Friday, October 31, 2014

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 9: Ravens Vs. Steelers

Baltimore Ravens Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: BAL PK (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

In Week 8 I was on the Colts -3 and felt really good about it. I clearly wasn't the only one because money poured in on them all week up until kickoff, and the line finally closed at -4.5. That line move wasn't just an endorsement of Indy, but it was just as much a disrespectful fade of the Steelers.

So now that Big Ben put up one of the best games in recent memory, has the general consensus shifted on Pittsburgh?

Not if you look at the early line movement for Week 9. In the look-ahead the Steelers were listed as -1 point favorites for this matchup. After Week 8 action it reopened at -1.5. Within 24 hours it has been bet down to a 'pick em'.  This, despite 57% of the bets that are coming in on the home team.

Bottom Line

I need to see more out of Pittsburgh before I change my mind about them, but they should be more competitive in this game than they were when the two met earlier this season. It also helps a lot that Jimmy Smith will be out for this game. As good as the Ravens defense has been, they've given up a lot of big plays in the air. At the same time, Big Ben is 0 for 7 on passes that have gone 40+ yards this year. You have to think that something has to give in that area one way or another.

On the flip side, it's not all sunshine and rainbows for Pittsburgh's defense despite their big win. It was nice of their offense to carry the day, but they had to put up an enormous amount of points to secure the win. They still put a defense on the field that is poor against the pass and equally bad sacking the quarterback. That's a terrible combination if you hope to win on a consistent basis in this league.

My primary concern with Baltimore is still Joe Flacco. Can he take advantage of the mismatches in this one? He's been more good than bad this year, but you never really know what you're going to get from him in any given game.

That said, at the end of the day, this Ravens team is still the more well-rounded of the two, and there's no reason to believe they can't walk away from this game with a win. I wouldn't blame anyone for taking a pass on this one, but I'm rolling with what I've seen all year instead of what I saw last week.

NFL Pick: BAL PK.

Read moreWeek 9 picks.

NFL Predictions 2014: Week 9 Picks

Week 8 is wrapped up and favorites led the way so far going 8-7 ATS. They now go up 61-57-2 on the season.

It sounds like a broken record, but Football Outsiders still hasn't turned things around as they go 7-8 ATS, and now sit 49-67-5 on the year.

The Las Vegas SuperContest top 5 consensus picks went 3-2, and have a pretty good record on the year at 23-17.

Joe Fornegay's "pros" went 2-4 ATS (18-25-1 YTD), and the "joes" finished 3-5 (26-24-2 YTD).  It was a similiar story for Todd Furhman's "pros" as they finished 3-4 ATS (24-23-2 YTD), and the "joes" went 2-2 ATS (19-19-2 YTD).

I didn't escape the weekend either, finishing up a putrid 1-4 ATS. Detroit didn't get to London until halftime, Flacco is who I thought he was, Big Ben had a career day, and Rodgers' pulled a hamstring. All I can do is wave the white flag because I felt good about all of those picks.

We are officially at the midway point and Week 9 lines are up. There are very few secrets heading into these games now. We know what the numbers say, what the situations are, and what teams the books will inflate. The second half of the season should be a time where the stat guys and sharps pull away from the pack, but we'll see if it plays out that way this year.

Check back throughout the week for updates.

Survivor Pick

Of the seven options in poll last week, six of them came out with a win. The only one to lose? Yep, the most popular pick of the week, the Cowboys. An NFC East upset rarely surprises me, but I didn't see a Colt McCoy victory comin' in that spot...

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 Predictions 2014 Week 9: Broncos Vs. Patriots

Denver Broncos Vs. New England Patriots: DEN -3 (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

There's not much to report for this spread. It was -3 in the look-ahead line, it reopened at the same number after Week 8, and it still sits there now as I'm writing this. In my opinion, I think this line needs to be -3.5 or higher, but given how big this game is I'm not surprised it's at the current number. Betting is pretty much split with 53% of the early wagers coming in on Denver.

Bottom Line

This is clearly the biggest matchup of the week, and there is going to be more analysis and talk about it than I care to get into here.  The primary reason why I like the Broncos is the same thing I've been repeating all year - their defense.

Peyton Manning gets all the headlines, but their defense really needs to get more attention. They have several key players back from injury that they didn't have in the Super Bowl, and they added some quality pieces as well. When you throw in the fact that they usually get to play with a lead, there's plenty of reasons to declare this team as the best in football - and by a fair margin.

This unit ranks in the top 10 versus the run, the pass, in adjusted sack rate, disrupted drive success, and the red zone. That's a much different animal that Tom Brady will be facing compared to the woeful Bears defense.

Do I think this game has the potential to be close? Sure. The Patriots are playing a lot better now than they were earlier in the year. The better question is whether or not it will be enough.

I doubt it.

And this is also a game in which the Chandler Jones injury should be a factor, too. It didn't really matter last week against the Bears, but a glaring weakness is something Peyton knows how to exploit.

NFL Pick: DEN -3.

Read more: Week 9 picks.

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 9: Chargers Vs. Dolphins

San Diego Chargers Vs. Miami Dolphins: SD +2.5 (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

This is an interesting point spread. Last week this game was listed as a "pick em" in the Westgate look-ahead. When it reopened it had moved to -2.5 in favor of Miami. Why? I have no earthly idea, but I think they had it right the first time. If anything, the Chargers should be favored between these two, and I won't be shocked if we see a line move in that direction on the weekend. A massive 81% of the bets are on San Diego as well.

Bottom Line

I like the Chargers this week for a numbers of reasons.

1) I've been high on them since Week 1, so I clearly believe in this team to keep up their winning ways (unless they play the Broncos).

2) Their tall wide receivers have a nice matchup against the Dolphins shorter cornerbacks.

3) Miami's home field advantage is always worth a bit less than your average home team.

4) Philip Rivers has continued to be clutch this year - especially backed up by their impressive third down conversion % and drive success rate stats.

5) Miami's completely average offense has no clear advantage over San Diego's improved unit - that also happens to have Flowers and Freeney "probable" to play.

At +2.5, I normally recommend to just take the dog on the ML, but for the purposes of this blog I stick to spread picks. What I absolutely do not recommend is paying full price to buy the +3. It's not fun being stuck with +2.5, but SportsInsights has some good numbers on this dilemma, and it's already 2.5 more points than we should be getting.

