NFL Betting — Late Games: Darnold’s In, Gurley’s Out. How Will That Affect Things?

By Charles Jay

Sometimes you get only a couple of games beginning at the 4 PM ET hour, but this week we’ve got a quartet of contests, all with their own little story line. Let’s take a look at them, using the reduced juice that is available from BetAnySports, as we make our picks for WagerWAR.

SAN FRANCISCO at L.A. RAMS (4:05 PM ET)
BetAnySports Line: Rams -3 (-115), Total 50 (-103)

The dilemma the Rams face here is that they are missing Todd Gurley, who is obviously the main rushing threat, and the question is whether Malcolm Brown can provide enough that they can work the play-action that this offense is so prominently based upon. If they can’t, they’ll have to find another avenue, because this Niner front has been much upgraded, and slows the run down (3.4 ypc allowed).

San Francisco, however, has to figure out a way to keep the running game humming, despite missing their two starting offensive tackles – Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey, not to mention blocking back Kyle Juszczyk. The Rams weren’t too solid against enemy ground games last year, but they have improved their numbers greatly, although it is admittedly a small sampling. San Francisco may have been very successful in pushing back Cleveland last week, but they weren’t facing Aaron Donald.

We’re going “UNDER” on this one.

ATLANTA at ARIZONA (4:05 PM ET)
BetAnySports Line: Falcons -3 (+100), Total 52.5 (-102)

Truth be told, I’m not sure that the Falcons should be a road favorite against ANYBODY, except maybe the Miami Dolphins. So already, we’re looking the Cardinals’ way. But we also understand that Matt Ryan, despite his seven interceptions thus far, can do some business against this Cardinals secondary that has allowed a dozen TD passes and have yet to register a pickoff. The one thing you can count on with Ryan is that he is going to put up some numbers, and what’s held Atlanta back in the early going is the inability to establish a running game. Naturally that isn’t going to help them. But it means more passing; in fact, they’ve aired it out 71% of the time. That’s not a clock-chewing attack.

Arizona’s design is to operate at a swift pace, so that means as many snaps as possible – for both themselves and the opposing team. Kyrie Murray is getting the hang of it, and at 7.4 yards a carry, he’s keying the running game, whether or not they have David Johnson available. But Murray’s distributing the ball, and that’s a positive situation. Atlanta is severely handicapped in the secondary (allowing over eight yards an attempt) and in the pass rush (next to last in sack percentage). So this doesn’t work too well for them.

These quarterbacks can move the ball. And we don’t see a whole lot that can stop them. OVER

DALLAS at N.Y. JETS (4:25 PM ET)
BetAnySports Line: Cowboys -7 (-105), Total 43.5 (-103)

Sam Darnold is back in action, and Luke Falk has been released. That would seem good news for the Jets. Darnold will be wearing special protective padding, so that he doesn’t bust his spleen. That’s an eerie thing, isn’t it?

We genuinely wonder whether Darnold isn’t coming back too soon. The prognosis was that it would take him up to six weeks to recover from mono, and that he would likely be weak when he did. And here he is. We’re not expecting anything electric from this New York offense, and you can bet the Jets will be trying to exist on a diet of rushes and short passes just to keep Darnold out of real trouble.

We have to give the Jets defense a lot of credit for going about its business despite all the chaos in Adam Gase’s offense. They have been very stiff against the run (allowing 3.4 ypc) and so it’s possible that they will give the Cowboys more of a headache than perhaps they are expecting. For our part, we’re looking for this to go UNDER the total.

TENNESSEE at DENVER (4:05 PM ET)
BetAnySports Line: Broncos -1.5 (-104), Total 40.5 (-109)

Statistically, the Broncos have the league’s worst pass rush, with a sack percentage of 2.98%. That is the kind of thing that should be welcomed by Marcus Mariota, who has been harassed to the tune of 22 sacks thus far. Von Miller and the Denver pass rush is showing some signs that they may be coming out of their funk, and well, sooner or later, Vic Fangio’s defensive wrinkles have to be taking hold…..don’t they? That would seem to have been the signal from last week’s visit to the band box that is the Chargers’ facility.

The Broncos have the ability to put together a two-fisted ground attack (with Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman) and they have been involved with a few close losses that could have gone differently. Tennessee has yet to commit a turnover; how long do you think that is going to continue? Titans had bad luck with Cairo Santos last week. In what could be a close game, do you really want to be on the side that has to rely on Cody Parkey to make a clutch kick? Just sayin’. We’ll go with DENVER in this one.

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