Cowboys

NFL Playoffs-Wild Card Week

Regular Season ATS 60-42 58.8%

Playoffs: Playoffs?

Game 1: Ari @ Car -5.5

Bet% Ari 55% Car 45%

This is a tough pick for me to make because it seems like all the sharps and smart people on Arizona and my numbers point to the Panthers. The Cards went 11-5 and despite poor underlying numbers they kept winning games and it’s hard for me to see them continuing especially with Ryan Lindley.

Arizona had a point differential on the the year of just 11, easily the lowest among teams that won at least 10 games, they finished 23rd in weighted  DVOA which is way below their rank in wins. So how has Arizona done it this year? 2 areas that have really helped are turnover margin where they finished +8 which was 5th in the league and they were 2nd in the league in defensive TDs with 4. Not to say those stats are pure luck but they are very difficult to count on long term, especially the turnover margin.

In breaking this game down the last month of the season has these teams going in opposte directions. The Cards had a passer rating on the season of 81.8 which was 25th but over the last 3 games its a dreadful 59. On defense  Arizona ranked 23rd  or worse in yards/play, yards/pass and yards per rush against and their numbers the last 3 weeks have been worse for all their season defensive numbers. The one stat they have been great at is yards/pt against where they ranked 1st at 19.8 so for whatever reason they give up a lot of yards but keep teams from scoring, can that keep up?

On the Panthers side they have had very few wins over good teams but they have been much better the last 3 weeks especially defensively. Panthers passer rating against  over the last 3 weeks was just 62, the yards per play in those games was 4.8 so they are playing their best football on both sides of the game the last month. I’ll take Cam Newton over Lindly here and the hot Panthers

Game 2: Bal+3 @ Pit

Bet% Bal 41% Pit 59

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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 13 – Thanksgiving Day

LW 4-1

Season 47-26

Game 1 Chi @ Det Under 48

Bet% Over 57% 43%

Detroit is an under machine right now, the #1 DVOA offense even after giving up 34 to the Patriots last week has had 8 or 9 of the 11 games go under (depending on line) because while their defense is premier giving up 17.3 point per game, the offense has run dry. Over the last 7 weeks the Lions have averaged 13.6 points per game and in those same 7 games only 1 game has gone over, a 24-23 win vs the Saints where the total was set at 45.5. The Lions are just not a very efficient offense they are 30th in yards per point and 24th in RZ TD at 50%

As for Chicago, their offense has also slowed down, they are the 20th in the league scoring 21.5 ppg and in the last 3 games they are down to 18.7. The Bears are very good in the red zone where they score TD’s 66% of time (5th) but they only get on average 3 trips per game(17th) and Det holds teams to TDs on 51% of trips (12th). On defense Chicago has the 23rd ranked DVOA defense and had 2 historically bad games vs the Patriots and Packers where they gave up 50 to each of those teams which is why I think this total is as high as it is. Outside of those 2 HOF QB’s the most points that the Bears have given up was 27 to Mia and Atl, 2 teams in the top 10 in offensive DVOA which Det is not.

So we have 2 offenses that are struggling, 1 elite defense and 1 defense that has been exploited by the best offenses but been about league average vs the rest of the field. After getting handled last week, I think the Lions defense has a big game and keeps the Bears below 20 which should get us the under with a number this high.

Game 2: Phi +3 @ Dal

Bet% Phi 42 Dal 58

This is the biggest game of the year in the NFC East as the 2 division leaders play their first game of 2 in the next 3 weeks.  The Eagles are ranked 8th in DVOA while Dallas is 10, what’s interesting about the Chip Kelly led Eagles is that it is their offense that holds their ranking back as their defense is 8th, Special teams are 1st but the offense is 18th. On offense the Eagles have struggled in 2 places, the first s the red zone where they are scoring TD’s only 46% of the trips and the other is turnovers where the Eagles are last with 27 giveaways.

A lot of he Eagles issues on offense  have been due to issues on the offensive line, the Eagles have had 4 key linemen miss at least 4 games this year but this will be the 3rd straight week that the Eagles have their 4 best linemen playing.  We can see some improvement in the last 3 weeks where their RZ TD% has been 7pts higher than their season average at 53.3% as well as Shady Mccoy who after struggling most of the year has averaged 4.9 yard per attempt the last 2 weeks. I expect that success to continue vs the Cowboys who give up 4.3 per rush attempt.

The Dallas offense has been dominant all year, they lead the league in rushing yards, 2nd in yards per attempt at 4.9 which allows them to have big plays in the pass game where they average 7.8 yards per pass att (2nd). That run game has been slowed a bit the last few weeks, in the last 3 they are averaging 4.5 yards per att which is still very good but not quite as elite as the 4.9 over the season. The Eagles defense lines up well vs Dallas as what they do best his play the run, they are giving up 3.9 yards per att( 9th) and they have actually been even better than that the last 3 weeks giving up just 3.5 yards attempt. If the Eagles can slow the Dallas run game they should be able to get pressure on Romo, Eagles are 2nd in the league in sack% and again over the last 3 games have been even better getting sacks on 11.4% of plays.

The big hole on Dallas is their defense ranked 25th in DVOA, they are giving up 7,4 yards per pass att and getting sacks on only 4.6% of plays, so if the Eagles offensive line plays to their abilities Sanchez should have plenty of time and opportunities to make plays, Eagles are averaging 7 yards per pass but again that’s been better the last 3 weeks where they are averaging 7.6. The 2 big wildcards are turnovers where the Eagles are last and special teams where the Eagles are first, if they can keep the turnovers down I think Eagles win straight up.

Game 3: Sea @ SF under 40.5

Two top 10 DVOA defenses playing against offense that have struggled to be consistant in scoring points in this game. 5of the 6 meetings between these two teams have gone under and for the 49ers, 4 of their last 5 have gone under, the only exception was an OT game against the Saints. The 49ers defense has been especially good in the last 3 weeks when Chris Borland was inserted into MLB and they also had top pass rusher Aldon Smith return for the last 2 weeks.

These are two of the stingiest teams in the league, Seattle gives up 19.8 PPG while SF gives up 20.5 but even better than that in the last 3 games these teams have given up 14.7 and 15.7 respectively. Both of these offenses are based on the run and both defenses handle the run very well, SF gives up 4.0 yards per rush while Seattle is even better giving up only  3.5. The 49ers have been great against the pass leading the league in opponent passer rating at 74.1 but again over the last 3 weeks that has been even better as the opp passer rating is an amazing 58.6 in that period.

A key to get unders is redzone play and these are also 2 of the worst teams in the redzone, Sea is 21st at 50% while SF is last at 40% meanwhile these are 2 o the best defenses at keeping teams out of the redzone as they rank 3rd and 5th allowing only 2.5 and 2.7 redzone trips per game. This is one of the lowest unders we have seen in week’s which is interesting but I’m not sure it will be low enough.

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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