Week 8 was a big bounce back week after suffering the first losing week of the season in Week 7 but what this week really highlights is how often ATS wins and losses come down to a single play or bounce. There were 2 games I was dead wrong on (No @ Ind, Min @ Det) and 2 games that I was definitely on the right side (Hou @ Mia, Cle @ Stl) the 3 other games were all toss ups and luckily they all went my way. Luck or not, wins are wins and reason to strut a little.
Week 7: 5-2
Season ATS 26-15-1
Week 7 Results
What Went Right
- Dan Campbells Dolphins– For the second week in a row, Miami blew out the opposition and dominated the game on the ground. Everything went right for the Dolphins who scored 21 in the 1stQ and lead 41-0 at half. Campbell’s commitment to Lamar Miller and the Miami run game paid off big again as Miller ran for 175 yards on just 14 carries as this game was over early.
- Todd Gurley and the Rams Defense. The Browns came in with the 31st ranked run defense and the Rams took full advantage averaging 6.1 yards per rush and 2 TDs. The Rams pass rush also won their matchup, they had 16 pressure plays including 4 sacks. The Browns seemed to get worn down as this game went which is how I thought the game would play out.
- Nick Folk and Plinko– Gill Alexander, @beatingthebook on twitter, hosts the best NFL betting podcast on the planet “The NFL Megapod” and often compares betting NFL games to Plinko, the old Price is Right game. I often use Gill’s line here because it is really a perfect description of how so many games are determined. This week all the plinko bounces went my way. Nick Folk hit a 55 yard FG with under 30 seconds left to save a Jets cover in a game that they were within 1 score the whole way until the last 2 minutes. The Giants were outplayed most of the game but got 2 Def/ST TDs including a game winning TD on a 100 yd KR. In the 6pt teaser on MNF, the Ravens had a chance on the last play of the game to tie the game and kill the teaser but came up 4 yards short. Plinko for the win!
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.