The timing of this morning’s post may not be suitable for a pick on the London game (it would have to be a 2nd half live betting prediction), but the chance of a an NFL match occurring before more than half of the English Premier League has completed its round is a little different. How could this affect punters on Sunday?
The industry of every sport is tied to the fanaticism of hardcore fans (“NBA All Day!”), but the majority of sports viewers (and speculators) watch multiple types of events all weekend. If all they saw was a few college football games or high school pigskin games instead of the typical British football song experience, could that make the grils slightly more predictable than aren’t they?
Even the stress of playing an NFL or FBS game doesn’t always compare to making a Premier League pick and gasping for the ball ping-pong around the box. The absence of a lot of football on TV at the moment could give sportsbook users the impression that the NFL week will be tidy. But we do know that some “stanky” performances and upheavals are likely to happen as always. At the same time, not having to watch a bunch of volatile bets unfold in the morning (or Saturday morning) means pigskin players could be bolder this time around.
Namely, speaking of prop bets, we’re sure a lot of people made over-enthusiastic picks on Alabama to cover at halftime against Texas A&M on Saturday. What other football lines are likely to be skewed by the hype before the whole sporting calendar kicks off and leaves us getting more cautious in a sea of odds/results?
There’s no better place to start than Buffalo to emphasize the theme of overworked players making spontaneous choices. If we waited any longer patiently, there’s plenty of TV sports to come to help remind everyone how flawed grossly over-the-top broadcasts can be all over the world.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Buffalo Bills (Sunday, October 9)
Buffalo-Pittsburgh is offered by FanDuel Sportsbook with an inflated (-14) point spread drawn from favorites QB Josh Allen. It can be difficult for users of the sportsbook to bring themselves to choose against Buffalo, especially after the Bills’ remarkable victory in Week 4 against Baltimore, even with a buffer of 2 touchdowns. As we’ll discuss later, however, the Ravens’ coaches are more responsible for how the Buffalo-Baltimore game went than the Buffalo offense is responsible for dazzling their opponents. If few games had gone differently and the Bills had lost their comeback offer, then the Week 5 odds and lines would be different than they are now, with nothing really changing except from the slight boost in confidence a team can enjoy after a comeback triumph. .
After the Week 1 overtime victory pretty much everything went wrong for Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh’s defense just isn’t what it once was, and the Steelers tried Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett at QB in the Week 4 loss, with nominal results for the former veteran and a disastrous Pickett’s 3 INTs.
But still, “don’t take it easy” is the motto of the Pittsburgh Steelers in a losing skid according to Mike Tomlin, and a conventional NFL call-of-play team with provisional QBs is often able to stay short of 2 TDs on the scoreboard through force – willpower and tactics alone. Buffalo’s offense needs to play well for more than 45 minutes of the game to generate enough points to cover the spread point from any type of likely prospect. Bills often don’t make it at the start of the year.
WagerBop Pick: Steelers ATS (+14)
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Arizona Cardinals (Sunday, October 9)
WagerBop argued ahead of Week 1 that even well-managed Big Toaster conditions might not prevent the Cardinals and Chiefs from playing a sloppy, sweaty early September “extended preseason” game. This week, that same weather in Glendale (and shield in the event of a freak monsoon) is one of many angles making Sin City’s O/U (48.5) too conservative in what should be a high-running contest. score.
Arizona’s defense has quietly improved after a weak start to the season, limiting superstars like Christian McCaffery and Cooper Kupp. Still, the 2-2 Cardinals may not be ready for Jalen Hurts’ double threat on 3rd down. After comfortably beating the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 4 to improve to 4-0, the team’s odds of winning Super Bowl 57 are 3rd best in the NFL. Losing DE Derek Barnett has hurt the strength of the team’s passing rush, but heading into Week 5, Philly’s stock is hotter than ever.
With the Big Red unable to stop Hurts on at least a few TD drives, Arizona’s party-or-famine offense will open up and generate either another exciting comeback offer or turnovers that will help Philly, potentially with ease, to win a match that goes well on the Over/Under line.
WagerBop Pick: Plus (48.5)
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens (Sunday Night Football)
Baltimore had a golden opportunity to put Buffalo out, but couldn’t add to a 20-point total in the first half. The game selection for Lamar Jackson in Week 5 looked too much like the San Francisco 49ers offense in 2014 when the “other” head coach Harbaugh tried to make Colin Kaepernick an unremarkable fielding general. Baltimore’s options game can’t be a “package” while having the desired effect on the defense in the 4th quarter. Baltimore’s “cheap” early runs didn’t help a 5-man playbook produce anything but costly mistakes as the Bills rebounded.
In the meantime, the Cincinnati Bengals are just a (+146) underdog for Sunday Night Football in Baltimore, and QB Joe Burrow’s team is playing like a team that has more conquests in its back pocket before the fall not in full swing.
However, the host Ravens are a solid ATS choice for several game control reasons. A special, albeit poorly designed, playbook was concocted by Harbaugh to try and steal and outrun the Bills’ pass rush. Against a more balanced defensive approach this weekend, we expect John Harbaugh to return to the three-way game plan that has served Baltimore well for years. This gives the Ravens a possible advantage in the red zone in a world of finesse goal-line play, and makes a “winning TD” much more likely in a tied scenario than a winning field goal.
WagerBop Pick: Ravens ATS (-3)
Las Vegas Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs (Monday Night Football)
The signs are familiar when a team can hang on every game but can’t get over the hump in the fourth quarter, although the Silver & Black reached the win column last week with a win over glorified Denver.
Las Vegas’ injury woes helped Kansas City pull a favorite (-7.5) point spread for the division rivals’ fight at Arrowhead. But before the big win in Week 4, the Chiefs had their own episodes.
Could the Over/Under make a tighter pick than KC-to-cover and win by 8 or more? Las Vegas has allowed the Cardinals, Titans and Broncos an average of over 25 points, making it unlikely that Pat Mahomes and the Chiefs aren’t likely to score 30 or more points against the opposing Raiders.
Rivalry games tend to be extremely tight until and unless one unit proves unable to compete with another, and you may not like the Raiders’ chances of counterattacking given the severity of the Chiefs front-7 in Week 4 against the run. QB Tom Brady shrugged off KC’s run defense and threw 59 passes, but only got through a few times in Tampa’s loss to the Mahomes club. Las Vegas QB Derek Carr doesn’t have the moxie or the supporting cast to respond like Brady did with a KC halftime lead.
The Raiders prepare all year for scrap battles against Denver and KC, but the AFC West tilt last week ended in a 9-point win.
WagerBop’s Pick: Chiefs ATS (-7.5)
Kurt is the author of nearly 1000 stories spanning football, soccer, basketball, baseball, ice hockey, fighting and the Olympics. Kurt posted a 61% win rate over more than 200 college and NFL grid picks last season. He reflects on high school football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.