May 26, 2024

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.

CFB: Action Report | Analytics edges | Confidence pool picks

NFL: Injury update | Matchups to exploit | Eliminator Challenge | Analytics edges | Action Report | Confidence pool picks

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College football

David Purdum’s Action Report

  • The No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes-No. 3 Michigan Wolverines line ticked down throughout the week and was sitting at a consensus Wolverines -3.5 entering the weekend. The line had been as high as Michigan -6.5 in mid-November at Caesars Sportsbook, but the suspension of Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh combined with a less-than-dominant performance in a win over Maryland caused the betting market to move toward the underdog Buckeyes. As of Friday at DraftKings, 72% of the money that had been bet on the game’s point spread was on Ohio State.

  • Notable line movements this week at Las Vegas-based sportsbook Circa Sports: Syracuse went from a 3-point underdog to a 1.5-point favorite over Wake Forest; UCF went from a 9-point to a 13.5-point favorite over Houston; Tennessee went from a 23-point to a 27.5-point favorite over Vanderbilt.

  • Games that had attracted early lopsided action at DraftKings: Arizona (-11) at Arizona State: 88% of the spread bets and 85% of the money wagered was on the favored Wildcats; Wyoming (-11) at Nevada: 86% of the spread bets and 84% of the money wagered was on the favored Cowboys; UAB at North Texas (-3): 80% of the spread bets and 94% of the money wagered was on the favored Mean Green.



Fortenbaugh gives his best bet for Ohio State vs. Michigan

Joe Fortenbaugh and Stephen A. Smith explain the side of the spread they’re betting in the Ohio State vs. Michigan matchup.

Seth Walder’s biggest edges from ESPN Analytics

  • Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors(+5.5) vs. Colorado State Rams: FPI agrees with the market that the Rams are the slightly better team on a neutral field, but that’s not enough to make them 5.5-point favorites on a long road trip to Honolulu. By our model’s calculations, Hawai’i should be favored by a narrow 2.5-point margin

  • No. 2 Ohio State to win the national championship (+550): FPI’s and the Allstate Playoff Predictor’s fervent belief in the Buckeyes has been noticeable all season. Why stop now? That the model believes Ohio State is at least two points better than every non-Michigan team in the country means that if the Buckeyes can get past the Wolverines, their chances to win it all are being underrated.

Joe Fortenbaugh’s confidence pool picks

  • Michigan (-3) vs. Ohio State: This is a great price on Michigan, in my opinion, as the Wolverines were as high as -6.5 on the look-ahead line two weeks ago. But it has been nothing but Ohio State money this week, based, in small part, on Michigan’s lackluster performance against Maryland last Saturday. Go ahead and throw that data point in the trash, as it was a classic “sandwich spot” game for Michigan, which was coming off a monster showdown at Penn State and playing one week before a monster showdown against Ohio State. Of course the Wolverines would struggle, as evidenced by the point spread in that game dipping from Michigan -19.5 to Michigan -17. Bottom line: This game has been too physical for Ohio State over the past two seasons, and it will once again be too physical Saturday.

  • South Carolina Gamecocks (+7) vs. No. 24 Clemson Tigers: Clemson might have found its second wind here late in the season, but this is a big number to lay on the road in a rivalry game against a Gamecocks team that is riding its own three-game winning streak. Remember, Dabo & Co. were 14-point home favorites in this showdown last year before being upset 31-30.

  • Jacksonville State Gamecocks (-2.5) at New Mexico State Aggies: As 25-point underdogs last Saturday, New Mexico State just sprung the upset of upsets in a 31-10 beatdown of Auburn. Jumping on the Jerry Kill train at this point in the season comes with a heavy tax you should avoid. Jacksonville State is no joke, as the Gamecocks are 8-3 with four straight point spread covers. But more importantly, styles make fights. And in this fight, New Mexico State will want to run the football early and often. That’s bad news against a Jacksonville State squad that ranks 19th in the country in run defense.


Stephania Bell’s injury update

Matt Bowen’s matchups to exploit

  • Kyler Murray on designed carries in the red zone: Murray has rushed for a touchdown in each of his first two games back this season, while logging a total of five red zone carries. And the Cardinals will set him up when they move the ball inside the 10-yard line. Look for Murray to test the Rams defense on the perimeter here with his dynamic movement traits and ball-carrier vision in space.

