Want to know the latest trends, matchups and injury news in football? We’ve got you. Want to know where the public has money this week? We’ve got you. Want to know which teams to play, whom to roster in DFS or whom to pick in your Eliminator pool? We’ve got you there, too. Here’s everything you need to know as you prepare for your fantasy football matchups and potential bets on the games this weekend.
David Purdum’s Action Report
No. 7 Penn State Nittany Lions at No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes: The line opened as high as Buckeyes -6 before ticking down to as low as -4 this week. More bets had been placed and more wagered on the Nittany Lions than any other college football team at DraftKings as of Thursday.
Notable early line movement at Circa Sports, an influential sportsbook that posts some of the first weekly college football lines: The No. 18 USC Trojans opened as 4-point favorites vs. the No. 14 Utah Utes on Sunday. The line grew to USC -7 by Monday; the total for the UCF Knights at the No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners grew rapidly after opening at 59.5 on Sunday. By Thursday, it was all the way up to 67; the LSU Tigers opened as 25.5-point favorites at home against the Army Black Knights. By Thursday, the line had grown to -32.5.
Joe Fortenbaugh’s best bet for Tennessee vs. Alabama
Joe Fortenbaugh tells Stephen A. Smith why he’s laying 8.5 points with Alabama against Tennessee.
Seth Walder’s biggest edges from ESPN Analytics
No. 6 Sooners (-17.5) vs. UCF: This one probably shouldn’t be a surprise at this point. FPI is all-in on the Sooners. From the model’s standpoint, what’s not to like? The Sooners rank third in efficiency — even after adjusting for quality of opponent and garbage time. The Oklahoma offense should score plenty against a UCF defense that FPI considers the 76th-best in FBS.
Georgia Bulldogs to not reach the College Football Playoff (+180): They’re the defending national champions and the No. 1 team in the AP poll. But FPI isn’t sold on the Bulldogs, ranking them only eighth-best. They have non-slam-dunk games against Ole Miss and Tennessee coming up, and a loss in either of those would severely harm their chances of reaching the CFP.
Joe Fortenbaugh’s Confidence picks
No. 17 Tennessee Volunteers at No. 11 Alabama Crimson Tide UNDER 48.5 points: Between the crowd noise and Alabama’s elite defense, I believe Joe Milton and the Tennessee offense are going to struggle in Tuscaloosa on Saturday. After all, this is a Volunteers offense that has plummeted from the highest-scoring team in the country last season to just outside the top 20 this season. Jalen Milroe and the Tide offense have been improving in recent weeks, but they’re still prone to cold spells, as Milroe continues to take too many drive-killing sacks.
No. 7 Penn State at No. 3 Ohio State first half UNDER 22.5 points: Penn State’s passing game is severely lacking in the explosive plays department, which becomes even more alarming when you examine a schedule that features games against Delaware, Illinois, Northwestern and UMass. Meanwhile, Ohio State’s offense is scoring eight fewer points per game this season in the quarterback transition from C.J. Stroud to Kyle McCord. That’s not terrible, but it does help our premise that this game features a long “feeling out” period during the first half.
Arizona State Sun Devils +27 at No. 5 Washington Huskies: Great situational play here as ASU is coming off a bye to challenge a Huskies team that is coming off a monster win over Oregon last Saturday. Don’t be surprised if Washington looks a bit sleepy during the first half of this matchup.
Why Tyler Fulghum expects points from the Niners
Tyler Fulghum explains why his favorite bet is the over team total for the 49ers on “Monday Night Football.”
Stephania Bell’s injury update
San Francisco 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey suffered an oblique/rib injury in last Sunday’s game and briefly left in the third quarter, returned for one 6-yard run late in the same quarter, then exited again and did not return. Before he went to the locker room (after his second exit) McCaffrey could be seen performing stretches on the sideline. It was unclear when exactly he was injured, and the 49ers were uncertain initially whether it was an oblique muscle injury, a rib injury or both. After McCaffrey underwent an MRI on Monday, the 49ers sounded more optimistic about his potential to return for Monday night’s game, calling his status day-to-day. Expect the Niners — and McCaffrey — to allow him up to game time to make the decision on his availability. McCaffrey did not practice Thursday.
WR Deebo Samuel left last Sunday’s game late in the first quarter with a shoulder injury, but he was actually injured on the first play from scrimmage. Shanahan said Samuel tried to stay in the game, but it quickly became apparent that “he couldn’t use his left arm,” so they had to remove him. The injury was a hit to the shoulder that didn’t seem egregious, but, as Shanahan noted, “it just connected right.” Samuel is listed as day-to-day and has a chance to be available Monday night for the 49ers. Samuel did not practice Thursday.
Get all the latest injury news here.
Matt Bowen’s matchups to exploit
Pittsburgh Steelers WR George Pickens in 3×1 sets vs. the Los Angeles Rams defense: Pickens logged four explosive-play receptions (reception of 20 or more yards) in the Steelers’ Week 5 win over the Baltimore Ravens. And I see opportunities for the Steelers to isolate Pickens versus the Rams as the boundary X receiver. Whether that is against single-high man or zone with the backside corner locked in coverage, quarterback Kenny Pickett can take his shots here on fade throws.
Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes vs. the Los Angeles Chargers‘ 2-Man coverage: The Chargers have played 2-Man coverage on 17.3% of opponents’ dropbacks this year, the second-highest rate in the league, and we’ve seen L.A. deploy this two-high look versus Mahomes in previous matchups. Here, the Chiefs can push the safeties deep while creating mid-level coverage voids for tight end Travis Kelce on over routes and in-breakers.
For more breakdowns, check out Matt Bowen’s Film Room.
Mike Clay’s Eliminator Challenge advice
Al Zeidenfeld’s DFS plays
This is, on paper, the ugliest DraftKings main slate of the season to this point. But someone’s going to win the money, and it may as well be us! There are a couple of Route 1 attacks we can go with to pay up for at running back with Josh Jacobs ($7,400) and Kenneth Walker III ($7,000) as well as value options like Jerome Ford ($5,100, Isiah Pacheco ($6,100) and Zach Evans ($4,000) — or whoever ends up leading the Rams backfield this weekend against the Steelers. All of that will wrap around stacking options of the Chargers and Chiefs, if you have the salary, or the Cardinals, who project to play from behind against a Seahawks pass defense that has given up the most fantasy points to opposing receivers, if you’re looking for value.
More DFS plays here.
Seth Walder’s biggest edges from ESPN Analytics
Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen UNDER 0.5 interceptions (+108): Allen has thrown picks in four of six games this season, but crucially only in one of Buffalo’s three blowout victories. That’s what we expect Sunday against the New England Patriots, and it reduces the chances of a pick. If the Bills get out to a lead, Allen can limit the risk taking.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Devin White OVER 6.5 tackles + assists (-106): White’s tackle share is substantially higher against the run than the pass. And we know who loves running the ball: Arthur Smith. I project White for 7.4 tackles + assists.
David Purdum’s Action Report
We’re in store for another windy Sunday, with bettors and bookmakers putting on their meteorologist hats to predict the forecast and determine its impact. Four games — Bills at Patriots, Commanders at Giants, Detroit Lions at Ravens and Miami Dolphins at Philadelphia Eagles — have forecasts with winds of 19 mph or stronger. The total on each game dropped during the week, most notably in the Commanders-Giants game. The total opened at 42.5 last Sunday but had dropped to 37.5 as of Thursday. Other movement: Bills-Patriots went from 43.5 on Sunday to 40 by Thursday, Lions-Ravens moved from 45 to 43 on Sunday, and Dolphins-Eagles went from 52.5 on Sunday to 51.5 Thursday. Last week, in similar windy conditions, 12 of 14 games went under the total, with one push. It was the most prolific week of unders since Week 1 of the 1996 season, when unders went 13-2. On the season, 61.5% of games have gone under the total, the highest percentage of unders through six weeks since 1991.
Erin Dolan’s ‘Dolan Out Winners’
Why Erin Dolan likes the 1st-half over for Dolphins-Eagles
Erin Dolan breaks down why she’s wagering the first half total points will hit the over in Philadelphia.
Dolphins at Eagles first half OVER 24.5 points: Let’s just look at the numbers. The Dolphins are 5-1 to the over in the first half, while Philly is 4-2 to the over in the first half. The Eagles average 13.8 points per game in the first half (ranked ninth) while the Dolphins average 20.7 (first — by a lot). The Eagles are eighth in EPA per play, and the Dolphins rank first in EPA per play in the first half. Now that we got that handled, I expect points in this game. Philly’s offense can get going against this porous Dolphins defense. Philly had an issue with turning the ball over last week against the Jets. Jalen Hurts posted three picks, but that should not be the case against a Dolphins team that only has two defensive interceptions this season. Both teams slow down in the second half, so the best way to play is in the first half.
Indianapolis Colts team total UNDER 19.5 points: The Colts are 5-1 to the over in the first half of games, but that ends this week as Indy faces a stout Cleveland Browns defense. The Browns are holding opponents to 15.4 points per game and rank first in defensive efficiency. The Browns also rank first in opponent passing yards per game and fourth in opponent rushing yards per game. The Colts will have Gardner Minshew under center with Anthony Richardson out because of season-ending shoulder surgery. In the Colts’ loss to the Jags last week, Indy’s offense only put up 20 points with Minshew throwing three picks. The Browns defense will limit the Colts offense.
Anita Marks’ NFL Confidence picks
Lions +3 at Ravens: The Lions are 3-0 straight up on the road on grass and 7-1 ATS their last eight games on the road. The Lions are scoring touchdowns on 74% of their red zone opportunities. Meanwhile, the Ravens return from London and will face a Detroit defense that ranks in the top 10.
Commanders -2.5 at Giants: I don’t expect Giants QB Daniel Jones to play Sunday, which means another week of Tyrod Taylor. The Giants’ offensive line is sporting dancing bears straight off the couch (Justin Pugh). The Commanders defense line will dominate. Jump on this line before it jumps up to -3.
Tyler Fulghum’s Pigskin Pick’em plays
We knew a week like Week 6 would eventually come. The Eagles and 49ers fell from the ranks of the unbeaten, both as very large favorites. Who saw that coming? I mean, honestly. Who was betting on that happening? The Bills (probably) should have lost at home to the Tyrod Taylor-led New York Giants. This is the NFL. Just when we think we know it all, the most unexpected outcomes occur. Good luck in Week 7 of Pigskin Pick’em.
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