Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots 2018 Week 5 NFL Betting Preview for Thursday, October 4.

Written by Winning National Football League ATS Handicapper Greg Nelson.

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The (1-3) SU, 2-2 ATS Indianapolis Colts lost a 34-37 overtime heartbreaker as a one points ATS home favorite to AFC South division foe Houston last Sunday.

Fans at Lucas Oil Stadium seemed baffled with a missed fourth down attempt by first-year head coach Frank Reich with 30 seconds left in overtime which set up a long pass by Houston for the victory. You can’t blame Reich for putting it all on the table; we loved the risky decision. They’ll try to get back on track against a familiar opponent on the National stage.

Indianapolis has dropped seven in a row SU against New England with the OVER cashing in the previous eight between the teams.

The UNDER is 5-0 Indianapolis last five following an ATS loss with the UNDER also cashing in for the betting public the Colts last six on the road.
The (2-2) SU/ATS New England Patriots beat Miami at home to move into a first-place tie with a dominating performance as a 7 point ATS home favorite. New England came into the contest with question marks after losing two consecutive by double digits but responded with 38-7 to the relief of fans. Josh Gordon made his debut and in a limited role caught two passes for 32 yards.

The UNDER is 4-0 New England last four in October with the betting public cashing in on the UNDER the previous seven games they accumulated more than 150 yards rushing in their previous game.

The UNDER is 3-1 the Patriots first four weeks of 2018.

New England is has covered their last 7 ATS at home vs. A team with a losing record.

Kickoff will be Thursday, October 4, 2018. Game time is at 8:20 PM EST at Gillette Stadium in suburban Foxborough, Massachusetts. The FOX Television Network will be broadcasting.

The Betting Line has New England as a ten point home favorite against the point spread. The total is fifty-one points for Thursday’s contest.

Although the Colts lost last week, there was a positive being Andrew Luck passing for 464 passing yards and four touchdowns against zero interceptions, a first since missing all of last season.

The Colts offense could be without Center Ryan Kelly, Tight End Jack Doyle, Running Back Marlon Mack, and star wideout TY Hilton all are questionable.

The Indianapolis offense has scored 94 points through 4 weeks, 30th in the league. They’ve produced 1,348 total yards on 276 offensive snaps which rank next to last in the NFL.

Reich understands the issues on the offensive line which has plagued their production since Luck’s rookie season with many experts blaming the o-line for his injuries. However, they’ve been doing an efficient job blocking in the run game with as their 288 yards on the ground is 22nd league-wide.

The defense has given up 100 points through four games, and the confusing part was the majority at home against Cincinnati in the 2018 opener, and Houston last week. They did an adequate job on the road-holding Philadelphia to twenty points and Washington sixteen. Defensive Coordinator Matt Eberflus hopes his unit’s trend of playing lights out on the road last this week against the GOAT, if they can keep Brady in check, they can pull off the upset.

Bovada.Lv, list the 2018-19 Indianapolis Colts at +1,75 to win the 2018-19 AFC South Division.

A taste of home cooking is what the Patriots needed last week after they were in jeopardy of losing three in a row since 2001.

As usual, Belichick and Brady responded as only they are capable. Rookie running back Sony Michel showed fans what he’s capable of doing with 112 yards on the ground.

Tight End Rob Gronkowski exited last Sunday early with an ankle injury and is questionable Thursday on a short week. Michel along with James White will see plenty of action as Rex Burkhead is still on the IR.

The Patriots offense has run 255 plays for 1,349 yards of total offense which lead the league. New England ranks 10th in the NFL with 498 yards on the ground, averaging 4.1 yards per carry. They also top the entire NFL with 79 first downs and the 95 points scored on offense ranks second.

Since taking over for Matt Patricia current defensive coordinator, Brian Flores has seen his unit surrender 84 points, 5th league-wide.

They seem to be getting better each week, and with the injuries to the Colts offense, it could be a confidence booster for the group.

New England must come out and play the way they did Sunday; it’s important to impose their will early by establishing a run game.

Bovada.Lv, list the New England Patriots at +325 to win the 2018-19 AFC Championship.

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Can the Dolphins tip the AFC East balance of power against the Patriots?

In 1978 the NFL increased its regular season schedule from 14 to 16 games per team. In 2002, the league realigned to form four divisions per conference, four teams per division. While 24-years apart, the two events combined to effect a permanent change on the league.

