It was a tough week for the Educated Bets crew in Week 8, but we look to bounce back this week. Brett Ford (@FadeThatMan) posted a 2-5 mark last week with only Kyle Pitts and Kirk Cousins coming through with bet-winning performances. Nico Collins and the Houston Texans’ offense was a huge letdown against a middling Carolina Panthers’ defense, while Breece Hall got nearly all his yards through the air instead of on the ground. It’s back to the lab as we try to build back the bankroll.
Please note: Listed lines and odds are subject to change from sportsbook to sportsbook, and may have moved since the article was written and posted.
Kenneth Walker III under 52.5 rushing yards (-115)
- The Seattle Seahawks travel back to the East Coast for a game against the Baltimore Ravens, taking on one of the best defenses in the NFL so far this season. The Ravens rank fifth in the league in rushing defense DVOA, and rank 12th in the league in rushing yards allowed per game (99.9).
- Walker has been the lead back for the Seahawks so far this season, but rookie running back Zack Charbonnet has entered Walker’s rearview, receiving heaps of praise from head coach Pete Carroll after last week’s performance against the Cleveland Browns.
- In his first six games of the season, Walker averaged over 18 carries per game. Last week against the Browns, Walker carried the ball just eight times despite a positive game script for most of the contest. Meanwhile, Charbonnet – back from injury and at full strength – rushed five times with a better yards per carry mark than Walker managed.
- As six-point road underdogs, the Seahawks are projected to be in a negative game script and lean more toward the pass offensively, lessening Walker’s chances with the ball. The Ravens’ rush defense is elite and Charbonnet is looming behind on the depth chart and poised to increase his role. All those factors lead me to bet the under on Walker’s rushing total this week.
Demario Douglas over receptions
- As of Friday night, this line had not been posted, but I’d be comfortable betting over 3.5 receptions or fewer.
- The New England Patriots offense has been poor so far this season, but one of the few bright spots has been rookie wide receiver Demario “Pop” Douglas. Douglas has seen his role increase over the past two weeks, going from a gadget-exclusive wide receiver to leading the Patriots’ receiving corps in snaps, routes run, and targets last week.
- Douglas has caught four and five passes in each of his last two games and has made himself a permanent fixture on the field. Now with primary receiver Kendrick Bourne sidelined for the season, Douglas has become the top receiver in this offense by default.
- According to PFF contributor Nic Bodiford, Douglas has led the Patriots over the past two weeks in first-read targets, meaning that he was thrown to as the quarterback’s primary option. In addition to Douglas’ increased involvement in the offense, he also has a plus matchup against Washington slot corner Danny Johnson.
- The Commanders’ defense has been exposed in the secondary several times this season and just lost two of its elite pass-rushers: Montez Sweat and Chase Young were just traded away at the deadline. Now that the Washington pass rush is nowhere near as formidable, even more pressure is applied to an already beatable secondary.
Maxx Crosby over 0.75 sacks (-160)
- This feels like one of the biggest mismatches on the entire Sunday slate as Maxx Crosby and the Las Vegas Raiders’ pass rush will square off against a beleaguered New York Giants offensive line. The Giants are tied for last in the NFL this season with 5.1 sacks allowed per game and have coughed up 41 in just eight games.
- Crosby has registered at least a split sack in five of his last six games, beating linemen to get to the quarterback on a fairly regular basis. He was shut out this past week against the Detroit Lions as Penei Sewell, one of the best in the league, served as the primary blocker on Crosby’s side.
- In Week 9, Crosby will likely face off against backup right tackle Tyre Phillips as starter Evan Neal continues to be a limited participant in practice. Phillips earned a PFF grade of just 45.0 last week against the New York Jets with a pass block grade of 38.3. That’s not good. In fact, it’s REALLY terrible.
- The return of Daniel Jones at quarterback may be a sign of improvement for the Giants, but Jones was sacked 28 times in just five games earlier this season. He may be the Giants’ best option at quarterback, but he hasn’t eluded too many pass rushers this season.
Zay Flowers over receptions
- This line also has not been posted, but I would take the over on Zay Flowers for as many as 4.5 receptions, and would even consider going over on 5.5 receptions if the odds were better than even money.