NFL Pick: SD +2.5.

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 9: Cardinals Vs. Cowboys

Arizona Cardinals Vs. Dallas Cowboys: ARI +3.5 (-115) (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

Despite all the injuries that occurred in the Cowboys Week 8 game, there hasn't been much movement in this line. In the look-ahead Dallas was favored by -3.5. When it got put back on the board today it was at -3.25. You have the option of grabbing the home team at -3 for -115, or the dog at +3.5 for the same price. The line hasn't been out long, but 80% of the tickets are coming in on the Cards.

Bottom Line

Simply put, this is a bad matchup for the Dallas offense. Romo hasn't practiced all week, but I'm expecting him to play. Even if he does, I don't like their chances of having a lot of success against this Cardinals defense.

For one thing, the Dallas offensive efficiency ratings drop considerably when they face five or more rushers. The sacks go up and the drive success goes down. The Cowboys have also thrived all year when controlling the ball with their ground game. These are exactly the two things that Arizona do well - blitz the QB and stop the run. So if I was a Cowboys fan, I wouldn't be too excited about putting this game in the hands of a banged up Romo or mediocre Weeden.

On the flip side, yes, Arizona's offense isn't going to scare anybody. They don't dominate teams or excel in any one particular area. They are bad running the ball and below average converting drives into TDs. The good news is Dallas still can't get to the quarterback up front. Since Arians likes the deep ball so much, it's a good opportunity for Palmer to bide time and find those big plays down the field. They might not light it up on Sunday, but their offense should be able to make some things happen - especially with Durant out for this matchup.

Overall, I think Arizona have a really good chance to win this game straight up and I'm a little surprised we have the option of getting the field goal + the hook in this spot. I'd even like it at +3, but at +3.5 it's a no-brainer.

NFL Pick: ARI +3.5.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 9: Saints Vs. Panthers

New Orleans Saints Vs. Carolina Panthers: NO -2.5 (-115) (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

An interesting question we have to ask ourselves each week is whether or not the line adjustments are legitimate or a simple overreaction to what we saw on the weekend. This game might be the perfect example of that because the Panthers were -1.5 point favorites in the look-ahead line, reopened at "pick em" on Sunday night, and promptly moved to -2.5 in favor of the Saints soon after. With 78% of the early bets coming in on New Orleans, there's a good chance this line is headed for -3.

Bottom Line

Both of these teams have confused the hell out of bettors all season long. The Panthers were supposed to regress heavily this year, but started out the year strong. After a few games though, they steadily declined to where most people expected. The opposite is true of the Saints. Some even had them winning the Super Bowl, but their defense has been a mess and the offense wasn't clicking. With the big win over the Packers, have they begun to turn it around?

It's a tough question to answer with any certainty. For whatever reason Drew Brees raises his game in the Superdome when the bright lights are on (40TD, 3 INT last 11 home prime-time games). There's also the familiar storyline that Brees is comparatively bad on the road. I've been guilty of this assumption in the past too, but Bill Barnwell wrote a good article on the subject last January. Essentially, there's no real indication that Brees is abnormally worse on the road.

So what do we have with this specific matchup on Thursday night? Well the Saints defense ranks near the bottom of the league in passing, third down, and the red zone. These are big red flags, but guess what? The Panthers defense is equally poor in all of the same categories. Performance-wise, there's not much separating these two units.

That leaves us with the offenses ... and even if Brees isn't as good as he was last week, it's safe to say that he's more than capable of outscoring Carolina's offense. Despite their struggles this year, they rank near the top in run efficiency, third down conversions, and drive success rates. Carolina don't rank in the top 10 in any offensive category this year.

I'll roll with the Saints at -2.5. Once it hits -3 you're stuck with lost value, but it's also not the worst bet either. In reality, this line should probably be -3.5.

NFL Pick: NO -2.5.

Read moreWeek 9 picks.

Monday, October 27, 2014

NFL Betting Preview 2014 Week 8: Redskins Vs. Cowboys

Washington Redskins Vs. Dallas Cowboys

Market Watch

Last week in the look-ahead line Vegas had this number at -8. After Week 7 games it reopened at -7.5, but that was clearly too low because it got steamed all the way up to -10 by the end of the day. You'd think a double digit spread would be enough to attract some interest on the other side, but 73% of the bets are on the Cowboys.





Bottom Line

What can I say about the Dallas Cowboys?  They're back in everybody's good graces this year and they're coming off a straight up win in Seattle and a ten point win over the Giants.

Romo's efficiency ranking is in the top 10, there isn't a better offense on third down, and their run game is steamrolling opposing defenses. Their own defense has improved to a middle of the pack unit and they are finding ways to disrupt drives at a surprising high rate. The only glaring weakness on paper is their pass rush, which sits in the bottom third of the league.

Can the Redskins do anything to cover this spread?

Their prospects don't look good. They've only covered two games all year and they are winless on the road in three contests. There are two categories that they rate high in - run defense and red zone defense. Everything else is mediocre or bad. Washington can't stop good passing teams, they do a poor job converting third downs, their special teams is still a disaster, and they have one of the worst turnover differentials in the NFL.

I can't find a good reason to back the Redskins, even with a 10 point spread. I'd consider making a play on the Cowboys, but I'm not a fan of laying double digit chalk either - especially in an NFC East divisional game. Therefore, it's a pass for me.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

NFL Predictions 2014: Week 8 Picks

Peyton Manning put on a record setting show as Week 7 is in the books. Underdogs came out on top for the first time since Week 2, going 8-7 ATS. For the year, favorites have a slight lead 53-50-2.

Around town, Football Outsiders continued to lose going 7-8 ATS, now 41-60-1 on the season. Las Vegas SuperContest top 5 consensus picks went 3-2 ATS, improving to 20-15 on the year.

Last week I tweeted out the season records from "Pros & Joes" according to Jay Fornegay and Todd Furhman. Each week they say who the "sharps" like and who the "public" are backing. Through 8 weeks the reports from Fuhrman are: pros 21-19-2, joes 17-17-2.  Fornegay: pros 16-21-1, joes: 23-19-2.

Take these with a big grain of salt though. We already know who the public like thanks to services like Sports Insights, and we know where the sharp money is going by monitoring opening/closing line movement. I also don't think there is a big gap between these groups anymore, but that's a rant for another day.

