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
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.
Game 3: NE @ Pit +7.5
Bet% NE 88% Pit 12%
The correction for Ben Rothlisberger being out in this game just feels like too much especially when the Steelers are a team not only blessed with an elite passing game but also have the best running back in the NFL.
Obviously this is a game where backing the Patriots feels really easy, Tom Brady has come out of his suspension throwing TDs at will and the addition of Bennet has given this offense a look with 2 TEs that feels similar to Patriots teams of past with Gronk and he who shall not be named.
The Patriots defence has not been as great so far, 21st in DVOA and giving up an avg passer rating of 89.9 so I think Landry Jones should be able to feel comfortable in this game. Now obviously we know that in his 1 start last season vs the Chiefs, Jones was terrible, 200 yards passing 1TD 2 INTs and a passer rating of 60.8. He did play well the week before that start in relief of Rothlisburger and you would have to think he will be more prepared and more comfortable this year with his 1st start already under his belt.
We have already seen the Patriots survive and actually thrive in games without their starting QB this year, while Jones may not be the player Garapolo is, the Steelers are a legit Superbowl contender and I do not think they will roll over and die in this game. Also, the Patriots play the Bills next week, not that they will be looking ahead to the revenge game vs Buffalo, just that they might not go full metal if they are up late which also helps us here getting more than a TD. The Steelers played a terrible game last week and I expect the whole team to be very much focused on a better performance at home vs a team they know could come in and blow them out if they aren’t at their best,
Game 4- NO @ KC -6
Bet% NO 48% KC 52%
I was really impressed by the Chiefs win last week vs the Raiders especially defensively. The Raiders were #3 in DVOA in offense and the Chiefs, helped by the weather, were able to hold them to just 286 yards and 10 points. The Chiefs controlled the game with their running game and just methodically took the game over.
I expect this week’s game to be a similar one to last week’s, the Saints are 7th in offensive DVOA but while the home road splits get too much play for some teams for the Saints it really is a factor.At home the Saints average 8.5 yards per pass att, on the road that falls to a dismal 5.5. At home Brees has a passer rating of 114.3 on the road that falls to 82.8, Arrowhead is one of the true home fields that is an advantage and I expect Brees’s road struggles to continue here.
The Chiefs pass defense is 6th in DVOA so far this season and that’s without Justin Houston who has started practising. Last week they got 2 sacks from Dee Ford vs the very good Oakland offensive line, if they can get pressure from him this week it will be a big help in defending this Saints attack.
The Saints are coming off of a huge home win vs divisional rival but still aren’t likely to be in the playoff picture because of Atlanta’s hot start. This feels like a really good matchup for KC, I expect them to use their passing game to their backs and Kelce to methodically take apart the Saints and keep Brees off the field. Chiefs aren’t really built to cover large numbers but I do think the matchup will allow them to wear the Saints down and win this game by double digits.
Game 5: Cle (0-6) +11 @ Cin (2-4)
Bet% Cle 41% Cin 59%
At what point do we believe our eyes over our perception? I feel like with the Bengals we are at the point where the issues we have seen this season, whether on defense or in the run game, have to be believed as real problems and expecting them to cover a number this large seems like asking a lot.
The Bengals last year were 2nd in overall DVOA, 2nd on offense and 10th on defense. So far in 2016, the Bengals are 25th in DVOA, 13th on offense and 25th on defense and while the offense had major losses with Jones, Sanu and of course Hue Jackson. On defense the reasons for the big drop seem less obvious but that also doesn’t mean we should just expect them to get back to last years levels.
Cleveland is all kinds of bad and that for the most part is by design though the injuries at QB certainly weren’t planned. The one thing the Browns have been able to do well is run the ball. Cleveland is averaging 4.7 yards per rush and they are 3rd in rushing big plays 22 so far. The Bengals pass defense should also allow the Browns to hit for some big plays there as well, Bengals are 30th in Pass defense DVOA and I think that defense will allow the Browns to stay around in this game.
There will be a lot made of Hue Jackson coaching against the Bengals and does he have an advantage or not, well I’m not sure there is much but I do think his players may try a little extra to get their coach a good performance here and maybe steal a win.
Game 6: 2 Team 6Pt teaser
Wash @ Det Over 43.5 and SD @ Atl Over 46
This is just taking a shot on the 2 most popular overs of the week. In game 1 the Lions have the worst defense in the league and after seeing what Case Keenum and that group of weapons were able to do, it’s hard to think Washington won’t be able to have similar success with Jackson, Crowder, Garcon and Jones.
On the flip side, the Lions are the #12 offense by DVOA and especially at home have been able to score very consistently since the middle of last year. Detroit will not have Theo Riddick or Dwayne Washington so they basically have to rely on Stafford and the passing game which I think also helps the over
Game 7 Sea – Arz Under 43.5:
Officially adding this play.
We have #1 and #3 teams on defense by DVOA and both offenses lacking big plays they got last year. Last year both teams were in the top 10 for big play %, Seattle was #3 Arizona was #10, this year Seattle is 26th while Arizona is 10th.
Arizona has become a much more short passing and run dominant offense, the deep plays to John Brown and Floyd have not been there this year and the trust in Palmer to make those deep plays has also dropped this year.
For Seattle the offense has not been the same without Russel Wilson’s ability to make plays with his legs, the early season injury has hurt that and we also have not seen the deep plays to Tyler Locket.
I think both teams need this game badly and expect the dominant defenses to lead the way.