Win the Weekend: Fantasy football and betting tips

Want to know the latest trends, matchups and injury news in football? We’ve got you. Want to know where the public has money this week? We’ve got you. Want to know which teams to play, whom to roster in DFS or whom 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 the games this weekend.

CFB: Action Report | Analytics Edges | Confidence pool picks

NFL: Injury update | Matchups to exploit | Eliminator Challenge | DFS plays | Analytics Edges | Action Report | ‘Dolan Out Winners’ | Pigskin Pick’em

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College Football

David Purdum’s Action Report

  • The USC-Notre Dame number ticked up toward the favorite Fighting Irish early in the week and had reached the key number of -3 at some sportsbooks as of Thursday. DraftKings was reporting even “50/50” action on the point spread. Rain and wind were in the South Bend forecast entering the weekend, and the over/under total had moved down from 62.5 to 60 as of Thursday.

  • The Oregon-Washington line had held steady for much of the week, after the Huskies opened as 3-point home favorites. The early betting action on the spread had been relatively mixed. The underdog Ducks had attracted slightly more of the money from bettors on the spread (53% of money), while the Huskies had garnered a little more of the total bets (54% of bets) at FanDuel. The bulk of the money will be wagered Saturday.

  • The UMass-Penn State total quickly grew 7.5 points, moving from an opening 50.5 to 58 on Sunday at influential sportsbook Circa Sports. However, the total has come was back down and was at a consensus 54.5 as of Thursday. Forecasts were calling for a 95% chance of rain during Saturday’s game in State College, Pennsylvania. Winds were, however, expected to be light.

  • Wake Forest went from a 1.5-point road favorite to a 3-point underdog at Virginia Tech. The line had settled back at Virginia Tech -2 as of Thursday, at Circa Sports.

  • The total on Miami at North Carolina dropped 5.5 points, from an opening 60.5 to 55, but has since been back on the rise and was sitting at 57.5 as of Thursday, at Circa Sports.

  • Keep an eye out on the weather conditions this week, as winds upwards of 20 mph were in the forecast for several games in the Midwest and Northeast, including Ohio at Northern Illinois, Iowa at Wisconsin, Miami (OH) at Western Michigan, Indiana at Michigan, and Kent State at Eastern Michigan, among others.

Seth Walder’s biggest edges from ESPN Analytics

  • Charlotte (+3.5) vs. Navy. The 49ers may have the worse record here, but in terms of efficiency – which is how well each team has been on a play-to-play basis adjusting for quality of opponent and garbage time – Charlotte has been the better team on both offense and defense this year. And coming off a bye week, too. FPI believes Charlotte should be the favored team in this one.

  • Ohio State (-19) at Purdue. Even though the Buckeyes rank just eighth in total efficiency, FPI has never lost faith and still considers them the best team in the nation from this point forward. Why? Because of the preseason prior based on the team’s recent history, recruiting and returning production. Even at this point in the season, that still carries significant weight. FPI likes the Buckeyes to win by 24.7.

Joe Fortenbaugh’s Confidence picks

  • Penn State/UMass UNDER 54 points: With a marquee showdown against Ohio State on deck, this is a look-ahead spot for undefeated Penn State. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Nittany Lions got in, handled their business, and got the hell out of Saturday’s game as fast and efficiently as possible. On the defensive side of the ball, PSU currently ranks second in the country in points allowed (10.3) and first in opponent yards per play (3.6). That spells trouble for a UMass offense that ranks 68th in scoring.

  • Bowling Green (+4.5) over Buffalo: From a statistical output standpoint, Bowling Green looks like the better team. That might not mean all that much to you now, but the Falcons have played a much tougher schedule that features showdowns against Michigan (lost, but covered the spread) and Georgia Tech (won outright as 21-point underdogs). I believe Bowling Green is a bit undervalued in this spot off last week’s 27-0 loss to Miami, Ohio, while Buffalo is a bit overvalued thanks to last week’s 24-point win over Central Michigan that featured not one, but two pick-sixes. How often can you bank on that happening? Answer: Not often.

