Win the Weekend: Fantasy football and betting tips

Win the Weekend: Fantasy football and betting tips
  • PublishedSeptember 22, 2023


Want to know the latest trends, matchups and injury news? We’ve got you. Want to know where the public has money this week? We’ve got you. Want to know which teams to play, whom to roster in DFS or whom to pick in your Eliminator pool? We’ve got you there, too. Here’s everything you need to know as you prepare for your fantasy football matchups and potential bets on NFL and college football games this week.

CFB: Action Report | Analytics Edges | Confidence pool picks

NFL: Matchups to exploit | Eliminator Challenge | DFS plays | Analytics Edges | Action Report | ‘Dolan Out Winners’ | Confidence pool picks | Pigskin Pick’em

Sports Betting home | Fantasy Football home

College Football

David Purdum’s Action Report

  • No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes at No. 9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish: The Buckeyes opened as consensus 3-point favorites over the Fighting Irish in the marquee game of the weekend. The line briefly grew to as high as Ohio State -4 at some shops but has since settled back at -3.

    Ed Salmons, vice president of risk for the SuperBook, said a betting group took Notre Dame +3.5 early in the week. “After that, we have equal action,” Salmons told ESPN in text message Thursday. “Not a lot of handle yet. Expecting game day action like Texas-Bama. That game also had no action all week until day of the game.”

  • UTSA Roadrunners at No. 23 Tennessee Volunteers: The UTSA-Tennessee point spread jumped seven points, moving from Vols -13 to -20 in 30 minutes Sunday at influential sportsbook Circa Sports. The line has continued to tick up and could be found as high as -22 on Thursday.

  • On a company podcast, Caesars Sportsbook vice president of trading Craig Mucklow said the book took “quite a few large wagers” early in the week and pointed to three games.

    “Florida State money line [-130] was bet heavy. Georgia Tech-Wake Forest over 57.5 and Cincinnati [+14 vs. Oklahoma] for the second week in a row has been bet,” Mucklow said.

  • No. 19 Colorado Buffaloes at No. 10 Oregon Ducks: Joey Feazel, lead college football trader for Caesars Sportsbook, said the betting interest on Buffaloes games hadn’t slowed down much. As of Wednesday, twice as much money had been bet on Colorado-Oregon as on Ohio State-Notre Dame. The action, however, was much more evenly distributed between the Buffaloes and Ducks this week than previous games involving coach Deion Sanders’ squad. Oregon was a consensus 21-point favorite Thursday.

    The Buffaloes will be without two-way star Travis Hunter. Feazel estimated Hunter was worth approximately three points to the spread.

Seth Walder’s biggest edges from ESPN Analytics

  • BYU Cougars +9.5 at Kansas Jayhawks: FPI is fully buying in on BYU after the Cougars upset Arkansas on the road last week. That win upgraded BYU’s rating by almost a field goal, and it actually vaulted BYU just past Kansas in the rankings (Cougars are 56th, Jayhawks 58th). FPI still favors Kansas because of home-field advantage, but by only 2.5 points — a far cry from the 9.5 the Jayhawks are giving.

Joe Fortenbaugh’s CFB Confidence picks

  • No. 4 Florida State Seminoles at Clemson Tigers over 55 points: I made this total 60 for a variety of reasons. FSU is averaging 47 points per game on offense but has a defense that misses too many tackles and surrenders too many big plays, both of which play nicely for an over wager. As for Clemson, the Tigers look to have figured some things out on offense following that opening week disaster against Duke. They should hang a healthy number at home.

  • No. 9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish +3 vs. No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes: I see this as a low-scoring contest just like last year in which those three points will prove to be very important. After all, this game opened Ohio State -3.5 before sharp money came in on Notre Dame and drove the price down to OSU -3. The Irish have hung 40-plus points in all four games this season and have a quality road win at North Carolina State on their resume. Under new quarterback Kyle McCord, Ohio State has more questions than answers at the moment, at least in my opinion.

  • No. 10 Oregon Ducks -21 vs. No. 19 Colorado Buffaloes: I love Deion Sanders and the story coming out of Boulder this season, but I’ve got to leave emotion at the door and rely simply on logic. And logic is telling me -21 is short. Colorado is coming off a war with Colorado State, will be without its best player in Travis Hunter and features a shaky defense that is surrendering an average of 30 points. Oregon quarterback and Heisman hopeful Bo Nix is going to hang a big number Saturday at Autzen Stadium.




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Matt Bowen’s matchups to exploit

  • WR Justin Jefferson vs. Chargers’ man-coverage schemes: Through two weeks, the Chargers have played the most man coverage in the league (68.9% of opponent dropbacks), with a mix of Cover 1 and 2-Man. Look for the Vikings to use motion and formation variations to give Jefferson free access off the ball to attack the L.A. secondary.

  • QB Patrick Mahomes vs. Bears’ Tampa 2 defense: The Bears have played Cover 2 on 37.3% of opponent dropbacks this season, the highest total in the league. With two safeties deep, expect Andy Reid to have pass game answers here, creating coverage voids for Mahomes to work the intermediate levels of the field.

  • For more breakdowns, visit Matt Bowen’s Film Room.

