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BALTIMORE RAVENS (4-5) at CHICAGO BEARS (5-4)
The Ravens try to get their offense in gear Sunday when they face an injury-riddled Bears team.
Baltimore has averaged a paltry 17.8 PPG and 279 total YPG (67 rush YPG) in the past four contests, including 189 total yards in a 20-17 overtime win versus the Bengals last week to end a three-game losing skid. Chicago, which is 2-4 SU (1-5 ATS) in the past six games, will play this contest without QB Jay Cutler (ankle) and top CB Charles "Peanut" Tillman (triceps) who were both injured in last weeks 21-19 home loss, which dropped the club to 0-4-1 ATS at Soldier Field. But the good news for QB Josh McCown and the Bears is that the home team is 8-0 SU in this series since 1980, and the Ravens are 1-4 (SU and ATS) on the road this year. However, Baltimore doesn't usually have two horrible offensive games in a row, going 17-6 ATS (74percent) after being held to 200 or less yards in its last game since 1992, and going 13-4 ATS (77percent) after being outgained by 100+ total yards in its last game under John Harbaugh. But Chicago has two big trends in its favor as underdogs coming off a division game against an opponent off two straight division games are just 11-33 ATS (25percent) in the past five seasons, and favorites allowing 370+ total YPG against an opponent giving up 335 to 370 total YPG are 39-13 ATS (75percent) in the second half of the season over the past 10 years.
Ravens QB Joe Flacco is having his worst season as a pro, toting a career-low 77.3 passer rating with 6.7 YPA, 12 TD and 11 INT. Last season, Flacco had 33 TD and just 10 INT including playoffs. He's already been sacked 30 times, hitting the deck five times in three of his past four contests. But the team's offensive woes (4.5 yards per play, 2nd-worst in NFL), can't be put all on Flacco and the passing game, which has thrown for a serviceable 234.4 YPG (17th in league). The rushing offense has been abysmal, gaining a league-low 2.8 yards per carry and 73.1 rushing YPG (3rd-worst in NFL). Top RB Ray Rice has been slowed by a hip injury all season, gaining just 289 yards on 115 carries (2.5 YPC), while reaching 50 rushing yards just once this year. The Ravens have also been poor on third downs (35.6percent, 24th in NFL), but have been strong in red-zone efficiency (57.1percent, T-12th in league). Turnovers have also been a big problem lately with the team's 13 giveaways over the past six games. On defense, Baltimore has been excellent in stopping the run, allowing only 3.7 YPC (5th in NFL) and 102.6 rushing YPG (10th in league). The Ravens have also done a fantastic job when it has mattered most, ranking second in the NFL in red-zone efficiency defense (33.3percent) and 4th on third downs (32.4percent). But the Bears have some skill players that will give this unit a major challenge on Sunday.
Chicago QB Josh McCown has plenty of talented receivers to work with, including RB Matt Forte, WR Brandon Marshall, WR Alshon Jeffery and TE Martellus Bennett. This talent is a big reason why McCown has completed 62percent of his passes for 952 yards (7.6 YPA), 6 TD and 4 INT in his six career games since joining the Bears in 2011. Forte's 4.4 YPC is why his team ranks 8th in the NFL in this category, but Chicago has also been a great passing team with 261.7 YPG (8th in league). Forte has compiled 1,023 total yards and 7 TD this year, while Marshall (786 rec. yards, 8 TD), Jeffery (735 rec. yards, 3 TD) and Bennett (421 rec. yards, 4 TD) have been the main targets through the air. Chicago has also done a great job of protecting its quarterback, allowing just 14 sacks all year (3rd-fewest in NFL), which has resulted in the team committing just three turnovers in the past five games combined. On defense, the Bears continue to give up too many yards with so many major injuries such as CB Charles Tillman (triceps), LB Lance Briggs (shoulder), LB D.J. Williams (pectoral) and DT Jay Ratliff (hernia), who are all out indefinitely. Chicago has allowed 6.1 yards per play (3rd-worst in NFL), 129 rushing YPG (2nd-worst in league) and 27.4 points per game (6th-worst in NFL). The red-zone efficiency defense has been decent (51.7percent, 11th in league), but the Bears have been subpar on third downs, allowing a 41.3percent conversion rate (7th-worst in NFL). And although its 20 takeaways have certainly helped this year, the team has forced only three turnovers in the past three games.
NFL: Giants vs. Jets in New Meadowlands Opener
The first game ever at nfl football betting Online Bingo Play Slots Online in US NFL Odds the new Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, will feature the two teams that will share the stadium in years to come. Although it is just an exhibition game, you can be sure that both the Giants and Jets want to claim the first “bragging rights” in their new home. According to oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com, the Jets have the better chance of doing that, as they are 2.5-point favorites, with an accompanying total set at 33.
Big things are expected of the Jets and second-year QB Mark Sanchez, as they try to build on last season’s unexpected run to the AFC Championship Game.
The Giants and Eli Manning won the Super Bowl just three years ago, and have shown flashes of being the best team in the sport at times over the last two seasons. But they fell apart in the second half of 2009, losing eight of their final 11 games after starting 5-0.
The Jets will be without CB Darrelle Revis who is in the midst of what could turn out to be an extensive holdout, but newcomers to the Jets in 2010, cornerbacks Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson, have been standouts at camp so far.
Sanchez should only play one or two series, while backups Mark Brunell and Kellen Clemens will see the majority of the action for the Jets. Jim Sorgi and Rhett Bomar should play the majority of the game for the Giants after Eli Manning departs.
These two teams have played every preseason since 1969 with the Jets taking the last three meetings. We expect the streak to continue with the Jets superior talent at backup QB (Brunell and Clemens are both former starters).
StatFox points out that the JETS are 13-3 against the spread versus the GIANTS in the preseason since 1993.
Kickoff is set for 8:00 PM ET and live coverage is brought to you by ESPN’s Monday Night Football crew.