Week 15: Sweet, Sweet Revenge!

KANSAS CITY (11-2)  -3.5  vs  LA Chargers (10-3)

So back in like week 8 we talked about how the Chargers’ destiny is to be the league’s first 13-3 wild card team, and then they’d lose in the wild card round. If they win out, and the Chiefs lose to them and then win their next two, then both are 13-3 and the Chiefs win the division by the conference record tiebreaker. More delicious irony!

Under is the bet here, folks.

  •  Chiefs offense: missing Kareem Hunt & Sammy Watkins, Tyreek Hill and Spencer Ware also unlikely to play.

  •  Chargers offense: no Austin Ekeler and maybe no Melvin Gordon

  •  Chiefs defense: Eric Berry likely to see a few snaps! (welcome back!)

  •  Chargers defense: Joey Bosa back at full speed. He missed the first game between these two teams.

The Chiefs are good at home, like 6-0 good with average margin of victory 14 points. BUT …. Against Niners, Jags, Bengals, Broncos, Cardinals and Ravens. Nobody as good as the Chargers.

Chargers +3.5
2 fireball shots
Bonus pick: under 54.4


DENVER (6-7)   -2.5  vs Cleveland (5-7-1)

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The Cleveland Browns are catnip to active betters. Every week for a few years you looked at the line and went, “that’s too many points.” After 10 weeks of doing this you went “I have to keep throwing money at the Browns. Eventually it’s going to pay off.”

Now that the Browns are sniffing a .500 record, you feel vindicated and have your hand out for the payoff. But sports gambling has a funny way of kicking  you in the nuts as soon as you drop your guard. We’re keeping the family jewels safe.

The Browns are 22-39 against the number since 2015. That’s team that you need to stay away from.

Broncos -2.5
1 fireball shot


Houston (9-4)   -6.5  @ NY JETS (4-9) 

Yay! Saturday football! Unfortunately the Jets always seem to play one of the Saturday games. Do you think the Orthodox Jewish Community in NY has something to do with this? Because of the Sabbath they can be obligated not to watch and yet remain big fans. Smart thinking!

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The Texans’ unexpected 9-game winning streak came to an end last week for the Texans. But don't expect them to plotz just yet. Their defense is killer and will give Darnold fits all afternoon.

Texans -6.5
2 fireball shots


CINCINNATI (5-8)   -2.5  vs  Oakland (3-10)
The History Lesson NFL Abusive Monopoly Pick of the Week.

Well you did it now, Oakland. Went and won a game, now you’re tied with Arizona and San Francisco (who also accidentally scored more points than the other team) for last place.

The Raiders are a team without a home. It’s going to be a distraction these last few weeks. They’re going to get crushed.

The city of Oakland is suing the NFL for their actions in negotiating a new stadium, accusing the league of acting in bad faith and abusing its position in an attempt to squeeze a better deal from Las Vegas. The team was offering to lease the Oakland Coliseum for a final year to play in 2019 but have pulled that offer.

Wait what?!? The NFL abusing its monopoly power??? That never happens! The league is actually exempt from a broad array of antitrust provisions from 50+ years ago, when the general public hadn't really taken an interest in NFL games on TV and the league needed help. And oh, by the way, the NFL is a tax-exempt organization. Yup. No tax on the league operations and front office. Doesn’t really matter, because they pay the large majority of their league revenue out in compensation to the front office.

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Remember that this is the league that the USFL and Donald Trump sued back in 1984 on anti-trust grounds … and won. $1, to be more precise. And subsequently folded. But it was the best deal ever.

There’s a history lesson in here, and it’s not just “don't bet on the Raiders”.

Bengals -2.5
3 Fireball Shots!


JACKSONVILLE (4-9)   -7.5  vs  Washington (6-7)

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Washington is so done, it doesn’t even know how done it is. The fans know. You should fire away at this and hedge by betting Jacksonville under 7 points.

Jags -7.5
3 Fireball Shots!


MINNESOTA (6-6-1)   -7.5  vs  Miami (7-6)

It doesn’t matter that the Vikings play in a dome. It’s still Minnesota, and it’s still damn cold in the winter. That matters. 36 degrees for the high on Sunday. That walk from the bus is going to suck for the Dolphins. Expect a letdown game after Gronk-ing the Pats last weekend.

Vikings -7.5
1 fireball shot


BUFFALO (4-9)   -2.5  vs  Detroit (5-8)

35 degrees and light rain in Buffalo on Sunday, or as the locals call it, “the best weather day of the winter”.

