For purposes of these articles, I will list the contest line as well as the most current line using 5Dimes sportsbook. I will note if the current line is playable or not. I have personally bet all of these sides unless otherwise noted. As always, shop for the best lines.
Current NFL Record:
YTD Supercontest Picks: 20-23-1 (47%)
Thursday Night Football: 7-1-1 (88%)
Other Sunday Posted Picks: 7-4 (64%)
All Posted Picks: 34-28-2 (55%)
Steelers +3.5 vs Rams (Current Line: +4 -110 5Dimes)
- Yeah, it’s not great facing a Sean McVay team following a bye but I can’t resist this matchup.
- I think the market is overvaluing beating a bad Falcons team, in a dome with Matt Ryan out early.
- We know Jared Goff struggles in three situations: on the road, outdoors in imperfect conditions, and facing a good pass rush.
- In his four road starts this season, Goff has completed 60% of his passes for 7.8 yards per attempt. Those aren’t terrible numbers but considering he has only faced one top 17 team in DVOA against the pass (Carolina), he has had a fairly easy road schedule so far.
- Goff also has played in good conditions and Sunday in a 4:25 pm game, the temperatures should dip into the 40s. Not the cold and snow you would like here but still enough to possibly make Goff uncomfortable.
- Where the Steelers should have a huge advantage is having the pass rush that has generated the most pressures in the NFL against a Rams offensive line that has allowed the most pressures this season.
- Earlier in the season, Goff faced a Niners pass rush that is second in pressures generated and they harassed Goff with four sacks. He threw for only 78 yards. Not saying this will be the exact same situation but this is a tough matchup for Goff. Not having Brandin Cooks in the lineup will also limit the Rams’ explosiveness. To cover the 3.5/4, the Rams will need to find a way to produce over 20 points in my opinion.
- As long as Mason Rudolph can make smart decisions and continue to use Jaylen Samuels as an outlet in the pass game, I think the Steelers can keep this close.
Tampa -4.5 vs Cardinals (Current Line: -4.5 -110 5Dimes)
- Tampa is the most undervalued team in the NFL market, in my opinion.
- The Bucs have faced a brutal schedule of teams as well as travel schedule. They have faced the toughest schedule based on opponent records and fifth-toughest according to DVOA. This doesn’t even take into account having to play six road games, including in London, and playing at home for the first time since September 22.
- The Bucs’ point differential of minus-22 is remarkable given that schedule and based on Pythagorean expectation, the Bucs should be 4-4 and not 2-6. They rank as having the second-biggest divergence between actual wins and expected wins at 1.9.
- The Cardinals have faced the 17th toughest schedule in the NFL so far and have a point differential of minus-56. Arizona has three wins that have come against the Giants, Cincinnati, and Atlanta. Those three teams rank in the bottom six in DVOA team rankings.
- Jameis Winston should have a field day against the 28th ranked pass defense in Arizona and should be targeting Chris Godwin much of the game. Godwin spends close to 30% of the time in the slot and will be matched up against slot CB Tramaine Brock who ranks eighth-worst in passer rating in the slot.
- My model, which accounts for drive success rates on both sides of the ball and ignores turnovers, has this as Tampa -8. The issue, of course, is you can’t just ignore the turnovers with Winston. But with a 3-plus point edge here for me, I will back the Bucs even assuming one or more turnovers.
Bears -2.5 vs Detroit (Current Line: -2.5 -120 5Dimes)
- This pick will make people sick, but I think there is some value here on Chicago at less than 3.
- The best way to attack this Lions’ defense is on the ground. Detroit has been getting gashed on the ground this season, ranking 26th in success rate run defense and 29th in Adjusted Line Yards allowed.
- David Montgomery has finally been given the keys and has run 41 times for 175 yards and 3 TDs the last two games.
- The best way to avoid Mitch Trubisky hurting your team is to lean on the run game.
- The Lions offense has relied on explosive pass plays all season, ranking first in explosive pass plays and Matthew Stafford ranks first in deep ball attempts. The Bears defense does a great job limiting big plays, ranking seventh-lowest in the amount of explosive pass plays allowed. The Bears defense limits WR targets and forces opponents to target TEs. Expect T.J. Hockenson to get an increased target share Sunday but if the Bears slow down Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones, the defense should be able to get the Lions off the field.
Cowboys -3 vs Minnesota (Current Line: -3 -115 5Dimes)
- The Cowboys have been hot lately and have a big advantage in the offensive trenches.
- Dallas ranks first in Adjusted Line Yards and is going up against a Minnesota defense that ranks 22nd in Adjusted Line Yards allowed.
- To make matters worse for Minnesota, they will be without DL Linval Joseph who ranks 26th best in the NFL among DL in run stop percentage according to PFF.
- Also, a big loss for the Vikings is Adam Thielen. Kirk Cousins already is notorious for struggling in road primetime games so also missing Thielen is a big issue for the Vikings.
- The Vikings pass defense has struggled to defend the deep ball, especially on first downs. They rank 21st in DVOA defense against all passes on first down.
- Dallas ranks first in overall passing success rate and fifth on first downs. If Dak Prescott can take some play-action deep shots on first down I think they will have good success throughout the game
- My model has Dallas -4 and that includes a healthy Thielen and Joseph.
49ers -6.5 vs Seattle (Current Line: -6.5 -110 5Dimes)
- I have been fading Seattle all season and I will continue here with the Niners.
- Seattle is the most overvalued team in the NFL and based on a point differential of plus-18, they should be more of a 5-4 team and not a 7-2 team.
- Seattle has also exceeded their win expectations against an easy schedule that ranks as fifth-easiest based on opponent records and eighth-easiest based on DVOA.
- The Niners will have a big advantage in explosive run plays as they have the eighth-highest amount of big run plays. Seattle has allowed the sixth-most big run plays in the NFL.
- This was a similar explosive run matchup we saw a few weeks ago when the Niners hammered Carolina.
- The middle of the field is always open against Seattle who is 24th in yards per attempt allowed to TEs. George Kittle, if healthy, will have a big day on this Seattle defense.
- Russell Wilson has been MVP great this season and he has been excellent throwing it deep with the third-highest percentage of the explosive passes. The good news for SF backers is they are third in limiting big throws.
- The Seahawks have always struggled to protect Wilson and he won’t have C Justin Britt again on Monday. Seattle has allowed the sixth-most pressures this season and the Niners have generated the second-most pressures in the NFL. Wilson will be running for his life a lot on Monday.
- Seattle has only really played two good teams, Baltimore and New Orleans, and lost both at home.
Other sides and totals I have personally wagered on and I still like at the current number:
- Green Bay -5
- Arizona/Tampa over 52.5