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SportsGrid’s Week 15 NFL Pick$: We Should Probably Quit Now, Because Last Week Was Absurdly Profitable
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.
Last week was mind-numbingly successful… but I don’t feel so confident about this week. I will try.
Here are my NFL Week 15 picks and bets.
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.
San Diego Chargers (+10.5) over Denver Broncos
The Chargers and Broncos are very similar teams… except that the Broncos’ offense is better, all-around, and their defense occasionally has a pulse, while the Chargers’ seemed literally dead until Eli Manning kept throwing defibrillators into their chests, giving them enough of a pulse to hold one of the most pathetic offenses in the league to 14 points.
(Which is why one of these teams is a Super Bowl favorite, and the other is mediocre.)
These things obviously SCREAM over. However, as bad as the Chargers’ defense is (32nd in DVOA, allowing 6.3 yards per play), they give up just 22.4 points per game (12th in the NFL).
So… what the fuck?
It’s simple. They can’t stop anybody, but they can keep them off the field. The Chargers know how bad their defense is, so they do their best to keep them on the bench. They are 2nd in the NFL in opponent’s time of possession, allowing opponents to have the ball for just 27:10 per game.
I remember watching the first matchup… where I bet (and lost) on the over, and it felt like Denver could’ve easily gotten me the win, but they didn’t. They just didn’t have the ball enough, and they didn’t need to score at the end. Time of possession, in a game that Denver mostly controlled, was 38:03-21:57, in favor of San Diego.
So, is it worth it to take the over at such a high number (55.5)? I’m not sure it is. I’ve also been killing Denver team total overs (I think they’ve only lost once or twice), but at 34 or so, I’m a bit nervous.
I still lean towards to game over and Denver team total overs… but not pulling the trigger just yet.
UPDATE: I actually took over 54 at open, and I decided not to buy off it, despite my worries. So, include it in my records.
OVER 54 (-110), $55 to win $50
New England Patriots (-2) over Miami Dolphins*
I’m a little confused here… wouldn’t this line have been way bigger a couple weeks ago? And what happened besides the Patriots playing one stinker and losing Gronk? I understand those are big things, but… 2-point favorites, only?
The Dolphins’ win in Pittsburgh was nice, sure, but they also gave up 412 yards and were outgained. They have a better road record than home record. They don’t seem to have much of a home-field advantage, as Miami residents probably aren’t aware a team other than the Heat exists. They lost to the Road Ravens at home. Losing to the Road Ravens is like losing to the Jaguars (or Texans?).
These defenses are pretty similar, both good pass-defenses that struggle against the run. But, New England has a huge edge on offense, even sans Gronk.
And why is he such a big loss? Don’t they have two great tight ends? I think New England has the matchup edge, because the Dolphins have a pretty weak rushing offense and might not be able to take advantage of the Pats’ weakness. The Pats can run on the Phins.
I’m gonna stop beating around the bush and put this simply: The Dolphins don’t have an impressive win yet. Beating the Colts half-counts. Beating Road Andy Dalton, when he throws three interceptions, in overtime, doesn’t count.
Patriots -2 (-110), $55 to win $50
Philadelphia Eagles (-4) over Minnesota Vikings*
This seems too easy. I actually think the Eagles have finally reached overrated territory (I bought stock in them to win the Super Bowl at 90/1 a while ago, SHHHHH)… but, I don’t see how they lose here. The Vikings are out of the playoffs. It sounds like Adrian Peterson WON’T play, and as I’ve said all season, this team is “Adrian Peterson and a bunch of useless blobs.” They’re 28th in DVOA and might be the worst team in the NFL without Peterson. The Eagles’ offense is 15,000 times better than the Vikings’, and though their defense isn’t great, it’s better than the Vikings’. And they need this win.
Throw in the facts that the Eagles are a good road team and that only one of their wins have come by fewer than 4 points. and this looks pretty good.
I like this a little less if Peterson plays, though.
Bet: Eagles -4 (-110), $110 to win $100
Buffalo Bills (-1) over Jacksonville Jaguars
You can’t find a single stat that favors the Jaguars. The Jaguars haven’t been impressive in any of their wins. The Bills’ road woes worry me, but, oh well.
Live by betting against the Jaguars, die by betting against the Jaguars.
Here lies Matt Rudnitsky: Put in a body bag by Chad Henne and Ace Sanders.
Bet: Bills -1 (-110), $55 to win $50
New York Giants (+7) over Seattle Seahawks*
This one seems too easy, but there’s nothing wrong with betting on something obvious, as long as you can justify why it’s obvious, after trying to convince yourself it’s not.
