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2016 Week 14 Picks

As we get to the last few weeks it becomes more and more difficult to know what the motivation levels for teams who are basically out of the playoffs will look like. On MNF we saw sharps take a position on the Jets and the line moved from Ind -1 to NYJ -1 on the thinking that they would be motivated for a prime time game. The weren’t. The Colts were the only NFL team that showed up and the game was basically a curb stomp. I expect we will see more of these in the next few weeks so understanding the situational aspect of games becomes more and more important.

Week 13: 3-2

2016: 46-28-2

Game 1: TNF Oak @ KC -3.5

Game 2: NO +3 @ TB

Bet% NO 40% TB 60%

*I bet this game on Thursday and would pay -120, -125 to get that, I think there will be some opportunities on Sunday morning. I do think Saints will win this game but feel much better with the 3 in my pocket.

I was against the Bucs last week in SD and they for the 2rd straight week put up a very impressive win. At some point the travel back and forth across the country has to impact them and that is one of the reason I like the Saints here. I have the Saints as the 10th best team in the league by my metrics and the Bucs 18th, by DVOA the Saints are 15th and Bucs 20th so we are getting some value here since the line has them as even.

One of the reasons I think we are getting value on New Orleans is that historically they have been much worse on the road than home but that has not been the case this year. Saints are 2-3 on the road but ATS they are 4-0-1 or 4-1 depending on your number and it is because the passing game has been pretty consistent in their home/road splits. Saints home/road splits for passer rating (110/100.1) and yards per pass att (8.4/6.6) are much better than past years and it shows in their points per game on offense where they are averaging 31 points at home and 26 on the road, last season the Saints averaged 30 points at home and just 18 on the road.

As mentioned Tampa Bay has been great the last 3 weeks ago but none of those teams have been as good as the Saints on offense and the last time the Bucs played elite and comparable offenses, the Raiders and Falcons put up a combined 73 points in Raymond James stadium.

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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 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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Week 13 – Thanksgiving Day

LW 4-1

Season 47-26

Game 1 Chi @ Det Under 48

Bet% Over 57% 43%

Detroit is an under machine right now, the #1 DVOA offense even after giving up 34 to the Patriots last week has had 8 or 9 of the 11 games go under (depending on line) because while their defense is premier giving up 17.3 point per game, the offense has run dry. Over the last 7 weeks the Lions have averaged 13.6 points per game and in those same 7 games only 1 game has gone over, a 24-23 win vs the Saints where the total was set at 45.5. The Lions are just not a very efficient offense they are 30th in yards per point and 24th in RZ TD at 50%

As for Chicago, their offense has also slowed down, they are the 20th in the league scoring 21.5 ppg and in the last 3 games they are down to 18.7. The Bears are very good in the red zone where they score TD’s 66% of time (5th) but they only get on average 3 trips per game(17th) and Det holds teams to TDs on 51% of trips (12th). On defense Chicago has the 23rd ranked DVOA defense and had 2 historically bad games vs the Patriots and Packers where they gave up 50 to each of those teams which is why I think this total is as high as it is. Outside of those 2 HOF QB’s the most points that the Bears have given up was 27 to Mia and Atl, 2 teams in the top 10 in offensive DVOA which Det is not.

So we have 2 offenses that are struggling, 1 elite defense and 1 defense that has been exploited by the best offenses but been about league average vs the rest of the field. After getting handled last week, I think the Lions defense has a big game and keeps the Bears below 20 which should get us the under with a number this high.

Game 2: Phi +3 @ Dal

Bet% Phi 42 Dal 58

This is the biggest game of the year in the NFC East as the 2 division leaders play their first game of 2 in the next 3 weeks.  The Eagles are ranked 8th in DVOA while Dallas is 10, what’s interesting about the Chip Kelly led Eagles is that it is their offense that holds their ranking back as their defense is 8th, Special teams are 1st but the offense is 18th. On offense the Eagles have struggled in 2 places, the first s the red zone where they are scoring TD’s only 46% of the trips and the other is turnovers where the Eagles are last with 27 giveaways.

