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NFL betting: Former LSU stars poised for big weekend

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Most football fans in the state of Louisiana are probably rooting for the Cincinnati Bengals this weekend. The Bengals feature Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase, two former LSU Tigers that played a pivotal role in the school winning a national championship in 2019. Additionally, Von Bell and Trey Hendrickson are two former New Orleans Saints who were popular with fans.

Cincinnati is a 7.5-point underdog in Kansas City against the Chiefs, but there's other ways to get involved in the betting action. Burrow and Chase aren't the only former LSU players in action this weekend as Clyde-Edwards Helaire, Tyrann Mathieu and Darrel Williams will suit up for the Chiefs. In the NFC matchup, Andrew Whitworth and Odell Beckham Jr. are likely to play key roles.

Burrow and Chase already tore up the Chiefs once

In Week 17 of the regular season, the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Kansas City Chiefs en route to clinching the AFC North and a playoff spot. In that game, two individual performances stuck out.

Joe Burrow completed 30 of 39 passes for 446 yards and 4 touchdowns. Three of those four touchdowns went to Ja'Marr Chase. Chase caught 11 passes for 266 yards and three scores.

This game was less than a month ago. Is that enough time for the Chiefs to figure out how to stop the duo? Will the pressure of the playoffs cause the young Bengals to wilt? Bettors don't seem to think so.

Burrow's over/under for passing yards is set at 286.5 yards. Chase's line for receiving yards is set at 87.5 yards. 96% of the betting handle at BetMGM is on both players to go over those totals.

CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 28: Cincinnati Bengals and former LSU wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) and quarterback Joe Burrow (9) look at the scoreboard during a stop in play during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals on November 28, 2021, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, OH. (Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Former LSU stars Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase look to have another big game against Kansas City. (Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Burrow has thrown for over 300 yards in five of his last seven games. This includes 348 yards last week and the aforementioned 446 yards against the Chiefs in Week 17. Chase has begun his playoff career with back-to-back 100 yard receiving games. Outside of the Week 18 game where Chase didn't play much, Chase has gone over 100 yards in four straight games.

Game script projects the Bengals to be playing from behind in this contest, which leads to more passing plays which in theory should boost the stats for Burrow and Chase. Chase is currently -125 to score a touchdown at any point in Sunday's game.

CEH and Williams are a part of murky backfield

Clyde Edwards-Helaire returned last week from an injury. He played just 30% of snaps behind Jerrick McKinnon who started the season as Kansas City's third-string running back. This week, it's Darrel Williams who might return from injury. Williams served as Edwards-Helaire's backup to start the season, took over during injuries and even increased his role even when CEH was healthy.

With all three running backs practicing in full this week and presumably healthy, it'll be interesting to see how the running back room splits the workload. Was last week a situation where Edwards-Helaire was being eased back from injury? Can we expect him to return to his normal role this week? Or has McKinnon become the lead guy for Andy Reid? And how does Williams' return impact things for all three of them?

Currently, Edwards-Helaire's over/under for rushing yards is 37.5 yards. This low total represents the uncertainty surrounding the backfield. Last week, he rushed for 60 yards on just 7 carries. Presumably, the Chiefs will be playing with the lead and running the ball more this week. Edwards-Helaire is also a week further removed from his injury which might lead to more work for him. On the other hand, we can't expect nearly 9 yards per carry.

In terms of touchdowns, Edwards-Helaire is +105 to score a touchdown on Sunday. Williams is +225 while McKinnon is -105.

Odell's career resurgence

Odell Beckham Jr. is out of Cleveland, and the football world rejoices. We can all speculate what the issues in Cleveland were. Is Baker Mayfield that bad? Is Kevin Stefanski's system not made for wide receivers? Did Odell sulk his way out of there? Whatever the reason is, there's no denying that Odell has reinvigorated his career with the Rams.

Odell's over/under for receiving yards on Sunday is currently set at 51.5 yards. He's gone over this total in both playoff games with the Rams, but he went over this total just four times in 14 regular season games split between the Browns and Los Angeles. If you're a believer that Odell is back, the over seems like a good bet here.

A potential more lucrative way to back Odell is in the touchdown market. OBJ is +170 to score a touchdown on Sunday. He has 6 touchdowns in 10 games with the Rams as he has exploitable opportunities when teams focus on slowing down Cooper Kupp. I like Odell to find the end zone this weekend.