Month: January 2017

2017 Conference Finals + Divisional Round Review

Coming off of another 1-1 week last week as the Andy Reid magic off a bye wore off and the Chiefs lost a heart breaker at home. The plus side of that loss for us is that the Steelers futures are still alive including AFC Champs which we will hopefully cash Sunday. Here’s hoping for a Superbowl between the Steelers and the ATLiens.

2016 Reg Season: 53-37-3

Playoffs: 2-2

 

Game 1: Pit +6 @ NE

Bet% Pit 44% NE 56%

How good are the Patriots? Statistically there is no question they grade out as the best team in the league, they finished 1st in overall DVOA and Weighted DVOA, they were 1st in point differential and won 14 games despite not having Tom Brady for the 1st 4 games and Rob Gronkowski for just 8 games. So the answer to how good they are should be awesome, easily the best team I the league and it’s a no doubter. Here’s the problem, who have they played?

The best QB The Pats have played this year is Russell Wilson, they lost that game at home 31-24. Here are the next best 4 QBs they faced by passer rating, Ryan Tannehill (12th), Andy Daulton (15th), Tyrod Taylor(18th), Carson Palmer (20th). Those were the best 5 QBs on the schedule, the rest of the schedule is full of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brock Osweiller, Trevor Simien, Charlie Whitehurst and the Browns, Jared Goff, Colin Kaepernick and in the Steelers game Landry Jones.

The Patriots schedule makes it so difficult to truly know how good this team is especially the defense. Football Outsiders has the Patriots playing the easiest schedule in the league this year and its hard to argue. As a result we don’t really know how they will hold up against a test as good as the Steelers.

Pittsburgh finished the year 8th on offense and 11th on defense but we know that they didn’t have their Big 3 Ben, Brown and Bell for 16 games, Bell missed the first 3 to suspension and Ben missed 3 to injury. We also know the defense has been improving late in the season especially the pass rush. Through the first 7 weeks the Steelers were 31st in sack percentage at 3.71%, they finished the season 11th at 6.05%. The Steelers pass rush in late in the season and playoffs has been led by Bud Dupree who didn’t play until week 12 because of an injury but has been dominant over the last 4 games.

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Divisional Round 2017 + Wildcard Review

Wild Card week was pretty uneventful with a split of the 2 plays and again this week I didn’t see a lot of value, the lines looked right on the card so instead of forcing we have just 2 plays, both on Sunday. This is my favourite football weekend of the year and 3 of the 4 games should be lots of fun to watch.

Rain Drop 

Drop Top

Andy Reid off a bye can’t be stopped

2016 Reg Season: 53-37-3

Playoffs: 1-1

 

Game 1: Pit @ KC -1

Bet% Pit 55% KC 55%

First off, while I do believe this is a spot the Chiefs come out and win< I should mention that I have  future on the Steelers and this line provides a perfect hedge opportunity on the Chiefs so that is 1 reason I am on the Chiefs here but not the only one.

This game has been moved to Sunday night from the morning because of ice storms, the weather and night game should improve the KC home field advantage here. Lets start with the fact that the Steelers have just not been great on the road. They finished the year 5-3 on the road but their road schedule was not a tough one, they had wins over Cle, Cin, Buf, Ind and Wash, Washingto is the only one in that group that had a winning record. The struggles on the road really show up in the pass game. At home The Steelers had a passer rating of 108.6, 24TDs to 7 Ints and averaged 8 yards er pass att.On the road, the passer rating drops to 77.9 with just 9 pass TDs to 8 Ints and 6.7 yards per att.

The KC pass defense has been good all year, they are 4th in pass defense DVOA but they are especially good at home. The avg passer rating of Chief opponents at home is just 67.5 and they give up 5.8 yards per att at Arrowhead. With the weather conditions expected on Sunday the Chiefs defense should be able to handle the Steelers pass game.

