Kansas City Chiefs vs New England Patriots

Sunday Night Football odds: Chiefs vs. Patriots picks, predictions from model on 58-40 roll

One of the most anticipated matchups of the season takes place on Sunday Night Football at 8:20 p.m. ET when the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs visit the surging New England Patriots. The Chiefs are coming off a blowout win over the Jaguars, who faced the Patriots in last year’s AFC title game. Meanwhile, the Patriots are looking for a signature win to solidify their turnaround from a sluggish start in which they lost two of their first three games.

New England is a 3.5-point favorite in the latest Chiefs vs. Patriots odds, while the over-under for total points scored is 59.5. Before you make any Chiefs vs. Patriots picks, check out results from the SportsLine Projection Model.

The model simulates every NFL game 10,000 times and uses advanced analytics to produce winning results for SportsLine members. In a straight-up, pick’em format, their proprietary computer model went 176-80 last season and beat more than 95 percent of CBS Office Pool players in 2016 and 2017, performing better than 98 percent of experts tracked by NFLPickWatch.com during that span.

Additionally, it went 48-34 on A-rated picks against the spread last season, and $100 bettors who followed it the past two seasons are up nearly $4,000.

It went a blistering 10-5 straight up in a wild Week 5, including calling the Jets’ victory over the Broncos. It also recommended the Bills (+6) against the spread and on the money line (+230) against the Titans. The model is now on an impressive 58-40 run on all of its top-rated picks.

For Patriots vs. Chiefs, we can tell you that the model is leaning toward the Under, but its much stronger play is on the side. Its bold point-spread pick hits well over 50 percent of the time, and it’s only available at SportsLine.

The model knows the Chiefs are eager to build on their offensive juggernaut, led by second-year phenom Patrick Mahomes at quarterback. Their 35 points per game rank No. 2 in the NFL and their 411.2 yards per contest rank sixth.

Kansas City (5-0) already has withstood two major challenges to maintain a spotless ledger. Two weeks ago, it overcame an inspired effort from the Broncos for three-plus quarters, but Mahomes engineered two fourth-quarter touchdown drives to help the Chiefs escape with a 31-27 victory.

Last week, they were just a field-goal favorite against a Jaguars club that was expected to make things difficult for Kansas City’s playmakers with its physical defense. Instead, the Chiefs jumped out to a 20-point lead and never looked back in the 30-14 win. 

Still, there’s no guarantee Kansas City can stay within the spread against a Patriots team that is noted for deflating the momentum of countless upstart opponents.

One such example came just two weeks ago when New England (3-2), reeling from two straight defeats, thumped the previously-unbeaten Dolphins 38-7 in Foxborough. They followed it up with a 38-24 rout of the Colts.

New England’s once-struggling offense appears to have found its groove behind an efficient Tom Brady and a capable running game. Brady threw for 341 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions against the Colts. Rookie Sony Michelprovided punch on the ground with 98 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.

Jaguars vs Cowboys

Watch Dallas vs Jacksonville: How to live stream, TV channel, start time for Sunday’s NFL game How to watch Cowboys vs. Jaguars football game

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Jaguars vs Cowboys

Dallas will look to defend their home turf on Sunday against Jacksonville at 4:25 p.m. The point spread is more or less neutral, so fans should expect a close matchup.

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Dallas fought the good fight in their overtime game last Sunday but wound up with a less-than-desirable result. They fell just short of Houston by a score of 19-16. Dallas got a solid performance out of Dak Prescott, who accumulated 208 passing yards and picked up 34 yards on the ground; unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough for the victory. Prescott has been a consistent playmaker for Dallas as this was the 4th good game in a row from him.

Meanwhile, Jacksonville ended up a good deal behind Kansas City when they played, losing 30-14.

With the two teams each stumbling in off of a defeat, both will be hungry for the win. We’ll see which team satisfies their hunger and which team leaves with an empty stomach.

How To Watch

  • When: Sunday at 4:25 PM ET
  • Where: AT&T Stadium, Texas
  • TV: CBS
  • Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free)
  • Follow: CBS Sports App

The Jaguars are a solid 3 point favorite against the Cowboys.