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Divisional rivalries were reduced, exerting lesser influence on the season. Whereas GMs once drafted and coaches schemed to beat their rivals, they now had to take the entire league into account. Other influences contributed, such as increased player movement and domed stadiums in cities with extreme weather, but the net effect was a homogenized league. One team’s success was copied by 31 others. The respectively unique characteristics of the NFC Central and AFC West disappeared.

Jim Kiick, Larry Csonka and Mercury Morris defined the AFC East in the early 70s

Jim Kiick, Larry Csonka and Mercury Morris defined the AFC East in the early 70s.

Happily, memory carries the day. Rivalries survive on an emotional level. It’s why realignment left Dallas in the NFC East with Washington, Philadelphia and New York. This week, however, the renewed AFC East rivalry between the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots has far more meaning than simple bragging rights.

The vaunted Patriots have been to eight Super Bowls and 12 AFC Championships since 2001. Their first Super Bowl appearance, in 1985, came the year after the Dolphins last made an appearance. They won that AFC Championship matchup against Miami. In the interim, the Fins reached a championship game just once more, losing to another AFC rival, Buffalo, in 1992.

Since the Bills ended their futile four-year Super Bowl run, the AFC East belonged to the Patriots. This season, perhaps this weekend, that could end. Tom Brady and the defending AFC champions are 1-2 on the young season. The Dolphins are undefeated. The teams meet in Foxboro in an early Sunday game that could change how we’ve perceived the division for two decades.

With a win, the Dolphins move to 4-0 SU and bury the Patriots in a 1-3 SU hole that makes even a playoff appearance a long shot. Not only would a Miami victory put serious pressure on the Patriots, it’d give Adam Gase’s squad every reason to believe it can contend for a Super Bowl this year. That’s a major power shift.

Can the Dolphins go into Foxboro and come away with the W? New England’s lone win this season came at home. Despite their poor start, the Pats are 6.5 point favourites ATS. So, the experts aren’t backing them.

No one believes the Dolphins can go to New England and force Tom Brady to cough up AFC East supremacy.

No one believes the Dolphins can go to New England and force Tom Brady to cough up AFC East supremacy.

Recent trends suggest the Dolphins will at least put up a fight. They’re on a 5-0 run with the OVER against losing teams and 5-1 ATS in their last six after holding an opponent to less than 90 yards rushing. The Dolphins run defence didn’t look too convincing against the Raiders last week but Jon Gruden’s side focussed too heavily on the passing game, allowing Miami to roar back from a first-half deficit to take control in a 28-20 SU win.

On the other hand, the Pats tend to respond after defeats. They’re on a 4-1 string with the OVER against winning teams. Bill Belichick’s side is also 5-1 ATS in their last six after a loss while the Dolphins are running 0-6 ATS in New England. The home team’s 11-1 ATS in the last twelve meetings between New England and Miami, the favourite 8-3.

Everything points to the Pats pulling their fat from the fire. I hate it when everything or everyone points to a certain outcome. Is Hillary Clinton President? Is a 25-point lead in the Super Bowl insurmountable? Did La La Land win the Oscar? Okay, so the last one’s a little silly. You get the point. I’m backing the Dolphins.

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Martin Palazzotto is a freelance writer and author of strange bOUnce, a collection of sport fiction.

 

Are the Philadelphia Eagles going to be one-hit wonders?

Are the Philadelphia Eagles going to be one-hit wonders?

Skies were clear over Cleveland on Thursday night. Temperatures were cooling from an 80ºF midday high towards a low in the 50s. WKYC even waxed romantic over the streaking white airplane contrails accenting the purple twilight. It was perfect football weather, offering the visiting Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles no excuse for their 5-0 defeat.

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Results in preseason are allegedly meaningless. Coaches are evaluating players. Those whose jobs are guaranteed are working into game-shape. Even in the third game, starters still play just the first half. That said the Eagles are winless this summer. Following 17-point blowouts to Pittsburgh (31-14) and New England (37-20), Philly’s defense can be happy conceding only a field goal. The safety is on the offense, which netted 32 points over the three games, including the negative total on Thursday night.

The evening’s deficit might’ve been worse had Browns starting quarterback, Tyrod Taylor, not injured his wrist in the first quarter. Rookie backup Baker Mayfield, selected no.1 in the 2018 NFL Draft left after two series to go through concussion protocol after throwing a red-zone interception. He was cleared but the game was there for the taking. Mike Groh’s offence needed only one scoring drive to get the job done.

