As Ferris Beuller might say: The world of sports moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around at least once a week, you could miss it.
Here we'll review what you might have missed in the past week all in one place. Why spend hours scrolling through Twitter to catch up on the news you want? We've already done that for you, so remember to check back every Monday to get your dose of weekly sports review.
The first instances of the NFL schedule being affected by positive COVID-19 cases occurred over the past week. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans game has been moved to Week 7, and the Steelers game against the Baltimore Ravens was in turn moved to Week 8. After multiple cases came out of the Tennessee organization, they're being investigated by the league to determine if they broke protocol. If that were to be the case, they would be subject to further punishment by the league.
Also rescheduled due to COVID-19 is the matchup between New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs, which was moved to tonight; we will now have two Monday night football games on the schedule. Cam Newton tested positive, and his loss will be a huge blow to the Patriots' chances of getting a win against the defending Super Bowl champions.
Some notable results from Week 4 of the NFL include the Panthers winning their second game of the season without Christian McCaffrey, Joe Burrow getting his first career win over the Jaguars, the Browns outlasting the Cowboys in a thriller bringing them to 3-1, and Seahawks continue to cook as they improve to 4-0.
For more NFL coverage, check back for the Weekly Round Up article released every Tuesday.
Winning is fun— Joey Burrow (@Joey Burrow)1601850554.0
So many good matchups. Next week is gonna be fun — MLB playoffs: Bracket, schedule, dates, with divisional round se… https://t.co/X4VKHPw03d— Tim White (@Tim White)1601723505.0
Last week's Wild Card Round resulted in six of the eight series being 2-0 sweeps. Oakland defeated the White Sox in three games, and it took three for the Padres to dispose of St. Louis. The Divisional Round games start Monday as the two AL series begin.
FERNANDO TATIS JR. THE FACE OF BASEBALL HAS DONE IT AGAIN!! https://t.co/uaA3Hu8o5a— Jared Carrabis (@Jared Carrabis)1601606762.0
The Yankees will take on division rival Tampa Bay as the top two AL East teams fight for a spot in the ALCS. The Rays' starting rotation may be the best in baseball, and they had an 8-2 record against the Bronx Bombers in the regular season. The Yankees will look to get two solid outings from Gerrit Cole in this series and hope that their bats continue to produce as they did against Cleveland.
Yankees vs. Rays on Monday 😁 https://t.co/0hFTqITGXh— Ballplayer Buzz (@Ballplayer Buzz)1601753060.0
After taking out the talented young White Sox squad, the Oakland A's have Houston in the second round. The Astros seek to continue to silence their critics which will only grow louder if they continue to advance. The A's will need to get a better start from Jesus Luzardo in this series, but their bullpen has been reliable when called upon. This matchup will come down to whether the Oakland pitching can be better than Houston's bats. Unfortunately, the Astros have the advantage in this series.
The Marlins were the surprise from the first round after sweeping the Cubs; they will be matched against the Atlanta Braves. The Braves took the last regular season series against Miami 2-1 and certainly have the lineup to produce plenty of offense featuring Ronald Acuna, Marcell Ozuna, and Freddie Freeman. The Marlins will need to get repeat performances from starters Sandy Alcantara and Sixto Sanchez in order to win this series.
The other NLDS series includes the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are the favorite to win the World Series, and they will face the Padres. San Diego has been one of the most exciting teams to watch all season, and that trend has extended into the playoffs. Facing elimination in Game 2, the Padres' resilient group fought back to overcome a 4 run deficit twice to even the series. They carried that momentum into Game 3 to close out the series, and hopefully they can continue their run against Clayton Kershaw, Mookie Betts, and the loaded Dodgers team. This is a must-watch series that features the blue blood Dodgers against the upstart Slam Diego Padres.
Clayton Kershaw was lights out 😤 🔹 8 IP 🔹 0 Runs 🔹 13 Strikeouts 🔹 W https://t.co/Z9qUwIG1ef— ESPN (@ESPN)1601615041.0
LeBron walked off the court with 10 seconds left. https://t.co/zTvwZhHDq5— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter)1601865857.0
We have seen the first three games of the NBA Finals now, and Jimmy Butler has yet again proven that we know nothing about the Heat. After the Lakers jumped out to a 2-0 series lead, everyone assumed Miami was dead in the water–especially since the Heat lost two starters in the series opener and Bam Adebayo (neck) and Goran Dragic (foot) missed both Games 2 and 3.
