Week 6 Picks 2020

LW: 2-3

2020: 11-15-1

Game 1: Cin +8 @ Ind

Bet% Cin 56% Ind 44%

This game is a priced correctly when we look at these teams by performance, the Colts are 6th and the Bengals are 30th in DVOA but the Colts offense is not one I think you can trust with TD plus lines, the offense is 25th and it wouldn’t surprise me if they go back to a more conservative offense after last week got away from them. In weeks 2-5 the Colts passed on first and 2nd down ( within 10 pt game) 53% vs Min,47% vs NYJ and 21% vs the Bears. In their Week 1 and 5 losses they were over 60% passing. Even though Frank Reich knows passing is more efficient, in this game with the issues Rivers is having I can see him going to a heavier run game and just grinding this game out.

The Bengals have been getting killed by pressure, their offensive line is 32nd in adjusted sack rate but the Colts aren’t a defense that is great at getting pressure, they rank 20th in adjusted sack rate and they are likely to be without their best defensive player Darius Leanard who did not participate in any practices this week. Joe Burrow has managed to cover 3 games with late scores and I like the chances of something like that here as well.

Game 2: Atl @ Min -4

Bet% Atl 33% Min 67%

It is always risky going against these winless teams especially one that has a talented QB and coming off the firing of a coach so there is some concern but I do like the spot for the Vikings. For the Falcons, I don’t see some big emotional lift from the firing of their coach as all indictions are that Quinn was a very popular coach with his players which is different than what we saw in Houston. The Falcons are just also extremely banged up on both sides of the ball.

Minnesota has had a very interesting season so far, they started out priced as a middle of road team and gt blown out the first 2 weeks to the Packers and Colts and everyone basically sold all their Colts stock. Then from there they won a shootout at home vs the Titans in a game where everyone was on the Titans, beat Houston in Houston and then last week beat Seattle for basically 95% of the game before getting beat on the last play by Russell Wilson. The Vikings are back in the NFC playoff picture and this is game that I think they know they have to have and with the bye next week this should be a full effort game. I am not worried about the Dalvin Cook injury as I expect Mattison to give 95% of what Cook would and vs the Falcons that should be more than enough.

Game 3: LAR @ SF Over 51.5

This total comes in at basically the average score of games through 2020 and I think we are getting value on this due to the way the 49ers offense has looked the last couple of weeks. 2 weeks ago the 49ers had Nick Mullens start and Deebo Samuel was playing in his first game of the year. Last week Garapolo started but was clearly not close to 100% and got pulled. This week Garapolo has practiced in full each day so this will be the first game this year that the 49ers will have their starters at the skill positions and as a result I like them to  have one of their better performances on offense.

The Rams should also have no problem moving the ball against this mash unit the 49ers are fielding on defense, last week the Dolphins were able to use their big WRs down the field against the 3rd and 4th string secondary players that are starting. The Rams receivers win in a different way then just down the field speed but I still expect them to be able to score pretty easily against this group.

Game 4: 2 Team 6pt Teaser Car @ Chi +7.5 & Ari @ Dal+7.5

I am taking the Bears and Cowboys in a teaser, this is really just playing the number, both games move through the 3 and 7 giving us maximum value for the teaser and in both cases the line has dropped in favor of the dogs and has pick at numerous books. There is a lot of sharp money on both these sides and I could certainly see both win straight up.

The Panthers have been one of the best surprises of the season but I think this is the spot to sell high. The Bears will bring the best pass defense that the Panthers have faced so far, they are on extra rest after playing on TNF and this is exactly the type of defense that Nick Foles can have success again.

For the Cowboys, this line has just moved too much after the Dak injury. Andy Daulton is one of the 2 or 3 best back ups in the league and could still be a starter on a number of teams. The Cardinals got right last week vs the Jets but their perception as an offensive juggernaut doesn’t fit, the Cards are 20th in DVOA and have not played great defenses. The Cowboys also catch a break as the Cards lost their best pass rusher Chandler Jones so for one week their offensive line injuries shouldn’t be major issue for Daulton.

Game 5: GB @ TB Over 55

Definitely did not get the best of this number as it has moved 3 points since opening and traditionally I could not imagine going over 55 but in a season where the average game total is at 51 I still think this is too low.

The first thing I like about this game is that both offenses are getting their best WRS back, the Packers get Devante Adams and the Bucs get Chris Godwin back. The Packers are -0 and playing great offense but the defense has really struggled, they gave up 30+ to the Saints and Vikings and the 2 games they held the offenses down the Lions and Falcons were extremely banged up. I think both teams get into the 30’s in this game and what I like is both QB’s are known for 2 minute drives so as long as the game stays score we should see both teams consistently hunting for points.

Game 6: 6 Pt Teaser: Den @ NE -2 and GB @ TB +7.5

Waited for the TB game to go back to +1.5 to add them to his teaser and getting them through both the 3 and the 7. This has been one of the sharps sides all week with this line dropping from 3 to 1 and then just moving from 1 to 1.5. While I think the Packers are clearly better than we thought at the start of the season, they still have mostly beaten pretty mediocre or poor teams this year (Atl, Det (missing Golliday), Min) and TB will be a big step up. I also like getting TB off of that bad loss to Chicago on TNF.

