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Gridiron Players Club (1/20/24)

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NFL (3 Picks)

4:30PM EST: Ravens -9.5 (4 Units), Gus Edwards Anytime TD +125 (3 Units).

The Texans are a nice story and they're coming off a strong win but Baltimore's just the vastly superior team. CJ Stroud is still a rookie and he's had his fair share of struggles on the road this year. Houston has played 2 road games against strong defenses this year and scored a collective 12 points. A 9-25 Loss to these Ravens in Baltimore and a 3-30 Loss at the New York Jets. The Texans were averaging just 20 points per game over their last 8 games prior to dismantling the Browns. Stroud is a quality QB who's going to be playing in this league for some time but this isn't some Elite Offense.

The one thing Cleveland couldn't do is get pressure on Stroud. Houston ranks 21st allowing 2.6 sacks per game this season though. Baltimore is the #1 scoring defense and much of that stems from their league leading 3.5 sacks per game. DC Mike Macdonald does a phenomenal job scheming up pressure and giving his best guys 1 on 1 opportunities. Defensive Tackle Justin Madubuike broke out in a big way this season recording 13 sacks. His interior pressure is irreplaceable and that Houston interior is the weakness of the offensive line. It's part of the reason they rank just 26th in rushing yards per game.

Without a reliable ground game Stroud's going to be asked to throw it quite a bit and that's exactly what the Ravens want. On top of their stellar puss rush, the Ravens also do a phenomenal job disguising coverage and showing different pre-snap looks. They're tied for 1st averaging 1.8 takeaways per game and 1.1 of that comes from interceptions. It's a lot for any QB to handle, especially a Rookie playing in his first ever road playoff game.

Houston does own the 10th ranked scoring defense but they've been had plenty. The gave up 34 to the Browns the first time they played, 30 @ NYJ, 27 @ CIN, 37 vs TB, 31 vs IND, and 25 @ BAL. Excluding their last game against the Steelers because they rested starters, BAL had scored 30+ in 8 of their last 10 games. They averaged 34 points per game during that span. The Ravens own the #1 rushing offense and they're going to get theirs. They average 1.5 rushing touchdowns per game and while Houston's been strong against the run this season, they rank 27th in rushing touchdowns allowed per game. Gus Edwards had 13 rushing touchdowns in 17 games this season.

8:15PM EST: GB/SF Under 50.5 (3 Units)

Green Bay's offense and specifically Jordan Love has played well the past couple of Months. They annihilated Dallas last week but the Cowboys just Cowboyed. Green Bay's last regular season game was a 17-9 win over Chicago. SF has the 3rd ranked scoring defense this season and they'll be better prepared than Dallas was. Love was throwing to wide open receivers half the time last week. SF allows a Redzone TD just over 50% of the time. They're very good against the run, ranking 3rd in rushing yards allowed per game. Makes it difficult to score on them when you start running out of space.

On the other end GB ranks 28th in rushing yards allowed per game. SF is going to run it early and often which should help shorten this game up. GB is much better against the Pass and they also do a good job disguising coverages. It gave Dak fits for the majority of their game last week. Brock Purdy also really struggled against Baltimore when they did the same thing. This Packers defense is far from an elite group but they have been playing well of late.

It's a very high total and a lot of things need to go right offensively to push over 50. The 49ers should dictate the tempo and flow of this game and at their best they're running the football and playing elite defense.

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