  • Washington/Oregon OVER 67 points: This total opened 64.5 and was quickly bet up to 67 for good reason: It should actually be closer to 70. What we have here are two offenses that rank in the top-4 nationally in both scoring and yards per play. Further, both teams have had two weeks to get ready for this showdown, which I believe favors offense more than it favors defense. The Huskies have had trouble stopping the run this year while Oregon surrendered 30 points at Texas Tech back on September 9. Yes, that’s the same Texas Tech team that hung just 13 points on West Virginia. This one has “track meet” written all over it.


Stephania Bell’s injury update

  • Keep an eye on Saquon Barkley‘s practice involvement this week, as he could be nearing a return from the high ankle sprain he suffered in Week 2. Barkley has progressed in terms of activity each of the last two weeks and has been listed as a limited participant in practice. According to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan, Giants coach Brian Daboll said Monday that Barkley’s status is “yet to be determined” and presumably will be influenced by how he responds to the work.

  • Austin Ekeler has been out since injuring his right ankle in Week 1. A frustrated Ekeler acknowledged this was his first time experiencing a high ankle sprain and was trying to learn patience as he rehabbed diligently. He has gradually progressed from individual drills to team drills in limited practice appearances. The bye week gave him another week to get healthier and on Tuesday he gave himself a 99% chance of playing in Week 6 (on Monday Night Football), according to ESPN’s Kris Rhim. While there can be a production dip for running backs in their initial return from a high ankle sprain, there are definitely outliers and those are usually the elite backs. It’s fair to say Ekeler is elite; the hope is he will indeed fit that outlier mark. presuming he suits up on Monday.

  • Get all the latest injury news here.

Matt Bowen’s matchups to exploit

  • Philadelphia Eagles OLB Haason Reddick vs. New York Jets RT Max Mitchell: I like the matchup for Reddick versus Mitchell, who sits at a pass block win rate of just 76.9%. Wide alignments for Reddick here, which force Mitchell to gain depth in his pass sets. This is where Reddick can use his short-area speed and lower body flexibility to create a path to quarterback Zach Wilson.

  • San Francisco 49ers QB Brock Purdy vs. the Cleveland Browns‘ man coverage schemes: The Browns have played man coverage on 53.7% of opponent dropbacks, the sixth-highest rate in the league. Kyle Shanahan can scheme up his quarterback to throw quick, in-breaking concepts versus Cleveland, and Purdy has logged a QBR of 88.3 against man coverage this season with eight touchdown passes.

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

Mike Clay’s Eliminator Challenge advice

  • Atlanta Falcons (vs Commanders) – If you already used the Bills and Dolphins in prior good matchups and passed on the Chiefs on Thursday night, then suddenly your options aren’t so hot here in Week 6. That said, the Falcons’ 75% win probability at home against the 2-3 Commanders is their highest remaining this season. Atlanta is 3-0 at home this season, with wins against the Panthers, Packers and Texans. If we’re going to use the Falcons this season, this is the week. If not Atlanta, the aforementioned Bills (vs. Giants), Dolphins (vs. Panthers) and Chiefs (vs. Broncos) also have their highest remaining win probabilities of the season this week.

  • Follow Clay’s Eliminator Challenge advice all season long and find other tips for Week 6 here.

Al Zeidenfeld’s DFS plays

  • Injuries are defining the value this weekend across the main slate, all of who were priced before the players ahead of them were placed on IR. De’Von Achane‘s injury has opened up more volume for Raheem Mostert ($6400). K.J. Osborn is only $4,400 and steps into a role change as the X receiver in the Vikings offense typically manned by Justin Jefferson. Running back injuries in Arizona and Chicago have opened up more snaps and touches for Keaonte Ingram ($4500), and D’Onta Foreman ($4,400) and all that value can be used to squeeze in high-priced QB/WR stacks on Miami, Cincinnati or the Rams.

  • More DFS plays here.

