NFL: Fast-starting Chargers to blow Broncos away

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NFL nut Kyle Brown (@Kyleianbrown) runs the rule over best bets from Sunday's Week 11 action.

Houston Texans @ Washington Redskins | Sunday 18th November 2018, 18:00

With both teams sitting atop of their respective divisions, this match-up looks set up to be one of the best Sunday has to offer.

Houston will be fresh off their bye week and looking to extend their six-game winning run.

DeShaun Watson has been in fine form, not throwing an interception in his last three and has been effective with game management: three of Houston’s wins being by three points or fewer. His offensive line has been a concern, but with a defence stout enough to keep him on the field regularly, and no fresh injury concerns, Watson has been able to lead this Texans team to the verge of the play-offs.

Washington boast the fifth best run defence, and quite remarkably, the longest run play they’ve allowed has been a measly 18 yards (27 teams have allowed a 30-yard play or longer). This has resulted in pass-heavy approaches from opponents, and I see no reason why that trend won’t continue.

QB pass attempts Washington has faced prior to this match: 41 (TB), 38 (ATL), 47 (NYG), 35 (DAL), 40 (CAR), 29 (NO), 44 (GB), 31 (IND), 34 (ARI). With 44% of the games resulting in 40 passes or more, and all but two (77%) going over the betting line set at 31.5,

I’m very confident we will see Watson sling the ball frequently. Watson is averaging 31.67 attempts per-game this year, and while he hasn’t thrown over that number in last four, Houston have found themselves leading in three of those, suggesting a run-heavy, clock management approach.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens | Sunday 18th November 2018, 18:00

This AFC North rivalry match looks to be an intriguing one as Joe Flacco is yet to be named as the starting QB for the Baltimore Ravens due to injury. Only four bookmakers are currently taking money-line bets (according to Oddschecker) until the uncertainty is cleared up, but all four still have Ravens as favourites.

The Cincinnati Bengals (5-4) travel to Baltimore on the back of a blowout humiliation to the New Orleans Saints whereas the Ravens (4-5) have had the benefit of a bye week.

Flacco’s injury has been well documented over the course of the bye week, and I would be more confident in Lamar Jackson’s ability to lead the offense had he been getting first-team reps through the entire week. However, he too has been dealing with an injury, and while more likely to play, it could end up being Robert Griffin III that takes the helm this Sunday.

Had the Bengals not allowed 51 points to the Saints last week then I am certain they would be joint favourites – at the very least – coming into the game. If Flacco is confirmed as out, expect the Bengals price to drop to between 10/11 and 6/5, hence why I think they are the value bet currently.

Baltimore do boast a very strong defence (first in passing, T-10th in rushing), but when a back-up QB is playing and the defence is on the field more frequently, those rankings start to become less relevant – tiredness will play a big part.

The Bengals have their own injuries to worry about, notably AJ Green who has been ruled out. But Joe Mixon has been reliable in the run game since missing Weeks 3 and 4, and Andy Dalton has thrown at least two touchdowns in six of his nine games (66%).

The Bengals are currently averaging 26.1 points per-game (13th), compared with Baltimore who average 23.7 (19th). The pre-match price of this game is entirely dependent on Flacco, but I’m led to believe he is more likely to sit out than play, so it’s worth jumping on the Bengals price while you can.

That said, even if Flacco plays, I still believe the Bengals are good value for the win.

Lastly, if you like to look at the history of match-up’s, then it’s worth noting that Cincinnati are up 8-2 in the last 10 meetings. four of those games took place in Baltimore, and the Bengals came out on top in three of them.

Denver Broncos @ Los Angeles Chargers | Sunday 18th November 2018, 21:05

The LA Chargers (still not used to saying LA rather than San Diego) go into this match with the Denver Broncos as 7-point favourites. They have the second top winning streak – behind NO, tied with HOU – and have established themselves as a genuine Super Bowl contender, rather than just a dark horse.

Denver have only won one of their last seven and sit middle of the pack when it comes to total offense and defence rankings. More worryingly, however, they are allowing 131.6 rush yards per-game, and will find themselves up against one of the NFL’s leading backs – Melvin Gordon.

Both Gordon and Phillip Rivers are having very good seasons: Gordon has found the end zone 11 times in eight weeks (seven of which are rushing), and Rivers has a 21-4 TD-INT ratio while averaging just shy of 275 yards per-game.

In the seven games that the Chargers have won this year, they have been leading at HT in six of them (85%), while drawing the other to San Francisco. They have a +10-point differentiation at half time in those seven games. In all but the win over the Tennessee Titans where they led 10-6 at the half, they would have covered the (-4.5) first-half point spread.

I’m confident that through four quarters the Chargers will add more misery to the Broncos’ season, but even more so that they’ll go into the locker room at half-time with a sizeable lead to protect.

Best Bets

Houston Texans @ Washington Redskins – DeShaun Watson Over 31.5 Passing Attempts (8/11 SkyBet)

Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens – Cincinnati Bengals to win (31/20 PaddyPower)

Denver Broncos @ Los Angeles Chargers – Los Angeles Chargers 4.5 first-half handicap (10/11 Bet365)

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