Monday, September 22, 2014

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 4: Jaguars Vs. Chargers

Jacksonville Jaguars Vs. San Diego Chargers: SD -13.5 (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

In the Westgate (LVH) look-ahead line, the Chargers were listed as -9.5 point favorites for this matchup. After another loss by Jacksonville, and a win by San Diego, this number re-opened at -13.5. The question is how high is too high?  At this point there's just no way to know, and I'm going to go ahead and keep fading them until they cover.

Bottom Line

Last year the Jaguars were on pace for a historically bad season, and each week you heard touts say that there was value on them. Really? Well they didn't cover six of the first seven games. The only game they did cover in that span was when they were given +26 points (!) against the Broncos.

Fast forward to this season and it's almost like deja vu. Going into their matchup against the Colts, I heard the same thing all week, "the Jags have value at +7, etc etc".

Equally puzzling, "sharp" money pounded the Bills from PK up to -2.5 in Week 3. Why? Apparently because San Diego was due for a "letdown" after beating the Seahawks, and they were a West coast team traveling East for an early game.

Both are good examples of touts out-thinking themselves.

Now the Jags will try Blake Bortles at QB and live with the mistakes on the fly. Well, all I can say is good luck because it could get ugly. He has the misfortune of playing behind a terrible OL and a non-existent running game. Even worse, their defense is embarrassing bad. A QB like Philip Rivers should tear them apart.

If Jacksonville finish within 20 points I'll be genuinely surprised.

NFL Pick: SD -13.5.

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NFL Predictions 2014 Week 3: Lions Vs. Jets

Detroit Lions Vs. New York Jets: DET PK (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

The Westgate (LVH) look-ahead line actually had the Jets as -1.5 point favorites for this game.  After the Lions took care of the Packers, it re-opened as a pick em.  MNF will determine where this number goes after that, but I wouldn't be surprised if Detroit wind up the favorite on the closing line. I'd feel comfortable taking them at anything less than a field goal.

Bottom Line

Regardless of whether the Jets win on MNF or not, I don't like their chances against the Lions. Without good cornerbacks, New York is going to have to be creative against good passing teams. They do know how to shut down the run, but that's not how you stop Detroit.  Much like the Packers did in Week 2, I expect the Lions to attack the Jets vertically and get a lead.

And what happens when the Jets have to play from behind? They have to lean on Geno Smith. To Detroit's credit, they were able to disrupt the Packers offense with a dominant pass rush. That is a huge feat considering the liabilities they have on the back end. I don't think the Lions will get away with that every week, but New York don't have enough weapons to take advantage of aerial mismatches - especially when Smith is so inconsistent.

Finally, it doesn't look like I'll have to sweat another Nate Freese field goal attempt. He missed another one in Week 3, so he's probably gone.  A new kicker should be worth .. what? An extra 3 or 6 points in the game? I'll take it.


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NFL Predictions 2014 Week 4: Saints Vs. Cowboys

New Orleans Saints Vs. Dallas Cowboys: NO -3 (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

The Westgate (LVH) look-ahead line in this game was -3.5 for the Saints. Once Week 3 was done, it re-opened at -3.  I don't agree with this adjustment and think it should have gone even higher in favor of New Orleans. Evidently, the Cowboys are beginning to earn some market respect after posting back-to-back wins.

Bottom Line

When the Saints came to Dallas last year, they annihilated them 49-17. I don't expect the same score this time, but I do think the Cowboys defense is in for a world of hurt. Yes, they've won two games in a row on the road, but those wins came against Jake Locker and Austin Davis. It's a whole different story when we're talking about Drew Brees. New Orleans should be able to put up 30+ on this unit.

The one thing the Cowboys do have is a formidable offense. The only problem is they are designed to win a certain way. Romo is far more effective if he's throwing less and doing it on the back of a running game. That formula has worked so far, but how much will Murray be running if the Saints get a two or three score lead? I've seen Romo try to impersonate Brett Favre enough times to know how that ends. Also, even if Murray does stay involved, he's fumbled in each game this season. The Saints defense hasn't performed up to expectations yet, but it's not from injuries or a lack of talent. They should be able to slow Dallas down enough to secure this win.

NFL Pick: NO -3.

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NFL Predictions 2014 Week 4: Falcons Vs. Vikings

Atlanta Falcons Vs. Minnesota Vikings: ATL -3 (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

How much difference does a week make? Westgate (LVH) had the Vikings favored by -1.5 in the look-ahead line, but it re-opened with Atlanta -3 after Week 3 action.

There's no doubt that perceptions changed after the Falcons whooped the Bucs in front of a national audience, but the Vikings didn't do themselves any favors by failing to cover a double-digit spread either. Despite the adjustment, I think this line should be even higher than -3.

Bottom Line

Simply put, the Falcons are different team with a healthy offense. With Roddy White expected to return, Koetter can design schemes the way he wants to. This group even has the potential to be better than they were in 2012 now that they've retooled their OL. The Minny defense will be improved upon last year, but only because of Mike Zimmer. What they don't have is the talent to execute his schemes the way he wants.

On the flip side we have the debut start for Teddy Bridgewater. I like him at QB much better than Matt Cassel, but he's still a raw rookie. Without AP, the Vikes are having problems running the ball. That puts even more pressure on Bridgewater to do more than he's ready to. He's going to make some mistakes, so it's just a matter of the Falcons D taking advantage. Are they equipped to do so?  A lot will depend on the play of their young corners.  If Atlanta can continue playing with leads, Trufant and Alford should be in a position to pick off some balls since they'll be left alone in man coverage.

I like that Minnesota has decided to go with the rookie at QB, and they are a team on the rise, but it's asking a lot of them to stop Matt Ryan and company in this spot without Peterson.

NFL Pick: ATL -3.

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

NFL Predictions 2014: Week 4 Picks

Is this the "year of the dog"?  Favorites had something to say about that going 9-6 ATS in Week 3. Overall, dogs still hold the lead 25-21-1. Overs came out on top 9-7, but unders are slightly ahead 25-23 for the season.

LVH SuperContest top 5 consensus picks won big, going 5-0 ATS. They improve to 10-5 ATS through three weeks, which is the best start I've seen since I've started this blog. The Football Outsiders picks struggled for the third straight week going 7-8-1 ATS. Overall they are 18-29-1, which is a deep hole to climb out of.

All in all, this probably sums up the weekend for the sportsbooks...

With the Bears cover, I put up a winning week going 5-2 ATS. I had a feeling the Texans were in trouble after the late scratch of Arian Foster, but the big surprise was Aaron Rodgers getting held to 162 passing yards. Green Bay's defense did their part holding Detroit's offense to 10 points, but it wasn't enough to get the win or cover.

Early lines are out for Week 4, and I have a few early picks ready to go. Refresh for all the updates throughout the week.

Survivor Pick

Every option on the Week 3 poll came through, but the Raiders had thousands of survivor pool players shitting their pants.  Patriots were far and away the leader getting 45% of the vote.

Week 4: Chargers

Week 3Colts
Week 2: Packers
Week 1: Bears

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Stanley Cup Picks

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