Three games interest me: Browns vs. Colts, Bills vs. Patriots, and Chargers vs. Chiefs. For your best bets, you should wager on all three underdogs.
I like to invest three-quarters of a unit in the underdog ATS and the remaining quarter in the underdog ML.
Sunday, October 22, 2023 – 01:00 PM EDT at Lucas Oil Stadium
It might feel tempting to wager on the Browns because they just took down undefeated San Francisco, but coming off last Sunday’s big win puts them in a bad spot because they are a team that alternates highs and lows.
They have yet to win two games in a row: they followed the season-opening win over Cincinnati with a loss at Pittsburgh; then, they blew out Tennessee before losing by 25 to Baltimore.
This week, Cleveland is also in a bad spot because it just played notoriously physical San Francisco. As evident throughout last season, teams regularly fail to cover the spread in the week following their game against San Francisco. In the rare exceptions, the team received an extra day of rest and got to play on Monday Night Football.
Coming off a defeat, Indianapolis is in a much better situation, as the Colts have yet to lose two games in a row. Their best games this year, at Houston and against Tennessee, came directly after a loss.
As evident in those games against Houston and Tennessee, also in its win over Baltimore, Indianapolis can win with quarterback Gardner Minshew. Minshew likes to play conservatively and dump it off a lot to his running backs.
Running back Zack Moss, as a runner and a pass-catcher, is crucial to Indianapolis’ offensive success. He’s having a career-best year, as he’s currently 15 yards away from tying his season-best rushing output. Moss’s 4.9 YPC gives Indianapolis a solid option at running back, especially while fellow running back Jonathan Taylor, who at least has been an effective pass-catcher, regains his form.
The key for Indianapolis’ offense will be for Minshew to avoid turning the ball over. Before last week, when his team was down a lot and he had to press, he had not thrown an interception this season.
Different running backs, such as Baltimore’s group, have been able to produce respectable performances against Cleveland’s defense.
As long as the game is close, Minshew will comfortably help sustain drives, especially as he can also count on wide receiver Michael Pittman, who metrics show to be good at gaining separation and making contested catches.
Indianapolis’ defense will keep Cleveland’s offense from scoring enough to push the Colts’ offense.
Cleveland quarterback Deshaun Watson‘s deep rotator cuff contusion is still making it painful for him to throw. Meanwhile, the Browns’ backups lack the competence to pose a vertical threat.
They will rely heavily on their running backs, injured star Nick Chubb‘s backups. Stopping the run is, however, the strength of the Colts’ defense, especially as long as defensive tackle DeForest Buckner remains healthy.
Taking away quarterback Lamar Jackson’s strong performance against them – the Browns do not have anyone like Lamar Jackson – the Colts boast a top-ten run defense.
NFL Pick: Colts +2 (-110) at Bet365
NFL Pick: Colts (+110) at Bet365
Sunday, October 22, 2023 – 01:00 PM EDT at Gillette Stadium
Neutralizing Stefon Diggs
Even if Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen were completely healthy – he injured his throwing shoulder during his team’s game on Monday night – the Bills would not score enough points to justify the absurd number of points that oddsmakers are asking them to win by on the road.
Allen is going to struggle when he can’t rely on star wide receiver Stefon Diggs.
New England excels at taking away the opponent’s top receiving option. Two games ago, Chris Olave for the Saints mustered twelve receiving yards against the Patriots. Most recently, New England held the Raiders’ Davante Adams to a season-low 29 receiving yards.
Without Diggs’ productivity, Buffalo lacks significant options. Diggs has 279 more receiving yards than any other pass-catcher on his team.
As for the outlook of Buffalo’s rush attack, the Patriots are the third-best team at limiting opposing YPC.
New England’s Rush Attack
The Patriots will have a much easier time than Buffalo at running the ball. Buffalo ranks second-to-last at limiting opposing YPC.
Its defense misses veteran linebacker Matt Milano, who excels at being in the right spot, and defensive tackle DaQuan Jones, who ably clogs up the middle.
Without Jones, opposing running more easily enjoys running lanes to get to the second level of Buffalo’s defense, which relies on undersized linebackers.
Strong and powerful running backs Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott will be difficult for the Bills to bring down.
All New England quarterback Mac Jones needs to do is to avoid making too many mistakes – fortunately for him, his counterpart Allen is characteristically prone to turning the ball over.
Jones has the benefit of an effective pass-catcher in Stevenson, big targets like tight end Hunter Henry, and prototypical possession receivers to make themselves available to him.
Collectively, they will produce more offense than they need to.
NFL Pick: Patriots +8.5 (-110) at Bet365
NFL Pick: Patriots (+320) at Bet365
Sunday, October 22, 2023 – 04:25 PM EDT at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium
The Chargers regularly play the Chiefs close. Excepting the Chargers’ wins, five of their last six games were decided by less than a touchdown, with the one exception being a game that went into overtime.
L.A. is especially comfortable in Kansas City’s venue, where it has won two of their last three meetings and lost the one game by three points.
While Kelce has had success against the Chargers in the past, he has benefited from times when safety Derwin James was absent. James has a strong history of limiting Kelce’s catch rate and touchdowns.
Indeed, Kelce has vocally admitted the difficulty he has with James’ coverage skills. Given his extensive role in his team’s offense, it’s no surprise that Kelce’s least productive outing was also the one in which the Chiefs scored their lowest point total of the season – when they scored 17 against Jacksonville.
Justin Herbert and Austin Ekeler
Kansas City does a good job of limiting the opponent’s top wide receiver, so it’s crucial for opposing pass attacks to be able to rely on various pass-catchers. Fortunately for L.A., quarterback Justin Herbert likes to spread the ball around.
Joshua Palmer is a big-play receiver who is a consistent force, but Herbert will also get a lot of other running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends involved. On the ground, Austin Ekeler will help him out against a Chiefs defense currently allowing 4.5 YPC on the season and 5.1 YPC in its last three games.
However, the spotlight will be on Herbert, as he is set to make a comeback following his unexpectedly underwhelming display in the previous match for his team. Contrary to his last game, he is normally a quarterback who makes big throws and accurate throws under pressure, downfield, and in general.
NFL Pick: Chargers +5.5 (-110) at Bet365
NFL Pick: Chargers (+205) at Bet365
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