Week 6 of the NFL schedule is highlighted by a Sunday Night shootout in Foxboro as the Patriots host the Chiefs and after an efficient but subdued start to his Pats career, the time is now to jump on a Josh Gordon receiving prop. Plus more running back updates as we bring you the need-to-know betting news, trends and picks to help you crack NFL odds this week.
Eagles running back Corey Clement (quad) practiced on Tuesday and is expected to return on Thursday night after missing the last two games. His return is a huge boost to a backfield that just lost Jay Ajayi for the season and is still without Darren Sproles and Clement will likely share touches with Wendall Smallwood against the Giants.
It’s tough to predict whether Clement or Smallwood will get more work on Thursday night. Looking back to Week 3 — where Clement and Smallwood handled the backfield while Ajayi was out — we see that Clement out-snapped (45 to 29) and out-touched (19 to 13) Smallwood, but Smallwood was more productive (91 total yards to 75). Clement had four red-zone carries, while Smallwood had three red-zone carries, a red-zone target, and scored a touchdown.
For this week, we’re treating the Eagles’ backfield as a 50-50 split and, in a situation like this, we suggest backing the bet with greater value. When the full prop slate opens later in the week, we’ll be looking to take the Over for whoever has the lowest rushing yards total between Clement and Smallwood.
PETERSON TO PLAY THROUGH
Washington running back Adrian Peterson couldn’t finish Monday night’s game at New Orleans after he dislocated his shoulder late in the first half but, according to Peterson, it isn’t an injury that’s going to sideline him. “It’s not going to keep me out. I came back into the game. It was just a situation where it was sore. I just popped it back in, braced it up at halftime and got back in there,” Peterson told reporters.
AP and the Redskins return home to face Carolina on Sunday and, assuming he plays, we’ll be fading him, mostly because of his risk of injuring his shoulder again — there’s a good chance that he dislocates it again after taking a hard hit early in the game. There’s also the fact that he’s going against a Panthers rush defense that just limited Saquon Barkley to 48 rushing yards on 15 attempts and is getting veteran linebacker Thomas Davis back from suspension. A 33-year-old running back at less than 100 percent against a tough run defense just adds up: Take the Under 63.5 yards on AP’s rushing total.
JAGS SIGN CHARLES
Jacksonville signed Jamaal Charles to a one-year contract on Sunday. Yes, the same Charles who was a four-time Pro Bowler in the first half of this decade. He’ll back up T.J. Yeldon on Sunday and hopefully even steal a couple of carries, which would further strengthen yesterday’s lean of taking the Under on Yeldon’s rushing total.
Speaking of yesterday’s Yeldon lean, we’re going to add to it by suggesting bettors also take the Over on Blake Bortles’ passing yards total. We played this one last week and it easily cashed as Bortles threw for 430 yards. The Jags just don’t like to run the ball without their lead back and Bortles is averaging 38.8 passing attempts per game, dating back to last season, with Fournette out of the lineup. On Sunday, Jacksonville plays a Dallas defense that is very good against the run (5th in rush defense DVOA) and bad against the pass (24th in pass defense DVOA). Last week, Deshaun Watson cut up the Cowboys for 375 passing yards while Dallas limited Alfred Blue to 46 rushing yards on 20 attempts. Look for a similar outcome this week and back Bortles to go Over 279.5 passing yards.
NJOKU HEATING UP
Browns fans have been waiting for second-year tight end David Njoku to start becoming an offensive force and it might finally be happening now that Baker Mayfield is under center. In his two starts, Mayfield has been looking for Njoku, targeting him seven times two weeks ago and 11 times last week and Njoku hasn’t disappointed, with games of 5-52 and 6-69. This week, the Browns host the Chargers, a team that has given up 10 receptions to opposing tight ends over the past two weeks (6 to George Kittle and 4 to Jared Cook). While those aren’t terrible defensive numbers against tight ends, we like the growing Mayfield-Njoku connection and we expect the Browns' big tight end to go Over 4.5 receptions on Sunday.
GORDON’S TIME TO SHINE?
Last week, we backed a winner with the Under 52.5 on Josh Gordon’s receiving total, with the analysis being that he wouldn’t have time to get up to speed with the Patriots’ offense as they were on a short week. Well, this week it's the opposite and it could be the week that Josh Gordon breaks out. With the Pats coming off a mini-bye and a shootout on tap against the Chiefs on Sunday Night Football, this looks like the week that Gordon could break out and really become a difference maker to the Pats offense. But here’s the best part: His receiving yards total is still set quite low at 53.5, making it the perfect time to jump on the Over.