My picks were a mixed bag. ATS I went 1-3, but they were a lot closer than the record suggests. The Andy Reid post-bye streak rolled on as KC were fully deserving of that win and cover.  I expected a close affair between the Saints/Lions, but wound up on the wrong side of it. Finally, the Giants couldn't stay within a TD of the Cowboys as Dallas kicked a late insurance FG to seal the deal. On the bright side, both teasers cashed fairly easily as the Packers, Ravens, and Broncos won huge. Sometimes I think I should just play every teaser team ATS too.

We're almost at the midway point of the season, and opening Week 8 lines are already up. Check back throughout the week for all the updates.

Survivor Pick

The three main picks receiving votes in Week 7 were the Patriots, Seahawks, and "Other", which I assume meant the Cowboys. If you hitched your wagon to Seattle, my condolences. It looked like they were going to pull it out, but a brave fake punt and iffy call by the ref did them in.

Week 8: Cowboys

Week 7: Patriots
Week 6: Broncos
Week 5: Saints
Week 4: Chargers
Week 3Colts
Week 2: Packers
Week 1: Bears

Friday, October 24, 2014

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 8: Packers Vs. Saints

Green Bay Packers Vs. New Orleans Saints: GB +1.5 (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

Talk about a curious point spread. A week ago in the advanced line at Westgate, this game was listed at a 'pick em'. The Saints blew a two score lead in Detroit, while the Packers blew out the Panthers. For some reason the line reopened at Saints -1.5 on Sunday night. This isn't a significant line move, but it doesn't make any sense either. Obviously, we are seeing 4 out of every 5 tickets being printed on Green Bay.

Bottom Line

Part of the reason why the Saints are still favored in this game is thanks to their amazing ATS record at home. Before the Bucs game, they had covered all of them going back to 2010 (if memory serves). That's quite impressive given how much they are inflated on the spread. Usually I'd have a lot of respect for that and either play them or pass, but I can't look beyond the mismatches on paper.

What are those mismatches? Well clearly Rodgers is on fire. A really good passing game is only getting better as they rank near the top in most offensive categories, including red zone offense. The Saints rank near the bottom in these areas, and they're trending downwards in red zone defense.

The matchup on the other side of the ball is a bit more of a mixed bag. The Packers pass defense is actually pretty good statistically, which doesn't quite match what we are seeing with our eyes, but this unit isn't as bad as people think. These two are also going in opposite directions on third down. For whatever reason the Saints offense is still not hitting on all cylinders, and the big problem that stands out is their turnover margin, which ranks near the bottom of the NFL (Green Bay are near the top in this category).

I'll ride the Packers train until I see a reason not to.

NFL Pick: GB +1.5.

Read moreWeek 8 picks.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 8: Ravens Vs. Bengals

Baltimore Ravens Vs Cincinnati Bengals: BAL -1 (Pinnacle

Market Watch

What a difference a week makes. The Ravens were +3.5 point dogs before Week 7 action. Once the dust settled over the weekend, this line reopened at -2.5, and quickly got bet down to -1.5. Since then it's been nothing but Ravens money. In fact, it just crossed over 0 and we are now seeing the Bengals as +1 point dogs. 68% of the bets agree with the line move.


Bottom Line

It wasn't that long ago that I would've looked at you sideways if you said you wanted to fade the Bengals at home. Before the Panthers game they had covered every regular season home spread going back to the start of last year.  It was an under-the-radar home field edge, but I'm not so sure it will matter much this week.

The biggest surprise for me is the deficiencies on this Bengals defense. The only category they rank in the top 10 in is pass defense. That's a good component to have in today's NFL, but they are surprisingly average everywhere else, and flat out bad with their drive success rate. That's not good considering how well the Baltimore offense is playing. I've never been a fan of Flacco, but there's no denying how well he's playing. On top of that, he's getting really good protection up front.

Can the Cincy offense do enough to keep up? I don't think so. I don't think AJ Green will play, and even if he does how effective will he be? Just as concerning is the status of Bernard. Without these guys healthy, it's no wonder that they've had a poor drive success rate this season, and Dalton isn't coming up with big plays on third down. This week they'll have the pleasure of going up against a defense that is equally good against the run and the pass, and near the top in red zone stops.

Despite the line move, I'm fine playing this side at the current number. It hasn't crossed through any key numbers, so I'm simply counting on the Ravens to win the game. Given the mismatches, I expect that to happen.

NFL Pick: BAL -1.

Read moreWeek 8 picks.

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 8: Bills Vs. Jets

Buffalo Bills Vs. New York Jets: BUF +3 (-115) (Bovada)

Market Watch

In last week's look-ahead line this was a 'pick em' game. It reopened at -2.5 after Week 7, and now we're seeing a move to -3.  Someone needs to explain this to me because I don't get it. It also looks like I'm in the minority as 59% of the bets are on the J-E-T-S.


Bottom Line

When the Seattle Seahawks first acquired Percy Harvin, there were some fantastic articles written about how he could enhance their offense. A lot of it consisted of the variety you could employ with a Wilson and Lynch in the backfield. The Jets have no such weapons, so I don't expect him to be a savior for New York.

Will he improve it? Of course. This offense was without any legitimate threat all season. Decker provided an option, but not enough to scare anybody. Geno Smith is playing as bad as anyone at the position, and they sit near the bottom of every meaningful offensive category - including turnovers.

Defense to the rescue? Not so far. They can shut down the run, but they curiously rank really low on third down and inside their own 20. I guess that isn't all that surprising when they can't stop anybody in the air.

This pick isn't a big endorsement of the Bills either, but I trust them with Orton at QB much more than Manuel. Their defense should be able to slow down the Jets offense enough to win this game outright, so I'm more than happy to take the points, too.

NFL Pick: BUF +3.

Read moreWeek 8 picks.

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 8: Colts Vs. Steelers

Indianapolis Colts Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: IND -3 (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

Before Week 7 the Colts were -1.5 point favorites for this game. After they beat up on the Bengals it reopened at -2.5. Even a Steelers win in prime-time could do nothing to slow down the money on Indy. It was promptly moved to -2.75, and we've now seen a full move to -3. I don't think anyone with eyes trust Pittsburgh right now, and a massive 89% of the bets are on the road team here.