Game 3 was expected to be LeBron and the Lakers laying the groundwork for a sweep, but instead Miami was able to get Anthony Davis into early foul trouble, which limited his impact in the first half. While Los Angeles struggled to get anything going offensively, Miami's confidence grew behind the play of Jimmy Butler. The Lakers were sloppy with the ball and at times looked uninterested, if not distracted, by the thought of hoisting the championship trophy. They finished with 19 turnovers and allowed Miami to score 52 points in the paint.
Jimmy Butler was spectacular and had one of the all time playoff performances of this generation. Playing 45 minutes, Butler finished with 40 points, 11 rebounds, and 13 assists. The catalyst for Erik Spoelstra's team, Butler played the best basketball of his life on the biggest stage. While Tyler Herro and the rest of the team struggled to contribute, Butler put his team on his shoulders and carried them to the finish line.
Jimmy Butler is the first player to outscore, outrebound and out-assist LeBron James in a Finals game, including Le… https://t.co/r7OlCsAemQ— Marc J. Spears (@Marc J. Spears)1601866079.0
This series is NOT over yet. If we've learned anything from the Heat this postseason, it's to never count them out. So I'm done doing that and I'm just going to tune in on Tuesday night to see what happens. LeBron has seen his fair share of losses in the Finals, so he is very aware of what a team looks and feels like when they aren't in a good place to finish the job. Game 3 was certainly an example of a team that wasn't ready to close. It may have explained James' poor sportsmanship, as he left the floor before time was up, forcing Frank Vogel to pull someone off the bench to run out the clock.
The Seattle Storm has jumped out to a 2-0 series lead in the WNBA Finals against the Las Vegas Aces. Breanna Stewart set the tone for the series going for 37 points and 15 rebounds in Game 1. Stewart added 22 points and 5 assists Sunday night in Game 2 and Sue Bird had a double double with 16 points and 10 assists in 27 minutes. In Game 1 Bird set the WNBA Playoff and Finals assist record with 16!
HISTORY FOR SUE BIRD. Bird sets a WNBA Finals record with 12 assists in a game ... and it’s only the third quarter… https://t.co/aEg2KouUlU— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter)1601684451.0
The Aces have missed the presence of two-time sixth woman of the year, Dearica Hamby, who is sidelined with a knee injury. A'ja Wilson has been good, averaging 19.5 points and 6.5 rebounds so far in the Finals, and Angel McCoughtry has provided two solid performances for Las Vegas. Until they can figure out how to slow down the Storm's offensive attack, however, getting back into this series will be an uphill struggle.
James Rodriguez scored twice helping Everton to a 4-2 win over Brighton and now sit atop the table with 12 points and a 4-0-0 record to begin the new campaign. Rodriguez is coming off lackluster tenures with Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, but seems to be rejuvenated with his new club. Dominic Calvert-Lewin has scored for Everton in every match so far this season, including a hat trick. If they can continue to maintain this level of attack, then they may find themselves in contention to win the league.
🤣 | A reminder that Richard Keys said this after we announced Rodriguez: "I'm not convinced by James Rodriguez.… https://t.co/DgskaKY81d— The Everton Way (@The Everton Way)1601797299.0
Man United and Liverpool fans when they see each other at work/school/college today https://t.co/iKovFahrou— Troll Football (@Troll Football)1601905110.0
Manchester United also suffered an embarrassing loss to Tottenham. After Bruno Fernandes put away an early penalty, Tottenham quickly responded to draw even at 1-1 and then controlled the pace of play until Anthony Martial was red carded and sent off in the 28th minute. Playing with 10 men, Manchester United looked overwhelmed and overmatched as Tottenham controlled 62% of possession and outshot their opposition 22-5. The result was a 6-1 Tottenham victory, and they now have the look of a team ready to compete for trophies. As for Man U, they are towards the bottom of the table and have the look of a team in danger of being relegated.
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It's another eventful week in the NFL.
