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…)
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.
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
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…)
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…)
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.
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
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…)
The Divisonal round is my favorite weekend of the playoffs, and next to opening week my favorite week of the NFL season. The Superbowl gets hijacked by non-football media/fans, the conference finals is only 2 games but the divisional round year after year offers some of the most interesting matchups.
Injuries play a major role in this years divisional round and have taken some of the lustre off a couple of the games but I think we do have some good matchups to bet.
We had a couple of crazy finishes in the Seattle and Pittsburgh games last week and an interesting narrative has formed around the Seahawks about them being lucky to be here. They were certainly lucky to get out of Minnesota with a win after Blair Walsh missed the game winning FG but lots of championship teams have escaped games they should have lost with a lucky break, . I have Seattle has the best team in the league and very comparable to the last 2 Seattle teams that went to the Superbowl
2015 Playoffs: 2-0
2015 Reg Season: 57-35-3
Game 1: Sea +2.5 @ Car
Bet% Sea 31% Car 69%
I think this is a matchup of the best 2 teams in the NFL this season but Seattle is #1 and the Panthers are #2 and getting the best team in the league plus points is reason enough to make the play here.
Seattle was extremely lucky to get out of Minnesota last week but Seattle is still the best team in the NFL and this years team is very comparable with the last 2 years.
I give the Seahawks a pass for last week’s game because of the very difficult conditions. Not only was it one of the coldest days in NFL history, it was an early start for the PST Seahawks and they were also playing a team they had just dismantled in Week 13 (38-7). I put much of the poor performance on the cold, there were seemingly a number of opportunities for big plays down the field for Russell Wilson where we saw the ball just hang in the air. Neither team was able to do much on offense but unlike the Vikings Seattle had a number of opportunities that they just couldn’t cash
Being lucky to win that game is different than being lucky to be here. Seattle got off to a slow start this season 2-4 and struggled to find their way on offense and defense due to a number of factors including Cam Chancellor holding out, wholesale changes on the offensive line, and starting Cary Williams at CB. Seattle also underwent a change in offensive philosophy partly due to personnel (Marshawn Lynch being hobbled, addition of Jimmy Graham) as well as Russell Wilsons growth as a passer.
Through 6 Weeks, Seattle was 2-4, 12th in offensive DVOA, 12th in defensive DVOA, they probably deserved better than 4 losses but look how the final 10 games compare with the first 6.
In the last 10 games we saw Seattle play as well as they have at any point of this dominant 4 year run since Russell Wilson has been there and it places this years team amongst the last 2 teams that made the Super Bowl.
The SB winning 2013 team was one of the best defensive teams of the last decade and this team is not playing at that level but we see that offensively this team is much more efficient and like that team, this years team is dominant in all 3 phases. What stands out to me is that over the last 10 games the 2015 team has a point differential that’s 2 full points better than the 2013 team. The Seahawks of 2015 look different and win differently then the last 2 years but they are actually equally as great. If they miss out on the Superbowl this year it will be because the 1st 6 games set them up for a very difficult road (@ Min, @ Car, @ Ari) not because they finished the year as a lesser team.
Carolina is a great team and they beat Seattle in week 6 in Seattle so they are certainly capable of winning this game. The Panthers finished 4th overall in DVOA and 3rd in weighted DVOA ( Seattle finished 1st in both, Cam Newton is the MVP and I love the fact that they lead the league in big play differential.
In a lot of ways this game could be similar to 2012 when the 11-5 Seahawks were #1 in DVOA but had to play @ the 13-3 Falcons and lost 30-28. If the Panthers win I will be on them next week vs Arizona but this is the one team I don’t think they are better than.
I don’t think Carolina has a great home field and the conditions should be about a 1000 times better for Seattle than last week. We saw 4 road teams win last week and I expect Seattle to continue the trend here.
Game 2: GB @ Ari -7
Bet% GB 39% Ari 61%
It’s interesting what a difference a week makes. The Packers were 1 point underdogs going into Washington last week and most of the talk going into that game was about”Whats wrong with Aaron Rodgers”. Now after a 35-18 win most of the talk has been about the Packers righting the ship and possibly making a run in the playoffs. Have they righted the ship?
I was on the Packers last week and the reason for that was that they were facing the #22 pass defense ( 22nd in opp avg passer rating 95.7, 22nd in opp yards per pass att 7.2) and the 30th ranked run defense (4.8 yards per rush). They put up 35 points but Rodgers wasn’t especially great as he passed for only 210 yards on 36 pass attempts, it was really the run game that carried the offense with 141 yards and 2 TDs.
The Packers offense faces a much more difficult defense this week, the Cards finished 3rd in Defensive DVOA and were in the top 10 in yards per pass att and yards per rush att. One of the major problems the Packers have had is protecting Rodgers, Rodgers was sacked on 7.4% of pass plays (24th) on the season but in their last 3 games he was sacked at an even higher percentage 11.2%. In their week 2 game the Cards sacked Rodgers 8 times so they will definitely be looking to take advantage of the Packers line again in this game.
