NFL Thursday Night Football Predictions, Chiefs vs. Raiders Against the Spread Picks

Opening NFL Week 7 Odds

Chiefs vs. Raiders ATS Picks

By Andrew Ryan

If anyone plans on catching the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West, there’s going to have to be a team in the West that steps up and beats them. The Oakland Raiders have a grand chance of doing just that on Thursday Night Football to kick off Week 7 of the season.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Oakland Raiders
Date and Time: Thursday, October 19, 2017, 8:25 p.m. ET
Location: Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, CA
Opening NFL Week 7 Odds: Chiefs -3, O/U 47.5
Chiefs vs. Raiders TV Coverage: CBS

The 1972 Miami Dolphins popped their corks last weekend when the Chiefs suffered their first loss of the year. Now, we’ll see whether Kansas City is going to stick around as one of the top contenders in the AFC or not.

The hope for the Chiefs is that their first half last week against the Steelers was an aberration. Alex Smith and company had -21 yards in the first half versus the team that ended their season. For a team that still ranks No. 2 in the NFL in total offense at 387.0 yards per game and is No. 3 in scoring, you have to think that this was a flash in the pan.

Then again, it’s also worth remembering that the Chiefs had an average-at-best offense a year ago, and there isn’t any more talent on this team now than there was last season. The only difference is that Kareem Hunt, a running back who may or may not have more talent than anyone who was on the roster last year, is racking up insane statistics.

The Raiders dropped to just 2-4 on the year. A loss in this game, and the likelihood of getting into the playoffs is slim at best. Oakland won’t be back at home after this game until November 26 after playing at Buffalo and Miami, having a bye week, then playing in Mexico City against New England.

Derek Carr rushed back from his back injury in Week 6 after missing just one game. After watching him throw for just 171 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions in a 17-16 loss to the Chargers last week, we wonder if there’s still a lot wrong with him.

But even before he was hurt, the Raiders were struggling. They scored 71 points in their first two games combined; they’ve scored a total of just 53 since that point.

Heck, E.J. Manuel’s 17-point effort against Baltimore was the best this team has had since Week 2 of the season.

Key Player

It should be rather obvious that your best players have to make big plays to win games in the NFL. It should also be rather obvious that Oakland’s struggles run parallel to Amari Cooper’s.

In the first two games of the season, Cooper had nine receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown. In his last four, he has nine receptions for 51 yards. He hasn’t found the end zone since Week 1 and hasn’t had a catch that covered more than eight yards since Week 2.

Simply put, the Raiders aren’t moving the ball without No. 89 making some big plays. Cooper’s frustration has to boil over at some point. Maybe the fact that he had five receptions against L.A. last week will help him out. This has to be his breakout game, but it comes against one of the stingier pass defenses in the NFL.

Chiefs vs. Raiders Free Picks

Last year, Cooper had 15 catches in two games against the Chiefs, and we have to think that he’s going to finally snap out of his funk this week.

We’re not sold on this Kansas City outfit. The team has massively overachieved offensively, and for as great as this pass rush is, the raw defensive stats aren’t great. There’s no way this team should be allowing just 21.7 points per game after allowing 378.2 yards per game.

The Oakland defense played a huge game last week against the Chargers, yet it ran out of gas at the end after so many bad offensive possessions left the ‘D’ in bad spots. If Carr and the offense get their acts together, this is a winnable game against an overrated team.

NFL ATS Pick: Raiders +3 at BookMaker.eu
NFL Score Prediction: Raiders 27, Chiefs 20

NCAAF Week 7 Betting Picks, Villanova vs James Madison Predictions

Villanova at James Madison ATS Picks

Villanova at James Madison ATS Picks

By Adam Markowitz

For the eighth time in College GameDay’s history, the best pregame show in college football is heading to an FCS game. The James Madison Dukes have not dropped a single FCS game since Mike Houston took over the coaching duties for the team last year. James Madison knocked off all the big boys on its way to its second national title in 2016, and has looked untouchable so far this year too. The Villanova Wildcats have the unenviable task of being their opponent this weekend.

Villanova Wildcats at James Madison Dukes
Date and Time: Saturday, October 14, 2017, 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Bridgeforth Stadium, Harrisonburg, Virginia
Week 7 College Football Odds at BookMaker.eu: James Madison -15.5 O/U 43.5
Villanova at James Madison TV Coverage: CSLC, MASN

The Dukes are 5-0 and have beat everyone on their schedule by at least double digits. James Madison cruised to a 20-point victory over FBS East Carolina in its opener, and has only been tested once, two weeks ago in a road trip to Delaware. Quarterback Bryan Schor did not have his best performance and that kept the Blue Hens close.

Mark Ferrante is picking up right where Andy Taylor left off with Villanova. The Wildcats have one of the best defenses in the country once again this season, and have only allowed 28 points over their last four games. This defense was the reason that Villanova almost knocked off Temple earlier in the season, and if the Wildcats are going to keep this one close it will be because of the defense.

Player to Watch

For Villanova, all eyes will be on the player taking snaps under center, redshirt freshman Jack Schetelich. Schetelich was thrust into the spotlight after star quarterback Zach Bednarczyk went down with an injury against Towson. Although the Wildcats have kept winning without Bednarczyk, it hasn’t been because of Schetelich.

Schetelich has been a liability since taking over the job. Ferrante does not trust him to throw the ball much, because when he does disaster strikes far too often. On the year, Schetelich is 8-25 for 120 yards with two touchdowns and five interceptions, and has been sacked six times. It’s hard to put too much blame on a young kid for being put into a situation like this, and it’s a testament to Villanova that it has kept winning with that production.