This season, Dallas is 2-2-1 against the spread. As for Jacksonville, they are 3-2-0 against the spread

Bengals vs Steelers

The Bengals look to solidify their first place standing atop the AFC North when they host the division-rival Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

Cincinnati (4–1) heads into the matchup after a come-from-behind victory over the Miami Dolphins last week. Andy Dalton threw an 18-yard touchdown to Joe Mixon initiate a comeback. The Bengals defense then returned two Ryan Tannehill interceptions into 27 straight points and rally for a 27–17 win.

Steelers vs. Bengals: Live Stream

The Steelers (2–2–1) are coming off of a 41–17 blowout win against the Falcons in which Ben Roethlisberger went 19 of 29 for 250 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. James Conner added to the team’s total with 110 yards and two scores of his own.

The Steelers have won six-straight meetings against the Bengals and lead the all-time series 62–35.

HOW TO WATCH

Date: Sunday, Oct. 14

Time: 1 p.m. ET

TV channel: CBS

Live stream: Watch the game live online on Fubo TV. Sign up now for a free seven-day trial.

Bills vs Texans

Bills vs Texans Live Stream: How to Watch Online Without Cable

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Bills vs Texans

After a brutal starts for the Buffalo Bills (2-3) and Houston Texans (2-3), each has the opportunity to reach the .500 mark when they collide at Reliant Stadium in Houston as Week 6 action continues on Sunday afternoon.

The game is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on CBS in select areas (coverage map here). If the game is on in your market and you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can still watch a live stream of the game (or DVR it) on your computer, phone or streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:

Bills vs Texans Live Stream NFL Football

Once you’re signed up for both Amazon Prime and the CBS channel, you can then watch a live stream of the game on your computer via the Amazon website, or you can watch on your tablet or streaming device via the Amazon Video app.

FuboTV

CBS (live in 28 NFL markets) is included in FuboTV’s main package, which includes 85 total channels and is largely tailored towards sports fans. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the game on your computer via the FuboTV website, or on your tablet or streaming device via the FuboTV app.

If you can’t watch live, FuboTV comes with 30 hours of Cloud DVR (with the ability to upgrade to 500 hours), as well as a handy “72-Hour Lookback” feature, which will allow you to watch the game on-demand up to three days after it airs even if you forgot to record it.

Hulu With Live TV:

In addition to their extensive Netflix-like streaming library, Hulu now also offers a bundle of 50-plus live TV channels, including CBS (live in 29 NFL markets). You can sign up for “Hulu with Live TV” right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the game on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.

If you can’t watch live, “Hulu with Live TV” also comes with 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage (with the ability to upgrade to “Enhanced Cloud DVR,” which gives you 200 hours of DVR space and the ability to fast forward through commercials).

SundayTicket.TV allows you to watch a live stream of games that are out of your market and aren’t nationally televised. The service is available for people who live in residences that can’t get satellite (apartments, condos, etc.), as well as residents of San Francisco, Philadelphia and New York City. You can check here to see if you’re eligible.

Once signed up, you can watch games on your computer via the NFL Sunday Ticket website, or you can watch on your phone, tablet or other streaming device via the NFL Sunday Ticket app, which is free to download on many different devices.

If you’re fine watching games on-demand, another option is NFL Game Pass Domestic, which allows you to watch replays of every NFL game for a fee of $99.99 for the season. No live games are available under this service, but you’ll be able to watch them following the conclusion of games for the day.

Once signed up, you can watch games on-demand on your computer via the NFL Game Pass website, or on your tablet or streaming device via the NFL Mobile app, which can be downloaded for free on a handful of different devices.

If you’re not in the United States, surrounding territories, or Mexico, you can watch NFL games live via NFL Game Pass International. The cost of the package depends on which country you’re in.

Once signed up, you can watch games on your computer via the NFL Game Pass website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the NFL Mobile app, which can be downloaded for free on a handful of different devices.

Deshaun Watson continues to re-find the groove that made him dangerous as a rookie. Although Watson’s stats don’t tell the full story, he outplayed Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys, leading the Texans to a 19-16 overtime win on Sunday Night Football. Watson, nursing a rib injury, is officially listed as questionable against the Bills.

