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. Odds by ESPN BET.
David Purdum’s Action Report
Some of the notable early line movements this week at Circa Sports, an influential Las Vegas-based sportsbook that posts some of the first weekly college football lines: The North Carolina Tar Heels went from -7 to -14.5 against the Duke Blue Devils; the line of New Mexico State Aggies–Western Kentucky Hilltoppers moved from WKU -8 to -4.5.
The No. 3 Michigan Wolverines are 6-point favorites over the No. 1 Ohio State Buckeyes in an early line offered at FanDuel. The Wolverines were listed as 1.5-point favorites over the Buckeyes at the beginning of the season, and the line has grown, peaking at Michigan -6.5 after Oct. 21. A FanDuel representative said the action has been evenly divided between the two teams, “50-50,” on the number of bets, and Ohio State had attracted slightly more of the money bet on the point spread. The Wolverines remained the consensus favorites to win the national championship this week at sportsbooks, as the investigation into allegations of improper sign-stealing continued. Ed Salmons, a veteran Las Vegas oddsmaker with the SuperBook, told ESPN he wasn’t factoring in any potential penalties into Michigan’s national championship odds, but the uncertainty was making him cautious about putting up an early line on the Wolverines’ home game against Ohio State on Nov. 25. Michigan is a consensus 4.5-point road favorite Saturday against Penn State.
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights-No. 22 Iowa Hawkeyes total opened as high as 30 but has been dropping, as bettors flocked to the take the under, despite the historically low number. On Thursday, it was sitting at 28 at most sportsbooks, the lowest on any college football game since at least 2000, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Sportsbooks BetRivers, DraftKings and PointsBet (Fanatics) were reporting upwards of 80% of the money that had been wagered on the total this week was on the under.
Seth Walder’s biggest edges from ESPN Analytics
South Florida Bulls (-7) vs. Temple Owls: These are two awful defenses, so there should be plenty of points scored. But there are also degrees of awful, and that’s a difference here; Temple ranks second worst in defensive efficiency, while South Florida is merely 13th worst. Temple has also faced an easier schedule thus far. FPI likes the Bulls by 12.7.
No. 8 Alabama Crimson Tide to make the College Football Playoff (+230): The Allstate Playoff Predictor is more bullish than that line on the Crimson Tide, giving Alabama a 41% shot to get in. It really comes down to the relative quality of Alabama and the Georgia Bulldogs, and FPI believes Alabama is actually the slightly better team. It’s also worth noting that the Crimson Tide have just one loss, have three fairly easy games left and are +165 to win the SEC.
How would Mizzou approach Tennessee without Burden?
With Luther Burden III’s status still in question, the SEC Now crew discusses how the Tigers must show up against the Volunteers in Week 12.
Joe Fortenbaugh’s confidence picks
No. 13 Tennessee Volunteers (-1) at No. 14 Missouri Tigers: This is a situational play, plain and simple. Missouri is off a hard-fought loss at Georgia in which the Tigers suffered some key injuries. Tennessee, meanwhile, is off a casual 56-point win over Connecticut. Look for the Vols to run the ball early and often against a Missouri defense that has struggled to limit the opposition’s ground attack.
San Jose State Spartans (PK) vs. Fresno State Bulldogs: This line opened Fresno State -3 and was quickly bet down for several good reasons. For starters, San Jose State is off its bye week and riding a dominant three-game winning streak. On the flip side, Fresno State could be running on fumes this Saturday after four straight one-score contests against Wyoming, Utah State, UNLV and Boise State, respectively. It also doesn’t hurt our cause that Bulldogs quarterback Mikey Keene appears to be playing at less than 100 percent.
No. 3 Michigan at No. 10 Penn State Nittany Lions OVER 45 points: Call me crazy, but I think this total is low. Michigan’s defense looks elite, but the Wolverines haven’t played anybody yet, so how much do we truly know about them? I think both outfits understand that running the ball could prove to be a fruitless exercise Saturday, so don’t be surprised if both offenses take to the skies early and often. We’re gambling a bit here, but I like what I’ve seen from PSU signal-caller Drew Allar over the past two weeks (69% completions, 7 TDs, 1 INT).
