Win the Weekend: Fantasy football and betting tips

Want to know the latest trends, matchups and injury news? We got you. Want to know where the public has money this week? We got you. Want to know which teams to play, who to roster in DFS or who to pick in your Eliminator pool? We’ve got you there, too. Here’s everything you need to know as you prepare for your fantasy football matchups and potential bets on NFL and college football games this week.

CFB: Action Report | Analytics Edges | Confidence pool picks

NFL: Injuries | Matchups to exploit | Eliminator Challenge | DFS plays | Analytics Edges | Action Report | ‘Dolan Out Winners’ | Confidence pool picks | Pigskin Pick ’em

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College Football

David Purdum’s Action Report

  • Nebraska Cornhuskers at Colorado Buffaloes (-3, 59): In the early “Games of the Year” lines released over the summer by some sportsbooks, the Cornhuskers were 9-point favorites over the Buffaloes. A few months later, after Colorado’s impressive opening upset over TCU, the Buffaloes are the favorites and have attracted significant interest from the betting pubic.

    Sportsbook PointsBet/Fanatics reported Thursday that more point-spread money had been bet on Colorado than had been bet on 30 NFL teams, with only the Chiefs and Lions garnering more attention from bettors. A spokesperson for PointsBet/Fanatics told ESPN that the amount wagered on Colorado was more than double the amount bet overall on Texas-Alabama.

    Colorado-Nebraska was the most-heavily bet college football game by both tickets and money wagered at DraftKings and had attracted more than double the action of Notre Dame-North Carolina State, the second-most heavily bet game. As of Thursday at DraftKings, 90% of the money that had been bet on the game’s point spread was on the favored Buffaloes.

  • Texas Longhorns at Alabama Crimson Tide (-7, 54): The line on the weekend’s marquee matchup has been holding steady, with the Crimson Tide as 7-point favorites. (Some -7.5s were available, too.) It’s a significant adjustment from last year’s game, when Alabama was around a 21-point road favorite over Texas. The Crimson Tide hung on for a 20-19 win last year in Austin.

    Sportsbooks were reporting balanced early action on this week’s game.



Finebaum: Alabama is absolutely on upset alert vs. Texas

Paul Finebaum explains why Texas will prove to be a tough test for Alabama.

  • Utah Utes (-8, 47) at Baylor Bears: The game has featured one of the biggest line moves of the week. Utah opened as low as a 4-point road favorite, but the number quickly climbed to as high as -8.5 on Thursday.

Seth Walder’s biggest edges from ESPN Analytics

  • Oklahoma Sooners to win the Big 12 (+220): Both OU and Texas were 36-ish points favorites last week. Only one of them won by 73. No matter the opponent, every game is a data point! FPI gives OU a 48% chance to win the conference. I’m not sure I’d go that far, but I trust the model directionally.

  • UAB Blazers +7 at Georgia Southern Eagles: UAB QB Jacob Zeno recorded a strong 71 QBR in while setting a school record 38 completions in the team’s 35-6 win over North Carolina A&T. The Blazers’ win was also an expectations-beating performance from FPI’s perspective, and the model actually makes Trent Dilfer and UAB 0.4-point favorites over the Eagles on Saturday.

Joe Fortenbaugh’s CFB Confidence picks

  • Texas Tech Red Raiders +6.5 vs. Oregon Ducks: Great buy-low spot on TT after losing at Wyoming. Oregon smashed Portland State, so everybody thinks they are better than they are.

  • Stanford Cardinal/USC Trojans OVER 69.5: Blindly betting USC overs until it gets out of control. Offense is prolific, defense stinks. Stanford looked better than expected at Hawai’i.

  • NC State Wolfpack +7.5 vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Too many points. NC State can play defense, and ND is a bit overvalued after two blowout wins over bad teams.




How Mark Andrews’ quad injury will affect his fantasy production

Stephania Bell explains how Mark Andrews’ lingering quad injury could affect his fantasy numbers in Week 1.