Carson Wentz remains out with a cruciate ligament injury but the offensive line failed to protect Nick Foles. The Super Bowl hero threw two interceptions and fumbled a ball from one of the six sacks Cleveland registered on the night.

It was an abject performance against a club that is 1-31 in the past two seasons and mired in a decade-long streak of losing seasons. Cleveland, 1-1 in the preseason coming into the game, are improved but not that much.

Eagles coach Doug Pederson should be concerned. With the worst performance arriving in game three, he can’t blame the outing on rust.

Nor can he blame the NFL’s hard salary cap. Fans worried over their championship team breaking up in the offseason. Thirteen players, including four starters, were eligible for one form of free agency or the other. LeGarrette Blount’s 766 yards departed for Detroit and receiver Torrey Smith’s 435 were traded to Carolina. Each scored two touchdowns on the season. Blount was 31, though, and Smith will be 30 in January. Those are roster moves you expect to make.

Wentz’s status is the biggest setback, but Foles proved in February he could step into the role. The Eagles can’t let expectations rocket into the stratosphere after their long-awaited title. At the same time, it’s not unrealistic to expect them to handle the Browns.

Cleveland Browns DE Myles Garrett forces a safety from Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles

Cleveland Browns DE Myles Garrett forces a safety from Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles

The coming season won’t be easy. Every team is going to be gunning for the Super Bowl champions. Legendary champions like Joe Montana’s 1982 49ers often fail to make the playoffs the following season. From 2006-13, defending champions either failed to make the playoffs or lost in the first round. The Eagles are beginning to look like one of those teams.

Philly were improbable winners, last season. They gave Tom Brady and New England everything they could handle and then some to win Super Bowl LII. The Pats will be back, though. They always are. Bill Belichick never lets his squad relax. He never accepts an excuse. Even losing Brady to injury or suspension didn’t stopped the five-time champions. Doug Pederson must find a way to keep the competitive fire burning at Lincoln Financial Field.

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What does the early win line tell us about the 2018 NFL season?

What does the early win line tell us about the 2018 NFL season?

Vegas released its early line on total wins for all National Football League teams earlier in the week. It makes for interesting reading. Here’s a look at the numbers sorted by division.

NFL total wins for 2018

Overview

You can draw some broad conclusions by looking at the overall numbers.

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The bookies love the NFC. Especially the NFC North and South.

Overall, the early line on total wins [not ATS] favors the blue half of the league 133 wins to 125. Given every team plays a quarter of its games against opponents from the other conference, basic math says sports books think the NFC will go 36-28 against the AFC.

Given each division plays 64 games [ four teams times 16 games], 32 is the .500 win total for divisions. The NFC has three divisions above that mark and one right on it. The AFC North and East are the two teams below it.

With that in mind, here’s a look at how early predictions have each division shaking out.

AFC East

New England’s line is the highest in the entire NFL. They’re tabbed to win 11. That’s because the handicappers expect them to beat up on a weak division. Buffalo, Miami and the New York Jets are all pegged to lose at least ten.

AFC North

Pittsburgh is the favorite, as usual. Baltimore and Cincinnati will battle to finish second but likely cancel each other out in the wildcard race. That’s if you buy into the 5.5 win line for the Browns.

Cleveland went 0-16 in 2017. They had a good draft but will it bump them up to 5-11? The club hasn’t won five games in the last three seasons combined. The Ravens or the Bengals could be a good pick for the over.

On the other hand, if you think the Browns are going to rise from the ashes, you should be looking at the under for one or two of their division rivals.

AFC South

This has long been the most competitive foursome in the AFC and the experts are respecting that again. What they don’t respect is Andrew Luck’s chances to be his former self after coming back from a shoulder injury. Quarterbacks do have to throw the ball, after all. That isn’t easy with a bad wing. Doctors will tell you that recovering strength after shoulder surgery is a time-consuming process. The Colts are definitely the bet on which the South hinges.

AFC West

The strongest division in the conference. Early odds have the Chargers settling into their temporary LA digs at the StubHub Center, home of MLS side LA Galaxy. That suggests there are doubts Andy Reid can sustain the momentum in Kansas City and that Jon Gruden will have a major impact in his return to coaching after more than a decade away.

