Week 14, and the quarter-pole of the season are here. Bye Weeks are all finished so there's a full slate of games to dig our teeth into tonight.
Checking out a teams motivation becomes increasingly important as we near the final weeks of the season, those who are in playoff contention and those probably playing for draft spots are important to identify. It should make for some fairly easy handicapping, but there's not actually a lot I'm confident in tonight when it comes to spreads.
The only spread I'm really confident in is the Dallas Cowboys covering 3 points against the Bengals. It's more of a fade on the Bengals than positivity when it comes to the Cowboys. I think they match up well against them, the one bright spot for the Cowboys this year has been the offense and the likes of Cooper, Gallup and Lamb should be able to put up points on a Bengals defense which ranks fairly poorly despite the fact it's got some good pieces.
That's basically the handicap here. The Cowboys will out-score the Bengals who haven't really got much going on offense. The Bengals should get the run game going but the O-Line is so poor they tend not to, then you're relying on Brandon Allen to throw the ball to keep the team moving. Tee Higgins is the most explosive player they've got in the passing game, and he's barely practised this week due to injury. They've scored 10 points in 3 second halves, so if you want to get fancy you should take the Cowboys to cover the second half, but I think they win fairly comfortably to give Andy Dalton one final win in Paul Brown Stadium.
Dallas Cowboys -3 @ 10/11 in most places.
I do like a couple of teasers this week. It's basically taking teams on alternate handicaps, but you can tease the Packers, Chiefs and Bucs down to -2, -1 and -1 respectively. You're basically taking them all to win, that pays 8/5 using a 6 point teaser (teasers are available at 365 and Redzone, although you can just do alt. spreads at most other places for similar odds)
There's a few I like this week at larger prices, Cordarelle Patterson is always a risky one for the Bears but they got him the ball last week and he's on kick returns. Michael Gallup and Mike Gesicki are both 5/2 for the Cowboys and Dolphins, against the Bengals and Chiefs. Wayne Gallman has been very good for the Giants in recent weeks, scoring in 5 of his last 6, the one game without was last week against the Seahawks where he had his highest yardage of the season before Alf Morris vultured a couple of scores. I think he finds the paint again tonight though. I'll throw in a bigger odds bet on Jordan Reed for the 49ers. Generally if he plays, he scores and he did last week against the Bills. They face the Washington football team this week which is a tougher defense than the Bills, but it's a revenge game for Reed and the 49ers coach Shanahan who I'm sure will both want to rack up the points on their former employer.
It's not often there's a plus money prop I like, but this week Collin Johnson for the Jacksonville Jaguars is at 11/8 (2.30) to have o2.5 receptions against a poor Titans defense in what should be a high scoring game. He's only had a couple of games starting with Mike Glennon and has led the team in yards over the last couple of weeks even with DJ Chark back for them last week, he's had 4 receptions in each with from 14 combined targets. So I'll happily take the plus money on him catching 3 tonight.
There's probably a lot of value around Washington tonight as well with Antonio Gibson out. Peyton Barber o10.5 rush attempts, JD McKissic o4.5 receptions are probably both good looks as they fill in the rushing and receiving roles taken by Gibson in recent weeks. The same applies for the Dolphins as they're down to 3rd or 4th string running backs, Deandre Washington has been heavily backed to score, Patrick Laird should get some carries and they've been using Lynn Bowden more recently too, his receiving line seems low at just 10.5 yards.
- Cowboys -3
- Wayne Gallman anytime
- Jordan Reed anytime
- Collin Johnson o2.5 receptions
Good luck with whatever you're on this week and keep an eye on the comments, always some cracking tips from the folks on here.