Month: January 2020

NFL Playoffs- Championship Round

2019 Reg Season : 41-44-1

Playoffs: 1-3

Kansas City Chiefs Football GIF by NFL

Game 1: Ten @ KC -7

Bet% Ten 38% KC 62%

The Titans have pulled off 2 of the biggest upsets of the playoffs and deserve all the respect they are getting in this matchup but I think this is the game where the clock strikes midnight on Cinderella. If we look at the games vs the Patriots and Ravens it was clear going in and crystal clear after that if Tennessee got up early in those games they would be able to control the game script and neither the Patriots or Ravens were going to be comfortable playing catch up. Last week was particularly interesting, The Ravens outgained Tennessee 530 to 300 on 5.8 yards per play and had 5 drives end in Titan territory without scoring. If you play that game 100 times maybe in 5 of them Baltimore ends up with 12 points, just seems like an impossible total for how many opportunities Baltimore actually had. The Chiefs are not going to be scared by being down, there isn’t a score that will change what they do and I think it is much more likely that the Chiefs get the Ravens out of their regular game script than the other way around. The Chiefs offense is the best passing offense in football, the year long numbers don’t show that but we forget the number of games that Mahomes didn’t play or wasn’t 100%, they also had a number of games without Tyreke Hill, this is actually the healthiest that offense has been all year and as a result they can basically pick their number.

The Chiefs run defense finished 29th in DVOA  so on the surface it is hard to see how they stop Henry but if I know Andy Reid his plan to stop the Titan run game is going to be simply score early and make them pass. The thing about the Titans and their dominant run game is despite superman performances by Derek Henry, they have scored through the air and that is where KC has excelled on defense. The Chiefs pass defense finished 6th in DVOA and if they can score early and get the Titans to rely more on Tanehill I think they win this game by 2TDs+

Game 2: GB +8 @ SF

Bet% GB 49% SF 51%

It is hard to find any numbers that you look and feel good about the Packers in this spot, The 49ers finished ahead of GB in every phase in DVOA, had to deal with more injuries during the season and the regular season matchup was a 37-8 49er blowout. I just think we are going to see one close game this weekend and while most people would take the Titans for that best underdog I can see a scenario where the Packers pull off the upset. Green Bay’s defense started out playing great football for the first month and then declined for the middle of the season. Since the 49er loss, the Packers have played 6 games and given up more than 20 just once, last week vs Seattle. I also think we have seen a lot of games where the 49ers have essentially hid Jimmy Garappalo, last week Garappolo had just 19 attempts, completed 11 of them for 131 yards, what happens if the Packers score first? Jimmy has been prone to turnovers so if GB can try to put more of the game in his hands they can definitely keep this a one score game. In the end I just think in a playoff game where Aaron Rodgers comes home to play against an unaccomplished QB getting 8 points is really good value. If the Packers score early and there is an opportunity to middle, I can see myself taking that as well.

Divisional Round

2019 Reg Season : 41-44-1

Playoffs: 0-2

Another tough weekend, I remain convinced Eagles win last week if Carson Wentz doesn’t go out early but in the end these things happen and runs like this happen as well. I don’t love really anything this week, I like both big favs in the AFC and will use them in some ML parlays and teases but for official plays we have 1 teaser and 1 total.

Game 1: 6 pt Teaser Min @ SF -1 & Sea +10.5 @ GB

I am taking both the AFC West teams here in a teaser. The Vikings got a huge win vs the Saints in a game I was on the wrong side of, the thing I should have remembered is that Zimmer and Vikings have traditionally played the Saints very well. The other big issue in last week’s game was how poorly Sean Payton managed the game and specifically end of half and game clock situations. Asking the Vikings to one again fly across country and win as a TD underdog seems like too much, I see the 49ers getting a lot more pressure on the Vikings and I think Shanahan targets a player like Anthony Barr in space.

I think there is a good chance for Seattle to win this game, I expect it to be a low scoring game that comes down to a late drive because that’s basically how every Seattle game ends. Seattle has played in 12 one score games this year including last week vs a team that lost their starting QB in the first half and then had their 40 year old back up QB play the entire 2nd half with a torn muscle. The Packers are the weakest of the home teams with a bye in DVOA and in fact Seattle finished ahead of them so I definitely think Seattle keeps this close.

