We had another rough week last week, there were a couple of of mistakes particularly MNF where all week I liked the under and then at the last moment took the Jets instead. We got unlucky with a couple of plays like the SEA-Hou Over with missed FGs and even Oakland had a chance to go up late in 1st half but fumbled in endzone leading to a 14 point and then we had games like the Eagles and the Giants that were just dead DOA.
Game 1: Mia +14.5 @ Pit
Bet%: Mia 78% Pit 22%
This is the last game on this week’s card but the first one that I bet this week, The Pittsburgh Steelers at 2 wins, with a back up QB coming off of an injury and in fact Miami has the better QBS and yet the Steelers are 2 TD plus favorites? I know the spreads of double digits are normal against Miami and in the first 4 weeks those favs cashed easily but this one just makes no sense. Here are the QB’s Miami faced in the first 4 weeks: Lamar Jackson, Tom Brady, Dak Prescott and Phillip Rivers, the last 2 weeks vs Washington and Buffalo Miami has been very competitive and in position to win outright. Last week my biggest regret was not betting Miami after the QB change was announced and the line didn’t change. Fitzpatrick is a QB that has won a lot of games in the NFL vs Rosen who is really struggling to find his way like a lot of young QBs. Fitzpatrick is always capable of a 4 INT game and if that happens the Steelers will cover but he can also easily outplay Mason Rudolph and be very much in this game. I also like Pittsburgh coming off of a bye and into a game where they are giant favorites.
Game 2: NYG +7 @ Det
Bet% NYG 51% Det 49%
I was on the Giants at home last week in a great spot and they got shredded by 3 long Chase Edmond runs but here we are again. This line has been dropping, not sure if 7’s are around anywhere but would still play at 6.5 because this feels like a real down spot for Detroit. The Lions have lost 3 straight close games, the last 2 in the division and then got terrible injury news with Kerryon Johnson being put on IR, they will also be without Darius Slay, and 2 key defensive linemen. To make matters worse, the Lions traded starting S Quandre Diggs, a move so unpopular amongst the team, that a number of key Lions spoke out against including Slay and Johnson. Lions have not been an efficient run offense with Johnson but continued to be run heavy, I think that will continue and as a result the Giants will be able to stick around, Stafford has been great and should have success vs the Giants pass defense but I think Jones should be able to make some plays against a banged up Lions defense.
Game 3: Car +6 @ SF
Bet%: Car 62% SF38%
San Francisco is undefeated and the number 2 team in DVOA but I think this is the matchup that can take advantage of their injuries on the offensive line and put pressure on Jimmy Garappolo. SF has now played 2 straight weeks without both of their starting tackles and in both games vs the Rams and Washington, the 49ers have been able to continue to out-scheme their injuries. The Panthers defensive line has been playing at an extremely high level, they are 2nd in adjusted sack%, They are 6th in pressure % and they do it mostly with their front 4 as they have the 5th lowest blitz percentage. The 49ers run game on offense does have a good matchup in this game as Carolina is 30th vs the run in DVOA but the last 2 weeks with the injuries at tackle they averaged 2.4 yards per rush vs the Rams 2 weeks ago and 3.5 yards per rush last week vs Washington. In the end this line just feels inflated, the 49ers deserve to be favored vs Carolina on a neutral by 1 maybe 1,5 but 3? The Panthers lost their first 2 but Cam was clearly not 100%, since then they have won 4 straight and I could see them giving SF their first loss.
Game 4: Oak @ Hou Over 51
Bet%: Over 68% Hou 32%
This is one of the highest totals on the board and I think when you look at the coverage units you can see why. For Houston, you have them coming off of a tough divisional loss in Indy so you can expect them to play well this week and look to get going early. The major weak spot on the Texans offense is their offensive line but in this game they face a defense that has problems generating pressure, the Raiders are dead last in pressure percentage at 14% and 22nd in adjusted sack rate. These are also 2 of the bottom dwellers in coverage, according to PFF the Raiders are 31st in coverage while the Texans are 29th so both teams should be able to have success in pass game, both pass offenses are in the top 10 by PFF rankings and 8th and 11th in DVOA. We also have the additional wrinkle of the Raiders trading starting CB Connolly to Houston, the Texans lost Bradley Roby so Conolly culd play right away and I’m sure John Gruden knows very well how to take advantage of him. Oakland would like to to put this game in the hands of the run game and Jacobs but I think they will need to open it up because Houston is going to score and Jacobs is not 100%.
Game 5: Phi +2.5 @ Buf
Bet% Phi 51% Buf 49%
For the 3rd straight week I am on the Eagles and obviously this has not gone great the previous two. Beyond, the must win – season on the line talk which may or may not mean anything, I think the Eagles get a much better matchup for their defense. The Eagles more than any other team have been susceptible to giving up big plays in the secondary. 2 weeks ago they faced Diggs and Thielen and Diggs put up 3 TDs. Last week Amari Cooper had 100+ yards and Cowboys also got a big game out Elliott who is the only RB to rush over 100 yards vs the Eagles he’s done it twice. The Bills pass game does not test you the way the Vikings did or the Cowboys, Josh Allen is the least accurate deep passer in the NFL, so while John Brown is capable of getting deep on the Eagles it is far less likely that those plays connect. The Eagles secondary will also get a boost from the return of Ronald Darby so this is the first time that Mills and Darby the starting corners from the Superbowl will be starting in over a year.
The Bills defense is definitely real so I don’t expect a the Eagles to have an easy day on that side but the bills are much better vs the pass than the run so I can see a big Jordan Howard game here. I also think the Eagles offense will be greatly helped by not being in a big hole early which is what has happened the last 2 weeks.