Bottom Line

It's not just the eye test though. The numbers mirror exactly what we are seeing in Steelers games. The OL is flat out bad and they can't score once they get inside the 20. The pass defense can't stop anybody on the other side of the ball, and they can't get to the QB up front.

It couldn't be any different for Indy. Andrew Luck is firmly establishing himself among the elite at the position and he's finally getting good protection from his OL. On defense, they actually rank near the top against the pass, they are finding ways to pressure the QB, and they have one of the better drive success rates in the NFL. Who would've thought this was possible a month ago? Not me.

If that wasn't enough, the Colts also have one of the better average starting field positions, and special teams rankings, too.

I'm not saying that Indy will walk away with a double-digit road win, but the possibility is very real. This game has mismatch written all over it.

NFL Pick: IND -3.

Read moreWeek 8 picks.

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 8: Lions Vs. Falcons

Detroit Lions Vs. Atlanta Falcons: DET -3.5 (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

The look-ahead line had this game at -3.5, but it reopened at the same number once Week 7 action was done. Is there a chance that this goes down to -3?  I'd be surprised. I think this line should be higher, so I'm comfortable laying the hook. So far, about  55% of the action is on the Lions.



Bottom Line

The biggest stat that jumps out at us for this game is the horrendous 0-4 road record for the Falcons. Technically this one is being played in England, but I still consider it a road game for Atlanta.

On the field, things don't look to get much better for the Falcons. Of the 12 statistical categories I look at, they only rank in the top 10 in two of them - red zone offense (but trending down), and special teams. The Lions are not only good in their red zone defense, but they are trending even higher in the last few games.

And let's get real, the only chance Atlanta have this year is if their offense can win them games. That's bad news this week because they face the best statistical defense in the league. Detroit are tops vs the run and pass, drive success rate, and are near the top on third down and in the red zone. Add in all the OL woes for the Falcons, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Things aren't all roses and rainbows for the Lions on the other side of the ball. Stafford is playing like an average QB, the OL is worse than last year, and they can't run the ball. Take comfort though because the Falcons are abysmal on defense. It doesn't matter which category we look at, they are near the bottom of the barrel.

NFL Pick: DET -3.5.

Read moreWeek 8 picks.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

NFL Betting Preview 2014 Week 8: Chargers Vs. Broncos

San Diego Chargers Vs. Denver Broncos

Market Watch

This is one of the more interesting point spreads on the board for Week 8. In the advanced line at
Westgate, the Broncos were -6.5 point favorites. After Week 7 action it reopened at -7, and it's been promptly bet off that key number. It currently sits at -7.5, but there are also -8's out there too. I think this line is pretty accurate. To no one's surprise, 61% of the early tickets are on the home team.

Bottom Line

I had this game circled a few weeks ago with the intentions of making a play on the Chargers. Everything about them indicated they were a strong AFC darkhorse contender.

Is that still the case? Well, that depends. Now that we have more numbers to look at, there are some red flags to know about if you like San Diego in this spot.

First, the good news though. The offense is just about as good as they look to the eye test. Rivers is playing at an MVP level, they don't give up a lot of sacks, and their drive success rate ranks near the top. They also have one of the better average starting field positions. The bad news is they can't run the ball, which could be a problem against this Denver team. They are also just average converting their drives into touchdowns. Not good.

There's worse news on the defensive side. Yes, they are much improved from last year, and that's good when you go up against anyone not named the Broncos, but they are failing to come up with big plays in the make or break situations. When your defense struggles on third down and inside the red zone, Peyton Manning is primed for a big day.

The question we have to ask ourselves is whether we think Rivers can keep up with Peyton. I'd like to say yes, but the reality is this Denver defense is ranked pretty high in all the important categories.

The Chargers were able to defeat the Broncos last year, but given the improvements that Denver have made on D, I'd be surprised if that happens again. The only play I'd consider here is Denver -7, which is already gone. The other option is to put them in a teaser.

Read more: Week 8 picks.

Monday, October 20, 2014

NFL Betting Preview 2014 Week 7: Texans Vs. Steelers

Houston Texans Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Market Watch

This line was -4 in the Westgate look-ahead line and reopened at the same number after the Week 6 games. It was bet down to -3.5, and it stayed here until Friday. We've since seen it bet down to the key number of -3.  What should we make of this? The fact that the hook was available for most of the week should tell you something. There was some value on the Texans, but sharp money wasn't exactly keen to get on it earlier in the week. Overall, betting is appropriately split down the middle as 51% of the tickets are on the Texans.

Bottom Line

When we look at this matchup on paper, only a couple things jump off the page. Both teams have offenses that rank between average and bad in most of the critical categories, but the Steelers OL ranks 27th in adjusted sack rate. That's not good news when your opponent happens to have JJ Watt. Another problem for Pittsburgh is their red zone efficiency ranks dead last in the entire league. The Houston defense? They are 4th best at keeping teams out of their end zone.

On the flip side, the Steelers defense doesn't have a lot to hang their hat on either, but there are signs that they could be a bend-but-don't-break unit. They rank 22nd against the pass, 19th against the run, and 25th in sacks, but they are 5th best at getting off the field on third down and 11th inside their own 20.

Is the Houston offense good enough to take advantage? There isn't much to suggest they can. They are below average in every category on that side of the ball.

All in all I think the only side to consider here is the Texans, but the best numbers are already long gone. You could say that there is still value at +3 and I wouldn't put up much of an argument. The true line should probably be -2.5 since the Texans appear to be the slightly better team. On top of that, the Steelers are 0-2 ATS at home so far and haven't instilled much confidence in anyone backing them this year.

That said, I wouldn't feel comfortable with +3 knowing that I could have had the hook just a few days ago. Ultimately, I'm taking a pass.

Read more: Week 8 picks.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 7: Teasers

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.

Packers -0.5 & Ravens -0.5

Packers -0.5 & Broncos -1

Friday, October 17, 2014

NFL Predictions 2014: Week 7 Picks

Week 6 is in the books and favorites came out on top 8-6, and it's the fourth consecutive week that
favorites have covered the majority of the games. They lead 46-42-2 on the year. It was a big week for overs going 10-5, and they increase the lead 50-41 on the season. These are trends that don't bode well for the books, but we'll see how long it can continue...

