Week 6 lived up to the billing that I had given it in my betting preview, and it was a pretty difficult week to handicap. There were a number of games that could have gone either way, so overall I’m pleased that I finished Sunday with a 7-5 ATS record and hit on two out of my three recommended wagers. There were some games that I predicted extremely accurately, and some where I just missed completely.
Anyways, without further ado, here were my thoughts from Week 6.
Browns @ Bengals
Closing Odds: Bengals -2, total 42
Predicted Outcome: Browns 24, Bengals 20
Actual Outcome: Browns 34, Bengals 24
This game pretty much went exactly as I thought it would. Both Andy Dalton and the Bengals continue to be overrated by the general public. Dalton’s decision making was terrible once again as he tossed three interceptions right into the hands of Browns’ defenders. Cleveland should have went down in flames when Trent Richardson got hurt, but they somehow managed to continue torching the Bengals’ defense. I used to be able to blindly bet on Cincinnati against bad teams, but I can’t even be sure of that anymore. The return of cornerback Joe Haden was huge for the Browns as he was able to limit A.J. Green until the Browns went into a prevent defense late in the game (yes, I’m aware Green put up huge numbers in garbage time). Cleveland should really savor this win because I doubt they’re going to pick up many more this season. The Browns travel to Indianapolis next week and the Colts will be motivated after getting embarrassed by the Jets.
Colts @ Jets
Closing Odds: Jets -3, total 44
Predicted Outcome: Colts 19, Jets 10
Actual Outcome: Jets 35, Colts 9
I admittedly should have seen this coming. I thought that both teams would be in a huge flat spot here but I should have realized that this was the Jets’ final game of a three game home stand, and that they had lost the previous two. That’s a huge motivational factor right there. New York rushed for a whopping 252 yards and it was clear that Indianapolis was not equipped to deal with the Jets’ physical offensive line. Somehow the Colts managed to make Shonn Greene look like he was capable running back which is pretty difficult to accomplish nowadays. Mark Sanchez greatly benefited from New York’s rushing attack as he was only asked to throw the ball 18 times and didn’t commit any turnovers. It should be noted that Sanchez threw for only 82 yards on those 18 attempts which is just plain pathetic. The Jets will travel to Foxborough to take on the Patriots next week and I really can’t envision any scenario in which the Patriots don’t win in a blowout.
Chiefs @ Buccaneers
Closing Odds: Buccaneers -5, total 39.5
Predicted Outcome: Chiefs 20, Buccaneers 13
Actual Outcome: Buccaneers 38, Chiefs 10
This final score is not an indicator of how this game went down. Don’t get me wrong, the Chiefs did not deserve to win this game whatsoever, but they did get a little bit unlucky. With the game still within reach in the third quarter, the Chiefs were on the move as Brady Quinn was finally getting into a rhythm. On a third and short, Quinn hit Dexter McCluster on a slant and appeared to have a first down, but E.J. Biggers poked the ball out of McCluster’s hands and Ronde Barber grabbed a hold of it literally an inch off the ground. Barber took the interception return 78 yards for a touchdown and sealed the game. With Kansas City’s quarterback situation, they’re just not built to play from behind, and consequently this game became pretty lopsided. I’m still not sold on the Bucs. I’d love to bet against them next week but I’m not sold on the Saints either so I don’t know what I’m going to do with that game. Kansas City hits the bye at the perfect time because they’re in complete disarray right now.
Raiders @ Falcons
Closing Odds: Falcons -10, total 49
Predicted Outcome: Falcons 42, Raiders 20
Actual Outcome: Falcons 23, Raiders 20
I really didn’t see this coming. The Falcons were the most publicly backed side of the day and that usually sets off an alarm bell in my head, but for some reason I overlooked that clear indicator. If you look at the stat line for this game, you’re probably wondering how Oakland didn’t win in a blowout. The Raiders were dominant from start to finish but they were extremely undisciplined, committing 12 penalties for 110 yards. If Oakland wasn’t so poorly coached, the Falcons would be a one loss team right now. Instead, Atlanta heads into their bye still undefeated after narrowly scraping out three straight games against the Panthers, Redskins, and Raiders. Matt Ryan was particularly awful in this game throwing three interceptions against a terrible Raiders’ secondary. I’ll try not to overreact too much to what I’ve seen in recent weeks, but it’s hard to think that Atlanta is the best team in the NFC right now with the way they’ve played recently. As for Oakland, they still stink. Every once and a while they pull some horseshoes out of their ass and play well against good teams, but that’s more of an exception to the rule.
