Colts

2016 Week 11 Picks

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

2016: 33-22-2

2015: 63-37-3

 

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.

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2016 Week 9 Picks

This was not a week where I saw a lot of line value based on analytics or numbers and with 6 teams on byes it was probably going to be smaller card anyways. 2 of the sides are schedule/letdown spots and we have another teaser this week were we hope the home teams can just get the win. Coming off our first big winning weeks since week 1 has lifted the overall record to just under 60% which is great to see. The recipe the last few seasons has been to try to avoid the really public plays which I think limits the big losing weeks. Then from there we grind out the weeks and hopefully have a few weeks like last week and week 1 where the ugly games all hit and boost the overall record.

Week 8: 4-1

2016: 26-18-2

2015: 63-37-3

Game 1: Dal @ Cle +7.5

Bet% Dal 76% Cle 24%

In a game between the #2 DVOA team and the 32nd DVOA team we are going to have an impossible time finding any numbers that support taking the Browns and the points here. They do not exist. This is pick based solely on the schedule and the very likely scenario that the Cowboys will have a let down here.

Last week the Cowboys came off of their bye and played a prime time game vs divisional rival Philadelphia, they struggled for most of the game, trailing 20-13 through 3 quarters in what was Dak Prescott’s least efficient start since the opener before coming back and scoring on their last drive then in OT to steal a huge victory.

Now this week they play the worst team in the league, the winless Browns and beyond that Jerry Jones has basically come out and said that Prescott will be the starter regardless of Romo’s health so that urgency from the QB is also gone. You know the Cowboys have spent the week celebrating not just the win but the idea that even without a complete game they can come back and win. How seriously did they work this week to get ready for the winless Browns? Also they play the Steelers next week so you have to think there is going to be some looking ahead for both the players and coaches to that marquee matchup. (more…)

2016 Week 8 picks

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

2016: 22-17-2

2015: 63-37-3

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…)

2016 Week 5 Picks

Week 4 was the second straight losing 2-3 week. losing weeks are going to happen but you want to obviously minimise the severity of them but more importantly you don’t want to have them impact the following week. Sometimes after losing it’s hard to fire on a lot of games and you can get conservative or move away from good bets because you lost similar ones the previous week. Shot memories can be helpful in betting. I liked a lot of games this weekend, the card may end up being the largest in terms of games played so far but yo gotta just go with it. It’s a long season, week 5 is no time to run and hide.

 

Last Week 2-3

NFL 2016: 12-8-1

2015: 63 – 37 – 3

Game 1: Was @ Bal -3.5

Bet%; Was 52% Bal 48%

Washington is coming off of 2 straight wins and appears to be back on track after a 0-2 start, while the Ravens lost their first game of the year to the Raiders. With the Ravens at home, this line essentially makes them 0.5 favorites on a neutral field but I don’t see them that close.

In my ratings I have Baltimore as #10 and Washington at 17, I think by the end of the year both may drop a few spots but the gap feels about right. Baltimore is 4th in defensive DVOA, and 1st vs the run. Last week, Washington had their best run game of the year averaging 5.6 yards per rush which meant they didn’t have to just rely on Cousins and the pass game.

Even though Washington ended up winning both of their last 2 games they were in position to lose both and probably would have had it not been for some very timely turnovers from the Giants and Browns. Both Giants and Browns turned the ball over 3 times and Washington was +4 in TOs in those games.

The Ravens are coming off of a very tough loss where they allowed the Raiders to drive down with 2 mins left and score a GW TD. Ravens outgained Raiders 412-261, ran almost 30 more plays then them and probably deserved a better fate.

On the injury front, Washington was particularly hit hard last week with players leaving, it looks like Kerrigan and starting G Lauvao will play but may not be 100%.

Game 2: Chi +5 @ Ind

Bet% Chi 47% IND 53%

This one just feels like too many points for Chicago in what is a very tough spot for the Colts and in fact in DVOA rankings Chicago ranks a little higher than the Colts based on only this season (23rd to 27th).

Lets start off with the schedule side for the Colts. Indy becomes one of the only teams I can remember to not get a bye the week after playing in London. Maybe it doesn’t have a major impact Sunday but it has to be somewhat of a disadvantage and I think it is unlikely they had a regular week of practice because of it.