The Patriots are coming off of extra long rest and get both Cam and Stephon Gilmore back in this game. Belicheck is always murder vs young QBs and here we get Drew Lock back in his first game minus his #1 WR, #1RB, #1TE, and #3WR.

Game 7: Adding Det -3 @ Jac

Bet% Det 65% Jac 35%

Adding Det late here and really the bet is just that with Golliday back this offense can carry the Lions and that the Jags are actually the team we projected them to be in the offseason and not the team we saw in weeks 1 and 2. The Jags are 27th in DVOA and while they will get DJ Chark and a couple of key players back on defense, they were still not all full participants in practice and I wonder how they will look like in this game.

I think we are getting a bit of a discount on the Lions because of the record but really after the first 2 weeks where they were ravaged by injuries, the Lions have looked like the team they were expected to be in the offseason as they went into Arizona and beat the Cards and then in week 4 played the Saints tough and lost by 1 score.

Game 8: Hou +3.5 @ Ten

Bet% Hou 42% Ten 58%

This is a game 5hat I have been staring at all week and the line hasn’t moved at all and it is just too much value to pass on in the end. The Titans go from being 3.5 pointbdogs on Tuesday to 3.5 point favorites after winning another game where the score didn’t really reflect the box score. There has been no team who has benefited from turnover luck more than Tennessee as through 4 games they are an incredible +8. Even with that TO luck, their margin of victory through the first 3 weeks was +6, despite playing Denver, Jacksonville and the Vikings.

Compare that schedule above to the Titans who opened the season against the Chiefs, Ravens and Steelers. Houston has been on the other side of turnover luck at -5 through 5 games, the schedule early certainly didn’t help. I think these teams are actually very close in talent and had they played the same schedule would have very similar records, they are not 3.5 wins apart as they currently stand. Getting the extra hook on the FG is just too good to pass on.

Week 5 2020 Picks

I think this has been the most difficult first quarter of a season I have had since posting picks on this blog, you hate to talk about unlucky but the truth is that so many of these games come down to plinko type ends that there are going to be runs where more of these finishes go against you then for you. We hope that starts turning here. I did have a nice size bet on the Eagles ML last week that did help salvage the week but no doubt we have taken some hits to start the year.

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LW: 2-4

2020- 9-12-1

Game 1: Phi +7.5 @ Pit

Bet% 34% Pit 66%

Eagles are coming off of their first win of the year, it is a short week after playing SNF but I think the plus of getting the team feeling good, getting Wentz playing his best game and the defensive line playing their best game that I can see a path to this being a close game late. The real test for the Eagles will be if their new offensive line can hold up against one of the best front 7’s in the league. The Steelers are tied for 1st in adjusted sack rate and are 2nd in total sacks with 15. The Eagles offensive line is 20th in adjusted sack rate but 8 of the 14 sacks they have given up were in the first game vs Washington. The Eagles have changed their offensive game plan since that game going to a more quick passing game, they also have 3 different starters but the Steelers are clearly the best pass rush they have faced since WFT. This game will be the real test case of have the Eagles figured out a way to protect Wentz or did they just play teams that couldn’t get the rush going the last few weeks.

The other main reason for me taking the Eagles here is that we just don’t know how good the Steelers are yet. The 3 teams the Steelers have beat so far this year (NYG, Den, Hou) are a combined 1-11 and the Steelers weren’t overly impressive in any of those games. Steelers are 23rd in run defense DVOA, I think the Eagles can slow them down on offense and stay close in a low scoring game.

Game 2: Ind @ Cle Under 48

Bet% Over 49% Under 51%

I think this number is boosted for 2 reasons, one just the overall scoring and overs that have cashed and secondly the Browns game last week vs Cowboys which was a crazy game that ended with a total of 87 points. In both these teams we have teams that want to run the ball, in fact on 1st and 2nd down these are the 2 teams with the highest rush percentage at 56%. The Colts combine that high run percentage with one of the slowest paced offenses in the league, in neutral situation games the Colts are the 3rd slowest team in the league. The Browns are 21st in pace but that is after playing the number 1 pace team in the league last week in the Cowboys who dragged the Browns to a faster pace game than they normally want to play.

So we have to run heavy teams that have bottom 3rd pace stats in neutral situations and oh yeah the Colts defense is the #1 defense in DVOA. Even if you think that rating is helped by playing poor defenses and hey won’t finish #1 or top 5 they are still probably a top 10 defense. The Colts have the 24th ranked offense by DVOA and I think it is hard to see that offense exploding this week against a Browns defense that is about league average.

Game 3: 6pt Teaser Ari -1 @ NYJ & Car +8.5

There are a handful of games at 7 that we can bring down to 1 and in the end I was deciding between 2, The Cards and the Rams. I ended up going with Arizona because they are coming off of 2 losses and have Dallas and Seattle in the next 2 weeks so this is a game they have to have. The Jets are a team nobody want to bet any money on which can be scary but with Flacco starting and all the injuries, I don’t think his is the week they jump up and get a win.

