NFL Picks Week 8

The London games make betting very difficult because the travel adds factors that are impossible for us to handicap, teams rarely make regular trips and we have such small sample sizes that there isn’t a lot we can extrapolate from the previous games. I generally stay away from the London games for that reason but am going to take a shot this week and hope that the game plays as closely to regular game as possible.

2015 ATS: 26-15-1

LW 5-2

Game 1: Mia +8.5 @ NE

Game2 Det @ KC -3 (In London)

Bet% Det 56% KC 44%

There are definitely some factors in this game that are impossible to predict. First and foremost, the game is being played in London and there is no way to guess how the travel will impact either of these teams. Secondly, the Lions fired their OC and and offensive line coach and we can’t really know if or how those changes will impact the Lions offense.

Here’s what we do know, the Lions are 29th in DVOA while the Chiefs are 15th, The lions are -61 in point differential this year while KC is -8, The Lions are 32nd in opp passer rating, 32nd in opp yards per pass attempt. The Lions offense is also a problem, they have had no success running the ball (3.5 yards per rush) which allows teams focus soley on their pass offense.

What’s interesting about his matchup is that while there is no more vanilla QB that Alex Smith, its’s the Chiefs who are averaging more yards per pass attempt than the Lions, 6.9 to 6.5 and their big play differential of -2 is much better than the Lions -21. The Chiefs were able to run the ball successfully last week for the first time since losing Jamal Charles and if that should continue against the Lions who are giving up 4.1 yards per rush.

Game 3 NYG +3 @ NO

Bet% NYG43% NO 57%

I continue to back the Giants week after week and it seems like I fade the Saints every week. The Saints are coming off of a big win last vs the Cots where Luck threw 2 interceptions in the first half that led to the Saints building a 20-0 lead that they would hold on to.

I don’t think the Saints are good team and I do think the Giants are. With the saints favored by 3 what this says is that on a neutral these teams are even. I disagree. The Giants are 12th in DVOA while the Saints are 20th and the major difference is the Saints defense. The Saints are 27th in avg opp passer rating (102.2) 30th in opp pass yards per att (7.9) and 29th in opp yards per rush att (4.9). The reason the Saints have seemingly turned their season around with wins the least 2 weeks isn’t because their defense has greatly improved but rather because both Atlanta and Indy turned the ball over 3 times each and the Saints were +5 in turnovers in the 2 games. Last week the Colts outgained the Saints 6.2 to 5.4 in yards per play, in week 6 the Falcons outgained them 5.9 to 5.3.

The Giants too have benefited from turnovers to win games as they are currently+9 on the season and the turnovers have certainly contributed to their defense looking better than they should but they still rank 18-20 in most defensive metrics like opp pass yards per att (20th) and opp yards per rush (18). The Giants are getting healthier on offense, ODB practised fully for the first time in weeks and they may have also found their running game last week with Darkwa.

Game 4. Cin @ Pit pk

Bet% Cin 62% Pit 38%

There really isn’t a lot to write here, these are 2 very good teams that know each other very well. I simply think the fact that Rothisburger is playing his first game back from injury allows us to pick up some value on the line. With Rothlisberger this Steelers offense can make a strong case as the league’s best and the defense currently ranked 16th in DVOA has been better than expected.

If Rothisberger had played last week and looked healthy this line would have been Pit -3. He had a full week of practice and was close to playing last week so I don’t think the injury should affect him much this week. This will be the first week the Steelers have Rothlisberger, bell, brown and Bryant on offense and I think at home this is a great spot for them to give the Bengals their first loss of the season.

Game 5: Min @ Chi +2

Bet% Min 68% Chi 32%

This is a good spot to take the Bears who are coming off of a Bye and playing the Vikings who are playing their second straight game on the road which so far this season has proven to be a difficult proposition.

Minnesota seems a little over rated based on pre season projections and the idea that Bridgewater and the offense would take a major step forward. So far that hasn’t happened. The Vikings are 28th in Overall DVOA and 28th in DVOA on offense, Bridgewater has a passer rating of 87.7 so far this season which is 17th.

The Bears are 2-4 but they might be a little better than that record when you think about the fact that they were without Jay Cutler for 2 weeks and started the season with games vs GB, Ariz and @ Sea.

The Vikings are the better team but by no means are they an elite team and it is spots like this we see mediocre teams falter even against teams that are worse, games on the road, in the division.

Game 6: GB @ Den Un 46.5

Bet% Over 60% Under 40%

Really interesting matchups in this game, we have 2 elite defenses, 1 elite offense and the last ranked offense. The key matchup in this game is the #1 rated defense of the Broncos vs the #4 rated offense of GB. Denvers defense has been amazing so far and the reason that they are 6-0, Broncos Defense is #1 vs the pass giving up 5.2 yards per pass att and 3rd vs the run giving up 3.36 yards per att. GB ranks 5th in pass offense and 6th in rush offense, GB has played 2 highly rated defenses so far Sea and Stl and scored 27 and 24 in those games but both those games were at home wher Aaron Rodgers has been basically unbeatable.

The other matchup features the 5th ranked Packers defense vs the lowest rated offense in the league. The Broncos are last in passer rating, last in yards per pass attempt and 30th in yards per rush attempt. This is a clear advantage for Packers.

The Broncos and the Packers defenses rank 1 and 2 in pressure plays and neither run game has been particular good in the last few weeks. The worry is that the defenses dominate so much that they create turnovers and short fields which lead to quick scores but outside of that, I don’t see how either team gets close to 30.

Game 7 Ari @ Cle +7

Bet % Ari 81 Cle 19

Late Add of Cleveland as this line moved to the full 7 and is also the most 1 sided game on the board in terms of bets, it was around 85% most of the week for Arizona until getting some late Browns action today after going to the 7.

Arizona has been dominant this season especially through the first 5 weeks when they had a point differential of 91. The last 2 weeks have seen them come a back to earth a little with a loss in Pittsburgh to Vick/Jones at QB and then a tough win at home on MNF to the Ravens. Now they play in Cleveland on a short week with a Bye coming up, its a good spot for a let down.

The Browns had played 3 straight tough games including 2 in OT until getting blown out last week in St. Louis. They have been competitive most weeks and if Arizona has a slow start, it should allow the Browns to be live here.

EDIT: Adding MNF

Game 8: Ind +6 @ Car

Bet% Ind 37% Car63%

Statistically this game is a mismatch and all things equal the line is fair to maybe cheap for the Panthers. This is simply a bet that after 2 very big emotional wins, first the road win in Seattle where the Panthers got playoff revenge and then last week on SNF the Panthers got revenge against an Eagles team that handed them their worst loss of the season in 2014, you would have to think the Pathers will have a let down somewhere here. Panthers also have a huge match up vs GB next week which may determine 1st in the conference so this game also acts as a sandwich game.

The line for this game has been dropping all day even though the majority of the bets are on the Panthers, I was able to get 6 but I see 5’s most places down from 6.5 yesterday. If there is a spot for the Colts to jump up and show some of last seasons form, this would be a good one for it after a dismal loss to the Saints  last week where Luck threw 2 costly picks in the 1st half.

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