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: 29-34-1 (46%)
Thursday Night Football: 11-2-1 (85%)
Other Sunday Posted Picks: 11-8 (58%)
All Posted Picks: 51-44-2 (54%)
Redskins +12.5 vs Green Bay (Current Line: +12.5 -110 5Dimes)
- Two straight wins for Washington and you would think that they would be the overvalued team in this matchup. But like usual, it’s the Packers.
- Green Bay is the most overrated team in the NFL, in my opinion. Here is a team that is 24th in net success rating and they’ve done this against a league average NFL schedule. They have the worst defense in the NFL since Week 7, based on success rate by a decent amount.
- Washington won the last two games because they play at the slowest pace in the NFL and matched up against 26th and 30th ranked run defenses based on success rate. Bill Callahan has the second-most run-heavy offense in single-digit game situations since he took over as HC.
- As long as your defense is poor defending the run, the Redskins will pound the run all game long. Green Bay, as mentioned above, is the worst defense in the NFL in the last 6 weeks. They rank 28th defending the run, according to DVOA, and 31st in success rate allowed the last 6 weeks. Green Bay also ranks dead last in Adjusted Line Yards allowed and has been gashed for close to 6 yards per carry up the middle, which also ranks last. Washington is fifth in yards per carry running up the middle and Derrius Guice has given the Skins a nice 1-2 punch.
- Understanding Aaron Rodgers will likely produce a good game against a weak Washington secondary, at least the Washington defense has proven the ability to pressure the Qb with the fourth-most pressures in the NFL.
- The combination of a good run game matchup, a slow pace and a good enough defense for Washington makes this line 2.5 points too high for me to pass up.
Cardinals +2.5 vs Pittsburgh (Current Line: +2 -110 5Dimes)
- The Steelers were in a fairly obvious spot as a home favorite in a major revenge spot against the overvalued Browns. To their credit, they did step up for the win.
- Flying cross country to play an Arizona team after beating the Browns puts Pittsburgh in a major letdown spot.
- Mike Tomlin is awful as a road favorite in his career. 25-35-1 (42%) ats in his career. He’s worse — 19-32-1 (37%) — ats against teams under .500 in that spot and 4-7 (36%) ats on the road against non-conference teams who are under .500 at the time. However, you want to slice it, Tomlin has always struggled in a similar spot.
- We already know that Pittsburgh’s game plan with Duck Hodges is to play ultra-conservatively, run the ball and check down to the RBs and mix in the occasional deep shot.
- On the road this season, the Steelers have scored the second-lowest offensive points per game in the NFL at 12.6.
- Kyler Murray should be able to avoid the heavy pass rush from the Steelers and make enough plays to win this game. At minimum, with the low scoring likely outcome from Pittsburgh, getting the 2 could also come into play here.
Raiders +2.5 vs Tennessee (Current Line +3 -115 5Dimes)
- This national narrative that the Titans are a sleeper AFC contender is overblown in my opinion. Last week I was on the Colts -2.5 and Indy completely outplayed the Titans, outgaining them 5.8 to 5.0 yards per play and first downs per play at 32.8% to 25.8%. Adam Vinatieri missed one field goal, got another blocked then, of course, on the way to potentially win the game for Indy got a field goal blocked and returned for the game-winning TD.
- A completely fluky outcome has now put the Titans on every national analyst’s radar as a contender. I just don’t buy it yet. If Tennessee had lost that game last week, this line is probably around a PK. As a 2.5-point favorite on the road, that would imply Titans would be 8.5-point favorites at home. Just last week KC was only -11 at home against Oakland. So, are we saying KC on a neutral field would only be 2.5-point favorites? I have KC as 4-4.5 points better on a neutral field.
- Just two weeks ago, I would have guessed this line would have been Oakland -3 but because of two straight poor performances, we get to buy the Raiders low here.
- I think we get an ultra-motivated Raiders team and a Titans team that is reading all of their press clippings. Yes, Ryan Tannehill has been excellent, but he has an 88-game sample size that is more indicative of his future performances than a small 8-game sample this year.
- And while all the focus has been on the resurgent Titans offense, the defense ranks 19th in success rate since Week 7 and 27th against the pass. There are plenty of holes for Derek Carr and Oakland to exploit. The Titans rank 21st or worse in DVOA defending all WRs, TEs, and RBs outside of No. 2 WRs. Expect Tyrell Williams, Darren Waller, and Jalen Richard to excel.
