Month: October 2016

2016 Week 8 picks

2 straight 3-3 weeks and basically .500 since week 1 has really shown just how hard this season has been and the need to  cut out the mistakes or bets that I know are low probability long term. This week that meant not betting Seattle even though in my head I keep thinking this line (-1.5) is too cheap. It is cheap but it’s clearly cheap for a reason. Seattle is coming off of a very physical, very emotional game on SNF and now have to travel across the country and play what is still an elite QB and offense. It’s a terrible spot that I wanted to bet all week but will not because I am trying to be smart. Seattle may win this week but if this game is played under these same exact scenarios they probably go 4-6.


Week 7: 3-3-1

2016: 22-17-2

2015: 63-37-3

Game 1: Det +1.5 @ Hou

Bet% Det 56% Hou 64%

This is a game that where we have 2 teams with 1 unit playing very well and one playing terrible and I think who wins comes down to which of the poor units you expect to outperform.

On the plus side, the Lions are 13th in offensive DVOA, I have them #6 in passing offense and 17 in running offense. The Texans defense is 12 in DVOA defense 7th vs the pass and 26th vs the run. While the numbers are very similar I give the advantage to the Lions here because I think injuries to key players have lowered their overall efficiency.

The Lions started the year with Riddick and Abdullah at RB as a sort of Thunder and Lightning combo. Abdullah got hurt and they had hoped Dwayne Washington would take over and then he got hurt. Last week the Lions were without Riddick and Washington and newly signed Justin Forsett and Zach Zenner split carries. This week the Lions get both Riddick and Washington back along with Eric Ebron who missed the last 3 weeks with injury.

On the flip side we have the 32nd ranked Texas offense vs the 32nd ranked Lions defense. So again who do we expect to outperform? Well again I think the Lions getting healthy this week helps give them the advantage. Lions last week got their best pass rushed Ziggy Ensah back and while Darius Slay and DeAndre Levy will miss this game, Detroit should get Haloti Nagta back and he and a healthy Ziggy Ensah should give the Detroit defense a boost.

On the flip side the Houston offense is coming off of a dismal performance on MNF and if Osweiler gets off to a slow start or Detroit scores early and forces Houston to score I think you will see the home crowd turn on Brock Osweiler again and it could get ugly. Not unlike Bortles on TNF, the trust of the cord and his teammates in Osweiler feels like it is at a tipping point and a slow start here could be disastrous.

In the end you have 1 QB playing as well as any Qb right now, Stafford is 3rd in passer rating vs a QB really struggling and we also saw Lamar Miller get banged up in that MNF game which is a problem since he has been the only part of the offense that has been successful and they will need him to be great if they are winning here.

Oh we have also seen a steady line drop here, wouldn’t be surprised it ends at a pick or Detroit a slight fav, follow the $$ (more…)

Week 7 Results: 3-3-1

Back to back weeks of middling results and though this week felt very different on Sunday than last week the result was the same. Since week 1 I have basically been .500 and have just not been able to make any real progress and I think one of the reasons is that the results for the year have been kind of anomalous at least in one major way.

This comes from Gill Alexander @beatingthebook who week after week during the NFL season churns out 2 of my favorite betting podcasts and has been doing so for year. According to Gill’s numbers, through 7 weeks, the spread has mattered in only 8 games this season, meaning that in every other game the favorite has won and covered or the underdog won straight up. So of the 107 games played so far only 8 teams has a dog covered but not won straight up. Remarkable. I don’t think that this can continue at the 92% pace it is on so if we keep getting dogs with value we should see some plus weeks start to pop up again. We hope.

Week 7 Results: 3-3-1

steph-500 (more…)

2016 Week 7 Picks

Last week in the write up I mentioned that the card did not look like the usual card I have, it was all favorites including road favorites and included teams that were heavy public sides. There are no hard rules, short road favorites are not always the wrong side but the cases they are not are fewer than when they are. Avoiding the really bad  expected value situations has been a big reason for my success the last 2 seasons and last week was a good reminder of why chasing the anomaly is a losing play long term.

This week is a return to the types of pays that have done well for us week after week, lots of dogs especially the uglies that nobody wants to bet.

Week 6: 3-3

2016: 19-14-1

2015: 63-37-3

Game 1: Min (5-0) @ Phi ( 3-2) +3

Bet% : Min 76% Phi 24%

This is the fun thing about betting, last week the Eagles were the one game looking back that I know I talked myself into the wrong side. Short road favorite, heavy public play and I ignored everything I know about the NFC East. This week I think the Eagles are absolutely the team that is the right side because almost everything from last week is reversed.