Arizona has been one of the best offensive teams all year, 4th in offensive DVOA, 1st in Points Scored (32/Game) and 2nd overall in point differential +176., +131 better than the Packers who finished +45 on the season
A lot has been made about the injury to Tyrann Mathieu and it it is a big one but this week i think the impact is negated due to the packers injury of Devante Adams. Adams has been a disappointment this year but he is still the Packers best outside threat and without him the Packers really do’t have anyone the Cards have to worry about getting deep. I think his is a near perfect matchup for the Cardinals this week and expect them to win by at least double digits.
Game 3: KC @NE -4.5
Bet% KC 46% NE 54%
There is not a lot to write on this one, I love Andy Reid, so much of what I know and think about the NFL was shaped by Andy and the decade plus he spent in Philadelphia. This has been a fantastic coaching job this year, starting 1-5, losing Jamal Charles and then winning 11 in a row including last week in Hou is something nobody could have envisioned but I think they are just up against too much his week.
Last week the Chiefs played the Texans and had the game pretty much gift wrapped to them by Brian Hoyer who threw 4 interceptions in one of the worst playoff performances of all time. I’m not sure a team has faced a larger difference in the calibre of QBs from 1 playoff game to the next as the Chiefs will going from Hoyer to Brady
The Pats limped into the end of the year due almost entirely to injuries, Edleman, Gronk and 3/5ths of the offensive line missed parts or all of the last quarter of the season. I think those injuries and the late season swoon gives us value here and a cheaper than usual price to bet the Pats. The Pats are expected to have Gronk and Eddleman back this week while the Chiefs will be without Jeremy Maclin. Without Maclin I expect Bellicheck to do everything he can to stop the run and force KC to beat them through the air and I’m just not sure how they can do it.
I found this week’s games to be very difficult to get a beat on. All of the lines feel like they are right on and I don’t see a lot of value this week.
I think there is an impulse to think that once the playoffs start you should have a strong opinion on every game but I found myself going back and forth on every one of these wild card games. I plan on being very selective in the playoffs but I do think there may be some opportunities with in-game bets whether live or 2nd half bets or other exotics.
*Futures – Back in week 12 I bet futures on the Steelers and the Seahawks to win their conferences and win the Superbowl so I will obviously also be tracking those
2015 Reg Season ATS: 57-35-3
Game 1: Pit @ Cin Under 45.5
Bet%: Over 65% Under 35%
When these 2 teams played in Week 14, the total closed at 49 and the game finished over with a total of 53 yet this game opened up at 46 and has been dropping despite 65% of the bets on the over.
When we look at the differences obviously the injuries are big, Andy Daulton was hurt in that Week 14 game and as a result we have AJ McCarron starting for the Bengals this week. For the Steelers, they will be without DeAngelo Williams this week and will start undrafted Fitzgerald Trousant who has a total of 18 carries this year for 42 yards.
The Steelers have one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL, but minus a credible run defense we should see the 6th rank Bengals Pass defense be able to slow down the Steelers. In week 14 the Bengals held Pittsburgh to 6.6 yards per pass att, in week 8 they held them to just 5 yards per pass att. *It should be noted that Week 8 game was Big Ben’s first game back from injury.
On the flip side, the weakness of the Steelers defense is their secondary, Steelers have given up 7.2 yards per pass att (24th) but I don’t see McCarron really being able to or even given the opportunity to take advantage. Below we see the way that McCarron has been used over the last 3 games and also how much the Bengals have used the run.
While the Steelers pass defense is a weakness, I do not believe that Marvin Lewis and Hugh Jackson will feel comfortable using their back up QB as the focal point of their attack, they haven’t done it over the last 3 weeks and I don’t think they will here.
The Bengals run game averaged only 3.8 yards per rush but as we see above that didn’t stop the Bengals from using a run heavy offense with McCarron at QB. The Steelers run defense was very good over the season giving up only 3.8 yards per rush so I don’t see the Bengals offense having a very efficient game.
I do expect this game to be very close, so as long as it is close I don’t think we will see the Bengals take a lot of chances but rather try to shorten the game with the run and steal it late.
Game 2: GB +1 @ Wash
Bet% GB 50% Wash 50%
Washington is clearly the hotter team right now, they won their last 4 games of the season, 5 of the last 6 and finished 12th in Weighted DVOA (15th overall). The Packers lost their last 2 games, including the division showdown in week 17 vs the Vikings, lost 3 of their last 6 games overall and finished 19th in Weighted DVOA (10th Overall).
Complicating matters is the level of competition Washington played in their recent run. On the season, Washington beat 1 team that was .500 or better, the 8-8 Buffalo Bills. They played 3 teams that finished above .500, (NYJ,CAR, NE) they went 0-3 and lost by an average margin of 20 points
In the end I am going with GB because I think the matchup favours them and my hope is that the playoffs offer a bit of a reset for GB.