Cowboys @ Ravens
Closing Odds: Ravens -3, total 45
Predicted Outcome: Cowboys 26, Ravens 21
Actual Outcome: Ravens 31, Cowboys 29
I don’t know how the Ravens continue to pull out these victories. They were absolutely dominated in all facets of the game for a second straight week, but again, they end up on the winning end. Dallas outgained Baltimore in total yards 481-316 and held the ball for over 40 minutes which you almost never see nowadays. While the Ravens usually find a way to win these types of games, the Cowboys almost always manage to find a way to lose these types of games, and this week they were cooked by a 108-yard kick return touchdown and a predictable 13 penalties. I’m sure people will think that the Cowboys are back to being a good team, but the truth is that they should have won this game handily. They’ll probably lose in Carolina next weekend. As for Baltimore, how in the hell are they going to stop Houston’s ground game next weekend? They’ve given up 200+ yards rushing in back-to-back weeks and are consistently getting dominated at the point of attack. This isn’t the same Ravens’ defense from years past. Baltimore isn’t an upper echelon team and while the loss of Ray Lewis won’t hurt them (that’s right, Lewis is merely an average player nowadays), they’re going to have a really tough time replacing Lardarius Webb going forwards.
Lions @ Eagles
Closing Odds: Eagles -3.5, total 47.5
Predicted Outcome: Eagles 24, Lions 23
Actual Outcome: Lions 26, Eagles 23 (OT)
The Eagles did their best Cowboys’ impression this week and found a way to lose a game that they had no business losing. Matt Stafford was atrocious for three quarters but the Eagles just couldn’t find a way to pull away from the Lions. Michael Vick is going to rightfully get a bunch of blame for continuing to turn the ball over, but at some point, someone has to point a finger at Andy Reid. His play calling is absolutely atrocious and he continuously puts Vick in terrible situations. It amazes me that Reid is still an NFL head coach and not working as a prison security guard somewhere. The Eagles really need to work on re-tooling their offense in their bye week because their defense is holding up their end of the bargain. As for the Lions, I was pretty impressed that they were able to come back in this game considering they were completely inept for the first three quarters. I’m glad they did win though because this will create some sort of public perception that the Lions are turning things around. They aren’t. They’re still the same joke of a team that opened the year 1-3 and they’ll still be a great team to fade for the rest of the season.
Rams @ Dolphins
Closing Odds: Dolphins -5, total 38
Predicted Outcome: Dolphins 23, Rams 3
Actual Outcome: Dolphins 17, Rams 14
I was strongly considering betting on the Dolphins this week, but ultimately I decided against it because I couldn’t trust them to score enough points to cover. I’m glad I didn’t have any money on this game because I would have been pulling my hair out. The Dolphins were outgained 462-192 in total yards but somehow managed to win the game. They were awful. Miami only won this game because Rams’ kicker Gregg Zuerlein did his best Billy Cundiff impression and proceeded miss three field goals. Both of these teams are teams that you want to bet on as an underdog but fade as a favorite. I should have recognized that but I didn’t think Sam Bradford would be able to move the ball consistently. Bradford played extremely well and somehow the Rams were able to pound the rock against the Dolphins’ outstanding run defense. St. Louis will be a home dog against Green Bay next weekend and I don’t think I’ll be able to pass up on the Rams in that spot. They’re playing extremely motivated football under Jeff Fisher.
Patriots @ Seahawks
Closing Odds: Patriots -4, total 43
Predicted Outcome: Seahawks 21, Patriots 19
Actual Outcome: Seahawks 24, Patriots 23
It didn’t look like the Seahawks stood a chance in this game midway through the fourth quarter, but once again they found a way to pull it out. I had a good amount of money on the Seahawks in this game, but I admittedly wanted to vomit when I watched Pete Carroll celebrating on the sideline. Man, I hate that guy. Seattle now owns home victories over Dallas, Green Bay, and New England which is truly an outstanding feat. The Seahawks had no answer for Tom Brady and the Patriots’ passing attack for most of the game, but a couple of timely turnovers allowed them to hang around. In years past, the Patriots would almost always find a way to win these close games, but things haven’t gone their way this season. They’ll get to take their frustrations out on the Jets next weekend. As for Seattle, they’ll probably be highly overrated heading into San Francisco for Thursday Night Football. The Seahawks are an elite team at home, but merely an average team at on the road. I doubt they’re going to hand the 49ers a second consecutive home loss.
