Adam Chernoff is going against the grain this week making the case for Andy Dalton and Dwayne Haskins to assist in some weekend wagering!
To say this insights column has underperformed on the season would be an understatement. After the double bet failed to get home last week, the record slips to 7-10 (-4.45x) on the season. This week the push back to even begins with one side and one total on Sunday.
There is an obvious difference in offensive game planning from the Bengals staff with Dalton and with Finley.
From week 1 – 9 in games which Dalton started, Cincinnati passed on 71% of snaps, the highest rate in the NFL. With Ryan Finley in for week 10 – 12, that percentage dropped all the way to 54%, the eighth lowest in the NFL. Not only were the Bengals passing significantly less with Finley under center, but their success rate also fell off a cliff. In 367 pass attempts for Andy Dalton, the Bengals had a 40% success rate and 6.7 YPA – 5% and 0.6 YPA below league average. In 98 pass attempts with Finley, the Bengals had a 29% success rate and 5.3 YPA – 14% and 1.6 YPA below league average.
Not only were attempts, success and depth of target down, but the threat of any deep passing attack was also nullified. Playcalling stayed similar with both Andy Dalton and Ryan Finley being asked to throw deep (20+ yards downfield) on 10% of dropbacks, but Dalton ranked 15th in passer rating at 91.5 in comparison to 39th and an 18.5 passer rating for Finley (the worst in the NFL For QB’s with at least 100 dropbacks).
There is little reason for any bettor in the market to respect the Cincinnati Bengals, Andy Dalton or Ryan Finley, but it is clear that with Dalton under center, the Bengals will pass more, have a higher success rate throwing and complete more deep passes down the field.
When betting an over, the volume of attempts and opportunities are most important. The volume and opportunity for big plays exist with Dalton, it does not exist with Finley who led the Bengals to 13, 10 and 10 points in three starts.
The Jets secondary is starting to look great on paper, but this is a false positive. Starting cornerbacks Blessuan Austin and Arthur Maulet grade out high on PFF (87 and 73 respectively) but it is important to put context on the opponents they have faced. Both earned the starting role beginning in Week 10 and have defended Daniel Jones, Dwayne Haskins and a combo of Derek Carr/Mike Glennon, the third easiest trio of opposing passers in that time span.
As much as I would like to believe the Jets ranking 4th in pass success rate defense the last three weeks is a sign of things to come, this secondary is MUCH closer to their ranking of 21st in pass defense efficiency than a top-five unit.
At 40.5 the expectations are not high for Andy Dalton, and 17 points would be sufficient to get this game into the 40’s. Looking at his body of work this season, he has hit or exceeded 17 points in six of eight starts. Of the six starts, four of them were against defenses that rank 2nd, 9th, 5th and 11th in pass efficiency defense.
His two biggest performances were against Seattle and Arizona, teams which rank 18th and 29th in pass efficiency defense. The volume of opportunities over four quarters will get the Bengals to 17 or more.
On the other side of the football, this is another great matchup for New York. Between Week 1 – 8 the Jets faced seven opponents with an average rank of 9th for pass efficiency defense. In those games, the Jets passing offense ranked 32nd in pass success rate with a YPA of 5.2. In four games since the Jets have faced opponents with an average rank of 27th in pass efficiency defense. In those games, the Jets passing offense ranked 6th in passing success rate with a YPA of 8.5 with the second-most explosive pass plays.
The Jets have scored 34 points in three consecutive games and left many points on the table at Miami with three points from three drives that had first downs at the MIA 29, 2 and 11-yard line. The Cincinnati Bengals are 29th in pass defense success rate for the season and 32nd since losing Dre Kirkpatrick in Week 7. From an overall defensive efficiency standpoint, the Bengals are the easiest opponent the Jets have faced this season.
This is a low total at 40.5.
Two weak secondaries (one of which is overrated). One passing game playing its best football of the season. One passing game with a better QB coming back and play-calling tendencies that suggest a 20%+ increase in pass attempts. Both teams are able to generate a high volume of opportunities for explosive plays. No early forecast of any weather. I like this look to the over.
D-Wayne is D-lightful…?
It is…challenging…to make a case for the Washington Redskins against any opponent.
