Game 2: Phi -2 @ Hou
Bet % Phi 72 Hou 38%
This is a game that most people i respect in the industry have been on the Texans and the Eagles pick is clearly a public play which is always a concern. That being said I feel as a fan of the team I have pretty good insight on the Eagles and think there are some key returns from injury hat are not being properly accounted for.
The Eagles at 5-2 are #6 in DVOA but have not been very efficient on offense 24th in yards per pass at 6.4 and 15th in yards per rush at 4.2. There have been 2 key reasons why they have been so inefficient, the first is injuries to the Offensive line. The Eagles have not had 1 game this year with all 5 starters playing and in fact only had 1 game the opener where 4 of the starters played, the opener in Jacksonville where LG Evan Mathis was hurt during the game. This week in Houston, with the return of the star center Jason Kelce the Eagles will have 4 of their top 5 O linemen playing. The Kelce return should greatly improve the Eagles run game as nobody on the Eagles line gets the 2nd level better. The return of Darren Sproles should also help the run game as well as the special teams.
The 2nd reason the Eagles have been so inefficient is Nick Foles has been pretty mediocre this season, his passer rating is 80.7 which is 27th in the league. The run games ineffectiveness has led too many pass heavy gameplans like last week where Foles threw the ball 62 times. I expect a much more balanced attack and with Texans injuries at LB, Both Cushing & Clowney are out, the Eagles should be able to control this game on ground and give Foles some shots with play action.
Game 3: NYJ+10 @ KC
Bet% 39% KC 61%
This line opened at NYJ+10, I knew I was going to bet it at open but thought maybe it would go to 10.5 or 11 after a week of the media killing the Jets but that never happened. On Thursday I started seeing the juice move and looked like the line would be going below 10 so i bet and didn’t get a great price at -185. Well the line continued to drop and on Sunday morning we see mostly 8.5’s and 9’s.
You cannot play worse than the Jets did last week, the committed 6 turnovers and gave up 10 yards per pass, it’s kind of amazing they only lost by 20 points. With 6 turnovers it’s impossible to take anything out of that game besides they had no shot but because of it I think we get lots of value on the line, at least at the open we did. Tm me this line should have been somewhere around 7.5.KC is not a team we expect to be double-digit favorites, they are a ball control offense, they average 5.2 yards per play(23) 6.6 yards per pass (23) not usually the type of offenses we see as big favorites.
With a full week of practice I think Mike Vick will be able to manage the game and not let it get out of hand, it will be a run heavy attack, the one thing the Jets do well is run the ball 4.7 yards per attempt(5th) and the Chiefs have not been great against the run giving up 4.7 yards/attempt which is 27th.
Game 4: Jax +10.5 @ Cin
Bet% Jax 33 Cin 67%
This is another line where I did not get the best number, it opened at 13 and as of Sunday morning hovering around 10-10.5. The rationale for this one is pretty simple, the Bengals have played an incredibly tough schedule the last 4 weeks and have 2 difficult games coming up after this week so this looks like a big let down spot.
The last 4 games for the Bengals were MNF @ NE, the 37-37 tie vs Car, road game in Indy and then a must win home game vs divisional rival Bal, then after this game they have a short week playing on TNF vs divisional rival Cle and then a game @ NO. It seems impossible not take a deep breath this week and look ahead to the next 2 games.
As for the Jags, their defense has been pretty good the last few weeks. Against Pit the Jax defense gave up 1 TD, 1 TD to Ten, 0 to Cle and again only 1 to Miami last week. The problem is that while the D gave up 3 TD’s on those games,Blake Bortles also through 3 INTs for TD’s including 2 last week to Mia. If Bortles can keep his INT’s out of the end zone, the Jags should be able to keep this game close.
Game 5: Den@NE under 52.5
Bet% Under 37 Over 67%
This is a bet strictly due to weather. I woke up this morning and saw the amount of snow in NE, went to twitter and saw a bunch of people I respect hammering the under. Within minutes the total dropped from 53.5 to 53 to 52.5 where I got it all the way down to 50. I see it somewhere around 51 now. Even without the weather I leaned under in this game as while this game is always billed as Brady vs Manning as it should be both these teams are much better on defense than I think people realize. Den is the #2 DVOA defense while the Patriots are in the top 10 in yards per play against and yards per pass against. The hope is that due to the snow and cold we see more ball control in this game, the clock keeps moving, a shorter game and hopefully less scoring opportunities.
Game 6: Bal +2 @ Pit
Bet % Bal 48 Pit 52
The Steelers are playing their 3rd straight home game after wins vs Hou on MNF and the win vs Indy that featured the best game of Ben Rothlisbergers’ career. Even though this game is a rivalry game on SNF I do think there this a chance they get off to a slow start, playing a 3rd straight game at home could bring some complacency for the Steelers especially after such an impressive game last week. The Steelers coming off their 6 TD game vs Indy now are 8th in DVOA 4th on offense and 26th on defense, before the Colts game they were ranked 14th overall and 12th on offense.
The Ravens have not been getting credit for just how good they have been this season, they are the #2 team in the league in DVOA, 7th on offense and 5th on defence. On defense they lead the league in yards/point giving up a point for every 21.2 yards and are 2nd in RZ TD% giving up TD’s only 40.7% of the time teams enter the RZ. That RZ TD% works against the Steelers who are 23rd in the league in scoring in RZ at 50%, in fact that 50% is up 10% from last week due to their incredible 5/6 game vs Indy. In week 2, Pit went 0-2 in RZ against Bal only getting 2 FGs.
In the end I think this is a game between one of the best teams in the league vs a good team that played their best possible game last week and because of it the numbers look closer than they really are. Both these teams know each other very well, the Ravens have won 5-7 SU against Pit and I expect that trend to continue here.