As we saw against Auburn last week, LSU can't run the ball. Like, at all. In three games against Power Five opponents, the Tigers have tallied 77 carries for 145 yards with no touchdowns. That's worse than two yards per carry. However, they keep trying for some reason, averaging more than 27 rushing attempts per game. And if they continue trying to run through a brick wall this coming weekend against Kentucky's defense, they're only going to hurt themselves.
The saving grace for LSU is that Kentucky doesn't have a ball-hawking defense (three turnovers forced through five games) and the Wildcats haven't been particularly potent on offense as of late either. Take a page from Missouri's playbook, dial up (at least) 52 passes and hope Max Johnson has a similar 4-1 TD-to-INT ratio. That might be enough for the Bayou Bengals to eke out the road upset.
But that's a best-case scenario in which a nothing-special run defense manages to hold Chris Rodriguez Jr. and Co. below 200 rushing yards, which I don't see happening. And after the Tigers fall to 3-3 with a loss to Kentucky, head coach Ed Orgeron's hot-seat meter is going to get cranked up from "mildly toasty" to "raging inferno."
The Cincinnati Bengals w/o 2 key starters tonight. At receiver will be w/o Tee Higgins (shoulder) and safety Jessie Bates (neck). I'm not sold on Cinci being a team you want to lay 7.5. The Bengals aren't much better than the Bears IMO. Taking the points.
Jameis Winston goes into Week 1 without three of the Saints' top four receivers from last season - Jared Cook, Emmanuel Sanders and Michael Thomas, who begins the season on the PUP list. MVP Aaron Rodgers has all of his weapons and then some. Winston is a fade until proven otherwise.
+8 feels like a big number. I guess it depends on who shows up. The Cowboys will be hungry and Bucs could have a bit of a Super Bowl hangover. Couple negatives for the Cowboys, is the fact that Dak hasn't played in 11 months and has tennis elbow. Plus Dak didn't see much pre-season action either. Zeke Elliott didn't get any touches in pre-season either, so expect to see some early rust from Dallas.
Losing Zach Martin was big loss, but Dallas has one of the best receiving trios in the NFL. CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper are both dangerous. It's going to be a great matchup against this stout Bucs defense, whom some have said is the best defense in the NFL.
Prediction: Dallas offense scores 24+ points and does enough to cover. Or the Cowboys offense plays like shit and TB wins by 20. It's going to be a fun one to watch. Not a strong opinion ATS, but I'm playing TB 1st half -4.5, just a hunch - I think the Bucs offense comes out and runs 8-10 scripted plays and scores early. Plus I'm predicting Dak and Zeke to get off to slow start, but get it going 2nd half. We'll see. BOL!
With continuity in the coaching staff, improved recruiting and another year of strength and conditioning, the Scarlet Knights will be improved from last year although their overall record may not reflect a quantum jump in overall wins. Rutgers has a lot of starters coming back on both sides and as talented as they’ve been in years and should be better prepared with a full offseason under coach Greg Schiano. It’s been a while since Rutgers has been good, but Rutgers has a legit chance to start 3-0 against Temple, Syracuse, and Delaware. I’m predicting that the Scarlet Knights go 6-6 this year and eek out a bowl eligibility this year.
Temple was horrible on both sides of the ball last season. Granted they had a short season but still terrible nonetheless. The Owls have seen a bit of a downswing under Rod Carey. While they’ve been a respectable program in recent memory, and have given Rutgers close-calls as recently as the mid ‘10s, they are still a smaller program from a less major conference. This one will be in Piscataway under the lights, with hungry players and raucous fans. While I could see the game starting out close, with both teams working through adrenaline and jitters, I do not expect Rutgers to take care of business at home.
***DETROIT +134 DOG OF THE DAY*** The Red Sox have been in a rut of late and Detroit's offense has been red hot averaging 9.6 runs over the last 7 days. Casey Mize is every bit as good (if not better) than Eduardo Rodriquez. Detroit is a live dog here today.
The Pirates have plated two runs or fewer in eight of their last 10 games, while Mets veteran Taijuan Walker has allowed two runs or fewer in 12 of his 15 starts this year. Pittsburgh's offense is a perma fade.
