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.
Game 1 Mia vs Oak +4 (In London)
Bet % Mia 60 Oak 40
The first of our ugly ducklings is Oakland playing Miami in London. Obviously there is no home field advantage here so this is a true line. Oakland is 0-3 and ranked 30th in DVOA, while Miami is 1-2 and ranked 23. That being said, Oakland is 2-1 ATS and due almost entirely to their defense as the offense has only averaged 12.3 pts a game and 20.6 yards per point, both of those numbers are significantly lower than last season so we should expect them to score a little more going forward.
Miami has had a week full of controversy as early the week HC Joe Philbin refused to support Ryan Tannehill as the starting QB, this went on most of the week until Thursday when Philbin finally supported his QB and also ended up apologizing for his handling of the situation. The Dolphins have lost 2 straight games they were favored in ad with the strange week they have had being favored by more than a FG seems like too much here.
Game 2 TB +7.5 @ Pit
Bet% TB29% Pit
This game is a “Marco special”, every week I try to guess the Marco D’Angelo pick on Gill Alexander’s Beating the Book podcast, Marco is one of my favorite cappers, I guessed right this with TB-Pit. The Marco special is essentially looking for a match up where one team severely out performed the week before vs a team that severely under performed, I am not sure there wll be a better example all season the this one.
TB opened the week on Thursday night getting bleached 56-14 in a game where everything that could of gone wrong did go wrong. The Steelers ended the week on Sunday Night Football by beating a very good Panthers team 37-19 in a game where everything that could go right did go right. Basically the thought is that the too performances combined create an inflated line here and that after a great game Pit is in for a bit of let down, while TB after getting embarrassed on national TV should put out their best effort.
Also key here for TB is they Mike Glennon who started most of last year takes over at QB for an injured McCown who has been terrible so far and more importantly Gerold McCoy their star DT will be back from injury as well. Coming into the season many had TB pegged as a team on the rise, they had talent on D, a stable of giant talented receivers and a new head coach in Lovie Smith that has had a history of winning. They sshouldn’tbe this bad.
Jax +13 @ SD
Bet% Jax 36% SD 64%
There isn’t enough lipstick in the world to pretty up this pig, The Jaguars have been terrible in every phase this year a continuation of being terrible last year. The Jags have been outscored by 75 points in 3 games and are -54 ATS. It is never easy to bet a team this bad and there is really only one reason, 13 points is a lot of points.
We know betting double digit favorites is a losing proposition long term and 13 here is a lot for the Chargers to cover considering they are coming off of 2 very big wins, first beating Seattle at home and then flying cross country to beat the 2-0 Bills. This game seems set up for a bit of a let down for SD, a game where they should be able to grind out and win by 7-10 points.
Phi @ SF-3.5
Bet% Phi 49% SF51%
As an Eagles fan that has watched every down of every game, I knew I would be betting SF as soon as the Eagles-Wash game ended in Week 3. The Eagles are 3-0 and 2-1 ATS but the level of competition has been pretty underwhelming so far, especially the defenses they have faces. Jax, Indy and Wash last season were 3 of the worst teams in the league in defending the pass as they all gave up 7 or more yards per pass attempt. These poor defenses the Eagles have played have let the Eagles outscore their issues on defense where they are giving up 7.5 yards per pass and at 12.3 yards per points, offenses are scoring against the Eagles very efficiently.
The 49ers are having issues of their own, losers of 2 straight games 49ers have not scored in the second half of their last 2 games, both of which they led and then imploded and gave the games away. The fact remains that the 49ers were thought to be an elite team by almost all coming into this season and elite teams do not lose 3 games in a row. They are facing a banged up east coast team that has been down at least 10 points in every game, as situations go this is basically a perfect one for San Francisco.
While earlier this week I wrote about injuries to skill positions being over rates, I think the Eagles O Line injuries are being under rated here. The Eagles have lost both quantity and quality on their offensive line, Evan Mathis a probowl LG is out for at least 8 weeks, top 5 pick Lane Johnson the RT will be serving the last game of his 4 game suspension and maybe most importantly starting this will be the first start center Jason Kelce the QB of that line and the key to their running game will miss after suffering an injury last week. The eagles have only 1 starter in a position they were slated to start this week, against a strong front like SF that will be too much to overcome.
Ten+7.5 @ Ind
Bet% Ten 22% Ind 78%
I wrote earlier this week how injuries to QB’s have had bettors jump on the opposite side and in each of those cases the team with the injury has covered the spread. Here we haven’t seen the line move but almost 80% of bets are on the Colts. The Colts are a favorite of public bettors but have only covered 1 game this season wih was last week against the Jags.
This is a divisional game so certaily these teams know each other well but the Titans bring the better defense 14th ranked by DVOA vs the Colts 27th ranked, the Colts are giving up 6.2 yards per play so unless they get into turnover problems, the Titans should be able to stay close.
NE @ KC +3.5
Bet % NE 48% KC +3.5
This line jumped out to me right away as New England is still being treated as an elite team when their results so far do not indicate that is true, this may be the last week that is the case. BY DVOA NE is ranked 4th due to their #1 ranked defense but it is important to not that Football Outsiders has not adjusted for opposition yet in those and the Pats opponents so far Miami, Oakland and Minnesota are among the worst offensive teams in the league.
The Pats real problems are on offense where they are averaging 4.8 yards per play, 5.8 yards per pass, the Pats are having issues on the offensive line and Tom Brady has only passed for 3 TD’s in his first 3 games.
Kansas City played an awful first game losing 26-10 to the Titans and much of the KC downgrade is based on that loss as they played the Broncos tough losing 24-17 and then beat Miami in Miami last week. That first game featured a very strange game plan from KC where they only rushed 17 times the whole game which lead to only 22 mins of time of possession. The Titans game also featured 3 Ints for Alex Smith which is very out of character for him. In the last 2 games KC has got back to the game plan that worked so well last year which was leaning on the run game 31 rushes for 131 yards @ Den and 41 rushes for 174 yards in Miami, with Jamal Charles back in this NE game I expect KC to continue rushing the ball and keeping Alex Smith out of difficult down and distances.
Another key in this game is the turnover margin. The Chiefs are -5 and are yet to create a turnover while NE is +6, these things tend to even out over the season but through the first 3 weeks NE has been greatly helped by turnovers while KC has been severely hurt.