The Panthers saw some early money on them as this line got moved from the 3.5 open to all the way down to 1 and then back up to 2.5. I can see the Falcons winning their first game but they have so many injuries that it is hard to expect them to be the offense they were in the first few weeks. Julio Jones is questionable and last week only played 15 snaps, Calvin Ridley is probable but also wasn’t 100% this week in practice. The Panthers have been a much better team than expected to start the year and I think considering the injuries it is fair to ask if the wrong team is favored. Either way, I like taking them through the TD here just in case this is the week Atlanta gets it going.

Game 4: Mia +8 @ SF

Bet% Mia 70% SF 30%

Last week I was on Miami at home to Seattle +6 and the game ended up playing mostly how you would hope for with a big dog, both teams moved the ball, Seattle outgained Miami 441 to 415 but Miami ended up settling for 5 FGs and was just 1-3 in the red zone. Now this week they go to San Francisco and play another NFC West titan but this one is one of the most injured teams in the league. The 49ers will be missing most of their secondary ( 6 DBs are out this week) and the Dolphins come in with a pretty healthy and talented WR corps lead by Devante Parker and Preston Williams. The Dolphins also have one of the more talented secondaries so if the 49ers struggle running the ball minus their top 2 RBs, the pass offense should struggle even with Jimmy Garoppolo back.

This could be the last start for Ryan Fitzpatrick if this goes poorly so I think we will see him be more aggressive than he was last week and totally locked in while the 49ers have  a big divisional game on primetime next week with their SNF game vs the Rams.

Added Game 5: Jax +5.5 @ Hou

Bet%: Jax 43% Hou 57%

I am going to bite on the Jags. This line opened at 6.5 dropped below 6 and has stayed there despite majority of bets on Texans. I think a lot of the positivity on Texans has been due to the firing of Bill O’Brien and the emotional uptick that gives Houston but this is still a 0-4 team that is favored by 5.5 in a game that nobody would be shocked if the Jags won. Jags were a popular underdog last week and didn’t cover against the Bengals but I am fine riding them again here.

Games I have not bet but could add on Sunday.

Cin +13 @ Bal

I have stared at this game all week and what scares me is everyone is on the Bengals. The Ravens have not looked like the same juggernaut as last year but what they have made a habit is beating up on bad teams.

Week 4 Picks 2020

I really liked last week’s card and it looked like there was a shot at a big week but once again we ended up splitting the cards with the SNF loss for the Saints.

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LW: 3-3

2020: 7-8-1

Game 1: Jax +3 @ Cin

Bet% Jax 63% Cin 37%

This is one of the few games I bet early this week and got the best of the number with the full 3. I really don’t see how you can make a winless Bengals team that has been a dog in every game this year, a fav of this size. I think based on the first 3 weeks of this season I would make the Jags a fav on a neutral field and I don’t know how you can make the home field worth much here, maybe a point.

I like getting the Jags off of their worst effort of the season and especially since it was a Thursday so they are on extra rest.

The total in this game has been bet up this week from the 45 opener to 49 and in that type of game I like the team with the better offense to win. The Jaguars offense has been extremely efficient to start the year, they are 7th in offensive DVOA and 5th in success rate, the Bengals rank 27th and 21st comparatively.

The Bengals have covered 2 of their 3 games and pushed the other and Joe Burrow has looked good late in games but I am not sold on Zach Taylor’s game management and the poor offensive line play creates erratic throws from Burrow. I think the Jags win this one straight up.

Game 2: Sea @ Mia +6

Bet% Sea 71% Mia 29%

This is not a game where we are going to find a lot of numbers or matchups that favor the Dolphins, this really all about the situation and trying to catch the Seahawks in a bad schedule spot. Seattle is off to a great start due almost entirely to the incredible play of Russell Wilson who is the early favorite for MVP. Seattle is coming off of 2 very high profile games at home vs the Patriots on SNF and then the Cowboys and ended up winning both games in exciting shootouts. Now Seattle has to fly across country and play the Dolphins in hot and humid Florida where Miami is waiting with extra rest after playing on TNF. Seattle’s defense is 23rd in DVOA and should leave the back door cover open for Fitzpatrick.

Finally, just following the line move here, this game opened at Sea -6.5, over 70% of the bets are on Seattle yet the line is dropping to 6 and 5.5 in some spots so clearly there is money on Miami.

Game 3: LAC @ TB Under 43

Bet Over 54% 46%

This line has been dropping since the opener at 45.5 as sharps bet under 45, under 44 and at 43 I definitely have a bad number but I am jumping in as the I think the matchups and injuries definitely point this game to a low scoring game.

Lets start with the injuries, TB will be without #1 or 1A WR Chris Godwin, #3 WR Scotty Thomas missed practice all week and is doubtful and Lenard Fournett is out.

The Chargers injury situation is even more grim, The Chargers will be minus 3 starters on the offensive line, and WR Mike Williams. This will be an impossible situation for Justin Herbert in his first road start, flying cross country, playing the #2 DVOA defense while missing 3 starters on the offensive line. I can see a game script for TB where they get up early and play conservative, run the ball and try to just get out with a win.

Game 4: Min @ Hou -3.5

Bet% Min 32% 68%

We have two playoff teams from last year that are off to 0-3 starts but for me they are in very different situations. Houston has had to start the year with the most difficult schedule for the first 3 weeks of any team in the league opening @ the Chiefs, then playing the Ravens and last week against the Steelers. I think you can make the case that Houston has started with the top 3 AFC teams and the top 2 teams in the entire league. This feels like a good buy low spot for Houston based on who they have played.

