Sep 17, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Cam Gill (49) sacks Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) to force a fumble during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Week 4 NFL betting preview: Can the Bears win? Cover?

Trends are a valuable tool when evaluating bets in the NFL. It’s not always clear whether an object in motion will remain in motion.

Our headline matchup this week is one of those “someone has to win” games. Both teams are trending drastically the wrong way but one appears to have more resources to shift toward respectability.

In what might otherwise be an unwatchable game, the Bears-Broncos clash becomes interesting if you have some money riding on the result.

We have a primary play, along with a pair of bonus bets for Week 2.


Broncos at Bears, 1 p.m. ET Sunday

The line: Broncos -3.5.

As the Jarrett Stidham Watch gathers momentum in Denver, the Chicago Bears stand up to say, “hold my beer.”

Both the Broncos and Bears have put the “fun” in dysfunction this season with a record-setting defeat (Denver) and a staggering step backward (Chicago — with a defensive coordinator resignation thrown in for good measure).

Chicago (0-3) has lost 13 consecutive games dating to last season, allowing 25-plus points in each one.

Denver’s ill-fated trip to Miami last weekend, resulting in a 70-20 Dolphins rout, served to heat up the pressure on first-year Broncos coach Sean Payton to consider replacing quarterback Russell Wilson with Stidham.

Chicago fans aren’t pleased with Bears quarterback Justin Fields, who was a revelation last season and a strong source for optimism entering 2023.

Fields showed what he could do after a similarly slow start in 2022, ranking seventh overall in rushing with 1,143 yards — a spot behind Dalvin Cook and one ahead of Christian McCaffrey.

Wilson has yet to string together any kind of elite performances reminiscent of his time with the Seattle Seahawks. He just seems destined to remain in the middle of the pack — possibly worse — among NFL QB starters.

Payton must be considering pulling the plug.

Both teams, not surprisingly, are 0-3 against the spread.

The Bears, however, seem more prepared to put up a fight Sunday. As poorly as they looked in Weeks 1-3, adjustments including more designed runs for Fields make this closer to a pick ‘em game with the Broncos.

Action Network stats showed 75 percent of public nets on the Broncos, reflecting just how poorly the Bears played last week against Kansas City.

It’s tough to understand how the Bears looked worse than the Broncos, however, so we’ll fade the public this time.

The pick: Bears +3.5.


“That’s where we’re talking about the fight, right? There’s going to be a moment in the game in the second half that we got to do it, right? And we’ve got to pull together and get that done. It’s going to be done through execution.”

–Bears coach Matt Eberflus


A game that fits the luck trend, along with a player prop to consider.

Falcons vs. Jaguars in London, 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday

The line: Jaguars -3.

This is a play on potential.

Though some Jacksonville Jaguars fans might be souring on quarterback Trevor Lawrence, we believe in his elite talent and are dismissing a subpar effort in last week’s loss to the Houston Texans.

The Jaguars (1-2) had 22 first downs to Houston’s 15 and should be able to take advantage of the Atlanta Falcons at the Jags’ “home” in London early Sunday.

The Falcons (2-1) gained only 183 yards of total offense against the Detroit Lions last week, and Atlanta still has the unproven Desmond Ridder, who has amassed two touchdown passes, at quarterback.

That’s a mismatch against Lawrence.

Going into Week 3, the Jaguars were the seventh unluckiest team in the NFL according to Action Network’s luck rankings. Today, Jacksonville ranks as the second unluckiest team; the Falcons moved from 10th to seventh.

It’s time for some correction, and Lawrence, running back Travis Etienne and a strong receiver corps will get it done.

The pick: Jaguars -3.


Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence passing yards

We’ll double down with our confidence in Jacksonville Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence. He stands in 10th among passing yards leaders but only 21st in passer rating, per ESPN.

That, along with a perceived strong Falcons pass defense (fourth in passing yards per game allowed), is going to yield a decent price.

The reasoning? Lawrence is due, and Atlanta faced first-year starters in two of its three games (Bryce Young and Jordan Love).

The pick: Lawrence 234-plus yards passing at -114 (available at FanDuel).

–Field Level Media

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) is tackled by Detroit Lions linebacker Alex Anzalone (34) and defensive end Isaiah Buggs (96) on Sunday, January 8, 2023, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.

