Game 1: GB @ Det +8
The Lions won a game last week that they probably should have lost but what was clear is that hte team was playing with a lot more effort and freeness with Darell Bevel as their coach than they did for Matt Patricia. This game has a huge mismatch with the Packers #2 DVOA offense vs the Lions #32 DVOA defense but I am going to lean on 2 things, first despite the injuries the hope is that with Patricia gone we see the Lions defense have a bit of an uptick here. What I am really hoping for here is we see the Packers kind of go through the motions and play to the competeition the way they did against the Vikings, the Jags and even last week vs the Eagles.
I like the Lions offense having success here, the Packers have struggled on defense and last week was the best Stafford has looked all year, I am hoping that continues and we see the Lions jump out ahead and hen hold on when the inevitable Packers run comes.
Game 2: Min +7.5 @ TB
Bet% Min 42% TB 58%
This line was at 6.5 all week and jumped to 7 and even some 7.5’s. I was waiting for the 7 but now will see if I can get a cheaper 7.5 before making my bet. This just feels like too many points for the Bucs, the Bucs have lost 3 of their last 4 and really outside of their wins over the Packers and Raiders they have not had another impressive win on their schedule. TB is still ranked 3rd in DVOA and 4th in Weighted, the Vikings are 15th in DVOA so about the league average, I just have a hard time believing that the Bucs right now are a TD better than a league average team. We also have the fact that the Bucs receivers Goodwin and Evans are still battling nagging injuries and the offense just hasn’t looked in synch really since the Packers game and is facing a much improving Vikings defense. The Vikings have played down to their competition the last few weeks but after starting the year 1-5 Minnesota has won 5 of their last 6 and are in the playoff hunt so this is a big game for them and I think their offense is a good matchup vs the Bucs. I think the Vikings are going to be in this game the whole way through and will have a decent shot to win straight up, this is great value at this price.
Games 3,4 & 5 are all 2 Team 6 Point Teasers
Game 3: KC -1.5 @ Mia & Hou @ Chi +8
I am using the Chiefs in 2 teasers and may add to another one as well. I get how tough Miami has been this year but so many of their games have benefited from scores on defense and special teams, I just do not see how you can reasonably expect Tua to keep up to the Chiefs in this game with no run game unless we expect Mahomes to throw a couple of interceptions and give Miami a very short field. With the Steelers losing last week and an underdog again this week the Chiefs have the #1 seed within their grasp again and I don’t see them losing in this spot. The other thing that I think is worth mentioning is that as good as a job as Brian Flores has done with his defense, Andy Reid has traditionally had a lot of success vs the Belichick and company defenses.
The Bears and Houston game is going to be an interesting one. Last week the Texans played the Colts came back from a double digit deficit had the game won before fumbling at the Colts 10. This week they now have to go to play in the cold and windy midwest, the Bears defense has definitely taken a step back but playing against the Texans offense minus Fuller, Minus Cobb and this week minus David Johnson, I can see them having a good game vs Watson. On offense the Bears have looked better the last few weeks with Trubusly taking over and the run game has been much more productive with Montgomery. The Houston defense ranks 27th in DVOA, the Bears offense has the same rank of 27th but I would say the Bears arrows are probably headed up while the Texans defense is going down. At home, on grass in the cold I like the Bears to win this game or at least keep it very close.
Game 4: KC -1.5 @ Mia & Ind @ LV +9
The second teaser I am using the Chiefs with is the Raiders. This line opened at 2.5 and I had decided to play the Raiders but it was clear this was going to 3 and at that point I had to decide do I want to just take LV +3 or use them in a teaser which by definition is less value because we are not taking it through the 3 anymore and now getting a less valuable 9. I am going to stay with the teaser and what I will probably do is add a small bet on the Raiders ML. I think the Raiders are going to score in this game, the Colts defense is still in the top 10 but we have seen good offenses move the ball against them and just not be super efficient in the redzone. The Raiders have been much better at hoe and I think have a good shot at winning this game but getting them over the TD feels like a really good teaser spot.
Game 5: Ten -1.5 @ Jac & Atl @ LAC +8.5
Taking the Titans down to basically just win vs the Jaguars, the Jags have been playing better with Glennon at QB but in this case I don’t know that they are going to be able to have the firepower to stay in this game with the Titans. Derek Henry has feasted on the Jags and games the Titans get in trouble are the ones where they go run heavy vs teams that can stop the run, The Jags have never been able to stop Henry so I feel good about taking them down under the FG.
The Chargers are the team coming off of the worse loss of the week, nobody is going to want to take them this week and it feels like the perfect bounce back spot against the Falcons. I love when we get home teams at +2 because with the teaser we get them through the TD and there is probably a 4-45% chance they win straight up.
Game 6: NYJ @ Sea Under 47
I was on the under last week with Seattle and I think again this line is too high for a Seattle game they should control because it seems like we are seeing them revert to their old style of play and pace and the let Russ cook era seems to be over. Seattle scored at least 30 in 7 of their first 8 games but now has only hit 30 once in their last 5 games. Not only has the Seattle offense reverted but the defense has started to play much better, in their last 4 games the Seahawks are giving up 16.5 PPG and this Jets offense is not one that should scare them. In the end I think Seattle can play this game anyway they want but coming off of a bad loss to the Giants I can see Caroll taking the air out of the ball and just grinding out a 20-6 win.
Game 7: Ari – 2.5 @ NYG
This game feels like one where everyone is now on the Giants, they are the favorites to win the NFC East, the defense has been very good and there is definitely a narrative building around them. To me this feels like buying the Giants at there absolute high and selling the Arizona at their absolute low. Despite the Giants winning their last 4 they are still only 24th in DVOA both overall and weighted. Arizona has lost 3 in a row and 4 of their last 5 but are still 13th in DVOA. The Giants win over Seattle was there first over a winning team, previous to that they had beat the Bengals, the Eagles and Washington twice. New York is going to have to prove it to me again, last week was great but a lot went wrong for Seattle and I am not convinced that they can pull it off again in back to back weeks.
Game 8: Bal -2.5 @ Cle
The Browns are coming off of their best performance of the year while the Ravens had a pretty unimpressive 17 point win over the Cowboys on Tuesday. The Ravens have owned the Browns the last couple of years and even though the Browns have had a much better year this year the matchup issues still remain. The Browns have been a team that you can have success running against, overall they are 19th vs the run, last week they played very well vs the Titans in a game they dominated off the start but over the last 3 weeks they have given up 4.4 yards per rush att. The Ravens seem to be getting their offense going the right way and this could be a get right spot for them. the other reason the Ravens have dominated this matchup is that defensively they matchup very well vs this Browns team. The Ravens are #4 vs the run and the Browns set everything up through the run, this should be even a bigger issue for Cleveland as they are missing their best offensive lineman Wyat Teller is injured and is likely to miss this game. I also think that the Ravens can see this game as the tipping point to their season, if they were to win this game then they finish the season with the Jags, Giants and Bengals, a sweep of those games gets them to 11 wins and a serious contender for the AFC.