- Flowers has become an alpha receiver for this Baltimore Ravens offense, and one of the favorite targets of Lamar Jackson. Flowers led all Baltimore receivers last week in offensive snaps and ran a route on every pass play that the Ravens’ called.
- Most of Flowers’ targets have been in the short to intermediate areas of the field so far this season. Outside of a few deep shots, Flowers’ role has led him to stretch the defense horizontally in the flats and on drag routes across the middle.
- Since the return of Tariq Woolen, the Seattle Seahawks’ pass defense has been most susceptible in those short to intermediate areas. According to JM Tohline, Seattle has ranked eighth in DVOA on deep passes, while being ranked 25th on short passes, and 23rd over the middle.
- Flowers has finished with five or more catches in three of his last four games, with the one exception being a four-catch performance in which the Ravens dominated the Lions, an extremely run-friendly game script for most of the second half.
Dalton Kincaid over 38.5 receiving yards (-125)
- The Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills face off on Sunday Night Football in a rematch of a poignant, unfinished regular season game near the end of last season. The highly-anticipated matchup pits a pair of potentially explosive offenses that have underachieved so far this season while showing flashes of their potential for greatness.
- With Dawson Knox still on injured reserve, the Bills’ offense will likely stick to playing primarily 11-personnel groupings with Dalton Kincaid serving as the primary tight end. In two games without Knox (who left early in the Bills’ game against New England), Kincaid has caught a combined 13 passes on 15 targets for 140 total yards, dwarfing this line.
- In Week 8, Kincaid was on the field for 58 of 69 offensive snaps and ran a total of 39 routes, just six routes fewer than alpha wide receiver Stefon Diggs. His increased role in this offense in undeniable, yet his yardage prop is on par with what it was before the Knox injury early in the season.
- The Bengals have performed poorly against tight ends so far this season, including a Week 8 performance against the San Francisco 49ers in which they allowed George Kittle to go for nine catches and 149 yards. Mark Andrews and Tyler Higbee have each popped off against this Bengals defense earlier this season, as well.
Jonathan Taylor anytime touchdown (-130)
Jonathan Taylor over 1.5 touchdowns (+425)
- With the whole adversarial Jonathan Taylor vs. Jim Irsay showdown in the past, the Indianapolis Colts now look to Taylor to lead them against one of the league’s worst rushing defenses: the Carolina Panthers’ front seven.
- The Panthers rank 29th in the league, allowing 139.4 rushing yards per game, and have given up 14 rushing touchdowns so far this season, including two one-yard rushing touchdowns a week ago against the Houston Texans.
- Taylor’s snap percentage continues to increase since his return, jumping to a season-high 60 percent last week against the New Orleans Saints. However, it’s worth noting that Zack Moss took over nearly all the running back touches in the second half of last week’s game, including a one-yard touchdown run.
- The hope is that last week’s performance was partially executed in that way because other teams were calling about Moss with the trade deadline looming and his increased second-half usage could have been partly an audition for potential trade suitors. With the trade deadline passing, perhaps the Colts sway even further back to their franchise running back.
- Taylor is one of the chalkiest picks on the market to score a touchdown this week, with the third-shortest odds of all players to score a touchdown at any time (DraftKings: Austin Ekeler -135, Joe Mixon -140). Taylor has reached the end zone for multiple scores in eight career games, but hasn’t done it since 2021. He’s due!
So far this season, the picks given in this column have been average, going 27-30 through seven weeks. However, with a few long odds bets hitting, Brett’s picks have generated a profit of 7.21 units (meaning a bettor that placed $10 on every posted play would be up $72.10). Last week’s poor performance was the perfect example of why we encourage bettors to remain consistent and conservative in their bet sizing and budgeting.
There are 18 weeks of football in the regular season alone, not to mention the playoffs. There’s no need to wager the entire bankroll in one week. However, as you accumulate winnings, don’t be afraid to incrementally increase unit size. Create a plan and stick to it. There’s no reason to go crazy on just one football Sunday.
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Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter/X)