The Texans will get a boost, as running back Lamar Miller is more likely to play this week. After Miller missed Week 5 with a chest injury, he was a full participant during practice on Thursday.

Buffalo stunned the Tennessee Titans 13-12 last week, shutting down quarterback Marcus Mariota entirely. The Bills defense held Mariota to just 14-of-26, for 129 yards and an interception. Cornerback Tre’Davious White shut down Titans No. 1 wide receiver Corey Davis.

Panthers vs Redskins

The Washington Redskins host Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers for Week 6 of the NFL season.

The Redskins (2-2) are coming off of a 43-19 loss to Drew Brees – the NFL’s newly crowned passing yard leader – and the New Orleans Saints. The Saints tallied six touchdowns to the Redskins two as quarterback Alex Smith went 23-of-39 for 275 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception. Washington struggled to play the pass game against New Orleans’ defense, finding the end zone both times on the ground.

The Panthers (3-1) enter Week 6 after a two-point win in Week 5 over the Giants. QB Cam Newton completed 21-of-35 for 237 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. A last minute 63-yard field goal by Carolina kicker Graham Gano sent the Panthers home with their second straight win.

Here’s how to watch the game: 

Time: 1:00 p.m. ET

TV channel: FOX

Live stream:Watch the game live on fuboTV. fuboTV now features NFL Redzone as well as SI TV, available on the Sports Plus package. Sign up now for a free seven-day trial. 

Cardinals vs Vikings

Arizona Cardinals vs. Minnesota Vikings, 10/12/18 NFL Predictions & Odds Following a big road win last week, can the Minnesota Vikings avoid another letdown at home when they host the struggling Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at 1PM ET?

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Cardinals vs Vikings

Sunday, October 14, 2018

1PM ET – U.S. Bank Stadium

TV: FOX

Cardinals vs Vikings Live NFL Football

Compare odds and from multiple different online sportsbooks and shop for the best lines at our new NFL Odds & Betting Page.

According to oddsmakers at BetNow.eu, the Vikings are the clear favorite in this game, as they are getting odds of -10 points against the Cardinals. The over/under total for the game is currently listed at 43 points. The public betting for this game currently has 67 percent going on Minnesota at home. This information is subject to change, however, so be sure to check out our NFL Public Betting Page for updated figures on the game.

Arizona finally got one in the win column last week when the Cardinals picked up a 28-18 win at San Francisco. Arizona is now 1-4 on the season with a 3-2 mark against the spread and 4-1 mark with the under. The Cards have covered the spread in three straight coming into this week.

The Cardinals have had one of the worst offenses in the NFL, averaging just 13 points and 221.8 yards per game. Their run game is putting up just 64.6 yards per game right now. David Johnson is the leading rusher with 242 yards and four touchdowns on 74 carries. Rookie QB Josh Rosen has struggled to 29 of 59 passing for 386 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. On defense, Arizona is allowing 22.4 points and 412.4 yards per game. That includes over 140 rushing yards per game. They still have amassed 14 sacks and created nine turnovers. Chandler Jones has four sacks to lead the team and has forced two fumbles.

Vikings avenge NFC Championship

The Minnesota Vikings avenged last year’s NFC Championship in Week 5 by picking up a 23-21 win at Philadelphia to move to 2-2-1 on the season. The Vikings are 3-2 against the spread this season and 3-2 with the under.

Minnesota has been surprisingly average on defense this year, allowing 26.2 points and 402.2 yards per game. The Vikings pass defense is really struggling, giving up 302.8 yards per game. They still have been able to get a pass rush, tallying 14 sacks this year. Danielle Hunter is leading the way with five. On offense, Minnesota is putting up 22.6 points and 403.4 yards per game. Their rushing attack has been minuscule, averaging just 65.8 yards per game. Dalvin Cook has been hurt most of the year and is questionable for this game as well. Kirk Cousins has played well, throwing for 1,688 yards and 11 touchdowns with just two picks. Adam Thielen has been over 100 yards in all five games and has 47 catches for 589 yards this year.

The Vikings are just 1-4 ATS in their last five games following a win, but 11-5 ATS in their last 16 against a losing team.