The Colts are 1-3 and they will definitely need this win if they want to make the playoffs so there is that ‘desperation’ risk but I’m just not sure that it is enough to think they can cover a number like this coming off of a cross continental trip.

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2016 Week 4 Picks

Week 3 was our first losing week of 2016 and as I mentioned not getting the best of the number cost me in 3 separate games. While I understand its part of the game and know I had some great luck earlier it is hard not to be a little bitter when you see the score fall on a number that was available at diff parts of the week. This week I have tried to be better prepared to get good numbers early but did miss that Cleveland +9.5 that was their on Monday.

Last Week  2-3-1

2016: 10-5-1

2015: 63 – 37 – 3

Game 1: Ind (1-2) @ Jax (0-3) Over 49

Bet% Over 75% Under 25%

This is the early game in London and I had a tough time deciding between the total and side. I like the Jags but not sure there is any value at +2. The total I think is the play because the Jags offense so far has simply not been able to capitalise on their opportunities and this feels like the perfect defense to get right against.

The Jags offense through 3 weeks has scored only 18 points per game on offense after scoring 22.5 last season, the offense is 30th in DVOA to start this season after finishing 21st last season and their yards per point is up to 17.6 this year compared to 14.4 last year.

After playing the Packers (10th in defensive DVOA), Ravens (5th in Defensive DVOA) and even the Chargers (16th in Def DVOA) the Jags get easily the worst defense they have seen this season and I think we can expect their best offensive performance so far.

The Colts are giving up 24.3 points per game to offenses through 3 weeks which is 20th and the Jags are giving up 28 which is 28th. The Colts offense is scoring 27 points per game 5th in the league, even though the Jags defense has been better this year the cots should be able to score.

This is the Jags 4th trip to London which should make them very comfortable in this game, they understand the schedule, the travel and should be able acclimate quickly in this game. A best case scenario for our over would be the Jags jumping out ahead early and the Colts needing to put up points late to come back. We should also remember that in their last meeting in Dec 2015, the Jags put up 51 vs the Colts.

Game 2: Den (3-0) @ TB (1-2) +3

Bet% Den 85 TB 15%

This is definitely this week’s “Hold your Nose game” and my fav bet of the week.  Denver is 3-0 and the defense looks to be very similar to last years dominant unit, add to that they are coming off of a very impressive win on the road vs the Broncos  where Trevor Siemian passed for 4TDs. Now contrast that to the Bucs who have lost 2 straight games both in very disappointing fashion so yeah why wouldn’t you want to bet Denver at this short price? Well it turns out everyone does want to. Here is an alert I earlier this week. (more…)

Week 1 NFL Picks

Football is back, De La Soul is back and life is pretty good right now. Coming off of 2 straight winning seasons on this blog certainly has me worried if the gambling gods take a chunk back but I do think the process of writing out rationale for every pick has improved my processes for making picks and also made me constantly seek out better and better information. As usual a lot of attention will be placed on analytics and the betting market to make these picks. Good luck to everyone.

Week 1 is always tough, not only do we have only the preseason to go on, these lines have been out for months and worked by professionals in every direction so it’s hard to trust the late line moves as true positions. But football is back and it’s the best. Same with De La.

2015 Review (all plays posted on Get The Cover)

2015 Reg Season: 57-35-3

2016 NFL Playoffs including SB: 6-2

2015-16 NFL Season Overall (Playoffs and Reg Season): 63-37-3 or 63%

Game 1 : San Diego +7 @ KC

Betting % SD 42% KC 58%

I bet this game early in the week and posted on twitter and here that the 7s were all going away and buying up to the full TD at -125 -130 was worth it. I wrote about the Chargers as an early season team to bet on and the reasons I like them in this post are basically the same.

The Chargers last year were the 15th best offense overall despite have the 31st ranked run offense. How much of last year was Melvin Gordon being terrible vs the offensive line missing 3 key pieces for a combined 20 games? I think with a healthy line and the addition of OC Ken Wisenhunt the run game will improve and the passing game should get a boost from that even if the run game just moves from terrible to below average. Rivers will have his full complement of WRs to start the year something he rarely had last year and I think he playing the K defense early is an advantage.

