I don’t have any bets on the full game sides or totals this week but still able to get a couple of bets in. The first is taking the Packers in the first quarter, I expect the Bucs to start slow in this game, one because that has been their history this season and two, because I think the cold will be something that bothers them to start the game. Tampa was shut out in the first quarter last week in New Orleans, and were down after 1 in 6 of their last 8 games and were shut out in Q1 in 5 of those games.
The Packers are team that does very well with their scripted plays and the fact that they struggled so much with this defense in their first meeting I think means they come out looking to be aggressive to start this game.
Game 2: TB @ GB Under 26 1st half.
This is taking on the same logic as the bet above that TB starts this game slow and because of it we have a low scoring 1st half. I mentioned above that TB has been a slow starter against good teams, I can see them trying to use Fournette a lot early in this game, it will be an adjustment for Brady to not have Brown who is one of his favorite targets on 3rd downs. The Packers too could come out with a run heavy offense in this game especially if they score first. I can see this game opening up in the second half especially if it plays out the way I am envisioning with GB scoring early and taking a lead into half, if that happens we have seen Brady have very big second half’s when needed.
Game 3: KC to win Superbowl (+225)
With Mahomes playing I was tempted to take the Chiefs ML but then I thought I am better off just taking them to win the SB at these odds as if they do win straight up this week I think that regardless of who win in NFC, Chiefs will be at least a small fav. Against the Packers I think that line will be 2.5-3 so something like -140- -155. There may be some hedging opportunities in SB especially of TB wins but either way I am happy to have a ticket on the Chiefs to win it all
I found this week’s card very difficult to find something I like which of course makes sense when we get to this part of the season where the card is just 4 games and lines are very sharp. As a result, I am going to play something a little different for my first bet.
Game 1: 2 Team ML Parlay – LAR @ GB (ML) and TB @ NO (ML)+130
Game 1 of the parlay is the Packers ML, this line opened at 7 and has been bet down so clearly there is some sharp money that likes LA. Last week I fully expected to be on the Rams in this game if they beat Seattle but the injuries to Aaron Donald and Goff and the weather in Green Bay have me off that side. The Rams defense has been terrific and is probably as tough a matchup as the Packers will face, Jalen Ramsey vs Devante Adams is the premiere matchup of the week and then Aaron Donald vs Aaron Rodgers. Aaron Donald got hurt in the 2nd half last week but is expected to be near 100%. What I wonder is how that defense holds up in the snow and cold in GB, in week 16 the Packers played the Titans in a snowy, cold game and while nobody thinks the Titans defense is any good the Packers seemed to have a major advantage when on offense.
On the flip side Jared Goff has to play in his first winter game with a thumb 3 weeks out of surgery and things did not look great for him most of the game last week. I see the case for the Rams defense to play tough and get the Packers offense to play under their regular level but I don’t see how their offense keeps up.
Game 2 is the Saints ML. I like the Saints to win this game because I think you can make the case that this is the healthiest they have been all year, they finished the year #1 in DVOA despite missing Drew Brees for 3 weeks and Michael Thomas for most of the season, Covid impacted a number of their guys including Kamara.
Tampa finished the season #2 in DVOA and had a really interesting season where the season started with the defense playing great and the offense starting slow and ended with the offense playing great and the defense playing really poorly. Last week Taylor Heineke started for Washington and passed for 300 yards in his WFT debut, the Falcons scored 27 in both their games in December against the Bucs. The Saints won the first two matchups but in this game both teams feel very different and I don’t think the “it’s really hard to win 3 straight times” fits here because this is a very different Saints team. The line feels right at 3 but I think the Saints win and we’ll see if this parlay pays off because I haven’t made this type of bet this year.
Game 2: Cle @ KC -9
I think this bet comes down to what you think of the Chiefs 2nd half of the season. KC did not cover a game in November or December, straight up they were the typical Chiefs outside of when the platyed the Raiders but they did not look dominant as last years team. The defense finished 22 in DVOA but generally it seems to have played at a similar level to last year, the difference is on offense. The question then is, have the Chiefs taken a step back on offense that they can’t get back or can they turn it on in the playoffs? For me I believe the Chiefs had little to play for in the regular season, when you have the best QB and the best coach it is Superbowl or bust so the fact that the team doesn’t go out looking to dominate week in week out isn’t surprising. We get the Chiefs now fully rested, Andy Reid off a bye is nearly mythical at this point and the matchup is a great one for the Chiefs offense.
In Cleveland the Chiefs get the perfect team to make a statement against, the Browns finished 25th in DVOA on defense, 25th vs the pass and that is aided by a 3 week stretch where the weather (wind) made passing nearly impossible. Last week the Browns got he perfect game script, literally everything went right and they found themselves up 2 TDs in a blink and up 48 in a few more. I think Cleveland is a league average type team that is coming off of the biggest win in decades and while this is a lot of points to give, this is also the highest total of the week.
Game 1: 2 Team Teaser Ind @ Buf -0.5 & TB –2 @ Was
The first bet I placed on Monday was this teaser. With the Bills we are obviously not getting the best value on a teaser, we are only buying the 6 and 3 and the total is the 2nd highest on board but in a small slate I am ok passing up some value. This feels like a perfect matchup for the Bills, they get a an indoor team coming to play outside in the cold and with the way Buffalo is scoring I believe it will force the Colts to put this game more in the hands of Rivers than they would like and from that I think we see a turnover or two. The Bills had such an ugly playoff moment last year but this team feels totally different, they are #1 in weighted DVOA overall and 8th on defense, 4 spots higher than their full year grade. The Colts have feasted on such an easy schedule this year it is hard to know what to really make of them but I do feel confident that the Bills are going to score in this game as almost every good offensive opponent did vs the Colts and I am not convinced the Colts can keep up against an improving Bills defense.