Four teams -- the Jets, Falcons, Saints, and 49ers -- are the first teams to get a bye week. After Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers narrowly escaped Thursday Night Football with a 28-22 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, the reigning Super Bowl champs are the first team with five wins in the league. Who will join them on Sunday? We know that we'll get at least a second five-win team since the 4-1 Ravens are hosting the 4-1 Chargers. That is going to be an epic battle, so let's start with that clash of AFC contenders. Welcome to our Week 6 NFL Best Bets.
Playing on the road is a difficult task for any team, but if any team can escape with a victory, it's Justin Herbert and the Chargers. This isn't the Chargers of the last decade. This team is winning the close battles. Herbert is playing at an MVP level this season and already has led this team to big-time wins over the Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns -- two of the top teams in the AFC. This L.A. team is deep at the skill positions, can rush the passer, has an improved offensive line and a great young coach. What's not to like?
All that said, Lamar Jackson seems to be playing as he did during his 2019 MVP campaign. Not to mention, Marquise "Hollywood" Brown is actually catching passes. He eclipsed 100 yards last week and scored two touchdowns (including the game-winning catch in overtime). Simply put, this is a tough team to bet against. It did take last-second heroics for the Ravens to beat the winless Lions and a pretty pedestrian Colts team. Overall, Baltimore hasn't faced a test like this yet this season. Take the points and the better overall squad. Chargers may win this game, but if they don't, they are not going to lose by more than a field goal.
PICK: Chargers +3.5
It's been a tough start to the season for the Chiefs. They had great odds to return to the Super Bowl and are now last in the AFC West heading into Week 16 with a 2-3 record. They desperately need this game. This is a great opportunity for the Chiefs to prove they are still elite by defeating a team that made the postseason last year on the road. The Chiefs are going to turn it around against a Washington defense that is allowing the sixth-most passing yards and second-most passing touchdowns this season. Patrick Mahomes is going to blow up. Tyreek Hill is going to dominate. Travis Kelce is going to continue to provide a steady source of receptions down the middle of the field. As long as the Chiefs' offensive line holds against Chase Young, it's going to be a long day for Washington's defense. Betting on Mahomes to right the ship isn't a really difficult choice.
PICK: Chiefs -6.5
Yes, the Texans are one of the worst teams in the league. Betting on them on the road against a divisional rival might seem crazy at first. However, the Texans are 7-3 against the spread as underdogs in their last 10 games. Plus, the Colts are emotional after completely giving away the game against the Ravens in which they blew a 22-3 lead late in the game. This is going to cause a bit of a hangover in that locker room. When New England suffered a terrible loss against Tom Brady and the Bucs, the Texans managed to cover the spread the following week. Look for history to repeat itself. Texans coach David Culley has Houston playing hard in spite of its lack of talent and quarterback Davis Mills appeared to take a step forward last week against the Pats. Houston has played pretty good pass defense, too. The Texans have allowed only seven passing TDs this season.
PICK: Texans +9
Sunday night will be an interesting matchup to watch as Geno Smith will make his first start in four years as the Seahawks travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers. I hate betting on Ben Roethlisberger, but it's hard to envision the Seahawks covering the spread without the services of Russell Wilson. And as much as I think Big Ben should hang up his cleats, you have to give him credit for the way he dominated a solid Broncos defense last week. Roethlisberger looked better than he did earlier in the season and was able to get the ball to his playmakers -- Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and running back Najee Harris. Seattle's defense is one of the worst in the league and their secondary is even worse than their front seven. Look for the Steelers to light up Seattle in the passing game.
PICK: Steelers -5
Both of these offenses can put up a lot of points, though they go about it very differently. The Browns are a run-heavy team, and even though they will be without the services of Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt is more than capable of getting the job done. Meanwhile, Arizona's offense runs through electric quarterback Kyler Murray. Murray is able to move the chains with his legs but he isn't afraid to toss the ball either. He loves getting his guys involved and his weapons are elite in DeAndre Hopkins, Rondale Moore, and Christian Kirk.
The Browns are coming off an 89-point slugest with the Chargers and hit the OVER in their other game against a high-end offense in a 33-29 loss to the Chiefs. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have scored 30-plus points in four of five games this year. Smash the OVER.
PICK: OVER 49.5
Week 2 of the NFL was full of breakout performances, thrilling finishes and potentially the start of the Justin Fields era in the NFC North as the Bears' win over the Bengals finds them in first place in the division.