 For Minnesota, they have lost an incredible amount of talent on defense, and are giving up almost 300 yards passing per game, their only road game was at the Colts and they were blown out in that game.

We also get good news on the injury front for Houston as they are expected to have Will Fuller back at 100% and Minnesota will be minus their top 3 corners.

Game 5: Ind -2.5 @ Chi

Bet% Ind 53% Chi 47%

I struggled pulling the trigger on this game as it is one where I keep thinking it feels too easy and maybe it’s a trap. The Colts are the #1 team in DVOA, both their lines are in the top 5 in adjusted sack rate and will have mismatches in this game.

The Bears are 3-0 but in both week 1 and week 3 they were down 2 TDs going into the 4th quarter before having incredible 4th quarter comebacks. The Bears have probably upgraded at QB with Foles but  he can be quite volatile in his performances week to week and Frank Reich is one of the coaches that knows Foles game the best so he should have a good plan to defend the Bears passing game.

Adding Game 6: SNF Phi +9.5 @ SF

Bet% Phi 51% SF%

With all the injuries the Eagles have on offense, they only team that has more is the San Francisco 49ers. It’s hard to make a case for the Eagles based on what we have seen in the first 3 weeks but if you were to list the players available in this game and name the top 4, Kittle would probably be the #1 available player but I think you can make a case that the next 3 would be Wentz, Sanders, and Ertz. Obviously wentz has been nowhere near his previous level of play this year but I am going to take one more shot here as a huge dog and see if they can pull out a good performance.

The Eagles under Doug Pederson have a history of winning these road games as big dogs when everyone is counting them out. Last year after starting 1-2 with 2 bad losses @ Atl and home to Detroit, the Eagles went on the road to Green Bay who was 3-0 and won that game straight up as a 6.5 point underdog. In 2018, the Eagles were double digit underdogs to the Rams after a terrible loss to the Saints and missing a number of key guys and won that game straight up as well.

As ugly as the Eagles start has been, a win tonight and they move to first in the terrible NFC East, I think that matters. As for the 49ers, they have done a great job despite all of their injuries but it is hard to expect back ups and young players to play at a high level week in and week out and this is a huge number for Nick Mullins to cover at QB. One last shot on the Eagles with a sprinkle on the moneyline as well.

Week 3 Picks – 2020

We are off to a choppy start in 2020, a mix of some bad beats like Cleveland last week and some bad reads like the Lions – Packers. For week 3 I have a very large card, usually week 2 is over reaction week but for me this year that seems to have been pushed back to week 3 and as a result there is a lot of value on the board. Time to make a move.

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LW: 2-3

2020- 4-5-1

Game 1: Cin @ Phi -4

Bet% Cin 50% Phi 50%

There is probably not another game on the card that has had the line move due to the first 2 weeks than this game. If the Eagles win week 1 and look anything in the 2nd half of that game like they did in the 1st half then this game would be over a TD. In Preseason bets, Eagles were favored double digits for this game. Based on the first 2 weeks you can certainly understand why this line has moved but I just think it has gone too far.

The Eagles were up 17-0 in week one before 2 terrible interceptions by Wentz completely changed the game. Last week the Eagles were 1st and 10 at the Rams 21, down 5 and driving for the lead, when Wentz through an interception in the endzone and basically killed there momentum in that game. Wentz came into the season with a interception rate of 1.7%, last year he was at 1.2%, through the first 2 games this year he is at 4.7%. It is hard to believe that his int rate won’t regress towards that 2% rate that he has traditionally been under, this is  player that has a track record  of not throwing interceptions.

The Bengals defense is one the Eagles should have every opportunity to get well against, last week the Bengals gave up 434 yards on just 58 plays (7.5 yards per play) to a Browns team that had struggled mightily in week 1. Bengals will be missing the keys to their Dline with Geno Atkins and Mike Daniels both expected to be out. The Eagles should be able to run the ball with Miles Sanders and get time to look deep to Desean Jackson

Game 2: Oak @ NE -6

Bet% Oak 34% NE 66%

This was a game I had circled as soon as it was clear the Raiders were going to win om MNF against the Saints. Oakland 2-0, coming off of one of the biggest wins they have had in years, in their new stadium now has to fly out east across the country on a short week and play New England. The Patriots had their own dramatic prime time game but they ended up losing on the last play of the game in Seattle on SNF.  

The Raiders offense feels very funneled at this point with either Josh Jacobs or Darren Waller being the focus, no team has targeted their wide receivers less than the Raiders. To me this is exactly the type of offense that Belichek has been able scheme to a halt in the past.

The Raiders defense has had issues getting pressure the defensive line has just 1 sack and have been bottom 5 in DVOA vs the pass and run. The Patriots offense put up 464 yards off offense last week in Seattle, Cam Newton passed for 397 yards and also rushed for 47 yards with 2 TDs and looks every bit of the top 10 QB he has been throughout his career.