Matchup to Watch

One of the big things to watch in this game is whether or not James Madison can run the ball on Villanova’s defense. The Dukes are averaging six yards a carry this year and boast one of the most efficient ground games at the FCS level.

However, the ground game has lost some steam without Cardon Johnson. Johnson lit up East Carolina for 265 yards on the ground in the Dukes’ season opener, and the run game hasn’t been as productive without him in the lineup. Trai Sharp and Marcus Marshall have done a decent job, but aren’t as explosive as Johnson.

They will be facing their toughest test so far this season. Villanova has the second-best run defense in the country, allowing just 1.8 yards per carry. The big boys up front have done a great job all year, and have kept this team’s postseason hopes alive.

Villanova at James Madison Free Picks

It’s hard to run on Villanova, but you can throw the ball on this secondary. The unit took a massive hit when it lost Rob Rolle for the season with a torn ACL, and has been vulnerable to good quarterbacks. Lehigh and Temple both found success throwing on this defense and James Madison should be able to do the same thing with Bryan Schor.

Villanova’s defense has thrived on turnovers too. The Wildcats knocked off Maine by forcing six turnovers in a 31-0 rout. James Madison is very good at keeping possession of the football and it’s hard to imagine the Wildcats doing the same against this defense.

This is going to be a long day for Schetelich. James Madison had a bye week last week, and has had ample time to prepare for Villanova. The Wildcats will be lucky to score more than twice against this Dukes defense, and this should be a blowout win for James Madison.

Villanova at James Madison ATS Pick: James Madison -15.5
Villanova at James Madison Score Prediction: James Madison 38 – Villanova 10

NFL Week 5 Picks, New York Giants vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Odds

Patriots vs. Buccaneers ATS Picks

Patriots vs. Buccaneers ATS Picks

By Mike Rose

Through four weeks of play, it’s become painfully apparent that the New England Patriots are nowhere near as good as the team that came back against the Atlanta Falcons to win the Super Bowl. After falling to the Panthers at home on Sunday a week removed from surviving against the Texans, the Pats head into this Week 5 kick-off with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on shaky ground. The Bucs would love nothing more than to land another body blow on the defending champs.

New York Giants vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Date and Time: Thursday, October 5, 2017, 8:25 p.m. ET
Location: Raymond James Stadium
Week 5 Opening NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Patriots -4, O/U 54
Patriots vs. Buccaneers TV Coverage: CBS

A 2-2 record was something many envisioned the Patriots to have at the start of last season with Tom Brady suspended for the first four games. With him under center and New England playing three of its first four games in front of the hometown faithful, it’s not exactly what was expected. Be that as it may, the Patriots enter Week 5 a .500 team and it has everything to do with a defense that can’t stop anything right now.

The maligned stop unit just allowed a Carolina offense that combined for just 45 points in its first three games to drop 33 points on the Gillette Stadium scoreboard to hand the heavily favored Patriots a shocking defeat. Brady is still playing out of his mind having thrown for just under 1,400 yards and a stellar 10:0 TD/INT ratio, but unfortunately, his team has needed every single one of those points just to split their first four games.

Tampa Bay burst onto the scene in Week 4 by scoring the game’s first 13 points. Unfortunately, it was forced to kick a game-winning field goal at the end of the game due to the defense being unable to stop New York’s offense from the second quarter forward. Still, you can’t help but come away a bit impressed with the job Dirk Koetter’s squad did to protect its house and remain undefeated when in front of the hometown faithful.

The Buccaneers logged an impressive 434 total yards against the Giants defense with Jameis Winston having yet another 300-plus yard passing performance. Though he threw for 328 yards and two touchdowns against the Vikings last week, the only thing being talked about the performance was his three interceptions. Well, the third year field general went out and threw for another 332 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday, but this time, he didn’t toss a single errant pass. He must mimic that effort tonight for Tampa Bay to put an end to its current 0-3 straight up and against the spread streaks versus New England.

Matchup to Watch

The Patriots possess the league’s No. 1 ranked total offense to go along with the No. 2 ranked scoring offense. As already stated, it’s needed the offense to be that dominant due to the defense simply being unable to prevent the opposition from scoring. New England is currently the not so proud owner of the worst total ( 456.8 YPG ) and scoring defense ( 32.0 PPG ). Tampa Bay must continue to pepper its opponent with points if it’s to hold serve at home. The Bucs also have a bevy of injuries on the defensive side of the ball, so it becomes even more necessary that Winston and company are on top of their game. Mike Evans is yet to truly go off this season. If ever there was a stage for him to erupt, this is it!

Patriots vs. Buccaneers Picks

A short week won’t do either of these teams any good with each hurting on the defensive side of the ball. New England opened as 4-point road chalk at the top NFL sportsbooks for this Thursday Night Football tilt, and already the betting public has pushed it up to -4.5 with over 71 percent of the handle moving the line a half point. The total is the highest of the Week 5 slate, but it’s warranted. New England just allowed Cam Newton to torch them for 316 yards and three touchdowns through the air. Winston should eat, but so should Brady. I don’t foresee either defense coming up with many stops.

Patriots vs. Buccaneers Week 5 ATS Pick: Bet Over 54 at BookMaker.eu
Patriots vs. Buccaneers Score Prediction: Patriots 35 – Buccaneers 32