Game 1: 2 Team- 6 Pt Teaser : Buf pk @ Den & NE +8.5 @ Mia
We start the card with the Bills on Saturday night @ Denver to win the game straight up. The Bills are coming off of their signature win and there is some concern about a letdown after the SNF win vs the Steelers but playing in a stand alone game on Saturday removes some of that risk as does the fact that Denver also is coming off of a big win. This should be a game that Buffalo wins even if they are not at their best because they are going to have a major mismatch in this game to exploit. The Bills are the #4 DVOA passing attack and the Broncos have the #20 pass defense but last week 2 cornerbacks Duke Dawson and Kevin Toliver both suffered season ending injuries and they are going to be dangerously thin in the secondary vs a loaded pass attack.
Injuries are also why I like the Patriots this week, New England has seen a lot of sharp action and one of the reasons has been that Miami is really banged up on offense. Gesicki, Parker, Gaski, Ahmed are all questionable for this week’s game, Gesicki is a big one as he has become Tua’s number 1 target. Miami with Tua has been relying heavily on turnovers and high impact plays from the defense and special teams and at some point that is not something you can count on. This is one of the lowest totals on the board and getting it through 3 and 7 with NE offers one of the best teaser spots on the board.
Game 2: Car +8.5 @ GB
Green Bay has the perfect formula for a team that is always open to give up back door covers, they have an offense that can call their own number and score as many as they want which draws bets and money and leads to very large numbers but their defense is so bad that the opponent can always score late and cover the number. The Panthers are a good team, 17th in DVOA and 9th on offense and for this game they are getting DJ Moore back, they are 7-6 ATS and have been great as a dog especially as a big dog.
I was on the Lions last week and that offense minus Goliday had way fewer weapons than this one and they still got to 24 points and got the late cover, the Panthers are better than Detroit on both offense and defense and we have the a larger number here because GB is at home. The Panthers are going to be able to score in his game and even if the Packers jump out big early Carolina is the type of team that plays to the end and will keep trying to score.
Game 3: Sea -4.5 @ Was
Bet% Sea 60 Was 40%
This was the first bet I made on Sunday night when the lines were posted. With the questions at QB it felt like there was no way this line wouldn’t at least go to 6 and maybe more if Haskins was starting and even if it was Smith at less than 100% it was going to move from the open price. Now with Haskins start I love my ticket and Seattle in this game. Washington has been getting a lot of credit for their defensive performances this year and they have been very good but here are the QB’s they have faced in the last 7 games N. Mullens, B. Rothlisberger , A. Dalton, J. Burrow, M. Stafford, A. Dalton, D. Jones. Not exactly a murderers row. Pittsburgh is the outlier and they get full marks for that win but we saw the Steelers in a bit of downward trend before that game. Russel Wilson and this offense will pose challenges to the Was secondary that most of those other teams can’t and with Haskins at QB I think Russ will get multiple opportunities.
The Seattle defense has been trending up as well and I think can get pressure in this game and create some mistakes from Haskins. It is clear that Alex Smith is a very popular teammate and I’m not sure Haskins endears the same kind of sentiment so there may be a little less juice from Washington in this game, especially if things go bad early.
Game 4: Phi @ Ari Over 48.5
The Eagles looked like a different team with Jalen Hurts at QB, not only did the offense transform to much more run based scheme but the rest of the players had much more energy and juice. There seems to be a feeling that last week the effectiveness was due to the surprise element of never seeing Hurts and that is now gone but I am not so sure. I think that the offense will be able to add on to what the scheme was last week and just pverall I think it takes a few games 3-4 to get a decent read on a QB and I like Hurst to have success in this game. The Eagles are also healthier at their skill positions than they have been in quite some time with both Goddard and Ertz playing, Sanders, Reagor and Alshon all healthy. I think the Eagles will score and I also think the style of play and the big play potential of Sanders, Hurts and Reagor could create some quick scores.
On the other side of this matchup it is hard to see how the Eagles defense holds up against Murray and the passing game. The Eagles have a dominant defensive line but if they don’t get pressure there is no way the secondary will hold up. The Eagles lost Rodney McLeod their most versatile defender for the season last week and will also be without Darius Slay who has been matched up with #1 WR’s all season leaving a rag tag group in that secondary. The Eagles have also struggled vs mobile QB’s, Lamar Jackson, Daniel Jones, Russel Wilson, Taysom Hill all were able to get away from pressure and either create plays by running or scrambling and finding open receivers. I can certainly see the Cards getting over 30 pretty easily.
Game 5: KC -3 @ NO
Bet% KC 65% NO 35%
This is clearly the marquee game of the week and it feels like a sharp vs public split, normally I skip those types of games or ride along with the sharps but this is one that I think we are getting too much value on KC. The Saints are starting Drew Brees and while there have been few players more consistent than Brees, it is a lot to ask him to come and start in this game where you are going to have the pressure of knowing you need TDs. Brees will be doing so without his #1 target Michael Thomas who was put on IR this week.
The big case of the Saints is that they have an elite defense, we know KC has an elite passing offense and everything else is below average but for the Saints you have an elite offense and defense. The Saints defense was way below average to start the year and have been an elite defense since their bye but again let’s look at who they have played since the bye. The saints started with Teddy B and the Panthers then Nick Foles and the Bears, Nick Mullens and the 49ers, the struggling Falcons and Matt Ryan twice, Brady and the Bucs, the Broncos who had every QB in Covid protocol and started a practice squad WR, and then last week Jalen Hurts making his first start. Brady and Ryan are absolutely legit QBs but they have been hit and miss this year and there is no other offense that scares you in the rest of that group and certainly no offense that comes anywhere near the Chiefs. The Chiefs have been winning and not covering really big numbers but at 3 I think they break that streak this week.
Game 6: Pit -12.5 @ Cin
Bet% Pit 64% Cin 36%
This line for the Monday Nighter was at 12.5-13 all week and finally jumped to 14 last Saturday. Even at that number it feels short when we see the Rams as 17 point favs this week, Seattle as 17 point favs last week vs the Jets, to me this Bengals team minus Joe Burrow is in line with that Jets team. Aaron Schatz from Football Outsiders this week mentioned that if you were to pro-rate the Bengals offense since losing Burrow over a full season that it would grade as the worst offense all time by their DVOA metric.
This is the ultimate get right spot for the Steelers who are coming off of 2 straight losses, the Bengals who are 29th in pass defense are not going to be able to matchup with the Steelers receivers and this should be just what the Steelers pass heavy offense needs to get back on track. The Steelers should also get plenty of short fields and extra opportunities on offense as I can see the Bengals puttuing up a bunch of 3 and outs. This should be over 14, anything under 14 is great value and I would bet the 14. I also think 7 even money for 1st half has value.
Game 7: Hou +7.5 @ Ind
With Brandon Cooks back this feels like a decent enough spot to take the Texans. Last week they played terrible in Chicago but you had a cold weather game where Watson was missing Cooks and David Johnson, both of whom are back this week. The question is can the Texans defense hold on against a Colts offense that has been much better the last month. In the game these 2 teams played a few weeks ago, Colts jumped out to big lead and Watson brought Houston back and was at the Colts 10 down 3 ready to win before fumbling game away. After last week’s game I think Texans show up.