Last week was one of the worst for the books and usually I end up on the same side more often then not but last week I was on some very public sides especially on the LAR-NO total and came out with a perfect 4-0 week.
Week 9: 4-0
Game 1: 6 Pt teaser : Jax +9 @ Ind & Dal @ Phi -1
On the Jags, this really is it if they have any chance to make the playoffs. Jags are coming off of a bye and playing a divisional opponent who also only has 3 wins. The Colts schedule compared to the Jags has been much easier, they are coming off of wins vs the Raiders and Bills but lost to the Jets before that. The Colts are 22 in DVOA on defense but they are better vs the run at 13. Jags will get Leonard Fournett back so I expect them to play similar to last year where they grind the clock and give Bortles some easy shots to make plays. Even if Jags offense come out flat the defense is still 6th and I think they keep it to 1 score. (more…)
This week’s review includes a bonus Turkey day pick. Week 11 continued our hot streak from Week 10 as for the first time this year we had big back to back weeks. Unders were a major part of the week 11 card and even though 2 of the 3 games we bet went under we only ended up 1-1 in those games. Whats frustrating is that the Vikings-Cards game was one of only 2 games on the entire schedule that went over (12 of the 14 week 11 games went under) and you will read below it had no business going over. Still a 4-1 week is a great week and our season record is now over 61%
Thanksgiving Day Pick (Week 12)
Game 1: Was +7 @ Dal
Bet% Was 48% Dal 52%
Betting against the Cowboys has been about as bad a bet as there has been on the card as they have won 9 straight games not just straight up but ATS. That winning streak means that the price to bet Dallas keeps going up and getting the full TD here is too much value to pass up.
Lets first start off with the fact this is a divisional game and if we look at the Cowboys 3 toughest games of the season so far they are unquestionably the loss in the opener to the Giants, Week 2 in Washington and the comeback OT win at home vs the Eagles. Washington lost that week 2 game 27-23 and while the Cowboys are a much better team now than they were them so is Washington.
Washington has been steadily moving up in league rankings, in week 4 they ranked 14th in DVOA, currently they are 7th, the Cowboys comparatively rank 4th. There is no question that Cowboys have a major advantage in the run game, Dallas has the #1 rushing offense and Washington in my numbers ranks 28th but there is some light in the tunnel as over their last 3 games Washington has given up just 3.7 yards per rush att compared to 4.6 on the season. Those 3 games were against the Vikings, Bengals and Lions so nowhere near the calibre of the Cowboys but there are some signs that Washington’s run defense is tightening up.
In the end I expect both offenses to have a lot of success in this game, we have seen the over get bet from 49 to 51 and like the other 3 divisional games I expect a close 1 score game.
Every week is different, there are weeks where games jump out right away, there are weeks where nothing looks good until the weekend. This week as I scanned the card early nothing jumped out and by the time I did like a few games we saw some big line movements, especially in the totals. We are in the part of the season where weather begins to play a larger part and Sharps will start hitting unders early in the week either anticipating winter conditions or simply getting some insurance just in case. Something I will start doing as well on Sunday Nights. To get around the line drives I am playing a teaser card on unders and I anticipate I will be playing a lot more unders.
Week 10: 5-2
Game 1: Ari @ Min Under 40
Bet% Over 39% Under 61%
When looking at playing unders one of the things that I think gives the best chances if there is a mis-match between the defensive lines and offensive lines and it is rare we see a game where both sides have an advantage like we see in this game.
The Vikings issues on the offensive line have been well documented and it should get even worse because they lost starting T Jake Long for the season this week. The fact that it will get appreciably worse because they lost a player that was a street FA and arguably not even a replacement level player tells you everything. According to DVOA, Vikings are 31st in run blocking, 22 in pass blocking and 26th in overall sack percentage giving up sacks on 7% of pass plays but in the last 3 games that number shoots up to 9.92%.
Meanwhile the Cards pass rush has been really good, they are 12th in adjusted sack rate,7th in total sack % and #1 in my pressure rankings which include QB hits and hurries. Arizona is 4th in defensive DVOA and 3rd vs the pass, since Vikings only chance to move the ball is in air as they are not just last in rushing but are historically bad averaging only 2.7 yards per rush.
