Week 11: 5-2
Season ATS: 43-25
After having 2 really good weeks in a row (12-2) I’m a little nervous this week because on one hand I know there is going to be some regression as it doesn’t seem possible to keep being on the right side this often and while I really like this week’s card, I am fading some of the best and most prolific teams in the league. One of the themes in this week is fading teams that have big games next week, hopefully we catch them looking ahead.
Game 1 Bal +3.5 @ NO
Bet% Bal 42 NO 58
This was the first game I bet after open, it opened at Bal +4 which I missed but did get in with the 3.5. So the Saints will be playing their 3rd straight game at home and I get the idea that it seems impossible that they could lose all 3 and that’s why everyone would be on the Saints but would you have thought they would lose both of the first 2? I don’t think so which is why I don’t think that alone can be reason to take Saints here or stay away from Ravens.
Baltimore’s season is pretty amazing, at 6-4 they are last in their division but have a +80 point differential, are the 3 DVOA team overall, #7 on defense and # 12 on overall, so by all these measures Baltimore come out looking like one of the best teams in the NFL. The Saints on the other hand at 4-6 have a point differential of 8 and are the 16th overall DVOA team, 30th on defense and 5th on offense. So it looks like we have the better team getting 3.5 on the road in this game, what about the spot?
As I mentioned this is the 3rd game in a row for NO and you would think it’s important for them to win this game for any playoff hope at 4-6 but that’s actually not the case because even 2 games under .500 they still have the same record as Atlanta and are in fact tied for the div lead. As for Baltimore at 6-4 this actually is a must win game because they have 3 teams ahead of them in their division, so to keep pace they must win basically every week.
The big concern in this game for the Ravens is due to major injuries in their secondary they have a below average group that could be exploited by Brees but Brees will be missing Brandon Cooks and really outside of Cooks they have not had any of their WR’s have big games so I tink in this case Ravens should be able to match up and have a very good shot at winning straight up.
Game 2: Mia +7 @ Den
Bet% Mia 27% Den 73%
These next games are really tandem bets for me, I think both of these teams (Mia & Det) are under-rated, I have bet them or the under every week for about a month, both are 7 point dogs against very good and popular teams, I feel like at worst we get a split but there is a good chance of winning both and maybe getting a SU win.
Getting 7 point on a team as good as Miami doesn’t happen very often, Miami is the #4 DVOA team, #2 on defense and #10 on offense. They rank 3rd in opponents Passer rating, #1 in yards/play against and #1 in yards/pass att against. Denver of course is a premier passing offense, 3rd in passer rating and 3rd in pass yds/att but the come into this game not 100% healthy. TE Julius Thomas will miss the game, Emanaual Sanders is expected to play but hasn’t practised all week and will not likely be 100%. These injuries are on top of the issues they have in the run game where Hillman and Ball will both be out leaving the struggling Denver run game with only C.J Anderson, Denver is 26th in yards/attempt with 3.7 and it should struggle worse than that without both Ball and Hillman.
So in this game we have the Denver is the #1 DVOA team overall #2 on defense while Miami is #4 overall and #3 on defense, both teams are separated by 1 win and incredibly both teams have a point differential of 69, these teams are a lot closer in ability, especially with the Denver injuries, than the general perception would indicate and by getting a full TD I think there is great value here for the Dolphins.
One more thing that I think could be important here is that Denver plays KC next week, I don’t know how much of a look ahead spot that is but it is probably the last key game Den will need to win to win the division so there could be something there.
Game 3: Det +7.5 @ NE
Bet% Det 24% NE 76%
Like in the Mia-Den game we have an elite defense here playing against a HOF QB that has been putting up massive numbers for an extended period. NE is the #5 overall DVOA team, 4th on offense and 13th on defense. The Pats are on a 6 game winning streak in which they have averaged 40.5 points per game so its easy to see why 76% of bets would be on them especially at home where Brady and Bellichek have been great.
