As Ferris Bueller 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 Astros are about to become the second team in baseball history to force a Game 7 after being down 0-3. Just a r… https://t.co/fFTYgzT8f6— Jared Carrabis (@Jared Carrabis)1602895849.0
Game 7 of the ALCS saw the Rays jump out to an early lead as Randy Arozarena homered in the first inning and Mike Zunino in the second. Charlie Morton was brilliant over five and two thirds innings pitched, and Pete Fairbanks slammed the door shut on the series and the Astros' season to close out the game. Tampa was able to overcome the Astros momentum to advance to the World Series, but unfortunately for the Braves their outcome was different.
Happy bois https://t.co/anJxD6ufVe— Tampa Bay Rays (@Tampa Bay Rays)1603060778.0
The Dodgers dropped the first two games of the NLCS and then exploded for 15 runs in Game 3 with multi hit efforts from Joc Pederson, Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, and Corey Seager who all homered. Atlanta responded in Game 4 however and lit up Clayton Kershaw and Brusdar Graterol breaking the game open in the bottom of the sixth inning to take a 3-1 advantage.
With their grave all but dug with one foot in, the Dodgers got six runs batted in between Corey Seager and Will Smith who each homered in Game 5. Seager homered again in Game 6 in the first inning and Justin Turner went back to back adding another solo shot to begin the game. Max Fried gave up another to make it three first inning runs for LA which was more than enough to carry them to victory behind a stellar performance from Walker Buehler who struck out six batters over six innings while giving up no runs.
The Braves led in four of the first five innings of Game 7 before the Dodgers added a run in the sixth and then the seventh inning to make the game 4-3. The combination of Blake Treinen, Brusdar Graterol, and Julio Urias allowed no hits and one walk from the fourth inning on and didn't allow Atlanta to have a chance to get back into the game.
For the 3rd time in 4 years, the @Dodgers are NL Champs! #CLINCHED https://t.co/0g1GoS9AIa— MLB (@MLB)1603079582.0
Game 1 of the World Series between the Dodgers and Rays is Tuesday night with first pitch at 8:09 p.m. EST.
On Saturday night Teofimo Lopez Jr. (16-0, 12 KOs) upset Vasiliy Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs) in a unanimous decision after 12 rounds which unified all four belts at 135 pounds. Lopez was already the IBF lightweight champ heading in, and after defeating Lomachenko, Lopez added the WBA, WBO, and WBC titles to his collection.
At just 23 years old, Lopez has been hailed by some as the future of the division, but with Lomachenko standing in the way it appeared that Teofimo's time was a ways off still. Revered as possibly the best pound for pound fighter alive, Lomachenko was expected to come out of this fight as the unified title holder.
ALL. THE. BELTS. At 23 years old, #TheTakeover is now... 👑 The only 4-belt champ in Lightweight history 👑 The y… https://t.co/xUSaXZc4jd— Top Rank Boxing (@Top Rank Boxing)1602997715.0
Instead what we saw was Loma being out-boxed and outclassed for most of the fight. Footwork and hand speed are two pillars of Lomachenko's success, and we saw little of either in his fight with Lopez. Teofimo came out and attacked early which caused Lomachenko into a largely defensive position until later in the fight.
Lopez hit hard and with accuracy and won eight of the 12 rounds on the judge's scorecard. There will undoubtedly be a rematch and expect to see Lomachenko ready to reassume his spot at the top of the division. Following a 14 month layoff, Loma looked a little rusty and he may have been underestimating his opponent. Of course we could be wrong and we may have just witnessed the passing of the torch in the lightweight division to Lopez.
Week 6 of NFL action didn't have a Thursday Night Game on the schedule as the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills game was moved to Monday instead. So like cavemen, we had to wait until Sunday(!) to get some NFL. What we got was a mixed bag of games. It seemed that every game on the slate on Sunday was either a one score game late into the fourth quarter, or a blowout not worth your time.
Here are quick bite takes on each game from Sunday.
Chicago Bears 23 - Carolina Panthers 16 - The Bears defense is really good. They got four sacks, two interceptions, and a fumble recovery in a close game. The Bears are a shaky 5-1 now and need to start figuring out how to get more out of running back David Montgomery. The Panthers on the other hand need to bounce back next week while they're waiting for Christian McCaffrey to return from injury.
Indianapolis Colts 31 - Cincinnati Bengals 27 - Joe Burrow continues to look good against strong competition to start off his career. Unable to get a passing touchdown, Burrow still picked up a rushing touchdown and had his team in position to win late. Philip Rivers pulled out the win and threw for 371 yards and three touchdowns to edge out the young gunslinger.
