Chargers running back Melvin Gordon is starting to play like he did before his holdout and gets a mouthwatering matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars in NFL action on Sunday. We dive into the Week 14 odds, not just looking into pointspreads and totals but digging into the very best bets on the board: props, team totals, derivative markets and more.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have sent starting linebacker Myles Jack to the injured reserved, ending his season. Jack leads the Jags in tackles and his absence is bad news for the Jaguars’ 31st-ranked DVOA rush defense but great news for the Los Angeles Chargers’ running backs.
Under new offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, Melvin Gordon is averaging 89 rushing yards and 21.5 receiving yards a game while the pint-sized Austin Ekeler is putting up 85 total yards himself. The Chargers’ offense hasn’t been putting up many points on the board this year but they have managed 370 yards of offense per game over their last three games — the seventh-most between Kansas City and San Francisco.
We are throwing down on Gordon’s Over 75.5 rushing yards but shying away on Ekeler’s receiving total of 53.5, which we feel is a little too high.
ARE YOU GOING TO THE SCARBROUGH FAIR?
Detroit Lions running back Bo Scarbrough has more rushing yards than Nick Chubb, Ezekiel Elliott and Mark Ingram over the last two weeks as the 2018 7th-round pick has the second-most rushing attempts since Week 12. The Lions’ back also has 2.4 yards per carry after first contact which is the best mark in the leauge. The Lions are rushing the ball nearly 30 times a game as they try to take pressure off their inexperienced backup quarterback play.
Detroit will be in tough versus a Minnesota Vikings team that is giving up the seventh-fewest rushing yards at home. We don’t expect the Lions to totally abandon the run even if they fall behind early as they have nothing to play for. Therefore, we aren’t afraid to take Scarbrough’s rushing attempt total which sits at 18.5. We are playing the Over on that carry total but may shop around first and look for a lower total closer to Sunday.
RETURN OF THE MACK
The Indianapolis Colts got some great news this week as running back Marlon Mack returned to practice on Thursday. Mack had been sidelined with a hand injury for nearly three weeks. The Colts are one of the league’s best running teams, averaging 139 yards per game (4th) and are banged up in the receiving department (T.Y. Hilton, Eric Ebron and Chester Rogers). That might force them to lean on the run more ahead of Sunday’s game against the Tampa Buccaneers and their No. 1 DVOA rush defense.
Tampa is giving up just 76 yards on the ground this year, 72 over its last three games and have held teams’ leading rusher to under 40 yards in three of their last four games. We don’t trust Mack’s rushing total (once his markets open when he is declared active), but we do like his anytime TD.
The Colts have scored six rushing TDs over their last three games and will need Mack to cross the pylons with a lack of receiving talent and their playoff hopes still alive. Take Mack’s anytime TD.
Matt Ryan and Kyle Allen are the most sacked quarterbacks over the last three weeks. Combined, Ryan and Allen have been taken down 34 times since Week 11. As luck would have it, the Carolina Panthers travel to Atlanta to take on the Falcons on Sunday, making a play on the total sack prop quite mouthwatering.
Atlanta’s QB will face a hungry Panthers team under new direction while also getting to opposing QBs nearly four times a game. Things could turn ugly as the Falcons are giving up pressure Ryan on 31 percent of plays (23rd-worst).
Carolina’s rookie QB has looked horrendous at moments and has been sacked 39 times in his 10 games this year. Carolina’s O-line is allowing pressure at a 32-percent rate. Take the Over 5.5 sacks.