In a matchup of strength vs strength we have the WSH pass offense vs GB pass defense. Washington is led by their passing game, on the season they rank 6th in Avg Passer rating and 9th in yards per pass att (7.2) and both those numbers have trended up the last 6 weeks. Pass defense is the strength of the Packers defense, they rank 7th in avg opponent passer rating (81.3) and have been better than that in the last month. Washington is a very 1 dimensional offense as their run game produced only 3.6 yards per rush good for 29th overall so if the Packers pass defense can hold for they should be able to control the game.
The Packers pass offense has been well below levels we are used to seeing them play at, they are 30th in yards per pass attempt (6.1) but over the season they still rank 12th in passer rating.
The last 2 weeks the Packers pass game struggled vs the Vikings and Cardinals but both those pass defenses rank much higher than the 22nd ranked pass defense of Washington and both those teams can pressure the QB they rank 6th and 7th in total pressures. The Packers have struggled vs pass pressure all year, but Washington only ranks 23rd in pressure plays so Rodgers should have an opportunity to make plays vs the Washington secondary.
I know Washington is the hot team and the Packers looked terrible closing out the season but the Packers Pass defense is the strength of the team and Rodgers is facing a weak pass defense that doesn’t get a lot of pressure. This felt like the best value on the board.
For 5 weeks in a row I was able to avoid any losing weeks but in week 6 that luck ran out. The toughest part of the losing week was the Car-Sea game,had I stuck with my original pick, trusted the numbers and just taken the Panthers +7 instead teasing it with the under I would have been 3-3 and avoided the losing week but those decisions always seem obvious when looking back. Losing sucks.
Week 6: 2-4
Week 6 Results
What Went Right
Miami’s commitment to run game – In the write up I described how under Joe Philbin Miami had abandoned the run averaging 16 rush attempts per game, 9 less than last season. In heir first game under Campbell Miami rushed 32 times for 180 yards (5.6/att)
The Eagles offense is still terrible and the defense is carrying them – The Under on MNF cleared easily as the Eagles defense dominated this ugly game that saw a total of 7 turnovers. The Eagles D held NYG to 247 total yards (3.9/play), 7 points and also scored 7 on a pick 6.
What Went Wrong
The Washington defense- Washington came into this game giving up 6.4 yards per pass and 4.4 yards per rush, the Jets offense dominated them in this game averaging 9.7 yards per pass attempt and 5.4 yards per rush attempt (221 rush yards total). the rush defense was actually worse than those numbers as the garbage time runs dropped the average, Chris Ivory ran for 146 yards on 20 carries or 7.3 yards per attempt. One of the problems that you can run into with games dominated by defenses is turnovers resulting in short fields and was points, this game featured 5 turnovers 2 that lead directly to TDs and there was also a blocked punt that was returned for a TD.
The Bengals didn’t have a let down- These are the games where its easy to look dumb, games where you know you are taking the inferior team on a short line and are betting for the superior team, the Bengals, in this case to simply not play well. There were games this week, ATL-NO, Ari-Pit where that is exactly what happened, the better team was playing on the road and had a let down and the home dog took advantage and won outright. We weren’t so lucky in Buffalo
Seattles Redzone Defense: I should have stuck with my first instinct and just played the Panthers +7, that seems obvious in hindsight but the teaser looked very good at half where Car was down 3 and the total was at 17 and even after 3 when Car was down 6 and the total was at 34. Seattle once again led this game late and collapsed in the 4th Q getting outscored 13-3 and a big reason they lost this game is that the Panthers went 3 for 3 in the redzone. Seattle had been giving up TDs on 50% of redzone trips through 5 weeks but couldn’t get any in this game.
What did We Learn
Importance of ‘Clustered Injuries’ – Injuries are often difficult to handicap and usually in the case of skill positions the impact of a missing WR/RB is over estimated by betters, in fact there is a popular theory by pro bettors where they will bet on a team that has lost a key player to injury in the first week believing there is an over valuing of that player. The largest injury impact is always at the QB position where there can be a dramatic drop off from #1 to #2 but that drop off will always be adjusted in the line.
Where it is important to look at injuries is when a team has multiple injuries in position group. For most positions, you are not going to see major drop off between the starter and back up but when you have multiple starters out, NFL teams just do not have a lot of depth and the #7 or 9 offensive lineman on the team is going to be a below replacement level player.
This is what happened in Washington this week and something I just missed. Washington was without 3 starters on their offensive line including their star LT Trent Williams and their center, the combined career starts for Washington’s line in that Jets game was 14. Washington also only had 1 starter in the secondary and while Breline has proved he should have been the starter anyways, with the reliance of offenses on 3 and 4 WR sets losing 2 starters at CB and a safety is just too much to withstand. For my under I needed Wash to be able to run he ball and shorten the game which because of the injures they couldn’t. Also the depleted secondary was taken apart by the Jets, as the new corners get more playing time their negative impact will decrease but in this game it was substantial.
Lesson: Pay attention to injury reports and cluster injuries.
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.