That leaves the game in the hands of Levian Bell and there is no question this is the concern for Chiefs backers. KC finished 20th in DVOA vs the run and 23rd in yards per rush att giving up 4.4. Bell has been the reason the Steelers won 5 road games despite the pass games struggles and Chiefs will have to slow him down minus Derrick Johnson their best run defending LB.

Despite the issues with Bell I still think this is the spot the Chiefs come up big and the first reason is Andy Reid. For all his detractors, Reid is a coach that has had great success in the playoffs, and was especially good off of a bye in Philadelphia. The Andy Reid bye legend is well documented, 16-2 in the regular season off of a bye and 3-0 in playoffs. What more impressive in that playoff number is that the 3 teams he beat were Bret Favre and the Packers, Mike Vick and the Falcons and Culpepper/ Moss and the Vikings and he held those 3 high powered offenses to a combined 37 points.I think Andy will find a way this week to slow Bell down.

On offense this is not only an efficient pass game 911th in DVOA) but one that has the most fire power the Chiefs have had since Reid got their 4 years ago with 3 legit playmakers in Maclin, Kelce and Tyreke Hill. Hill will be the X factor in this game because he is the type of player that can score from anywhere on the field and in game that will have weather issues it would surprise nobody to see a score on a kick/punt return be the difference.

The Chiefs finished tied for 2nd in turnover differential this year and normally that is a number that means you have been lucky and we expect their to be regression to the mean. The Chief may be an exception to that rule.We know Alex Smith is an extremely conservative QB that does not throw a lot of interceptions and we also know that the defense is full of guys who play for turnovers like Marcus Peters and Eric Berry which helps explain why the Chefs have finished in the top 2 in turnover differential 3 of the last 4 years. In a cold weather game with rain and possibly snow, I expect the Chiefs to come out on top in the turnover battle.

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Wildcard Week 2017

And here we are, the 2 most fun weekends of the year, though this week’s wildcard matchups are far less attractive than last years, still it’s the playoffs and playoff football is awesome. I have Superbowl futures on the Steelers and Seahawks so that is where my rooting interest is, the Seattle bet was mad the week before Earl Thomas got hurt which feels a little like buying Hillary Clinton stock Nov 7th.

After another strong regular season we try to keep it going for another few weekends but again a reminder that with fewer games, the lines are tighter and just because it’s the playoffs doesn’t mean you need to bet more or have to bet every game. Stay Calm.

2016 Reg Season: 53-37-3 (58.9%)

Game 1: Oak +4 @ Hou

Bet% Oak 41% Hou 59%

For weeks I have been telling anyone that would listen that the 2 teams I couldn’t wait to bet against in the playoffs were Oakland and Houston, that was before Derek Carr got hurt and that was obviously before I knew they would play each other.  The Raiders to me were a team over-rated in the market, by efficiency and point differential their record was ahead of their true performance and I thought there would be great value betting against them in the playoffs. Once Carr got hurt that was no longer the case.

As for Houston, I wanted to bet against them because they may be one of the worst division winners in recent memory and with Osweiller back at the helm this is exactly the team we have seen all year. Houston finished 9-7 but still ended up with a -49 point differential which is 26th in the league. Their Pythagorean wins for the year is 6.5 meaning based solely on pt differential, their record is 2.5 wins better that it should be. By Football outsiders estimated wins metric which uses team efficiency, red zone scoring, close game performance and some other measures their estimated win total for 2016 is 4.7. Houston finished 29th in DVOA overall, 30th on offense and Brock Osweiller finished with 15TDs , 16 INTs and a  Passer rating of 72.2. All of which is to say Houston is bad. (more…)

2016 Week 17

Like last year I think I will be sitting out week 17, just too much uncertainty and there is nothing really jumping off the page as good value. This may change on Sunday morning as money comes in and lines get settled but right now I will likely pass.

If I do play any games, the 2 games that I could see myself being on right now are the Saints at +7.5 or higher and Cleveland at +7. I will confirm on Sunday if either is a play. GL and Happy New year. Also Happy return of RTJ.