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Minnesota @ Chicago

The corpse that was the Vikings is beginning to twitch. Of course, it may be doing so in order to rise up and bite Childress’ head off, but what the hell, they might actually be a team after all and, truth be told, I think the Bears stink.

Petersen will lead the charge as usual and, although da Bears aren’t a pushover on the ground, ‘All day’ has owned Chicago in the past (179/3 last year; career 6 TDs) so expect him to do the usual. Chicago are more vulnerable downfield, which may be a weakness too far after Favre went crazy last week and had a career game (446 yards, 2 TDs) and again, he has murdered Chicago in the last couple of years.

Although Favre has commented this past week that he understands the Chicago D, Peppers literally played Bryant McKinnie off the park last year (although he has had a much stronger season this year) and Minnesota still have protection issues on the O line. Despite getting the ball out quickly, Favre still felt enough pressure last week to throw two picks and was sacked three times ... by Arizona. Peppers can be patchy these days, so I feel happy enough to invest in the Vikes.

I like Harvin in this game (even Camarillo and Berrian have turned up) and if he doesn’t go on Sunday, I’ll feel a lot less happy. As it is, he was on the field on Friday, albeit for walk-throughs, so I expect him to suit up. Shiancoe matches up nicely and might offer some value for 1st TD. Minnesota used him out wide last week and the Bears’ safeties are weak.

The other big factor of course, is Cutler and the protection he is (or isn’t) afforded by his O line. Martz won’t run the ball, and the line is so porous Cutler inevitably gets sacked or throws picks as the relentless pressure comes. Jared Allen and that dynamic pass rush have been slow to get going this season, but they sacked Anderson 6 times last week and should be carrying some momentum into this game.

I’ll take Petersen and Favre to get this done, putting up enough points while the Vikes’ D get to Cutler.

Pick: Minnesota -1 (2pts) 10/11
Pick: 1st TD Shiancoe (0.5pt) 16/1 Skybet
Pick: Anytime TD Percy Harvin (1pt) 17/10



St Louis @ San Francisco

I like St Louis in this game.

Despite lacking a receiver corps with any stand-out targets, Bradford has kept this team rolling with a strong arm and intelligent protection of possession. Of course, having a running back of the calibre of Steven Jackson helps – and if he gets it going tonight, the Rams should dominate completely – but I like the way St Louis are coming together on both sides of the ball.

Jackson gets a lot of touches, as you might expect with Bradford under centre, and needs to come off the bye week with a bit of vigour back in those old legs. However, the 49ers are strong against the run, and could limit the big, battering workhorse. This may put Bradford in long yardage situations, which would make me nervous if it kept occurring, so keep an eye on how that develops. Bradford needs to be able to get it to guys like Laurent and Gibson, who will be matching up on SF’s disappointing secondary containing a dinged up Clements, Shawntae Spencer and particularly rookie safety Taylor Mays and if he does, the Rams can get it done.

San Francisco rely on their premium runner too, but the St Louis run D is very strong, with Fred Robbins, Gary Gibson and James Laurinaitis really stuffing the run. Troy Smith will see a lot of different looks from the Rams’ D and will be under a good deal more pressure this week as St Louis can also defend downfield – this may offer some value with Vernon Davis operating as a safety valve for Smith underneath and getting looks in the redzone.

I’ll take the points.

Pick: St Louis +6 (3pts) 10/11
Pick: 1st TD Steven Jackson (1pt) 11/2
Pick: Anytime TD Vernon Davis (1pt) 13/10



One other bet for week 10 - Randy Moss always seems to score on his debut for a new team. Take him to score this week too at 13/10.
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