While last week was an impressive win for Minnesota, the Vikings haven’t shown much in terms of consistency this year. They have been very lackluster at home, beating the 49ers and losing to the Bills. Arizona has covered in three straight and improving a little each week. The Cardinals still have a pass rush that could give problems to the Minnesota offensive line as well. I look for this game to be closer than many expect it to be.

Bears vs Dolphins

Coming off one of their best offensive performances in years and well rested after their bye week, the Chicago Bears go for their fourth consecutive victory when they visit the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

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Bears vs Dolphins

The Bears (3-1) could easily be 4-0 but for a one-point loss after blowing a 20-point lead against Green Bay in the season opener. But they are riding high after dismantling the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48-10 in Week 4 behind a six-touchddown performance from second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

First-year head coach Matt Nagy wants to make sure Chicago is not riding too high as it prepares to face the Dolphins (3-2), who have dropped two in a row after opening the season with three straight wins and coughed up a 17-point lead in last week’s 27-17 loss at Cincinnati.

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“When you have a good game, it naturally gives you confidence,” Nagy said. “What you have to make sure you prevent is making sure that you (don’t) get complacent with that and think it’s just going to happen every week because it’s not.”

Trubisky, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 draft, had never thrown for more than two touchdowns in a game before carving up Tampa Bay’s 32nd-ranked pass defense prior to the bye. He had five scoring passes in the first half and finished with 354 yards on 19-of-26 passing.

Nagy said Trubisky is the one player that he doesn’t have to worry about maintaining focus following such a successful performance.

“It definitely gave me confidence,” Trubisky said. “But I think just looking back on it, it was just like any other win for the Bears. It’s important. We got better that week. I felt like I got better that week in my growth and development.

“And this is a new week to continue to take another step and grow and get better.”

While Trubisky is ascending, his counterpart at quarterback is struggling. Miami’s Ryan Tannehill, who missed the entire 2017 season with a knee injury, committed five turnovers in losses at New England (38-7) and Cincinnati while throwing for 285 yards combined.

“I thought we were good the first three games,” said Dolphins head coach Adam Gase of Tannehill’s decision-making in the past two games. “But we just had a couple of bad choices, this last game especially.”

Gase, who served as Chicago’s offensive coordinator in 2015, did not place the blame solely on Tannehill, who was sacked three times against the Bengals behind a makeshift offensive line that is missing three injured starters.

Making matters worse for Miami’s offensive line and Tannehill is the prospect of going up against Chicago’s Khalil Mack, who has 24 quarterback pressures, five sacks, four forced fumbles, two passes defensed, one interception, one fumble recovery and one touchdown in his first season with the Bears.

Added Tannehill: “If you draw up a defensive end, he’s pretty much the epitome of what you want to have.”

The first NFL player in 13 years to register a sack and a forced fumble in four straight games, Mack said Tannehill presents problems for a defense despite his struggles with turnovers.

“You watch the film (of fumbling) but you also know that he’s a good athlete and he makes a lot of plays for that offense,” Mack said. “So it’s going to be another challenge. You can’t really get caught up in all of that. It’s going to be a new week and a new challenge.”

Miami needs to get its running game untracked. Kenyan Drake rushed for 644 yards last season after taking over as the starter for the final six weeks, but he has only 153 yards rushing this season and has gained just 52 yards total in the past three games.

Chicago also could get lead back Jordan Howard more involved in the offense. Trubisky had receivers running wide open in the secondary against Tampa Bay, but that likely won’t be the case against Miami, which has 10 interceptions, including three by cornerback Xavien Howard and two by safety Reshad Jones.

“Whether it’s opportunistic or skill or whether it’s a combination of both, they’re around the football,” Nagy said. “And to have 10 interceptions in this league, three by Howard, they’re a good football team, a good defense and they make plays.”

Seahawks vs Raiders

Seahawks vs. Raiders odds, line: NFL in London picks, predictions from dialed-in expert who’s 15-3

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An old NFL rivalry renews Sunday when the Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks meet at Wembley Stadium in London at 1 p.m. ET. The former AFC West foes, who now reside in separate conferences, will be seeking a quality victory to spark a turnaround to their season’s fortunes. Seattle hopes to bounce back from a narrow home loss to the Rams, while the Raiders are looking to recover from their worst performance of the season in a loss to the Chargers.

