NFL: Points-fest forecast for Seahawks’ trip to Pittsburgh

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NFL nut Kyle Brown (@Kyleianbrown) runs the rule over best bets from Sunday's Week 2 action.

Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers | Sunday 15th September 2019, 18:00

Green Bay go into this match-up as favourites after dispatching a feeble Chicago Bears defence in the Week 1 opener. That said, they only scored 10 points en-route to victory, and along with the Bills (17) were the only teams to grab a win with less than 20 points scored.

Minnesota made light work of Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons, starting off the season with a comfortable 28-12 win. The argument could be made that the scoreline was a tad flattering to the Falcons – Vikings were cruising at 28-0 before two meaningless 4th Quarter touchdowns. The victory never looked in doubt.

The Packers offense under new HC Matt LeFleur looked a bit dazed last week. It just so happened that Mitch Trubisky had his worst game in a Bears uniform under Matt Nagy, so don’t read too much into the 10-3 win. Things won’t be any easier against a Vikings pass defence which is every bit as good as the Bears’.

Rodgers was held to 203 yards on 18/30 pass attempts with a solitary TD score last week. In his previous three meetings against now Vikings HC Mike Zimmer, he has also been held to under 300 yards and one or fewer touchdowns in all three. He’s still an elite QB but opening the season to two of the best defences in the league would be a difficult task for anybody, let alone someone also coming to terms with a new offensive scheme brought by the first different HC in 12 years.

Kirk Cousins only threw the ball 10 times last week in the 28-12 rout, but expect that number to double at the very least. I could go on and on about how poor Chicago were last week, but despite the abysmal QB play, Allen Robinson still had 102 yards. Thielen and Diggs (if healthy) should be able to match or better that number.

I’m inclined to recommend a Vikings upset win, best priced at 13/10 on William Hill. Even more appealing are the Vikings handicaps, with -2.5 available at 6/4 (PaddyPower) and -5.5 at 11/5 (Betfair).

Given that the Packers are probably best suited against the run, the best yardage markets can probably be found with Minnesota receivers. Ten passes from Cousins last week will undoubtedly be a season low, but with that recent bias in mind, the value will be on those receivers to bounce back. Adam Thielen is my pick of the bunch, Over 66.5 Yards available at 5/6 on Boylesports.

Seattle Seahawks @ Pittsburgh Steelers | Sunday 15th September 2019, 18:00

Pittsburgh will be looking to bounce back in front of a home crowd following their 33-3 drubbing against the New England Patriots last week. They’re a team that waved goodbye to two of the league’s best players, Leveon Bell and Antonio Brown, and if they want to convince their fanbase that they were right to do so then they’ll have to put on a show this Sunday.

The Seahawks managed to get a win in a close fought game against a rejuvenated Andy Dalton and his Cincinnati Bengals. Dalton put up a career-high 418 yards against the Seahawks secondary, and he didn’t even have his top wideout – AJ Green – available to him. That’s got to be cause for concern for a Seahawks team that prides itself on its defence.

With that in mind, I anticipate this to be a high scoring affair. Bookmakers currently have the line set around 47.5 (10/11 SkyBet) but I can see it surpassing that, and then some.

Seahawks star wideout, Tyler Lockett, was double teamed for most of the match last week and only came aware with a solitary reception, albeit a scoring one. Things should open up for him this Sunday against a Steelers defence that was burned by the likes of Phillip Dorsett and James White last week.

That said, even if Lockett is teamed up on, Metcalf proved himself a reliable option on the other side, going for 89 yards on his NFL debut. Chris Carson as a catch-passing-running-back also increases the options that QB Russell Wilson can pick from.

Steelers have a legitimate stud and successor to Antonio Brown – JuJu Smith-Schuster – and even in their poor opening season display he hauled in six passes for 78 yards. As previously mentioned, against a much weaker Seahawks secondary he should be aiming around the triple figure mark. You can get him to have Over 83.5 Yards at 4/5 on Boylesports.

It’s worth noting as well that the Steelers have two of their best defensive playmakers on the injury report. Both T.J. Watt and Joe Haden were left banged up after facing the Patriots and missed practice on Wednesday. Watt returned to the field on Thursday, but his game status is still unknown.

All things considered; this is two competent offenses that are capable of putting up big scoring numbers. The 47.5 line is too low for this game, and I’d recommend going five match points higher – Over 52.5 is available at 7/4 on both Paddy Power and Betfair.

Arizona Cardinals @ Baltimore Ravens | Sunday 15th September 2019, 18:00

Smaller preview, this, as I’m just focussing on an Anytime Touchdown play I think has good double-your-money- value.

David Johnson is by far the Cardinals most dangerous weapon, and his production is only going to increase this season under new offensive minded coach Kliff Kingsbury.

In the match against Detroit last week, he played in 86% of Arizona’s offensive snaps, with a final game line of 137 scrimmage yards on 24 touches, bringing in a receiving TD.

He is a dual threat option, which is exactly what rookie QB Kyler Murray needs to try and ease the pressure. Until he grows in confidence and adjusts to NFL life, he’ll be smart to use Johnson as his primary weapon.

You can get Johnson best priced at 23/20 (Coral) to score anytime against the high-flying Baltimore Ravens.

Make no mistake, the Ravens have a mean defence, and they often get more rest time than most due to the run-heavy, clock-eating offense. They gave up 21 passing and 11 running touchdowns in 2018, and while those numbers are some of the best in the league, it still equates to two total touchdowns per-game.

Give that Johnson is the main threat at running and one of the better options at catching, I’m certain he’s going to get multiple opportunities to get the ball in the endzone.

Best Bets

Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers – Minnesota Vikings -2.5 (6/4 Paddy Power)

Seattle Seahawks @ Pittsburgh Steelers – Over 52.5 Points (7/4 Paddy Power)

Arizona Cardinals @ Baltimore Ravens – David Johnson to score a touchdown at anytime (23/20 Coral)

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