Brad is back with three more bets for week 3 including a snooze-fest in Cleveland!
Ello ello. 1-2 last week for -0.95 units, dropping us to -0.91 units on the season. I think it’s fair to be aggrieved about the result. The Ravens game had close to 800 yards of offense but stayed under as ‘whiz kid’ Kliff Kingsbury kicked three field goals from inside the 5-yard line, the first time that’s happened since the 70’s.
Grow some plums Kliff, you weasel.
As for the Broncos loss, the Denver Post put it better than I could: “The pain of this football-gods-must-hate-us, no-way-did-that-happen defeat is going to leave a permanent mark on the Broncos’ soul”. Great stuff. Anyway, we’re onto Cincinnati (week three).
Sunday Night Snoozer In Ohio
First up we’re taking under in the Rams/Browns game, where we have two offenses struggling for rhythm. Let’s start with the Rams, where Jared Goff’s home/road splits are well-known (10 TDs and 9 INTs on the road last year), but the bigger factor here is the interior offensive line.
LA lost two starters in the offseason (Rodger Saffold at guard and John Sullivan at center), and on Sunday saw their right guard Austin Blythe go down with an ankle sprain. Blythe is currently day-to-day, but if he does sit, it’ll be the first time a Rams offensive linemen misses a start due to injury during the McVay era.
Given the strength of the Cleveland D is their defensive line, and given the importance of mobile interior lineman in McVay’s outside zone running scheme, I think the Rams could struggle moving the ball.
Cleveland offensively have also been pretty dreadful so far this season for whatever reason.
They are 29th in the NFL in EPA, with a 39% success rate on run and pass, both below league average. Fifty percent of their yards have come from explosive plays, which ranks 2nd as a proportion, and isn’t a sustainable way to play offense.
Part of the problem appears to be Baker Mayfield holding onto the ball too long.
From ESPN’s Jake Trotter: “Per NFL Next Gen Stats, Baker is averaging 3.07 seconds to throw, the 3rd highest in NFL. When he throws within 2.5 seconds: 74%, 2 TDs/1 INT; when he throws in over 2.5 seconds: 55%, 0 TDs/3 INTs.”
Its possible Baker is pressing and looking for the big play, or that this is how the Todd Monken Air Raid system wants him to play, but the results so far haven’t been great. And when Aaron Donald is on the other team, hanging in the pocket is #notgood, and should help us stay under a pretty high number here.
Taking Flight With The Hawks
Next up, I’ll take the Seahawks -4 over the visiting Saints.
There is a hell of a lot of respect being granted to Teddy Bridgewater here, and in my view, he might not have earned it.
As Bill Barnwell notes, Bridgewater has thrown 55 regular-season passes over three years since returning from his knee injury. He has completed 56.4% of his passes while averaging just 5.1 yards per attempt. The only quarterbacks since 2016 who have failed to top that YPA figure while throwing 50 passes or more are Matt Cassel, Mark Sanchez and Nathan Peterman.
The Athletics’ Deuce Windham also went through the tape of those 55 snaps and concluded Teddy was essentially unwilling to pull the trigger on deep throws. “The Saints didn’t give Bridgewater many opportunities to go for the big strike, but when they did, he didn’t take advantage.”
As I’ve harped on about this year already, the Seahawks weakness is in the secondary, but that seems unlikely to be exposed here.
I think Bridgewater puts the Saints as something like a 7.5 win team.
The problem is, the Seahawks look like a 9-win team and they get the full 3 points for home-field, so I’d have this line closer to 5.5. One thing to note is that the Seahawks offensive philosophy appears to be slowly being dragged into the modern era. Their early-down rush rate is down to 52% from 59% last year, and last week, they let Wilson throw the ball early and often and even went for a 4th-and-1 to ice the game.
Wilson is legitimately a top-6 NFL QB and if they Seahawks start turning him loose, they could be a very dangerous team in the NFC and should have more than enough to handle Bridgewater and co here.
One More Fancy For The Weekend
I don’t really have any other strong bets, so a few quick opinions: I was all set to back the Giants in Tampa based on their 51% success rate on offense this year, but its tough value Danny Dimes in place of Eli. He looked great in preseason but has pretty poor college stats, so we HOLD on that one. Elsewhere, I do think there is slight value on under 43.5 in the Green Bay/Denver game which I made 42.5.
The LaFleur/Rodgers experiment looks to be going terribly.
The two were bickering on the side-line against Minnesota; a game where the Packers won despite getting outgained by 2.2 yards per play.
For the season now, the Pack are 25th in offensive EPA and have a 37% success rate. This is not #good, and they could struggle to put up points against a very talented Denver D.
As for Flacco and the Denver offense, the less said the better.
- Under 48.5 Rams vss Browns: 1 unit at 1.98
- Seahawks -4: 1 unit @ 1.96
- GB/Denver under 43.5: 1 unit @ 1.92