Mjs Apc Packers Vs Lions 010823 023 Ttm

TNF Week 4: Lions-Packers Preview, Props, Prediction

The Detroit Lions travel to Green Bay to face the Packers on Thursday night in what shapes up to be a critical early-season showdown between the NFC North rivals.

Both teams enter the kickoff to Week 4 at 2-1 — the Packers coming from behind to win in New Orleans last Sunday while the Lions beat Atlanta by two touchdowns at home.

Detroit is a rare road favorite at Lambeau Field, with the Lions favored by 2.0 points.

The Lions are averaging 24 points per game and will keep the heat on Jordan Love and the Packers to continue to put points on the board. That’s something Green Bay was struggling to do against New Orleans’ stout defense until the Saints lost quarterback Derek Carr to an injury last Sunday.

This is a statement game for Detroit, which stamps its legitimacy in the NFC contender picture with a rare win at Lambeau. The Lions’ spread line has seen one-sided action at BetMGM, drawing 77 percent of the total bets and 74 percent of the money. Similarly, Detroit has been backed by 70 and 68 percent of the spread-line action, respectively, at BetRivers.

Prediction: Lions 27, Packers 23

The Lions have won five of their past six road games and have covered the spread in 10 consecutive games against NFC North opponents, according to BetRivers. Four of Detroit’s past five games have gone under the total points line, but we see that trend reversing Thursday night.

We like the Over on 45 points, which has drawn 73 percent of the money at the book.

The Packers last beat the Lions in Week 2 of the 2021 season, and Detroit ushered in the Love era by beating Aaron Rodgers in the regular-season finale at Lambeau Field last season (20-16).

Lions coach Dan Campbell started the week with a sleepover in his own office Sunday night, burying the idea of enjoying the win over the Falcons for 24 hours. But he gets goosebumps thinking about the atmosphere that awaits the Lions, whose season-ending win in January also was in prime time.

“I told the rookies yesterday, ‘Get ready to live, man. This is good stuff here. These are the things that you’ll never forget when you’re done playing,’” Campbell said.

Love rallied the Packers from a 17-point deficit entering the fourth quarter to beat the Saints, 18-17, in his first home start last week.

Lions running back David Montgomery and left tackle Taylor Decker are expected to play while cornerback Emmanuel Moseley (knee, hamstring) is not, according to the NFL Network. Montgomery, 26, sat out last week with a thigh injury, with rookie Jahmyr Gibbs rushing 17 times for 80 yards in his absence.

Decker, 30, has missed the last two games due to an ankle injury. If Decker holds up, right tackle Penei Sewell can return to his usual position. However, tackle Matt Nelson (ankle) and guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai (knee) were ruled out.

Even if the front five isn’t whole, Campbell expects pass protection in front of Jared Goff to be better and for the running game to make progress. After rushing for 2,179 yards last season, Detroit is averaging a full yard less per carry — 3.6 yards and 24th in the NFL — through three games in 2023.

For the Packers, running back Aaron Jones and wide receiver Christian Watson are expected to play. Both were listed as questionable on Wednesday with hamstring injuries, though Watson said he plans to make his season debut this week.

Jones, 28, sustained his injury at the end of his 35-yard touchdown catch-and-run in Green Bay’s 38-20 season-opening victory and sat out the past two games.

Green Bay’s ground game is down as well (3.43 yards per carry ranks 26th), denting the Packers’ play-action passing attack.

Watson, 24, hasn’t played this season after collecting seven TDs as a rookie. He caught five passes for 104 yards in the Week 18 loss to the Lions last season. Jones had 21 total carries for 73 yards in two losses to the Lions in 2022.

“We’ve got a lot of ball in front of us and obviously we’ve got a great test in front of us. It would certainly help us if those two guys were available,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said.

Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee) and left guard Elgton Jenkins (knee) were ruled out.

Behind a makeshift line the past two weeks, Goff is consistently connecting with rookie Sam LaPorta, including a 45-yard touchdown in Week 3. LaPorta has 18 receptions in his first three games, an NFL record for a tight end. He’s second on the team to Amon-Ra St. Brown (21-275-1) in catches.