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The Seahawks are 2.5-point favorites and the over-under for total points scored is 48.5 in the latest Seahawks vs. Raiders odds. Before you make any Seahawks vs. Raiders picks for NFL in London, check out what SportsLine analyst Josh Nagel has to say.

A Nevada-based expert with 20 years of experience in the sports wagering industry, Nagel hit 70 percent of his NFL spread picks last season. He already is off to a strong start in 2018 and heads into the week on a 4-1 run. More important: He has had a particularly sharp sense for these two clubs, posting a record of 15-3 in against the spread picks involving the Raiders or Seahawks during the past two seasons.

In Week 3, Nagel advised SportsLine members that Seattle was in a strong position to pick up its first victory of the season as a slight home favorite against the Cowboys. The Seahawks rolled to a 24-13 win, and anyone who followed Nagel’s advice picked up a win of their own.

Now, he has scrutinized Seahawks vs. Raiders from every possible angle to reveal a strong point-spread pick for NFL UK that he’s sharing at SportsLine.

The Raiders had high hopes for an immediate turnaround after they made the much-publicized hiring of Jon Gruden for a second stint after the coach spent a decade away from the sidelines, but the late trade of linebacker Khalil Mack amid a contract dispute has left them short-handed on defense, a liability that continues to be a major obstacle.

Their offense also has been inconsistent, as quarterback Derek Carr has notched eight interceptions against seven touchdowns, and several of the picks have been crushing blows in tight games.

The Raiders (1-4) should be in desperation mode Sunday, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are destined to cover against a Seattle team that also wants to break out of the doldrums.

The Seahawks (2-3) have exceeded most meager projections with relatively solid play despite massive roster turnover and injury concerns. Even so, they have had trouble closing out games, with three defeats coming by 12 combined points. They were opportunistic in last week’s 33-31 loss to the Rams, forcing two turnovers and making big plays early offensively, but the defense couldn’t get a needed late stop to provide one more possession. Seattle allowed 468 total yards and Rams star running back Todd Gurley found the end zone three times.

We can tell you Nagel is leaning toward the Under, but he has also unearthed the crucial X-factor that makes one side of the spread a must-back. He’s sharing it ONLY at SportsLine.

Who wins Raiders-Seahawks? And what critical factor causes one side of the spread to hit hard? Visit SportsLine right now to see which side is a must-back, all from the senior analyst who’s 15-3 on picks involving the Seahawks and Raiders.

Crawford vs Benavidez

Terence Crawford vs. Jose Benavidez Jr. fight prediction, start time, stream, odds, card, pick

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Nothing quite sells fights like true distaste and animosity. Just ask Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor who, despite what happened after their bout, still set a UFC record for most projected PPV buys in company history.

It’s no different in boxing, especially for WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford on Saturday in his home city of Omaha, Nebraska. In what was first met by critics as simply a stay-busy fight, Crawford’s title defense against fellow unbeaten Jose Benavidez Jr. at CHI Health Center (ESPN, 10:30 p.m. ET) has escalated into much more.

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Crawford (33-0, 24 KOs), a former undisputed junior welterweight champion who’s among the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport, said the war of words between the two began in February when Crawford attended a Top Rank event in Corpus Christi, Texas. Benavidez (27-0 ,18 KOs), who fought on the card, boldly approached Crawford to call him out.

“He just came up to me, told me that I was ducking him, I never wanted to sign a fight, I never signed a contract, I was scared of him, and he was going to knock me out,” Crawford said. “So I told him, I said, ‘Man, don’t you got a fight? You need to focus on your fight before you focus on me right now. You need to be focused on your fight.’ Then just a little heated discussion.

“He’s trying to piggyback off of my name to make himself bigger. You know, talk is cheap. We’re in the same division, same promoter. It’s an interesting fight. He’s always saying that I’m fighting smaller guys, so this is a chance to see what you are made of.”

Months later, the fight became a reality as both added more fuel to the fire by exchanging trash talk in their respective interviews. But the tensions boiled over considerably on Wednesday during media day when Crawford walked in on Benavidez’s public workout and started having words.