There are 2 things that have had me hesitant on this game, 1st is the fact that there was a very large bet that came in on the Raiders during the week which dropped the line to 5.5 for a few days. The second is that the Patriots play the Chiefs next week and there is some chance they are looking forward to that game though the fact that they lost last week should reduce that trap game factor.

Game 3: LAR @ Buf -2

Bet% LAR 54% Buf 46%

The Rams are playing their second straight road game on the east coast and unlike the 49ers who stayed in Ohio, the Rams flew back to LA and then back out to Buffalo. Both these teams come in 2-0 and in both cases they have played bottom 10 defenses, though I think you can make the case that the Rams have played against better competition.

Beyond the Rams schedule/travel issues, the other big reason to like Buffalo in this spot is that traditionally Jared Goff has struggled on the road and struggled vs defenses that pressure. Last week the Eagles pressure was negated by the fact that their linebackers and safeties played so poorly that Goff had incredibly easy reads all game with wide open throws. Buffalo is easily the best defense the Rams have faced this year and also the defense that is ranked highest in adjusted sack rate so this should provide the best test for the Rams offense.

Game 4: 2 Team 6 Point Teaser: Game 1: Was @ Cle -1 & SF @ NYG +9.5

Last week you would have won teasers on every game, either way except the Eagles game and the MNF game, which probably means it will be the opposite this week but I like this one anyways.

Game 1 I am taking the Browns to beat Washington at home. This line has moved between 7 and 7.5, I played it at the 7 and got it down to 1. Washington is playing their second straight road game and despite a big second half in the opener vs Philly where everything went there way, the other 6 quarters this season they have looked every bit of the bottom 3 team they were expected to be. The Browns are on extra rest in this game after playing on Thursday last week and this is a game they really have to win when you look at their upcoming schedule. The Browns next 3 games are at Dallas, home to the Colts and at Pittsburgh so I can definitely see the coaching staff making sure they get this win and try to get out of that run at 3-3.

Game 2, I have the Giants at +9.5. This is really a missed opportunity as it seemed pretty clear that the 49ers were going to hold out almost every key injured player due to their issues with the field in NJ and I let this line move from 6 to 3.5. While I think the Giants have a decent shot to win this game straight up, I feel better using them in a teaser and getting it at a TD plus. The 49ers are playing with injuries every level of their team and it is hard to see how they field a team that wins this game. SF will be without Garrapolo, Kittle, Bosa, D. Ford, Mostert, Coleman among others, I don’t think there is a unit on the team that doesn’t have 2nd and 3rd string players on it. I will probably have a small sprinkle on the Giants money line as well.

Game 5: Car +6.5 @ LAC

Bet% Car 43% LAC 57%

This line opened at 6.5 and has stayed at that spot the while time and for me it just feels like too many points for Chargers to be favored over anyone. Last week the Chargers played an incredible game vs the Chiefs a game which they lead the entire game but somehow ended up dropping in OT. I like fading them in this spot for a couple of reasons.

First, I see a letdown spot here against arguably the worst team in the league after playing a division rival who is also the reigning Super Bowl champs.

Second, I like fading Justin Herbert in his second start. Last week nobody knew that Herbert was starting, the Chiefs had no film on him and had prepped for Taylor all week. Overall, Herbert played a very good game but now the Panthers get to prep for him with game tape and he was not a player that was expected to be a finished product coming out so I could see some mistakes in this game.

Finally, I like the idea that this is the Panthers first game without CMC, McCaffery is the biggest name on this team and I think his loss will be felt over the long term but Mike Davis should be able to provide 70/80% of the production and I’m not sure the Panthers should be downgraded much this week. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Panthers win this game straight up.

Game 6: GB @ NO -3

Bet% GB 65% NO 35%

Week 3 is chalk full of lone moves and values and this game is another that I think has moved too far. Coming into the year, the Packers were seen by many of the smartest analysts as a team primed for a regression. Now after dominant wins over the Vikings who may be  most downgraded team year over year and the Lions who were extreme banged up and came in missing their #1 WR and most of their secondary, the Packers are being graded as one of the elite teams.

The Saints lost on prime time in Oakland in their first game without Michael Thomas and after seeing that everyone is lining up to bet against them. I still have the Saints as the #1 team in the NFC and this line should for me is probably 2 to 3 points light. I love the Saints to bounce back here and the Packers to look more like the team we expected coming into the season.

** Games I Haven’t bet yet but still might

2 games I have not bet but am waiting to see injury info on Sunday before making bets on. Will confirm before kickoff on Sunday if these are official bets.

Det +6 @ Ari

Bet% Det 24% Ari 76%

The Lions are a team that nobody is going to want to bet this week but what is interesting is that despite everyone being on Arizona this line has not moved past the 6 and has dropped to 5.5 a few times. Last week Washington was a 7 pt dog in Arizona and coming into the year I don’t think anyone saw the Lions only 1 point better than Washington. The Lions have been decimated by injuries but if they get some help in the secondary and Kenny Golliday is active, I will be on the Lions tomorrow.

