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Thursday, November 20, 2014

NFL Predictions 2014: Week 12 Picks

The beat rolls on as Week numero 11 is just about wrapped up. After suffering their worst week of the year, sportsbooks got some back this week as underdogs put up a 10-4 ATS record. Overall favorites are up 80-77-3 on the year.

Football Outsiders have finally finished up with a winning record at 9-5 ATS. Overall they are still just 67-88-6 on the season, but we'll see if they can finish strong.

The Las Vegas SuperContest top 5 consensus picks entered the week hitting 60% ATS, and they kept it going with a 3-2 week.  Interestingly, both they and Football Outsiders were on the Patriots on Sunday night.

Who wasn't on them? According to Jay Kornegay, the sharps in Vegas were mostly on Indy, while the public were on the Patriots. That didn't work out too well for the "wiseguys". In the end, Kornegay's pros went 1-5 ATS (24-35-1 YTD), while the joes went 3-3 ATS (34-31-2 YTD).

I had a good week going 3-1 ATS and 2-1 on teasers. The only pick that went wrong was the Lions. I could make a legitimate stink about the punt return that got called back, but those things usually even out by the end of the year so I'm moving on.

Week 12 lines are up and you can see how perceptions have changed from the look-ahead lines that were up last week. My picks for Week 12 action will be up over the next few days so refresh this post for updates.


Survivor Pick

There were 9 options on the poll for Week 11 and it was pretty much a massacre. The Saints lost as touchdown favorites at home, the Broncos laid an egg in St. Louis, and the Redskins lost to a one-win Bucs team. Denver and Washington were the top two picks of the week combining for 44% of the vote.

Week 12: pending

Week 11: Steelers
Week 10: Ravens
Week 9: Bengals
Week 8: Cowboys
Week 7: Patriots
Week 6: Broncos
Week 5: Saints
Week 4: Chargers
Week 3Colts
Week 2: Packers
Week 1: Bears

NFL Betting Preview 2014 Week 12: Cowboys Vs Giants

Dallas Cowboys Vs. New York Giants: Over 47.5 (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

Despite another loss and non-cover in Week 11, the Giants earned a bit of respect for their prime-time matchup with the Cowboys this week. In the look-ahead line, Dallas was -4, but it reopened at -3 with juice after Sunday.

Fair adjustment?  I'd say so. I thought the line was too inflated the first time these teams met this year, and it's no secret where the majority of bets will go in this one.  So far, 3 out of every 4 bets are on Dallas.

Bottom Line

It's cliche` to say "throw the records out" when these two play, but once you look at the underlying numbers, it's more than appropriate for this matchup.

Despite what the standings say, not much separates these teams. The Cowboys have an edge on the Giants defense, especially on the ground, but the Gmen have been better inside the 20 on both sides of the ball.

Beyond that, everything else pretty much comes out even, including metrics like third down, special teams, and passing.  The one problem Dallas continue to struggle with is rushing the passer, which leaves a window of opportunity open for Eli Manning.

I expect that this line will eventually move to -3.5, which would provide value on New York, but instead, I'm going to ride the trend and take a shot with the "over".  Overs are now 26-8 in prime-time games, and I see no reason why this should be a defensive battle.

NFL Pick: Over 47.5.

Read moreWeek 12 picks.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 12: Packers Vs Vikings

Green Bay Packers Vs. Minnesota Vikings: GB -9 (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

It was nice to watch the Packers whip up on the Eagles for an easy cover, but the downside of that was a significant line move for this week. Green Bay was only favored by -7 in the look-ahead line for this game, but it reopened at -10 after the weekend. We've seen it dip down under that number since then, but I think it's more likely to go back up than come down much further. Thus far, 87% of all bets are on the Pack.

Bottom Line

I qualify these types of picks everytime by saying it's not too often that I pick such a big favorite, especially on the road.

At the same time, one could make the argument that the Packers are the best team in football right now. The main reason is that there doesn't appear to be any coherent way to slow down Aaron Rodgers at the moment. Ever since he told people to R-E-L-A-X, he's been virtually unstoppable.

The Vikings have a decent pass rush, but is that the answer? Can it make up for how atrocious they've been inside their red zone?  As a whole the defense isn't setup to stop the run or the pass with any consistency. The scheme is good, but they don't have the personnel to implement it yet.

