The lineup for Sunday’s NFL action is filled with opportunities for the road teams, at least in our opinion. Let’s take a look at a few of the games where we feel we might have an advantage:
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS AT NEW ORLEANS SAINTS, 1 PM ET
BetOnline NFL Odds: Saints -5 / Total 45
The Seahawks are operating at a higher level of efficiency than the Saints right now. Geno Smith, in particular, has been a pleasant surprise. He’s completed 77% of his passes, which no one else has matched, and he’s third in passer rating as of right now. No, he doesn’t toss it down the field, but he can let his duo of DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett do much of the work.
Andy Dalton has gotten the call at quarterback for the Saints, who recently let go of Latavius Murray, who scored one of their touchdowns in London last week. The receiving corps, outside of Ohio State rookie Chris Olave, has not met expectations. But there is some ray of light in the sense that Alvin Kamara is going to be active for this game. This has surely set high betting odds at all the top NFL betting sites.
Listen – we can’t vouch for Seattle’s defense. It has broken after bending much more than it did last season, and it ranks as one of the league’s lesser units. But the Seahawks are also topped in the NFL regarding yards gained per drive. We know not to underestimate head coach Pete Carroll, who has been saying right along that Smith was ready to step in and perform because he had been in the system for a while.
So while we’re still mulling over the total, we are a little more excited about Seattle at this point in time.
The Play: SEATTLE +5
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS AT CLEVELAND BROWNS, 1 PM ET
BetOnline NFL Odds: Chargers -1 (-114) / Total 47
In this game, we’re faced with the question of whether we prefer Justin Herbert, who played with his sore ribs and threw for 340 yards last week, or Jacoby Brissett, who has not been horrible but limits what Cleveland can do on offense. We have to acknowledge that the Chargers have been somewhat soft up front, as they allow 5.4 yards per rushing attempt, while the Browns have a dynamic ground attack that has gained at a 5-ypc clip. Yeah, Nick Chubb is prolific (459 yards already), but the Browns are 2-2 despite that.
And the Charger secondary has come up big, allowing just 6.6 yards per attempt with six interceptions, so they should be more than equipped to deal with Brissett, even if they don’t have Joey Bosa (groin injury) available.
Don’t worry about the absence of Keenan Allen, who will sit out his fourth straight game. Herbert can spread it around pretty well. I’d be more concerned with the fact that in their loss to Atlanta last week, the Browns let themselves get pushed around a lot at the line of scrimmage.
The Play: LA CHARGERS -1 (-114)
ATLANTA FALCONS AT TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS, 1 PM ET
BetOnline NFL Odds: Buccaneers -10 (-114) / Total 46 (Over -115, Under -105)
You have to respect the idea that the Bucs are working with a healthier group of wide receivers right now. And that led to a pretty decent performance on the part of Tom Brady, who threw the ball on 52 of his team’s 58 plays.
Atlanta will be going without Cordarelle Patterson, their most dynamic offensive weapon. But you know, their offensive line has stepped in and done the kind of job that may not have been expected at the season’s outset. The Falcons, believe it or not, have averaged more yards per carrying before contact than any other team. So their linemen have been pushing the opponent back. If one of those up-front guys were injured, that would worry us.
This is music to Arthur Smith’s ears; as you know, he relied on the ground game, and specifically, Derrick Henry, when he was offensive coordinator with the Titans. And you know, the Bucs are a bit less problematic to run against than they’ve been in recent years.
And did you know that Marcus Mariota leads the NFL in yards per completion? In other words, he may not throw much, but the Atlanta offense can lull you to sleep, and then it goes down the field. Kind of reminds us of the way schools like Air Force do it.
The Play: ATLANTA +10 (-106)