Stephania Bell’s injuries to watch

  • Mark Andrews, TE, Baltimore Ravens vs. Houston Texans: Andrews was limited in practice daily due to a quad (large muscle on the front of the thigh) injury suffered a week ago and comes into the game as Questionable. He has missed only one game due to injury in his career but as Andrews told reporters Thursday, the quad has “been a little tricky” but is overall feeling better. Like everyone else with a recent soft tissue injury, the concern is whether the recovery is sufficient to allow close to normal performance without excessive risk of aggravation (and setback). From a performance standpoint, the question will be whether he can move well enough to create separation from defenders, something Andrews does so well. He said he hopes to play but the team is not yet ready to commit and it may come down to game time.

  • Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington Commanders vs. Arizona Cardinals: is off the injury report heading into Week 1 which tells us he must have met his own criteria to return. He told reporters Weds it was his plan to play but wanted to see how his toe reacted to practice. He described needing to know he could “burst, run, cut” and be his normal self. Turf toe affects the soft tissue structures at the base of the big toe and these are the exact movements that can be provocative. McLaurin also acknowledged the long season and not wanting to put himself or the team in a situation where he couldn’t be his best. After upgrading to Full practice Thursday and repeating it again Friday, it appears both he and the team are confident enough in his toe to clear him to play Sunday.

  • For more injury news, click here.

Matt Bowen’s matchups to exploit



Why Fields Yates is confident in starting Chris Olave

Field Yates breaks down his expectations for Chris Olave in Week 1.

  • Ravens defense vs. Texans QB C.J. Stroud: Look for Baltimore to change the picture post-snap versus Stroud, with late rotation in the secondary and multiple pressure schemes. This Ravens defense ranked fifth in the NFL last season with 48 sacks, and I expect coordinator Mike Macdonald to heat up the rookie quarterback on Sunday.

  • New Orleans Saints WR Chris Olave vs. the Tennessee Titans’ secondary: The Titans played zone coverage on 64.8% of opponent dropbacks last season, the sixth most in the league. Here, the Saints can manipulate the coverage to create open voids for Olave to run the in-breaking concepts. And when Tennessee does jump into man coverage, Olave presents vertical matchup issues on the perimeter.

  • Seattle Seahawks secondary vs. Los Angeles Rams QB Matthew Stafford: This is a tough matchup for Stafford. Cooper Kupp is down for this one, and the Rams feature a shaky offensive front. Look for the ball-hawking Seattle secondary to make some plays on Sunday.

  • For more breakdowns, visit Matt Bowen’s Film Room.

Mike Clay’s Eliminator Challenge advice

Al Zeidenfeld’s DFS plays

  • The Miami Dolphins-Los Angeles Chargers game is the most stackable game on the weekend. Justin Herbert along with two of his pass-catchers and bringing it back with Tyreek Hill won’t be cheap, but with the highest total (51) and a tight point spread (LAC -3), this game has the best chance to be a shootout, and there’s more than enough value to surround that core stack with enough quality to make it worthwhile.

  • Value plays abound: Deon Jackson working as the lead back in Indy ($4,100 on DraftKings), Marvin Mims Jr. and Tutu Atwell stepping into starting roles in their respective offenses at the $3,000 minimum are starting to shape a stars and scrubs approach to roster building this week.

  • Getting contrarian: When the standard build is to gravitate to the cheapest, most glaring value plays and pay up for studs, getting different is as easy as staying in the midrange with players like Rachaad White ($5,500), Deebo Samuel ($5,500) and Courtland Sutton ($5,200). All three players are high quality plays this week that will be rostered less than they should in tournaments because of the tsunami of value on the board.

  • More DFS plays here.

Seth Walder’s biggest edges from ESPN Analytics

  • Justin Herbert OVER 0.5 interceptions (+126): Could be a shootout against the Dolphins, and that means more pass attempts. Plus, the Dolphins’ defensive talent is sneaky good, even after Jalen Ramsey’s injury. My model gives Herbert a 54% chance to throw an INT, which is good value at +126.

  • Pittsburgh Steelers (+8.5), Cleveland Browns (+8) and New York Jets (+8.5) in three-team, 6-point teaser (+160): This teaser crosses critical numbers 3 and 7 for each of these three teams, making this a solid value.