Hou +4 @ Pit

Bet% Hou 40% Pit 60%

I really want to bet on Houston this week. No team has had a tougher schedule than the Texans who had to start with the Chiefs, Ravens and now get the Steelers. It really isn’t possible to know how good Houston is based on their schedule because they have played the best 2 teams in the league and on top of that have had some injury issues as well. The Steelers are 2-0 but haven’t won ATS despite playing 2 bottom end teams in the Giants and Broncos. I know we all feel like the Steelers are good again and a top end AFC team but based on their first 2 weeks its hard to say that they are at that level right now. I want to bet Houston in this spot but half their team in on the injured list as questionable and I really want to make sure most of those guys are playing before making the bet.

2020 Week 2 Picks (TNF)

Week 1: 2 W 2L – 1P

Last week was a standstill with the push in the Bengals game.

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Game 1: TNF- Cin @ Cle -6

Bet% Cin 58% Cle 42%

I was on the Browns last week against the Ravens and while they clearly played poorly I’m not sure how much the final score told us about the Browns. The Browns had 3 turnovers in the game, 2 fumbles and 1 interception but they also turned the ball over on downs 3 times as they went 0-3 on 4th down. In the end it feels like they tried to do to much against a team they knew they had to be at their best to beat.

I was also on the Bengals last week and it’s a game they should have covered easily but Burrow missed a couple of easy TD passes, then threw a terrible INT and in the end they missed a gimme FG that would have taken the game to OT. I came away feeling bullish on the Bengals long term but in the short term this is a team I want to fade.

This is great spot to fade Cincy, we get a rookie QB making his first road start on a short week playing against a team that is 0-1 and had terrible turnover luck in game 1.   I grade the Browns offense much higher than the Chargers offense the Bengals saw last week and think the Browns win this game by double digits.

Game 2: LAR @ Phi pk

Bet% LAR 71% PHI 29%

This line opened with Eagls -3 and moved all the way to Rams -1.5 before coming back to the Eagles being small favs. The movememt was based on week 1 where the Eagles lost as 6 point favorites in Washington and the Rams won in Primetime vs the Cowboys.

Last week I took Washington because the Eagles were short so many key players, well many of those players will be back here. Eagles will get Miles Sanders, Lane Johnson, Javon Hargrave, Derek Barnett and Brandon Graham all back. Lane Johnson has been argueably the most important lineman on the Eagles the last number of years, that is certainly the case if you look at the record of the Eagles with him vs without him. In games Lane Johnson has missed due to injury/suspension the Eagles are 6-12, in games Johnson starts and plays the Eagles are 36-17.

Doug Pederson is 2-0 vs Sean Mcvay and both those games were in LA, the last one the Eagles were double digit underdogs. Eagles win a close one again here.

Game 3: Min @ Ind -3

Bet% Min 76% Ind 24%

Last week the Colts had probably the worst loss on the card, not only did they kill every teaser, parlay bet but also sunk about 30% of survivor pool entries. Lost in that disastrous result was the fact that the Colts actually dominated the game. Colts out-gained the Jags 445-241 yards, they had 27 1st downs and 7 minutes more of posession. Unfortunately being minus 2 in turnovers and only going 2-5 in the redzone allowed th Jags to stay around and pull out the win.

Last week the Vikings gave up 522 yards of offense, 6.9 yards per play and allowed the Packers to have possession for over 41 minutes. The injuries the Vikings have on defense will make it difficult to hold a good Colts offense.

This line is also giving us a very clear indicator. We have 76% of bets on the Vikings and the line hasn’t moved off the 3 at any point this week.

Game 4: Buf @ Mia +6

Bet% Buf 76% Mia 24%

I have always liked betting Miami as a home underdog in Septemeber because of their home field advantage and even with Covid and no fans that advantage of the heat and humidity continues to be there.

Last year when Ryan Fitzpatrick took over the Dolphins went on to be one of the best ATS teams. Fitzpatrick is capable of winning you game or completely lighting it on fire with interceptions. Fitzpatrick had one of those bad Fitz games last week and because he did and the Bills beat the Jets handily nobody wants to back Miami this week. The public is on the Bills heavy at 76% and you know they are going to be a popular teaser bet, this feels like the perfect week to bet contrarian and take the Dolphins.

Game 5: Det +6.5 @ GB

Bet% Det 23% GB 77%

This is really about line value. Last season when we thought the Packers were better than this year and that the Lions of 2019 were worse than this year and there were fans in the stands, GB was favored by 4. Now this week because the Lions blew a late lead to CHicago and the PAckers blew the doors of the Vikings the line is just under a TD.

The one big question we have to point out with the Lions side is they very banged up this week. On offense Kenny Goliday will miss his second straight game and the secondary is missing Trufant and Justin Coleman. Could we see Aaron Rodgers destroying the depleted Lions secondary? Yes of course but overall, betting against a team that played their best game in years and getting 2 more points on the line than last year is great value and enough for me to take the Detroit Lions.

2020 – Week 1 NFL Picks

It is year 7 of posting picks on this blog. Last season was the worst year I have had and the second losing season as we finished 44-48-1. 2020 is like no other year and this NFL season will be a really interesting one as we will need to figure out how many of the truisms we believe in actually hold up in this strange Covid year. Let’s get to work.

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Game 1: Cle +7.5 @ Bal

Bet% Cle 38% Bal 62%

The Ravens were the runaway stars of the 2019 regular season while Cleveland was maybe the team that disappointed their preseason projections the most.

