A mixed week for the column last week as once again I smashed the International game getting predictions spot-on. The best spread was let down by the ineptness of the Falcons and, frankly, an injury to the Vikings QB which mixed things up in a bad way for me. I will admit to getting lucky by getting a push on the total as the Bears and Saints hit 41 exactly. Jerome Ford was the right call in the Browns game as they shut-out their opponent and ran the ball a lot but it was Kareem Hunt with the score, and the player prop landed fairly easily with Chuba Hubbard getting his yards.
There's another Germany game this week, although it's not quite as interesting as last week as it features the New England Patriots. It does mean an extra few hours of football for us though which is always good. The early slate looks tasty this week with the Browns and Ravens the headline for me, although Sky are showing the 49ers vs Jags which should be a close game as well. The Lions and Chargers was an easy choice for the late game on TV as two of the more disappointing but capable teams face off against each other and the prime-time games are once again terrible.
Colts -2 vs. Patriots: 43
We're a million miles from the rivalry of Manning and Brady as we get left with Minshew vs. Mac in this matchup in Frankfurt.
One side of that matchup is at least fun to watch as Gardner Minshew can throw 3 INTs in a game but then chase it and end up with 350 and 3 TDs as well, it makes them interesting even if they can't be trusted at all. Jonathan Taylor looks like he's taken back hold of the ball in the backfield although Zack Moss is still proving his worth. Taylor is someone I'll be targeting in the receiving game and he'll be a prop for me in this one. Josh Downs will be back to help out alongside Michael Pittman in the passing game and they have a bevvy of Tight ends to throw to as well.
The Patriots are putrid to watch on offense as they've assembled one of the worst groups in the league. Mac Jones isn't a great QB so can't carry the team by himself and that's what they're asking him to do on the most part. The run game should be fine with Zeke and Stevenson sharing carries there, Stevenson the more explosive of the two but Zeke is likely to get goal-line carries. The passing game? Juju isn't a 1, I've said it forever and it's proven so. Demario Douglas looks like he's earning the most targets in recent weeks hauling in 5 last weekend, but Hunter Henry is the guy I'd target for a receiving TD if I had to take one.
It isn't likely to be a high-scoring game, the Pats do still have a semi-decent defense and Minshew may well oblige them with turnovers. I usually go for Josh Downs receptions but coming back from injury makes that risky. The slow start we usually see in European games makes sense again so u7.5 first quarter points – 20/23 seems sensible. Jonathan Taylor o19.5 receiving yards – 10/11 (Bet365) and if you did want a TD scorer… 17/5 on Hunter Henry (WilliamHill) is a decent price for him. I want the Colts to win, but wouldn't be shocked if the Pats pull off the shock in a low-scoring game.
Best Spread – Texans +6.5 @ Bengals – 10/11 (Unibet)
The Texans showed last week they could quickly put up points as rookie CJ Stroud threw for 470 yards and 5 TDs after orchestrating a last minute TD drive to give them a 39-37 win against the Bucs. Things won't be that easy against this Bengals defense, and without Nico Collins but they will be able to put up points still. The injury news is worse for the Bengals and with the Ravens on deck on TNF next week they may well let Ja'Marr Chase rest his back injury for that game which would mean they're without Tee Higgins and Chase. So… a lot on Tyler Boyd as the last of the 3 main starters and Trenton Irwin, Andrei Iosivas and the tight ends who they got involved in their game vs. the Bills last week.
I think the Bengals win, I hope they win, but I do think the Texans are capable of keeping things close and covering the spread. There is actually a +7 at 10/11 with LiveScoreBet if you've got an account there.
Best Totals – Titans vs. Bucs 038.5 – 10/11 (PaddyPower)
Traditionally the Titans and Bucs have both been tight defense which lend them to under on totals, but we saw last week from the Bucs that they can give up a ton of yards through the air and while the Titans run defense is solid I do think Baker Mayfield and Mike Evans will be able to move the ball well against them.
It's the first start for rookie Will Levis as the official starter as Ryan Tannehill drops to back-up for the rest of the season and that helps the scoring of the Titans defense, he has a huge arm on him and showed in his debut he can find Deandre Hopkins for TDs. It opens up a lot of options for the Titans who may well still try and be run-first with Derrick Henry but now have the ability to go downfield quickly, something they've lacked for a long time.
Best TD Scorer – Mike Evans – 17/10 (QuinnBet)
Honestly, 8/15 for Christian McCaffrey to make it 19 games in a row with a score isn't a bad price at all, but I'm not here to give out odds-on shots.
There should be some value to be found in the Texans and Bengals game with the injuries around it, Tanner Hudson and Andrei Iosivas are decent prices but obviously come with a lot of risk.
Tony Pollard should be used a lot by the Cowboys in their walkover game against the Giants, he's 7/10 so could be worth a look at Rico Dowdle at 7/2 if you wanted someone at a bigger price.
But my pick for the week will be 17/10 on Mike Evans in what I expect to be a high-scoring game against the Titans. He has scored in 5 games this season and came up a few inches short last week against the Texans, so I'm happy to take these odds on him finding the endzone this week.
Best Player Prop – Jamhyr Gibbs o21.5 receiving yards – 5/6 (Skybet)
David Montgomery returns for the Lions to give them a boost in short-yardage spots and it will be interesting to see how the split between he and rookie Gibbs goes for the rest of the season as the youngster has shown he can carry the full load for the past couple of games. I think he will get more on the ground but they've seen his ability through the air and in a game I expect to be fairly close, with the Chargers likely to get a bit of pressure on Goff the dump off to him could be a useful weapon in this one. He has had 57 and 38 rec. yards in the last two games and looks like he's settled into the league well.
Good Luck with your bets this week, enjoy the early slate!