MSA/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Kyler Murray, Christian Kirk, DeAndre Hopkins
Our Director of Predictive Analytics is highlighting his favorite NFL player props for every primetime game this season. He has a 436-333-6 (56%) all-time record on NFL bets he’s tracked in the Action app, where you can follow him to receive notifications about his picks.
Find his player prop pick for Packers vs. Cardinals on Thursday Night Football below.
Packers vs. Cardinals Props
Christian Kirk Over 43.5 Rec Yards
Kirk’s prop offers some hidden value tonight, and I think it’s important to lock it in ASAP.
For last week’s TNF matchup, I picked Donovan Peoples-Jones under 2.5 receptions (+110) as my primetime prop — nearly forgetting that part of the reason I liked it was because of the slight chance Odell Beckham Jr. was able to suit up (he was closer to doubtful). Sure enough, Beckham was a surprise active, and it sent DPJ receptions under to drop down to -180 at most books. DPJ then tweaked his groin, was unable to play, and any bets on him were “voided.”
Why do I mention this? Because DeAndre Hopkins’ hamstring injury has an impact on how I’m projecting Kirk tonight. Hopkins has yet to practice on the short week and is expected to play tonight, barring any pre-game setbacks. I’m under the assumption that Hopkins will not only suit up tonight, but be close to 100% healthy and play his usual complement of snaps. But there are scenarios where he is limited or ends up being a pre-game scratch tonight. I plotted out three different scenarios — and their likelihood of coming to fruition — as well as how I would project Kirk for each one:
- Hopkins is active, 100% healthy, and plays his usual role (70% chance)
- Kirk: 47.5 projected rec yds (55% chance to go over 43.5)
- Hopkins is active, about 70% healthy, and plays more of a “decoy” role (25% chance)
- Kirk: 50.5 projected rec yds (58.5% chance to go over 43.5)
- Hopkins has a pre-game setback and is inactive (5% chance)
- Kirk: 60.5 projected rec yds (63% chance to go over 43.5)
Kirk has gone over this number in five of seven games this year. So even if Hopkins is 100% tonight, Kirk still offers value on the over. It’s the other scenarios that offer sneaky upside in locking in this prop now. I would bet this up to 46.5.
Pick: Christian Kirk Over 43.5 Receiving Yards (-110) at FanDuel
Soccer-Manchester City go top as Chelsea suffer defeat at West Ham
Chelsea paid a heavy price for a 3-2 defeat at West Ham United as first Liverpool, then Manchester City, leapfrogged them in the Premier League title race on Saturday, with City ending the day on top for the first time this season.
Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea began the day with a narrow lead and twice went in front at the London Stadium, only to be stunned by a late goal from substitute defender Arthur Masuaku.
It looked as though Liverpool had let Chelsea off the hook as their later clash at Wolverhampton Wanderers went into stoppage time still goalless.
But Divock Origi, making his 100th appearance as a Liverpool substitute, latched on to a Mohamed Salah pass to smash a winner past Wolves keeper Jose Sa in the 94th minute.
In the day’s late kickoff, Manchester City outclassed Watford in a 3-1 victory at Vicarage Road with Raheem Sterling paving the way before Bernardo Silva struck twice.
Chelsea had seemed to be in control of their game after 28 minutes when Thiago Silva scored with a header from a Mason Mount corner but the European champions gifted the hosts a penalty in the 40th minute when Jorginho put his goalkeeper Edouard Mendy under pressure with a poor back pass.
Mendy brought down Jarrod Bowen for a penalty that was converted by Manuel Lanzini.
Mount restored Chelsea’s lead with a superb volley four minutes later only for West Ham to draw level early in the second half when Bowen fired in hard and low.
Masuaku clinched it for the fourth-placed hosts in the 87th minute with a cross that flew into the goal.
It meant Chelsea slipped to third spot with 33 points from 15 games, one point behind Liverpool and two behind Manchester City. West Ham have 27 points.
“We are not good enough in the details at the moment,” Tuchel told reporters. “We do too many big mistakes.”
Wolves had defended resolutely against a Liverpool side who have been in unstoppable goalscoring form.
But all their hard work came to nothing as Origi showed what a great impact substitute he can be, with his winner sparking wild celebrations on the Liverpool bench.
“It was clear: when you don’t score you just have to keep going and that’s what we did,” manager Juergen Klopp said.
“And then Divock Origi, the legend, came and finished it off for us. I love it.”
There was no such drama for City who racked up a fifth successive league win and a 31st in the calendar year, surpassing their previous club record.
“There are always things we have to improve but right now, the guys are playing at a really good level,” manager Pep Guardiola said. “We scored three beautiful goals and we could have scored more.”
Newcastle United’s wait for a first league victory of the season is over after Callum Wilson’s goal earned them a 1-0 victory against fellow relegation battlers Burnley.
The win lifted Newcastle off the bottom on goal difference, above Norwich City who play at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
Brighton & Hove Albion drew for the eighth time this season as Neal Maupay rescued a point in a 1-1 draw at Southampton. Maupay struck in the eighth minute of stoppage time to deny Saints their fourth league win of the season after Armando Broja had give them a first-half lead.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Clare Fallon)
Soccer-Man City take top spot after comfortable win at Watford
Raheem Sterling’s early header paved the way to a comfortable win for Pep Guardiola’s side who made the most of morning leaders Chelsea’s earlier 3-2 defeat at West Ham United.
