Week 8 Picks

The last couple of weeks have resulted in mostly middling results, some of that is due to luck or lack there of but also I think there have been some mistakes made and allowing myself to be swayed by some tough results. It’s funny how easy it is to fall into old bad habits but that is the point of this blog, to catch myself when that happens.

2017: 21-15

Week 7: 3-3

Game 1: Ind @ Cin Over41.5

Bet% Over 83% Under 17%

This game opened with one of the lowest totals of the week despite the fact that the Colts give up just under 31 points per game and have had their totals go over in 5 of 7 games. I like the Bengals to have a big game on offense this week but the -11 on spread is too rich so playing the over feels like the best bet.

The Bengals offense started slow scoring just 9 pts in first 2 games when they moved Bill Lazor in as the OC. With Lazor at the helm the Bengals scored 24, 31, 20 and 14, the last 2 games vs the Bills and Steelers, were against top 5 DVOA defenses.   Turnovers have been a killer for the Bengals and would certainly be a threat to the over but I think there is a good chance that Bengals get somewhere in the neighbourhood of 30 in this game.

That leaves the Colts to get us to about 14 and with the 31st ranked offense it is certainly not one that gives a lot of confidence. With the spread the way it is and the fact that this game is in Cincinnati I can see a scenario where the Bengals jump out big early and that allows the Colts to open things up and score in the 2nd half when the game is out of reach. Brisett has had success in spurts against good defenses, he played a great 1st half in Seattle and scored 4 TDs vs the Browns in the 1st half of that game.

The Colts offense played their worst game of the season last week and we even saw TY Hilton call out the offensive line, I expect them to come out and play better here and give Brisett at least an opportunity to use his legs and make some plays. With a total this low, we don’t need a lot from the Colts to go over.

Game 2: Car @ TB Over 46

Bet%: Over 73% Under 27%

One of the things that caught me by surprise this week was the fact that the Bucs ranked 32nd,dead last in defensive DVOA.  I certainly knew they were struggling this year on defense but I didn’t know just how bad. The pass defense is especially bad, they are giving up 8 yards per pass att (30th) and an avg passer rating 102.9 (29th). That pass defense should be in even more trouble than usual because both starting CB’s (Brent Grimes & Josh Robinson) will be out this week as well as one of the backups. That cluster of injures at corner is going to be impossible for the Panthers offense not to take advantage of.

The Panthers offense has not been very efficient this year especially in the run game.  Early in the year I think we can blame a lot of the troubles on Cam Newton’s injuries but after the Saints game we saw the Panthers have 3 straight impressive offensive performances scoring 33, 27 and 24 vs the Patriots, Lions and Eagles. Then last week happened where they scored just 1 FG vs the Bears. The Bears game was a weird one that featured just 7 pass attempts from the Bears and 2 70+ yard defensive TDs. This Bucs offense should offer a big bounce back opportunity for Newton and the pass game.

While the Bucs defense is a mess the offense has been right on schedule and is putting up big numbers. The Bucs are 3rd in pass yards per att with 7.8, 8th in passer rating and 3rd in yards per play. The Panthers defense has not been great vs the pass and are giving up an avg passer rating of 100.4 which is 27th in the league and that is despite the fact that 3 of the games were against the 49ers, Bill and Bears, not exactly loaded pass games. The other 4 games were against Brady, Brees, Stafford and Wentz and in those 4 games the Panthers gave up an average of 30.5 points. I expect Winston and this loaded pass game to have similar success this week.

Game 3: SD +7.5 @ NE

Bet%  SD 40% NE 60%

I said in the week 7 review that last weeks Broncos – Chargers game was the worst bet I had made this year because it went against everything I believed about both teams most of the year and I was swayed by recent results and the NFL voices about how good the Broncos were. I really liked the Chargers going into the season, they lost the first 2 games because of their kicker and had a number of close results go against them. Last week the Falcons were 3.5 point dogs in NE, this week the Chargers are 7.5, I’m not sure the Falcons are better than the Chargers and if they are they definitely aren’t 4 points better.

The Patriots defense started off the year giving up over 31 PPG through their first 4 games but since then have given up 14 to TB, 17 to the Jets and just 7 last week to the Falcons so all is good now right? Well I’m not sure. Last week the Falcons struggled to score but they averaged 6.1 yards per play and really it was their lack of red zone success and the fact that NE held the ball for 35 minutes that kept that total down. The week previous the Jets scored 17 but were robbed of that Austin Saffarian Jenkins TD that would have tied that game and then who knows. To make matters worse for the Patriots defense, this week they lost starting LB Donta Hightower.

The Chargers offensive line is banged up but if they can hold up vs the NE pass rush then Phillip Rivers and his full complement of receivers should have a lot of success vs the 32nd pass defense by DVOA. One of the big changes the Chargers made during this 3 game win streak was featuring Hunter Henry over HOF Antonio Gates and with Hightower out I expect the Chargers to feature Henry here again.