David Purdum’s Action Report

  • Cincinnati Bengals (-2, 47.5) at Browns: The line wiggled Thursday night, ticking back up toward Cincinnati after reports of quarterback Joe Burrow’s lucrative contract extension. This line, which opened as high as Cincinnati -2.5 dipped to Bengals -1 in late July after Burrow went down in training camp with a leg issue. The line started growing again this week after Burrow was listed as a full participant in practice and said he was planning to play.

  • Midweek, outside of Thursday’s Lions-Chiefs game, there had been more point spread bets on the Bengals than any other team at BetMGM sportsbooks.

  • In August, the Jacksonville Jaguars-Indianapolis Colts total moved up from 43.5 to 45.5. It moved again this week, growing from 45 to 46.5 from Wednesday to Thursday.

  • The Atlanta Falcons-Carolina Panthers total (39.5) had attracted the most under bets of any game at BetMGM books.

  • Point spreads for the NFL’s Week 1 games have been up at sportsbooks since the schedule was released in May, and, overall, there hasn’t been a lot of significant movement heading into the first weekend. The Lions-Chiefs opener on Thursday did, however, feature some notable line movement. The Chiefs began the week as 6.5-point favorites but closed as consensus 4-point favorites after tight end Travis Kelce was ruled out. The total closed at 52.5 (Detroit won 21-20).

Erin Dolan’s ‘Dolan Out Winners’

  • Justin Herbert to win MVP (+950): If Mike Williams and Keenan Allen are able to stay healthy, Herbert can put up big numbers like he did in 2021, breaking Chargers season records for passing yards (5,014) and passing touchdowns (38). Plus, Kellen Moore takes over as offensive coordinator. (Side note: circle Week 6, Dallas Cowboys at the Chargers on MNF). Moore led the NFL’s best offense in 2021 with Dallas and should be able to help Herbert get back to putting up big numbers.

  • Cardinals UNDER 4.5 wins: Tough year to be a Cardinals fan. The Cardinals are not favored in any games posted for this upcoming season. Arizona has the lowest win total of any team at 4.5, coming down from 5.5 wins a year ago. The Cardinals could easily go under their win total with a rookie head coach, rookie offensive and defensive coordinators and a rookie general manager. Plus, Kyler Murray is coming off an ACL injury.

  • Minnesota Vikings to win NFC North (+285): The Vikings won 13 games last season, albeit they were 11-0 in one-score games. Sure, Minnesota is going to see regression, but by how much? The Vikings will be in contention, especially with the top wideout in the game. Justin Jefferson could very well have the most receiving yards in the league (you can bet this at 6-1). He led the league with 1,809 receiving yards in 2022 and doesn’t show signs of slowing under Kirk Cousins.

  • Read all about Dolan’s winners and advice heading into the season here.

Anita Marks’ NFL Confidence picks

  • Steelers +2.5 vs. San Francisco 49ers: Kenny Pickett will shine in his second season, and a healthy TJ Watt will bring this Steelers defense back to prominence. Brock Purdy is still recovering from his elbow injury, and the Steelers have looked fantastic in the preseason.

  • Jaguars -5 at Colts: The Colts haven’t win a Week 1 game since 2013 — when Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” was at the top of the charts — and that is exactly what the Jags will be doing to Anthony Richardson in his NFL debut. With very little college experience, against subpar competition (outside of one season at Florida), it will be tough sledding for Richardson this season.

  • Seattle Seahawks -5 vs. Rams: The Rams sold their soul to win a Super Bowl and are now are seeing the other side. Cooper Kupp is out, and Matthew Stafford will struggle against an improved Seahawks defense. Geno Smith begins his MVP campaign.

  • New York Giants +3.5 vs. Cowboys: The Giants were good at covering the spread last season, and the team only got better this offseason. The addition of TE Darren Waller takes the Giants offense to a new level, if he is available to play (questionable). If he cannot, this pick may change. Saquon Barkley should have his way with the Cowboys’ rush defense, and I’ll take Brain Daboll over Mike McCarthy seven days a week and twice on Sunday night.

Tyler Fulghum’s Pigskin Pick ’em picks

  • In case you’re new to Pigskin Pick ’em, it’s easy. Just pick the winners of every NFL matchup throughout the 2023 season. There are three different game modes this year: Standard, Spread and Confidence. For this week, Tyler Fulghum is giving you his picks against the spread and straight up (in parentheses) for this weekend’s games.

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