Things constantly change in the NFL. Injuries and sometimes weather can dramatically impact how a game will play out. Once the Friday injury report is in, we’ll take an updated look at every game from a betting perspective.
We’ll provide updates on line movement and notes on every game every week. We will also discuss how we’re treating various situations in winner pools, survivor pools and ATS tournaments. We’ll even sprinkle in the occasional daily fantasy stance.
In this column, the Circa Sports Million V Pro Football Contest will be referred to as Circa and DraftKings Pick’Em as DraftKings.
Keep up to date on injuries with Ari Meirov’s injury report.
Late Week Betting Previews
Jaguars vs. Falcons (London)
Spread: Jaguars -3
The spread in this contest has remained stable all week as Jacksonville Jaguars -3. That’s where Circa has it, though you can get Atlanta Falcons +3.5 on DraftKings. The total has moved down from 44 to 43 points.
Expect the Jaguars to be used in roughly 75 percent of winner pools. I will use them in nearly all of mine. I usually avoid games played in Europe in ATS tournaments, so I will pass here even though I lean Jaguars. This game should be avoided in survivor pools unless you play a significant volume in that format.
- The Jaguars have played a game in London in all but one year since 2014.
- The Falcons have allowed the ninth-most rushing yards to running backs.
- The Jaguars have given up the eighth-most receiving yards to wide receivers.
Bills vs. Dolphins
Spread: Bills -2.5
The spread in this contest opened as Buffalo Bills -3 but has since fallen to Bills -2.5. Circa has this one as Bills -3, while DraftKings has Bills -2.5. The total has seen a few half-point fluctuations but has settled at 53.5 points late this week.
Expect both teams to be used in nearly 50 percent of winner pools. I will be a little Bills-heavy with my entries. We’re getting a near-full three-point favorite that may be less popular than Miami. I will take Bills -2.5 in one of my DraftKings Pick’Em entries. I expect the Miami Dolphins to be a 70 percent type of play in ATS tournaments. This contest should be avoided in survivor pools.
- Miami scored 70 points against the Broncos last week.
- Tua Tagovailoa is the current MVP favorite.
- If the Bills win this game, Josh Allen could be the MVP favorite next week.
- The Dolphins have given up the sixth-most rushing yards to running backs.
- The Bills have allowed the seventh-most receiving yards to running backs.
Browns vs. Ravens
Spread: Browns -1.5
The line for this contest has bounced around all week due to injuries. It opened as Cleveland Browns -2 before moving up to Browns -3. It’s fallen all the way to Browns -1.5 late this week. The primary reason for that shift is Deshaun Watson‘s addition to the injury report because of a throwing shoulder injury. Both Circa and DraftKings have this one as Browns -2.5. The total opened at 41.5 points but fell to 39 late this week.
Expect the Browns to be used in roughly 60 percent of winner pools unless Watson misses this matchup. I will be Browns-heavy if Watson plays due to the Baltimore Ravens’ brutal injury report.
We saw Baltimore lose to the Colts at home while being down a handful of their best players last week. Cleveland’s defense is several tiers better than Indianapolis’ defense. If Watson can’t go, I’ll shift to being a little Ravens-heavy in that scenario. I will avoid this contest completely in survivor.
- Baltimore will once again be without a handful of its best players.
- The Browns’ defense has given up just three points in two of their first three games.
- The Ravens have given up the ninth-most receiving yards to wide receivers.
Panthers vs. Vikings
Spread: Panthers +4.5
This contest surprisingly opened as Carolina Panthers +2.5 but has gradually moved to Panthers +4.5. DraftKings has this one as Panthers +3.5, while Circa has it as Panthers +5. The total has moved from 45 to 46.5 points.
Expect the Minnesota Vikings to be used in roughly 90 percent of winner pools this week. That makes the Panthers a strong leverage play in that format. I play pretty high volume in winner pools, where my ratio will be closer to Vikings 75 percent and Panthers 25 percent.
One of the keys to taking down a mid- to large-field winner pool with weekly payouts is to hit on a few underdogs that win. If you’ve played survivor in the past, you already know the Vikings are one of the most stressful teams to use in that format. Minnesota is unsafe in survivor pools this week, but they are a reasonable option.
- The Panthers have allowed the fifth-most rushing yards to running backs.
- The Vikings have allowed the eighth-most rushing yards to running backs.
- Minnesota has given up the third-most receiving yards to wide receivers.
Bears vs. Broncos
Spread: Bears +3.5
Total: 46.5 (up from 45.5)
The spread for this game has stayed at Chicago Bears +3.5, with only minor fluctuations at some sportsbooks. Both Circa and DraftKings have this game as Bears +3.5. The total has moved from 45.5 to 46.5 points.