LaPorta has one touchdown through three games, but the rookie being the first player to score on Thursday night (+1500) has been the most popular player prop at BetMGM. St. Brown scoring at any point during the game has been the second most popular at far shorter +115 odds.

10 — The number of September games Jones has scored a touchdown in out of his past 13 played.

–“Certainly you want these more, because they’re for the division. These count. They have a significant impact on being a division winner.” –Campbell

–“I know what they’re all about. It’s a tough, gritty team.” –LaFleur

–Field Level Media

Georgia wide receiver Ladd McConkey (84) looks on during warm ups before the start of the Bulldogs' game against UAB in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023.

Auburn vs. Georgia: Preview, Prop Pick and Prediction

On a Saturday lacking heavyweight matchups, count on the SEC to kick up some intrigue.

Two-time defending champion Georgia hits the road to meet the Auburn Tigers and the No. 1-ranked Bulldogs are leaving Athens for the first time all season.

Top-ranked and favored to three-peat, Georgia has been largely untested through four weeks.

First-year Tigers coach Hugh Freeze doesn’t have nearly the weapons held by his counterpart, Kirby Smart, but his team presents another measuring stick for the Bulldogs.

Georgia cruised to a 49-21 home win over UAB last week. But the Bulldogs were not particularly dominant in a 24-14 victory over SEC foe South Carolina the week prior.

Is there betting value on 14.5-point underdog Auburn, or is Georgia about to put together a complete effort and rout the Tigers?

We have news, trends and quotes — along with our spread pick and a prop pick for good measure.

–Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET
–Television: CBS
–Location: Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, Ala.
–Point Spread, Total: Georgia -14.5, Total 45.5


If Auburn wants to bring more than a scare on Saturday, the ground game must be efficient against a Georgia defense that has allowed opponents’ rushing attacks success.

Auburn will try desperately to create first downs with an early run game. Unfortunately, that is an open secret and, with the Tigers’ one-dimensional offense, the plan could be scuttled before halftime.

Not good, given the limited resources from the Auburn air attack, which ranks among the worst in SEC passing metrics.

Auburn (3-1) tries to dominate on the ground, but Georgia likely will stifle the Tigers rushing attack and force a shift to the passing game.

Georgia’s defense is allowing only 87 rushing yards per game this season.

Tigers quarterback Payton Thorne managed only 44 passing yards in last week’s 27-10 loss at Texas A&M.

How are the Tigers expected to deal with a Georgia defense that is getting healthier?

Georgia has all the capability to bury poor passing teams, and should be able to turn this into a rout.

Add the fact that Smart motivates his team in hostile environments. When favored on the road, Georgia is 25-2 straight up and 19-8 against the spread.

Let’s eat.

The pick: Georgia 34, Auburn 14.


Georgia (4-0) aims to push its winning streak to 22 games.

This matchup offers Georgia quarterback Carson Beck an opportunity to firmly announce his presence as a leader as he makes his first career road start.

The junior has completed 72.7 percent of his passes, throwing for six touchdowns and only one interception.

Beck had a career-high 338 yards and three touchdowns last week.

The Bulldogs have won five straight regular-season games over the Tigers since a 40-17 loss on Nov. 11, 2017. Just weeks later, Georgia beat Auburn 28-7 in the SEC title game.

Georgia scored touchdowns on all six visits to the red zone last week when it rolled up 582 yards of total offense despite three turnovers.

When Auburn faces similar talent (Power Five games, for example), it tends to struggle. The Tigers barely beat a middling Pac-12 team, Cal, 14-10, and then were dominated on the stat sheet and on the field by Texas A&M, gaining only half the Aggies’ yardage amount.

In those two games, Cal and Texas A&M, Auburn failed to reach 230 yards of total offense.

Thorne has thrown four touchdowns and three interceptions in four games and was replaced by Robby Ashford last Saturday.

Freeze was leaning toward giving Thorne another start.

The Bulldogs, meanwhile, are far from one-dimensional — as one would expect when their recruiting classes are consistently filled with future NFL players.

Running back Daijuan Edwards averages almost six yards a carry and all-everything tight end Brock Bowers already has 22 receptions for more than 250 yards.