When Minnesota have the ball, will they be able to put up enough points to keep up?  By the numbers, their offense is one of the worst in the NFL, and those numbers get worse when they are forced to become one-dimensional. Yes, the Packers defense isn't great, but they are clearly a lot better when they can play downhill every game.

Until I see someone stop this Packers offense, I won't hesitate to keep rollin' with them. I expect another double digit victory this Sunday.

NFL Pick: GB -9.

Read moreWeek 12 picks.

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 12: Lions Vs. Patriots

Detroit Lions Vs. New England Patriots: DET +7.5 (Bovada)

Market Watch

The advanced line had this game at -6.5, and it reopened at that number after Detroit lost in Arizona, but when the Patriots whipped up on Indy, it moved to -7. If you like the dog like I do, there are +7.5's available if you have sportsbook options. Though it might make a full move there anyways since a massive 91% of the bets are on the Patriots so far.


Bottom Line

Before I say anything about this game, full disclosure up front - I don't have a good track record when it comes to Patriots games. They've always been one of the most difficult teams to handicap because they outperform their stats on such a consistent basis.  One could easily lay the -7 on the Patriots and I wouldn't say they were wrong, but there's no question that it's an inflated number based on the matchup data.

In reality, I think this line should be somewhere around -4.5 (if that). The primary reason is I expect the Lions defense to keep them in this one. Even though they lost in Arizona, their defense locked things down after getting beat early. Yes, Tom Brady isn't Drew Stanton, but Arizona isn't an easy place to win games either.

Detroit matchup well with pretty much anyone because they are solid against the pass and the run. They consistently disrupt drives and know how to get off the field on third down.

On the flip side, the Patriots defense hasn't improved to a top 10 unit yet. Perhaps they don't need to be to win games, but it should give the Lions offense a better chance to move the ball and put up points.

Is there a chance the New England keep rolling and finish with a double-digit win?  Sure.

Is there a better chance that a game featuring two top 10 DVOA teams stays within one score? I'm willing to say yes.

And even if the Lions are down two scores in the 4th quarter, I like their odds for a backdoor cover now that Megatron is finally healthy.

It won't be a popular pick this week, but I'm willing to roll the dice.

NFL Pick: DET +7.5.

Read moreWeek 12 picks.

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 12: Browns Vs. Falcons

Cleveland Browns Vs. Atlanta Falcons: ATL -3 (-120) (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

Are people sold on the Falcons?  Sportsbooks didn't take any chances because they reopened this game at -3 with juice after Week 11, and that's where it still is today. In the advanced line last week it was only -1.5. So far 61% of the bets are on Atlanta.




Bottom Line

I don't think very much of Atlanta at all, but here I am taking them for a second week in a row. Why?

Their defense is still bad, they make head-scratching decisions in the 4th quarter, and they remain a terrible team on third down.

Like I wrote last week, there is still hope for this team. Strangely, they sit atop the division with a losing record, and have a chance to retain that with a beatable Browns team coming to town. Matt Ryan also keeps them in most games with the passing game.

The primary reason why I think this pick cashes though is because of the Browns. Nobody can tell me what they excel at, and they've been the benefactor of a healthy turnover differential this season. I think the only thing they can hang their hat on is their defense doesn't fold in crunch time, but is that going to be enough? Josh Gordon returns, but how impactful will he be after missing so much time?

We are also past the halfway mark of the season and the Falcons have only played three games in the dome (2-1).  It's possible that we could see an uptick in their rankings once that home-road split evens out, especially given how much they have to play for.

This is one of those hold-your-breath picks, but I think it could be the right time to get on the Falcons, and we get them at a good price, too. This line should probably be -3.5, and I won't be surprised if it moves there at some point before Sunday.

NFL Pick: ATL -3.

Read moreWeek 12 picks.

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 12: Teasers [update #2]

The best options for teasers are games that either bring a favorite down under -3, or brings a dog up over a touchdown. Ideally, you want to be crossing both the key numbers of 3 & 7 to maximize your value.

Depending line movement, I may add another before Sunday.

Chiefs -1 & Seahawks -0.5

Chiefs -1 & Broncos -1

Adding

Seahawks -1 & Broncos -1

Seahawks -1 & Packers -2.5