Thursday Nite Betting Preview: Eagles Versus Packers

8:20 p.m. ET: Philadelphia Eagles (1-2) at Green Bay Packers (3-0)

Tuley’s Take on Thursday Night Football . . .
After two Must-Not-See TV games the past two Thursday nights, we get a marquee NFL matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles visiting the Green Bay Packers (8:20 p.m. ET, NFL Network).

It has lost some of its luster with the injury-plagued Eagles’ slow start (1-2 SU, 0-3 ATS), but QB Carson Wentz wasn’t in a panic in his press conference the other day and I almost expected him to pull an Aaron Rodgers and tell fans to “R-E-L-A-X.” Despite their relative woes, Wentz and the offense is still averaging 25.3 points per game (the Packers only average 19.3) and their losses to the Falcons and Lions both could have been wins (though admittedly they were lucky to escape with a come-from-behind victory over the Redskins in the season-opener).

Still, I still have the Eagles rated as the better team and there’s definite value in getting more than a field goal.

Granted, the Packers are off to a great start (3-0 SU & ATS) and are a 4-point favorites as of Wednesday night after getting bet at high as -5.5 on Monday, but I’m ready to fade them as they’re not as good as their record indicates. I’m especially not buying the narrative that they have a dominant defense (allowing an NFL-best 11.7 points per game) as they benefited from catching the Bears before their offense got in sync and the Vikings would have scored more and beaten them if not for Kirk Cousins’ unforced errors.

While the best bet is on the Eagles +4, I also like Over 46 as both offenses should have success and this total is shaded a little low as Unders are 8-2 so far in NFL primetime games this season (and I’m willing to fade that trend as well).

The play: Eagles +4

Get Tuley’s Takes in this week’s Point Spread Weekly or on VSiN.com.


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Bears Growl and Lions Roar on America’s Thanksgiving Day 2018

It’s a skirmish of NFC North opponents in the Motor City to commence week 12 activity in the NFL on Thanksgiving. The Chicago Bears are out and about as they make the trek to confront the Detroit Lions Thursday evening. Chicago knocked off Minnesota 25-20 at home on Sunday night to keep their teeth on the division lead. Detroit held tight for a 20-19 win at home over Carolina Sunday evening in their last challenge. The Bears claim a 98-74-5 advantage in the history between the groups,including a 34-22 win at home in the first meeting this season on November 11.

CHICAGO BEARS

Chicago rung up their fourth straight victory as they stole the Vikings picnic basket in a clash of the top two teams in the NFC North race. The Bears currently hope to bring down another divisional enemy  in order to eat the Central Division’s lunch. Chicago led 14-3 after 3 quarters and did what’s needed scoring to hold off Minnesota’s final quarter test. The two groups turned the ball over  multiple times however the Bears had a picnic-six that helped them chomp the win. Chicago is 2-2 ATS on the road while they are 3-1 straight up on those camping trips.

DETROIT LIONS
Detroit snapped a three game losing slide as they figured out how to hold off the Panthers, to a limited extent because of luck and a couple unique team miscues via Carolina. The Lions hope to chomp consecutive wins with a goal of getting back to 0.500 on the season . Detroit was out gained 387-309 in the game: the two groups finished  with 20 first downs. The Lions controlled the clock 31:40 to 28:20. So, had Carolina not missed an extra  point, a short field goal and a two point try, things could have turned in an unexpected way. Detroit is 3-2 ATS at home this season while the UNDER is 3-2 in those games.

OUTLOOK
The two teams come into this with wins last week. The Bears have won four straight and have opened up breathing room in the NFC North race. Chicago needs to get wins where they can given that they have the Rams, Packers and Vikings ahead. The Lions ripped  their way to a victory over the Panthers yet that probably won’t help much. We saw the Bears growl past the Lions 11 days back in a game where Chicago was 26-7 at the half. Chicago could have set up more scores had Cody Parkey not banged the upright on two field goal attempts and a couple of point after attempts. It will be a tough test for the Lions, particularly if Kerryon Johnson’s knee damage that he sustained against Carolina Sunday is serious. Enjoy!

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PREVIEW: Patriots versus Steelers Sunday December 17

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For all intents and purposes, we all know that Sunday afternoon’s game between the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers will determine which team will clinch the #1 seed in the AFC playoffs, and secure home field advantage throughout the postseason.