On flip side we have seen the Vikings defence slip a little during this 4 game losing streak, after 5 weeks they were 2nd in Defensive DVOA, they are now 6th but to put that slide into perspective, over the season the opp passer rating is 74.6 but over last 3 weeks it has been 99.3, same with yards per pass att which is at 5.8 for season but 7.2 for last 3 weeks. Now I think there are 2 reasons for this, 1 is fatigue, the Vikings offense doesn’t stay on field and as a result Vikings defense has played a lot more snaps. The second is injuries, Vikings have had key players like Eric Kendricks, Zavier Woods miss games.
Vikings defense should be healthy in this game and they have a very good matchup against the Cards offensive line as the Cards line is 24th in adjusted sack rate.
I also like the home road splits for this under, the Vikings at home have an opp passer rating of 68.6 vs 80.2 on road and we know Carson Palmer has his issues on the road. Palmer has a passer rating on road of 73.1 on road compared to 85.6 at home and has 5 interceptions in just 2 road games.
2 straight 3-3 weeks and basically .500 since week 1 has really shown just how hard this season has been and the need to cut out the mistakes or bets that I know are low probability long term. This week that meant not betting Seattle even though in my head I keep thinking this line (-1.5) is too cheap. It is cheap but it’s clearly cheap for a reason. Seattle is coming off of a very physical, very emotional game on SNF and now have to travel across the country and play what is still an elite QB and offense. It’s a terrible spot that I wanted to bet all week but will not because I am trying to be smart. Seattle may win this week but if this game is played under these same exact scenarios they probably go 4-6.
Week 7: 3-3-1
Game 1: Det +1.5 @ Hou
Bet% Det 56% Hou 64%
This is a game that where we have 2 teams with 1 unit playing very well and one playing terrible and I think who wins comes down to which of the poor units you expect to outperform.
On the plus side, the Lions are 13th in offensive DVOA, I have them #6 in passing offense and 17 in running offense. The Texans defense is 12 in DVOA defense 7th vs the pass and 26th vs the run. While the numbers are very similar I give the advantage to the Lions here because I think injuries to key players have lowered their overall efficiency.
The Lions started the year with Riddick and Abdullah at RB as a sort of Thunder and Lightning combo. Abdullah got hurt and they had hoped Dwayne Washington would take over and then he got hurt. Last week the Lions were without Riddick and Washington and newly signed Justin Forsett and Zach Zenner split carries. This week the Lions get both Riddick and Washington back along with Eric Ebron who missed the last 3 weeks with injury.
On the flip side we have the 32nd ranked Texas offense vs the 32nd ranked Lions defense. So again who do we expect to outperform? Well again I think the Lions getting healthy this week helps give them the advantage. Lions last week got their best pass rushed Ziggy Ensah back and while Darius Slay and DeAndre Levy will miss this game, Detroit should get Haloti Nagta back and he and a healthy Ziggy Ensah should give the Detroit defense a boost.
On the flip side the Houston offense is coming off of a dismal performance on MNF and if Osweiler gets off to a slow start or Detroit scores early and forces Houston to score I think you will see the home crowd turn on Brock Osweiler again and it could get ugly. Not unlike Bortles on TNF, the trust of the cord and his teammates in Osweiler feels like it is at a tipping point and a slow start here could be disastrous.
In the end you have 1 QB playing as well as any Qb right now, Stafford is 3rd in passer rating vs a QB really struggling and we also saw Lamar Miller get banged up in that MNF game which is a problem since he has been the only part of the offense that has been successful and they will need him to be great if they are winning here.
Oh we have also seen a steady line drop here, wouldn’t be surprised it ends at a pick or Detroit a slight fav, follow the $$ (more…)
Disaster. Pure Disaster. It’s taken my basically the whole week to get over it but really I’m still not. Following the perfect week last week, this week nearly everything everything went the wrong way.
Week 12: 1- 6
2015 ATS: 42-28-2
Week 12 Results:
What Went Right:
The Bears- that’s it. Just the Bears. +9 was definitely too much and the Bears were in the game the whole way and ended up winning straight up. Bears are a good competitive team
What Went Wrong:Everything, Everything went wrong.
The Eagles defense: I thought the would bounce back after their disastrous performance vs TB but there were too many bad signs I should have listened to. There was nothing good coming out of Philly, infighting, the players don;t trust the coach or each other. Expecting a bounce back from a team like that was just dumb and the under was basically over at half.
