Brad is back and looking to bounce back from a rough Week 7 with three more bets in NFL Week 8!
The less said about last week the better. 0-3, dropping us to -2.17 units on the season. On we go.
First up, I’m taking the Broncos +6.
I hate to do it, but this one is on the strength of the respective defenses.
Denver has the fourth-ranked pass coverage unit by PFF and the 5th-ranked defense overall per DVOA, despite facing the third most difficult schedule of opposing pass offenses.
The Colts meanwhile are 28th in defensive efficiency against a slightly easier schedule. Of course defense is noisier and less predictive than offense but the size of the difference at this point in the seasons suggests there is a chasm in class between the two units.
Meanwhile, the offenses aren’t as far apart as you’d expect: 5.3 yards per play for Indy to 5.1 for Denver. The Broncos also get their right tackle Ja’Wuan James back this week to bolster the offensive line, while they’re also in a much better spot with 10 days rest off a blowout loss. Massy Peabody makes Denver the better team here by 1.55 points. I’m not sure I’d go that far, but there’s plenty of wiggle room in +6 here.
Run, San Fran, Run
Next up, lets have under 42 in San Fran, where the game flow looks likely to be run, run, run. Starting with San Fran, this is an offense missing both starting tackles, as well as the most important full back in the league, Kyle Juszcyk. As a result, the Niners are slowing the game down and essentially handing it over to his defense. Over the last month, per Pat Thorman, their snaps-per-second pace has fallen from 17th quickest to 30th quickest, and opponents are averaging just 45.7 plays per game. Some of that is down to the run-fest vs Washington in the slop last week, but their numbers were trending down before that.
The Niners run the ball 54% in neutral situations, second-most in the league, and face a top-five pass defense and bottom five run defense in Carolina.
It looks clear to me they will stay run heavy here.
Likewise, Carolina also looks likely to run the ball – San Fran opponents this year have been loath to drop back against that fearsome pass rush, and are running the ball at a 51% clip in neutral situations – second-most in the league.
Unfortunately for Carolina, I don’t see them having success running or passing.
The Panthers’ offensive line is ranked 23rd in run blocking and 22nd in pass protection by Football Outsiders and could get eaten alive by this Niners D line. The more three-and outs-they have, the more Niners get the ball back, with the chance to ram it down their throats and drain that clock.
Into the Lions’ Den
Finally, I’ll take over 49 in Detroit/New York Giants. There’s plenty of unrest in Detroit this week over the trade of safety Quandre Diggs. Football impact aside for a second, several Lions were on social media calling the trade “some bullshit”, suggesting they might no be fully focused and willing to put it all out there for their fearless leader Matt Patricia this week. The trade also leaves the Lions thin on defense, with star CB Darius Slay expected to miss the game, along with key DT Mike Daniels.
I think we’ll see the Giants move the ball here against a Detroit D that already ranked 30th in sack rate and 31st in QB Hit Rate.
I’m even more confident the Lions will move the ball against a Giants D ranked 31st by PFF despite an average schedule, and who are something of a pass funnel, which lends itself to overs. The Lions can also be expected to let Stafford chuck it, now starting RB Kerryon Johnson is on IR. After Johnson went down last week, Detroit threw on 65% of their situation-neutral plays vs the Vikes. There’s every chance they continue that against the paper tissue Giants pass D.
I think we could see a shootout under the dome.
- Denver +6: 1 unit @ 1.88
- SF under 42 1 unit @ 1.97
- Lions/NYG over 49: 1.5 units @ 1.95