Week 11: You Guys Stink!

The books had a good week last week. We called it, but the rebound wasnt universal, so we were just under .500 for the week. The Saints blew away Cincy, and the Falcons, Panthers, and Eagles gakked up all over themselves. We were on the wrong sides of those games. You can see this in the lines this week too. Saints getting all the love.


SEATTLE (4-5)  -2.5  vs  Green Bay (4-4-1)

The home team in this series is 12-1 since 1999, including 3 playoff games. Both teams came into the season with reduced expectations and have basically lived up to them. Probably the biggest surprise has been the Seattle defense. The Legion of Whom has found a very nice identity, giving up 21.3 points/game, 9th lowest in the league. It’s even better than it sounds – four of their losses have been against really strong offenses (Rams, Rams, Bears, Chargers). They’re balanced on the offensive side of the ball as well. They lead the league with 152 yds/game, and Carson is their leading rusher with less than 500 yds on the season. They’re surprisingly well-balanced for a team that has the rep of being 100% Russell Wilson.

Seattle has had tough games vs Rams and Chargers, both on the road. They’ll be happy to get back home on the short week to play a Packers team that’s come all the way from Miami.

Seahawks -2.5
2 fireball shots


Carolina (6-3)  -3.5  at  DETROIT (3-6)

PSA: pay attention to that middle school math kids. The possibilities are endless.

PSA: pay attention to that middle school math kids. The possibilities are endless.

80% of the tickets are on Carolina, and 86% of the money. That means the average bet on Carolina is bigger than the average bet on Detroit, and could indicate that the pros (i.e., bigger betters) are betting Carolina. But don't read too much into these stats. There are only 2400 bets in the data we have, so a 6% difference is actually pretty small. It doesn’t mean that the big betters are on Carolina. It just means that everyone is on Carolina.

Why pick Carolina? The premise has to be something like “last week was an aberration. The offense is still hot and just ran into a buzz saw in Pittsburgh last week.” I guess we’ll see. Carolina is 2-1 all time in Detroit, but has won their games by 1 point and by 3. We like going against the grain here. (and everywhere).

Lions +3.5
1 fireball shot


NY GIANTS (2-7)  -0.5  vs  Tampa Bay (3-6)

7 more wins. That's all it the G-man need to win the NFC East. You gotta take them one game at a time. Odell said it only would take winning 8 more games. It’s more likely that 8-8 will get you into a tie for first in the NFC Least.

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We think he set the team on on a crusade like the Cleveland Indians in Major League. For those of you who weren't born when this timeless classic hit the big screen …. Indians suck. Their players are has beens and never will bes. They rally against their b-word of an owner who wants them to lose so she can move the team to Miami. She used to be a stripper. They make a cardboard cutout of her where every game they win, they take off a section of her clothes. (We’re not doing the whole movie justice. Go watch it, like I’m about to do. If these game notes are late, blame Jobu.)

So, just like the Giants, right? We think Odell probably put a cardboard cutout into the locker room to get the guys psyched. We think it’s this one.

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This week the Tampa Bay Turnover Machine comes to town to give the bandwagon a gentle shove to get it going. It’s going to be cold in NY too. All this will matter to your soon to be 3-7 Giants.

Giants -0.5
3 fireball shots!


ATLANTA (4-5)  -3.5  vs  Dallas (4-5)

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Atlanta will take care of business back at home. These teams seem destined to hover around .500 for the year. Home field matters. Momentum matters, but opposite. Atlanta got embarrassed by the Browns. That’s good for this week. Dallas beat Philly. That’s bad for this week.

The bets are pretty even, but 2/3 of the money is on Atlanta. That kind of differential is meaningful. Means that the average bet on the Falcons is twice the size of the average bet on the Cowboys. The public loves the Cowboys, and this line has moved down to 3 in current betting. If you can give 3, we love the bet .

Don't be tempted by the over 48.5. it looks so good. 99% of the money is on the over. It’s kind of crazy that nobody is betting the under. Be warned

Falcons -3.5
2 fireball shots


Houston (6-3)  -2.5  at  WASHINGTON (6-3)

We’ve made 3 bandwagon calls this year (that we care to remember for purposes of this bit). Status.

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1 for 3 gets you into the baseball Hall of Fame. Washington is this year’s 2017 Tennessee Titans. No identity. A team on a hot streak will always beat this year’s Skins. We love the Texans because they’re on the world’s worst 6 game win streak, and it’s given them a fair amount of irrational confidence. This game has the potential to not be close.

Texans -2.5
3 fireball shots!


 INDIANAPOLIS (4-5)  -1.5  vs  Tennessee (5-4)

Lesson: No matter what excitement happens during the game, the fans are the big losers in the end.

  • Titans: Terrible offense (30th in league), great defense (6th).

  • Colts: Terrible defense (23rd), great offense  (9th)

Let’s check this game against our sayings for major sports:

  • MLB: Good defense beats good offense

  • NBA: Nobody plays defense

  • NHL: Nobody plays offense (maybe this is changing; just go with it)

Leaves “good offense beats good defense” for the NFL. Makes sense in a league where the defense is prohibited by rule by making plays that were considered outstanding just 2 years ago. Player safety is paramount, and it gives the offenses a huge advantage for the time being

Colts -1.5
1 fireball shot


BALTIMORE (4-5) -4.5 vs. Cincinnati (5-4)

The Ravens have lost 3 in a row, but don’t let that fool you. The Ravens last 3 opponents (Saints, Panthers and Steelers) are all likely headed to the playoffs and all games were decided by 7 points or less.