I initially jumped at the under of 41.5.
So, let’s try to argue why I’m dumb:
- Bro, scoring is way up this year… how could you bet on an under! (True. I guess.)
- Bro, the Seahawks aren’t a bad road team anymore — they put up 34 points in Arizona! (Fair point, but Carson Palmer’s interceptions did most of the damage.)
- Bro, the Giants have given up! They gave up 37 points last week! (I see what you’re saying. But, this is also a point for them not scoring lots of points.)
Alright, those are all fair points, bro. But the fact is, the Giants’ defense is having a solid year, earning their No. 10 spot in DVOA, and we all know how good the Seahawks’ D is. The Seahawks have had games of 12 points in Carolina, 20 in regulation against putrid Houston, 14 against putrid St. Louis and 19 in (not) putrid San Francisco. There’s always Eli Manning pick-six potential, but I think there’s a very good chance the Seahawks are kept under 20.
And the Giants offense is just awful all around and probably will score negative 300 points, which means the Seahawks could score 340 points and the game will still go under.
There’s also the option of the Giants’ team total under, but it’ll be about 17.5, and I like the regular under better.
Bet: UNDER 41.5 (-110), $55 to win $50
New York Jets (+11.5) over Carolina Panthers*
This is a great matchup for the Jets!
The Jets are reaaaaaallly struggling against the pass, but Carolina is a run-heavy team with an underwhelming receiving corps. They throw the ball just 52.09% of the time, which sorta sounds like middle-of-the-pack… but in today’s NFL, that’s 29th in the league.
And you can’t run on the Jets.
So, put all your money on Geno, right?
NO DON’T DO THAT.
This matchup is horrific for the Jets, on offense. I have absolutely zero faith in them to score a point.
In a game where the Jets will probably go ultra-conservative and try/fail to win a low-scoring, tight game, I don’t see how Carolina scores a lot of points, barring Geno pick-sixes. And there’s only like a 40% chance that Geno throws four pick-sixes on his seven pass attempts. And as you should know, a bet just needs a few percentage points of an edge to have a positive expected value.
So, fire away on the Carolina team total under, which is a bit too high.
Bet: Panthers team total UNDER, when it comes out, probably at 26, to win $200… most likely
Kansas City Chiefs (-3) over Oakland Raiders*
I am as down on the Chiefs as anybody, but I saw that this line opened at -3 (-120), and I spit out the air that was in my mouth, because I wasn’t drinking anything at the time.
I don’t expect you to believe me, though, so here is AIRTIGHT PROOF.
I must note that someone probably could have photoshopped that. However, if you knew me, you’d know that would have taken me about 137 hours, time that I don’t have. Also, I’d be really pathetic if I did that.
Bet: Chiefs -3 (-120), $240 to win $200
Green Bay Packers (+/- AMBIGUOUS) OVER Dallas Cowboys*
We must wait for the Aaron Rodgers announcement. I expect to be on the Packers if he plays, and on the Cowboys if he’s not, but it obviously depends on the spread.
UPDATE: It sounds like Rodgers won’t play, and that the line is 7… which means it’s gonna be cloudy and 100% chance of a teaser or moneyline parlay on Dallas. Stay tuned.
Arizona Cardinals (-2.5) over Tennessee Titans*
This is a must-win game for both teams, which is funny, because you’d think Arizona would be looking fairly good at 8-5, and that Tennessee would be dead at 5-8. Yet both are alive (and Tennessee is probably even more so, hilariously enough).
Effort will be high. (And so will Tyrann Mathieu, because he tore his ACL and LCL and will watch from the sidelines/home.)
Tennessee has played a few good defenses at home, and struggled mightily in all of those games. (Unless you count their 38-point explosion against the Jets, but you shouldn’t, because it was just Geno Smith handing balls off to Tennessee defenders, not understanding that’s not what a “QB toss” is). Dr. Ryan Patzfitrick has done absolutely nothing impressive since being forced to take over, barely beating the Raiders and losing to the struggling Colts (twice), as well as the Jaguars (ha) and Broncos (duh).
You could make an argument that Arizona has the best defense in the league (2nd in DVOA). Tennessee’s is average, maybe a bit better. These two offenses are very similar.
A few bits of tid for you:
Opponents throw on Arizona 63.85% of the time. That’s absurd. 2nd-most in the league (behind Carolina). This is a bad matchup for the Titans, because most of their offense comes on the ground, and everybody knows not to run on Arizona. (Though passing doesn’t go much better.) Regardless, you should not trust Dickpat Fitzrick against the Arizona pass defense.