The Chiefs will start the year without Justin Houston and are relying on Tamba Hali and Dee Ford to fill in and create pressure. Eric Berry was late to camp after being franchise tagged and didn’t play any in the preseason. The Chiefs played without Houston to end the year and have a great coaching staff so these issues may be minor but if they are vulnerable on defense I think it will be early on.

Also worth mentioning the Chiefs were 3rd in the league in takeaways and 2nd in TO margin. I do think Alex Smith is someone who will always throw a lower number of interceptions but on the defensive side I would be surprised if the takeaways didn’t drop this season.

On offense Jamal Charles is not quite ready for the season and Chiefs will go with Ware as their starter. Andy Reid always runs a quality offense regardless of who is starting and the Chargers defense really struggled last year so it will be interesting to see how that unit bounces back this year and if Joey Bosa actually plays.

The Chargers played 12 one score games last year with a seriously deplete roster, (27th in Adjusted Games lost), I think they keep this game close and have a chance to win straight up. Sprinkle on ML

Game 2: Tampa Bay +3 @ Atlanta

Bet% : TB 48% Atl 52% (more…)

Week 16 Picks

Week 15 2-3

Season ATS: 54-37

Week 16-17 add a new challenge in that it becomes hard to handicap teams that have nothing to play for,teams that have just been eliminated how do they show up? lots of added factors in the final few weeks.

Game 1: SD +1.5

Bet% SD 60 SF 40

I didn’t have time to write this game up yesterday but did post on twitter.Basically I felt that SF would come out flat after losing to arch rival Seattle and having their playoff hopes die. This is a team that championship aspirations so hard to see how they would get up for a game after being eliminated.

SD SF Dec 20

 

Game 2: Min +4.5 @ Mia

Bet% Min 60% Mia 40%

Miami is another team who had their playoff hopes end last week and you wonder how they come out and perform this week.  Miami has been a very good team this season despite being 7-7 they are 11th in DVOA and +26 in point differential. All that being said, last week in a must win game they were blown out by the div rival Patriots, it is likely that their coach will be fired and in a spot like this I’m just not sure we see their best effort.

The Vikings are 6-8 but 9-5 ATS, they have been a team that has competed every week and found a way to to stay close in almost every game. The matchup that really works in the Vikings favor in this game is in the run game, Min is 9th in the league at 4.4 yards per attempt while Miami is 25th vs the run giving up 4.4 yards per attempt and in the last 3 weeks its actually been 5.2 yards per att.

I wish I had got a better number as this game opened  at 6.5 and 6 was available most of the week but I do think Vikings have a very good shot of winning straight up.

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Week 8 Picks

Week 7: 2-4

Season ATS: 25-16

If there is a team that I think is flying most under the radar right now it’s the Detroit Lions and specifically their defense. I have bet the under with them the last few weeks and with them playing the early game in London I will be on the underrated Detroit side again.  In honour of being from Detroit and underrated…

Game 1 Det-3.5@ Atl (In London)

Bet% Det 67 Atl33

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Week 7 Picks

On Thursday Night Football I  took the New York Jets who covered the +10, on the same night I saw Nas performing Illmatic live in it’s entirety something I’ve been waiting for 20 years to see.  I also have the NY Giants this week and think they can win straight up.  Week 7 …..NY State of Mind

Game 2  NYG+6.5 @ Dal

Bet%NYG 45 Dal 55

This game is the ultimate bounceback / let down game.

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Week 5 Picks

Game 1: Hou +6.5 @Dal

Bet% Hou 35% @ Dal 65%

The 3-1 Cowboys have been one of the biggest surprises of the season, led by the leagues #1 rushing attack at 165 yards  per game, Dallas has quickly changed the perception of this team.  That being said this might be a good spot to go against them.  Dallas is coming off of a very big prime time win vs the Saints and next week plays the super bowl champ Seahawks, so this could be a let down game for them. Hou also brings a much better defense  than any of the 3 teams that Dallas has beaten so far, the Texans are ranked 12 in Defensive DVOA while the Titans, Rams and Saints were ranked 20,30,32 respectively.

6.5 points seems like a lot in his game, while Dallas is at home there should be plenty of support for Houston in the Jerry dome which lessons the home field advantage.  The Dallas defense while not the historically bad unit some expected is still playing very poorly giving up 6.5 yards per play and 7.4 yards per pass, both up from last year, so Houston should be able to move the ball this week.

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