3-3 for the blog last week although the Eagles hit as a juicy little underdog, so probably a break-even week for most. What stood out to me from Week 14 was the power of the situational spot. Off the top of my head, the Vikings, Steelers, and Bengals were all in awful spots – the Vikings in their third consecutive road game, and the other two on short weeks after that bloodbath on Monday night. I liked all three on a purely statistical basis and did end up betting the Steelers -4 and the Vikings. Of course none of them covered the spread and I think it was clear all three were beat up and/or flat.
At this point of the season, it really is a battle of attrition, and I think it’s becoming increasingly important to look past the numbers in some cases and consider fatigue, motivation etc.
Which is why we’re starting with a bet on the Texans this week. They are 11.5 point underdogs as of writing and the Jags are worth every bit of it based on the numbers. But, the Jags are also coming off an emotional, physical statement win over the Seahawks, and now have to get up for their lowly devisal rivals who they already crushed this year. They’ve already proved to be an emotional team, and this is a major flat spot. Meanwhile, the Texans have a genuine upgrade at QB with TJ Yates starting, and will play hard.
For the trend players, via Bet Labs: “Teams that lost their previous head-to-head matchup and are double-digit underdogs in a division game are 89-59-5 (60.1%) ATS since 2003. This follows the larger trend that teams getting 10 or more points in a division game are 107-78-5 (57.8%) ATS.”
Elsewhere, Jimmy G and the Niners came through for us as my biggest bet last week, and I am right back on the train this week, even as favourites. Again the models hate this pick.
I’m seeing the Niners as a five-point dog according to some projections, but that is frankly because their season-long stats are awful.
As noted last week, this is a completely new team with Jimmy at the helm.
It’s not easy to win on the road in the NFL, but that’s exactly what Jimmy G has done in his two starts, winning outright as an underdog at the Bears and Texans. Of course these aren’t good teams, but the Niners have also been statistically dominant in these contests.
San Fran held a 388-147 yardage edge over the Bears, then 416-311 over Houston, along with a massive of +1.4 net yards per play. This Niners team is legitimately decent, an 8 or 9 win team and the Titans team coming to town is really not.
By weighted DVOA they are the 22nd best team in the league, and the current iteration could be even worse with the hobbled version of Mariota.
Last week in Arizona they mustered just 7 points and the QB is nursing the same hamstring injury this week. Without the threat of his legs, this Mike Mularkey offense is genuinely abysmal. Lay the points with Jimmy da G.
Another bet I love is Over 47.5 in Seattle, where the Rams come to town with the divisional title on the line.
For starters, the season-long numbers make this game about 50, so I would probably have bet it over anyway because these are two very efficient offenses.
They also both play at a top-10 pace and suffered major injuries to defenders last week. On the Rams side, the two starting corners will be out for this game, which is less than ideal against a Seattle team whose strength is at receiver. For the Seahawks, linebackers Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright are both questionable. Once Wagner went out last week, Blake Bortles went up and down the field on the Seahawks.
I repeat, Blake Bortles went up and down the field on them.
Even if Wagner and Wright do play, this Seahawks defense is a shell of what it used to be.
Over the last three weeks, they are 22nd in passing success rate allowed and 24th in explosive pass rate allowed. That’s a recipe for disaster against this Rams team and I expect them to get to at least 28. This makes the over a great bet, but it also makes Rams ML at around 2.25 a nice shout.
Brad’s Week 15 Bets:
- Texans +11.5
- 49ers -1.5
- Over 47.5 Rams @ Seahawks
- Rams on the Moneyline