“It’s not all Payton, but sometimes it is and he owns it. We had a good meeting (Sunday) night and we just got to try this week to get a plan in place that we can all execute and all understand. And that falls on (offensive coordinator) Philip (Montgomery) and his staff and ultimately on me.”

— Auburn coach Hugh Freeze on starting quarterback Payton Thorne.


Let’s guard against a nasty back-door cover by teasing the margin to Georgia -9.5 and using that in a BetMGM same-game parlay with Georgia to score more than 27.5 points.

The prop: Georgia -9.5 with Georgia over 27.5 points scored (-115).

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA;  Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels before the game against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders’ Josh McDaniels new favorite to be first coach fired

Josh McDaniels is back on the hottest coaching seat in the NFL, at least according to oddsmakers.

The co-favorite before the season by to be the first coach fired, McDaniels earned a reprieve when Las Vegas opened the season with a victory at Denver. However, that victory lost some of its luster due to the Broncos’ ongoing struggles while the Raiders have dropped their past two games.

Three weeks into the season, McDaniels is again the book’s favorite to be the first coach fired at +200.

Just behind him is Matt Eberflus at +225 with Chicago off to an 0-3 start and coming off a blowout loss to Kansas City. A loss at home this weekend to fellow 0-3 Denver would only ratchet the heat up further on Eberflus, who is a combined 3-17 in his second season in the Windy City.

The third-shortest odds belong to Washington’s Ron Rivera at +300. Despite a 2-1 start, the Commanders are coming off an uncompetitive loss at home to Buffalo and the new ownership group has made it clear that Rivera’s fate rests solely on wins and losses. Following a tough trip to Philadelphia in Week 4, Washington plays the Bears at home on a short week before traveling to Atlanta and the New York Giants.

Brandon Staley, who had the shortest odds last week, saw those lengthen to +1100 with the Chargers getting their first win of the season at Minnesota. Conversely, that game also shot the Vikings’ Kevin O’Connell up to +1000 with Minnesota off to an 0-3 start.

Josh McDaniels (+200)
Matt Eberflus (+225)
Ron Rivera (+300)
Kevin O’Connell (+1000)
Brandon Staley (+1100)
Robert Saleh (+1200)
Sean Payton (+2500)
Todd Bowles (+2500)
Mike Vrabel (+2800)
Dennis Allen (+3300)
Mike McCarthy (+3300)
Frank Reich (+5000)
Kevin Stefanski (+5000)
Mike Tomlin (+7500)
Pete Carroll (+7500)
Arthur Smith (+10000)
Bill Belichick (+10000)
Brian Daboll (+10000)
Doug Pederson (+10000)
Jonathan Gannon (+10000)
Matt Lafleur (+10000)
Nick Sirianni (+10000)
Sean McDermott (+10000)
Sean McVay (+10000)
Shane Steichen (+10000)
Zac Taylor (+10000)
DeMeco Ryans (+15000)
John Harbaugh (+15000)
Dan Campbell (+20000)
Mike McDaniel (+50000)
Andy Reid (+100000)
Kyle Shanahan (+100000)

–Field Level Media

Sep 24, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Indianapolis Colts punter Rigoberto Sanchez (8), Indianapolis Colts place kicker Matt Gay (7), and Indianapolis Colts long snapper Luke Rhodes (46) react after Gay kicks a game winning field goal in overtime to beat the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brent Skeen-USA TODAY Sports

Colts rise, Vikings head due south in division futures

On the day Anthony Richardson was named starting quarterback for the Colts, sportsbooks set less than optimistic odds for Indianapolis to win the AFC South Division.

But three weeks into the 2023 season, the Colts are atop the division standings, and odds on them staying there shifted dramatically since Aug. 15.

At that time, as Richardson prepared to start – without running back Jonathan Taylor – BetMGM and FanDuel had +550 odds on the Colts winning the South. Before traveling to play the Ravens last week, the Colts were +700 to take the South.

On Tuesday, following Indianapolis’ upset of Baltimore, the Colts were +275 with the Jaguars down from the opening line of -170 at Caesars to +125 at multiple books, including DraftKings.

DraftKings has the Tennessee Titans at +250 and the Texans at +1100.

Also rising are the Miami Dolphins (3-0).

Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is the consensus favorite for NFL MVP and the Dolphins are the favorites in the AFC East at -135 at FanDuel and -160 at DraftKings, which lists the Buffalo Bills at +165.

Other big movers since the start of the regular season include the Minnesota Vikings and the well-documented dive of the Jets (currently +2800 in the AFC East) without Aaron Rodgers.

A playoff team last season, the Vikings are 0-3 and currently +600 to win the NFC North at DraftKings and FanDuel.

Vegas Insider consensus odds listed Minnesota at +300 before Week 1 behind the Detroit Lions, who remain the favorite (-105 at DraftKings) ahead of Thursday’s matchup with the Green Bay Packers. The Packers are +145 at FanDuel with the Lions at +100. Winless Chicago is +2500.

–Field Level Media

Sep 24, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA;  Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) is pressured by Miami Dolphins linebacker Bradley Chubb (2) in the second quarter at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Russ cooked? Wilson new favorite to be first QB benched

Russell Wilson can’t be blamed for the Denver Broncos’ embarrassing 70-20 loss at Miami in Week 3, but that hasn’t stopped oddsmakers from making him the favorite to be the first NFL quarterback benched this season.

Plenty of candidates are emerging, but it’s Wilson who leads the way at 4/1 at

First QB Benched Odds
Russell Wilson (4/1)
Ryan Tannehill (5/1)
Justin Fields (6/1)
Sam Howell (7/1)
Desmond Ridder (9/1)
Baker Mayfield (12/1)
Jimmy Garoppolo (12/1)
Mac Jones (12/1)
Kenny Pickett (14/1)
Kirk Cousins (14/1)
Anthony Richardson (20/1)
Bryce Young (20/1)
CJ Stroud (20/1)
Dak Prescott (25/1)
Geno Smith (33/1)
Daniel Jones (50/1)
Derek Carr (50/1)
Matthew Stafford (50/1)
Brock Purdy (66/1)
Jordan Love (100/1)
Trevor Lawrence (100/1)

Wilson has completed 65.4 percent of his passes with six touchdowns against two interceptions during Denver’s 0-3 start.

Playing in his favor is Wilson’s contract, which makes parting with him difficult. He is tied to the Broncos through the 2028 season on a five-year, $242.6 million deal. Playing against Wilson remaining as the Broncos’ long-term quarterback is a head coach who inherited the 34-year-old. Sean Payton brought in backup Jarrett Stidham, a fourth-year veteran who has played in 13 career games.

Stidham may not be Denver’s franchise quarterback of the future, either. By contrast, the Tennessee Titans have added quarterbacks in each of the past two NFL drafts — Malik Willis in the third round in 2022 and Will Levis in the second round this past spring.

Ryan Tannehill has struggled during the Titans’ 1-2 start, completing just 59.0 percent of his passes with a lone touchdown against three picks. He threw for only 104 yards in Sunday’s 27-3 loss at Cleveland.

However, Tennessee is only a game behind Indianapolis in what is shaping up as a wide-open AFC South. Both Jacksonville and Houston also are 1-2.

While Tannehill is in his 11th NFL season, Levis has yet to throw a regular-season pass and Willis was extremely shaky in eight appearances last season, completing 50.8 percent of his passes while throwing no touchdown passes and three picks.

The third-lowest odds belong the Chicago’s Justin Fields. The Bears have been largely uncompetitive in starting 0-3. However, they need to figure out what they have in Fields ahead of next year’s draft, and backups Nathan Peterman and Tyson Bagent don’t provide a likely upgrade to the extent Chicago would need to be more consistent offensively.

A different dilemma is facing Ron Rivera in Washington. He wasn’t hired by the current ownership group, which has made it clear that Rivera’s future is solely dependent upon wins and losses.

The Commanders are 2-1 and have a roster largely capable of staying in the NFC playoff picture. The X-factor remains first-year starting quarterback Sam Howell, who is coming off a four-interception performance in a 37-3 home loss to Buffalo.

Veteran Jacoby Brissett is waiting in the wings if Howell continues to falter. The Commanders follow a tough road trip to Philadelphia with games against Chicago, Atlanta and the New York Giants — a stretch against teams that are a combined 3-6 that could determine the fates of Howell and Rivera.