Eli and Ryan. 2 first overall pick QBs that have had a lot of success but also caused a lot of heartbreak, killed my bets this week with interceptions. In the NYG- Was over, the Giants put up 330 yards of offense but 3 interceptions killed any chance at the over. In Atlanta Matt Ryan was in position to to give his team the lead in the 4th quarter when he threw a interception in the endzone, 1 of 3 he would throw in that game and kill any chance of the win.
Plinko Death late: In both the Seattle- Pit game and the NE Den games I was in position to win the bet with a couple of minutes left in the game. The Steelers going for 3 late and giving the ball back to Seattle was costly as Seattle scored a 60 yd TD to ice the game and the cover with less than 2 minutes to go. In Denver, the Broncos scored to take take a 3 pt lead late vs the Patriots but left too much time and NE came back with a minute left and tied the game and sent it to OT. For he purposes of my bet, that FG ensured the game would go over 49 in OT.
What Did we Learn:
Gambling is hard and things can turn quickly.
Beyond that,betting late in the season is a little different than earlier in the season. One of the big things a lot of sharp people bet is that a team will bounce back after a really bad performance. Late in the season we have some more things that we have to take into account and one of them is the idea that with rumours of a coach leaving or getting fired we often see teams basically fall apart late. While week 12 is a little early for that the dysfunction in Philadelphia on the heals of their embarrassing loss to TB made them a very volatile team and one I should have laid off.
Its a thin line between Good and Lucky and this week there was a really thin line between a 2-3 week and 3-2 week. And this was it
Just the way it was drawn up, a last second TD for the Over and Win! Pure Unicorn Magic!
Week 9: 3-2
2015 ATS: 32-21-2
Week 9 results
What Went Right
Totals – All 3 wins this week were totals and even though a couple were really close and one a near miracle, the game flow for all of the games was pretty much what I had hoped for. The Rams Vikings game went under even though it opened as the lowest total of the week and the game went to OT. Both those teams are built for unders week in week out.
Dumb Luck, Sort of– The Giants–Bucs game was unbelievably lucky to go over with that last play of the game but really that game should have had no problem getting over. There was over 700 yards of offense in this games and 8 redzone trips, the Bucs went 1-4 in the redzone and there were some killer drops, Mike Evans had 6 drops himself which was a record according to ESPN Stats & Info. The Drops, RZ FGs and turnovers that kept the score down much lower than the game flow would have indicated.
What Went Wrong
Betting against the Vikings– For the 3rd straight week I lost betting against the Vikings, who are now 7-1 ATS. Vikings continue to baffle, they are plus 28 in point differential and +22 ATS differential, so on average they are covering by about 3 points per game. In terms of efficiency they still rank low 24th overall in Weighted DVOA, 27th in Offensive DVOA but just keep covering.
Square Teaser of the Week: Both sides of the teaser lost but really it’s the Atlanta- SF side that is the lesson here. Atl had basically 80% of the bets and I’m sure there was no game used in teasers more than that one because you could get them down to 1. Atlanta was never in position to cover and did have a shot to take the lead late when they drove down to the SF 5 yard line down 4 but a terrible call to go for the FG instead of going for it ended those hopes.
What Did We Learn
Recent Trends Matter: We’re at appoint now where with 8/9 weeks in the books some of the teams look very different today than they did a month ago and definitely 2 months ago. I will use last 3 game 4 game trends a little more and full season trends a little less.
Atlanta is a perfect example of why this is important, after starting the season 5-0 and 4-1 ATS their overall numbers are still very good but there has been a significant drop in their run game the last 3 games. Through 5 games they were averaging 4.4 yards per rush which provided a great balance to the passing game, on the season they are now at 4.1 yards per rush but over their last 3 games they averaging only 3.4 yards per rush which s 27th. They clearly haven’t been the same team the since their start and the huge drop in the run game has been why, the 3.4 in the last 3 games is more telling than the 4.1 overall.
Week 8 was a big bounce back week after suffering the first losing week of the season in Week 7 but what this week really highlights is how often ATS wins and losses come down to a single play or bounce. There were 2 games I was dead wrong on (No @ Ind, Min @ Det) and 2 games that I was definitely on the right side (Hou @ Mia, Cle @ Stl) the 3 other games were all toss ups and luckily they all went my way. Luck or not, wins are wins and reason to strut a little.