The Bengals came off their bye week and got throttled at home by the Saints. Over the past 3 games (one win sandwiched by two loses), the Bengals defense has allowed 45, 34 and 51 points. Also, AJ Green is again out.

BALTIMORE -4.5

3 Fireball Shots


Pittsburgh (6-2- 1) -5.5 @ JACKSONVILLE (3-6)

The Le’Veon Bell fiasco is now over. Bell did not show up to sign his tender by Tuesday’s deadline, so he is ineligible to play the remainder of the season. This makes Bell the worst fantasy draft pick of all time. This eclipses the year I had Tiki Barber as keeper and he decided to retire, so I lost my keeper and my draft pick. I’m not very good in fantasy.

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The Steelers players celebrated the news by looting Bell’s locker. That shows how far Bell has fallen in the eyes of his teammates. Given the situation coming to a close, you would think the Steelers would now be clear to focus on the task at hand. But I think it goes the other way. I think this is a let down spot for the Steelers and for James Conner. Coming off a decisive win over the Panthers last Thursday, the Steelers have had ten days to listen to how great they are and how they can win it all without Bell. Now that Bell is no longer in the picture, the Steelers no longer have a chip on their shoulder. They will come out flat on Sunday. Even if they can pull it together, I don’t see them winning this game by more than a field goal.

JACKSONVILLE +5.5

2 Fireball Shots


LA CHARGERS (7-2) -7.5 vs. Denver (3-6)

The Chargers released K Caleb Sturgis this week. Sturgis had only hit 60% (9 of 15) of extra points he attempted this year, worst in the league. For reference, no other kicker is below 83% on extra point conversions. Sturgis also ranked 2nd to last in FG percentage, making only 69% (Gronk laugh!) of field goals attempted. Even though this will have no effect on this week’s match-up, it was just fun to share how bad Sturgis has been this year.  

The Chargers have only lost twice this year – losing in week 1 to the Chiefs and in week 3 to the Rams. The Chargers are riding a 6-game winning streak coming to this match-up. Denver is going the other direction. After opening the season with two wins, Denver has gone 1-6 with the only win coming against Arizona in Week 7. Expect these trends to continue. Chargers win easy.

LA CHARGERS -7.5

1 Fireball Shot


ARIZONA (2-7) -3.5 vs. Oakland (1-8)

The amount of effort put forth by the Raiders defense the past few weeks:

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It’s almost like they are trying to lose. Last week, the Raiders were getting 10.5 points at home. They only managed two field goals and lost 20-6. It almost seemed like the Chargers were trying not to win the game and they still managed two touchdown win. The Raider just don’t care.

Since firing offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and turning the offense over to Bryon Leftwich, the Cardinals offense has found some life. This has a lot to do with returning to running the offense through David Johnson. Expect this to continue this week against a Raiders defense that would rather be anywhere than playing this game in Arizona.

ARIZONA -3.5

3 Fireball Shots


NEW ORLEANS (8-1) -8.5 vs. Philadelphia (4-5)

Before the season, the look ahead line on this game was probably Saints -2.5 and it looked at as a preview of a potential NFC Championship match-up. Fast forward to week 11, the Saints have upheld their end on the strength of an 8-game win streak but the Eagles are struggling at 4-5 coming off a home loss to the Cowboys. A NFC Championship match-up does not look likely. 

Even though the Eagles are struggling, this line is an overreaction and is at least a full two points to high. I’ll go to my grave not believing in this Saints team as I think they are getting over rated.  Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson has earned his reputation as an aggressive play caller. Saints Head Coach Sean Payton, never one to turn down a challenge, will insert himself into this game with stupid decisions trying to steal Pederson’s thunder. I think it bites him in the ass and the Eagles earn a backdoor cover at minimum and might even steal a win on the road.

Philadelphia +8.5

3 Fireball Shots


CHICAGO (6-3) -2.5 vs. Minnesota (5-3-1)

The Bears are 1st in defensive DVOA and #10 in offense, making them 4th overall in Total DVOA. The Vikings are 7th and 17th respectively, and 14th overall. Even though I have absolutely no idea what DVOA is or how it’s calculated, I know that being 4th on this list is better than 14th. And for that reason, I’m taking the Bears.

CHICAGO -2.5

2 Fireball Shots


LA RAMS (9-1) -2.5 vs. Kansas City (9-1)

This game looks so good on paper, the NFL decided to steal it back from Mexico. Seriously though, the NFL made a great decision on Monday pulling the game from Estadio Azteca in Mexico City due to the terrible condition of the field. The game, which was always listed as a home game for the Rams, will be played at the LA Coliseum, the Rams current home field. This should be an advantage for the Rams but given how well Chiefs fans travel, KC is expected to have the fan advantage.

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The Rams defense has been exposed as of late. If the Chiefs offensive line can slow Aaron Donald, Mahomes and the Chiefs offense should have their way with the Chiefs secondary. The Chiefs “bend but don’t break” defense should be able to do just enough to pull it out in what will likely be a very high scoring game.

Kansas City +2.5

1 Fireball Shot