Eagles are a full FG home dog getting 20-25% of bets depending on who you ask. And why wouldn’t you want to bet the Vikings? They are undefeated, have the #1 defense and 5-0 ATS so backing them has paid off for bettors huge this season. The Eagles are coming off of 2 straight losses, last week after losing their starting RT Lane Johnson to suspension, Washington got pressure all over them so why wouldn’t we bet on the Viking much better pass rush to dominate even more?

I like the Eagles here because I think their defense will get right and be able to dominate the Vikings offensive line. The last 2 weeks Eagles defense had their issues with Washington and Detroit but those teams had 3 Wide sets and passing games that Eagles couldn’t match up with due to lack of depth in the secondary. The Vikings have the worst rushing attack in the league and are limited in passing game, that should allow the Eagles Dline to pin their ears back and make things difficult for Sam Bradford.

There is no question the Vikings defensive line will target Vaitai the rookie RT taking over for Lane Johnson after his struggles last week. I expect the Eagles to do a much better job of protecting the rookie with a TE or back helping and leaving Jason Peters on his own on the left side. Vikings will certainly get to Wentz this game but I expect both QBs to be pressured a lot in this game so we will see which QB handles it better.

By DVOA Vikings are #1 but even after 2 straight losses the Eagles are still 4. I expect both teams to slide 4 or 5 spots by end of year but I do think they are closer than it feels this week due to the Eagles loss last week. Minnesota offense has been just doing enough to get by but have not been put in a position where they have to score.

1 more thing, I talk a lot about luck and regression of those factors to the mean. Vikings are 1st in takeaways and 1st in giveaways, they are +11 through just 5 games. There is no way that keeps up long term, whether it happens this week or the next they are going to lose turnover battle in a game.

Game 2: SD +6.5 @ Atl

Bet%: SD 48% Atl 52%

*I bet this game at +6.5, there are still some out there but I would still bet at 6. Do not see this going to 7 and if it did it wouldn’t last very long.

It feels like every week I say I am believer of the Falcons being real but also end up on the other side of them. Atlanta comes back home after 2 very impressive road games out west in Denver and in Seattle. The success of the Falcons means that betting them has become more expensive and this week I believe that premium on the Falcons gets a nice spot here for the Chargers.

SD has been really good this season by most measures except win loss, which is good for us as bettors because we end up getting value with them. Chargers are 13th in DVOA, and 8th in in offense despite being without their top WR and RB. Again I say it every week but Phillip Rivers is the most underappreciated superstar in the NFL. SD has also moved up to 12th in defense and the play of Joey Bosa the last 2 weeks have been a major factor in their improvement. Also important to note that The Chargers have led every game this year late in the 4th Q, so their record is deceiving of the overall quality of the team.

Atlanta has moved to #6 in DVOA, #2 on offense but 26th on defense so while they have played very well so far and the defense has had their moments, overall they have not been very efficient and may keep them from being a truly elite team. I also think a little let down after 2 huge games vs Denver and Seattle coming back home to play a 2 win team is likely so I could see them start slow here.

In the end I just think these 2 teams are much closer than the perception or this spread would indicate. By DVOA they are 6th and 13th, by my rankings they are 7th and 10th so far this season. Phillip Rivers has kept the Chargers in every game and against this Falcons defense I expect that to continue, I would not be surprised to see them win this game straight up. (more…)

Week 6 Results : 3-3

One of the reasons to write out all my pick here and state the case for each game is that it hopefully keeps me from making the same mistakes over and over again but some lessons are learned hard. In my write ups for the Panthers and Eagles I talked about how short road favs are not generally good bets long term and both ended up costing me. Now I still think the Panthers bet was ok, they were  desperate, finally healthy and a much better team on paper. The Eagles on the other hand was a bad bet, the Eagles should not have been favorites in Washington, I bet against them the week before in Detroit and the case was similar this week.

Around the 3rd Q mark of the morning games things looked dire as I was behind in all 3 bet games. Then late in the 4th it looked like I might steal a couple but only got the Jags. In the afternoon it looked like I might get all 3 before the Falcons huge 3rd Q which brings us to 3-3 and a week where we didn’t get anything done but maybe reinforced the lesson of why short road favs are trouble without having to lose any money in the process.


Week 6 Results: 3-3


What Went Right

  • Andy Reid’s Bye Week Wizardry : Andy Reid is now 16-2 off of bye weeks. Its kind of a thing. The weather in this game was terrible which helped slow the Raiders offense as did the Chiefs ball control offense. Chiefs are not ever going to be a team you want to lay a lot of points with but I can see the winning a lot of games in 2nd half and winning this division


2016 Week 6 Picks

This week’s card is a little strange from my end because I am betting a lot of favorites which is not the way my card looks most weeks. In the end betting is about getting value and this was a week where I saw most of the value on the favorites.

