NFL takes center stage this weekend

Updated November 17, 2017 - 6:00 pm

After a month of playing second fiddle to an exciting college football season, the NFL finally reclaims center stage this weekend.

There is no shortage of good games, but the best matchup takes place in Minneapolis, where the Vikings are a 2½-point favorite against the Los Angeles Rams.

Both teams are 7-2 straight up and 6-3 against the spread. The most obvious statistical difference is their average point differential. The Rams are plus 14.9 and the Vikings plus 5.8.

Both teams are enjoying a rebirth because of coaching hires. Sean McVay, 31, the youngest head coach in NFL history, has taken a comatose Rams franchise that went 4-12 last season and re-energized it.

The Rams were the weakest offense in the NFL a year ago, scoring 224 points. In nine games this season, they have scored a league-best 296. McVay also has coached up Jared Goff, who now is considered one of the most feared young quarterbacks in the league.

But don’t overlook the job Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has done. In his first season in 2014, he improved the Vikings defense from 31st in the league to 14th in average yards allowed per game. This season they are fifth.

Both coaches hired outstanding veteran coordinators. McVay hired Wade Phillips to run the defense, and that unit gets better every week.

Zimmer made Pat Shurmur his offensive coordinator. Before Sam Bradford got hurt this season, Shurmur led him to the best passer rating in the NFL. Now he has elevated Case Keenum to solid-starter status.

I’m recommending the Vikings for two reasons. First, Goff hasn’t experienced indoor noise during his remarkable run this season like he will Sunday.

The Vikings’ crowd will be fierce, because the team has a defense. And, according to VSiN’s Point Spread Weekly, the Rams are 5-20 ATS on the road against defensive teams allowing fewer than 18.5 points per game. The Vikings are allowing 18.3.

And secondly, the Vikings are 11-2 ATS at home in the past five seasons against an opponent traveling more than 1,000 miles. It’s more than 1,500 miles from Los Angeles to Minneapolis.

Patriots vs. Raiders

The Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots will be in Mexico City for a Sunday afternoon game. The sunset weather will be fair and mild, but this isn’t a good spot for the Raiders, who are 7-point underdogs.

It’s always more comfortable to come off a bye with a home game. The Raiders are the home team, but Azteca Stadium is more than 1.3 miles higher in elevation than the sea level of the Oakland Coliseum.

The Patriots are flying high after demolishing the Broncos on Sunday. They stayed at altitude all week, training at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

I continue to ask myself why we would ever bet against Tom Brady. The 40-year-old quarterback has thrown for almost 300 yards more than any other quarterback. He has 2,807 yards with an average of 8.2 per attempt, 19 touchdowns, two interceptions and a passer rating of 108.3.

The only starting quarterback with a higher rating is Kansas City’s Alex Smith (113.9). The only QB with more TD passes is Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz (23).

If the line moves to Patriots minus 6½, I would lay it. At 7, I will just sit back and enjoy the game. And at 7½ or 8, I might buy back on the ’dog.

Eagles vs. Cowboys

“Sunday Night Football” features the high-flying Philadelphia Eagles visiting the battered Dallas Cowboys, who are 4½-point underdogs without running back Ezekiel Elliott and possibly left tackle Tyron Smith. It might be an awful lot to ask a less-protected Dak Prescott to carry the Cowboys with his right arm.

I give the Cowboys a slight edge in strength of schedule, but I lean to the Eagles if the number comes down from 4½. I still think they will take care of business.

No matter how you bet them, it’s great having so many important NFL games this weekend.

Brent Musburger’s betting column appears Saturday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. His show on the Vegas Stats & Information Network can be heard on SiriusXM 204 and livestreamed at reviewjournal.com/vegas-stats-information-network.

ad-high_impact_4
Sports Betting Spotlight Videos
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Football Week 4
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and The Cromwell sports book director, John Lukasik go over their picks for week four of college football.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 3
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and The Cromwell sports book director, John Lukasik go over their picks for week three of the NFL.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Canelo vs. GGG
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and The Linq Hotel sports book director, John Lukasik go over the lines and their picks for Canelo vs. GGG 2.
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Football Week 3
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and The Linq Hotel sports book director, John Lukasik go over their picks for week three of college football.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 2
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and The Linq Hotel sports book director, John Lukasik go over their picks for week two of the NFL.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 1
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Matt Holt go over their picks for week one of the NFL.
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Week 2
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and USIntegrity president Matt Holt goes over their picks for week two of college football.
Sports Betting Spotlight: New York Giants
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Sunset Station sports book director Chuck Esposito go over the lines for the 2018 New York Giants season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: New York Giants
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Sunset Station sports book director Chuck Esposito go over the lines for the 2018 New York Giants season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Buffalo Bills
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Sunset Station sports book director Chuck Esposito go over the lines for the 2018 Buffalo Bills season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: New York Jets
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Sunset Station sports book director Chuck Esposito go over the lines for the 2018 New York Jets season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Miami Dolphins
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Sunset Station sports book director Chuck Esposito go over the lines for the 2018 Miami Dolphins season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Atlanta Falcons
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Wynn Sports Book Director Johnny Avello go over how the Atlanta Falcons will perform in the 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Carolina Panthers
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Wynn Sports Book Director Johnny Avello go over how the Carolina Panthers will perform in the 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: New England Patriots
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Sunset Station sports book director Chuck Esposito go over the lines for the 2018 New England Patriots season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Description: Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Wynn Sports Book Director Johnny Avello go over how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will perform in the 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: New Orleans Saints
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Wynn Sports Book Director Johnny Avello go over how the New Orleans Saints will perform in the 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Houston Texans
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Wynn Sports Book Director Johnny Avello go over how the Houston Texans will perform in the 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Tennessee Titans
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Wynn Sports Book Director Johnny Avello go over how the Titans will perform in the 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Indianapolis Colts
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Wynn Sports Book Director Johnny Avello go over how the Indianapolis Colts will perform in the 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Jacksonville Jaguars
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Wynn Sports Book Director Johnny Avello go over how the Jacksonville Jaguars will perform in the 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Detroit Lions
Sports Betting Spotlight host Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and CG Analytics Oddsmaker Will Bernanke go over the odds for the Detroit Lions 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Chicago Bears
Sports Betting Spotlight host Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and CG Analytics Oddsmaker Will Bernanke go over the odds for the Chicago Bears 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Green Bay Packers
Sports Betting Spotlight host Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and CG Analytics Oddsmaker Will Bernanke go over the odds for the Green Bay Packers 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Minnesota Vikings
Sports Betting Spotlight host Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and CG Analytics Oddsmaker Will Bernanke go over the odds for the Minnesota Vikings 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Cleveland Browns
Sports Betting Spotlight host Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and CG Analytics Oddsmaker Will Bernanke go over the odds for the Cleveland Browns 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Pittsburgh Steelers
Sports Betting Spotlight host Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and CG Analytics Oddsmaker Will Bernanke go over the odds for the Pittsburgh Steelers 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Cincinnati Bengals
Sports Betting Spotlight host Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and CG Analytics Oddsmaker Will Bernanke go over the odds for the Cincinnati Bengals 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Baltimore Ravens
Sports Betting Spotlight host Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and CG Analytics Oddsmaker Will Bernanke go over the odds for the Baltimore Ravens 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Arizona Cardinals
Todd Dewey, Johnny Avello and Kelly Stewart go over the odds for the Arizona Cardinals upcoming season.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like