RAW: @budcrawford402 and @josebenavidezjr exchange words at the #CrawfordBenavidez Media Day in Omaha, NE. pic.twitter.com/s4EMSDzBg3

— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) October 10, 2018
Top Rank cameras picked up the exchange, which started a bit tongue-in-cheek and quickly turned serious when Benavidez said, “I’m going to do you a favor in Round 2 and fix your teeth” in response to Crawford telling him, “I’m going to beat your ass.”

With his team around him, Crawford drew big laughs by needling Benavidez by saying, “I’m going to get all them burritos out you boy.” He then challenged Benavidez to bet his entire purse on the fight. But tensions boiled over when Crawford, after being called a b—-, told Benavidez, “Your momma is a b—-” and the two fighters quickly needed to be separated.

On Friday, things got even hotter when Benavidez shoved Crawford during the weigh in and Crawford reacted by throwing a heavy right hook that just missed the target and could have caused an interesting situation for all involved. The two were quickly separated to keep cool.

Looks like the welterweight title fight between Terence Crawford and José Benavidez is starting a bit early. pic.twitter.com/KsSqucthxV

— ESPN (@espn) October 12, 2018
The fight is an interesting one for Crawford, who stopped Jeff Horn in June to claim the WBO title in his welterweight debut and is seemingly short on big-name options considering the majority of top fighters at 147 pounds are aligned with Al Haymon and Premier Boxing Champions.

The 26-year-old Benavidez, the brother of WBC super middleweight titleholder David Benavidez, makes up for a lack of top-level experience with his exciting style and brash personality. And despite not having faced anyone of even remote comparison to the talent level of Crawford, Benavidez hasn’t backed down for a second. In fact, it doesn’t seem part of his DNA.

In a feature penned this week by ESPN’s Mark Kriegel, Benavidez talked at length about the turmoil that has embroiled his life outside the ring. Along with a difficult relationship with his aggressive father and manager Jose Sr., Benavidez survived a gun shot to the leg two years ago that left doctors believing he would never fight again.

Now, Benavidez enters the toughest fight of his young career against arguably the best in the sport in a challenge he brought on himself.

“It’s time to show the world what I can do. I’ve been waiting for this my whole life,” Benavidez said. “I am here. I am going to take over this city, and I am going to take his belt. I’m not scared. I don’t see anything special in [Crawford]. I don’t know why everyone hypes him up so much.”

Prediction
The lack of experience on this level certainly hurts Benavidez, who is as high as a +2000 betting underdog. Crawford, in fact, when asked what made Benavidez so special, quickly countered with, “Come on now, we all know who he fought.”

Benavidez may be cocky and aggressive but one can argue those are two characteristics that Crawford can eat up and use to his advantage. In fact, one can equally argue that past history has shown us that purposely trying to get under Crawford’s skin — as fighters like Horn, Dierry Jean and Hank Lundy have tried in the past — is the easiest way to bring out a nasty side of “Bud” who is hellbent on hurting his prey while embarrassing them.

Expect all the talk to bring out the very best in Crawford, whose combination of length, speed, power and precision is all but unmatched in the division. The best strategy for Benavidez is likely to double down on the all-or-nothing nature which got him the fight in the first place and try to entrap Crawford into the kind of messy brawl that might even the stakes just a bit.

It would be a long night for Benavidez to try and box Crawford considering how easily he floats between stances and varies his look and angles. It will likely be even shorter now that he has woken the beast inside of Crawford.

Benavidez vs Crawford

Terence Crawford vs. Jose Benavidez Jr. :fight prediction, start time, odds, card, pick The welterweight champ is back in action this weekend with a little chip on his shoulder

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Top Rank cameras picked up the exchange, which started a bit tongue-in-cheek and quickly turned serious when Benavidez said, “I’m going to do you a favor in Round 2 and fix your teeth” in response to Crawford telling him, “I’m going to beat your ass.”

If the recent build to UFC 229 and the beef between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor has taught us anything, there’s nothing quite like the presence of real animosity between fighters to get fans excited.

