Gilbert would be in the lineup vs. Texas, but he was a late exclusion – and Kansas State struggled in his absence, finishing with a paltry 51 rushing yards on 26 attempts. Gilbert ranks ninth in the Big 12 Conference in rushing yards (558) while adding five touchdowns on the ground.

Gilbert’s return would invigorate a Kansas State rush attack that has a favorable matchup against a West Virginia defense allowing 173 rushing yards per game. We recommend the hosts ATS if Gilbert is deemed fit to return.

WAKING NIGHTMARE

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons have seen their season take a terrible turn with word that standout wide receiver Sage Surratt will miss the remainder of 2019 with an undisclosed injury. Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson confirmed Tuesday that Surratt, who wasn’t featured on the team’s depth chart ahead of its Week 12 encounter with Clemson, would be out for the rest of the season – though he wouldn’t specify what was wrong with the star wideout. Surratt finishes the year with 1,001 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns on 66 receptions as the premier target for quarterback Jamie Newman.

The absence of Surratt should give bettors even less of a reason to bank on Wake Forest, which has seen the line shift as far as four points in Clemson’s favor. Look for the Tigers to keep the undermanned Deacons below their team total.

Too late to start fading the Fins, and the NFL bets you need to make in Week 11

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This may require a double-take, but listen up. The Miami Dolphins have been the best bet in the NFL since the start of October. Yes, those Miami Dolphins. We break down the odds and let you know what bets we like in Week 11 of the NFL as we dive into sides, totals, props and more. 

STAYING HOT IN Q1

The hottest team in the league right now is Lamar Jackson’s Baltimore Ravens. After knocking off the Patriots in Week 9, they turned their crosshairs on the winless Cincinnati Bengals in Week 10. The Ravens ran just 48 offensive plays but managed to put up 49 points. Lost in the 49-13 win was the fact that Baltimore moved to 8-1 against the first-quarter spread after winning the first 15 minutes 14-0.

This week, Baltimore is a 4-point home favorite versus a Houston team that is coming off their bye. If you don’t trust a team coming off a blowout win versus the worst team in the league and/or covering their last three games, take a look at the 1Q Ravens -0.5 (-105) as an alternative.

Baltimore is second in the league in first quarter points per game at 9.5 and third in the league in points against in the first quarter at 3.67 while the Texans are 0-3-1 on the road this year in the first quarter. Take the Ravens 1Q -0.5.

FEAST AWAITS EVANS

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will face a very motivated New Orleans Saints team Sunday, but NOLA will be without their top cornerback in Marcus Lattimore. The third-year CB is week-to-week with a hamstring injury meaning Bucs WRs Mike Evans and Chris Godwin will face sub-par corners in P.J. Williams and Eli Apple.

As Brad Evans pointed out on twitter, this is especially great news for Mike Evans who has struggled over his career versus Lattimore. Evans put up a donut early this year in Week 5 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and averaged 9.5 targets for three catches and 34 yards in two games in 2017 (last year Lattimore struggled following up his 2017 DROY but has been much better this year).

Even with Jameis Winston getting sacked nearly four times a game, Evans is averaging 139 yards a game over his last four contests. Jump on Evans’ receiving yard total on any number below 85 and check in on his reception total, hitting the Over on any number below 7.

LOADING SCREEN

No team in the league relies on the screen game more than the Minnesota Vikings. Per ESPN, Minnesota is averaging 9.8 yards per screen attempt which is 3.5 yards more per attempt than the No.10 team.

The beneficiary of this is running back Dalvin Cook who gashed the Cowboys in primetime every time he got the ball with blockers ahead of him. Over the last three games, Cook has amassed 193 yards receiving and will face a Denver Broncos’ defense that is giving up 8.6 yards per pass to RBs since Week 8.

Grab the Over on Cook’s receiving yards on any total less than 40 yards.

LOADING SCREEN PT. 2

If you’re tailing the Cook receiving yards play and want some action on the other side of the ball, maybe look to fade the Broncos’ backfield in receiving yards. Denver is the worst team at generating yards on the screen game (3.7 yards per attempt) and neither Phillip Lindsay nor Royce Freeman has topped 17 yards receiving in the last two weeks. In the only game Brandon Allen has started at quarterback, Lindsay wasn’t targeted at all and Freeman saw one target which he lost a yard on.

Feel confident in taking Lindsay’s Under receiving yards on anything greater than 19 and Freeman’s Under on any number greater than 25.

AIN’T FADING THE FINS NOW

The best team ATS over the last five weeks has been the Miami Dolphins. The former 0-7 team has rattled off five-straight wins ATS and face a Buffalo Bills team that has zero offensive identity of late and trailed the Dolphins by five points heading into the fourth quarter just four weeks ago.

We are a little bearish on Miami hitting a sixth-straight win ATS but have no problem fading Josh Allen’s Bills who are putting up just 288 yards of total offense over the last three weeks, good for sixth-worst. Their once stellar defense now sits 12th in Wtd DVOA — 9th against the pass and 27th against the run.

The Bills needed 22 4th-quarter points in their last meeting to cover their team total and we don’t see Brian Daboll’s offense clearing 23.5 points since they are 2-5 O/U that total in their last seven.

Get on the Bills’ team total Under 23.5 now, as it may drop under this key number later in the week.