One bet and one win last week with the Eagles and Cowboys going Over the total of 43. My record for the NFL season heading into Week 15 is 13-8 (+7.01x). This week, I am stepping it up.
Buying Low on Skol
My first Double Bet since October is on the Minnesota Vikings this week.
I love a good buy-low opportunity, especially when it is with a good football team.
Minnesota, in my opinion, has wrongfully taken the brunt of the narrative the past couple of weeks culminating in an ugly loss on Monday night.
National television and radio networks can’t get enough and continue to pile on the Vikings this work week. This has created opportunity, especially with a key personnel move.
Minnesota released John DeFilippo from his offensive coordinator duties early Tuesday morning following the loss.
To keep a long story short, the job should have never been his, to begin with. It was clear that head coach Mike Zimmer did not agree with the hire and the issues between them showed on the field. With DeFilippo out, Kevin Stefanski steps in. The new offensive coordinator is the longest tenured coach with the team and has been on the sideline for 13 seasons.
Mike Zimmer is a defense first coach, and all signs point to Kevin Stefanski getting play-calling duties on Sunday. This would be a huge improvement over the limited range of conservative plays DeFilippo prepared each week.
The new coach or coordinator angle used to be a huge advantage. The betting market has caught up in recent years, but a trend in the league is increased aggression.
New coordinators step in and try to make a statement right away.
Aggression is exactly what this Vikings offense needs. Arguably the most talented receiving group in the league has been limited due to a constant need to establish the rush – despite the Vikings being 32nd in rushing success rate behind a patchwork offensive line.
The aggression should hit home this week.
The status of star Miami cornerback Xavien Howard is in question and it looks like if he does manage to suit up, he will do so at well less than 100%. This leaves a nice matchup advantage for Diggs or Thielen. Kirk Cousins has been pressured more than any QB in the league, but should finally get a chance to breathe on Sunday. The Dolphins grade out 24th in pass rush and rank 29th in adjusted sack rate.
Questions are swirling around the health of Ryan Tannehill.
The Dolphins QB is fighting off a nagging ankle injury. While he is set to go, his limitations in practice put his mobility in question.
The Vikings rank 2nd in adjusted sack rate and the question of the Tannehill blow up game comes into question.
Among current starting quarterbacks, Tannehill has the most turnover worthy throws in the NFL, despite a 16:6 TD/INT ratio. With Zimmer not having to worry about the offense and putting his focus back fully on defence, I anticipate one of the better Vikings defensive performances of the season.
This is it for Minnesota. While I prohibit anyone from using the must-win narrative to strengthen a wager – I look at this in a different case.
Minnesota showed desperation with the late-season firing of their OC. That creates a domino effect throughout.
The situation increases aggression which is what the Vikings need to succeed. Their price is far too low against a Miami team coming off a miracle divisional home win against the Patriots. This is a terrific matchup for the Vikings who win by double digits.
Time To Tease It Up
My second bet of the week is a two-team teaser with Baltimore and Atlanta.
There is hesitation to back Baltimore this week coming off the loss at Kansas City. Yes, it was demoralizing. Yes, it was backbreaking. But, it was not an incredible effort put forth.
Typically a flat spot comes after a team gears up with a specific game plan full of work the week prior. Baltimore matched up so well against Kansas City, they just had to go out and do what they do best. The effort in the Kansas City game was extremely minimal. They just had bad luck at the end. This week they can do the exact same thing against a much worse defense.
Tampa Bay ranks 30th in pass success rate defense and 28th in rush success rate defense.
Both starting safeties Justin Evans and Isaiah Johnson did not participate in practice yesterday and are questionable along with key defensive lineman Gerald McCoy and Jason Pierre Paul. DeSean Jackson appears to be a no go for Sunday which means Jameis Winston will have to face the #1 secondary without one of his weapons.
There is also a question about his offensive lineman, who got in a heated argument on the sidelines with the QB at the end of the Saints game. Everything here points to Baltimore.
The season is lost for the Falcons and for the first time in a few seasons, the star-studded roster is not playing for January. Atlanta has the worst collective defense in the NFL ranking 31st in both rushing and passing success rate, but Arizona should do little to exploit this.
The Cardinals are equally poor on offense ranking 31st in passing success rate, 32nd in rushing success rate, 32nd in both explosive passes and runs and last in yards per play.
Offensively, everything is fine with Atlanta. They are top 10 in success rate for rushing and passing, both of which are trending up, they are top 10 in red zone scoring percentage and yards per play.
With the defense finally getting a week off, I expect the Falcons to be extremely aggressive on offense and put forth their best effort since a 24 point Week 9 win against Washington, their previous worse opponent before Arizona in offensive efficiency.
- Minnesota Vikings -7 (1.95) risking 2.00x
- 6.5 Point Teaser: Baltimore Ravens -1.5 with Atlanta Falcons -1.5 Risking 1.20x
Host Nat Coombs is joined by Nick Costos, Mike Carlson, and Matchbook’s Aidan “Sully” O’Sullivan to preview the best of Week 15’s action. Follow our new twitter account @matchbookpod for our latest Podcast Updates.