Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders
After they came through for me last week, there’s no way that I can’t come back to the league’s current form team – the Chiefs. They extended their 4-game win streak into a 5-game one with a win over the Bills last week and now face a trip to Oakland to face the Raiders who, despite beating the Titans last week, have been in a bit of a slump of late. I’m sticking with Kansas City and backing the Chiefs -3 in this one.
With Chiefs LB Justin Houston out for this game and the Raiders OL doing a good job this year, allowing only 14 sacks (tied fewest in the league), I don’t see Kansas City’s sack machine continuing it’s recent run. The Chiefs are still very good defensively however, ranking in the top 10 for points a game, rush yards a game and total yards a game.
This means, somewhat surprisingly, I’m liking the Chiefs offense to get it done for us this week. The Raiders have a very good offense but they are not great defensively, particularly against the pass where they give up 282.7 yards a game (29th in the league). This could mean big days for QB Alex Smith, WR Jeremy Maclin and TE Travis Kelce.
With Kansas City’s defence coming up with takeaways each week (2+ in their last 6 games) and their offense hardly giving it up at all (only 8 all season), I think that the Chiefs have the right combination to continue their recent run and beat the Raiders.
Handicap Betting Recommendation: Kansas City Chiefs -3 at 2.05
Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams
Speaking of teams that came through for me last week, the Rams certainly did by being woeful against the Bengals. It’s difficult to imagine a poorer offense than what the Rams are fielding right now and that pick-6 by QB Nick Foles last week was possibly one of the worst throws I’ve seen a QB attempt.
This being said, the Rams are somehow 3-0 against division opponents (1-7 against everyone else), including a win against the Cardinals in Arizona. The Cardinals were the better team in that match though and I’m keeping faith in them here. Arizona -4.5.
As you may have guessed, I’m not a huge fan of St. Louis’ offence (or lack thereof) and they now have a matchup against Arizona’s top 5 defence. The Rams are 32nd in passing (180.9 yards a game), 31st in total yards a game (304) and are also 31st in points a game (16.9). They’ve managed to score fewer than 20 points in each of their last four games and have scored 10 or fewer points four times this season. Horrible stats.
They are, however, 7th in rushing (123.1 yards a game) but if you discount WR Tavon Austin’s runs last week they only managed 31 yards – teams have definitely adjusted to RB Todd Gurley and he’s no longer having the impact he once did and the Cardinals boast the 4th best run defence (91.1 yards a game).
There’s no doubt that Arizona’s a good team (and their defence should definitely overwhelm St. Louis) but sometimes the results haven’t matched the performances. With the playoffs looming it’s about time they started doing what a good team does – stomping on a weak opponent.
Handicap Betting Recommendation: Arizona Cardinals -4.5 at 2.00
Houston Texans at Buffalo Bills
While the Chiefs may be the league’s form team at the moment, the Texans really aren’t that far behind and are currently on a nice 4-game win streak of their own. Most of this change in fortune is, similarly to Kansas City, down to a defence that has really found their stride lately. I think they continue this nice little run in Buffalo – Texans is the bet.
I do feel a little sorry for the Bills (although as a Patriots fan, not really) as they seem to have hit 3 teams in a row who are on a roll at the time – Patriots + Chiefs, who they lost to, and now the Texans. Houston’s defence against Buffalo is what makes me believe that the Texans can pull off the upset.
It starts up front with DE J.J. Watt, who is embodying the jump in Houston’s defensive performances. In the first 6 games of the season Watt only had 4 sacks, but in the last 5 he’s managed to pile up 9.5 sacks to give him a league-leading 13.5 on the year. An impressive total in itself, especially when you consider that the Bills entire defensive line only has 10 sacks. Buffalo’s entire team only has 16!
Watt’s increased sack total is a good way of displaying the improvement of the Texan’s defence, but the best way is to look at the points scored and yards gained against them: through the first 7 games, where they went 2-5, they were allowing 28.4 points and 370.9 yards a game. On their current win streak, they’ve allowed a measly 8.8 points and 250.5 yards a game.
Buffalo seem to be a team that blows hot and cold, but there’s no denying the consistency of Houston (especially on defence) right now and I have to back them at odds-against here.
Handicap Betting Recommendation: Houston Texans to Win at 2.64
Prices correct at the time of writing.
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