It was another successful week for readers. My record on the year is now 2-1 with a profit of +1.32x.
Week three begins right where week two left off, with the Kansas City Chiefs.
I think it is fortunate that the Chiefs offense is masking just how weak the defense is because it allows an opportunity to bet against them for another week.
The Kansas City defense is the worst tackling and worst cover defense in the NFL. It is remarkable that Kansas City has allowed over 1,000 yards passing, more than 500 yards after the catch and 65 points against, but sit at 2-0 and are arguably the most talked about team in the NFL.
Of Kansas City defensive players who have played at least 100 snaps this season, only Dee Ford and Chris Jones could be in the discussion of being rated near average in the league. The other eight players who have been on the field more than 100 snaps all grade below average to poor.
I see two distinct advantages for San Francisco this week. Running Back and Tight End.
The 49ers have the league-leading running back in Matt Breida.
In the first two weeks of the season, opposing running backs have caught 18 of 23 targets against the Kansas City defense for 241 yards and a 65% success rate. Breida went for 138 yards a week ago, and should significantly exceed that number on Sunday afternoon.
Kyle Shanahan loves to get multiple receivers involved targeting nine players against Detroit and eight against Minnesota. Jimmy Garoppolo’s favourite target thus far has been tight end George Kittle who leads the team with 14 targets. Anthony Hitchens, cover linebacker for Kansas City, has allowed QB’s to complete 17 of 18 passes to tight ends in two games and conceded a mind-blowing 122 yards after the catch.
The Kansas City offense is indeed explosive, but as long as the defense continues to play at this level of incompetence, taking points with capable opposing offenses is an easy decision.
The market is a good 2-3 points inflated, and I will be pleased to bet the 49ers +6.5.
I want to oppose the Dirty Birds this weekend
Another inflated number I am going to oppose is Atlanta -3.
The matchup this Sunday against the New Orleans Saints is a nightmare, and fortunately, due to the Saints slow start, the game is at a perfect price to bet.
The Falcons took a massive blow on defense with the loss of Keanu Neal in the opening week of the season against Philadelphia. With no valid replacement, the defense is exceptionally light at safety. To make matters worse two defensive linemen, Takk McKinley – the best pass rusher on the team – and Derrick Shelby are both on the injured list and currently being held out of practice.
Atlanta at full health boasts one of the worst pass rushes in the NFL, and with McKinley, their most prominent name in a best-case scenario much less than 100%, getting pressure on Drew Brees is going to be a lost cause. The Saints have a top five offensive line in the league and have impressed in the first two weeks despite the rocky results.
Where things get complicated for Atlanta is defending Alvin Kamara out of the backfield. Christian McCaffery made it very clear that Atlanta has done little to improving their weakness from a year ago at defending passes to running backs.
Cam Newton targeted his running back an outrageous 15 times (14 passes completed) for a success rate of 67%. By the end of the game the Panthers were able to carve through the banged-up Falcons defense with little effort.
New Orleans has shown a great ability to get ahead of the chains on early downs. Sean Peyton is one of the most willing coaches to throw on early downs attempting passes on 30 of 39 first downs in 2018.
Last week Kamara caught all six of his targets for 53 yards and a 100% success rate building on his nine catches from twelve targets for 112 yards and a 63% success rate in the season opener. I am not exaggerating in predicting he should comfortably rack up more than 150 yards from scrimmage against the Falcons.
Offensively there are some injury concerns for Atlanta as well. Starting running back, Devonta Freeman missed last Sunday and has yet to practice this week. Julio Jones is being held out of practice for a calf injury and two guards Andy Levitre and Ben Garland are both less than 100% and limited in practice. All four are likely to play on Sunday, but all at well less than full strength.
I anticipate the Saints coming into Atlanta and jumping ahead on the Falcons early.
The game plan will be reliant on Alvin Kamara, but Drew Brees is likely to have his best game of the season. The Saints QB will have tons of time and a clean pocket behind this offensive line that won’t be tested by a pass rush. He has underthrown many deep balls this year, but should be comfortable to step up in the pocket and will take advantage of the lack of depth Atlanta has at safety.
Atlanta will struggle to keep pace on the scoreboard and is set to disappoint the majority of the betting market.
This price should be closer to PK, and getting a field goal at even money is well worth the wager on New Orleans.
- San Francisco +6.5 (2.02) risking 1.00x
- New Orleans +3 (2.00) risking 1.00x