I do think there are times where going against this group makes sense, I was on Miami, KC and the Jets against the Pats in the weeks those teams covered, I was also on the Bengals the week the Pats blew them out so there’s that. Last week on SNF the Patriots faced a rematch from last years playoffs vs the Colts, a very hyped game the Pats won behind 4 Jonas Gray TD’s. Next week the Patriots play a game which will undoubtedly be the most hyped game of the season, a game that everyone will bill as a possible Superbowl preview as NE plays Aaron Rodgers and the GB Packers. In between those 2 games is this one versus a non conference opponent that just happens to have the #1 defense in the league.
Detroit has given up more than 20 just 3 times this year, the high is 24. The 2 games they played against elite QB’s they won both 19-7 vs GB and 24-23 vs Brees and the Saints. In a lot of ways the Lions defense will present the same problems to the Patriots offense as the Chiefs defense did in week 4 except the Lions are even stronger up front and should be able to dominate the Pats Oline.
While NE has their division and their playoff position all but locked up, Detroit finds itself tied for the divisional lead with GB and will need to play well here to stay in the race. Offensively the Lions are only 22nd some of that is due to the fact that Calvin Johnson missed 2 games and was hobbled for a couple others, now fully health we should see the Lions offense get back to the form they had last season.
While NE has been terrific the last 6 weeks it is important to remember they have had real let downs like the games vs Oak and the Jets. Considering the game last week and the one next week and the fact that we have the #1 defense getting more than a TD, this is a great spot to go against NE.
Game 4: Cle +3 @ Atl
Bet% Cle 45% Atl55%
Atlanta is tied for 1st in their division with 4 wins in the division,those 4 wins are also the only 4 wins they have as they are 0-6 in games against teams not in the NFC South. The Falcons are winners of 2 straight games against Car and TB who they beat for the 2nd time this season, which means there 4 wins have come against the 16th ranked DVOA team, the 29th and the 32nd team twice. The Falcons rank 20th but have the 32nd ranked defense due to mostly to their play vs the pass,Atl is last in yards per pass attempt on defense giving up 8 yards/att.
On the flip side, where the Browns have excelled on offense is in the pass game where they average 7.5 yards/attempt which ranks 7th in the league. That 7.5 yards per attempt this season has been without Josh Gordon who was suspended the first 10 games but will make his début this week. Gordon last season had 87 catches for 1646 yards (18.9 avg) and 9TDs, that the Browns offense was able to be as efficient as they have been without their number 1 target is quite impressive but adding him against the worst pass defense in the NFL should give the Browns a huge edge in this game.
The Falcons for years were one of the best home teams in the league but home field advantage really only applies when the team is good, already this year we saw an average Chicago team come in and beat the Falcons in Atlanta,I think the Browns will do the same.
Game 5: Dal @ NYG+4.5
Bet% Dal 74% NYG 26%
This is another game where we have a favorite in a possible look ahead game. Dallas is coming off their bye after playing in London and on Thanksgiving will play at home to the Eagles in a game that will be for 1st place in the NFC East. Dallas is clearly the better team but as we saw in the MNF game vs Wash, divisional games are always difficult and with Tony Romo still banged up and such a big game just 4 days away this could be a let down spot.
As for the Giants, they are coming off of a game where Eli Manning threw 5 Ints, FIVE! And yet they still had 2 opportunities to win that game in the 4th quarter. With 3-7 record clearly the Giants season is not going anywhere but if they are going to come out and play their best game this is the type of spot they will do it, a prime time game vs a divisional opponent plus for their QB it’s a redemption game. Coming off of his worst performance of the year, Eli should bounce back in this game, it’s important to remember as bad as last week was for Eli, before the 49ers game Eli had only thrown 6 ints in 9 games. Also important here is that Eli played really well vs Dallas earlier this season, in week 7 game in Dallas, Eli passed for 3TD’s and had a passer rating of 116.7 in a 31-21 loss.
That 31-21 loss in week 7 is also a reason I feel good about this game, while Dallas won by 10, the Giants had a couple of opportunities to win that game and were done in by 2 Larry Donnell fumbles, 1 in the redzone when Giants were about to score and 1 in their own end that Dallas turned into a TD to go up 2 scores.