Last week was a ‘ should have been, could have been’ week, I finished 4-3 but 6 days later I still can’t stop thinking about the missed opportunities in the Bears and Ravens games. I’m also stewing over not pulling the trigger on TNF where I liked the Chargers but because I hate Thursday Night football and often don’t feel fully prepared to bet, I missed out on a really great spot. Need to shake that all off and make this week a winner.


Week 5: 4-3

NFL 2016: 16-11-1

2015: 63 – 37 – 3

Game 1: Phi -2.5 @ Wash

Bet% Phi 68% Wash 32%

As an Eagles fan, as excited as I am about their great start I still felt like last week was a bad spot for them and bet the Lions. The Lions not only got the cover but ended up winning straight up. Despite the loss I was left feeling very good about the Eagles going forward and didn’t think the Detroit game drops them at all in the rankings.

Washington, as discussed in the Week 5 results post, got one of the luckiest wins of the year, everything that could have gone wrong for the Ravens did and still Washington needed a punt return TD to win.

The Eagles are #2 in DVOA to start this season, they are +64 in point differential and important to this game, Eagles are 2nd in sack percentage. Getting pressure on Cousins has been a key to creating turnovers, Eagles are 7th best vs the run, they should be able to force Washington in to a lot of passing and I expect some turnovers.

On the flip side Washington is dead last in rush defense DVOA and the Eagles at this point want to rely on the run game to set their offense up. Doug Pederson has used a lot of play action, read option and rollouts to get Wentz easy reads and throws, I expect the Eagles run offense to have success and open their passing game up.

3 key players possibly may miss this game. For Eagles, RT Lane Johnson will start his 10 game suspension and the Eagles will miss their best player on offense going forward but I am not sure Washington has the front to take advantage.  Eagles best player on the team Fletcher Cox missed practice early in the week, looks like he will play but may not be 100%.

For Washington, Jordan Reed is expected to be out with a concussion, Reed is not only their most reliable pass catcher but a bonafide Eagles killer.

Game 2: Atlanta @ Seattle -6

Bet% Atl 57% Sea 43%

Last week’s win in Denver by Atlanta was a statement game and for me there is no choice but to believe that they are real. The offense is #1 in DVOA, in yards per pass att they are #1 with 9.9 yards/att. SD came into this week 2nd at 8.2. That difference of 1.7 means that SD is as close to Cleveland who is 21st at 6.5 yards per att as they are to #1 Atl.


Week 5 results 4-3

Week 5 ended our mini 2 week slide and put on the right side but this was a week where it should have been so much better. Both the Bears- Colts and Washington-Ravens games had every opportunity to go our way and it’s almost miraculous that they didn’t. Very frustrating finishes but I feel confident that I was on the right side of most of the games on this week’s card. Which is something.


Week 5 Results: 4-3


What Went Right:

  • Stafford and Jim Bob: As an Eagles fan I thought this was a tough spot for the Eagles and early on Stafford and the offense had lots of success scoring Tds on both of their first drives. The Eagles played really well in the 2nd half, but then at the end of the game we saw the turnover margin anomaly of the Eagles regress all at once with a Ryan Mathews fumble and then  Wentz interception on final play. Turnovers happen and so do losses on the road. Eagles are still good and the Lions offense is also really good.
  • Shady Mccoy: The Bills run game continued to roll, the pass game was M.I.A with 124 yards but Mccoy rushed for 150 yards on just 18 carries and allowed the offense to take control. As discussed the Bills defense isn’t great but the Rams weren’t capable of taking advantage. Keenum threw 2 interceptions and while Gurley did score a TD he still only averaged 3.1 yards per touch


2016 Week 5 Picks

Week 4 was the second straight losing 2-3 week. losing weeks are going to happen but you want to obviously minimise the severity of them but more importantly you don’t want to have them impact the following week. Sometimes after losing it’s hard to fire on a lot of games and you can get conservative or move away from good bets because you lost similar ones the previous week. Shot memories can be helpful in betting. I liked a lot of games this weekend, the card may end up being the largest in terms of games played so far but yo gotta just go with it. It’s a long season, week 5 is no time to run and hide.


Last Week 2-3

NFL 2016: 12-8-1

2015: 63 – 37 – 3

Game 1: Was @ Bal -3.5

Bet%; Was 52% Bal 48%

Washington is coming off of 2 straight wins and appears to be back on track after a 0-2 start, while the Ravens lost their first game of the year to the Raiders. With the Ravens at home, this line essentially makes them 0.5 favorites on a neutral field but I don’t see them that close.