We found a way. #ForTheShoe https://t.co/aBUGv0qEyb— Indianapolis Colts (@Indianapolis Colts)1603054039.0
Detroit Lions 34 - Jacksonville Jaguars 16 - D'Andre Swift finally had a breakout game for the Lions going for 116 rushing yards and two touchdowns as Detroit routed the Jags. Kerryon Johnson fantasy owners are waiving the white flag at this point as both Swift and Adrian Peterson appear locked in ahead of Johnson on the depth chart. As for the Jaguars, James Robinson struggled to get anything going on the ground, and Keelan Cole added 143 yards on six catches. Another flat performance from a wavering Jacksonville team.
Atlanta Falcons 40 - Minnesota Vikings 23 - Atlanta finally gets their first win on the season after firing Dan Quinn. Now the Falcons and Vikings both sit at 1-5 going into Week 7. Matt Ryan (371 yards/three touchdowns/zero interceptions) and Julio Jones (eight receptions/137 yards/two touchdowns) shined in the blowout victory over the Vikings. Minnesota missed star running back, Dalvin Cook, as they couldn't get anything going until the second half when Justin Jefferson and Kirk Cousins connected for two scores. Jefferson is developing into a fantasy standout performer.
Congrats on your first win in ATL, Coach! https://t.co/0QNoYg5Yzw— Atlanta Falcons (@Atlanta Falcons)1603062300.0
Baltimore Ravens 30 - Philadelphia Eagles 28 - As expected the Ravens carried a big lead into the fourth quarter. Unexpectedly, the Eagles scored 22 points in the last quarter and nearly mounted a comeback to send the game to OT. Lamar Jackson needs to run the ball more and it showed again in this game. Jackson finished with 108 yards on the ground and a touchdown, and his 37 yard scoring play was Baltimore's best on the day.
"@Lj_era8 is electrifying when he gets in the open field!" Touchdown ❗️❗️ Tune into the second half on CBS! https://t.co/Vp2d0rXryk— Baltimore Ravens (@Baltimore Ravens)1603048567.0
Pittsburgh Steelers 38 - Cleveland Browns 7 - Pittsburgh's defense hit Baker Mayfield in the mouth all day until he was replaced by Case Keenum late in the game. The Browns probably weren't as good as their 4-1 record heading into this one, but they aren't a bad team. This result is indicative of how good the Steelers are this year. Pittsburgh continued to involve Chase Claypool this week as he finished with four catches for 74 yards and added a score on a rushing play.
And then there were three. @Seahawks | @Steelers | @Titans https://t.co/wk2libIoYI— Sunday Night Football (@Sunday Night Football)1603116900.0
Tennessee Titans 42 - Houston Texans 36 - The Texans were almost able to pull off a victory for their interim head coach, Romeo Crennel like Atlanta did but just fell short. The Titans continue to prove doubters wrong as they roll on now sitting at 5-0. Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry combined for 576 yards of offense and six touchdowns! Even though he's gone, the effects of Bill O'Brien's poor management skills will continue to be felt as the cupboard just feels too bare for Deshaun Watson to work with.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38 - Green Bay Packers 10 - Two things from this game are clear. Tampa Bay's defense is really good and secondly they were ready for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. The Bucs offense wasn't exceptional and there were no standout performers. To win this big just shows you how ineffective the Packers were against this defense.
San Francisco 49ers 24 - Los Angeles Rams 16 - Jimmy Garoppolo got back on track in a big way this week against a good Rams team. He connected with George Kittle for 109 yards and a touchdown, and Raheem Mostert led the team with 65 yards on the ground. Jared Goff threw for two touchdowns for the Rams but wasn't able to surpass 200 yards passing.
Denver Broncos 18 - New England Patriots 12 - In a game that only saw one touchdown on a Cam Newton run, field goals ruled the day and Denver made six of them. Drew Lock returned as starting QB for Denver this game and still looks like he has some rust to shake off.
Miami Dolphins 24 - New York Jets 0 - The Jets probably could've used the recently released running back Le'Veon Bell in this one as they weren't able to score a single point. Adam Gase needs to be fired immediately and the Jets should forfeit the remainder of their games in 2020.
New York Jets 2020 Season Highlights: https://t.co/wBNd0YYPOh— NFL Memes (@NFL Memes)1603058524.0
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.