–Field Level Media

Sep 24, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA;  Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) drops back to pass against the Denver Broncos in the third quarter at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Sportsbooks place Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa back atop MVP race

Tua Tagovailoa ended Week 3 of the 2023 season with precisely the same standing he had the season before: red-hot and running ahead of the competition in NFL MVP futures odds.

Tagovailoa is +325 to win MVP this season at BetMGM and +350 at FanDuel after his Miami Dolphins put up 70 points in a 50-point win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday. The effort pushed Tagovailoa ahead of reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes (+440 at FanDuel, +550 at BetMGM) and Bills quarterback Josh Allen.

Allen (+750 at FanDuel, +800 at BetMGM) and Tagovailoa face off Sunday in Buffalo for the first of two scheduled meetings this season.

Thanks to six TD passes in Week 2 at Baltimore and a win over the Bills the following week, Tagovailoa jumped to the top of the MVP futures market entering Week 4 last season as well.

His numbers one year ago are identical to his start this season: 3-0 record, eight TD passes, completion percentage of 71.

The course of the season and Tagovailoa’s health took a turn for the worse in Week 4 last season. The Dolphins lost at Cincinnati, 27-15, and Tagovailoa left the game with a head injury. He missed the next two games and by the time he returned to form with three consecutive three-TD games from Oct. 30-Nov. 13, Mahomes’ MVP candidacy was nearing victory lap stages.

Tagovailoa has been sacked only once this season and he’s averaging a league-leading 10.14 yards per attempt.

–Field Level Media

Feb 13, 2022; Inglewood, CA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) throws a pass against Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald (99) in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

MNF Week 3: Rams-Bengals Preview, Prop Pick, Prediction

The teams that met in Super Bowl LVI will square off for the first time since when the Los Angeles Rams visit the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night.

Star quarterback Joe Burrow was leading the Bengals on a potential game-tying or game-winning drive when nose tackle Aaron Donald got to Burrow on fourth down and sealed the Rams’ 23-20 win.

The Rams have turned over their roster significantly since, with the exception of Donald, the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

The Bengals are just hoping that Burrow can get on the field for the rematch after he re-aggravated his right calf strain in last week’s 27-24 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Burrow returned to limited practice Friday and Saturday and by mid-day Monday optimism was growing that he would be able to play.

“You got to be able to adapt. It’s part of the game. Nobody’s 100 percent healthy out there,” Burrow said. “Everybody’s dealing with something.”

The Bengals were a consensus 3.0-point favorite shortly after reports that Burrow is trending toward playing. It’s a dicey spread, especially against a Rams team that has been far more competitive than most thought entering the season — opening with a resounding win at Seattle and playing San Francisco tough at home.

Cincinnati is the more desperate of the two, but Los Angeles also has a healthy quarterback. Matthew Stafford has thrown for 641 yards through two games and if he can avoid turnovers, the Rams can send the Bengals to 0-3. The public has backed Los Angeles with 55 percent of the total spread-line bets and 54 percent of the money at BetMGM.

Prediction: Rams 27, Bengals 23

The Bengals have started 0-2 for the fourth time in five seasons under Zac Taylor. Last year, they were able to recover and win 14 of their next 16 games before falling to eventual Super Bowl LVII champion Kansas City in the AFC Championship.

“The beauty of this team is we know it’s a 17-game season,” Taylor said. “There’s no overreaction on our end. We’ve got to be prepared for it outside of our locker room, which is natural. This is exactly where we were last year.”

This marks the first game for Bengals starting safety Nick Scott against his former team after signing with Cincinnati in the offseason. He has 20 tackles through two games.

The Rams won their opener at Seattle before dropping last week’s home opener to San Francisco, 30-23.

Stafford passed Peyton Manning for the third-most passing yards by a player in his first 200 regular-season games (52,723 yards in 193 games). In the loss to the Niners, Stafford completed 34 of 55 passes for 307 yards.

“(The offensive line) did a great job,” Stafford said. “They kept me clean the majority of the (game).”

The Rams have turned the running game over to feature back Kyren Williams after trading Cam Akers and a 2026 conditional seventh-round pick to the Minnesota Vikings for a conditional 2026 sixth-round pick.

