Panthers

2016 Week 12 Picks

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.

Week 11: 4 – 1

2016 (Through Week 11): 37-23-2

Game 1: Was +7 @ Dal

Game 2: Cin @ Bal Under 41.5

Bet% Over 42% Under 58%

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…)

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2016 Week 10 Picks

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

2016: 28-20-2

2015: 63-37-3

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.

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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 6 Picks

This week’s card is a little strange from my end because I am betting a lot of favorites which is not the way my card looks most weeks. In the end betting is about getting value and this was a week where I saw most of the value on the favorites.

Last week was a ‘ should have been, could have been’ week, I finished 4-3 but 6 days later I still can’t stop thinking about the missed opportunities in the Bears and Ravens games. I’m also stewing over not pulling the trigger on TNF where I liked the Chargers but because I hate Thursday Night football and often don’t feel fully prepared to bet, I missed out on a really great spot. Need to shake that all off and make this week a winner.

 

Week 5: 4-3

NFL 2016: 16-11-1

2015: 63 – 37 – 3

Game 1: Phi -2.5 @ Wash

Bet% Phi 68% Wash 32%

As an Eagles fan, as excited as I am about their great start I still felt like last week was a bad spot for them and bet the Lions. The Lions not only got the cover but ended up winning straight up. Despite the loss I was left feeling very good about the Eagles going forward and didn’t think the Detroit game drops them at all in the rankings.

Washington, as discussed in the Week 5 results post, got one of the luckiest wins of the year, everything that could have gone wrong for the Ravens did and still Washington needed a punt return TD to win.

The Eagles are #2 in DVOA to start this season, they are +64 in point differential and important to this game, Eagles are 2nd in sack percentage. Getting pressure on Cousins has been a key to creating turnovers, Eagles are 7th best vs the run, they should be able to force Washington in to a lot of passing and I expect some turnovers.

On the flip side Washington is dead last in rush defense DVOA and the Eagles at this point want to rely on the run game to set their offense up. Doug Pederson has used a lot of play action, read option and rollouts to get Wentz easy reads and throws, I expect the Eagles run offense to have success and open their passing game up.

3 key players possibly may miss this game. For Eagles, RT Lane Johnson will start his 10 game suspension and the Eagles will miss their best player on offense going forward but I am not sure Washington has the front to take advantage.  Eagles best player on the team Fletcher Cox missed practice early in the week, looks like he will play but may not be 100%.

For Washington, Jordan Reed is expected to be out with a concussion, Reed is not only their most reliable pass catcher but a bonafide Eagles killer.

Game 2: Atlanta @ Seattle -6

Bet% Atl 57% Sea 43%

Last week’s win in Denver by Atlanta was a statement game and for me there is no choice but to believe that they are real. The offense is #1 in DVOA, in yards per pass att they are #1 with 9.9 yards/att. SD came into this week 2nd at 8.2. That difference of 1.7 means that SD is as close to Cleveland who is 21st at 6.5 yards per att as they are to #1 Atl.

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Early Season Betting: 3 Teams to Sell

sell-sell-sell

For part 2 of our early season betting preview I look at teams that I think we will get value betting against, teams where I believe the perception of how good they are is greater than what I expect from them this year.

Again like in part 1, the point is not that we bet against these teams blindly but these are teams that I think will underperform their expectations and therefore offer more value in betting against them than on them.

Also like the previous post there will be a lot of discussion of luck or randomness, the fact that a team had good luck doesn’t mean they weren’t also a very good team it just means the added benefit of luck overstates their quality.

5-to-bet-against

  1. Carolina Panthers

panthers

Its hard to have a better season than the Panthers had last year. Obviously losing in the Superbowl takes some of the shine off the season but really it shouldn’t, the Panthers had a remarkable season on both sides of the ball.

In what was a breakout year for both Cam Newton and the Panthers defense led by Luke Kuechly and Josh Norman, the Panthers mauled teams with a league high 32.88 rush atts per game and had the #1 scoring offense.

What was interesting about the Panthers last year is through the first 6 weeks, even though they were undefeated a lot of the key analytics didn’t reflect it, they were outside of the top 10 in DVOA through week 6 and outside of the top 10 in most passing stats.

