Hello folks, and welcome back.
We had our worst week of the season last Sunday, dropping five units and pegging us back to +5.07. I read the column back and listened to the podcast, and I’m reasonably happy with the logic/process for the bets. The Browns were steamed into favouritism, while the Steelers under dropped two full points from where we bet it.
Perhaps in hindsight, I shouldn’t have counted on the Raiders to score any points at a wet Wembley, but I didn’t expect them to be quite so somnambulant.
Anyway, like a Bill Belichick-coached team, we shall bounce back after a loss, so onto Cincinnati (Week 7).
Opposing The Narrative With The G Men
Let’s start with the Nap in the final game of the week, with the Giants. I’ll give you the short version of my handicap because we spent some time on it in the podcast, but there’s decent evidence to suggest the Giants are the better of these two teams.
Throw away the records and the reputation, and New York has the better net yards per play (ypp) for the season when adjusted for opponent.
In fact, New York ranks 8th in the NFL in that metric, compared to 21st for Atlanta. A good chunk of that comes from the strength of schedule adjustment, where New York has played a significantly tougher slate so far this season.
It also factors in just how truly bad the Atlanta defence is, missing its key pieces. Atlanta’s D is last in the NFL in Pro Football Focus’ rating and Expected Points Added (EPA) per play, and behind only Tampa Bay in ypp allowed.
In short, the Giants are going to score 27+ here, especially with four extra days rest, and I see this one as close to a toss-up, making the moneyline and the points very attractive. For similar reasons, I’ve also backed over 55.
Total points scored in Atlanta home games this year are 55, 80, 73, 63. It should be a fun one on Monday night…
How About Them Cowboys
Next up, I’ve had a pretty good bet on Dallas moneyline after I adjusted Dallas up and the Redskins down after last week’s action. Starting with Dallas, the defence is already a top-10 unit – third in PFF’s metrics and 8th in success rate allowed – and the offense appeared to take a step forward last week, mainly on the strength of Dak Prescott running. Prescott set a career high in both rush attempts (11) and yards with 82, while scoring the game’s first touchdown.
It makes the Cowboys a completely different offense to defend, opening up some more space for Zeke, and if they are sensible there will be more of the same on Sunday.
Even without that step forward, the Cowboys look to be a significantly better team than the Redskins. The Skins won Sunday despite losing the ypp battle 5.9 to 4.2 and the success rate battle 51% to 43%.
And those kind of numbers are no aberration. For the season to date, only Arizona and Buffalo are worse than the Redskins on adjusted net ypp. Any plus money in this matchup is good value to my eye.
Battle Of The Coaching Wunderkinds
Finally, I’m taking the Niners +9 against the Rams in the battle of coaching wunderkinds. In short, this Niners team under Beathard hasn’t really slowed down at all, with a +0.2 adjusted net ypp differential through three games. That’s the same number the Saints and Cowboys have generated for the full season and suggests to me that Shanahan system is so good and Bethard has been there long enough, that he can run it properly.
On the other side, last week’s Rams game was pretty fascinating. I’ve heard several film analysts say the Rams make you choose – you either get rinsed on the ground by Todd Gurley, or you put an extra man in the box and get rinsed through the air.
Well the Broncos chose the former and only gave up 23 points, which is a massive win. It will be interesting to see if the Niners do the same thing, but ultimately, this bet is about the Niners scoring enough points to keep it relatively close.
- Giants +4: 1 unit @ 2.1
- Giants ml: 1 unit @ 3.1
- Giants/Falcons over 55 @ 2.07
- Cowboys ml: 2 units @ 2.17
- 49ers +9: 1 unit @ 1.97