Williams ran for a touchdown and caught another score against San Francisco, marking the first Rams player to score through the air and on the ground since Week 8 of 2021.

Williams’ Over/Under rushing total at DraftKings is 60.5 — a number he has yet to reach after totaling 52 yards on the ground in each of his first two games. We think that changes this week, with the Rams relying a bit more on the ground game in a tough prime-time road venue and Williams hitting the Over.

Rams rookie receiver Puka Nacua is just the fourth player in the Super Bowl era to record at least 10 catches and at least 100 receiving yards in his team’s first two games of the season. He is the only rookie to accomplish the feat.

“My success will come when the team wins,” Nacua said. “So I’m excited us for to be able to come back and capitalize when we’re able to win. It was sweet (vs. Seattle). I got things to improve on, but the most important thing is getting that (win).”

Nacua (oblique) returned to limited practice Friday and Saturday and is officially listed as questionable. Cornerback Cobie Durant (groin), center Brian Allen (illness), guard Joe Noteboom (shoulder) and defensive tackle Jonah Williams (back) were all back to full practice by Saturday and are expected to play.

Burrow was officially listed as questionable and will be a game-time decision. Burrow initially injured the calf on July 27, the second day of training camp, and felt a twinge again on the play before his second touchdown pass of the game to Tee Higgins last week.

“Just feeling better. Not as sore,” Burrow said Thursday. “Time heals. So we’ll see. We’ll see.”

Bengals tight end Irv Smith Jr. is doubtful with a hamstring injury, while safeties Tycen Anderson (calf) and Scott (concussion) returned to full practice and are expected to play.

“We’ve done it before. Obviously, you don’t want to start 0-2. It’s not what we were planning on, not what you want to do at all. But we’re going to bounce back. That’s what we do, that’s all there is to it.” — Burrow

–Field Level Media

Sep 23, 2023; Eugene, Oregon, USA; Oregon Ducks defensive end Jordan Burch (1) sacks Colorado Buffaloes quarterback Shedeur Sanders (2) during the first half at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Shedeur Sanders’ Heisman hopes plummet following blowout loss

Shedeur Sanders’ rapid rise up the Heisman Trophy odds took an abrupt U-turn following Colorado’s blowout loss at Oregon on Saturday.

After entering the weekend among the top 10 Heisman favorites at +1800 at both BetMGM and DraftKings, Sanders’ odds plummeted to +8000 at both books. He’s now outside of the top 20 and likely out of Heisman consideration after throwing for a season-low 159 yards and one touchdown on 23-of-33 passing in Eugene.

That touchdown pass came with 2:51 remaining to help the Buffaloes avoid being shut out by the Ducks.

The result was a significant win for the books. Sanders had been backed by a whopping 53 percent of the Heisman money and 58 percent of the total bets at DraftKings last week, while he was also the biggest liability at BetMGM, where he had drawn 20.3 percent of the bets.

Conversely, Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. continued his steady rise after engineering the Huskies’ 59-32 rout of California.

Penix is now the co-favorite at BetMGM, where he is being offered at +350 along with Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams. The next closest odds belong to Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers, with Oregon signal-caller Bo Nix rising to +1200 after throwing for 276 yards against Colorado.

Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis is +1300 after the Seminoles won in overtime at Clemson, while Notre Dame’s Sam Hartman is at +1600 after the Fighting Irish’s last-second loss to Ohio State.

The Heisman race could well come down to a Nov. 4 showdown between the Trojans and Huskies in Los Angeles. Penix also has other marquee games against Oregon and Nix on Oct. 14 along with a closing three-game stretch after the Trojans that includes Utah, Oregon St. and the Apple Cup rivalry against Washington State.

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons (11) celebrates a defensive stop with defensive tackle Neville Gallimore (96) during the first quarter against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Week 3 NFL betting preview

The uncertainty is slowly melting away, and Week 3 is a good time to closely consider some heavy favorites.

Several teams with strong support as Super Bowl contenders are facing seemingly inferior opponents on Sunday and offer significant betting value.

Favorites got off to a strong start on Thursday with the 49ers easily handling the Giants as 10.5-point favorites.