The Las Vegas SuperContest consensus picks went 2-3, and now sit 17-13 on the year. Football Outsiders said they expected their picks to win from here on out, but they went 6-9 this week. Their total is now 34-54-3.

My picks were a complete crapshoot this week. They easily could have gone undefeated, and they also could have gone winless. When the dust settled I was 1-2-1 ATS.

The Jags finally covered a game, but it took an ugly backdoor cover to do so. On the flip side, the Broncos came away with a really lucky cover in a game that should have been put out of reach long before that. The Packers pulled out a last second push, but they did cover the closing line as gameday money came in on the Fins. You also cashed your ticket if you grabbed Miami +3.5 earlier in the week. Not a good result for the books. Derek Carr came up with a really nice performance and halted the Chargers ATS covering streak. Finally, Seattle blew up survivor pools and teasers everywhere with their meek showing against the Cowboys. That was one impressive win for Dallas. I still have no idea how that defense is performing so well.

Opening lines for Week 7 are out. Refresh this post throughout the week for updates.

The NHL also got underway this week, so if you want some easy money you can tail along on my hockey blog. It continues to be a gold rush of profit.

Survivor Pick

Every option in the poll came through with a win last week, with the exception of the Seahawks and the Bengals. Both looked like equally painful losses. The 49ers were another popular choice, and we'll see if they make do on MNF. Could be dicey.

Week 7: Patriots

Week 6: Broncos
Week 5: Saints
Week 4: Chargers
Week 3Colts
Week 2: Packers
Week 1: Bears

Thursday, October 16, 2014

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 7: Giants Vs. Cowboys

New York Giants Vs. Dallas Cowboys: NYG +7 (Bovada)

Market Watch

Want to know what a line adjustment looks like? Look no further than this game. Last week the Cowboys were only favored by -3.5 in the look-ahead line at Westgate. After the Giants lost to the Eagles in prime-time, and the Cowboys beat Seattle IN Seattle, we saw a big shift in perception. The line reopened at -4.5, and it's been promptly bet all the way up to -7 at some books. The consensus line sits at -6.5, but you can get the full TD if you have options. 73% of the tickets are supporting Dallas.


Bottom Line

Yes the Cowboys have the best rushing attack in the NFL and their defense is playing way better than common sense would dictate, but they have their share of flaws too.

First of all their OL is average in pass protection. The Giants front seven aren't anything special, but they aren't bad either. The Gmen also match up quite well in two other particular categories here. The Cowboys rank 1st in third down conversions, and 12th in red zone scoring efficiency. The Giants rank 3rd in third down situations and 5th in red zone defense.

And while the Dallas D is much improved from a year ago, they still rank near the middle of the pack in most categories, and 30th in adjusted sack rate. If Eli needs time to move the ball, he should have it in this game.

For me, this line move is too much of an overreaction from last week. Will the Giants win this game? The odds are against it, but they should be able to stay competitive into the fourth quarter. I also like the option of a backdoor cover in this spot.

NFL Pick: NYG +7.

Read moreWeek 7 picks.

NFL Betting Preview 2014 Week 7: 49ers Vs. Broncos

San Francisco 49ers Vs. Denver Broncos

Market Watch

Before Week 6 action, Westgate had this at -6 in the advanced line. It reopened at -7 after the Broncos win (and cover) on Sunday, and but it was moved to -6.5 after the 49ers win on MNF. It's bounced around in this range ever since, and 59% of the tickets are on the Broncos.






Bottom Line

Through six weeks the 49ers haven't had much trouble moving the ball. They rank near the top in 3rd down conversions, and they sit around the middle of the pack in most of the important categories. The main issue has been the red zone. Once inside the 20, execution has gone way down. This is not only a problem going up against Peyton Manning on the road, but the Denver D ranks in the top 10 in almost every measured category.

On the flip side, there are some significant red flags to know about if you want to back the 'Niners. They look good against the pass in the yards category, but they rank bottom 10 in adjusted sack rate, getting off the field on third down, and inside their own red zone.

Not exactly a template you want to have when facing one of the top offenses in the NFL. Making matters worse is the injury to Patrick Willis. They were already without Bowman, so now Peyton will have more than enough options to exploit this unit.

I'm not getting involved in this game, but there's a good chance I add Denver in a teaser this week. They are the only side I would consider given how they matchup.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 7: Chiefs Vs. Chargers

Kansas City Chiefs Vs. San Diego Chargers: SD -4 (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

This line is a true head-scratcher. In the look-ahead, Westgate had this at Chargers -5. When it reopened it went up to -5.5. Since then it's been bet down to -4.

Why? I didn't downgrade the Chargers one bit after their first non-cover last week vs the Raiders. Teams can't possibly cover every game, and Derek Carr deserves full marks for his performance on Sunday. I think this line move provides some value on one of the best teams in the league. Betting is split right down the middle 50-50.

Bottom Line

Both of these teams probably qualify as surprises through six weeks. Everybody had written off the Chiefs after Week 1 (including me), but they've remained resilient and put together some strong performances ever since. Their offense is ranked slightly above average, with impressive ratings in both red zone offense and third down conversions.

Conversely, the Chargers defense has improved to a middle of the pack unit, but their one big weakness has been inside their own 20, where they rank dead last. Despite that, I don't see this side of the ball as a significant mismatch in favor of the Chiefs. And if they fall behind, Alex Smith will need to get out of his comfort zone and force the issue. Don't be surprised if Brandon Flowers comes up with a big game here. He was unceremoniously cut by KC and he's had a really great start to the year.

The big problem for the Chiefs will be figuring out how to slow down Philip Rivers. Granted, most teams face that issue, but San Diego's passing game really is on another level this year. They rank first in the league in the air, and have maintained their abnormally high third down conversion percentage from a year ago. When this team needs a play, they've been able to deliver all year.

I'll keep riding the Chargers as long as I'm getting appealing lines like this one.

NFL Pick: SD -4.

Read moreWeek 7 picks.

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 7: Saints Vs. Lions

New Orleans Saints Vs. Detroit Lions: DET -2.5 (-115) (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

The advanced line last week had the Lions favored by -1.5. When it reopened after Week 7, it came out at -2.5. That's not a significant move, but the Lions are getting some respect in the markets. There is some juice attached to that number, and square shops have already moved to the key number of -3. It will likely bounce back and forth up until kickoff.  So far 62% of the bets are on the Saints.