I like the theory that we are often a year early on teams that are anointed to take a big leap forward. That was true with the 49ers and I can see it being true for the Browns. The Browns were perhaps the worst coached team in the NFL last year and having a credible, professional head coach with a plan that fits his personnel, especially on offense should be major upgrade.

Superbowl 2020

2019 Reg Season : 41-44-1

Playoffs: 2-4

Superbowl LlV: KC Chiefs -1 vs SF 49ers

kc chiefs GIF by Kansas City Chiefs

Sometimes it is hard to separate your personal feelings from your analytical brain, it is hard for those feelings to not cloud your more reasoned thoughts.

I love Andy Reid, his 14 years as the Eagles coach were the period I learned most about football, I lived and died with the results of those teams and even though they didn’t win the big one my feelings for those teams never changes. Andy Reid is my favorite coach of all time and outside of the Eagles being the SB 2 years ago, I have never wanted a team to win more than I do this Chiefs team because of Big Red.

On the field I don’t think there is much to pick from between these two teams and so I keep coming back to 2 things. The first is you are going to need TDs in this game, FGs will not be enough and for all the great thinks Kyle Shanahan has done with this offense the 49ers were 21st in Redzone TD percentage at 54.29%. The Chiefs were 13th  in redzone scoring at 59% and of course those are season long numbers which include games missed by Mahomes or games in which he was well below 100%. If the Chiefs can get off the field giving up a few 3’s instead of 7’s I really like their chances here.

The 2nd thing that keeps coming up for me is the fact that you have the #1 QB on one team and a QB that is somewhere 15-20 on the other. This doesn’t mean that Garappolo can’t have a great game and out play Mahomes in a 1 game sample as Nick Foles did vs Tom Brady, but it is to say if they play 10 times you would think Mahomes has the better game 8 times.

There isn’t a lot to pick between these teams, the Superbowl side doesn’t usually provide a lot of value which is why so many professional bettors focus on props and the derivative markets. I like the Chiefs to win but no more than I would a random week 11 game. More than anything I will be watching as a fan, hoping Big Red finally gets his chip because nobody deserves it more.

NFL Playoffs- Championship Round

2019 Reg Season : 41-44-1

Playoffs: 1-3

Kansas City Chiefs Football GIF by NFL

Game 1: Ten @ KC -7

Bet% Ten 38% KC 62%

The Titans have pulled off 2 of the biggest upsets of the playoffs and deserve all the respect they are getting in this matchup but I think this is the game where the clock strikes midnight on Cinderella. If we look at the games vs the Patriots and Ravens it was clear going in and crystal clear after that if Tennessee got up early in those games they would be able to control the game script and neither the Patriots or Ravens were going to be comfortable playing catch up. Last week was particularly interesting, The Ravens outgained Tennessee 530 to 300 on 5.8 yards per play and had 5 drives end in Titan territory without scoring. If you play that game 100 times maybe in 5 of them Baltimore ends up with 12 points, just seems like an impossible total for how many opportunities Baltimore actually had. The Chiefs are not going to be scared by being down, there isn’t a score that will change what they do and I think it is much more likely that the Chiefs get the Ravens out of their regular game script than the other way around. The Chiefs offense is the best passing offense in football, the year long numbers don’t show that but we forget the number of games that Mahomes didn’t play or wasn’t 100%, they also had a number of games without Tyreke Hill, this is actually the healthiest that offense has been all year and as a result they can basically pick their number.

The Chiefs run defense finished 29th in DVOA  so on the surface it is hard to see how they stop Henry but if I know Andy Reid his plan to stop the Titan run game is going to be simply score early and make them pass. The thing about the Titans and their dominant run game is despite superman performances by Derek Henry, they have scored through the air and that is where KC has excelled on defense. The Chiefs pass defense finished 6th in DVOA and if they can score early and get the Titans to rely more on Tanehill I think they win this game by 2TDs+

Game 2: GB +8 @ SF

Bet% GB 49% SF 51%

It is hard to find any numbers that you look and feel good about the Packers in this spot, The 49ers finished ahead of GB in every phase in DVOA, had to deal with more injuries during the season and the regular season matchup was a 37-8 49er blowout. I just think we are going to see one close game this weekend and while most people would take the Titans for that best underdog I can see a scenario where the Packers pull off the upset. Green Bay’s defense started out playing great football for the first month and then declined for the middle of the season. Since the 49er loss, the Packers have played 6 games and given up more than 20 just once, last week vs Seattle. I also think we have seen a lot of games where the 49ers have essentially hid Jimmy Garappalo, last week Garappolo had just 19 attempts, completed 11 of them for 131 yards, what happens if the Packers score first? Jimmy has been prone to turnovers so if GB can try to put more of the game in his hands they can definitely keep this a one score game. In the end I just think in a playoff game where Aaron Rodgers comes home to play against an unaccomplished QB getting 8 points is really good value. If the Packers score early and there is an opportunity to middle, I can see myself taking that as well.

Divisional Round

2019 Reg Season : 41-44-1

Playoffs: 0-2

Another tough weekend, I remain convinced Eagles win last week if Carson Wentz doesn’t go out early but in the end these things happen and runs like this happen as well. I don’t love really anything this week, I like both big favs in the AFC and will use them in some ML parlays and teases but for official plays we have 1 teaser and 1 total.

