Game 1: Cin +12 @ Bal
Bet%: Cin 53% Bal47%
I was on the Bengals last week and new very early I was on wrong side and looking back it is probably the type of bet its best to stay away from. Last week we needed a very bad Bengals team to not just win their first game vs the equally bad Cardinals but also do it by ore tan a FG, that is a big ask of a bad team. This week the Bengals are still a very bad team, 31st in DVOA, but the ask is to not lose by 2 TDs, which seems much more doable.
The Ravens started like a house on fire but have shown that they are vulnerable on defense and even the offense is inconsistent in the passing game. The Ravens are 24th in defensive DVOA and will continue to be without their top corner Jimmy Smith, that type of defense is one that always leaves the chance of a back door cover open. This is also the 3rd straight division game for the Ravens after playing the Browns and then Steelers in OT last week, so this could be a game they take a breath.
In the end this just doesn’t feel like a game that should be over 10 points. The game opened at 8.5 which is probably the right number and has been bet up to 12 here. This game is actually very reminiscent of the Ravens -Cardinals game in week 2 where the Ravens were -13 after playing the Dolphins. In that game the final score was 23-Ravens but the Cards settled for multiple FGs in a game that was mismanaged by Kingsberry. The Bengals have played 2 very good road games @ Seattle and @ Buffalo, I think the Bengals keep this game around a TD.
Game 2: Phi +3.5 @ Min
Bet% Phi 59% Min 41%
This is a matchup that I think under different circumstances could favor the Vikings but the coaching matchup makes me think the Eagles win this game straight up. Mike Zimmer wants to run the ball, that is the identity of the Vikings offense and they do not want to put big games in the hands of Kirk Cousins. We know the Vikings are focused on the run not only because they have one of the highest 1st down run percentages but because last year they fired their OC John Defelipo because he didn’t run enough despite having a bottom 5 run game in DVOA.
The Eagles want to play offenses that start with the run, their weakness is in the secondary and when teams run instead of passing it is a win for Jim Schwartz. The Eagles run defense hasn’t faced a player as good as Dalvin Cook yet but they have completely shut down all the backs they have faced, Eagles are 4th in run defence DVOA and their defensive line ranks #1.
This Vikings defense is once again very good, #4 in DVOA, #2 vs the run and 10 in adjusted sack rate. Doug Pederson has had success vs Mike Zimmer, in the 2017 NFC championship game, the Eagles scored 38, put up 456 yards, 7.1 per play. Last year in week 5, despite Carson Wentz still getting up to speed after missing all offseason and first 2 weeks of season, Eagles had 366 yards, 6.6 per play and would have probably won the game had they not lost 2 fumbles. Pederson has had some of his best gameplans against the top def coordinators, Belicheck, Wade Phillips and Mike Zimmer. The other thing Pederson has proven is his teams play best when they are underdogs. From Sheil Kapadia at the Athletic, Pederson has been an underdog 14 times since becoming a head coach, the Eagles are 9-5 straight up in those 14 games.
Game 3: NO @ Jac -2.5
Bet% NO 61% Jac 39%
This is the sharp game of the week, every sharp/pro or wannabe like me is on the Jags this week and we can see the impact in the line. This line opened Jac -1 and despite the 60% of the bets being on the Saints this line has moved up for the Jags and even hit 3 at some books.
If were looking for reasons for the Jaguar love it starts with Gardner Minshew, Minshew has been very good since taking over, the Jags offense is 7th overall and the pass offense is 5th which is better than the Saints who are 10. That maybe the biggest surprise to o who haven’t dug into the numbers of these two teams, so far this season the Jaguars have the better offense, #7 vs the saints #14.
The other reason to like the Jags is predicting a bit of a letdown for the Saints. If we look at the Saints schedule, from week 2 on they have had big games like the rematch vs the Rams, a SNF game vs the Cowboys and last week a divisional game vs the Bucs at home, this is lowest leverage game they have played since week 1 so if there is a let up game, this is it.
Game 4: SF @ LAR -3
Bet% SF 42% LAR 58%
The 49ers are off to a great start at 5-0 and are #2 in DVOA behind the Patriots but I think this is a great spot to take the Rams to give the 49ers their first loss. LA Rams are essentially in a must win game if they want a shot at the division and they get 10 days to prep after losing on TNF to Seattle last week. Sean Mcvay had his way with the 49ers last season averaging 43 points in the 2 games and while the SF defense is much better and has some new key pieces, there is no doubt Mcvay is comfortable facing their schemes. We also know that Jared Goff is much more comfortable playing at home than the road his 2018 numbers certainly show that. Last year at home Goff had 20 TDs to 3 picks and a passer rating of 116.7 at home vs 10 TDs to 9 picks on the road with a passer rating of 82.7.
The timing for the Rams is also great in this game. The Rams played last week on TNF so they are getting extra rest, meanwhile the 49ers played on MNF so they are on a short week. The other huge advantage for the Rams is that SF ran into huge injury trouble last week. San Francisco lost both starting tackles Joe Staley and Mike Mcglinchy on MNF and also lost FB Kyle Juscyzyk, those 3 injuries are going to seriously hamper the SF run game.
Game 5: 2 Team 6pt Teaser: Ten +7.5 @ Den & Dal -1 @ NYJ
We are going to use a teaser here on the Titans and Cowboys, taking the Titans through the 3 and 7 and taking the Cowboys down through the 7 and 3. I was on the Broncos last week vs the Chargers and the game was never in doubt but I still don’t understand why they are favored in this game. We have seen the Broncos blow 2 games late at home to the Bears and Jags and I think the Titans will have similar opportunities in this game. The thing that makes you feel good about the Titans is they have not been turning the ball over. Marcus Mariotta has not thrown a interception yet this year and they have just 1 fumble lost, meanwhile the Ravens have Joe Flacco who has made a career of giving the ball away. Even if the Broncos win this game, I cannot see it by more than 1 score.
I watched every snap of last week’s Jets-Eagles game and it seems impossible to me there are worse teams than the Jets. NYJ does get Sam Darnold back this week but he has missed a month and last week his offensive line gave up 10 sacks. The Dallas defense should have a field day. Dallas has dropped 2 straight games to the Saints and Packers but in the first 3 games they dominated bad teams like the Jets, this feels like a get right week.