Game 2: Seattle @ Green Bay Under 46.5

I think there are a lot of factors in this game that point towards the under and a lower scoring game. First off we have the Packers defense which I think is the best and healthiest unit in the of the 4. The Packers defense in their last 5 games gave up an average of 14 points and a high of 20 though they certainly didn’t play a murder’s row of QBs. Seattle is playing without their top 2 RBs but last week continued trying to stay with the run despite having no success outside of Russell Wilson scrambles vs the Eagles # run defense. This week Seattle faces a much easier run defense, GB is 23rd vs the run and for the purpose of the under I would much rather see Seattle running instead of having Wilson looking to air it out.

The Packers meanwhile have had issues scoring much of the 2nd half of the season despite a pretty easy schedule and really morphed into a team that grinded out games in the low 40’s. In their last 8 games GB has scored more than 24 just once and none of those games would have gone over this total of 46, in fact the last game they played with a total higher than 46 was vs KC in week 7 when they won 31-24. I think this game is a 23-20 game and not sure which side comes out ahead.

Wild Card Weekend Picks

2019 Reg Season : 41-44-1

Game 1: Team 6pt Teaser: Buf +8.5 @ Hou & Min @ NO -2

Teasers in the playoffs have been very profitable over the last few years and while I think you can make a case for all 4 games to be good teaser opportunities these 2 sides fit the classic Stanford Wong criteria (teasing through 7 and 3) which gives us maximum value.

Buffalo I think has a great shot of winning straight up in Houston, Houston has been bad on defense most of the year, they finished 27th in DVOA and were carried by their offense. The issue for the Texans in this game is that there seems to be clear correlation between the success of the Houston offense and availability of Will Fuller. According to ESPN Stats and info the Texans average 296.8 Passing yards per game with Fuller on the field and only 158.3 when he isn’t. Fuller is out his game and for the Bills who have one of the best corners in the league in White, they should be able to handle this offense without Fuller. The reason I didn’t just take the Bills +2.5 is that I can’t trust Josh Allen in this spot. The Bills should be able to move the ball vs the Texans but I can also see a scenario where Allen misses wide open throws or turns the ball over.

The Saints might be the best team in the NFC but end up as the #3 seed and hosting a game on Wild Card Weekend. The Vikings are limping into the playoffs, Dalvin Cook missed the last 2 weeks of the year with a shoulder injury and will be less than 100%, Adam Thielen caught only 3 passes in the 2 games after returning from his injury. The total has been bet up and I can see both teams having success moving the ball but in the end the Saints have too many advantages on offense to not pull this game out and we get them here under the 3.

Game 2: Sea @ Phi +1.5

Bet% Sea 82% Phi 18%

The Eagles are the side nobody wants to bet and we see that in the bet splits. The Eagles have played the last 4 weeks minus 5-7 starters on offense and yet Doug Pederson has been able to scheme this offense to 4 straight games of 400+ yards of offense. THe Eagles should get a couple of their key guys back in this game as Miles Sanders will play and Zach Eartz seems like he may be cleared, Lane Johnson is a game time decision but seems unlikely. The Eagles offense has found a rhythm the last month and they will know exactly what to expect vs Seattle. The Seahawks play base defense more than any other team in the league, they play base over 65% I fully expect the Eagles to be able to take advantage of those linebackers with their backs and tight ends.

The Eagles defense is very susceptible to deep passes to outside WRs, they are in the bottom 5 in Explosive plays given up (27th), TDs (32nd), Yards allowed per game (32nd), it is clear that is the way to attack them. Seattle, despite having one of the best QBs in the league has been steadfast in it’s run first approach and that continued last week despite losing their top 3 RB’s. The fact that Seattle continues to operate it’s offense in sub optimal manner will be a bigger issue here because the Eagles defense is much better at home. The Eagles give up 16.8 pts/game at home compared to 27.5 on the road, Opponents passer rating at home is 81 compared to 99 on the road and they give up 4.8 yards per play at home compared to 6.1 on the road. I also like the fact that you have one of the most analytics forward and aggressive teams in the Eagles compared to Seattle who routinely will kick FGs or punt in situations where going for it on 4th down is the clear play.