Interestingly enough, the Steelers enter this game as the underdog (the latest lines have the Patriots as three-point favorites in the football odds for Patriots game), despite the fact that Pittsburgh is not only riding an NFL-high eight-game winning streak and has the best record in the conference, but also has generally played a bit better in the friendly confines of Heinz Field, versus on the road (they’re 11-2 at home, compared to 11-3 on the road, since the start of 2016).

But then again, we’re talking about the Patriots. Even with the ugly loss against the Miami Dolphins last Sunday evening, New England is still the highest scoring team in the AFC (averaging 28.3 points per game), but also has the second-highest point scoring differential in the conference as well (+118). With the season-ending injury to Carson Wentz last Sunday, Tom Brady may have found himself in the proverbial driver’s seat for the NFL’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, which would move him into a tie with Jim Brown, Earl Campbell, and Kurt Warner as the only individuals to win the award three times over the course of their career.

New England’s famous modus operandi of attacking opponents is described as “making their opponents play left-handed.” In other words, they identify what the opposing team does best, devotes their top resources towards eliminating the opponent from relying on that, and forcing them to have to rely on “Plan B.”

But in terms of the Steelers, which “poison” is the Patriots comfortable with picking? Do they focus on stopping wide receiver Antonio Brown, who is in the midst of an MVP campaign of his own? Or do they worry about stopping running back Le’Veon Bell, who leads the NFL in both rushing yards and total yards from scrimmage?

That’s the challenge the Steelers present. Bell’s patience, vision, and ability to rip off chunks of yards time and time again is absolutely demoralizing to opposing defenders, and he could make life very miserable for a Patriots rushing defense that’s ranked 23rd in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game, and dead last in the league in average yards per carry allowed by opposing runners.

And then there’s Brown, who is not only on pace for his 5th consecutive season with at least 100 receptions, 1,200 yards receiving, and nine touchdowns, but has averaged almost 10 catches for over 130 yards and more than one touchdown over the last four games. Brown has easily distanced himself from all other peers at his position, and sits alone atop the “best wide receiver in the NFL” discussion.

Of course, it’s not like the Patriots’ defense will be the only unit with the totally unenviable task of stopping the opposing offense; the Steelers offense will spend all week answering the nearly-unanswerable question of “how do we slow down Brady?” Pittsburgh’s pass defense was already something of a question mark, and with the loss of speedy linebacker Ryan Shazier (to a very scary spine injury on December 4th), that could open up spots on the middle of the field, which Brady is lethally effective at exploiting.

Plain and simple: in this battle among the AFC’s top heavyweights, expect an old-fashioned shootout between two of the best offenses the conference – and the league in general – has to offer.

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PREVIEW: Eagles at Hawks Sunday Night Showdown

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Between the Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks, who will square off in the nationally-televised game on Sunday evening, the narratives seemed pretty entrenched before the season started.
Given the betting odds for Philadelphia Eagles at Seattle Seahawks game everyone wants a piece of the action. The ff-winners.com artificial intelligence computer projects Seattle to win 25-22.

One of these two teams was the presumed favorite to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, thanks to a ferocious defense that could single-handedly wrest control of the game from whoever they played, and an MVP-caliber quarterback who could make up for the fact that the team really didn’t have any other stars on offense.

The other team was likely going to be right in the playoff mix themselves, but probably on the outside looking in around this time of year. There were a lot of interesting and talented pieces on defense to work with, and they had a promising do-it-all quarterback of their own, but they didn’t quite seem like they could compete with the very best that the conference had to offer.

Of course, back in September, everyone thought the Seahawks fit that first team description, and the Eagles fit that second team description. And yet, entering the first week of December of 2017, it’s actually the complete opposite.

In a conference that legitimately has as many as 10 teams who could realistically challenge for a playoff spot, the Philadelphia Eagles have been head-and-shoulders above the other nine teams – if not any other team in the NFL. The last time they lost a game, it was still technically summertime (September 17th). They’ve outscored teams by a league-leading 160 points, which is 37 more points than the team with the second-highest point differential. We’re barely clearing our Thanksgiving meals off the table, and yet the Eagles could very likely clinch a playoff spot already.