Patriots -3 vs Kansas City (Current Line -3 -115 5Dimes)
- In their last 54 regular season games, New England is 46-8 straight up following a loss and 31-2 ats in those games following a loss when favored by less than 6 or as an underdog (h/t Dr. Bob).
- Outside of this bounce back trend for New England, they historically have been dominant in November and December at home. In the last 10 years, New England is 31-2 straight up in the last two months of the regular season.
- I think from a matchup perspective, New England’s weakness defending the run doesn’t play into what the Chiefs do well. New England ranks No. 2 in DVOA pass defense but is 20th in success rate allowed on the ground since Week 7. The problem is that KC never runs the ball and when they do, they don’t do it very well. KC has thrown the most in the NFL, at 66%, in one-score game situations. KC is 19th in yards per carry on offense but have faced the ninth-easiest run defensive schedule. They also rate 19th in DVOA run offense. No Damien Williams is an issue for the Chiefs as well.
- Expect Josh McDaniels to load up the run game on offense with Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead. But really look out for James White out of the backfield in the passing game. KC has struggled defending RBs out of the backfield. KC is 17th defending RBs and have allowed the second-most yardage per game to opposing RBs. They have allowed the second-highest share of targets to RBs and are 31st in yards per attempt allowed. The Chiefs have allowed a 24% target share while facing opponents who have only targeted their RBs 21% of the time. This 18% target premium allowed to opponent averages ranks as third-highest in the NFL. KC has played four games against opponents who target RBs the top 7 most in the NFL. RBs in those games, like Austin Ekeler, Dalvin Cook, and Aaron Jones produced huge stat lines. Cook caught 4 balls for 45 yards, Ekeler 8 for 108, and Jones 7 for 159 and 2 TDs. Look for a big game out of the backfield for White.
Rams PK vs Seattle (Current Line PK -110)
- Somehow, Seattle is 10-2 with just a +36-point differential this season. Based on that point differential, and applying the Pythagorean expectation, Seattle is playing more like a 7-5 team. It’s not just point differential either, as Seattle is just a +0.1 in net yards per play which ranks 15th in the NFL. All of their underlying stats point to this as just an above average NFL team who should be fighting for a wildcard spot not a one or two seed.
- Let’s dig in and see if there is regression coming from Seattle. Where I look to first in a rare situation like this is to see if there is an unsustainable fumble recovery rate, opponent FG misses, and any other situations that would be described as “lucky”. Seattle is 10th best at recovering fumbles and their opponents have only made 71% of their FGs, which ranks as fifth-lowest in the NFL. In fact, on the road, opponent FG kickers have only made an astonishingly low 64% of their kicks. We saw both the Rams’ and Niners’ kickers miss game-winning field goals against Seattle which would very easily turn Seattle into an 8-4 team. As mentioned, Seattle is 10th best at recovering fumbles but are No. 1 in the NFL at recovering opponent fumbles at 73%. That figure is ahead of No. 2 ranked Minnesota by almost 10 full percentage points. And this isn’t a small sample either, as Seattle opponents have put the ball on the ground 1.8 times per game, third-most in the NFL. So not only are Seattle opponents just generally fumbling a lot, but Seattle is recovering those fumbles at an astronomical rate! Hopefully the Rams won’t fumble because otherwise there is an excellent shot that the Seahawks defense will recover it.
- Now don’t get me wrong, Seattle does have a top-5 QB in Russell Wilson with good weapons at RB and WR but otherwise, their team is mediocre or worse. The defense is 13th defending the pass, 18th defending the run and a pass rush that has generated the third-lowest pressure rate in the NFL.
- The Rams bounced back nicely last week, and I expect the final playoff push to continue. It showed a lot that this team did not lay down and die after getting blasted on MNF against Baltimore. When these two teams played back in October, the Rams outgained Seattle 7.1 to 6.4 yards per play and should have won the game if not for a missed 44-yard FG by the otherwise reliable Greg Zuerlein.
- In that first game, the Rams were 1/1.5-point underdogs on the road and outplayed Seattle but now the Rams are 1-point underdog/PK at home? Doesn’t make much sense.
Other sides and totals I have personally wagered on and I still like at the current number:
- SF +2.5 (-110 5Dimes)
- Browns/Bengals over 41.5 (-110 5Dimes)