Every week is different, there are weeks where games jump out right away, there are weeks where nothing looks good until the weekend. This week as I scanned the card early nothing jumped out and by the time I did like a few games we saw some big line movements, especially in the totals. We are in the part of the season where weather begins to play a larger part and Sharps will start hitting unders early in the week either anticipating winter conditions or simply getting some insurance just in case. Something I will start doing as well on Sunday Nights. To get around the line drives I am playing a teaser card on unders and I anticipate I will be playing a lot more unders.
Week 10: 5-2
Game 1: Ari @ Min Under 40
Bet% Over 39% Under 61%
When looking at playing unders one of the things that I think gives the best chances if there is a mis-match between the defensive lines and offensive lines and it is rare we see a game where both sides have an advantage like we see in this game.
The Vikings issues on the offensive line have been well documented and it should get even worse because they lost starting T Jake Long for the season this week. The fact that it will get appreciably worse because they lost a player that was a street FA and arguably not even a replacement level player tells you everything. According to DVOA, Vikings are 31st in run blocking, 22 in pass blocking and 26th in overall sack percentage giving up sacks on 7% of pass plays but in the last 3 games that number shoots up to 9.92%.
Meanwhile the Cards pass rush has been really good, they are 12th in adjusted sack rate,7th in total sack % and #1 in my pressure rankings which include QB hits and hurries. Arizona is 4th in defensive DVOA and 3rd vs the pass, since Vikings only chance to move the ball is in air as they are not just last in rushing but are historically bad averaging only 2.7 yards per rush.
On flip side we have seen the Vikings defence slip a little during this 4 game losing streak, after 5 weeks they were 2nd in Defensive DVOA, they are now 6th but to put that slide into perspective, over the season the opp passer rating is 74.6 but over last 3 weeks it has been 99.3, same with yards per pass att which is at 5.8 for season but 7.2 for last 3 weeks. Now I think there are 2 reasons for this, 1 is fatigue, the Vikings offense doesn’t stay on field and as a result Vikings defense has played a lot more snaps. The second is injuries, Vikings have had key players like Eric Kendricks, Zavier Woods miss games.
Vikings defense should be healthy in this game and they have a very good matchup against the Cards offensive line as the Cards line is 24th in adjusted sack rate.
I also like the home road splits for this under, the Vikings at home have an opp passer rating of 68.6 vs 80.2 on road and we know Carson Palmer has his issues on the road. Palmer has a passer rating on road of 73.1 on road compared to 85.6 at home and has 5 interceptions in just 2 road games.
Game 2: 2 Team Teaser Chi @ NYG Under 49 & Phi @ Sea Under 49
So these are 2 of the totals that have moved the most this week. The Bears Giants number opened at 45.5 and moved through the key number of 44 all the way to 42.5. The Eagles Seahawks opened at 46 and dropped to 43 or 42.5. Both these moves are right on, the opening numbers offered great value and I really regret missing them so going to try to get the value back with this teaser.
Chi @ NYG- The only way I see this game going over is if we see a bunch of turnovers from Cutler and because that is what happened last week, I expect both Cutler and the OC to be very conservative in this game. The Bears lost Alshon Jeffrey to suspension and their offensive line suffered a major injury with Kyle Long out for season. I don’t know how Bears get anything in passing game so that leaves Jordan Howard and run game but the Giants are 12th vs the run and I can’t see them giving up a lot there. The Bears offense is averaging a league worst 14.1 points per game but Giants aren’t much better scoring only 18.8 which is 25th. The Bears defense has been the best part of their team, they 10th in defensive yards per play at 5.2, the Giants are 1 better at 9th giving up 5.1.
Phi@ Sea- I think both defences have great matchups here, for Seattle in games where they have given up points it has usually been through big plays in pass game. Seattle has given up 18 big plays in passing game which is in bottom 3rd of league and about the only thing that they haven’t been great at. Some of that has been due to injuries in secondary to Kam Chancellor and some of it due to the offenses they have played namely Falcons and Saints. The Eagles don’t have that component in their passing game, they are tied for the 4th fewest big passing plays and I expect them to try to use a similar game plan this week as they did last vs the Falcons. Against the Falcons the Eagles played a heavy ball control offense, they ran 38 times for 208 yards, a number of them with 6 offensive lineman, those 38 carries were exactly 50% of plays run. Seattle is an elite run defense so I don’t expect the Eagles to be efficient in running but I do expect them to stick with it to protect Wentz in a very hostile environment which means the clock should keep moving.
On the flip side the Eagles are about as bad a matchup for the Seattle offense as the Patriots last week were a good one. The Seattle offensive line has been a huge issue all year but last week against the Patriots who were 32nd in adjusted sack rate they held up and allowed Russell Wilson to feel comfortable. The Eagles defensive line ranks #2 in adjusted sack rate #3 in total pressures and #1 overall in defensive DVOA. I fully expect the Eagles defensive line to dominate this game similar to the way they did last week and while the Seahawks may be able to hit some big plays I do not expect them to be able to sustain drives the way they have the last 2 weeks.