Tampa offers the full value teaser goin through the 7,6 and 3 and are playing a team that is as one sided as any in the playoffs. I have no doubt that WFTs’ defense will cause problems for the Brady and the Bucs (see total pick below) but how does this Washington team score enough to win or keep it under a FG? Last week the Eagles a middling defense benched every veteran starter on defense besides Brandon Graham and Darius Slay and WFT couldn’t do anything. We don’t know what the situation is at QB, we just know it isn’t good. The Bucs may end up winning ugly in this game but I am confident they win.
Game 2: LAR @ SEA Under 43
This is the 3rd meeting between thee teams both meetings have gone under and I think that trend continues. In the end, what you are capping in this game is Pete Carrol and how he wants to play offense. In their first 7 games, Seattle scored 30+ five times and 27 in the other 2 games, that was the “Let Russ Cook” part of the season when the Seahawks were in top 5 in early down passing and one of the best offenses in football. In the last 9 games Seattle has reverted to the classic Seattle model of running on early downs and have hit 27 only twice and 4 of their last 5 games have gone under.
In this game, with the Rams QB position in flux but a very good defense I think Carroll takes his chance in a low volatility game, keep it close late and then let Russ win in the 4th, it worked a couple of weeks ago for the division and I think they play it the same way. I see a 20-17, 20-13 type game but there is no doubt if they decide to let Russ Cook this game could go over easily, that’s the bet we are making, who are the real Seahawks. I also like the under more if Goff starts, the
Game 3: TB @ WAS Under 45
The Bucs are coming in this game playing some of the best offense in the league finishing the season with 44,47,31 and 27 but those totals came against some of the worst defenses in the league, Detroit, Atlanta twice and Minnesota. When the Bucs have played quality defenses like the Rams, Saints and Giants they have had a much more difficult time, Brady has struggled against teams that pressure and that is certainly what he will face here in Washington. WFT finished 7 in adjusted sack rate, 3rd in defensive DVOA and 2nd vs the pass, this is going to be a matchup that TB will need to be very efficient against to score 30+. On the flip side it is hard to see how WFT scores in this game. Last week vs the Eagles, the Eagles benched every veteran starter of note on defense besides Brandon Graham and Darius Slay, the bulk of the secondary was 3rd team and practice squad players and against that competition WFT averaged 4 yards per play and 145 yards passing, they have not scored more than 20 the last 3 games, this is just not an offense that is playing well at all right now.
Game 4: Ten @ Bal -3 2H
Didn’t get a chance to post this live, I wanted Bal -3 all weekend, it got down to -112 which i should have taken but by Sat night it moved back -3.5 and I figured I would wait for live opportunity, which luckily did come up.
After seeing the surge in 2nd half, I was hoping the game would stay tied going into half with Ravens getting ball first and that exactly what happened and I was able to get Ravens -3 for 2nd half.
Game 5: Steelers Live
I don’t have any bets on Chi @ NO but will look for opportunities in the Steelers game where I think the impact of not having Stephanski will impact them more after the scripted plays and 2nd half. 8f Browns score early or are competitive at half I will be taking Steelers.
The Saints need the Packers to lose for this game to mean anything and are playing at the same time. COVID hit the Saints RB room and all of the RBs on the roster including Kamara and Murray will be out for this game, there is a chance we will see more by game time. Brees has relied on that running game to carry the offense since returning from injury and it is hard to see how they run away from a Panthers team that has covered big numbers all year.
I can see 2 ways the Panthers get the cover in this game, the first is the Saints struggle on offense without Kamara and Murray and the Panthers are able to stay in this game start to to finish. The second way is that the Packers lead the Bears all game and the Saints pull Brees and some of the other key players and the Panthers win or cover late as a result. Either way I think there is value in getting 6 here.
Game 2: Pit +10 @ Cle
The Steelers will have Roethlisberger and a number of other starters resting in this game but the Browns are in the midst of a Covid scare that last week cost them so many bodies they lost to the Jets. Now 7 days later they are favored by more points against the Steelers who while they will have a back up QB are a team that will feature mostly players who have contributed to a double digit win team. It would not surprise me at all to see Pittsburgh in this game with a chance to win.
Game 3: 2 Team 6 Point Teaser Atl @ TB -1 & Dal @ NYG +7.5
In this teaser we are taking the Bucs down to 1 and we need them to just win the game. These 2 teams played 2 weeks again and the Falcons got off to a great start and lead the game 17-0 at half and 24-7 in the 3rd before the Bucs came roaring back and scored 31 in the 2nd half. The Bucs know they can throw all over the Falcons and I think they get to it sooner in this game.
Money has poured in on the Cowboys this week vs the Giants but if you look at who Dallas has played the last 3 weeks ( Phi, SF and Cin) and the fact that they are +9 in turnover in those games, it would be hard not to look good. The Giants on the other hand have played a much tougher schedule as of late with the Ravens, Browns and Cardinals so no surprise they would 0-3 and have looked competitive. I like the Giants in this post to win but definitely like them to stay within a TD.
Game 4: Mia @ Buf -0.5 1st Half
I have been trying some different ways to play this but in the end the play I feel best about is taking Bills in the first half. I think there is a good chance that they let the starters play deep into the 2nd half but just in case they don’t, I think they come out and set the tone early in this game. The Dolphins are going back to start Tua in this game and even with the better defense I don’t see how they keep up with the Bills offense.