Bills @ Cardinals
Closing Odds: Cardinals, total 44.5
Predicted Outcome: Cardinals 23, Bills 14
Actual Outcome: Bills 19, Cardinals 16 (OT)
I’m kicking myself for not taking the Bills here. After back-to-back blowouts, the Bills were out to prove that they aren’t terrible, and while they didn’t play their best game, any road win in the NFL is impressive. Buffalo finally got back to running the ball and taking the ball out of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s hands. This will definitely be their most effective strategy going forwards so kudos to Chan Gailey for figuring things out. Buffalo is a far cry from a good football team right now but they have a winnable game at home to Tennessee next weekend and they still have a chance to turn their season around. As for the Cardinals, I’m still not ready to write them off just yet. They would have (and should have) won this game if Jay Feely hit a short kick as time expired, and the loss of Kevin Kolb didn’t help either. I actually think that John Skelton is a better quarterback than Kolb, but you never want to have a quarterback coming in cold in the fourth quarter. Arizona’s really got to get their offensive line problems fixed in time for next week’s meeting with Jared Allen and the Vikings.
Vikings @ Redskins
Closing Odds: Vikings -2, total 44
Predicted Outcome: Redskins 24, Vikings 17
Actual Outcome: Redskins 38, Vikings 26
After jumping out to an early 9-0 lead, the Vikings completely fell apart. Minnesota settled for field goals on their first three drives and when Robert Griffin III eventually found his legs, the Vikings just couldn’t keep up. Washington is a really tough team to play against because of their ability to run the ball. The ‘Skins could easily be 4-2 right now if RGIII didn’t leave last week’s game against Atlanta due to injury. We’ll get a good indication of how good Washington is when they travel to East Rutherford to play the Giants next weekend. As for Minnesota, most people will probably be down on them after this week, but I’m still impressed by them. Christian Ponder made a couple of uncharacteristic mistakes this week and is definitely more of a game manager than a game changer, but I think he’ll be pretty reliable going forwards. It was only a matter of time before the Vikings were going to have a bad game. They’ll have to avoid a look ahead spot when they host Arizona this week as they have a Thursday night national TV home game on deck.
Giants @ 49ers
Closing Odds: 49ers -7, total 47
Predicted Outcome: Giants 20, 49ers 17
Actual Outcome: Giants 26, 49ers 3
This was billed as the marquee matchup of Week 6 in the NFL, and I ended up watching a grand total of 15 minutes of this game. While I’m not surprised that the Giants won this game, I’m very surprised that they won in such devastating fashion. The Giants made the 49ers look worse than the Browns, and that’s a hard thing to do. On a complete side note, I’ve always hated the notion of a “revenge game”. If anything, I’ve felt that the team that won the first game would always have the upper hand in the second game because they know that they can win. I don’t think that this one game proves my hypothesis but you definitely won’t hear me throwing around the term “revenge game” ever again. Anyways, everyone will be wondering what’s wrong with the 49ers, but there’s nothing actually wrong with them. Even the best teams in the league lay an occasional egg and this just happened to be San Francisco’s week to do so. I fully expect them to be ready to play against the Seahawks on Thursday. As for the Giants, this was a huge statement game for them, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them show up flat at home to Washington next week.
Packers @ Texans
Closing Odds: Texans -4, total 47
Predicted Outcome: Packers 27, Texans 24
Actual Outcome: Packers 42, Texans 24
As I wrote in my betting preview, this was the perfect time to buy low on the Packers and sell high on the Texans. You won’t get Green Bay as a 4-point underdog at any other point this season so there was some extreme value with that line. Aaron Rodgers was simply in F-U mode last night. The Texans’ defense decided to try and play man-to-man with the Packers’ wideouts on the outside, and they got torched all night. I doubt you’ll see another defense attempt that again this season. Green Bay could have easily been 4-1 instead of 2-3 heading into last night’s game, so they were out to prove something, but this performance will definitely have them overvalued going forward. As for Houston, I’m not ready to dismiss them as an elite team. Great teams play bad games and this was definitely a bad game for the Texans. They still have a great stop unit and the best rushing attack in the league, so they’ll be fine come January.
