Brad is back with three more bets for week four including an expected shootout in Lucas Oil Stadium!
A profitable week three saw us pick up 0.92 units and raise us to +0.01 units for the season. Don’t spend it all at once. We did get that all-important CLV on all three bets, which is #encouraging. Onto week four.
Go Over In Indy
First up we’re taking Over 45 in Colts/Raiders. Pull up the offensive success rate metrics this year and you’ll see some surprising team up top, starting with these two. The Colts are fourth in the league at 52% successful plays (behind the Patriots, Chiefs and Cowboys if you needed to know that SR is a useful stat) and the Raiders come in eight at 51%. So we have two top ten offenses (small sample of course) in a dome.
I guess these defences must be good if the total is only 45. Spoiler alert: they aren’t.
Through three weeks, Indy are 25th in defensive DVOA and Oakland are 29th.
We also have some injuries on the Colts defense including star safety Malik Hooker who tore his meniscus last week. Linebacker Darius Leonard and defensive end Jabaal Sheard are also uncertain for this game, but even if they play, this number should be 47 in my view.
Eat a W
Next, we’ll have some Tampa +10.
The Bucs are fine – they are probably a seven-win team and were unlucky to lose against Danny Dimes last week (what’s this line if TB’s kicker makes a gimme field goal?). This is more of a fade of the Rams, who I was selling to begin the season and have seen nothing to change my mind despite the 3-0 start. Jared Goff’s yards-per-attempt has fallen by a full two yards this year compared to last, and the offense ranks 12th in success rate this year – 1 spot better than the Giants for comparison’s sake.
As noted here last week the middle of the offensive line is inexperienced and struggling and they are 16th in the NFL in yards per rush – again a far cry from last year.
So far the defense is picking up the slack, but look who they’ve played – Cam Newton with a busted wing, the Saints without Drew Brees and an imploding Brown’s offense which is 28th in the league in offensive DVOA so far.
I expect the Bucs to score 20+ here and that should be more than enough to cover against a sputtering Rams offense.
Bengals ready to roar
Finally, we’re taking the Cincinnati Bengals, getting four points on Monday night.
This again is a fade of their opponent rather than support for the Bengals, who are at least smart enough to be passing 69% of the time on early downs in neutral situations. This is roughly a 6-win team in my estimation, which makes them no worse than the Steelers with Mason Rudolph at the helm.
I argued on the Matchbook podcast last week that Rudolph looks exactly like the prototypical NFL QB and if he was any good at all he would have been taken earlier than the third round. He came out Sunday and stunk the joint up, throwing just two passes beyond the line of scrimmage, and going 14/27 for 174 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT and a 7.7 QBR. The Steeler’s benefited form five Niners turnovers and STILL lost. The previous 46 NFL teams who have committed five or more turnovers did not win (0-45-1)
That 7.7 QBR means Rudolph’s performance was good enough to win 7.7 games out of 100, everything else being equal. This is bad. It also lays bare just how average a team the Steelers are in 2019. Think of the talent that’s walked out the door in the past few months, starting with Lev Bell, Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger.
The defense is poorly coached and is weak just where you don’t want to be in 2019 – the secondary (Steelers are 28th in NFL by PFF’s coverage grade).
It also turns out Juju Smith-Schuster isn’t quite the weapon we thought when he doesn’t have Antonio Brown drawing double teams.
Of course, that doesn’t really matter because the QB won’t throw it beyond the line of scrimmage anyway. Back to the point here; if we give the Steelers 2.5 for home-field (lower than normal because its a divisional game) we’d need to think they are clearly the better team to justify this line. I think they’re possibly the worse team by a half point or so, so we have a bet.
- Colts/Raiders over 45: 1 unit @ 2.0
- Buccaneers +10: 2 units @ 1.88
- Bengals +4: 1 unit @ 1.96