  • Mike Evans vs. the Colts secondary: I like the perimeter matchups for Evans in this one. He has caught a touchdown pass in four of his past five games and has a total of 22 targets over his past two. The Bucs can isolate Evans on boundary to work midlevel in-breakers while also attacking the third level of the field.

  • For more breakdowns, check out Matt Bowen’s Film Room.

Mike Clay’s Eliminator Challenge advice

  • Tennessee Titans (vs. Carolina Panthers): Counting on a 3-7 team in Eliminator is risky business, but the Titans stand out as the best weekend play with 11 teams already burned and not many other standout values. Tennessee’s 76% win probability is third-highest in the league this week, which checks out when you consider the Titans are at home and facing a one-win Carolina squad that ranks dead last in combined offensive and defensive EPA. We already used Dallas (89%) and Miami (80%), leaving San Francisco (73%), Kansas City (69%) and Houston (68%) as the top alternative plays, but we’ll have better opportunities to use all three later this season.

  • Follow Clay’s Eliminator Challenge advice all season and find other tips for Week 12 here.

Seth Walder’s biggest edges from ESPN Analytics

  • Bradley Chubb over 3.5 tackles + assists (+122): Even though the Jets are heavy underdogs, I have to imagine they’ll want a more run-first game plan to limit Tim Boyle‘s exposure. Without even factoring in how a change at QB could affect the Jets’ run-pass splits, my tackle model already leans over with 3.9 tackles + assists for Chubb.

  • C.J. Stroud over 0.5 interceptions (+115): Stroud has finally started throwing interceptions, and at this point I don’t think his interception overs should be plus-money as an underdog against a solid defense, which is exactly the situation he faces Sunday against the Jaguars. My model makes the fair price on Stroud’s over -111.

David Purdum’s Action Report

  • The betting market was somewhat divided on the Buffalo BillsPhiladelphia Eagles game Sunday. The Eagles opened as 3.5-point favorites, but the line had dropped to the key number of -3 with increased vig as of Friday. At DraftKings, 61% of the spread bets were on the Eagles but 73% of the money wagered was on the underdog Bills, an indication that the larger bets have been on Buffalo. Rain was in the forecast for Philadelphia. The total was 48.5 as of Friday.

  • Road teams were favored in six of the 11 games Sunday. On the season, road teams are 80-79-7 against the spread. The Kansas City Chiefs are the biggest road favorites of the week, laying nine at the Raiders. Home underdogs of at least seven points are 8-1-1 against the spread this season, with five outright upsets.

  • The Green Bay Packers‘ upset of the Detroit Lions was a huge boon for sportsbooks. Detroit closed as a consensus 8.5-point favorite and was included on the majority of teasers and parlays. Chris Andrews, a veteran Las Vegas bookmaker with the South Point Hotel and Casino, posted on social media that his book had won “98%” of teaser bets after the Packers won the opener on Thanksgiving Day. Seamus Magee, trading manager for BetMGM, called the Packers’ upset an “absolutely insane start to the day” for the sportsbook. “You’d have to think almost every parlay and teaser had something with the Lions involved,” Magee said in a statement released by the book: “This result alone should make it a solid day.” The favorites — the Cowboys and 49ers — won and covered the spread in the last two games of Thanksgiving, helping the betting public salvage the day. All three games went over the spread.

Anita Marks’ NFL confidence pool picks

  • Pittsburgh Steelers -2 at Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals move forward at QB with Jake Browning after Joe Burrow‘s injury. I will be shocked if the Steelers and Mike Tomlin lose to a QB with little to no experience for a second straight week. Pittsburgh makes the change at OC after firing Matt Canada and promoting QB coach Mike Sullivan. I expect more production from Kenny Pickett and the Steelers offense.

  • Denver Broncos -1.5 vs. Cleveland Browns: The Browns are coming off an emotional win against the division-rival Steelers. This is the perfect spot for a letdown: a come-back-to-earth spot for a rookie QB against a Broncos defense that is sporting a league-best 14 takeaways in the team’s five-game win streak. The Broncos are coming together under Sean Payton and defensive coordinator Vance Joseph.

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