Meanwhile, if the playoffs started today, the Seahawks would snap a five-year playoff streak, as they’re currently behind the Atlanta Falcons in the playoff standings (both teams have a 7-4 record, but Atlanta has the head-to-head victory tiebreaker). The previously impenetrable Seattle defense has been decimated by injuries along the defensive line, but especially among the pillars of its vaunted “Legion of Boom” secondary; cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Kam Chancellor have both been placed on season-ending injured reserve.

But what really makes this game worth watching is the duel between the two quarterbacks playing in this game. We’re very likely looking at two of the three finalists for the 2017-2018 Most Valuable Player award.

Through 12 weeks this season, Carson Wentz of the Eagles leads the NFL in touchdown passes (28), and could become only the third quarterback in NFL history to lead the NFL in touchdown passes in his second year of the league; the other two guys who did so are in the Hall of Fame: Dan Marino and Kurt Warner.

Wilson gets overlooked because he’s seemingly not even the top quarterback in his own conference. But, he has the third most touchdown passes this year (23), is second in total touchdowns (passing + rushing) only behind Wentz, and averages 35 more passing yards per game than Wentz (275 to 240). You could easily make the argument that the Seahawks would be in much bigger trouble if they lost Wilson to a long-term injury, versus if the Eagles lost Wentz to a similar injury.

Regardless, Seattle is going to give Philadelphia everything they have on Sunday evening. The Eagles find themselves in a really tough spot, having to play the Seahawks in Seattle, knowing in the back of their mind that they’ll face the NFC West-leading Los Angeles Rams one week later. If the Eagles were going to lose again at some point in the regular season, early December looks like the time frame for that to happen.

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Game Preview: Arizona Cardinals versus Los Angeles Rams (London, Sunday, October 22, 2017)

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This Sunday, the Arizona Cardinals and the Los Angeles Rams travel to London for their game. NFL betting for the Cardinals vs Rams game  has the Rams as the 3.5 point favorite  with a total score of 47. However, FF-Winners AI-generated prediction (52-33 ATS this year) favors Arizona by 2 with a total of 44.

We’re now over one-third of the way through the 2017 NFL season, and the Los Angeles Rams are sitting atop the NFC West with a 4-2 record. Before the season started, if you had told any NFL fan that this is how the first six games of the season would go down in that division, they would have thought you had never watched football before.


Over the last three weeks, the Rams have been scoring an average of over 34 points per game, thanks to the innovative play designs of first year head coach Sean McVay, and the hard running of a rejuvenated Todd Gurley. This past Sunday, the Rams headed to Florida and picked up a very quality road win against a Jacksonville Jaguars team that has been one of the more fun stories in the NFL this season. The Rams put up 27 points on a team that was holding opponents to less than 17 points per game this year.
This Rams team looks like it’s legit. If they can get a defense that’s ranked 27th in the NFL in opposing yards per game to come together, this could be a fascinating team to watch down the stretch of the season.

After a big win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, the Arizona Cardinals seemingly got their season back on track, pulling back to a 3-3 record halfway through October. They’ll travel to London this week to take on the Rams, hoping they can snap the trend of playing poorly away from home; they’re 2-0 at home this year, and 1-3 on the road.

Expect the Cardinals to feature another heavy dose of the newly acquired Adrian Peterson, similar to what they offered Tampa Bay last week. Peterson went for 134 yards rushing and two touchdowns last week, looking reminiscent of the Peterson we remember from five years ago. This week, he — and the Cardinals — will face a Rams defense that’s 29th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game, while allowing an NFL-high eight touchdowns this season.

Ironically, while the spotlight was on Peterson after last Sunday’s performance, Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer also enjoyed his best performance since his MVP-caliber season in 2015, throwing for 283 yards and three touchdowns while completing 81.8% of his passes that day. He threw the ball in the direction of the guy who still might be the most reliable wide receiver in the NFL in Larry Fitzgerald, who caught 10 passes for 138 yards, and is currently 6th in the NFL in receiving yards.

It’ll be up to the Rams’ defense to keep the football away from the Arizona offense, and ensure that Peterson doesn’t slow down the game by keeping the Rams’ offense off the field. Arizona’s defense is still very talented, but the way McVay has been calling plays for the Rams, if there’s an opening somewhere, he’ll certainly find it and exploit it. The Cardinals also don’t play very well when they’re away from home, so Los Angeles has to do whatever it can to continue to make life uncomfortable for Arizona.