Last week was one of those weeks where you think do everything right and the Football Plinko gods come down and snatch victory away in the most painful crazy ways. The Colts overcame losing their starting QB, won by boxscore but gave up a pick 6 and then missed the game winning FG because the laces were out on the ball. TB was in position to win all game, Seattle misses a GWG FG end of regulation which would have given the cover, get the ball in OT and score a TD. It was a cruel, cruel week.
Game 1: Buf @ Cle -2.5
Bet% Buf 60% Cle 40%
Our week 10 starts the same as week 9 with the Cleveland Brown in what is a lesser spot and worse line. Yay? This is probably the last time we can keep doing this but like last week this is a spot that the Browns have to win if they have any chance of salvaging their season. One of the things that jumped out to me when looking at this matchup was that while the Browns are 2-6 and the Bills are 6-2 in DVOA Cleveland is ranked one higher 24 to 25. The Bills are not an elite team and this line is making it too easy to bet against the Browns. The Bills have feasted on bad teams and lost to the good ones this year and by all indications the Browns have been a bad team but I do think they are the more talented team. Browns had every opportunity to win last week but went 1-5 in the redzone and gave up a couple of big plays to Denver. The one thing we know the Browns can do on offense is run they are 13th in DVOA, the Bills defense is terrible vs the run, 30th in DVOA, if the Browns can be better in the redzone I think they win this game by a TD.
Game 2: Det @ Chi -3
Bet% Det 58% 42%
The Bears join the Browns as the second of the teams that nobody wants to put money on this week based on last week’s performance. Chicago had the most embarrassing offensive performance last week putting up one of the worst first halfs of football this season. That being said, even with a complete no show in the first half and Trubisky playing with 0 confidence and the coach having even less confidence in his QB, the Bears came back in that game and had it down to 5 with 8 minutes left. This game feels a lot like the Bears Vikings game a few weeks ago where the Bears where everyone was taking the Vikings and the Bears won 16-6. The Bears defense has been good but vulnerable vs the run, the Lions without Johnson are not going to be able to take advantage of that Bears weakness. On the flipside, Trubisky struggles with pressure but that is not what the Lions do, the Lions are 28th in adjusted sack rate. This is the lowest rated defense that Trubisky has played this season, if he is going to have a game where the offense plays well, this is it.
Game 3: Bal @ +10.5 Cin
Bet% Bal 67% Cin 33%
This game really comes down to one thing and that is do you believe in let down spots. There isn’t a case to make that the Bengals are better than their record or this isn’t a major mismatch on paper, there is no hidden matchup that really favors the Bengals. Still 10.5 points is too many in this spot. Just 4 weeks ago these teams met in Baltimore and the Ravens were 11 point favorites at home, Bengals covered in that game (17-23) despite being outgained 497 to 250.
The spot this week is the ultimate sandwich spot for the Ravens. Last week Baltimore had their biggest win of the season vs the undefeated Patriots on the leagues biggest stage Sunday Night Football and now they have to got play in Cincinnati vs the winless Bengals, starting a rookie at QB in a game they are favored by double digits on the road. The other part of this spot is the fact that next week the Ravens play the Texans in a marquee matchup of 2 of the best young QBs and 2 of the most exciting teams in the league.
Game 4: Ari +4.5 @ TB
Bet% Ari 64% TB 36%
Arizona has been one of the best ATS teams this year covering 6 of 8 games and in this game this just feels like too many points for TB to be favored after losing 4 straight games. I was on TB last week and they did everything you would want of them on the road in Seattle but ended up losing in OT and pushing +6. The Bucs have lost 2 straight road games in excruciating fashion and are playing their first home game since week 3, as they had one home game in London and a bye in that 7 week period. Arizona was riding a 3 game winning streak over the soft part of their schedule and then lost the last 2 weeks to maybe the best 2 teams n the NFC, the 49ers and Saints. I think the last 2 weeks have hidden just how much the Cardinals have improved this season, their run game is 3rd in DVOA despite missing David Johnson for 3 games. The defense for Arizona is clearly a problem and the Bucs offense is capable of putting up big numbers though I think they Cards are better than their season long numbers because they now have Patrick Peterson who missed their first 8 games. We also get the benefit of the Winston turnover bump, The Bucs have 18 giveaways compared to just 4 by Arizona. Normally we think of turnovers as mostly random and regressing towards the mean but we know Winston is one of those players that this is an issue for, Murray had 4 interceptions in is first 4 games but hasn’t had any in his last 5.
Game 5: LAR -4 @ Pit
Bet% LAR 71% Pit 29%
I have bet against the Steelers the last 2 weeks and the fact that I am against them again this week because it is clear that my rating of Pittsburgh is much lower than the oddsmakers. Last week vs the Colts, the Steelers needed a 99 yard interception return for TD, a missed FG from Vinateri and the #3 QB to play 80% of the snaps against them to get a 2 point win at home. The week previous the Steelers fell down 14-0 to Miami and were in big trouble until a late inexplicable defensive call that let Pittsburgh score a TD on 3rd and 20 at the end of the half. In those 2 wins Mason Rudolph had a QBR of 26.3 and 34.1 respectively which is probably where most of my skepticism of the Steelers comes from. Pittsburgh is having injury issues this week as well, they are missing Ramon Foster, James Connor and JuJu Smith-Schuster is questionable. The Rams are coming off of a bye and are in the toughest division in the league so every game is crucial. The Rams are #10 in DVOA, Steelers are 20, in point differential the Rams are +40 and Steelers are +7 all of this despite the fact that Steelers are +10 in turnover margin while the Rams are even. The Rams are a much better team than Pittsburgh, are off of a bye and are the healthier team.