Bottom Line

It's entirely possible that New Orleans comes out of their bye week and look like a completely different team. They have the talent on D to be pretty good, but for whatever reason they've been terrible early in the year. They rank dead last in DVOA, 29th in adjusted sacks, 29th in red zone D, and 23rd on third down. Granted, the Lions offense isn't anything to write home about without Megatron, but they won't have to be if their defense continues playing like it has.

What I really like about this matchup is the fact that Jimmy Graham is out. With Sproles gone, and Graham on the sidelines, this offense will have a lot more trouble dictating terms on this side of the ball. Drew Brees is amazing, but he's hit and miss when it comes to road games. Detroit's D rank 1st in DVOA and have a killer front with the likes of Ansah, Suh, and Fairley.

If I had one reservation about this pick, it would be with the Detroit kicking game. It's become laughable at this point, but I'm banking on their field goal luck to turn around. If not, it could cost me, but I like their matchup advantages enough to make this a play.

NFL Pick: DET -2.5.

Read moreWeek 7 picks.

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 7: Bengals Vs. Colts

Cincinnati Bengals Vs. Indianapolis Colts: IND -3 (-115) (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

In the Westgate look-ahead line, the Colts were favored by -2.  After Week 6 action, this number moved to the key number of -3. There has been juice attached to it all week long, so I wouldn't be surprised if it moved to -3.5 at some point. If you like the Colts here, it's probably not a good idea to wait. There is an overwhelming amount of bets on Indy right now with 84% coming in on the home favorite.



Bottom Line

Along with most people, I really liked this Bengals team early in the year. They were covering spreads and showing they could win games with both sides of the ball. That all changed though once they were put under the bright lights of prime-time and got smacked in the mouth by the Patriots. At this point, that shouldn't surprise anybody, and it doesn't appear like they will get over the hump anytime soon.

An obvious problem they have is the injury to AJ Green. Sanu is a nice WR, but he's not a number one, let alone a guy who can dictate how defenses scheme. Marvin Jones was put on IR, so there is no help on the way either. This is an offense that was already below average on third down, and I expect that to drop further as long as Green is out.

And speaking of third down, the Colts D actually leads the league in that category through six weeks. That's obviously not going to last, but it's much better than anyone expected when you look at this unit on paper.

The key matchups will be Cincy's run game vs Indy's run D, and Andew Luck vs the Bengals secondary.  Given how poor Cincy's pass rush has been this season, I really like Luck's chances here. They've been on fire for the last month, and I think it continues on Sunday.

NFL Pick: IND -3.

Read moreWeek 7 picks.

NFL Betting Preview 2014 Week 7: Jets Vs. Patriots

New York Jets Vs. New England Patriots

Market Watch

This line hasn't changed all that much from the advanced line a week ago. Westgate had the Patriots favored by -9.5, and it reopened at -9 after Week 6.  It has since moved to -9.5 (-10 at square shops), and it will likely stay in this range until kickoff. Is this line inflated? I'd like to see a case made for the Jets because bad teams haven't done well at all on the short week this season. 66% of the bets are on New England so far.



Bottom Line

When it comes to the Jets, it's pretty much status quo. Only Ryan Tannehill has a worse rating Geno Smith on deep balls this year. They are 29th in passing efficiency, 21st in rushing efficiency, 30th in red zone scoring, and 24th on third down conversions. Their offensive line isn't terrible, but it's not good either. The Patriots defense might not be as good as I thought it would be this year, but even an average effort should be enough against this anemic offense.

Whether or not New England cover this spread will ultimately be up to their offense. They've been mostly average this year, but there are signs that they are finding a groove. It's an interesting matchup because the Jets are no good at all against the pass and they can't keep anybody out of the end zone once opponents get inside the 20. What they do have going for them is a stout run defense and a front seven that leads the league in adjusted sack rate. Can the Patriots OL hold up against that?

This one does have the obvious potential for a blowout, but I'm taking a pass on this game because I still don't trust this New England offense to cover a double digit spread. They would be the only side I consider though. The Jets are simply unplayable at this point.

Read more: Week 7 picks.

Monday, October 13, 2014

NFL Betting Preview 2014 Week 6: 49ers Vs. Rams

San Francisco 49ers Vs. St. Louis Rams

Market Watch

In the Westgate look-ahead line, the 49ers were listed as -4.5 point favorites. When this number reopened after Week 5 it was -3.25. It hasn't moved much at all since then. You can grab -3 with a bit of juice if you want the 49ers, and you can get +3.5 with some juice if you like the Rams. A whopping 80% of the tickets are on the 49ers.




Bottom Line

The 49ers defense has performed better than I expected given all the pieces they are missing on that side of the ball, but the offense has been completely ordinary. They wanted to become a more pass-orientated team this year, but Kaepernick continues to be frenetic in the pocket. Is he ever going to mature beyond a one progression QB?

We should find out more in this game because the Rams have been just terrible against the pass this year. A big part of the problem with St. Louis is their anemic pass rush. Where did it go? On paper they should've been one of the best fronts in the league, but they sit 31st in adjusted sack rate. That's just bizarre. Part of it is Chris Long being out, but some of the blame definitely needs to go on Gregg Williams' iffy blitz calls.

On the flip side we have Austin Davis. The scouting report on him screamed average at best, and nothing I ever saw in the preseason gave me reason to think otherwise. Yet, here we are with a handful of impressive performances out of him. He's still making mistakes, but that's to be expected.

I don't trust the Rams coaching staff whatsoever, and I'd still be weary of backing Davis against this defense - despite his progression. At the same time, I don't see enough from this 49ers team to confidently back them as a road favorite in a prime-time spot either. In the end I'm taking a pass on this game.

Read more: Week 7 picks.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

NFL Predictions 2014: Week 6 Picks

Week 5 is done and it was another winning week for favorites. Early in the year all I heard was how this would be the "year of the dog", but I've yet to see any evidence of that. Favorites went 10-4-1 this weekend and lead 38-36-2 overall. Unders led the week going 8-7, but Overs are up 40-36 on the season.



The SuperContest consensus picks went 2-3 ATS and sit 15-10 on the year. Football Outsiders finally had a winning week (barely) going 8-7 ATS, but are still in a huge hole at 29-45-2.