Expect the Denver Broncos to be used in roughly 65 percent of winner pool entries this week. The Bears have a few significant injuries in their secondary. That will make me more Broncos-heavy than I anticipated early this week. Consider Denver as an aggressive play in survivor pools. I will stack up Russell Wilson and Jerry Jeudy to beat their yardage overs in a same-game parlay.
- The Broncos have allowed the most rushing yards and receiving yards to running backs.
- The Bears have allowed the 10th-most rushing yards and the second-most receiving yards to running backs.
- Denver has allowed the 10th-most receiving yards to wide receivers.
Saints vs. Buccaneers
Spread: Saints -3
The spread for this contest opened as New Orleans Saints -3. It moved up to Saints -3.5 midweek but has since fallen back down to Saints -3. Both Circa and DraftKings have this game set at Saints -3.5. The total has stayed adjacent to 40 points all week.
This is my least favorite game of the week in just about any kind of tournament or pool setting. Expect the Saints to be used in roughly 65 percent of winner pool entries. I’ll have close to a 50/50 ratio in that format, with QB Jameis Winston starting for the Saints. I will not touch this game in survivor pools or ATS contests.
- The Saints have allowed the fourth-most receiving yards to running backs.
- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have allowed the sixth-most receiving yards to wide receivers.
Texans vs. Steelers
Spread: Texans +3
This game opened at Houston Texans +3.5 before moving down to Texans +2.5 midweek. Late this week, it has settled on the key number of Texans +3. Both Circa and DraftKings set this game as Texans +2.5. The total moved up slightly from 41.5 to 42 points.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have a premium pass rush, and the Texans will be without four starting offensive linemen. Expect the Steelers to be used in roughly 80 percent of winner pool entries. Due to their trench advantage, I will take Steelers -2.5 in my main ATS tournament entry. In winner pools, I will be roughly even with the field in this contest. I will consider using the Steelers in one survivor pool entry just to differentiate lineups.
- The Steelers have allowed the second-most rushing yards to running backs.
- Pittsburgh has surrendered the fifth-most receiving yards to wide receivers.
- Houston has given up the ninth-most receiving yards to tight ends.
Eagles vs. Commanders
Spread: Eagles -9.5
This contest has had some significant line movement. It opened as Philadelphia Eagles -7 and is now Eagles -9.5. You can get Eagles -8 on Circa, while DraftKings has this contest as Eagles -7.5. The total has moved from 44.5 to 43 points.
Expect Philadelphia to be used in nearly all winner pool entries. The Washington Commanders handed the Eagles their first loss last year behind a run-heavy game plan. Washington has a narrow path to victory in this matchup, but the Commanders are an interesting leverage play in winner pools. For that reason, my ratio will be closer to Eagles 90 percent and Commanders 10 percent.
The Eagles are a good survivor option as they have multiple paths to victory. That said, anything can happen in divisional games, and Washington beat Philadelphia last season. Ultimately, I will use the Eagles in that format, but I won’t be over-committed to them. I will take Eagles -7.5 as a value option in one of my DraftKings entries.
- The Eagles’ defense has a trench advantage in this matchup.
- The Eagles’ offensive line can mitigate Washington’s premium front.
- The Eagles have allowed the sixth-most receiving yards to running backs.
- Philadelphia has given up the third-most receiving yards to tight ends.
Titans vs. Bengals
Spread: Titans +2.5
This contest opened as Tennessee Titans +1.5 but moved to Titans +2.5 midweek. Circa has Titans +2, while DraftKings set this at Titans +2.5. The total has moved from 42.5 to 41 points.
This game boils down to the Titans’ pass rush creating consistent disruption against injured Joe Burrow. If it can, Tennessee can win this game. If it cannot, Burrow will shred the Titans’ beatable secondary.
Expect the Cincinnati Bengals to be used in roughly 80 percent of winner pools. That makes the Titans an interesting leverage option as small home underdogs. My ratio in winner pools will be closer to Bengals 60 percent and Titans 40 percent. I will avoid this matchup in survivor and likely ATS tournaments. If you’re in an ATS pool, the Titans will also be a leverage option in that format.
- The Titans’ pass rush has a trench advantage in this matchup.
- The Titans have allowed the fourth-most receiving yards to wide receivers.
- The Bengals have given up the seventh-most receiving yards to tight ends.
Colts vs. Rams
Spread: Colts -1
The spread for this contest has fluctuated between Indianapolis Colts -1 and Colts +1 throughout the week. Circa has this game as a pick’em, while DraftKings has the Colts -1.5. The total for this matchup opened at 45 points before moving up to 47 points. Late this week, it settled in the middle at 46 points.
Expect both teams to be used in a nearly 50/50 ratio in winner pools. My ratio will be Los Angeles Rams 65 percent and Colts 35 percent. Indianapolis is coming off a surprising overtime victory in Baltimore last week. Getting Anthony Richardson back is a boost, but Matthew Stafford is in a position to shred the Colts secondary.
