Week 15 was the biggest winning week of the season for readers of this blog. The Double Bet on Minnesota cashed in along with a Baltimore and Atlanta teaser returning 2.90x. My record for the NFL season heading into Week 16 is 15-8 (+9.91x).
This Sunday is one and done for the Christmas holiday.
J E T S JETS JETS JETS
I am backing the New York Jets +3.
Shield the outrage! This is not a homer pick.
Those who follow me on social media will know I am a huge New York fan.
Fortunately, I rarely have to separate my wallet from my heart as there is often little reason to back this team. This week there is more than enough supporting reason for a wager on the Jets.
The base of this handicap begins with the state of the Green Bay Packers.
The burden of Mike McCarthy was lifted from the team at the beginning of the month following the loss to Arizona. The next week, all looked right again as the Packers hung 34 on the Falcons.
A win last week against the Bears would have kept Green Bay inline for a wild card spot. Instead, they put up 235 yards, and Rodgers was sacked 5 times. The Packers were embarrassed by division rival Chicago, knocking them out of the postseason. Yet another demoralising loss in a horrendous season.
Monday morning comes, and intern head coach Joe Philbin addresses the media by expressing his plans to sit Aaron Rodgers for the remainder of the season.
Rodgers takes up a massive portion of the salary cap, suffered a groin injury last Sunday and has been battling a knee injury since the opening week. The point spread immediately tanked, going from Green Bay -3 to New York -1.
Tuesday and Wednesday are filled with ex-players, coaches (and apparently some players currently on the team) calling Rodgers out.
Thursday morning Rodgers address the media and says that he will play, overriding the original decision made by Philbin. “It is about leadership”, Rodgers said. The market moved quickly back to -3 on the news.
The first thing that jumps out to me is that the market is completely neglecting the fact that Rodgers is not 100%.
The entire point of the Philbin decision to keep Rodgers on the sideline was the combination of the knee and groin injury.
Markets react irrationally to quarterbacks being taken out of the game every week, but the point spread does not move back to the pre-news price point without medical clearance. Green Bay coaching staff has clearly identified that he is limited and has reduced his reps in practice all week. The market knows this but chooses to price him as if there is nothing wrong.
The worry goes further than Rodgers too.
Star defender Kenny Clark and key running back Aaron Jones both were placed on IR Monday, ending their seasons. Randall Cobb has yet to practice this week, and his status looks doubtful at best. Joe Philbin said Jamaal Williams will be a “key part of the game plan this week” and Williams too has been limited in practice. Not only will Rodgers be less than 100%, but he will be throwing at St-Brown and Valdes-Scantling as receivers #2 and #3 behind Adams. Neither receiver grades inside the top 95 in the league.
The offensive line for Green Bay has become an issue too. Rodgers has been sacked 46 times this season which is the 5th most in the NFL. Rodgers under pressure this season has been very poor. Compared to 8.1 YPA and a 107.7 passer rating when the pocket is kept clean, Rodgers drops to 5.5 YPA and 68.3 passer rating when pressured, both well below NFL average.
The Jets defensive front is trending up. The last four weeks, New York ranks in the Top 3 for quarterback hits, pressures and sacks. Last week they got to Watson six times, and with Rodgers mobility limited, there is little reason for them not to have another big game.
Offensively, Sam Darnold and Jets playmakers are coming off a great performance against a tough Texans defense. The rookie QB put the Jets in position to win late and used the speed of Anderson to open up options with his receivers. The last four weeks, Green Bay is trending towards the worst pass defense regarding success rate in the NFL. The Packers defense is allowing 7.2 yards per attempt, and 55% of opponent pass plays to be successful.
Darnold will find success against this Packers defense on short passes in uptempo drives where he is most comfortable.
I have been waiting for the Elijah McGuire breakdown game, and this could definitely be it.
The market is wrong at this price.
Getting +3 with the Jets at home is a high number that I do not anticipate lasting long.
The injuries on the Packers sideline are not being priced into this market correctly, and there is absolute value on the home side.
- New York Jets +3 (1.91). Risking 1.10x.
On this week’s NFL Podcast – Host Nat Coombs is joined by Nick Costos, Mike Carlson, and Matchbook’s Aidan “Sully” O’Sullivan to preview the best of Week 16’s action. We are delighted that Matchbook Betting Podcast has been nominated for Best Betting Podcast in the 2019 Smart Betting Club Awards. If you enjoy listening to the pod, please vote for us. Vote > surveymonkey.co.uk/r/SBCAwards2019