Game 1: 6 pt Teaser Min @ SF -1 & Sea +10.5 @ GB

I am taking both the AFC West teams here in a teaser. The Vikings got a huge win vs the Saints in a game I was on the wrong side of, the thing I should have remembered is that Zimmer and Vikings have traditionally played the Saints very well. The other big issue in last week’s game was how poorly Sean Payton managed the game and specifically end of half and game clock situations. Asking the Vikings to one again fly across country and win as a TD underdog seems like too much, I see the 49ers getting a lot more pressure on the Vikings and I think Shanahan targets a player like Anthony Barr in space.

I think there is a good chance for Seattle to win this game, I expect it to be a low scoring game that comes down to a late drive because that’s basically how every Seattle game ends. Seattle has played in 12 one score games this year including last week vs a team that lost their starting QB in the first half and then had their 40 year old back up QB play the entire 2nd half with a torn muscle. The Packers are the weakest of the home teams with a bye in DVOA and in fact Seattle finished ahead of them so I definitely think Seattle keeps this close.

Game 2: Seattle @ Green Bay Under 46.5

I think there are a lot of factors in this game that point towards the under and a lower scoring game. First off we have the Packers defense which I think is the best and healthiest unit in the of the 4. The Packers defense in their last 5 games gave up an average of 14 points and a high of 20 though they certainly didn’t play a murder’s row of QBs. Seattle is playing without their top 2 RBs but last week continued trying to stay with the run despite having no success outside of Russell Wilson scrambles vs the Eagles # run defense. This week Seattle faces a much easier run defense, GB is 23rd vs the run and for the purpose of the under I would much rather see Seattle running instead of having Wilson looking to air it out.

The Packers meanwhile have had issues scoring much of the 2nd half of the season despite a pretty easy schedule and really morphed into a team that grinded out games in the low 40’s. In their last 8 games GB has scored more than 24 just once and none of those games would have gone over this total of 46, in fact the last game they played with a total higher than 46 was vs KC in week 7 when they won 31-24. I think this game is a 23-20 game and not sure which side comes out ahead.

Wild Card Weekend Picks

2019 Reg Season : 41-44-1

Game 1: Team 6pt Teaser: Buf +8.5 @ Hou & Min @ NO -2

Teasers in the playoffs have been very profitable over the last few years and while I think you can make a case for all 4 games to be good teaser opportunities these 2 sides fit the classic Stanford Wong criteria (teasing through 7 and 3) which gives us maximum value.

Buffalo I think has a great shot of winning straight up in Houston, Houston has been bad on defense most of the year, they finished 27th in DVOA and were carried by their offense. The issue for the Texans in this game is that there seems to be clear correlation between the success of the Houston offense and availability of Will Fuller. According to ESPN Stats and info the Texans average 296.8 Passing yards per game with Fuller on the field and only 158.3 when he isn’t. Fuller is out his game and for the Bills who have one of the best corners in the league in White, they should be able to handle this offense without Fuller. The reason I didn’t just take the Bills +2.5 is that I can’t trust Josh Allen in this spot. The Bills should be able to move the ball vs the Texans but I can also see a scenario where Allen misses wide open throws or turns the ball over.

The Saints might be the best team in the NFC but end up as the #3 seed and hosting a game on Wild Card Weekend. The Vikings are limping into the playoffs, Dalvin Cook missed the last 2 weeks of the year with a shoulder injury and will be less than 100%, Adam Thielen caught only 3 passes in the 2 games after returning from his injury. The total has been bet up and I can see both teams having success moving the ball but in the end the Saints have too many advantages on offense to not pull this game out and we get them here under the 3.

Game 2: Sea @ Phi +1.5

Bet% Sea 82% Phi 18%

The Eagles are the side nobody wants to bet and we see that in the bet splits. The Eagles have played the last 4 weeks minus 5-7 starters on offense and yet Doug Pederson has been able to scheme this offense to 4 straight games of 400+ yards of offense. THe Eagles should get a couple of their key guys back in this game as Miles Sanders will play and Zach Eartz seems like he may be cleared, Lane Johnson is a game time decision but seems unlikely. The Eagles offense has found a rhythm the last month and they will know exactly what to expect vs Seattle. The Seahawks play base defense more than any other team in the league, they play base over 65% I fully expect the Eagles to be able to take advantage of those linebackers with their backs and tight ends.

The Eagles defense is very susceptible to deep passes to outside WRs, they are in the bottom 5 in Explosive plays given up (27th), TDs (32nd), Yards allowed per game (32nd), it is clear that is the way to attack them. Seattle, despite having one of the best QBs in the league has been steadfast in it’s run first approach and that continued last week despite losing their top 3 RB’s. The fact that Seattle continues to operate it’s offense in sub optimal manner will be a bigger issue here because the Eagles defense is much better at home. The Eagles give up 16.8 pts/game at home compared to 27.5 on the road, Opponents passer rating at home is 81 compared to 99 on the road and they give up 4.8 yards per play at home compared to 6.1 on the road. I also like the fact that you have one of the most analytics forward and aggressive teams in the Eagles compared to Seattle who routinely will kick FGs or punt in situations where going for it on 4th down is the clear play.