While there’s no early London kickoff to contend with this week, the Sunday afternoon slate of games is a little on the light side with just 10 matchups in total due to a plethora of bye weeks. However, there are still plenty of intriguing wagering possibilities to be found once you dig into the schedule.
Here are three games which have really caught our eye. We’ll be using them for individual bets as well as with our Sunday afternoon parlay tickets.
All betting odds provided by: Sportsbetting.ag
Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings, 1 PM EST, FOX
- Detroit +5 (-115)
- Minnesota -5 (-105)
- Detroit +185
- Minnesota -215
- Over 48.5 (-110)
- Under 48.5 (-110)
Lions vs. Vikings pick:
The 3-4 Detroit Lions hit the road to take on the divisional rival Minnesota Vikings, who enter this tilt with a mark of 4-3-1. The visitors come into the game off of a rough home loss to the Seattle Seahawks, while the Vikings also went down to defeat at home on Sunday Night Football, courtesy of the New Orleans Saints.
As their record indicates, it has been a mixed bag of a season for the Lions. Since being shellacked by the New York Jets in the opener, the squad has split its last six, but they managed to pull off a two-game winning streak with victories over the Green Bay Packers and Miami Dolphins. On the season, the Lions have been outscored by opponents by a margin of 186-171, or an average of 26.6-24.4.
Offensively, the Lions remain a club that leans on the pass, but the running game has been showing signs of life, not to mention the possibility of a bright future up ahead. The defense is stronger against the pass than the run, and the unit has been doing a solid job of generating pressure, with 23 sacks, six turnovers forced, and a defensive touchdown on the year.
Signal caller Matthew Stafford has been solid but unspectacular, completing 67.6 percent of his passes for 1,912 yards, 14 scores, and six picks. Rookie Kerryon Johnson is emerging as a force in the backfield, as he’s averaging 6.1 yards per carry thus far. Golden Tate was shipped out at the trading deadline, so signs point to emerging young wideout Kenny Golladay taking on an even larger role in the passing attack.
Before falling to the Saints by a score of 30-20 last week, the Vikings had ripped off three in a row. While there’s no shame in dropping a game to what looks to be one of the top squads in the NFC, the bottom line is that the Vikings have too much talent to only have four victories through eight games.
The club has a bye coming up after the Lions game, so they’ll naturally be looking to go in on a high note and to come out swinging in the second half. They’re going to have to do just that, as the NFC as a whole looks awfully competitive, and the North division could be a pretty tight race.
For the season, the Vikings are outscoring opponents by a margin of 197-195, or an average of 24.6 to 24.4. The passing game has been the clear strength of the team on offense, while the defense is stronger versus the run on an overall basis. For the season, the defense has compiled 21 sacks, generated 13 turnovers, and scored a pair of defensive touchdowns.
Free agent prize Kirk Cousins has been an excellent fit with his new team. On the year, Cousins has completed 70.7 percent of his passes for 2,521 yards, 16 scores, and four picks. Latavius Murray has been handling the bulk of the work in the backfield due to Dalvin Cook being banged up. Adam Thielen is leading the pass catchers, and he is off to an absolutely stellar start – 74/925/6.
Bottom line, the Vikings are the more talented squad on paper, and they need a big win to boot. While you can say the same about the Lions needing a W, there are simply differing expectations for the two clubs in 2018. The Vikings have big ambitions for this year, but the club has to get a move on and start stringing more victories together.
We’ll take the Vikings minus the points.
Atlanta Falcons @ Washington Redskins, 1 PM EST, FOX
- Atlanta +2 (-115)
- Washington -2 (-105)
- Atlanta +110
- Washington -130
- Over 46.5 (-110)
- Under 46.5 (-110)
Falcons vs. Redskins pick:
The 3-4 Atlanta Falcons had last week off. The team now hits the road to take on the 5-2 Washington Redskins, a club that has won three in a row to move to the top of the NFC East division. Prior to the bye, the Falcons had won two in a row of their own, and the club continues to plow ahead in the face of adversity in the form of a plethora of injuries.