Buffalo surprisingly is leading the league in defensive yards allowed, and Josh Allen is a double threat out of the backfield. (1) he’s become a running threat, averaging 112/game in the last 3 games against Jacksonville, Miami, Jets (not bad defenses), and (2) when he drops back to pass he’s a threat to the safety of everyone within 15 yards of his intended target. #Tebowstyle.

But we like them at home against a Detroit team that won last week but just is having a bad year.

Bills -2.5
2 fireball shots


BALTIMORE (7-6)   -7.5  vs  Tampa Bay (5-8)

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Is Tampa Bay the weirdest team or what?

  1.  Fitzmagic! They open the season in raucous form, beating the Saints, the Eagles, and 90% of America’s survivor pools.

  2.  Fitztragic! They lose 7 of the next 8, beating only the Browns by 3. Fizpatrick loses his job to Jameis Winston after he returns from a suspension. Both of them show inability to determine which team to throw the ball to.

  3.  Fitzmissing! They come back and win decisively against the Niners and Carolina (that Carolina game wasn’t as close as the score), then lose to the Saints in a game they jumped out to a nice lead. All Jameis Winston, only one INT.

So who knows what TB team is going to show up. But we’re pretty sure it’s the one with the 1-5 road record and the #30 ranked defense. 7.5 is a lot of points but Baltimore’s #1 D should control the game, and we expect the interceptions to revert to the mean, i.e., Jameis will throw 3 passes to the other team.

Ravens -7.5
1 fireball shot


INDIANAPOLIS (7-6) -2.5 vs. Dallas (8-5)

For the second week in a row, Dallas benefited from some questionable officiating.

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The best part of the Cowboys 5-game winning streak is that it all but locks in HC Jason Garrett getting a contract extension. This is great news for the NFC East. Continue to pencil in the Cowboys each season in the 7-9 win range and first round playoff losses.

The Colts are on the playoff bubble, tied with current 6th seed Baltimore. With home games against Dallas, NY Giants and a season finale at Tennessee, the Colts need to win out to make the playoffs. I wouldn’t rule this out.   

INDIANAPOLIS -2.5
1 Fireball Shot


ATLANTA (4-9) -8.5 vs. Arizona (3-10)

This line only makes sense if you haven’t been watching the Falcons this season. There is no reason this offense should be struggling to score points. Matt Ryan has thrown for 4,076 yards, 28 TDs and only 6 INTs and a QBR in the top 5. Those are great numbers. Julio Jones has 94 catches for a league-leading 1,429 yards. However, Atlanta ranks 14th in points per game managing only 24.3 just above the Bengals, Browns and Giants. If the Falcons don’t score more than 24 against a weak Cardinals defense, I think OC Steve Sarkisian gets fired. So, I guess what I’m saying is I hope the Falcons score less than 24. It’s time for Sark to go.

Arizona +8.5
3 Fireball Shots


NY GIANTS (5-8) -2.5 vs. Tennessee (7-6)

I don’t like Eli Manning, never have. Since he pouted on draft night when the Chargers picked him to every time he falls at the sight of a D lineman nearby, I struggle to support him as the Giants starting QB. But, hot take alert, I don’t think Eli is as bad or as done as everyone thinks. The major problem facing the Giants is the offensive line. Over the last 3+ years, the line has been just that, offensive. Manning has been sacked 43 times already this season. 31 of those sacks came in weeks 1-8, Giants record in those games 1-7. Since the bye week, the Giants have allowed 12 sacks, Giants record in those games 4-1. It’s easy, fix the offensive line and Manning will be serviceable. No need to rush into drafting a replacement, Manning has at least 2 and maybe 3 years left. It pains me to say that, but it’s just the reality of the situation. Given the current team and draft and free agent prospects, Eli gives the Giants the best chance to compete. (I just threw up in mouth writing that).  

I do have to point out that Manning is 27th in QBR in 2018. But, since I have no idea what that stat means, I’m just going to ignore it.

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NY GIANTS -2.5
2 Fireball Shots


CHICAGO (9-4) -5.5 vs. Green Bay (5-7-1)

Green Bay Interim Head Coach Joe Philbin used two challenges in the first 3 plays of his first game. 83 seconds into the game and Philbin had exhausted all challenges for the game and, since he lost both, he wasted two of his three first half timeouts. And Atlanta still managed to lose (SARK!). You can actually bet on Philbin’s challenges in week 15 (these are real lines on Bovada)

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Another fantastic story line in week 15 is Aaron Rodgers streak of passes thrown without an INT. Rodgers only has thrown one INT in 2018, in week 4 vs. Buffalo. Buffalo is the 3rd ranked in DVOA and the toughest defense Rodgers has faced since playing the Bears in week 1. The Bears rank first in DVOA and lead with 25 INTs.