We cap off the week with a Monday Night Football showdown between the Packers and the Lions with the winner finding themselves tied for first in the North. The Packers put up an absolute dud of a performance last week against the Saints in Week 1 while the Lions looked surprisingly effective while playing catch-up against the West-leading 49ers. The expectations for these two teams couldn't have been further apart coming into the season but with matching 0-1 starts on the books, I think there are a couple of interesting props and roster construction angles to exploit.
NFL DFS Showdown Picks
*Prices are from DraftKings
Captain: TE T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions ($9,600) ($14,400)
I'm normally not a fan of playing a tight end in the captain spot, but T.J. Hockenson is not your average tight end. He finished 2020 with an elite 18% target share in the Lions' offense and picked up right where he left off in Week 1, finishing with an 18.2% share on 50 routes run last week. Hockenson has always carried premium TD upside as a red-zone target but what was most encouraging about last week was that he ran nearly 55% of his routes out of the slot, leaving him a matchup against Chandon Sullivan, who's allowing a 67% catch rate in his coverage. In a game where the Lions are projected to be down early, expect Hockenson to get fed once again. His red-zone utilization gives him enough juice to take the captain's chair in my builds.
Core Consideration: QB Jared Goff, Detroit Lions ($10,000)
Two principles I take into Showdown slates apply to this play. Generally speaking, if I have a pass-catcher as my captain, I'm finding a way to get their QB into a flex spot. The second is that your build needs to tell a story. Mine is that the Packers come out with something to prove after getting embarrassed in Week 1 and that we'll likely see upwards of 50 pass attempts from Jared Goff as he attempts to mount a comeback. Goff is a surprisingly effective passer when getting good protection and this unit gave him a clean pocket on 86.7% of snaps last week. Expect that to continue tonight as Goff will continue to feast in garbage time.
Contrarian Play: WR Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers ($2,000)
I still chuckle at the thought of the return of Randall Cobb being on the short-list of demands from Aaron Rodgers in the midst of his holdout. I do, however, think there is something to be said about the importance of chemistry between a quarterback and his receiver and I expect that in a typical game (which Week 1 was not), Aaron Rodgers is going to find his spots to get Cobb involved. In a game script that figures to have the Packers up by a healthy margin, not many are going to look at the tertiary passing options for Green Bay and I think a $2,000 Randall Cobb could sneak in a handful of receptions at single-digit ownership..
Salary Relief: WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions ($2,400)
This one fits perfectly into my narrative for the game as well. In a game where the Lions are likely to flirt with 50+ pass attempts and coming off a week where St. Brown ran routes on 75% of the team's passing plays, I will be overweight on Amon-Ra tonight. Lining up in the slot on 74.5% of plays means St. Brown will primarily see coverage from Chandon Sullivan, the most favorable of the options GB lines up in their defensive secondary. Expect St. Brown to see his target volume increase tonight. If Detroit can be more effective in getting to the red zone, he carries decent scoring upside with the way he's utilized in this offense. Plus, who doesn't love the extra motivation of playing against their big bro?
Monday Night Football Best Bets
Taking a look at the wagering side of this game; before we determine anything else we must ask ourselves what we think of these Green Bay Packers. I tend to look at last week's performance as the exception and not the rule. With that being the case, I am laying the 11.5 points and taking GB tonight. Over the past six seasons, oddsmakers have been fairly sharp when it comes to these larger spreads and NFL teams cover double-digit spreads more than 55% of the time. The total for tonight is sitting at 48.5 and given the somewhat surprising ability of the Lions to make up ground last week, I am confidently on the "over" side of that line.
Picks: Packers -11.5, OVER 48.5 points
Taking a look at the prop market, I am again mainly investing in the "GB Blowout" narrative:
D'Andre Swift: OVER 28.5 Receiving Yard
Coming off a 65-yard performance in a very similar game script, this one feels like a no-brainer. Swift averages nearly 8 yards per reception so this really boils down to whether you think he catches more than 3 passes. I certainly do and I'm confidently on the OVER for this prop. FanDuel is currently carrying the best odds at -110.
T.J. Hockenson: Anytime TD
I'm not the biggest fan of these "to score" props, but I'll break from the norm with this one. I am projecting the Lions to at least have a go at it in this game and there simply isn't a scenario where that doesn't involve a score for Hockenson. +220 odds at FanDuel sort of feels like stealing given that I see this game going over the 48.5 total.
