Brad Allen
4 months ago - 10 minute read

Brad Allen: The Chiefs are the best team in the NFL

Ouch. We dropped four units last week, pegging us back to +1.72 units on the season.de

But honestly, there’s not too much I would have changed.

The Bucs went off at -3.5 having taken the major professional money while the Falcons were backed into -5.5 at the off after we backed them -3 and -4 respectively.

The Falcons didn’t really turn up, but in fact, the Browns performance was pretty impressive and there could be a potential buy-signal blinking under new OC Freddie Kitchens. Baker Mayfield was 17/20 for a QBR of 97.1 (out of 100), while the Browns defense has faced one of the toughest schedules in the league and currently ranks 8th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA.

They’re one to keep an eye on after their bye.

Still Happy To Oppose The Skins

The Bucs game was also telling, with the Bucs out-gaining the Redskins in just about every major statistical category, but having a shocker in the redzone (which is more random than performance between the twenties because of the smaller sample size). Per fantasy analyst Anthony Staggs, there have been 864 instances of a team posting 475+ yards of total offense since the NFL merger and the Buccaneers scored the fewest points of any of them.

On average teams with greater than 475 total yards score 36 points.

It’s pretty telling that the Redskins went from 1 point underdogs on the look-ahead line for this week to +3, despite the Texans being on their bye.

Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden has somehow got his team to a 6-3 record this season. Brad fancies that they’ll be 6-4 come next Monday morning.

Regardless, I still don’t think this line has moved far enough. Just to reiterate why I hate the Skins; they could feasibly be without four of their starting five linemen again this week, while they rank bottom five in the NFL in adjusted net ypp, and 19th in DVOA, even before the injuries are accounted for. The Texans aren’t a great team but are above average by most advanced metrics (13th DVOA, 15th ESPN FPI).

They also get 1.5 points just for coming off the bye and should cause havoc with Watt and Clowney against a banged up O-line.

Titans Defense Is Elite? Give Me A Break

Next up I like over 48.5 in the Colts/Titans game.

I am convinced the Titans are Ravens 2.0; the current number one defense in points per game allowed, but significantly overrated.

They’ve faced the 5th easiest schedule of opposing offenses per Warren Sharp’s numbers. DVOA, for instance, pegs them as the 12th best defense rather than number 1. They are going against a Colts offense that finally has a healthy offensive line, healthy receiving weapons and most importantly, a healthy right shoulder of Andrew Luck. They’re averaging 32.6 points over the last five games and haven’t allowed a sack in four straight games – the longest streak since 2014.

Luck with a lot of time will absolutely shred this defense.

A healthy Andrew Luck has been given some great protection from his Offensive Line in recent times.

On the other side of the ball, I think Mariota should be able to keep a decent pace as well. The Titans offense could be better than their season-long stats which were accrued when Mariota had nerve damage and no feeling in his throwing hand.

In the two games since the bye, they’ve scored 28 and 34.

They also face one of the worst stop units in the league. Despite the single easiest schedule in the league per Warren Sharp, the Colts are 25th in net yards per attempt allowed.

That’s pretty mind-boggling to me, and I’d make a fair line here around 51.5.

Monday Night Fireworks In LA

Onto the Monday night game, which probably shouldn’t be buried down as the third game to be discussed, as I think we have both a cracking game and a cracking bet here.

From a raw stats angle, the Chiefs look the better team.

They are number one in Football Outsiders’ DVOA, on the strength of a historically good offense – the fifth best ever tracked by the site. The efficiency numbers are broadly similar to the Rams but have come against a much tougher strength of schedule, while I make the defenses basically a wash.

The Rams do probably have more name value, but it isn’t translating into production right now.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid has had his offense humming this season.

I’d have the Chiefs a 1 point favourite on a neutral, so what do we make the Rams homefield advantage?

There are regularly more fans of the opposing team at the Coliseum, and the Rams have been travelling to and from Colorado Springs this week, where they were training at altitude in preparation for the aborted Mexico City trip.

So the Chiefs arguably have the better travel situation and possibly more fans in the stadium, while Rams players and their families have also been dealing with the wildfires in California this week and various evacuations and school closures etc.

The LA Coliseum gives the Rams a minimal Home Advantage if any at all.

I think it’s reasonable ( and maybe even generous) to give the Rams 2 points for HFA here, taking us to Rams -1. It also worth mentioning that slot WR Cooper Kupp will miss this one.

With Kupp on the field, the Rams rank second in the NFL in pass success rate. Without him, they rank 22nd. It ’s a very small sample size, but I suspect there’s some significance here, given Kupp is Goff’s favourite target and his ability to move the chains and get open in the redzone will be missed.

I reckon we can knock a half point off for Kopp as well, bringing us to Rams -0.5. Looks like value on the Chiefs to me!

Skol To Storm Soldier Field

Finally, I’ve had a small bet on the Vikings moneyline. Again we’ve got the team off a bye here, so we give them 1.5 points.

Taking that into account with the Bears home field advantage (around 2.5 points), this line is saying the Bears are the clearly better team. I disagree (obviously, that’s why it’s a bet).

For starters, the Bears have had one of the easiest schedules in the league. On defense, it has been the single easiest slate of opposing offenses in the league by expected points added.

Even against that cupcake schedule, the Bears offense has been overperforming its talent. Of 50 QBs to throw a pass this season, Mitchell Trubisky ranks 41st in PFF’s grades. One of the key issues is his ‘turnover-worthy play’ rate which is around double that of his opponent here, Kirk Cousins. (4%-2%).

Despite that Trubisky has just 7 interceptions compared to 5 for Cousins, when it should be much more like 10.

After a slow start the Vikings Defense has started to bounce back in recent weeks.

When opposing defenses start catching those balls, this Bears offense could unravel fast. I’ll happily take the more rested team with the better quarterback at odds-against here.

Recommended Bets

  • Chiefs ml 2 units @ 2.6
  • Vikings ml 1 unit @ 2.22
  • Colts/Titans over 48.5: 2 units @ 1.98
  • Texans -3 1 units @ 1.93

Brad was a guest on the Matchbook Betting Podcast this week as he joined Nat Coombs, Paolo Bandini and Matchbook’s Sully to preview Week 11 of the NFL season. If you haven’t already subscribed, search for ‘Matchbook Betting Podcast’ on your preferred podcasting app.