The Falcons have been outscored by a margin of 212-190 so far, or an average mark of 30.3-27.1. The offense remains quite pass happy, while the defense is showing weakness against the same facet. On the year, the defense is struggling to generate consistent pressure, with just 14 sacks and seven turnovers forced in total.
Veteran QB Matt Ryan has been efficient in completing 71.1 percent of his throws for 2,335 yards, 15 scores, and two picks. Tevin Coleman is leading the charge in the backfield in the absence of the injured Devonta Freeman. Julio Jones remains the top threat in the passing game, but he has plenty of help as well, including talented rookie Calvin Ridley.
Alex Smith has been his usual efficient but unspectacular self behind center, throwing for eight touchdowns and a pair of picks on the season. A rejuvenated Adrian Peterson has been a pleasant surprise in the backfield. He’s currently fifth in the league in rushing yards, and he has four touchdowns and four rushes of 20+ yards on the year. Tight end Jordan Reed has been the top target in the passing game, hauling in 29 of 47 targets for 306 yards and a score.
These two clubs match up pretty well on an overall basis. The Falcons are better than their record suggests, but injuries have doomed the squad to a middle of the road record. The Redskins have a legitimate shot at a division title, and we’ll look for the team to keep the momentum rolling with a home victory.
We’ll take the Redskins minus the points.
Houston Texans @ Denver Broncos, 4:05 PM EST, CBS
- Houston +1 (-110)
- Denvier -1 (-110)
- Houston -101
- Denver -119
- Over 46 (-106)
- Under 46 (-114)
Texans vs. Broncos pick:
The red-hot Houston Texans have won five in a row to push their record to 5-3, and they hit the road this week to take on a reeling Denver Broncos squad which has lost five of its last six. After starting off 2-0, the Broncos have slipped to a mark of 3-5, and the club parted ways with longtime wideout Demaryius Thomas at the trade deadline.
After the Texans fell to a mark of 0-3, expectations were being adjusted for a squad that was expected to be a playoff contender. Fast forward to the present day, and expectations have been adjusted again, albeit in the opposite direction. The Texans are atop the AFC South and look like the best team in the division at the moment.
The Texans are outscoring opponents by an average margin of 24.6-20.9 per tilt. The offense has been pretty balanced overall, but the passing game seems to be really coming alive of late. The defense has really stepped its game up in recent weeks as well, and the unit is showing strength against both facets. All told, the defense has generated 21 sacks, 14 turnovers, and a pair of defensive scores.
A promising 2-0 start for the Broncos has quickly given way to a sense of unclear direction for the squad. While the team responded with a statement victory over the Arizona Cardinals a few weeks back, recent times have not been pleasant. The team just looks out of sorts, and head coach Vance Joseph appears to be on the hot seat as a result.
The offense is producing 23.5 points per game with a balanced approach. The defense has also been relatively balanced yet unspectacular, as the unit is giving up 24.3 points per contest. The unit is generating solid pressure with 24 sacks, 12 turnovers, and two defensive touchdowns on the season.
Case Keenum has had difficulty adapting to his new surroundings, as he has thrown for 10 scores and 10 picks. The team has one pleasant surprise in the form of Philip Lindsay, who has come out of nowhere to be a productive force in the backfield. Emmanuel Sanders was leading the way for the pass catchers even before the Thomas trade, and we can expect the emerging Courtland Sutton to see even more work moving forward.
Quite simply, this is a game between two clubs heading in opposite directions. It looks like it’s going to be a long season in the Mile High City, while the Texans look like a team on the rise that could make some noise in the AFC playoffs.
We’ll take the Texans plus the points as the team cruises to its sixth straight win.
Each of these games make sense for an individual wager, but we can definitely look for an even greater return by tying them together in a three-team parlay. Regardless of which direction you choose, we wish you the best of luck. Enjoy the games this weekend!