It’s no different in boxing, especially for WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford on Saturday in his home city of Omaha, Nebraska. In what was first met by critics as simply a stay-busy fight, Crawford’s title defense against fellow unbeaten Jose Benavidez Jr. at CHI Health Center (ESPN, 10:30 p.m. ET) has escalated into much more.

Crawford (33-0, 24 KOs), a former undisputed junior welterweight champion who’s among the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport, said the war of words between the two began in February when Crawford attended a Top Rank event in Corpus Christi, Texas. Benavidez (27-0 ,18 KOs), who fought on the card, boldly approached Crawford to call him out.

“He just came up to me, told me that I was ducking him, I never wanted to sign a fight, I never signed a contract, I was scared of him, and he was going to knock me out,” Crawford said. “So I told him, I said, ‘Man, don’t you got a fight? You need to focus on your fight before you focus on me right now. You need to be focused on your fight.’ Then just a little heated discussion.

“He’s trying to piggyback off of my name to make himself bigger. You know, talk is cheap. We’re in the same division, same promoter. It’s an interesting fight. He’s always saying that I’m fighting smaller guys, so this is a chance to see what you are made of.”

Months later, the fight became a reality as both added more fuel to the fire by exchanging trash talk in their respective interviews. But the tensions boiled over considerably on Wednesday during media day when Crawford walked in on Benavidez’s public workout and started having words.

Top Rank cameras picked up the exchange, which started a bit tongue-in-cheek and quickly turned serious when Benavidez said, “I’m going to do you a favor in Round 2 and fix your teeth” in response to Crawford telling him, “I’m going to beat your ass.”

With his team around him, Crawford drew big laughs by needling Benavidez by saying, “I’m going to get all them burritos out you boy.” He then challenged Benavidez to bet his entire purse on the fight. But tensions boiled over when Crawford, after being called a b—-, told Benavidez, “Your momma is a b—-” and the two fighters quickly needed to be separated.

The fight is an interesting one for Crawford, who stopped Jeff Horn in June to claim the WBO title in his welterweight debut and is seemingly short on big-name options considering the majority of top fighters at 147 pounds are aligned with Al Haymon and Premier Boxing Champions.

The 26-year-old Benavidez, the brother of WBC super middleweight titleholder David Benavidez, makes up for a lack of top-level experience with his exciting style and brash personality. And despite not having faced anyone of even remote comparison to the talent level of Crawford, Benavidez hasn’t backed down for a second. In fact, it doesn’t seem part of his DNA.

In a feature penned this week by ESPN’s Mark Kriegel, Benavidez talked at length about the turmoil that has embroiled his life outside the ring. Along with a difficult relationship with his aggressive father and manager Jose Sr., Benavidez survived a gun shot to the leg two years ago that left doctors believing he would never fight again.

Now, Benavidez enters the toughest fight of his young career against arguably the best in the sport in a challenge he brought on himself.

“It’s time to show the world what I can do. I’ve been waiting for this my whole life,” Benavidez said. “I am here. I am going to take over this city, and I am going to take his belt. I’m not scared. I don’t see anything special in [Crawford]. I don’t know why everyone hypes him up so much.”

The lack of experience on this level certainly hurts Benavidez, who is as high as a +2000 betting underdog. Crawford, in fact, when asked what made Benavidez so special, quickly countered with, “Come on now, we all know who he fought.”

Benavidez may be cocky and aggressive but one can argue those are two characteristics that Crawford can eat up and use to his advantage. In fact, one can equally argue that past history has shown us that purposely trying to get under Crawford’s skin — as fighters like Horn, Dierry Jean and Hank Lundy have tried in the past — is the easiest way to bring out a nasty side of “Bud” who is hellbent on hurting his prey while embarrassing them.

Expect all the talk to bring out the very best in Crawford, whose combination of length, speed, power and precision is all but unmatched in the division. The best strategy for Benavidez is likely to double down on the all-or-nothing nature which got him the fight in the first place and try to entrap Crawford into the kind of messy brawl that might even the stakes just a bit.

It would be a long night for Benavidez to try and box Crawford considering how easily he floats between stances and varies his look and angles. It will likely be even shorter now that he has woken the beast inside of Crawford.