Seth Walder’s biggest edges from ESPN Analytics

  • Arden Key over 0.25 sacks (+180 at DraftKings). Key had a sneaky nice year last season in Jacksonville and is off to a flying start in Tennessee: he ranks 11th in pass rush win rate at edge and has 2.5 sacks. Now he faces Lamar Jackson with a higher-than-average sack rate, and our numbers make him a big value at this price.

  • Tua Tagovailoa under 0.5 interceptions (-125). The Dolphins are huge 13.5-point favorites over the scuffling Panthers. They’ll get out to a huge lead and then park the proverbial bus. There will be little reason for Tagovailoa to take chances. Our numbers give Tagovailoa under a 42% chance to throw an interception.

David Purdum’s Action Report

  • Weather, specifically wind, is expected to have its biggest impact of the season Sunday. Three games in the Midwest -Vikings at Bears, Seahawks at Bengals, and 49ers at Browns-had windy and potentially wet forecasts entering the weekend. Bookmakers were keeping an eye on the forecasts for Eagles-Jets and Giants-Bills as well. Craig Mucklow, vice president of trading for Caesars Sportsbook, said on a company podcast “Talk with our Traders,” he tends to look for winds of 20 mph or stiffer before he adjusts over/under totals, based on weather alone. Some totals had dropped this week, but injuries to key players likely were as big of a factor as the wind in those moves.

  • Vikings (-2.5, 44.5) at Bears – The Vikings opened at -4.5 with the total at 49.5. Minnesota star receiver Justin Jefferson has been ruled out. Forecasts are calling for 19 mph wind from the north, with a chance of rain.

  • 49ers (-7, 37) at Browns – The 49ers opened as consensus 3-point favorites, with the total at 41.5. Cleveland QB DeShaun Watson did not practice early in the week, which was a bigger factor in the line movement, than the forecast (17 mph wind from the northeast; 65% chance of rain).

  • The two largest reported bets by Caesars Sportsbook were on the Lions -3 at the Buccaneers and on the Rams -6.5 at home versus the Cardinals. Caesars characterized the bets as “six figures” and from a “respected player.”

  • This week’s double-digit favorites-the Dolphins and Bills-were each attracting one-side action. The Dolphins on Thursday were holding as 13.5-point home favorites over the winless Panthers. Miami had attracted 92% of the money that had been bet on the point spread as of Thursday at DraftKings. The Bills were 14-point favorites over the Giants in the Sunday primetime game. At DraftKings, 85% of the money bet on the game’s point spread was on Buffalo as of Thursday.

Erin Dolan’s ‘Dolan Out Winners’

  • Eagles first half (-3.5) vs. the Jets. The Eagles are 12-0 vs the Jets and have covered in 11 of the last 12, but I am going to isolate the first half. The Jets are 0-5 ATS while the Eagles are 3-1-1 ATS in the first half of games. Philly is averaging 14 points per game in the first half compared to the Jets averaging seven. More importantly, the Eagles rank first in time of possession whereas the Jets rank 28th. I expect the Eagles to jump out in this one.

  • Dallas (-2) vs. the Chargers. The Cowboys are 5-0 ATS after a loss in the last two seasons and 9-1 ATS in the last three seasons (seven straight covers). The line moved in favor of the Chargers after Dallas lost to the 49ers in primetime, and the Cowboys have had issues on the road in comparison to when they have been at home this season, but I believe they will bounce back in this spot. The Chargers are 2-2 with back-to-back wins against the Vikings and Raiders; Dallas is a step up in class over both teams on defense. The 49ers exposed the Cowboys but this is still a game where Dallas should be fired up in primetime and win.

Tyler Fulghum’s Pigskin Pick’em plays

Week 6 is already here. We have a couple of games where it seems impossible for an upset (Dolphins, Bills), but you never know in the NFL. However, we have six games on the slate with a field goal spread or shorter. Those are the type of toss up games that are usually fun to watch. Good luck in Week 6 of Pigskin Pick’em.

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