It is year 7 of posting picks on this blog. Last season was the worst year I have had and the second losing season as we finished 44-48-1. 2020 is like no other year and this NFL season will be a really interesting one as we will need to figure out how many of the truisms we believe in actually hold up in this strange Covid year. Let’s get to work.
Game 1: Cle +7.5 @ Bal
Bet% Cle 38% Bal 62%
The Ravens were the runaway stars of the 2019 regular season while Cleveland was maybe the team that disappointed their preseason projections the most.
I like the theory that we are often a year early on teams that are anointed to take a big leap forward. That was true with the 49ers and I can see it being true for the Browns. The Browns were perhaps the worst coached team in the NFL last year and having a credible, professional head coach with a plan that fits his personnel, especially on offense should be major upgrade.
This week was a really tough week, I can’t remember feeling as disappointed, disillusioned and disheartened as I did after Tuesday night. Yesterday I got the new Tribe album and it was the first time I felt some relief, some joy, some escape. It’s beautiful and perfect. RIP Phife. Thank you Tip, Ali and Jarobi we needed this.
Week 9: 2-2
Game 1: KC @ Car Under 44.5
Bet% Over 60% Under 40%
Both these teams played games last week that went way under, we were on the Panthers-Rams under and I bet against the Chiefs last week. The Chiefs will get Alex Smith and Spencer Ware back in this game but after a week off I expect Andy Reid to be very conservative in this game especially with Jeremy Maclan out this game. Even though Maclan hasn’t been as big a part of the offense this year as everyone expected there is no doubt that he is still a focal point of defenses so with him out the Panthers should be able to squeeze the Chiefs offense.
The Panthers defense struggled mightily early in the year but the last 2 weeks vs Arizona and the Rams it looked a lot closer to last year’s group. By DVOA their defensive line is now a top 10 group vs the pass and run and the Chiefs line hasn’t been particularly good, so this is a good matchup for Panthers defense.
On the flip side, the Panthers offense has issues on the offensive line. Not only will they be without Michael Oher again but they will be without starting center Ryan Kalil who didn’t practice at all this week. The Chiefs have been a much better pass rush team the last month lead by Dee ford who has 7.5 sacks the last 4 weeks.
This feels like a game both teams offensive lines are going to have a hard time holding up, they both rank in the bottom 10 and face defenses that can create pressure. The Chiefs have thrived on turnovers but even in games like last week where they were +4, they still only scored 19. We have seen the Panthers offense struggle in games where Cam gets hit a lot which has been most weeks. Take out the games vs Saints and Falcons and this is an offense that has struggled to score so far especially against teams with pass rush.
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 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…)
Week 3 brought our 1st losing week, a combination of not getting the best of the number and some of the early 1 score luck we got going the other way. The morning started fine, for a while it looked pretty good but then the hits started coming and didn’t stop.
Week 3 Results: 2-3-1
What Went Right.
Bills Bills Bills: Every week I look for the ‘hold your nose’ game, basically the side that looks the toughest to back based on last week. This week that team was the Bills, Buffalo was 0-2, played awful on national TV TNF and were playing a highly rated team that won by a blowout. The Cardinals have been low key kind of bad on the road and in this game Carson Palmer was terrible. Bills won the turnover battle 5-1, anytime you do that you should win big.
1)Impact of Injuries to Skill Positions Over Rated?
Week 3 once again seemed to make the case that injuries to skill positions are often over rated by the public. In Week 2 the Chiefs played without star RB Jamal Charles and star S Eric Berry, the announcement that Charles would miss the game on Sunday moved the line which had been bet down to +3.5 back to +5.5. The Chiefs not only covered the game but easily won the game straight up 34-14 and Charles’s replacement Knile Davis had 132 yards and a TD on 32 carries.
Both teams won straight up as big under dogs last week and now meet with a chance to go 2-0 which nobody would have expected. What bothers me here is the opening line of Mia -2, both teams are coming off similar wins so there is no extra motivation or let down potential.Whatthe line tells us is that on a neutral field Mia is 5-6 pts better than the Bills. The numbers do not back up Miami being the better team, by DVOA Buf is ranked higher and last year defensively Buf was one of the best DVOA teams raking 4th.
Buffalo is also a much better team at home, 6-2 ATS last year due partly to being significantly better in the passing game at home averaging 6.8 yards per pass at home compared to only 5.2 on the road. Statistically these were pretty even teams with Buffalo having the edge on defense but there is a significant home field advantage here, add in the fact that this is the first game in Buffalo after the announcement of the team sale and it remaining in Buffalo and there is plenty of reason to think that the Bills will play an A game.