Nate Gerry feels good about winning Super Bowl LII with the Philadelphia Eagles.

NFC East

Vegas is sold on the Super Bowl champion Eagles. Philadelphia is second only to Tom Brady and the Patriots in the betting line, despite their win in February. The Cowboys at 8.5 is an interesting pick. It expresses doubt about Jerry Jones’ project. There’s reason to worry. Will Allen Hurns be an upgrade on Dez Bryant? Can Geoff Swaims and Rico Gathers step up following Jason Witten’s move to the Monday Night Football booth?

There’s not much love for Washington or New York. I Kill Giants is probably a staple in the DVD collection for children of division rivals.

NFC North

The Black and Blue Division is set to flex its muscle in 2018. Minnesota and Green Bay are the only division rivals both rated as ten-game winners. With Kirk Cousins and Aaron Rodgers behind center respectively, why not? Matthew Stafford and Detroit are the dark horses again, while the Bears continue to hibernate.

NFC South

This is an even tighter race than the North. Three teams, New Orleans, Atlanta and Carolina, are all expected to win at least nine. There’s no love for Jameis Winston and the Bucs, though. Tampa just hasn’t done much to improve a 5-11 team.

NFC West

It’s a similar story to the South in the Pacific time zone. There’s affection for Jared Goff and Jimmy Garoppolo in LA and San Fran respectively. There’s even some fondness for Russell Wilson and the Seahawks? Sam Bradford and the Cardinals come in; the room goes quiet. When you consider how Kurt Warner and Carson Palmer experienced a renaissance in the desert, Bradford looks like something of a sleeper pick for Arizona. On the other hand, you weren’t as likely to wake up to find Warner and Palmer on the DL.

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Martin Palazzotto is a freelance writer and author of strange bOUnce, a collection of sport fiction.

2018 NFL Playoff Expert Point Spread Pick, News, Notes, and Odds: The Coughlin effect on Patriots.

Written and authored by National Football League Expert Analyst Bobby Wallace. Charliessports.com produces it for Football Betting news and notes.

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The Jacksonville Jaguars are a franchise on the rise. Owner Shahid Khan is of Pakistani descent and did an excellent job of pursuing the “AMERICAN DREAM.”

The Sixty-Seven-year-old Khan has bought the franchise from Wayne Weaver in 2011 and is a fan favorite after telling the faithful the team would remain in Jacksonville.

Khan got tired of ending up in the top ten of the NFL draft season after season and missing on high profile free agents such as Julius Thomas.

After the 2016-17 season, Khan made one of the best decisions as the owner of the organization by talking to ex-Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin who ran the show on the sidelines for the first eight years of franchises existence.

 

The two met, and Khan offered Coughlin a position in the front office and the decision is paying off instantly.

After Coughlin left Jacksonville in his first stint, he was hired to be the head coach of the New York Giants.

Players complained about his strict coaching techniques, but fans loved the results as the “G-MEN” won two Super Bowl title in his era, both over the Bill Belichick led New England Patriots.

Like current Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone Coughlin has ties to Syracuse University and the late Dick MacPherson.

No one knows how to exploit the weaknesses of the New England Patriots like Tom Coughlin, and you can bet he’s handed the blueprint to Marrone as he prepares the Jaguars for Sunday’s AFC title game.

In 2007 the New England Patriots finished the regular season undefeated with season finale victory over the Giants at Giants Stadium.

New York led the entire game, but a coverage mistake left Randy Moss alone for a game-winning touchdown.

However, watching the game, this sports handicapper witnessed retired defensive end Michael Strahan get constant pressure on Brady.

 

As fate would have it, the Patriots have to take on the Giants again in the 2008 Super Bowl to complete the undefeated season.

The Giants dominant front four would prevent it from happening as they pulled the upset.

In 2012 the two team met again in the SuperBowl in Indianapolis, Indiana. However, the result was the same the New York Giants came away victorious.

The blueprint stayed the same as the front four led by Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre Paul were too much for the Patriots offensive line.

Surely the Patriots coaching staff is aware of the “COUGHLIN EFFECT.” coming into the 2018 AFC Championship game.

It’s no mistake Coughlin signed defensive tackle Calais Campbell in free agency. Malik Jackson is in his second season, and both will be forces Sunday.

It will no be a surprise to see the Jacksonville Jaguars compete for the entire game and get constant pressure on Brady.

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