I’ll take my chances by being a little Rams-heavy in winner pools this week. I will also play the Rams in at least one ATS tournament entry, but I will avoid this game in survivor.
- The Colts have allowed the seventh-most receiving yards to wide receivers.
- Indianapolis has given up the eighth-most receiving yards to tight ends.
Chargers vs. Raiders
Spread: Chargers -5
Jimmy Garoppolo’s uncertain status has led to significant line movement in this contest. It opened as Los Angeles Chargers -4.5 before moving as high as Chargers -6 midweek. Late this week, it settled at Chargers -5. Circa and DraftKings both have this matchup set as Chargers -5.5. The total for this contest opened at 50.5 points but moved down to 48.5 late this week.
Expect the Chargers to be taken in 90 percent of winner pools, where that number could go up if Garoppolo is ruled out. The Chargers have a few notable injuries and frustratingly play down to their opponents. The Las Vegas Raiders are a leverage option with or without Garoppolo.
I won’t play this game in that way, as I have no confidence in Las Vegas. But if you’re thinking along those lines, that’s perfectly reasonable from a game theory perspective. I will play the Chargers some in survivor, but I will avoid this game entirely against the spread.
- The Raiders have allowed the third-most rushing yards and the 10th-most receiving yards to running backs.
- The Chargers have given up the ninth-most receiving yards to running backs.
- The Chargers have allowed the most receiving yards to wide receivers.
- Los Angeles has surrendered the tenth-most receiving yards to tight ends.
49ers vs. Cardinals
Spread: 49ers -14
Total: 43.5 (Up from 42)
The spread for this game has stayed at San Francisco 49ers -14 all week. That’s how you’ll find it on Circa, while DraftKings set it as 49ers -13.5. The total opened at 42 points but has gradually risen to 43.5 points.
The 49ers will be used in nearly all winner pools. After last week’s decisive upset against Dallas, we shouldn’t count the Arizona Cardinals out. That said, it’s going to be much harder to run all over the 49ers than it was the Cowboys last week. I will play the 49ers in nearly all of my winner pool entries. I will also play the 49ers in survivor, though I do want to purposely try and save them for later in the year in formats where you have to pick two teams late.
- San Francisco has a few key players on the injury report.
- The Cardinals have allowed the fourth-most receiving yards to tight ends.
Cowboys vs. Patriots
Spread: Cowboys -6
The spread for this contest opened as Dallas Cowboys -7. It moved to Cowboys -6.5 early this week and then again to Cowboys -6 late in the week. Circa and DraftKings set this line as Cowboys -6.5. The total is up from 41 points to 44 points.
Chuck Pagano pointed out that the Cardinals ran right at Micah Parsons last week. Parsons is a tremendous pass rusher, but he’s small for a defensive end and not built to take on two blockers regularly. Expect Bill Belichick to take a similar approach this week.
Expect Dallas to be used in roughly 90 percent of winner pool entries. My ratio will be closer to Cowboys 70 percent and New England Patriots 30 percent. I will avoid this contest in survivor, but Dallas is viable in that format, coming off a bad loss. I will play the Patriots +6.5 in ATS tournaments, and I bet Patriots +7 early this week, anticipating line movement.
Jets vs. Chiefs
Spread: Jets +9
The spread for this contest has spent most of the week as New York Jets +9.5, but it slid to Jets +9 late this week. Circa and DraftKings set this line as Jets +9.5. The total has moved from 43 to 41.5 points.
The Kansas City Chiefs will be used in nearly all winner pool entries this week. I would love to treat the Jets as a leverage play in this matchup. Ultimately, I won’t because they have the league’s worst passing offense. I will pass on the Jets as a significant underdog in ATS tournaments for the same reason. The Chiefs are viable in survivor, where I will just sprinkle them in for my entries.
- The Jets have given up the seventh-most rushing yards and fifth-most receiving yards to running backs.
- New York has allowed the fifth-most receiving yards to tight ends.
Giants vs. Seahawks
Spread: Giants +2
Total: 47 (Up from 45)
There have been a number of line fluctuations in this matchup, which opened with the New York Giants +1.5. It moved to Giants -1 early this week and held until its late-week shift to Giants +2. Circa has this game as a pick’em, while DraftKings has it as Giants -.5. The total has moved from 45 to 47 points.
Expect the Seattle Seahawks to be used in roughly 70 percent of winner pool entries. I will be much closer to an even split between these two teams. I’m still on the fence about whether I will use the Giants in an ATS tournament entry. I’m leaning towards no, as Seattle has more paths to victory in this matchup. This contest should be avoided entirely in survivor pools.
- The Giants have allowed the fourth-most rushing yards to running backs.
- The Seahawks have given up the second-most receiving yards to wide receivers.
- New York has given up the second-most receiving yards to tight ends.
- Seattle has surrendered the sixth-most receiving yards to tight ends.
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