AJ Dillon | UNDER 8.5 Rushing Attempts
I know that the betting public is forecasting a fairly comfortable win for the Packers, but let's not get carried away. AJ Dillon would have to nearly double his career average for carries to get to this number. Plus, it's a bit unlikely that this game gets so far out of reach that Green Bay brings in their backups. Even last week when they did bring in the second-stringers, Dillon only saw 4 carries. I'm expecting Aaron Jones to have a monster day on the ground, as evidenced by my Saturday article.
Week 1 is in the books and it's time to move on to the best bets in Week 2.
If you listened to my article earlier this week, you would have started 1-0 for taking the Giants with the points against Washington in that thriller of a matchup Thursday night. Now, let's dive into Week 2's best NFL bets.
Tennessee Titans/Seattle Seahawks Over 54
The Seahawks' offense was high-flying in the first half last week. Because the Colts never really threatened the outcome of the game, the Seahawks were able to take the air out of the ball and finish the game with an easy win while only scoring seven in the second half. While both the Titans' defense and offense looked atrocious, expect Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry to have big bounce-back weeks and make this an epic high-scoring game. This has all the makings for a shootout in which both teams put up 30-plus points.
Cincinnati Bengals +2.5 @ Chicago Bears
Until that Monday night game, the Bengals had the honor of winning the craziest Week 1 game over the Vikings in overtime. The Bears' defense, which is supposed to be their strength, looked awful against the Rams, including one of the most blown coverages you'll ever see on Cooper Kupp's long touchdown. It was simply an awful week for the Bears. I don't think it gets any better until they remove Dalton and promote Justin Fields. If they don't do that prior to game time, the Bengals will run away with this one.
Los Angeles Rams -3.5 @ Indianapolis Colts
Coming out of Week 1 the Rams looked great on both sides of the ball. Matthew Stafford had a great first game, going 20 for 26 with three touchdowns. The Colts... They didn't look that great on either side of the ball. While Carson Wentz's overall numbers didn't look bad, most of the yardage and one of his two TDs came in the fourth quarter as they were chasing from two or more scores back, never actually threatening to win the game. I'm leaning towards the Rams winning this in a blowout and would consider alternate spreads.
Arizona Cardinals -3.5 vs. Minnesota Vikings
Kyler Murray appears to be a man on a mission to avenge last season's bitter ending after absolutely torching the Tennesee Titans in Nashville. The Vikings' defense, who hasn't been as formidable as years past, is going to have their hands full with Kyler. Last week they allowed Joe Burrow to complete nearly 80% of his passes, and Burrow isn't a threat to run nor has a receiver as talented as DeAndre Hopkins. If the Vikings offense doesn't step up and make this a shootout, things could get ugly in Phoenix.
Dallas Cowboys + 3.5 @ Los Angeles Chargers
Dak Prescott looked great in Week 1 and if there were any issues with his shoulder after throwing 58 times, he had 10 days to get healed up again and ready for the Chargers. I can almost guarantee, whenever the Cowboys go to play either Los Angeles team in their stadium, that there will be more Cowboys fans than LA fans. So while they aren't playing in Jerry World, they'll have more fan support. My concern for Justin Herbert and the Chargers is their efficiency in the red zone. His most potent weapons in Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler become less effective as they get closer to the goal line. That leaves Jared Cook and Mike Williams as your bigger bodies in the red zone, which isn't ideal. The Cowboys have a decent chance to win this one outright, but you can take the points for some cushion.
- Cowboys ML (+160)
- Titans +6.5 (-105)
- Steelers ML (-225)
- Rams -3.5 (-110)
Five Props To Consider
- Calvin Ridley OVER 6.5 receptions (+115)
- Tyrod Taylor OVER 34.5 Pass Attempts (-105)
- Aaron Jones OVER 88.5 combined yards (-115)
- Nick Chubb OVER 17.5 carries (-120)
- James Robinson OVER 9.5 carries (-125)
All five of these props have an excellent chance at hitting. I like the idea of wagering a three-leg prop parlay with the last three props listed (Jones, Chubb and J-Rob). Thanks me on Monday.