I had a pretty good week going 4-2 ATS, and a big 5-1 on teasers. Indy's defense had a surprisingly good game and held off the Ravens, and the Bengals folded in prime-time. I was hesitant about Dalton in the bright lights, and they shit the bed in a big spot once again. The only teaser to fail was Detroit, as more missed field goals did them in.

Early lines are out for Week 6, so refresh this page throughout the week for all the updates.

Survivor Pick

8 of the 9 poll options won their games in Week 5, with the only upset coming from the Bills topping the Lions.

Week 6: Broncos

Week 5: Saints
Week 4: Chargers
Week 3Colts
Week 2: Packers
Week 1: Bears

Read more:

Stanley Cup Picks

NHL Season Player Props

NHL Season Team Props

NFL Betting Preview 2014 Week 6: Giants Vs. Eagles

New York Giants Vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Market Watch

Last week Westgate had the Eagles favored by -3.5. Once the dust settled on Week 5 action it reopened at -3. Within hours it had come off the key number to -2.5, where it has sat for most of the week. Usually when a line sits at this number it signifies that the underdog is the better team. When asking yourself which side you like, that's essentially the question you have to ask yourself. Are you sold on the Giants?  Betting is virtually split with 50% of the bets on each side.


Bottom Line

The aspect of this game that is getting the most press is the Eagles offense. What's happened to Shady McCoy?  The film guys say he is not trusting his blockers and unwilling to just pound away for the 4 yard gain.  Some speculate that he hasn't been the same since his concussion earlier this year. There might be a kernal of truth to all that, but I put most of the blame on the banged up OL. Last season every starter played the entire season. Given the scheme of this offense, you can't really afford to have 3-4 guys missing up front and expect a cohesive attack. As a result they've fallen all the way down to 22nd in the Football Outsiders DVOA ranking.

Conversely, the Giants defense have climbed up to the 7th spot in the defensive rankings. On paper, this sets up as a favorable matchup for the Gmen. They are meh at linebacker, but they've solidified things up front and on the back end. Usually that's enough to be an impactful unit in this league.

It wasn't that long ago that these Giants looked like a complete mess. I faded them early in the season until they got their act together, and now that they have I'm not exactly sure what to do with them.

Usually when you have two divisional teams that are this close, I'd roll with the home team if I'm given the option of -2.5. At the same time, if you think the Giants have the edge, you can grab +3 at a square shop like Bovada.

I don't feel strongly about either side, so I'll be sitting this one out.

Read more: Week 6 picks

Friday, October 10, 2014

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 6: Teasers

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.

SD -1 & SEA -1.5

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 6: Jaguars Vs. Titans

Jacksonville Jaguars Vs. Tennessee Titans: TEN -4 (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

In the advanced line for this game the Titans were touchdown favorites. The line was kept off the board when the numbers were released after Week 5, but some shops put up some -6's on the board. Now that Locker has been downgraded to 'doubtful' this game got put back up at -5. Apparently people think that was too much, so it's been bet down to -4 (for now). 55% of the bets are on the winless Jags.



Bottom Line

If you've followed my blog this year then this pick will be no surprise at all. I'm fading the Jaguars every week until they cover (or the line becomes ridiculous). Therefore, I shouldn't really need to provide any reasoning, but here are a few thoughts on this matchup anyways ...

Blake Bortles. The guy is the future of this team and he's shown some nice poise for a first year player, but he continues to make a lot of rookie mistakes. Far too many times he's checking down for short throws on third and long, or failing to recognize the situation in a game (completing a 1 yard pass at the end of the PIT game with no timeouts). The biggest thing he brings to the offense is mobility in the pocket, but he's still surrounded with some of the worst talent in the league.

On defense, their secondary is a mess, remain one of the worst teams on third down, and don't force many turnovers. Their pass rush showed signs of life last week, but this unit still gave up almost 400 yards of offense.

The worst part of this matchup is the fact that I'm backing Tennessee. That's not something I feel good about whatsoever, but a below average Titans team is still better than the lowly Jags. "Clipboard" Charlie is filling in as a competent backup, which should be enough given the opponent.

Will they feel the effects of blowing a 28-3 lead? It's possible. They know their season is over and now they must find motivation to beat the worst team in football. Sooner or later the Jags will cover, and this is as good a chance as any, but until they do I'm willing to bet the other side - as ugly as it might be.

NFL Pick: TEN -4.

Monday, October 6, 2014

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 6: Packers Vs. Dolphins

Green Bay Packers Vs. Miami Dolphins: GB -3 (-120) (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

Westgate had this line at -3 in the look-ahead, but it has re-opened at -3.25. If you like the Dolphins with the hook you have that option, and if you like the Packers at -3 you can do that too. I don't expect this to remain available all week though. A full move off the 3 seems inevitable.




Bottom Line

When Rodgers told everyone to "relax", he came right out and backed it up with a near-perfect performance against the Bears. He followed it up again when the Vikings came to town.  Can they remain prolific once more in Miami?

It won't be as easy, that's for certain.

The Dolphins have a legitimate defense, and they have a quality pass rush that should make life much more difficult for Rodgers in the pocket. Thankfully, they managed to get Eddie Lacy going last week. He won't have the massive holes to run through against Miami, but if there is one soft spot on this Dolphins defense, it's their linebackers. This side of the ball will be a good battle, but Green Bay will have opportunities to make things happen.

The primary reason I like this matchup for the Packers is due to the other side of things. Ryan Tannehill is coming off one of his best performances as a pro, but it came against a Raiders team in the midst of implosion. How can Miami beat reporters say he has "momentum" after that? This is still a passing game that is completely unpredictable week to week. The WRs have had far too many drops, and now Tannehill might be put in a position to force the issue. If they fall behind by a couple scores, it could get dicey. The Green Bay defense might not be "fixed", but they are inching towards a middle of the pack unit - which is all you ask for.

The way Miami wins this game is if their defense contains the Packers and forces a couple turnovers. That would allow their offense to establish a ground-based attack and keep Tannehill in a managable position. Realistically, that is the best case scenario, and I don't see that happening. I expect another uneven performance from the Dolphins, which should lead to another round of self-doubting questions next week.

NFL Pick: GB -3.