Will points be at a premium in CJ Stroud-Joe Burrow showdown?
Tyler Fulghum explains why he’s taking the under in Texans-Bengals, as well as the under on Joe Burrow’s passing yards.
Stephania Bell’s injury update
Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings: Jefferson returned to practice for the first time since injuring a hamstring in Week 5. His participation was listed as limited, and it does not appear he will be in line to play in Week 10. Coach Kevin O’Connell said it would “probably be a little aggressive” for him to return to play right away but did acknowledge that he was on a “good timeline.” With the high rate of recurrence associated with hamstring injuries, the Vikings will no doubt want to ramp up Jefferson’s activity gradually as they assess his workload tolerance to help mitigate risk.
Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers: Samuel suffered a hairline fracture of his left shoulder in Week 6 and missed the following two games as a result. The 49ers’ Week 9 bye came at the perfect time, and when they returned early this week for their “bonus” practice, Samuel was outside doing light work. Coach Kyle Shanahan said Samuel would be a full go in practice Wednesday and there is no reason to think he won’t be able to continue the rest of the week. Given that most fractures take about four to six weeks to heal — and a small fracture such as this could show good evidence of bone healing on the early side — the timeline, coupled with his early and complete involvement in practice, suggests he is on track to return in Week 10.
Get all the latest injury news here.
Matt Bowen’s matchups to exploit
Joe Burrow vs. the Houston Texans‘ red zone Cover 2: Look for the Cincinnati Bengals to set up Burrow with Cover 2 beaters inside the 20-yard line on Sunday. The Texans have played two-deep zone on 40.6% of red zone coverage snaps this season, which will create opportunities for Burrow to target the inside seams and work the deep corner routes.
Aaron Jones in the pass game at the Pittsburgh Steelers: Jones saw a season-high 24 touches in Week 9 and has logged at least five targets in each of his last three games. Given the pressure Pittsburgh can generate up front, I would expect Jones to be featured on screens and swing passes for the Green Bay Packers. Get the ball out to Jones with open grass to attack after the catch.
For more breakdowns, check out Matt Bowen’s Film Room.
Mike Clay’s Eliminator Challenge advice
Steelers (vs. Packers): The Steelers check in with a modest 59% win probability, which isn’t super high, but it’s our best bet for the week. It’s the Steelers’ third-highest remaining win probability this season and fifth-highest in the league among remaining games this week. I already used the Dallas Cowboys (85%), Buffalo Bills (82%), Baltimore Ravens (78%) and Seattle Seahawks (64%), but if you still have them available, they also make for quality Week 10 plays.
Al Zeidenfeld’s DFS plays
This weekend’s main slate is another mixed back with only 10 games to choose from, but there are some very significant value plays to attack. One of the more sneaky stacks to work through is the Jacksonville Jaguars with Trevor Lawrence ($6,000), Christian Kirk ($5,900) and Evan Engram ($4,500) squaring off against the San Francisco 49ers, who have allowed the fourth-most DraftKings points per game to opposing pass-catchers. The Niners’ mystique on defense will do its job to possibly hold down the percentages on the players, and there are plenty of correlation plays on San Francisco to make this core stack extremely viable. T-Law hasn’t had his breakout game yet in 2023, but the probability when compared to the percent of the field that wants to bet on it happening is very favorable.
More DFS plays here.
Tyler Fulghum’s bet on the total in Browns-Ravens
Tyler Fulghum details his reasons he’s taking the under when the Browns face the Ravens.
Seth Walder’s biggest edges from ESPN Analytics
Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert over 0.5 interceptions (+103): This could turn into a pass-happy blowout, and even though Herbert is good at avoiding interceptions, every pass attempt produces a small chance for a pick. My model prices the over at -121.
