Thanksgiving Week in the NFL is an interesting one because we have the full day of games on Thursday and then because so many people are off and at home watching games we see a lot of money on games and larger bet% splits because there is so much public money in market. We hit on our one Turkey Day pick with Washington +7 and hope to continue our hot streak with this week’s cards. I have a feeling there will be a lot of work Sunday morning and some additional picks not listed because if the public money shows up Sat night and Sunday morning we might see some additional value.
The Bengals had as bad a week as you can have last week, not only did they lose at home to the Bills effectively ending any hopes of making the playoffs, they also lost AJ Green for the foreseeable future and Geo Bernard for the season. We saw the Bengals last week struggle on offense vs the Bills who are good on defense but basically league average, Bengals were shut out in the 2nd half and averaged just 4.2 yards per play for the game.
The Ravens are a much better defense than the Bills especially vs the run. I expect the Bengals want to lean heavily on Jeremy Hill in this game with no AJ Green and Bernard and the Ravens are the #1 run defense by DVOA and yards per att. Bengals passing game will rely heavily on the TE Eifert, remember they started the season without their #2 and #3 WRs from the last few years Jones and Sanu and neither Lefel of Boyd has made an impact this season. Add to all this that the Bengal’s offensive line has been one of the worst all year, currently 26th in adjusted sack rate.
The Ravens offense has been a problem all year, they’re 30th in offensive DVOA and the offense is averaging just 18.1 points per game despite not having faced many elite defenses. I’m not sure either team hits 20 in this game and think we are most likely to see a score somewhere around 17-13. (more…)
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.
I started week 5 by making a futures bet on the NFC East champion. I took the NY Giants for 2 units @ +325, I had meant to make this bet last week and had seen the Giants at over +400 before their win against the Bills but I still think the Giants are prohibitive favorites and are worth this future at any price above +200. With Romo out at least another month, along with Dez Bryant, with all the issues the Eagles are having on their offensive line, in their run game and secondary, if the Giants can remain relatively healthy I like them to win this division handily. Giants play the Eagles next week and if they win that game which I think they will, I expect the giants futures to drop well below +200.
Season ATS 16-9 LW 4-2
Game 1: Chi +10 @ KC
Bet% Chi 50% KC 50%
This was the first game that jumped out at me when looking at the opening lines and I bet it thinking it would move down which it didn’t but I still think it is the right side. When we think of teams that can cover double digits, we generally think of teams like NE and GB that have elite offenses. The Chiefs are not that, they are the #18 DVOA offense, 17th in Qb rating and of critical importance if covering a big number like this they are 25th in redzone TD% at 50%. While they have a middling offense the defense is an even bigger problem, Chiefs are 30th in Defensive DVOA, 27th against the pass in both passer rating and yards per attempt. While the Bears are certainly not a good team, 30th in DVOA I think they are actually better than their results so far have indicated when we consider their schedule, the 3 osses came against GB, Arizona and in Seattle and also for 2 of those games they were without Cutler for all or most of the game.Its just impossible for me to believe a team with a middling offense and bottom of league defense can be a 10 point favorite.
Game 2: NO @ Phil -5.5
Bet% NO 63% Phil 37%
This fees like a good spot for the Eagles to right themselves on offense after a 2nd half last week where they finally got some big plays in the passing game. The Eagles have some major issues on the offensive line and otside of last week have not been able to get any large plays in the pass game. The Saints appear to be the perfect elixer for what ails the Eagles, The Saints are dead last in avg opp passer rating at 116.3 and giving up 9.4 yards per attempt which is also dead last. In terms of big plays, the Saints have a big play differential of 13, the Eagles are plus 3.
The Eagles defense has been very consistent and able to keep the Eagles in most games, they are #3 vs the run and there weakness in the secondary doesn’t seem like one the Saints can take advantage of with a less than 100% Drew Brees, This is a must win game for Chip Kelly, the division is still up for grabs and he should be able to get his offense going vs this defense.
Game 3: Buf @ Ten +1
Bet% Buf 77% Ten 23%
This game opened at Buf -3 and even though 75% of the bets are on Buffalo we have a line move towards the Titans so there is a reverse line move here. The Titans are coming off of a bye so they have extra time to get ready for this Bills defense. The Titans offense has been very good early in the year, 4th in passer rating, 8th in yards per pass att so they should be able to move the ball but I think the major issues for Buffalo will be on offense.
Last week, the Bills were without Shady Mccoy and Sammy Watkins leaving the offense to Tyrod Taylor and Karlos Williams, Its a game I had looked to bet all week but regrettably never pulled the trigger on. The Bills struggled on offense, averaging 5.9 yards per pass and 2.3 yards per rush now this week they are now also without Williams and down to their #3 RB. The Titans should be able to handle this version of the Bills offense, they are #6 in Defensive DVOA and 5th in Sack percentage. The Titans have really excelled in forcing 3rd downs this year and last week the Bills saw 16 3rd downs to only 14 1st downs, the more 3rd downs Ten can force the better chance they have to get off the field.
Game 4: Was +7 Atl
Bet% Was 25% Atl 75%
Atlanta is 4-0 SU and also 4-0 ATS because of that each and every week they win and cover the line gets shaded more and more towards the Falcons, essentially it acts as a tax to take the red hot Falcons. In this case a TD favorite seems like a lot, the Falcons have played 3 NFC East teams so far and in every game the spread was under a FG, in the opener they were 3 point under dogs to the Eagles. While Atl are clearly the better team there are a couple of areas that Wash could take advantage of specifically in the run game. Wash is 3rd in the league in yards per rush at 4.4 and Atl is 27th in opp yards per rush at 4.4 so Wash should be able to control the game on the ground and stay close.
In the end whether Wash is able to stay close and cover in this game may be determined in the redzone, Atlanta has been #1 in the league in converting 80% of redzone trips to TDs while the Wash defense is #3 in allowing TDs on only 37.5%.
After having 2 really good weeks in a row (12-2) I’m a little nervous this week because on one hand I know there is going to be some regression as it doesn’t seem possible to keep being on the right side this often and while I really like this week’s card, I am fading some of the best and most prolific teams in the league. One of the themes in this week is fading teams that have big games next week, hopefully we catch them looking ahead.
Game 1 Bal +3.5 @ NO
Bet% Bal 42 NO 58
This was the first game I bet after open, it opened at Bal +4 which I missed but did get in with the 3.5. So the Saints will be playing their 3rd straight game at home and I get the idea that it seems impossible that they could lose all 3 and that’s why everyone would be on the Saints but would you have thought they would lose both of the first 2? I don’t think so which is why I don’t think that alone can be reason to take Saints here or stay away from Ravens.
Baltimore’s season is pretty amazing, at 6-4 they are last in their division but have a +80 point differential, are the 3 DVOA team overall, #7 on defense and # 12 on overall, so by all these measures Baltimore come out looking like one of the best teams in the NFL. The Saints on the other hand at 4-6 have a point differential of 8 and are the 16th overall DVOA team, 30th on defense and 5th on offense. So it looks like we have the better team getting 3.5 on the road in this game, what about the spot?
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.