The Patriots offense keeps humming regardless of who is injured and there doesn’t seem to be much slowing down for Brady so they are always capable of putting up 30 and covering a big number though we haven’t seen it this year. The 3 biggest numbers they had to cover this year were vs the Panthers, Jets and Chiefs and they lost 2 of those straight up and the Jets covered the other. I have these teams a lot closer in my rankings than a number like this would indicate so it’s just too much value to pass up.

Game 4: Hou @ Sea -6

Bet% Hou 49% Sea%

This game was around -4.5 most of the week so I am definitely not getting the best of the number here and that does bother me. We saw the line jump on Friday and I think a part of the reason is that we saw a number of players very upset with owner Bob Mcnair’s ridiculous comments regarding player protests. DeAndre Hopkins skipped practice on Friday and a number of other payers also threatened to walk out. It will be interesting to see what happens on Sunday but I didn’t want to risk this getting to 7 so locked in the -6. that being said I wouldn’t be surprised if this comes back a bit either.u

On the field I think this is a great spot to fade Deshaun Watson who has lead the Texans to 4 straight games of 33 point or more.  Let’s start with who the Texans played in those 4 games, KC was the best pass defense of the 4 at 19th, the other3 were 28, 26 and 24th. The Seahawks have had some issues vs the run this year but against the pass they are 5th in DVOA and 2nd in opp passer rating giving up an avg of 69.9. This is easily the best pass defense that Watson has faced this year. Add to that the cross country trip and playing in the loudest road stadium in the league and Watson is going to be in tough. We saw how the Seahawks stepped up vs a very hot Rams offense 2 weeks ago.

The Texans defense still looks goodstatistically but remember they only played 1 game after losing JJ Watt and Courtney Mercilous in the Chiefs game and that was against Deshon Kizer and the Browns. In the Chiefs game where they lost those 2 starters, they gave up 450 yards, 8.5 yards per pass att and 42 points.

Seattle’s offense has been looking better and better as the offensive line comes around. With a team like Seattle they simply need that line to be not awful and after starting the year as one of the worst groups they are now 14th in sack percentage and 19th in adjusted sack rate. They are still struggling in the run game, 25th by FO’s rating but some of that may also be on the Seattle running backs. If this group plays as a top 20 unit then Russel Wilson is going to have a big game here vs this Houston defense.

Game 5SF +13 @ Phi

Bet% SF 41% Phi 59%

There isn’t really any stat you can find that gives the 49ers an advantage in this game this is strictly about the spot. SF is coming off their worst loss of the season while the Eagles are coming off of their biggest win of the year, 2 straight prime time wins and now are on a short week playing a team that everyone expects them to kill. This will be the first game minus Jason Peters at LT and without question the 49ers best players are on their defensive line so I expect them to attack the left side of Vaitai and Wiesnewski.

Weather will also play a role here, the total has dropped from 47 to 44.5 because of heavy rain expectations. If this game gets slowed down because of weather that makes the 13 points more valuable her as well.

Game 6: Dal @ Was +3

Bet% Dal 79 Was 21%

This is a great spot for Washington, Dallas is coming off of a blow out win in SF  and suddenly everyone is back on the Cowboys bandwagon. Dallas got a turnover early in that game and jumped up big vs a QB making his first career start on a winless team. Meanwhile, Washington played on MNF and lost giving up 4 TDs to Carson Wentz in a game where everything went right for the Eagles. Nobody wants to bet Washington here and the bet% shows us that. Yet the number seems to be dropping, why?

Well the Cowboys are not a good team on defense, 26th overall by DVOA, they were 30th before playing Bethard last week. Washington is the #10 offense, #7 pass offense and should be able to have a lot of success this week vs the Cowboys. Dallas has played 2 top 10 offenses this year, LA Rams and the Packers with Rodgers, they lost both games and gave up 35 in each of them. I will be on Wash but will bet right before kickoff to try to get best number though it looks like +2.5 consensus.

* before kickoff and this line is mostly 3 everywhere and that is the number i got. 

Games Under Consideration but not bet yet (Check Sunday)


Atl -6.5 @ NYJ

Bet% Atl 67% NYJ 33%

I liked this game a lot more at -4 than I do at 6.5 so we will see what happens on Sunday and where this line goes. The only thing that will matter in this game is will the Falcons finish drives with TDs. A lot has been made of their troubles on offense but they are still averaging 6.2 yards per play which, while down from 6.7 last year, is still 2nd in best in the league. The difference is last year they were scoring a point for every 12.2 yards gained which was best in the league, this year they are scoring a point for every 17.5 yards gained which is 26th. Last year Atlanta scored TD’s on 64.5% of red zone trips, this year it is 52.6%. The Jets may just be the tonic to cure those scoring woes as they are giving up TD’s on 62% of RZ trips

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