Dwayne Haskins has put up some of the most horrific passing numbers, regardless of his rookie status. His adjusted completion percentage from a clean pocket is 66.7% which is 44th in the NFL. His passer rating is 65.6 which is 45th in the NFL. Under pressure, those numbers drop to 52.6% and 20.0 which is 46th and 48th in the NFL. Both sample sizes have 50 QB’s included, and considering there are 32 starting QB’s in the league, finishing 45th or worse in each category is concerning, to say the least.
Usually, with a QB like Haskins, there is a difference between clean pocket passing and pressure passing where the opponent can be used to weigh against one situation or the other, but with Haskins, it is all bad.
The one thing that does make handicapping the Redskins is we know what we will get in terms of play calling. There has been an enormous shift in the totals for Redskins games during the first part of the season with Gruden and the latter part with Callahan. From Week 1 – 6 with Gruden, Washington threw the football on 65% of snaps, the eighth highest rates in the NFL. In the six games since that number has dropped a full 10% to 55% which is the ninth-lowest rate in the NFL.
The success rate of both passes and rushes has remained the same, but the increased run focus has made Redskins games extremely low variance contests.
Washington runs the lowest rate of plays per game (53) and holds its opponents to the seventh-lowest (66). Washington takes more than 28 seconds per snap, and opponents against Washington take more than 29 seconds per snap, which are both two of the five slowest times per snap in the league.
Simply put, the opportunities for opponents to score against the Redskins are limited because games move extremely quick. With that in mind, I look at this game and see a 10 point spread into a total of 39.5 and I can’t help but think that this number is too big.
Anytime that I see this all I want to do is throw things at the number and build as much context as possible.
Carolina is 5-6 on the season but they have led by 10 points or more just three times in 12 games, late in the 4Q vs Arizona, in the 3Q vs Tampa Bay and in the 2Q vs Tennessee. As it is, Carolina is not an explosive offense. If we look at the price tags they have been hit with this season, only one time have they been a favourite of more than a FG (Tampa Bay in Week 2) a game they lost outright.
The Washington Redskins as poor as they have been this season, have only been slapped with the double-digit underdog price tag four times, 15.5 vs NE, 10 vs SF, 16.5 at MIN and 10.5 at BUF.
Those latter four numbers to me are where things get interesting.
Carolina in this spot is essentially getting the same rating or rank as Buffalo. Whether you look at DVOA, Net Yards Per Play or any major comparison tables, Buffalo has improved over Carolina and sit above them in each of the tables by a considerable amount.
I think it is no question that the number is inflated especially considering the adjustment up from the look-ahead of Carolina -8.5 to Carolina -10 off a Panthers loss and the Redskins win.
This point spread and all of the support for Carolina is more impulsive than anything, and I think the resistance in the number thus far illustrates that.
But even if the number is too big, there still have to be some support from what could occur on the field. The Carolina Panthers suffered an enormous injury early in the season losing run stopper and heart of the 3-4 front, Kawann Short. Last week, the huge loss upfront was compounded with the loss of Dontari Poe. The defensive front of Carolina which has ranked 28th in down to down success rate could now turn into one of the worst run-stopping units in the league the remainder of the season without Poe in the middle.
Without support in the middle, the Panthers pressure rate has fallen off a cliff too, which is the reason the last four weeks their secondary has ranked 30th in down to down success rate against the pass. What was one of the highest pressure rated in the NFL through Week 8 has now produced the second-lowest pressure rate (28%) the last five weeks. The Redskins surprisingly rank 12th in pass block win rate, so along with the clear advantage running the football into a soft middle of Carolina, there is a chance (for better or worse) that Haskins has time to throw the ball.
In a low variance game like this, 14 points is likely enough to get the cover, but I think this is a spot where Washington can push 17-20.
Believe it or not, the Redskins secondary has ranked 11th down to down the past five weeks and is trending up against the rush from 27th to 20th. On the season they are 10th in explosive rushes against. Carolina saw their playoff hopes vanish last week in a huge letdown spot at the end of the game after the late comeback within the division. This one is ugly, but at 10, this becomes an enormous number for Carolina to cover.
- New York Jets Cincinnati Bengals Over 40.5 (1.89). Risking 1.25x
- Washington Redskins +10 (1.86). Risking 1.25x