The one place they were in 1st start to finish besides the standings is in toxic differential. Toxic differential is basically your turnover differential plus your explosive play (pass plays of 25 yards+, rushing plays of 10+ yards) differential. The Panthers finished with the best turnover margin and the 2nd best big play differential.

Early Season Betting: Bet Against

There is no question the Panthers are an elite team and I still expect them to win the NFC South this year but it is basically impossible for them to perform at the level they did last year because last year everything went right for them.

We start with the fact that their record last year outperformed their score differential more than any other team in the league as their Pythagorean Wins came in at 12.1. Essentially this means they outperformed their expected results by 2.9 wins. Only 1 other team in the league had a difference of more than 2 and that was the Broncos.

We discussed the Toxic ratio and while the big play differential maybe repeatable, it is absolutely unlikely that the Panthers enjoy the type of turnover differential in 2016 that they did in 2015. Carolina was +20 in turnovers, KC was next best at +14 which is just insane, think about the fact that Carolina was at +6 better than 2nd place team and exactly half of the league finished between +5 and -5. In 2014 the Panthers were +3 in turnovers and I think it is very reasonable to think they will swing back to a similar number which alone means their results will regress.

The Panthers also enjoyed some of the best luck in terms of injuries in 2015, in Football Outsiders Adjusted Games Lost metric the Panthers were the 4th healthiest team in 2015 and the 6th healthiest in 2014. Maybe they have great doctors and trainers but I would be surprised to see that trend continue in ’16.

Finally, the Panthers were great in close games which I guess is no surprise when you finish 15-1, Carolina was 7-1 in one score games.

Finally there will be major impact early from the fact that Carolina is expected to start rookie corners James Bradberry and Daryl Worley in place of Josh Norman who was rated as the top cornerback in the league by PFF. Sometimes we can as fans overrate player departures but the gap here seems to be enormous and even if they become quality NFL starters it probably will take most of the season to get there. (more…)

Conference Championship 2015

This weekend would have been a lot more exciting and fun for me had the Steelers or Seahawks made it and kept one of my futures alive, as it is I think we have to pretty interesting games where the public definitely likes the favorites. This is the last time we will see Manning v Brady in a truly meaningful game and even though I get as tired as everyone else of the media constantly fawning over both of them, it does seem fitting that it would end this way for one of the greatest rivalries.

2015 Playoffs: 3-2

2015 Reg Season: 57-35-3

Game 1: NE @ Den +3.5

Bet% NE 74% Den 26%

Note- I got +3.5 at -115, the line has bounced around all week between the 3 and 3.5 and I would suggest buying the hook has value even at -120 or -125 if necessary but I think it is pretty widely available at -120.

It’s been really interesting how unanimous everyone (fans,media) have been that NE is going to the Superbowl and that the Broncos do not have much of a chance here. We see 75% of the bets on a road fav of a full FG or a little more depending on the juice.

First lets just look at the line. Last week the Patriots were 4.5 to 5 point favorites vs KC at home, if we give 3 pts for home field that means the Pats were 1.5-2 pt favorites over KC on a neutral field. Here, we have NE as a 3 pt fav on the road, so if we give Denver 3 points for home-field, and I think Denver has one of the truest home-field advantages with the elevation, then this line makes NE 6 point favs over Denver on a neutral and makes KC 4-4.5 points better than Den. All of which seems way off.

Betting lines in the playoffs are certainly different than the regular season and I get why this number has to be here with so much public money but there certainly is value. I also think that defensive teams will always be undervalued. Denver was the #1 defense by a pretty large margin but because there were games like the Patriots game, like the Steelers game where they gave up a lot of points, the narrative becomes that they aren’t really that good. Its funny, because if a great offensive team has a down game, we are usually very eager to throw those games out as an outlier.

In the end this is simply a bet against the consensus view, we get the best defensive team in the NFL, at home, with 3.5 points while the fav has 75% of bets. It just seems too easy to look at the game as Brady vs Manning’s corpse and Belicheck vs Kubiak and say how can you not bet the Patriots?

