Will NFL road ‘dogs run end this week?

Dec 14, 2019 3:00 AM

Road underdogs continue to bark in the NFL. Road ‘dogs went 6-3-2 against the spread last week, with Detroit and Indianapolis pushing at most closing numbers.

From The Gold Sheet: Road underdogs are now 76-50-3 against the spread this season, cashing at a 60.3-percent clip. Which road dogs will have the most bite in Week 15? Chicago getting points at Green Bay? Can Jacksonville spoil Oakland’s going-away party? Is Miami getting too many points against the Giants?

Rams -1 at Cowboys: When the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook released their look-ahead lines, Dallas opened as a -3.5 favorite over the Rams in this contest. At press time Tuesday, Los Angeles has moved to a 1-point favorite at the Westgate.

Overreaction to the Rams’ big win over Seattle last week? Or is the move justified? Pundits will question the Rams’ resurgence all week with theories on why their play has improved, but the answer appears to be pretty simple: The offensive line is healthy. For the first time all season, the Rams’ offensive line is healthy for a string of weeks and keeping Jared Goff’s jersey clean. Goff ranks among the worst starting quarterbacks in completion percentage when pressured, but he hasn’t had to worry about that recently. Goff has only been sacked on 2.6-percent of his drop-backs the past three weeks, which is second-best in the NFL. The Cowboys aren’t really equipped to break that string. According to Football Outsiders, Dallas ranks 16th in adjusted sack rate, and they are 25th in blitz percentage.

Texans at Titans -3: No one has been able to slow down Ryan Tannehill thus far, and the Houston Texans won’t inspire a ton of confidence after giving up 38 points to the Denver Broncos last week. Is this the sell-high spot on Tennessee totals? The over is 7-0 in the Titans’ seven games with Tannehill as the starter. The Titans have scored at least 31 points in each of their last four games.

Houston’s defense is giving up 6.4 yards per play on the road this season, which is last in the NFL. Yet with all that being said, we’re still going to look at taking the inflated number under the total of 50. Both teams rank in the bottom-half of the league in plays per game. In Tennessee’s six home games this season, they’ve run an average of 54.8 offensive plays per game — by far the fewest in the league. Neither team plays at a fast pace, and keeping the ball away from the opposing offense will be emphasized. This is a de facto playoff game for these two teams with the winner gaining control of the AFC South.

The SuperBook opened the total for this game at 47.5 points. We’ll be looking at going under this inflated total when all is said and done.

Patriots -9.5 at Bengals: It might be a bad week to be a Bengal. How do you distract critics from the fact that you’ve lost to all three of the other division leaders in the AFC? How do you silence questions about the latest video scandal? You beat the Bengals by 40.

There’s no question that New England’s offense has lost a step this season, but the Patriots still know how to be a bully against a bad opponent. They have victories by 14, 16, 21, 26, 30, 33, and 43 on their resume this year.

This game comes down to a tale of two defenses. New England’s defense is No. 1 in the league at 4.5 yards per play allowed. Cincinnati’s defense is giving up 6.3 yards per play, which is last in the NFL. Opponents are converting just 22.6-percent of third downs against the Patriots, which is also best in the NFL.

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