All in all, Week 6 was slightly above average, but based on the reaction of most people on my Twitter feed yesterday, I may have been one of few people to have a winning week. I’ve been on a great run picking primetime games, so hopefully I can end this week continuing that trend.
Monday Night Football pick
I’m going to get straight to the point here. I like the Chargers. San Diego was laying 2.5-points in the Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread, but because of a perceived poor performance against the Saints on Sunday Night Football last week, they’re down to 1-point faves, and even a pick’em in some spots. If the Chargers weren’t the victims of some horrible officiating, they probably would have won that game, but most people don’t realize that. Also, the betting public LOVES betting on Peyton Manning in primetime games as Manning is 10-5 ATS in his career on Monday Night Football, so that creates a little bit of line value with the Chargers as well.
I’ve heard the Manning vs. Rivers comparisons all week, but in my opinion, Ryan Mathews is the key to this game. Mathews is coming off his best game of the season and he absolutely gashed Denver last season, rushing for 262 yards in two games. Mathews also averages 127.3 rushing yards and a score against the Broncos in his career. He should be in for another big game against a Broncos’ defense that gave up 251 yards rushing to the Patriots last week.
On the other side of things, it will be interesting to see how much confidence Peyton Manning has in his lead back after Willis McGahee fumbled away last week’s game against New England. If Peyton tries to win this game with his arm, he’ll be throwing into a San Diego defense that has picked him off 11 times in the last three meetings. That’s not a typo. The Chargers’ defense owns Manning.
In the end, Denver is 0-2 on the road and has trailed by 20 or more points in each of those games. Meanwhile, San Diego comes back home following their loss to New Orleans, and is 4-0 both straight up and against the spread in their last four games following a loss. Chargers 27, Broncos 20
Week 7 Early Lines
Last but not least, the early lines for Week 7 have been posted. Here are my thoughts:
Seahawks @ 49ers -7 - I really think that there’s some line value with San Francisco here. Had the 49ers beaten the Giants, this line probably would have been around 10. This spread will probably generate 50/50 action.
Titans @ Bills -3.5 - I think the Bills will be heavily backed here. The Titans played well against the Steelers on Thursday night but I think it’ll take another one of those performances to get back some of the betting public.
Cardinals @ Vikings -5.5 - I can’t imagine people wanting to bet the Cardinals right now after two straight losses. This could be a look ahead spot for Minnesota though as they have a Thursday Night Football game on deck.
Browns @ Colts -3 - This line suggests that the Colts & Browns are even teams. I’m not so sure I agree with that and I’m not sure most other bettors will either. I think Indy will take in a lot of action here.
Ravens @ Texans -4.5 - The Ravens will likely be a publicly backed underdog. People don’t realize how important cornerback Lardarius Webb is to the Baltimore defense and everyone just watched the Texans get blown out on national TV.
Packers @ Rams +5.5 – The Packers will be the most heavily bet team this week. “The Packers at less than a touchdown…Sign me up!”. It won’t matter to the public that the Packers lost in this exact same spot two weeks ago against the Colts.
Cowboys @ Panthers +2 - Even with the Panthers coming off of a bye, everyone will be betting the Cowboys here. Dallas is coming off of an emotional loss so they’ll probably be flat.
Redskins @ Giants -6.5 – I think there will be close to 50/50 action here. The Giants are being (incorrectly) crowned as the team to beat in the NFC, but the public also loves RGIII.
Saints @ Buccaneers +3 - It’s hard to justify the Saints being a road favorite against anyone right now, but the public still thinks New Orleans is a good team. They’ll get close to 80% of the action in this game.
Jets @ Patriots -10.5 – I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I think the Jets will be a publicly backed underdog. The Patriots’ stock couldn’t be lower right now.
Jaguars @ Raiders -4 - I doubt anyone will be willing to bet on the Jaguars here. The Raiders aren’t much better than Jacksonville but the public seems to think so.
Steelers @ Bengals +2.5 – The Steelers are a big public team and the Bengals are coming off of a loss, meaning Pittsburgh will see a ton of action here. Pittsburgh has been terrible on the road in recent years so this one will be interesting.
Lions @ Bears -5 - Even with the Lions’ victory this weekend, I think that the Bears will see most of the action at this spread. If the line was somewhere around a touchdown, I could see more people taking Detroit.