Game 3: Buf +2.5 @ Cin
Bet% 55% Cin 45%
Like a lot of games this week, what draws me to this game is a mismatch in the trenches. The offensive line issues in Seattle and Minnesota have been discussed a lot by media and fans alike but for some reason the Bengals issues have gone mostly under reported. The Bengals offensive line is dead last in adjusted sack rate at 9.10%, 30th in overall sack rate 8% and 29th in my pressures measure.
That bottom 3 offensive line of the Bengals faces the Bills #1 pass rush by adjusted sack rate this week, the Bills are also first in total sack rate and over the last 3 games are averaging sacks on 10.64%of pass plays which is basically double the league average.
The other big mismatch in this game is the Bills run offense, #1 in DVOA & Yards per att (5.3) vs the Bengals run defense which is 20th in DVOA, 26th in yards per att (4.4). The Bills are #1 in explosive rush plays with 43 and the Bengals have given up 29 which is 20th. When the Bengals played the Cowboys who have the only run game that has been as good as the Bills, Dallas ran for 180 yards on 29 carries and averaged 74 yards per play.
I do expect the Bengals run game to have success in this game as well, they are 6th in DVOA while the Bills are just 22 vs the run so this should be a battle of the run games especially if we see the expected winter conditions. I just think the Bills run game will be more explosive and allow them to control the game.
Bengals are coming off of a short week after MNF while the Bills are coming off of a bye so another factor that points toward the Bills here.
Game 4: TB +7 @ KC
Bet% TB 45% KC 55%
I am so mad at myself for missing the 7.5 in this game but to be honest what really put me over on this game was the injury report from Friday that had both Marcus Peters and Dontari Poe missing and while they both may play, its unlikely either will be 100%.
The Chiefs are team that continues to grind out wins even in games they are outplayed like the last 2 weeks but betting them to win by a number this big just seems like too much. Last week the chiefs went down 17-0 came all the way back in 4th Q and won without an offensive TD. Think about how unlikely that is? The Chiefs are 17-2 straight up in their last 19 games which is crazy impressive but one big difference between this years group from last years is that last year the run offense was dominant. Chiefs were #1 in run DVOA last year, 6th in total offense, which helped not only score at a higher rate but also helped keep the defense off the field. This year the Chiefs are 25th in rushing 22nd overall in offense and covering a number this large requires them to win the turnover battle big. That has been the key to the Chiefs success this year and while that can happen against Winston it will be tougher without a 100% Peters and Poe.
The Bucs have been able to score against everyone and I think their offense should get better as Doug Martin gets healthier. The Bucs are 30th in rushing DVOA and while Martin didn’t look good in his return last week I expect him to be much better this week. On defense the Bucs have been just fine, 15th vs the pass and 16th vs the run and with the Chiefs missing Jeremy Maclan again, they should be able to keep the Chiefs from scoring big.
The Chiefs have 2 wins this year by more than a TD, one was the 24-3 win vs the Jets where they were an incredible +7 in turnovers. The other was a weird game vs the Colts that they won 30-14, they were +2 in turnovers and Nick Foles had 2 passing TDs off the bench. As long as Winston doesn’t give the ball away, the Bucs should be in this game until the end.
Game 5: Ten @ Ind -3
Bet% Ten 56% Ind 44%
We missed the -2.5’s from the week as now the line is at -3 at most spots. While I don’t like missing getting under the FG I think the move is one I trust and am willing to back here.
All the analytics point to the Titans and they are coming off of their highest profile win last week in that blow out of the Packers. The offense has moved to 7th in DVOA and the passing game is 6th. I have no issues trusting the rushing numbers with Murray, Mariotta and that line but looking at that receiving group I don;t know that I think they are that are as good as they have looked the last month.
The Colts numbers s far haven’t been at the level we would expect but they are now healthy on offense and Luck played really well going into the break. The Colts have the #20 passing attack and I think we are going to see them start moving close to the top 10 and it should start here. Both these pass denseness have been terrible vs the pass, Titans rank 26th, Colts are 30th so it comes down to who you trust to take advantage more. The recent results would suggest The Titans but I think the talent level and the longer term results point to Colts. For Colts to make playoffs, this is a must win game and coming off of a Bye I think they get it.
Update- 15 mins before kickoff and I am not betting Eagles here. I lean towards them but something about the number at pinnacle being higher than all the other books scares me. Instead I will just hope the under 49 on the teaser comes through.
Phi +6.5 @ Sea: I would love to get 7 but may play at 6.5 for many of the reasons mentioned above in the total play. This is a great matchup for the Eagles defense vs a very poor offensive line. Russell Wilson looks much healthier and better the last 2 weeks but the Eagles pose many of the same problems to Seattle that divisional rivals Rams and Cardinals do on defense which is a dominant defensive line that pressures the QB. Both teams are coming off of big wins last week but for Seattle that was a prime time games vs the #1 team in th league and the team that beat them in the Superbowl 2 years ago. That was a huge spot for Seattle (that we were on) and I wonder if there isn’t a little let down here.