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Friday, 14 December, 2018

Battling Buffalo to trouble Texans

Dolphins should prove a test for Bears

Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen celebrates a TD against Tennessee
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Best bet
Buffalo +10.5

Buffalo have exceeded many people's expectations by claiming two victories from their opening five games and they should have been boosted by last week's 13-12 success over Tennessee.

It could still be a tough season for the Bills, who have scored an average of just 12.6 points per game, the lowest in the league, but their defence proved against the Titans that they are able to stop teams in their tracks.

It is not the same story on offence, and they have plenty of work to do helping rookie quarterback Josh Allen to adjust to the demands of the professional game.

Their victory over Minnesota was the biggest handicap upset in the NFL for 23 years so they should not be dismissed purely because they are doouble-digit underdogs for their visit to Houston.

The Texans have won their last two games, but those successes against two mediocre teams in Indianapolis and Dallas were hardly convincing and both required overtime.

Their win against the Colts was handed to them on a plate when their opponents turned the ball over on downs in their own territory.

Beating the Bills would put them into the mix for the AFC South title and would mean they were three-quarters of the way to matching their win tally for the whole of last season.

However, with quarterback Deshaun Watson still working his way back from a serious knee injury last season, they may not run away with it. The Texans have not claimed a victory by more than ten points since a Week Six success last year against Cleveland. who didn't win a game all season. 

Next best 
Miami +3.5

The handicap coupon looks tricky this week. However, it might be worth siding with the Dolphins to stay within a field goal of Chicago, who head to Florida full of beans having won three of their opening four games and having enjoyed an early week off.

It is only a fortnight since Miami were dreaming of big things after winning their opening three encounters. A heavy defeat to old foes New England offered some perspective, and they should come out firing after they allowed a 17-point lead to slip against Cincinnati last week.

The Bears look a strong outfit this year with the addition of Khalil Mack looking like the strongest piece of defensive recruitment of the summer and quarterback Mitch Trubisky has improved in his second season.

However, Miami can pounce if Chicago allow their early success go to their heads.

Best points bet
Over 45 points in Los Angeles Chargers at Cleveland

While Los Angeles Rams have looked the strongest team in the NFL in the opening five weeks, there should be plenty of optimism at the city's other club too.

The Chargers lost their derby against the Rams but their only other defeat came against Kansas City, who also have five victories.

Wins over the lowly trio of San Francisco, Buffalo and Oakland may temper enthusiasm, but the Chargers are ranked eighth with an average of 27.4 points per game and should be looking to be positive against Cleveland.

The Browns have two wins and a tie this year and while much of their success has been put down to the quality of their defensive play, rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield is settling into the role heading into his third start and the running game is also looking strong.

Vocal support from fans who have been suffering for too long should also drive them on, so it would not be a surprise if the points line was eclipsed.

Best player bet
T Boyd to score a touchdown

Pittsburgh looked to have got their season back on track with last week's hefty win over Atlanta, but a shootout looks likely when they head to AFC North leaders Cincinnati.

The Steelers have been struggling in defending the pass for much of their stop-start campaign, and the Bengals can take advantage.

Wide receiver AJ Green will be the recipient of the most attention, but that could provide opportunities for Tyler Boyd, who has looked strong in flashes this season, even though he had a frustrating time against Miami last week.

He has scored two touchdowns this season and looks decent value to add another.

Buffalo +10.5
2pts 20-23 Betfred, Coral, Ladbrokes
Miami +3.5
1pt 10-11 Betway, BoyleSports, Hills
Over 45 points in LA Chargers at Cleveland
2pts 9-10 Betfair
T Boyd to score a touchdown
1pt 11-8 Betfred

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The Texans have not claimed a victory by more than ten points since a Week Six success against Cleveland last year
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