Game 2: Ari @ Car Over 47

Bet% Over 70% Under 30%

I think the line here is pretty much right on but think there is some value on he total. We have the 2 highest scoring teams in the league from the regular season, both teams averaged over 30 points per game, coming off of games where they both felt they weren’t aggressive enough.

The Panthers put up all 31 of their points last week in the first half and then spent he second half just holding on. Cam Newton has been very vocal this week to his coaches and the media about that being a mistake and needing to be aggressive for the full 60 minutes.

In Arizona, Bruce Arians had his own mea culpa as he admitted to being very safe in the GB game last week and that playing that way was out of character. I think Arians wanted to not put the game on Carson Palmer who had come into last week with 0 playoffs wins and that clearly was weighing heavy on him. Now with a win under his belt I expect Palmer and Arians to loosen the reins and have a game plan more in line with what we saw all season.

Both teams have excelled in big plays this season, Car ranked 4th in Big Play percentage (8.96% of total plays were passes of 20 yards or more or rushes of 10 yards or more) and the Cardinals were 10th at 8.17%. I think those plays become extra important in the playoffs when the games get tighter and long drives become more and more difficult.

The Panthers were the best redzone team in 2015 (scoring TDs on 69% of RZ trips) and as the favorite I think they will set the pace for the Cardinals who finished 10th in RZ TD% at 59.4%. I also think the field conditions will only help the over, we saw numerous players slipping and giving up big plays last week, with the huge storm this weekend the turf should be even tougher to handle for DBs.

I think the Panthers will win a close one but regardless of who wins I think the winner will score at least 30 and get this total comfortably over 47.

Divisional Round 2015

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.

Sea Last 10

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.

Sea DVOA 12-15

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.

Week 10 Review – Underdog Week

A remarkable week 10 where we saw underdogs cover 12 of the 14 games and even more incredible was that 11 of those underdogs won the game straight up. Only the Giants covered the number but didn’t win straight up vs the Patriots and there were about 4 things that had to all happen for NE to come back and get the win. With this week going the way it did, it really should have been a bigger week for me, there were about 3 or 4 games that I liked and ended up leaving off because I had been trying to make fewer plays weekly but not sure I am good enough at this point to isolate top plays from the rest. All that being said, another winning weekend and the overall record continues to hover above 60%

Dancing entrance

Week 10: 3-2

2015 ATS 35-22-2

Week 10 Results

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Week 3 – 0 -2 Teams teetering on the Ledge

It is amazing how many times this week we have heard games described as ‘must win’ for the 0-2 teams and while usually the term must win is over used, going 0-3 historically has been a death blow to teams hoping to make playoffs. Since 2007, 5 teams have made the playoffs after going 0-2 but if you change that to 0-3 only 5 teams in history have made the playoffs so clearly the road becomes very difficult. Now there is an important caveat in that usually teams that start 0-2 aren’t very good and not expected to make the playoffs anyways, which makes this year kind of unique as The Seahawks, Colts, Ravens and Eagles all were expected to be serious contenders this year but find themselves 0-2 and teetering on disaster.

Season ATS 8-4 Last Week 3-3

Game 1 Was @ NYG -3

Game 2 Cin @ Bal -2.5

Bet % Cin 50% Bal 50%

The Ravens are the first 0-2 I am looking at this week as they play the 2-0 Bengals. Looking at the schedule this really is must win for the Ravens after they played a very tough opener in Denver, where they lost a 1 score game and then dropped a bad one in Oakland. Now after playing at home this week they have to go back on the road again, this time on a short week and play in Pittsburgh on TNF.

Looking at the first 2 weeks, Joe Flacco and the Ravens passing game has been performing far below their established levels from last season, the Ravens passer rating this season is 75.7 as compared to a rating of 91.last year and early on they have has issues with interceptions with 3, Flacco had 12 in all of 2014.

As for Cincy, they have been very good to start the season but I do think that Daulton has been playing a little above his ability, he has posted a passer rating of 120.3 so far while his career rating is 86. Coming into the season these were 2 very even teams by DVOA, 6th and 8th, but when you factor in home field and the discrepancy in how important this game is to the 2 teams I really like the Ravens in this spot to keep their season alive.

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