NFL: Make the Bengals’ reliable red zone target pay

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NFL nut Kyle Brown (@Kyleianbrown) runs the rule over best bets from Sunday's Week 13 action.

Denver Broncos @ Cincinnati Bengals | Sunday 1st December 2018, 18:00

The Denver Broncos travel to meet the Cincinnati Bengals this week, and while both teams have identical records (5-6), they have virtually opposite form.

Denver have had two upset victories in the previous two weeks, taking down the Chargers and the Steelers – both legitimate play-off contenders. Cincinnati, however, are on a three-game winless run, and have now lost starting QB Andy Dalton for the rest of the season.

The value in this match, I believe, is in the Anytime Touchdown scorer market. When back up QB’s are catapulted in to lead the line, expect them to lean on the running game until they find their feet. Considering the Bengals have a three down back like Joe Mixon, he should be the difference maker if the Bengals hope to snap their losing streak.

The Broncos have allowed the 24th most rushing yards per-game in the NFL this year, as well as giving up eight rushing touchdowns (0.72 per-game).

With Jeff Driskel making his first NFL start, and A.J Green still a limited participant in practice following a foot injury, Mixon should see heavy usage and will be a reliable red zone target. He has the added advantage of being a pass catching back, so his usage won’t be hindered depending on the type of play called.

I’ve backed the Bengals a few times this year, but with Dalton out and Green questionable, enough is enough. I’m going for a Broncos win, but I don’t believe they will be able to keep Mixon from scoring.

Mixon has six touchdowns in nine starts this year and is currently priced at 7/5 to score anytime with Paddy Power.

Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars | Sunday 1st December 2018, 18:00

Another two teams with contrasting recent form are the Indianapolis Colts (W5) and the Jacksonville Jags (L7). It should make for a very tasty AFC South match-up, as the Blake Bortles era in Jacksonville looks to be finally over, whereas Andrew Luck has reignited a stagnant Colts offense and is playing as well as he ever has.

The Jags offense has undergone drastic changes this week. Bortles will be benched for Cody Kessler, Leonard Fournette will miss the game through suspension, and Nathaniel Hackett has been replaced as offensive coordinator. If that were to have happened last season it wouldn’t have been as worrying, as they could fall back on their star-studded defence – but they too have yet to hit last season’s heights.

The offensive line for the Colts have been instrumental into Luck’s magnificent comeback. Before the Miami game last week, they had gone five games without allowing a sack. Anthony Castonzo, Quenton Nelson and Mark Glowinski have been arguably as vital as any skill position player for any team across the NFL.

With the Jags defence being a mediocre 16th in the rankings for rush defence, expect to see Marlon Mack put in big numbers again – he’s ran for over 80 yards in four out of seven starts and has four scores to his name.

The balance the Colts have in offense has been missing in recent years, and now that they have both a reliable run game and formidable pass attack they are sneakily transitioning from Super Bowl outsiders to legitimate contenders.

A win here will keep them on pace with the Texans and solidify their push for a wildcard.

In the six games Indy have won this year, it’s worth noting that they have been leading after the 1st Quarter in five of them, while drawing in the sixth (7-7 v Miami). Given the current mess of a situation in Jacksonville, and the level of confidence that the entirety of the Colts team is playing with – I see no reason why they won’t come out of Florida with a win, and to be leading through all four quarters.

There’s value in a Colts 1st Quarter win, best priced at 11/10 on Marathon.

Best Bets

Denver Broncos @ Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Mixon to score a touchdown at anytime (7/5 Paddy Power)

Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars – Indianapolis Colts to win the first quarter (11/10 Marathon)

Double – Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts to win (11/10 SkyBet)

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