No blog last week (apologies), but a strong Week 15 means we are now -1.7 units on the season and almost out of the little hole we were in there.
The usual caveats apply about Week 17, and staking, and it’s worth familiarising yourself exactly who needs to do what. Adam Levitan did a good column on this over on the DraftKings Playbook.
Jets @ Patriots
Motivation, however, is not a factor in this week’s NAP, where the Patriots need to beat the Jets to secure the 2 seed and the Jets have described this game as their Superbowl.
I think we have two teams headed in the opposite direction here, which might seem odd to say given the Pats are headed for a bye and the Jets are headed for a top 5 pick, but there’s something bubbling under the surface here.
In the three weeks since Sam Darnold returned from injury, the Jets are third in the NFL in passing success rate (53% successful) and averaging seven yards per pass. Two of those defenses (Hou and Buf) are top-5 units by DVOA. New York film analyst Robby Sabo said this week the rookies’ progress on tape was “awe-inspiring”.
On the other side of the field, the Patriots pass offense has fallen off a cliff. In the same 3 game stretch, the Pats are 15th in pass success rate (47%) and 6.7 YPA, both worse than the Jets.
There is talk Brady is dealing with an MCL sprain, and NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling has spoken about Brady looking gun-shy in the pocket and unwilling to stand in and take a hit.
Last week without Josh Gordon in there, Brady threw for a season-low 117 yards. The team did have success running the ball, but that’s not how you cover 13.5 point spreads.
Given this is a divisional rematch as well, the Jets and the points looks like a slam dunk to me.
Jags @ Texans
Next up I’m having a smaller bet on the Jacksonville Jaguars, on the road at the Houston Texans, who also need to win to lock up the AFC South and potentially nick the two seed if the Pats slip up (not out of the question).
The key angle for me here is the Jags defensive line against the Texans offensive line.
By combined pressure rates, this is the single worst match-up for any offensive line in any game this week.
As we know, pressure can kill any passing game, and this the Jags have the DBs to cover the Texans relatively limited weapons, with both Will Fuller and Demaryius Thomas done for the year.
On the other side, I expect the Jags to have some success passing the ball; the Texans ranked 22nd in pass defense by DVOA, and arguably are even worse than that given they have faced the easiest schedule of opposing offenses in the league. They also placed CB Kavyon Webster on IR this week, and have two other DBS listed as questionable.
Meanwhile, Bortles is a real upgrade over Cody Kessler, and remember this is almost the same team that reached the AFC Championship Game last year. I like the Jags to pull the outright upset as well.
Best of luck folks.
- Jets +13.5: 3 units @ 1.99
- Jags +6.5 1.5 units @ 2.0
- Jags ML: 0.5 units @ 3.6
Brad didn’t make it onto the Matchbook Betting Podcast this week (something to do with a once in a lifetime yoga retreat), but Sully and Nick Kostos did join Nat Coombs to preview Week 17’s betting opportunities. Subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, or any good podcast app by searching for the ‘Matchbook Betting Podcast’, and if you’re not already doing so; follow @matchbookpod on Twitter for updates.