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Rodgers now has 359 straight passes without an interception, breaking Tom Brady’s record of 358, set in 2010-11. Bovada also has an over/under on Rodgers consecutive pass attempts before an INT.

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Something gotta this week. The Bears have had this date circled since Rodgers miraculous week 1 comeback. In front of a rabid home crowd, on a bitterly cold day, Rodgers is likely to throw a pick or two. Take the over 1.5 picks for the season and under 499.5 pass attempts. Oh, yeah and the Bears get their sweet, sweet revenge.

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CHICAGO -5.5
2 Fireball Shots


Seattle (8-5) -5.5 @ SAN FRANCISCO (3-10)

Yet again, the Seahawks are rolling late in the season after a slow start. Since 2013, the Seahawks are 27-12 ATS in Week 11 or later. The Seahawks are on a 4-game win streak, covering the spread in each game. This is a team to watch out for in the playoffs. They come into this week at 8-5, and after this week, they will finish the season with the Chiefs and Cardinals both at home. Looking deeper at the 5 losses, all were against good teams in tough spots and no loss more than a one-score game and

  • Week 1: Lost @ Denver 27-24

  • Week 2: Lost @ Bears 24-17

  • Week 5: Lost vs. LA Rams 33-31

  • Week 9: Lost vs. LA Chargers 25-17

  • Week 10: Lost @ LA Rams 36-31

At this point in the season, the only positive thing for the 49ers is TE George Kittle. Kittle has 1,103 receiving yards, 2nd among all TEs, and he’s coming off a game where he caught 9 balls for 210 yards. At least there is something for 49ers to be happy about.

Seattle -5.5
3 Fireball Shots 


PITTSBURGH (7-5-1) -1.5 vs. New England (9-4) 

Both Pittsburgh and New England had easy road games last week on paper. Pittsburgh was a 10.5-point favorite in Oakland and New England was a 7.5-point favorite in Miami. And both lost – against the spread and on the field.

 Pittsburgh struggled when Big Ben went out in the first half with a rib injury. And the medical staff in Oakland struggled to get Ben’s x-rays developed delaying his return to the field. He did return and led a 4th quarter rally that fell short. He will play in week 15.

New England lost on crazy circumstances in Miami on a multi-lateral final play. I’m sure you’ve see it but here it is again.

The blame for this play rests entirely on Bellichik’s shoulders. Instead of kicking the field goal to go up 5, the Pats should have gone for 4th and goal from the 4. If they get it, games over. If they don’t, Miami must go at least 50 yards in 16 seconds for the chance at a very long game winning field goal. Instead, they took the field goal to go up 5 and kicked off deep. With 7 seconds left and the ball at the Miami 31, the Dolphins throw a pass over the middle to set up potential laterals.  New England, who was anticipating a long hail mary pass, had Rob Gronkowski in deep coverage. It only took two laterals to get the ball to Kenyon Drake who ran right through the Patriots secondary and past a stumbling Gronk for a 69-yard TD. There’s potential that Gronk subconsciously let Drake score given the play went 69 yards, just sayin’.

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Both teams will look to get back on track in Week 15, with their eyes a first-round playoff bye. Given the struggles New England’s run defense has had this season, the Steelers should control the game. I’m expecting a lot of big plays and over coaching. When the dust settles, I think the Steelers pull this one out.

PITTSBURGH -1.5
1 Fireball Shot


LA RAMS (11-2) -8.5 vs. Philadelphia (6-7)
Carson Wentz has been diagnosed with a fractured vertebra. He has yet to be ruled out for week 15, but it’s likely that he gets placed on IR shutting him down for the rest of 2018. Another tough break (pun intended) for one of the only likeable guys on the Eagles. Nick Foles will likely be starting. Yes, he was the Super Bowl MVP last year, but this is not the same team. The Eagles will struggle with Foles which is good news for Giants fans as the Giants slim playoff hopes need Philly to lose at least two of their remaining games.

Goff struggled in Chicago last week. But back at home in sunny California, Goff should get back on track.

LA RAMS -8.5
1 Fireball Shot


New Orleans (11-2) -6.5 vs. CAROLINA (6-7)

The Saints and Panthers meet two times in the final three weeks of the season. The Saints have clinched a playoff berth and are in the drivers seat to secure home field throughout the playoffs. The Panthers are mathematically still alive for the playoffs, but a five game losing streak has all but ended any playoff hopes as the Carolina will likely need to beat bitter NFC South rivals New Orleans twice and Atlanta once. A visual representation of the rivalries.

This is also how I feel about these two teams. But, given the current state of both teams, I have to put my (gambling) support to the Saints.

New Orleans -6.5
3 Fireball Shots