Bills DT Ed Oliver under 0.5 sacks (-160): Oliver is a nice player having a nice year. But he’s still a defensive tackle with a 15% pass rush win rate. That’s 10th best at the position but well off the mark of a Dexter Lawrence type, let alone an edge rusher. All of this to say: This under is too generous, according to my model, which prices this at -210.
David Purdum’s Action Report
The line on the Cowboys-New York Giants game climbed to Dallas -17 on Thursday, after opening as low as -11 last weekend. It’s the largest spread of the season to date. Undrafted rookie quarterback Tommy DeVito is slated to start for the Giants. The Cowboys-Giants game had attracted more money wagered than any other Sunday game at DraftKings. As of Thursday, 93% of the money bet on the game’s point spread was on the Cowboys.
Betting interest on the Bengals has surged during their current four-game win streak. This week, they attracted enough money to win the Super Bowl at PointsBet (Fanatics) to surpass the Miami Dolphins and 49ers and become the second-most heavily bet team to win the title. Cincinnati, which is a 6.5-point home favorite over the Texans this week, is now 11-1 to win the Super Bowl at ESPN BET. The Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles, 49ers, Ravens and Cowboys are the only teams with shorter Super Bowl odds.
61.9% of games have gone under the total this season, leading into the Thursday night Carolina Panthers–Chicago Bears game. That’s the highest percentage of unders through Week 9 since 1991. Prime time unders have been especially successful, going 22-7 on the season, including 11-1 since Week 6. The lowest total on the board this week is 37 in the New York Jets–Las Vegas Raiders prime time game on Sunday.
Erin Dolan’s ‘Trend or Trap’
Are these betting trends something to buy in on or a trap to stay away from?
The Ravens are 4-1 ATS this season against teams currently with winning records. TRAP. The Ravens are a 6-point home favorite against the Cleveland Browns. The line has moved in favor of the Ravens, but divisional games can be close and tough. When these teams met in Week 4, the Ravens won 28-3 as a 1-point favorite. Keep in mind, Dorian Thompson-Robinson was under center and threw three picks and zero touchdown passes with Deshaun Watson sidelined. That will not be the case this week. Cleveland’s defense still ranks first in total yards per game, with the Ravens right behind them. I see this being a low-scoring game, so I would take the points with the Browns.
The Texans are 4-1 ATS as underdogs this season with four straight covers. They are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games as underdogs. TRAP. The Bengals have covered four straight games after starting the season 0-3-1 ATS. The Bengals have turned their season around after a rocky start, mainly because of Burrow’s health. During the Bengals’ four-week win streak, their offensive efficiency ranks second and their defensive efficiency ranks seventh in the league. C.J. Stroud and the Texans have surprised many this season, and I’m surprised the line moved in favor of the Texans to +6.5. With that being said, I think it’s time for the Bengals to continue to roll.
Anita Marks’ NFL confidence picks
Detroit Lions (-3) at Chargers: The Lions are coming off a bye and get RB David Montgomery back, along with a few offensive lineman. The Lions are the better team on both sides of the ball, sporting a top-5 defense and top-11 offense. Jared Goff is a Cali kid and will be excited to play back at home.
Bengals (-6.5) vs. Texans: The Bengals are on a tear with a healthy Burrow and have won four straight games. Offensively, they have scored 42 more points off passing plays alone than their opponents. The Texans listed 23 players on the injury report this week.
Tyler Fulghum’s Pigskin Pick’em plays
We’re now past the halfway point of the season, and the elite teams appear to be separating themselves from the pack. The Chiefs, Ravens and Eagles are clearly legit. The 49ers, Cowboys, Dolphins, Jaguars and Lions all look capable of beating anyone on any given Sunday. Now the Bengals are starting to play like a team that has appeared in two straight AFC Championship games. This week the matchups aren’t as compelling as in Week 9, but the Jags have an opportunity to make a statement at home against San Francisco, and the Browns could shake up the AFC North a bit more with a win in Baltimore. Good luck in Week 10 of Pigskin Pick’em!
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