Mike Clay’s Eliminator Challenge advice

  • Dallas Cowboys at Arizona Cardinals: The Cowboys appear to be one of the league’s top teams and, while we’ll have plenty of opportunities to use them this season, their best projected win probability for the rest of 2023 falls here in Week 3. Their 91% win probability is also tops in the league this week, just ahead of the Chiefs (89%) and 49ers (89%). The 0-2 Cardinals are one of the favorites for the first overall pick in next year’s draft and shouldn’t be much of a threat to a superior Dallas team this Sunday.

  • Follow Clay’s Eliminator Challenge advice all season long and read more here for other tips for Week 2.

Al Zeidenfeld’s DFS plays

  • The Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Chargers game provides the highest total on the week (54), the fastest projectable pace of play and superstar players who correlate with one another, and it will be an extremely powerful and popular way to attack tournaments this week. Double stacking with either Justin Herbert or Kirk Cousins is Route 1 in Week 3, but you’ll need to find value plays to wrap around those core stacks while also focusing on players with a lower percentage of the field to bring down your cumulative lineup percentage. Value plays such as Tank Dell ($3,600) and Isiah Pacheco ($5,400) can help you fit the premium stackable players while also being less widely held by the field.

  • More DFS plays here.

Seth Walder’s biggest edges from ESPN Analytics

  • Dallas Cowboys D/ST anytime touchdown (+470 at FanDuel): This is as good of a defensive touchdown situation as you can possibly imagine. The best defense in the league against… Josh Dobbs and the Arizona offense? Dallas is going to get up big, the Cardinals will get desperate, and that’s when pick-sixes happen. My model makes the fair price here +365, so you’re getting nice value at this price.

  • De’Vondre Campbell under 8.5 tackles + assists (-125 at DraftKings): Campbell is coming off a 14-tackle game, but I have him projected for just 7.4 this week. One reason? His playing time is down. After playing 100% of defensive snaps in most games last season, he has played 74% and 83% in his two this year, respectively. That’s the kind of thing that makes the difference.

David Purdum’s Action Report

  • The two largest favorites on the board — the Kansas City Chiefs and Cowboys — were both attracting lopsided early action at DraftKings. The Chiefs (-12.5) had garnered 76% of the money on the spread in their game against the Bears. However, veteran Las Vegas bookmaker Chris Andrews of the South Point said the shop took influential money on the underdog Bears early in the week.

    Andrews added in a text message to ESPN that he saw early sharp action on the Vikings, Browns, Texans, Saints, Broncos, Commanders, Falcons, Raiders and Buccaneers.

    The Cowboys, who were 12.5-point favorites on the road in Arizona, had attracted 90% of the spread money at DraftKings as of Thursday. Double-digit road favorites this early in the season are rare. In the past 20 seasons, the only time a road team has been a favorite of at least 11 points within the first three weeks of the season was 2019, when the Patriots beat the Dolphins 43-0 as 18-point favorites.

  • Road teams are 19-13 straight-up this season and 20-10-2 against the spread. The 19 outright wins is the most for visiting teams in the first two weeks since 1983.

  • Pittsburgh Steelers at Las Vegas Raiders: Caesars Sportsbook opened the line at pick ’em Sunday night. The line grew to Raiders -2.5 on Tuesday. “Lot of that had to do with what happened Monday night [when the Steelers beat the Browns 26-22],” Adam Pullen, assistant director of trading for Caesars Sportsbook, said on the company podcast. “A lot of people were not impressed with [Steelers QB] Kenny Pickett. That makes sense why the Raiders are 2.5-point favorites.”

Erin Dolan’s ‘Dolan Out Winners’



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  • Chiefs -13 vs. Bears: The Bears are a mess on offense and defense. The offense has averaged only 18.5 points per game, and Alan Williams resigned as defensive coordinator this week. The Bears have lost 12 straight going back to last season, allowing 25 or more points in all 12 of those games. Justin Fields is 0-3 ATS as a double-digit ‘dog and now faces an explosive Kansas City offense that should be better than it has been the past two games.

  • Kirk Cousins over 291.5 passing yards (-117) vs. Chargers: Cousins is averaging 354 passing yards per game this season, and just 9.3% of the Vikings’ total yards have come from rushing, the fifth-lowest mark through two games since 1950. The Chargers have allowed the most passing yards per game to opposing QBs through the first two weeks. Tua Tagovailoa going for 466 passing yards in Week 1 didn’t help. I think Cousins can air the ball out.

Anita Marks’ NFL Confidence picks

Tyler Fulghum’s Pigskin Pick’em plays

There are some compelling games to pick in Week 3 for Pigskin Pick’em, The loser of the Chargers/Vikings game is going to be staring at an 0-3 hole to start the season, and Vegas thinks it’s a literal coin flip! Can any of the surprise 2-0 teams (Washington, Atlanta, Tampa Bay) move to 3-0? Good luck this week!

  • Patriots

  • Ravens

  • Bills

  • Jaguars

  • Chargers

  • Saints

  • Browns

  • Falcons

  • Seahawks

  • Chiefs

  • Cowboys

  • Steelers

  • Eagles

  • Rams


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