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My second child made a great business decision in being born mid-week so that I can stay focused on what truly matters - an NFL betting blog.
But I know what you’re thinking: “Dope Ropes, how do you keep providing somewhat-accurate NFL analysis while also having sex twice in your lifetime?”
I'm a bad man.
Here are a couple ugly bets to cash today:
Texans (6-3) @ Ravens (7-2); Noon CT
Pick: Carlos Hyde Over 67 rushing yards
This is very similar to my Nick Chubb prop bet from last week (winner), where Cleveland's run game rolled through the "hard-nosed" Buffalo Bills defense that I told you was soft against the run.
Likely influenced by Baltimore's style of play from the past couple decades, the public loves to think that the Ravens have a great defense. This year, that certainly isn't the case (22nd in yards/play allowed). Don't get mad at me, get mad at the stats. I called this out in Week 3 when I took BAL/KC Over 51.5 and the Ravens surrendered 33 to the Chiefs (another winner).
But I'm not saying the Ravens D is bad. They've improved significantly... against the pass. If we look at the past few weeks, Baltimore's pass D has rounded into Top-10 form. No doubt. Adding Marcus Peters and a healthy Jimmy Smith has quickly turned their secondary from bad to good. All of a sudden, this is the last place you want to attack Baltimore.
Which brings me to this: Baltimore's run D is below average. They rank 18th in yards/rush allowed despite playing 5 games against bottom-6 rushing offenses. And unlike the pass D, this run D is not trending up. Baltimore can be pushed around.
With the public fawning over Watson vs. Jackson, I'm focused on the Houston run game, which is sneakily one of the best in the NFL (3rd in yards/rush). The shine wore off of Carlos Hyde last year in his patchwork on the Browns and Jags, but the truth is that he is producing as a Top-10 RB this year.
Gimme the overlooked RB against a Ravens run D that is mistakenly perceived to be tough.
Jaguars (4-5) @ Colts (5-4); Noon CT
Pick: First Half Under 21
Action: 64% of bets on the Under, 62% of money on the Under
Familiarity breeds Unders, and you couldn't ask for more familiarity in this one.
On top of these teams being division rivals, they both have offensive personnel from the same coaching tree. When the Eagles won the Super Bowl two years ago, Frank Reich was the offensive coordinator and John DeFilippo was the quarterbacks coach. And who was their quarterback? Nick Foles and his king kong ding dong. With DeFilippo and Foles in Jacksonville, they'll know exactly what Frank Reich and the Colts will try to do offensively, and vice versa. Given this intel, both defenses are gonna get off.
Turning to the Colts, Jacoby Brissett returns from injury, but that's pretty meaningless because all of his receivers are dead. T.Y. Hilton remains sidelined with a calf injury, and the rest of the receiving corps is so banged up that WR Marcus Johnson is playing the majority of snaps. If you Google Marcus Johnson, you will see a jazz musician, not an NFL wide receiver. This Colts offense has no pop, and you know what else they don't have? A fucking kicker.
Adam Vinatieri is simultaneously a legend and the worst kicker in football. The guy is missing 30% of EXTRA POINT attempts. He's a walking shank and he needs to call it a career. Until then, I'll happily take the Under while he's involved.
The Jags have more going for them offensively than the Colts this year (9th vs. 25th in yards/play), but Jacksonville will need to make adjustments with a fresh face at the QB position. While Foles was out, DeFilippo successfully tailored the offense to Minshew's strengths, but during last week's bye he needed to revert everything back to suit Foles' skill set. I expect Jacksonville's QB switch to improve the offense long-term, but within the first half of this game against an increasingly-healthy Colts D that knows their every move, Jacksonville is going to stumble out of the gate.
On a separate and Chicago-related note, I can't say I'm looking forward to tonight's Bears/Rams showdown. It'll be two QBs who can't handle pressure against nightmare pass rushes, which brings us to a disgusting total of 39 points that has been hammered Under by the public and pros alike. I don't wanna watch my team's season die in prime time. Couldn't the NFL have flexed the Texans & Ravens into this time slot? But fuck it, I'll go to the loony bin with Carl and say that the Bears playoff run starts now. Three defensive TDs and we're golden.