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Gamblin'NFL

SportsGrid’s Week 13 NFL Pick$: We Made Money On Thank$giving, So Let’s Not Blow It Here


NFL Picks

Every week, I am picking NFL games against the spread. And making bets that I think are profitable. The first few weeks, I tried to be a tough guy and make millions of bets. I lost lots of dollars. I started limiting myself and have been quite profitable ever since. I plan to continue this for eternity.

Here are my NFL Week 13 picks and bets, except for the Thanksgiving games, because those already happened, and I already wrote about betting on them, and made dollars while consuming turkey.

Realize: betting NFL is really hard. These picks are meant to hopefully help you out a bit, but mainly to entertain you. They AREN’T meant to be followed blindly. Listen, and hopefully be entertained by my childish jokes. Or at least say something mean about me so I can get a good cry in.

I will make a pick for every game. But if I don’t specifically recommend a bet, I’m just throwing darts. Don’t listen to my advice. The pick is there so I can have a record for picking every game, one that will undoubtedly suck. And then you can make fun of me. I’m a man of the people. As always, I hope you argue with me on Twitter.

For the actual bets, I will keep track of my record and profits/losses. Unlike my NHL/NBA “how not to lose your money gamblin’ “ series, a normal bet will be to win $100, for tracking purposes, because I’m a hypothetical high-roller, and you are too. There will be occasional double, triple, quadruple, and probably even quintuple bets.

New York Jets* (-1.5) over Miami Dolphins

The Jets have won every game that Geno Smith (and his offensive line and receivers) hasn’t been horrible in. They’ve been blown out in every other game, except Week 2 at the Pats. They struggle when Geno struggles, and Geno struggles when the offensive line is getting torched by a good pass rush (which happens often), or the running game can’t get going against a top run defense.

They only have one other problem, and that’s their pass defense, which has been really shaky lately.

Let’s check out the matchup!

Miami run defense: 29th in DVOA (ew), 4.2 ypc allowed (not bad)
Miami’s pass offense: 21st in DVOA, 6.1 yards per attempt (27th)
Miami pass rush: 7.32 sack percentage (meh)… but a 7.7 adjusted sack percentage… which is ninth in the NFL (for comparison, Baltimore is 3rd and Buffalo is 10th… and Geno got killed by both of them the last two weeks)

Things I’m worried about:

- Mike Wallace following in the footsteps of Torrey Smith and Marquise Goodwin the last two weeks and catching a bomb.

- The Dolphins pass rush.

Those are two very worrisome things. Truthfully, I don’t think the numbers justify a bet on the Jets. But I’ve always maintained that the Jets should win most games in which they can run early, successfully, and I’m pretty confident that’ll happen here. Miami’s awful pass protecting should also give the Jets’ struggling pass defense a nice boost, and there’s no way the Dolphins are running on the Jets.

Yes, I’m a Jets homer, but I’ve only bet on them in Weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7. That’s a 5-1 record.

But the potential absences of Chris Ivory, Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill and Antonio Cromartie all really worry me, and I can’t bet on this without knowing their statuses.

Bet: Nothing yet, considering Jets

Houston Texans* (+9) over New England Patriots

How insane would you have to be to bet on the Texans? Quite insane. I might be that insane.

I’ve been hailing the Texans as the most underrated team in the league… and then they lose to Matt McGloin and Blaine Gabbert. So, I look incredibly dumb, and as bad as people thought they were… they now look they were overrated. But apparently people think they’re actually the worst team in the league, and I think we’re getting a little crazy there. Getting nine points at home is preeeeeeeeettty ridiculous for a team of their talent.

Here’s where I frame stats to make the Texans look as good as the Patriots (no, they’re not even close, but my point is this isn’t best in the NFL vs. worst, as this line suggests):

Patriots yards per play: 5.2
Texans yards per play: 5.2

Patriots yards per play allowed: 5.1
Texans yards per play allowed: 5.0.

If you look at efficiency numbers, the two teams are very similar. The main differences are turnover margins (+.7 per game for the Pats, -1.1 for the Texans) and red-zone efficiency. Some of that is skill and coaching, some of it is luck (like the Pats’ significantly higher fumble luck).

Again, the Patriots are the much better team. I’m not saying they aren’t. But the gap isn’t this massive, even with New England getting healthier and more cohesive on offense, and the Texans trending (WAY) downward.

Nothing crazy here, but saying the Texans are 12 points worse than the Pats is a little insane.

(Note: The line dropped a bit, but +7.5 isn’t as big of a drop from 9 as it seems.)