Silva fired in from a tight angle in the 31st minute and put City in cruise control just past the hour mark when he curled a delightful effort into the top corner.
In truth City’s winning margin should have been bigger against a struggling Watford side who were given some late hope when Cucho Hernandez pulled a goal back.
City’s fifth successive league win lifted them to 35 points from 15 games, one point ahead of Liverpool and two in front of Chelsea in what is shaping up to be a three-way title tussle.
The sight of Guardiola’s City hitting the top in the run-up to Christmas will send shivers through their rivals.
Once they climbed to the summit last season in January they marched off into the distance, although this time the form of Liverpool suggests they will not have things all their own way.
“It’s still the beginning, we are not even halfway through and there is a lot of hard work to do,” Silva, who is City’s surprise leading league scorer with seven goals, said.
“It’s always better to be top of the league than second, third or fourth, but it’s so close — Liverpool are just one point behind us, Chelsea are two points behind us.
“But we are in good form and we want to keep it that way.”
It was only a fortnight ago that Claudio Ranieri’s side put Manchester United to the sword at Vicarage Road.
But they barely got a kick in the first half against City.
Once Sterling was given the freedom of the penalty area to head in Phil Foden’s cross after four minutes it always looked like being a long night for the hosts.
Jack Grealish could have had a hat-trick before halftime as he wasted several glorious chances but Silva soon showed him how to find the back of the net.
The Portuguese playmaker’s astute pass set up a chance for Ilkay Gundogan whose shot was saved by Daniel Bachmann but as the ball came out Silva was alert to drill a low shot into the net from an acute angle.
His second was a thing of beauty. Taking a pass from Kyle Walker on the right, Silva cut inside Danny Rose and curled a shot into the top corner with almost nonchalant ease.
City switched off slightly to allow Hernandez to score after his shot came back off the post, but it was a minor hiccup on a thoroughly satisfying day.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris)
Why Aaron Rodgers got away with a fine and three Buccaneers got banned – The Globe and Mail
Aaron Rodgers flaunts the NFL/NFLPA coronavirus protocols and gets a fine that barely shows up in his paycheque.
Antonio Brown and two others do the same and get three-game suspensions.
It’s complicated, but in some ways it’s also pretty simple why the Packers quarterback was fined US$14,650, a sum negotiated between the league and the players’ union while developing the COVID-19 protocols. And why Brown, teammate Mike Edwards and former Buccaneers player John Franklin III took a much bigger hit for falsifying vaccination documents.
Rodgers was fined for not wearing a mask in some instances, at a Halloween party and during press conferences. A joint investigation by the NFL and union revealed that he was wearing a mask at other points and complied with the protocols.
Rodgers did mislead the public and the media, but he informed the club – which told the NFL – and his teammates of his status. Indeed, everyone in his ecosystem was aware he was not vaccinated, and he was testing for COVID-19 daily, and social distancing at the team facility. It was those exceptions when he did not do so that led to the fine.
The Packers were nailed for US$300,000 for their lack of oversight in the Rodgers case. Whether that indicates complicity by the organization is a matter of debate.
Tampa Bay was not fined, though it loses an important defensive back in Edwards for part of the stretch run, and doesn’t have Brown, who has missed the past five games with an ankle injury. He also sat out the Bucs’ Week 3 loss to the Los Angeles Rams after testing positive for COVID-19.
The actions of Brown, Edwards and Franklin began during the summer and, according to a person familiar with the case, “were acting like they were vaccinated when they were not.” The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the players’ specific violations have not been announced.
“The league wanted to make an example of these three,” the person said, “and wanted to suspend them six to eight games and they settled on three.”
The agreement was the players would take the three-game suspensions for repeated protocol violations, not appeal, and there would be no public statements about the fake vaccination cards.
Another person with direct knowledge of the case told The Associated Press that all three players now are vaccinated.
“These players put all of their people at risk, and themselves and family members, their teammates and team personnel,” the person said, also speaking on condition of anonymity. “They were not wearing masks when they [needed to] and were not tested every day, acting as if they were vaccinated.”
All 32 NFL teams were visited during training camp last summer and advised of the updated COVID-19 protocols. As early as July 22 the league made a presentation to the clubs to be on the lookout for fake vaccination cards, and noted to the teams the potential for that to happen based on media reports of people buying fake cards. The NFL even placed within the slide presentation the logo of the FBI, stressing that acquiring and using a fake vaccination card is a law enforcement issue that could lead to jail time.
And the players’ association made sure all of its members were aware that they actually falsified a federal document if they had a bogus vaccination document.
However, the protocols do not outline discipline for such a violation. Thus, the negotiations between the league and union that led to the three-game dockings.
There has been speculation that Brown’s history of misconduct, which includes an eight-game suspension in 2020 for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy, led to stiffer discipline. Both the league and union have insisted that is not the case.
The Brown/Edwards/Franklin case is the first disciplinary action with suspensions, and was announced through a joint statement by the NFL and NFLPA, reflecting the seriousness both take with the protocols.
Will there be more such scenarios? With about 95 per cent of NFL players vaccinated – and providing valid and verified proof – the numbers say that’s not likely. By handing down relatively major penalties for such violations, both the league and union hope a loud message has been sent.
Still, imagine if that message has not been heard or heeded, and one or more star players receive suspensions when playoff time rolls around in six weeks.
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