Read more: Week 6 picks

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 6: Broncos Vs. Jets

Denver Broncos Vs. New York Jets: DEN -7 (-115) (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

This is another game that has seen a move from last week's look-ahead line. Westgate had it at -6, but after Week 5 action it got re-opened at -7. There are signs that this number is going to move off the key number and hit -7.5 (or higher), so this is one you probably don't want to wait on if you want to add it to your card.





Bottom Line

I've faded the Jets for three weeks in a row and I have no intentions on stopping that money train now. It was already announced that Geno Smith would start this game, but does it really matter? Neither QB seems like the "best chance to win" option at this point in time.

In fact, there isn't a whole lot of analysis needed for this matchup. The Broncos are finding their groove and continue to ascend up the power rankings. Their defense is much improved from last year, and that's scary when you consider the leads that Peyton will provide them.

Conversely, the Jets continue to slide down to the bottom of the rankings, and if Week 5 was any indication, they aren't going up anytime soon. The worst part about this stretch is that they've faced deadly passing attacks week after week. The Bears, Lions, and Chargers carved them up vertically, and now they get the pleasure of facing off against another high powered offense. Without a good secondary, Ryan can't implement the schemes he wants, so this defense will be on an island until they get a lesser opponent.

The wheels are falling off in New York, and this game should be the final nail in their 2014 coffin.

NFL Pick: DEN -7.

Read more: Week 6 picks

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 6: Chargers Vs. Raiders

San Diego Chargers Vs. Oakland Raiders: SD -6.5 (-115) (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

The Westgate look-ahead line had this game at -6, but after another dominating cover by the Chargers, this line re-opened at -7 on Sunday night.  Right now you can still get -6.5 if you have a good sportsbook, but I would still go ahead and play this at -7 if I didn't have a choice. This number should be minimum -7.5.





Bottom Line

In last week's Football Outsiders power ratings the Chargers ranked 12th in the league. In reality, they are a better team than that and they'll get another uptick after a great performance in Week 5. Granted, it came against a Jets team in disarray, but that's what good teams do - blow out the bad teams.

Most of the talk surrounding San Diego revolves around Rivers, but it's their defense that has impressed me most. They were flying under the radar in September, and now people are beginning to take notice. The other revelation seems to be Branden Oliver, who has channeled his inner Sproles to give life to their running game.

On the other side we have a Raiders team who has hit the reset button once again. That hasn't made a difference for the product on the field in the recent past, and I don't expect it to do much this time either. Their season is already over and they must transition to a new coaching philosophy mid-stream against one of the best teams in the AFC. Good luck with that.

The only concern I'd have for this game would be the state of the banged up San Diego OL, but their offense is based on quick-timing passing plays so the scheme should be able to negate any deficiencies in that area - at least for this matchup. They are 5-0 ATS and I've been on them for 4 of them. Sooner or later the opponent will cover, but I don't think it will be this week.

NFL Pick: SD -6.5.

Read more: Week 6 picks

NFL Betting Preview 2014 Week 6: Colts Vs. Texans

Indianapolis Colts Vs. Houston Texans

Market Watch

In the advanced line the Colts were -2 point favorites. After the Colts impressive home win over the Ravens, it was reopened at -2.5.  Most of the money has come in on Indy and we've seen a soft move to -3 at EVEN money. You can still grab -2.5 if you want to pay a little extra juice, and the same goes for +3 on the Texans. 79% of the bets are on the road team.




Bottom Line

Coming into the season the Texans were going to be a better team than 2013 just based on natural regression. They still had a good defense on paper, but the two variables on offense were always going to be the high risk-high reward tendencies of Ryan Fitzpatrick - and the health of Arian Foster. Through five weeks, it's played out pretty much according to script, as we've seen both sides of those coins.

The Colts have been mostly as advertised as well. Andrew Luck continues to ascend towards the upper echelon of elite QBs, while the defense remains a week-to-week mystery.

Head-to-head, this is a matchup that I want nothing to do with. The Colts offense is capable of winning games all on their own, and the same can be said about the Texans defense. On the other side, we really have no clue which Indy defense is going to show up, or which version of Fitzpatrick we'll see. Foster has a history of carving up the Colts, but he could easily leave the game with one of his many nagging injuries, too.

If I was forced to pick a side, I'd probably ride the Texans at +3. In all but one game, road teams have had a lot of trouble in these Thursday night tilts, and there is a lot on the line for these divisional rivals. Ultimately though, I'll be sitting this one out. No matter how it plays out, not much would surprise me.

Flip a coin.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 5: Seahawks Vs Redskins

Seattle Seahawks Vs. Washington Redskins: SEA -7 (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

In the look-ahead line Westgate had the Seahawks as -6 point favorites for this MNF matchup.  It was re-opened at -6.5 after the Redskins got trounced in front of America last Thursday, and it was quickly bet up to -7 not long after. If I was setting this line, I wouldn't have it anything less than -7.5. A big 70% of the bets are coming in on the defending champs.


Bottom Line

Once upon a time the home dog used to be a trendy pick for savvy bettors on MNF, but the stats haven't shown any advantage either way over the last decade or so. That didn't stop some from taking KC last week against the NE, but will the smart money come in on Washington as well?

I doubt it.

The Kirk Cousins bandwagon came to a screeching halt last week when he completely imploded against the Giants. A surprisingly amount of bets were on the Skins that night, but I took a pass on that game because I wasn't sold on Cousins. He still might wind up being a competent QB in this league, but he's gotta put together some memorable performances first. Unfortunately for him, he has to bounce back against the best football defense in the world on the national stage.

It would be beneficial to Cousins if they could establish a strong run game, but Seattle might have the fastest group of linebackers in the league. I have no earthly idea how Washington will be able to move the ball and score points, and that game-plan becomes even cloudier when we factor in the status of LT Trent Williams.

On the other side of the ball, it should be smooth-sailing for Seattle's offense. It was already a dangerous group last year, but once you factor in Percy Harvin they become next-to-impossible to scheme against.

Finally, for whatever reason Washington haven't figured out how to turn their special teams play around. They were historically bad last year, and they sit 31st in this area since the 2014 season kicked off. As if Washington didn't have enough to worry about, this puts them at a disadvantage before either of their units even take the field.

NFL Pick: SEA -7.

Read more: Week 6 picks