Bet: Texans +9 (-125), $100 to win $80 AND ML (+310), $20 to win $62

Buffalo Bills* (-3) over Atlanta Falcons

I LOVE this bet. The Bills still seem to be underrated, even after absolutely torching the Jets in really impressive fashion… and coming off a bye. They’re considered even with the Falcons? Really?

Do you realize what E.J. Manuel has done this year?

He’s 3-4 this year, even if you count the loss to the Browns, where he left early with an injury. His losses were: close ones to NE, NYJ and a not-so-close one to the Steelers. He beat the Panthers, Ravens and Jets. Those are all good defenses (except the Steelers, who played well that week). I’m not saying he’s some sort of god, but the point is, when the Bills have had their quarterback, they’ve been pretty good. Any game quarterbacked by Jeff Tuel should be forgotten, all video evidence cleared. That’s some depressing shit.

Their success is mainly because of their defense. This is a genuinely good defense, ranked No. 7 in DVOA (4th against the pass, something that Matt Ryan does occasionally). They give up just 5.1 yards per play (Atlanta gives up 6.1!). They have a good pass rush, a decent run defense… and are genuinely good all around. Kiko Alonso has 947 tackles, 17 interceptions and 42 Luftballons.

Atlanta’s defense might be the worst defense in the league. They don’t stop anybody. They won’t stop the Bills. Matt Ryan will have to win this game by himself, on the road, something that seems unlikely against a very good defense.

Bet: Bills -3 (-115), $230 to win $200

New York Giants (-1) over Washington RG3-8s*

What am I missing here? The Giants are certainly not a great team, but they’ve shown signs, and are clearly not as bad as their record. There’s a reason that people were freaking out about them making the playoffs just a week ago. And they didn’t play badly against the Cowboys.

Have the Red Coats shown any signs of being decent, all year? They beat the Bears and Chargers at home in shootouts, two solid teams. But they’re two solid teams with porous secondaries. The Giants have many problems, but their defense has been fairly solid, and their socondary, while not great, is worlds better than the Chargers’ and Bears’. They’re also great against the run, which is the Skinheads’ biggest weapon.

I don’t see how the Giants lose if they show up. (Though it must be acknowledged that their season looks over, so they might not show up.)

Bet: Giants -2 (+102), $200 to win $204

Other Games

Cleveland Browns* (-7) over Jacksonville Jaguars

Bet on Brandon Weeden, or bet on the Jaguars? Swallow a knife, or stab yourself?

In all seriousness, do you take the Browns, who have only won one game by more than seven points, or do you take the Jaguars, who have nine losses, all by 10+ points?

I like the Browns to win, but I can’t trust them to cover. (Possible survivor pool/teaser/parlay material.)

Philadelphia Eagles* (-3) over Arizona Cardinals

I have no idea what will happen here. Two teams trending upward, towards Overratedsville.

Carolina Panthers* (-8) over Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Big line. Fair line.

Chicago Bears (+1.5) over Minnesota Vikings*

I was very close to taking the Bears, but their awful run defense gives up 4.8 yards per carry, and Adrian Peterson can win this game singlehandedly.

Indianapolis Colts* (-4) over Tennessee Titans

Sneaky-bad team against sneaky-OK team.

St. Louis Rams (+8.5) over San Francisco 49ers*

I have nothing to say. (Except this might be too many points for Colin Kaepernick vs. a good run defense. But, Kellen Clemens.)

San Diego Chargers* (-1) over Cincinnati Bengals

I hate both of these teams and don’t understand them. Bengals probably should win, but their offense is going in the pooper.

Denver Broncos (-4.5) over Kansas City Chiefs*

Too many points for Cold Weather Manning, too few points for Any-Weather Alex Smith.

Seattle Seahawks (-4.5)* over New Orleans Saints

Saints’ awful run defense against Seattle is bad news. But 4.5 points is a bit much. I may add a play on Seattle later, but I can’t pull the trigger yet.

MONDAY ADD: Seahawks ML/New York Rangers ML (+114), $100 to win $114

Good luck, friends. Please hit me up on the Twitters to argue, call me names, ask a question, or say anything else that comes to mind. You can also email me at matt@sportsgrid.com. I want to hear from you, friend.

(Records not updated with 1-0 (+$250) Thank$giving bet)

Last Week’s Betting Record: 3-4 (.429) (+20)
Since Limiting My Crazy, Overextended Self: 34-20 (.630) (+1,576.76)
Overall Betting Record 54-43 (.557) (-$381.58)
Dart-throwing record: 91-81 (.530)



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