A lot of he Eagles issues on offense  have been due to issues on the offensive line, the Eagles have had 4 key linemen miss at least 4 games this year but this will be the 3rd straight week that the Eagles have their 4 best linemen playing.  We can see some improvement in the last 3 weeks where their RZ TD% has been 7pts higher than their season average at 53.3% as well as Shady Mccoy who after struggling most of the year has averaged 4.9 yard per attempt the last 2 weeks. I expect that success to continue vs the Cowboys who give up 4.3 per rush attempt.

The Dallas offense has been dominant all year, they lead the league in rushing yards, 2nd in yards per attempt at 4.9 which allows them to have big plays in the pass game where they average 7.8 yards per pass att (2nd). That run game has been slowed a bit the last few weeks, in the last 3 they are averaging 4.5 yards per att which is still very good but not quite as elite as the 4.9 over the season. The Eagles defense lines up well vs Dallas as what they do best his play the run, they are giving up 3.9 yards per att( 9th) and they have actually been even better than that the last 3 weeks giving up just 3.5 yards attempt. If the Eagles can slow the Dallas run game they should be able to get pressure on Romo, Eagles are 2nd in the league in sack% and again over the last 3 games have been even better getting sacks on 11.4% of plays.

The big hole on Dallas is their defense ranked 25th in DVOA, they are giving up 7,4 yards per pass att and getting sacks on only 4.6% of plays, so if the Eagles offensive line plays to their abilities Sanchez should have plenty of time and opportunities to make plays, Eagles are averaging 7 yards per pass but again that’s been better the last 3 weeks where they are averaging 7.6. The 2 big wildcards are turnovers where the Eagles are last and special teams where the Eagles are first, if they can keep the turnovers down I think Eagles win straight up.

Game 3: Sea @ SF under 40.5

Two top 10 DVOA defenses playing against offense that have struggled to be consistant in scoring points in this game. 5of the 6 meetings between these two teams have gone under and for the 49ers, 4 of their last 5 have gone under, the only exception was an OT game against the Saints. The 49ers defense has been especially good in the last 3 weeks when Chris Borland was inserted into MLB and they also had top pass rusher Aldon Smith return for the last 2 weeks.

These are two of the stingiest teams in the league, Seattle gives up 19.8 PPG while SF gives up 20.5 but even better than that in the last 3 games these teams have given up 14.7 and 15.7 respectively. Both of these offenses are based on the run and both defenses handle the run very well, SF gives up 4.0 yards per rush while Seattle is even better giving up only  3.5. The 49ers have been great against the pass leading the league in opponent passer rating at 74.1 but again over the last 3 weeks that has been even better as the opp passer rating is an amazing 58.6 in that period.

A key to get unders is redzone play and these are also 2 of the worst teams in the redzone, Sea is 21st at 50% while SF is last at 40% meanwhile these are 2 o the best defenses at keeping teams out of the redzone as they rank 3rd and 5th allowing only 2.5 and 2.7 redzone trips per game. This is one of the lowest unders we have seen in week’s which is interesting but I’m not sure it will be low enough.

Week 11 Picks

Well with the win on Thursday night night we are riding the largest win streak of the year with 8 straight wins, one of the reasons has been trusting the numbers on totals, specifically on unders and even more specifically riding the Detroit defense.

LW: 7-0

Season ATS 39-23 (includes TNF)

Game 2: Det +1 @ Arz

Bet% Det 52 Arz 48

It’s interesting that Det at 7-2 is on the road at a team that is 8-1 and only a 1 point dog in this game, this may be due to the Carson Palmer injury but I think the line is actually a good line because  Detroit is a better team overall. By DVOA Det ranks 9th overall and #1 on Defense, while Arizona ranks 15th overall and 5th on defense. I think the current Lions team is actually better than that ranking because on offense the Lions rank 22nd but remember that Calvin Johnson missed 4 games and was hobbled for a couple of other ones and this offense is much more efficient when Johnson is healthy.

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Week 10 Picks

Looking to rebound after the worst week of the season, I have 3 unders on the card this week, so here hoping the games ‘Get Low’……..Skeet Skeet.

Season ATS 31-23

Game 1: Car @ Phi-6.5

Bet%Car 36 Phi 64

For the 2nd week in a row I will be taking the square play in an Eagles game, this time on MNF. I should of bet this game at the open of -6 as there was only one way it was going, not sure if it will get to 7 by Monday but it wouldn’t surprise me.

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