Brad is back with three more bets for Week 5, including a defensive battle in between Baltimore and Pittsburgh!
We picked up 1.76 units last week, largely thanks to the marauding Buccaneers who won outright as 10-point dogs, bringing us to +1.77 units for this young season. More important than the results however was the CLV across all three plays which warms the cockles to see. On to week 5.
Unders The Order Of The Day At Heinz Field
First up we’re having under 44.5 in Baltimore/Pittsburgh. This number is relatively high because the Ravens have been involved in a couple of shoot-outs in recent weeks, and their pass defense has been absolutely abysmal this season – in part thanks to cluster injuries to cornerbacks.
However, I’m confident that won’t be exposed here, as Mason Rudolph has been given the full game-manager treatment this season. Coaches tell you how they feel about their players by the way they use them, particularly early in games. Well, Mason Rudolph went 17-18 for 132 yards in the 1st half against Cinci but the completions averaged 1.2 air yards.
As I bang on about all the time, an NFL field is a tightly strung economy, and if you throw short all the time, it compresses the field and you run out of space.
I think the Steelers will struggle to top 17 here.
On the other side, the Ravens offense is probably flattered by its season-long numbers which were inflated by that Week 1 blowout vs Miami, who were prepared for a running game not deep passing. Jackson’s adjusted net yards per attempt in the three games since is around 7.0, which is actually a touch below the league average of 7.3 this year.
Of course, this doesn’t count Jackson’s legs which are a huge weapon but I don’t think Lamar is necessarily equipped to take advantage of the Steelers’ weakness in the secondary and I would make this number 43.5 rather than the current 45.
Fire The Cannons
Next, we’ll have some Buccaneers at 2.6 on the moneyline.
The Bucs are sneaky good – they’re 10th in the NFL by Football Outsiders’ DVOA and could be 3-1 if not for a missed kick – but this is more a play against Teddy Bridgewater. Teddy has somehow stolen two wins for the Saints despite getting dominated statistically. Even if we include the 1.5 games started by Brees this year, the Saints rank 21st in the NFL by DVOA.
As noted by ESPN’s Bill Barnwell, Bridgewater is averaging 6.5 yards per pass, which ranks 27th in the league. His Total QBR is just 24.2, which is 29th out of 33 quarterbacks and his average pass has travelled just 5.3 yards in the air, which is the shortest average pass in the NFL.
I firmly believe this talented Bucs offense will put up 20+ again and we’ve seen nothing to suggest that Bridgewater can hang.
Don’t Buck The Broncos
I’m also having some Broncos +6.5.
The Broncos have been one of the unluckiest teams in the league to my eye. They rank 5th in the NFL with a 51% offensive success rate and are top 10 in both running and passing by this metric.
They’ve lost two games by 2 points which is hiding the fact this is a 6-7 win team rather than the bottom-feeder they look like currently.
I think its hard to argue the Chargers, as currently constituted, are much better.
They are missing a litany of Pro Bowlers including Russell Okung, Hunter Henry, Adrian Philips and Derwin James. The injury toll is showing in the performance metrics too, where the Chargers are 19th in DVOA for the season.
Given there will be more Denver fans in LA on Sunday than Charger fans this homefield advantage is almost nil and there’s no way LA is 6.5 points better.
Lets tickle that juicy money line too shall we?
- Steelers/Ravens under 44.5: 1 unit @2.06
- Tampa Bay ml 1 unit @ 2.6
- Denver +6.5: 1 unit @ 1.98
- Denver ml 0.5 units @ 3.48