My normal process for picking games is to first use key metrics to help determine the better team and then try to analyse the betting data and any team situations ie schedule issues, let down spots, home road splits, to see if there are opportunities. This week for the most part we can skip the first part because I am not taking most of these these teams because I think they are good, they’re not. These are some of the ugliest teams in the league but I do think they are the games presenting the most value this week so basically I will hold my nose make the picks and hope that God Does Love Ugly.
1)Impact of Injuries to Skill Positions Over Rated?
Week 3 once again seemed to make the case that injuries to skill positions are often over rated by the public. In Week 2 the Chiefs played without star RB Jamal Charles and star S Eric Berry, the announcement that Charles would miss the game on Sunday moved the line which had been bet down to +3.5 back to +5.5. The Chiefs not only covered the game but easily won the game straight up 34-14 and Charles’s replacement Knile Davis had 132 yards and a TD on 32 carries.
Jamal Charles was officially listed as out and this line moved to 6. At the open -4.5 I thought KC was a pretty good play but didnt quite have enough value, I had Charles as a non factor from the start he was either going to be out or limited so to me his being officially out doesnt change how I see this game. The more closely I follow this the more I think injuries to skill positions are over rated, especially in the first game if the injury. Last week we saw Charles leave early and Nile Davis played well picking up 79 yards on 22 carries and scoring 2TD’s, he also had 6 catches for 34 yards.
Miami is coming off of a loss in Buffalo where they got outplayed in all 3 phases, including giving up big plays on special teams. I just do not think they deserve to be 6 pt favorites over a reasonably functional team, which the Chiefs are. Chiefs are riddled with injuries but as someone who watched Andy Reid coached teams for a decade he generally does his best work when his team gets hit by the injury bug, I think we’ll see that here.
Week 3 seemed like a tougher week for me, not a lot of the games jumped off the page and even the ones I like have some things that scare me. Anyways here are the picks.
Game 1 SD +2.5 @ Buf
Bet % SD 64 BUF 36%
Both San Diego and Buffalo are coming off big wins in week 2, SD beat Superbowl champion Seahawks while Buffalo won their home opener vs divisional opponent Miami. Buffalo is off to an 2-0 start, so the question for me is, is it sustainable? When looking at what Buffalo has done so far in first 2 weeks compared to their results last season then either this team has improved to elite levels or they have simply outperformed the first 2 weeks. Considering their minimal roster improvements in off season it does not seem likely they have improved to these levels especially the yds/pt against and the yard/pass attempt. We also know how important turnover margin is winning and losing games, Buffalo is +4 in TO margin, it is impossible to think that can keep up.
Both teams won straight up as big under dogs last week and now meet with a chance to go 2-0 which nobody would have expected. What bothers me here is the opening line of Mia -2, both teams are coming off similar wins so there is no extra motivation or let down potential.Whatthe line tells us is that on a neutral field Mia is 5-6 pts better than the Bills. The numbers do not back up Miami being the better team, by DVOA Buf is ranked higher and last year defensively Buf was one of the best DVOA teams raking 4th.
Buffalo is also a much better team at home, 6-2 ATS last year due partly to being significantly better in the passing game at home averaging 6.8 yards per pass at home compared to only 5.2 on the road. Statistically these were pretty even teams with Buffalo having the edge on defense but there is a significant home field advantage here, add in the fact that this is the first game in Buffalo after the announcement of the team sale and it remaining in Buffalo and there is plenty of reason to think that the Bills will play an A game.
This is really just a case of taking a much better team, at least in terms of last season, in a game they just have to win. By DVOA Bengals were the #6 ranked team and the Ravens were 23rd. Andy Daulton struggled mightily in the Bengals playoff loss but overall he was very effective as a passer last year, Bengals.
Defensively these teams were pretty similar but you see the advantage Bengals have in the passing game averaging 7 yards per pass compared to 5.8 by Bal and Cin also averages almost a yard more per play. Ravens will be without Ray Rice and need to rely on the pass game, I like Bengals to be in control of this game early and the win.
2) NE @ MIA +4.5
This is a game that pops up a couple of times every year, Pats go on the road and are favored by more than a FG and less than a TD against a Div opponent and the majority of bets placed are on NE. For this game we see almost 80% of bets on NE yet the opening line is dropping. Add to that the fact that NE was not a good road team last year finishing s 2-7 ATS on the road.
Gronc is back but hasn’t played all pre-season, add to that less than stellar outside WRs and its difficult to expect NE to be fully efficient on offence. Miami is a notoriously difficult place to play in September due to heat and humidity and the Pats have struggled to look good there even when they had dominant offenses.
On defense NE last year was substantially worse on the road giving up 7.2 ards per pass on road compared to 6.3 at home, with new Miami OC Bill Lazar showing well in the preseason I expect Miami to be able to score in this game and stay within a FG with a chance to win.