Week 7: 5-2
Season ATS 26-15-1
Week 7 Results
What Went Right
Dan Campbells Dolphins– For the second week in a row, Miami blew out the opposition and dominated the game on the ground. Everything went right for the Dolphins who scored 21 in the 1stQ and lead 41-0 at half. Campbell’s commitment to Lamar Miller and the Miami run game paid off big again as Miller ran for 175 yards on just 14 carries as this game was over early.
Todd Gurley and the Rams Defense. The Browns came in with the 31st ranked run defense and the Rams took full advantage averaging 6.1 yards per rush and 2 TDs. The Rams pass rush also won their matchup, they had 16 pressure plays including 4 sacks. The Browns seemed to get worn down as this game went which is how I thought the game would play out.
Nick Folk and Plinko– Gill Alexander, @beatingthebook on twitter, hosts the best NFL betting podcast on the planet “The NFL Megapod” and often compares betting NFL games to Plinko, the old Price is Right game. I often use Gill’s line here because it is really a perfect description of how so many games are determined. This week all the plinko bounces went my way. Nick Folk hit a 55 yard FG with under 30 seconds left to save a Jets cover in a game that they were within 1 score the whole way until the last 2 minutes. The Giants were outplayed most of the game but got 2 Def/ST TDs including a game winning TD on a 100 yd KR. In the 6pt teaser on MNF, the Ravens had a chance on the last play of the game to tie the game and kill the teaser but came up 4 yards short. Plinko for the win!
Its an interesting NFL Season, we had a number of undefeated teams going into Week 6, CAR, ATL, CIN that many wondered if they were real contenders or not. We also have a number of teams that are under .500 that many considered contenders going into the season like Seattle, Philly and Baltimore and then there are teams like Miami and Indy who we have no idea who they really are. Week 6 will answer the question of are they real for a number of teams and here’s hoping I am on the right side of those answers on my Week 6 card.
Season ATS 19-9-1
Game 1 Wash @ NYJ Under 41
Bet% Over 40% Under 60%
This is one of the lowest totals of the game but the defenses have such an advantage in this game that its impossible not to think that the most likely result is a very low scoring game between these two teams. By DVOA we have the #11 Defense (Was) facing the 20th NYJ Offense and on the flip side we have the #2 DVOA defense the of the Jets facing the #17 Offense of Was. For unders I really like defenses that have an advantage in the pass game and we have that on both sides here. In avg passer rating, these two offenses rank 21st (Was) and 24th (NYJ) while the on defense Was ranks 12th and the Jets are #1 in Opp passer rating with an avg of 62.3.
Another stat I love for the under is both defenses are great at forcing 3rd downs, Was is 11th and NYJ is #1 in percentage of 3rd downs to 1st downs, the reason I love this stat is it means that offenses are not doing well on 1st downs and the more 3rd downs they face the better the chance there is for the defense to get off the field. Both these defenses are in the top 5 in opponents 3rd down conversion percentage.
Game 2 Cin @ Buf +3
Bet% Cin 77% Buf 23%
At some point Andy Daulton is going to have a game that reminds us of the ‘old’ Andy Daulton and the Bengals are going to slip up like every team minus maybe the Patriots will and this feels like as good a spot as any. The Bengals are coming off of a huge win at home vs the Super Bowl finalist Seahawks where they came back from a 17 point deficit in the 4th quarter and won in OT. At 5-0 the Bengals have a lot to feel good about and with a Bye next week and a 2 game lead in the division this feels like it could be a let down spot.
Both these teams are having great starts on offense, Cin is 3rd in passer rating (115.6), Buf is 6th (103.6), Cin is 1st in Yards per pass, Buf is 10th, Cin is avg 4.0 yards per rush (21st) while Buf is avg 4.3 (10th). On defense however Bufalo is having a better year than Cin in every category, Buf is 6th vs the pass while Cin is 19th, Buf is 11th vs the run and the Bengals are 29th.
Tyrod Taylor is expected to miss this game but Buffalo should be getting some of their key offensive players back this week including Shady Mccoyand Sammy Watkins, which should make up for the downgrade at QB. I like that this is basically a 80-20 game with 77% of bets on the road fav and the with the Bengals in a classic let down schedule spot, ie off of very big emotional win and looking forward to the Bye, this feels like a great spot to take the home dog Bills.
