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Weekend best bets: Titans should keep rolling against Texans

Updated October 16, 2020 - 6:16 pm

The Tennessee Titans are coming off four consecutive 9-7 seasons and appear well on their way to another winning year at 4-0.

They’re also coming off a short week after beating the Buffalo Bills 42-16 in a game that was rescheduled for Tuesday after Tennessee became the first NFL team hit by a COVID-19 outbreak.

The Titans didn’t miss a beat despite barely practicing for two weeks before the game, and professional sports bettor Jeff Whitelaw expects them to stay sharp Sunday at home against the Houston Texans.

Whitelaw bet on the Titans at -2½ and -3 over the Texans. Tennessee is now a consensus 3½-point favorite over Houston (1-4), which defeated Jacksonville on Sunday for its first win.

“I just think the Titans are the class of the league,” Whitelaw said. “Houston finally won a game against a soft team. But now you’re asking them to go and beat a very good team that’s been playing exceptionally well.

“I think (the Titans) win by double digits.”

Houston has the NFL’s second-worst rush defense, allowing an average of 160.4 yards per game, and Tennessee’s Derrick Henry is the league’s reigning rushing leader.

Sharp plays

Westgate sportsbook director John Murray has shared his book’s sharp plays this season, and they’re 12-6-2 ATS.

Here are this week’s plays (though some numbers have changed): Auburn (-3) over South Carolina; Syracuse (+3½) over Liberty; Memphis (+3½) over Central Florida; Notre Dame (-16½) over Louisville; and Miami (-13½) over Pittsburgh.

TEMPLE (-13) over South Florida

Handicapper Paul Stone is in second place in the Review-Journal College Football Challenge with a 17-7-1 ATS record.

His best bet this week is Temple, which finally got its season started last week in a 31-29 loss at Navy.

The Owls lost when Anthony Russo’s potential game-tying, 2-point conversion pass fell incomplete with 1:02 left. But Temple outgained Navy 407-299 in total yards and had 25 first downs to 18 for the Midshipmen.

South Florida has started slowly under first-year coach Jeff Scott, having been outscored 124-31 by Notre Dame, Cincinnati and East Carolina.

Temple returns a veteran quarterback in Russo, a 900-yard rusher in Re’Mahn Davis and a 1,000-yard receiver in Jadan Blue.

The Owls are riding a 16-4 ATS streak after a loss and are 17-5 ATS as a conference favorite.

“South Florida has scored only 62 points (8.8 points per game) in its last seven contests against FBS opponents,” said Stone (@PaulStoneSports). “They have already tried three different players at quarterback this season and are struggling to find any kind of offensive rhythm.”

Florida State +13 over North Carolina

Handicapper Dana Lane leads the RJ college contest with a 19-5-1 ATS record. His best bet this week is the Seminoles.

“The talent is there. That’s what we hear every week when talking about Florida State,” said Lane (@DanaLaneSports). “It feels like a team that is just waiting for momentum to turn some of their failed drives into seven points.

“This could be the week against a Tar Heels team that’s too sloppy for my liking. This is not a top-five program despite what the COVID rankings indicate.

“Florida State QB Jordan Travis will use his arm and legs, as he did against Notre Dame, to keep this one close and perhaps pull out a win.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

NFL betting trends for Week 8

The over is 5-0-1 in Raiders games and 5-2 in Browns games this season. Eight of the last 11 Browns games have gone over the total.

College football picks: Georgia can suffocate Kentucky

A rested Georgia defense against a reeling Kentucky offense might be the biggest mismatch this weekend, plus four more college football plays.

College football betting trends — Week 8

Michigan State is 9-18 against the spread since 2018, and was 0-4 as an underdog last season.