• Steelers should bounce back after an embarrassing loss to NE
  • Denver’s early season home field & defense is the difference against Chicago
  • Atlanta as a home dog has historically been a profitable wager

Starting in Week 2, I will be posting my weekly 5 Las Vegas Westgate Supercontest selections. By way of background, I have participated in the Supercontest for the last six years, posting a contest lifetime 57% winning percentage against the spread. In the last two years, I have produced back to back 60%+ ats NFL seasons. I cashed in 2017 hitting nearly 62% ats and finished in 33rd place finish out of nearly 3,000 contestants. Overall, I have finished above 60% ats in 3 of the last 5 years and have finished under 54% ats only once in six years of the contest.

A note, these contest lines are frozen on Wednesday night so some of the lines are not widely available any longer. I will advise if there are any significant line shifts.

YTD: 1-4 (25%)

Pittsburgh (-4) over Seattle

Neither team looked great last week but only one was demolished on the scoreboard, the Steelers. Pittsburgh isn’t nearly as bad as it looked last week but it was against New England, so it shouldn’t affect the thinking on the Steelers. Seattle was dominated in many respects last week against Cincinnati and was lucky to have won that game. Cincinnati outgained Seattle 6.1 to 4.8 on a yards per play basis and Andy Dalton shredded the Seahawks’ secondary for over 400 yards. Seattle is still a predominant run team but could only muster 72 yards on the ground on 25 attempts.

This week, Pittsburgh is coming off an embarrassing loss in primetime and gets to face a Seattle team flying across the country to play a 1 pm EST game. It’s a difficult spot for Seattle. The last six times a Ben Roethlisberger-led Steeler team lost by double digits, the next week the Steelers have won five games and won those games by an average of 17 points. Seattle was a “bet against” team prior to the season for me so this continues along my line that the Seahawks are overvalued. 

Cincinnati (-2) over San Francisco

As mentioned above, the Bengals totally outplayed Seattle, outgaining them by 1.3 yards per play. Unfortunately, it did not translate into a victory but that’s as good a moral victory as you can get in Week 1 for a team as a 9+ point underdog. I was very high on Cincinnati as a “bet on” team back in July, but my attitude was tempered after A.J. Green and Jonah Williams got hurt early in camp. Zac Taylor’s offense was very fun to watch, and he did a great job scheming players like John Ross open all throughout the game. The DL also played very well, holding Seattle’s vaunted run game to only 72 yards on 25 carries.

Now they get to play a Niners team that needed two pick 6s of Jameis Winston to beat the Bucs. They were outgained by 0.2 yards per play and Jimmy Garoppolo looked nervous all game. In fact, according to Next Gen Stats, he was dead last in the NFL last week in air yards thrown to the first down sticks at minus-5.7 yards per pass. That means on average, Garoppolo threw passes that were close to 6 yards short of the first down marker. He has yet to prove he is a franchise QB and that stigma has made the Niners a bit overvalued in my opinion. A big trend going against the Niners is that teams who start a season on the road in back to back games are 1-14 in the last 15 games straight up on the second leg of the b2b. 

Denver (+2.5) over Chicago

The Broncos have won 13 straight games at home in September and are 22-1 straight up in the last 10 years in Weeks 1 and 2 at home. Not all trends should be followed blindly but this one has reasoning behind it. Opposing teams are generally not used to the altitude in Denver but early in the season that advantage for the Broncos is even bigger. Players are still rounding into shape and lack the stamina you would normally see by mid-season.  Also, with temperatures expected to reach 90 degrees on Sunday, the Bears could wear down even more than normal. Add to this an overreaction to a poor performance by the Broncos in primetime and you get a perfect storm.

Fading Mitch Trubisky here also makes a ton of sense. Last year when Trubisky faced a top-10 DVOA pass defense, here were his stats: 198 passing yds/gm, a terrible 5.5 yards per attempt average with only 3 touchdown passes and 7 INTs. Denver was 4th in DVOA pass D last year and will be fired up after getting torn up by Derek Carr. Joe Flacco isn’t an ideal QB to go up against this Bears defense but I trust him much more in a home environment than on the road. Flacco historically plays much better at home and has posted a 74% winning percentage at home, compared to only 43% on the road.

Atlanta (+1.5) over Philadelphia

I am backing the Falcons here after a major clunker in Minnesota last Sunday. They fell behind early and couldn’t get back into the game. Facing Mike Zimmer in an opener is never a fun proposition and the Falcons paid for it. The fact that the Falcons are underdogs is an overreaction to me. I would have guessed Atlanta would be a 1/1.5-point favorite and not the other way around. The Falcons are notoriously a better team at home throughout Matt Ryan’s career, posting a 66% career winning percentage at home while barely winning 50% of games on the road. The Falcons are 12-3 ats as a home dog in Ryan’s career and 6-1 in the last five years.

I think the Eagles were the best team in the NFC coming into the season but penciled in a loss here when going through the schedule. The Eagles really struggled on defense last week against Case Keenum and the Redskins, giving up 380 pass yards on 8.4 yards per attempt. Overall, the Redskins outgained the Eagles 6.7 to 6.1 on a yards per play basis. Malik Jackson is out for the Eagles and is an underrated loss for that defense. I think the Falcons will come out strong and should have success all game on offense.

Cleveland (-2.5) over Jets

This is purely a play on the stale line in the contest. As the line currently sits at 6/6.5, I would not recommend playing the Browns here.