Kansas State really canâ€™t score and the worst team in the Big 12. West Virginia hasnâ€™t scored fewer than 62 points all year, averages 78 points per game, and even when it was held down by the K-State defense back in late January, it still won 69-47. This game will be over by half time.
The Northwestern defense does a tremendous job of keeping offenses off schedule and then forcing turnovers. On what figures as breezy day in Central Florida, look for more of the same against an Auburn offense that will be without their best running back today.
Pittsburghâ€™s defense has yielded the third-fewest points in the NFL. The same thing canâ€™t be said about a suddenly struggling Ravens squad that has lost three of four following a brutal overtime defeat at the hands of the Titans last week. The primary issue here has been struggles from reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson, who has thrown just five touchdowns compared to four interceptions during that four-game span.
The Steelers defense is clicking on all cylinders, and Baltimore canâ€™t seem to put it all together and their defense isn't what it used to be. Hard to step in front of Pittsburgh right now, I think they move to 11-0 and clinch the AFC North on Thursday.
The wild card is Luton, who is making his third-ever NFL start in his rookie season. The 6-foot-6 slinger has been lauded for his poise in the pocket the last few games while hitting on 44 of his 73 passes for 473 yards. He and DJ Chark Jr. have become a revelation, combining for 11 connections and 202 yards the last two weeks. With Luton having two games under his belt he could have more poise and create some problems for Steelers defense.
File this under the "for what it's worth" department: four of the Jaguars' losses have come by one score, including nip-and-tuck defeats to Houston (27-25) and Green Bay (24-20) in the last two weeks. Plus, in their last three road contests, the Steelers have barely escaped Dallas (24-19), Baltimore (28-24), and Tennessee (27-24). So there is precedent that this might just turn into another close shave. I like Jacksonville here as a double digit home dog.
This game is not going to be pretty. The Washington Football Team just lost to the New York Giants, and they will likely need to be starting Alex Smith with Kyle Allen going down with a gruesome leg injury. Detroit just got dismantled by the Minnesota Vikings and another huge performance by Dalvin Cook. Neither one of these teams are very good, but I would put my money on Matthew Stafford over Alex Smith.
Detroit -3 (-120) and UNDER 46. This total feels a bit high with two sluggish offenses and a stout Washington defense.
***OVER 54.5*** LOCK IT UP - Cincinnati going to thrash East Carolina tonight. This game will get ugly and should be a track meet. The total is set at 56.5 and I think Cincinnati will get fairly close to that number on their own. East Carolina may not be an offensive juggernaut but they can move the ball and they have scored at least 21 points in every one of their games this year.
I expect the Chiefsâ€™ offense to be a LOT more effective than it was in the first three quarters against the Los Angeles Chargers last week. Baltimoreâ€™s defense is scary, but Patrick Mahomes and company have been up for the challenge in the past. I predict this is a game in which Clyde Edwards-Helaire breaks out and shows he was one of the best draft picks this year and catches a ton of passes out of the backfield. Stopping Lamar Jackson is difficult, but make him pass and he has problems, and stopping Mahomes is virtually impossible.
I like KC in a high scoring game Chiefs 34, Ravens 28.
Imo Boston has figured out the heat and I think Bostonâ€™s defense will tear them up again tonight they canâ€™t stop Kemba if Tatum is on and brown does what he did last game itâ€™s a wrap double digit win
Based on value, the Nuggets +165 is the only bet here. With PF Anthony Davis banged up with an ankle injury, expect the Lakersâ€™ offense to look a bit sluggish, and Jamal Murray is playing at another level right now.
Celtics in 7. Flip a coin. It is that close. But the Celticsâ€™ Tatum is a rising young star in this league, and he will rise to the occasion. Miami needs to find a way to successfully defend Bostonâ€™s perimeter stars Tatum, Brown and Walker. Thatâ€™s not easy, but the Heat also have solid defenders starting with Butler, Jae Crowder and Bam Adebayo. Boston has to address its defense against Miamiâ€™s versatile offense.
Should be fun to watch but in what sets up as a close series, I will take the underdog in every game in this series.