Game 3: Mia +2 @ Ten
Bet% Mia 57% Ten 43%
There is not lot to write up about this game that points positively towards Miami, they have been terrible on offense and defense and were so bad that they were the first team to fire their coach. After starting the year with a couple of ok performances the last few weeks the were blown out by divisional opponents and looked like a team that the head coach had lost. This week coming off of a bye week and in their first game with interm coach Dan Campbell I expect them to put in a full effort and this is a team with a lot of talent on both sides of the ball.
One place I expect Miami to change this week is with their run game, so far this season they are averaging 16.2 rushes per game, last season when this offense was the #19th DVOA offense they were averaging 24.9 carries a game. Both these teams have struggled vs the run giving up 4.4 yards per attempt each but I expect Miami in this game to be better positioned to take advantage of that. Again there isn’t a lot to be positive about for Miami so far but if they are going to do anything to save this season from being a lost season, this game is a must win.
I can’t remember another week where the games played out closer to the way I capped them in my write ups more than this week. Sunday started with a perfect 4-0 morning and the next 2 games went almost exactly as I could have hoped for but the perfect day ended up being done in by Football Plinko, a 4th down play here, a hit upright there and the day ends 4-2. A winning weekend that could have been so much more. That being said, starting the season with 0 losing weekends in the first month and 7 games over is pretty fantastic and reason to celebrate.
Week 4: 4-2
Season ATS: 16-9
Week 4 Results
What Went Right:
Almost Everything.: First off the Dolphins were as big a mess and this game was as much of a mismatch as the numbers indicated. This game was never in doubt, the Jets led 10-0 after 1Q and cruised the rest of the way. Miami fired an overwhelmed Joe Philbin after this game and named their TE coach and former NY Giant Dan Campbell as head coach. Campbell has never been a coordinator or head coach at any level, this should go super smooth.
Betting against teams playing back to back road games continues be a winning proposition as 3 of 4 teams in that spot lost ATS including the Raiders and Eagles who I faded this week. The one exception was the Jags who I was on so that couldn’t have worked out better.
I didn’t get a chance to really look at the opening lines this week until late Tuesday and in doing so I missed out on a few great opportunities. Week 4 saw some dramatic line moves especially in the totals due to the impending Hurricane Joaquin, the sharps bet heavily on the unders on games like Was – Phi and quickly drove the lines down.
Its a good lesson on the importance of checking out the opening lines and being prepared early to take advantage of opening lines either because of major factors like weather & injuries or simply knowing that certain numbers are going to be bet a certain way because of public perception.
Season ATS 12-7 Last Week 4-3
Game1 NYJ -1.5 vs MIA (In London England)
Bet% NYJ 67% Mia 33%
All week I kept thinking of reasons not to bet the Jets like the game is in London and there is definitely some unknowns that come with that, The Dolphins have underperformed all year and at some point are going to play up to their talent and the there are rumours that Philbins job is on the line so you never know how that impacts the team. In the end,this feels like it’s too good a matchup at a cheap price.
The Jets and Dolphins have played similar levels of competition but had very different results. The Jets are 2-1 with a point differential of +27 while Miami is 1-2 with a point differential of -23. The Jets have been helped in their wins with turnover margins that are not sustainable but what is sustainable is their dominant defense.
The Jets are #2 in defensive DVOA, against the pass they are #4 in avg opp passer rating, 66.5 which includes Andrew Luck, 3rd in opp passing yards per attempt and 7th vs the run giving up 3.5 yards per rush. Miami has not had much luck running the ball so far this season averaging only 4.0 yards per rush and the Jets just faced the Eagles last week who have very similar run schemes to the Dolphins and held them to 3.2 yards per rush. That means the middling Dolphins pass game will have to carry the offense vs the dominant Jets pass defense.
On the flip side the Dolphins run defense has not got better even with the addition of Suh to the defensive line, they are 22nd in the league giving up 4.2 yards per att and the Jets get Chris Ivory back this week. Miami’s pass defense has been even worse giving up 7.9 yards per attempt (29th) which considering who they have played, Kirk Cousins, Blake Bortles and Tyrod Taylor aren’t exactly a murders row should provide the Jets plenty of opportunities to score.