Fans and bookmakers might be factoring too much of that uncertainty into these lines, but just to be sure we are going to make the numbers more palatable and use two games in a parlay.

We have a primary play, along with a pair of bonus bets for Week 2.


Bears at Chiefs, 4:25 p.m. ET Sunday

Cowboys at Cardinals, 4:25 p.m. ET Sunday

The lines: Cowboys -12.5, Chiefs -13

For all the worry about the Chiefs offensive shortcomings (no dependable receivers outside of Travis Kelce in addition to a stuttering running game), Kansas City has three of the very best players at their respective positions: quarterback Patrick Mahomes, tight end Kelce and defensive tackle Chris Jones.

Compounding the concern for Chicago Bears backers, this game is in Kansas City and the Bears are working overtime to redefine dysfunctional.

Chicago’s defensive coordinator Alan Williams resigned this week and quarterback Justin Fields has two TD passes and two pick-6s. He has been sacked 10 times and enters the game without starting left tackle Braxton Jones (placed on injured reserve this week).

Mahomes is not satisfied with his team’s progress and aims for a much better showing Sunday.

“You play bad and win, it’s a lot better than playing bad and losing,” Mahomes said. “So I was glad we were able to find a way to get a win at the end of the day, but a lot of stuff that we have to be better at.”

Bears cornerback Josh Blackwell (hamstring) was limited at practice on Wednesday, while safety Eddie Jackson (foot) did not participate.

Granted, this is the NFL, and when it seems certain …

Therefore, we’ll take that 13-point spread and bring it down to 6.5.

Applying a similar logic to the Cowboys-Cardinals game, we see a championship-caliber Dallas defense facing an Arizona offense that ran out of fuel during a Week 2 upset attempt against the New York Giants last Sunday.

Cowboys game planners have plenty of video to parse, assuring that the Cardinals’ offensive wrinkles won’t be able to overcome a vast disparity in talent.

Dallas, with Super Bowl aspirations, can’t afford to let up in the desert, seeking a workmanlike victory similar to its Week 2 throttling of the overmatched New York Jets. Without cornerback Trevon Diggs, who suffered a season-ending knee injury on Thursday, the Cowboys might be in an emotional slumber.

Moving the line from -12.5 down to -6.5 should be enough to carry the parlay.

The pick: Parlay the Cowboys -6.5 and the Chiefs -6.5 at a price of -111 (BetMGM as of Thursday afternoon).


Fans know that betting luck is a real concept, so why not apply luck as a handicapping tool?


Proactively wagering on the Action Network luck rankings narrowly beat the spread in nine games that fit their model (4-3-2 against the spread), but that moved unlucky teams to 100-57-6 (63.2%) ATS since the start of 2018.

By the Action Network definition: “Luck percentage represents the win probability swing between a team’s expected winning percentage from their on-field performance and their actual winning percentage.”

A game that fits the luck trend, along with a player prop to consider.

Patriots at Jets, 1 p.m. ET Sunday

The line: Patriots -2.5.

In their Week 1 and 2 defeats, the 0-2 Patriots’ margins were not reflective of the expected outcome, according to the Action Network.

New England was able to move the ball against the Eagles as well as the Dolphins, but breakthrough plays eluded them.

No fewer than six drives into Dolphins territory failed to produce a touchdown, and the Patriots collected only three points from those six opportunities in a 24-17 loss.

The Jets’ luck is awful, of course, given the injury to quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Their luck percentage, however, is rated No. 7, meaning they’re a mediocre team despite being lucky; the Patriots are dead last at No. 32.

The pick: Patriots -2.5.

Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa passing yards

Miami took down a pretty good defense in Week 2, solving Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s game plan in a 24-17 road victory.

The Dolphins’ Week 3 opponent, Denver, surrendered 35 points in a home loss to the Washington Commanders and must play in hot, sticky Miami.

Dolphins star wide receiver Tyreek Hill was held to only 40 yards receiving while Tagovailoa still managed 249 yards through the air as the Patriots played three- and four-deep safety looks and invited Miami to run the ball.

All signs point to continued success, and the over/under of 262.5 yards for Tua seems too low.

The pick: Tagovailoa over 262.5 yards passing (available at BetMGM).

–Field Level Media