But Arizona’s offense is the inverse of Tennessee’s, and Tennesee’s defense is the inverse of Zona’s. Arizona likes to pass. Teams don’t pass often on Tennessee. Blah blah numbers numbers… it’s a bad matchup for both offenses. I lean towards the under, but Pick Sixpatrick and Carson LOLmer make me far too nervous.
I don’t really know what to do here. I can’t NOT bet against Ryan vs. Arizona’s defense. I must make a small bet. The Cardinals held the EAGLES to 4.2 yards per play. That’s like holding Andy Reid to three wings in a wing-eating contest.
Bet: Cardinals -2.5 (-120), $60 to win $50
St. Louis Rams (+6) over New Orleans Saints*
New Orleans, against-the-spread, on the road: 1-5. (6-1 at home.) They don’t have a single easy win on the road, despite playing the Jets, Falcons and Bucs, three of the weakest teams in the NFL.
These teams are pretty even on defense, with the Saints starting the year with an elite pass defense and porous run defense, but having that even out a bit lately. The Rams are the opposite, with a pretty good run defense but a below-average pass defense.
The Saints give up 4.7 yards per rush, and Zac Stacy is very good. This scares me off New Orleans. But the Rams’ biggest strength is their pass rush, and Drew Brees rarely gets hit. This seems like a very similar matchup to Jets-Saints, which the Jets won. But the Saints moved the ball well in that game, and I think they can here.
Line seems perfect, I hate to say. So does the over/under. No opinion.
Detroit Lions* (-6) over Baltimore Ravens
Remember the time that Joe Flacco averaged 2.9 yards per attempt in a win(?) over Cincinnati, at home? That was fun.
The Ravens have a top-10 defense, but if you look at DVOA, they’re barely ahead of the Jets on offense, in 30th.
Sure, they might steal a touchdown or two against Detroit’s shaky secondary, but, shit, this offense is BAD. And Detroit scores on everybody. They also protect the quarterback better than anybody, which neutralizes Baltimore’s biggest strength. ‘Tis my favorite bet of the week, and I think it goes nicely with Philadelphia in a teaser, too.
Bets: Lions -6 (-110), $110 to win $100 AND TEASER: Eagles +1.5/Lions PK (-110), $220 to win $200
Houston Texans (+6) over Indianapolis Colts*
The Colts are incredibly weak for an 8-4 team and I’m not sure they deserve to be 6-point favorites here, based on the numbers… but I can’t back a deflated team with a fired coach. Stay away.
Washington Purple People Eaters (+7) over Atlanta Falcons*
This one seems perfectly-lined… the Falcons are slightly better and a good home team, but this is far too many points for one of the worst defenses in the league. I lean towards the over… but 51 is high.
And here is how I describe Kirk Cousins, in case you’re one of those people who thinks he’s god:
Just a warning, Kirk Cousins is a less-annoying, much-less-athletic, better-passing Tim Tebow. Be careful what you wish for.
(He’s not God. He just loves God.)
Chicago Bears (+1.5) over Cleveland Browns*
The Browns went ABSOLUTELY OFF on the Patriots last week… even through the air. Jason Campbell threw for 391 yards and 3 TDs. I don’t care what the score says; the Browns won that game, and they won in impressive fashion. But I honestly don’t know how it happened; I don’t know how they moved the ball so well.
I hate to overreact to one week, but maybe Jason Campbell doesn’t suck? And with people overreacting to Josh McCown beating a putrid defense at home, I don’t think there’s enough value here. Remember: Josh McCown lost at Minnesota and St. Louis, two of the worst teams and defenses in the league, the two weeks before. (Though I think the Browns and their joke of a run game is a better matchup than the Rams and Vikes.)
Pittsburgh Steelers* (+3) over Cincinnati Bengals
I like the Steelers a bit, but I have no idea why. I’ll also throw some stats at you, because they’re cool:
Cincinnati has scored a TD on 69.44% of red-zone appearances. That’s third in the NFL.
Pittsburgh has recovered just 36.67% of their fumbles (29th in the NFL). Cincinnati has recovered 58.06% of theirs (5th).
LATE ADDS: Panthers TT UNDER 24.5, Lions/Cowboys TEASER (2.5x)… Lions ML (-225) (2x).
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 email@example.com. I want to hear from you, friend.
Last Week’s Betting Record: 9-3 (.750) (+$1,081.67)
Since Limiting My Crazy, Overextended Self: 46-25 (.648) (+2,842.43)
Overall Betting Record 66-48 (.579) (+$884.09)
Dart-throwing record: 105-98 (.517)
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