I went 1-0-1 on picks last week, easily hitting the Houston-Minnesota under and pushing with the Chargers. 

Overs won yet again last week with an 8-6-1 advantage and year to date games have gone over in 37 of 62 games, for a 60% hit rate. Last week’s games averaged 52.5 points per game, which is up from the 52.3 points in Week 3. For the 13 games that are still on the board this week, the average over/under is 50.3 points, which is up from the 49.8 last week and 45.8 in Week 1.

Eventually, we will start to see the unders hitting only because the level of inflation for these totals is getting too high. To that point, Week 2 games went over by an average of 7.2 points per game, Week 3 went over by 4.1 points, and this past week they went over by 3.1 points. Even though overs continue to hit and points continue to be going at a record pace, at some point the point totals will be adjusted so high that there won’t be enough room to continue to hit so many overs. When that point comes is yet to be determined but rest assured it will.

We are currently at the quarter season mark, and although it is still a limited amount of data, I think it’s important to evaluate who are the best and worst teams based on success rate metrics (% of positive EPA/Play). The table below lists each team by their overall net success rank as well as their offensive and defensive ranks. Adjacent to each is the rank of the difficulty of opponents they have faced so far. This can give us a little clearer picture of the true value of some of these teams. A few observations based on the table:

  • The Browns offense (sixth-best O vs seventh-toughest schedule of opponents) is probably even better than their rankings based on the difficulty of their opponents to date. Jacksonville’s offense looks even better as well (10th-best O vs ninth-toughest defensive schedule). These are the only two teams inside the top 10 in offensive success rate while facing a top 10 difficult schedule. 
  • Cincinnati has an underrated defense as they rank fifth-best in defensive success rate against opponents who rank middle of the pack offensively. Washington’s defense has been excellent as well against a difficult schedule of opposing offenses, ranking fifth-best against a top 12 schedule.
TeamNet SuccessOppNet SuccessOff SuccessOpp D SuccessDef SuccessOpp O Success
Arizona Cardinals142715221528
Atlanta Falcons29102313285
Baltimore Ravens142113191922
Buffalo Bills6233302111
Carolina Panthers2372052214
Chicago Bears212828201030
Cincinnati Bengals11201918515
Cleveland Browns916671723
Dallas Cowboys12181323148
Denver Broncos2712911219
Detroit Lions321122163210
Green Bay Packers2311321024
Houston Texans31122583013
Indianapolis Colts3301627229
Jacksonville Jaguars264109317
Kansas City Chiefs10249251316
Las Vegas Raiders1915424274
Los Angeles Chargers2022721017
Los Angeles Rams81411102020
Miami Dolphins2217728301
Minnesota Vikings2852612253
New England Patriots1319526262
New Orleans Saints1871215255
New York Giants253313721
New York Jets3063042318
Philadelphia Eagles169246625
Pittsburgh Steelers4321621332
San Francisco 49ers72618111231
Seattle Seahawks1722731179
Tampa Bay Buccaneers1252117126
Tennessee Titans5292291827
Washington Football TM24133214512

Favorite Week 5 Picks

Carolina +1.5 vs Atlanta (-110)

The Panthers have covered and won straight up in back-to-back weeks as underdogs and I think this streak continues Sunday.  What has made the Panthers such a competitive team this season is the fact that Teddy Bridgewater doesn’t turn the ball over, has excellent skill players to distribute the football while his defense has been much more competent than anyone imagined. The defense ranks 15th in EPA per play.

Bridgewater should be able to move the ball at will against a bad and beat up Falcons defense. The secondary was already the weak point on the team but now they are dealing with multiple injuries following a short week. Starting safeties Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen missed the last game against Green Bay and are questionable again this week. Safety Damontae Kazee was carted off the field in their last game and backup safety Jaylinn Hawkins left the game in the second quarter with a head injury. 

Starting cornerback Darqueze Dennard was already placed on IR last week. Aaron Rodgers absolutely destroyed this secondary on Monday night, posting an incredible 68% success rate while completing 82% of his passes for 327 yards, 9.9 yards per attempt, and four touchdowns. Guys were running wide open all night and this was against a Packers offense missing their top two wide receivers. Add in the fact that Julio Jones was limited last week and has to play on a short week.

The Falcons are on their last leg and Dan Quinn is on the verge of being fired. Quinn has been a terrible coach to back as a favorite since he took over the Falcons in 2015. Atlanta is 22-33 ats (40%) as a favorite. They have lost outright in 24 of those 33 ats losses as well. If you exclude the Atlanta Super Bowl season in 2016, where the Falcons covered in 7 of 12 games as a favorite, Atlanta is 15-28 ats (35%).

Niners -9 vs Dolphins

This is a bad matchup for Miami. Their starting Linebackers rank 65th, 72nd, and 80th out of 81 qualified linebackers in coverage grade by PFF. Their safeties aren’t much better in coverage, either. Against running backs out of the backfield, Miami ranks dead last in success rate and 21st against tight ends. 

With Jimmy Garrapolo back at quarterback this week, expect Kyle Shanahan to dissect this defense with George Kittle and running backs out of the backfield for a big win.

Best Bets Record YTD: 5-3-2 (63%)