In my ratings I have Baltimore as #10 and Washington at 17, I think by the end of the year both may drop a few spots but the gap feels about right. Baltimore is 4th in defensive DVOA, and 1st vs the run. Last week, Washington had their best run game of the year averaging 5.6 yards per rush which meant they didn’t have to just rely on Cousins and the pass game.

Even though Washington ended up winning both of their last 2 games they were in position to lose both and probably would have had it not been for some very timely turnovers from the Giants and Browns. Both Giants and Browns turned the ball over 3 times and Washington was +4 in TOs in those games.

The Ravens are coming off of a very tough loss where they allowed the Raiders to drive down with 2 mins left and score a GW TD. Ravens outgained Raiders 412-261, ran almost 30 more plays then them and probably deserved a better fate.

On the injury front, Washington was particularly hit hard last week with players leaving, it looks like Kerrigan and starting G Lauvao will play but may not be 100%.

Game 2: Chi +5 @ Ind

Bet% Chi 47% IND 53%

This one just feels like too many points for Chicago in what is a very tough spot for the Colts and in fact in DVOA rankings Chicago ranks a little higher than the Colts based on only this season (23rd to 27th).

Lets start off with the schedule side for the Colts. Indy becomes one of the only teams I can remember to not get a bye the week after playing in London. Maybe it doesn’t have a major impact Sunday but it has to be somewhat of a disadvantage and I think it is unlikely they had a regular week of practice because of it.

The Colts are 1-3 and they will definitely need this win if they want to make the playoffs so there is that ‘desperation’ risk but I’m just not sure that it is enough to think they can cover a number like this coming off of a cross continental trip.


Week 4 Results: 2-3

For the second straight week, we finished 2-3 and for the second straight week a plinko finish at was the difference between a winning and losing week. This week the Ravens took the lead and were in a position to cover with 1:59 left when they took a 27-21 lead. Throw in the blowout in TB and the offensive explosion in the 1st half in Houston and this was a rough week.


Week 4: 2-3


What Went Right (more…)

2016 Week 4 Picks

Week 3 was our first losing week of 2016 and as I mentioned not getting the best of the number cost me in 3 separate games. While I understand its part of the game and know I had some great luck earlier it is hard not to be a little bitter when you see the score fall on a number that was available at diff parts of the week. This week I have tried to be better prepared to get good numbers early but did miss that Cleveland +9.5 that was their on Monday.

Last Week  2-3-1

2016: 10-5-1

2015: 63 – 37 – 3

Game 1: Ind (1-2) @ Jax (0-3) Over 49

Bet% Over 75% Under 25%

This is the early game in London and I had a tough time deciding between the total and side. I like the Jags but not sure there is any value at +2. The total I think is the play because the Jags offense so far has simply not been able to capitalise on their opportunities and this feels like the perfect defense to get right against.

The Jags offense through 3 weeks has scored only 18 points per game on offense after scoring 22.5 last season, the offense is 30th in DVOA to start this season after finishing 21st last season and their yards per point is up to 17.6 this year compared to 14.4 last year.

After playing the Packers (10th in defensive DVOA), Ravens (5th in Defensive DVOA) and even the Chargers (16th in Def DVOA) the Jags get easily the worst defense they have seen this season and I think we can expect their best offensive performance so far.

The Colts are giving up 24.3 points per game to offenses through 3 weeks which is 20th and the Jags are giving up 28 which is 28th. The Colts offense is scoring 27 points per game 5th in the league, even though the Jags defense has been better this year the cots should be able to score.

This is the Jags 4th trip to London which should make them very comfortable in this game, they understand the schedule, the travel and should be able acclimate quickly in this game. A best case scenario for our over would be the Jags jumping out ahead early and the Colts needing to put up points late to come back. We should also remember that in their last meeting in Dec 2015, the Jags put up 51 vs the Colts.

Game 2: Den (3-0) @ TB (1-2) +3

Bet% Den 85 TB 15%

This is definitely this week’s “Hold your Nose game” and my fav bet of the week.  Denver is 3-0 and the defense looks to be very similar to last years dominant unit, add to that they are coming off of a very impressive win on the road vs the Broncos  where Trevor Siemian passed for 4TDs. Now contrast that to the Bucs who have lost 2 straight games both in very disappointing fashion so yeah why wouldn’t you want to bet Denver at this short price? Well it turns out everyone does want to. Here is an alert I earlier this week. (more…)