Updated: Nov 11, 2019
By John Kaufman NFL Betting Analyst @ClevelandSpyder
Soooooo, yeah. The last three weeks have been dreadful around here. Last week I went 1-4, which puts me at 2-10 in the past three weeks. Holy smokes, that’s awful. But last week was one of the most bizarre NFL weeks I can remember in quite some time. I recommended Carolina +6 at San Francisco. The Panthers barely lost that game 51-13. Obviously, I am kidding. The 49ers crushed the Panthers. My bet was never even close to cashing.
However, there is good news: the silver lining from that loss wasn’t difficult to locate. In the past week I listened to the same podcasts and read the same articles that I typically do when researching information for the upcoming week’s games. Everyone that I listened to, and I mean everyone, took Carolina in that game. Everyone expected the Panthers to play much better than they did. So, I suppose I don’t feel that bad about my play. Still though, a loss is a loss. But as I mentioned in this week’s Across the Board Best Bets/DFS podcast (specifically from 50:29 – 55:57; that is my soliloquy on how focusing too much on results is a very poor way to determine how good or bad your decisions are), it’s always about process over results. I’m not making excuses for my poor record these past three weeks. But if the entire gambling world came to the same conclusion that I did about Carolina’s chances in that game, I feel better about my process being somewhat sound.
Therefore, let’s quickly recap week eight and then move on to week nine’s Best Bets, a week about which I am very excited. I haven’t liked a card all season long as much as I like this one. It’s time to make some money, y’all.
Week Eight Postmortem Results: 1-4 2019 Record: 12-14-1 46% win rate
NYJ +6.5 (-110) at JAX Result: LOSS (JAX 29-NYJ 15)
I thought Sam Darnold would bounce back after infamously seeing ghosts the week prior at home against New England. He didn’t. I thought he would play more like he did two weeks ago at Dallas. He didn’t. I thought the Jets’ defense would show up and give Gardner Minshew fits. They didn’t. I just whiffed on this one. Mark my words though, Sam Darnold is going to bounce back beginning this week at Miami. New York’s schedule will get significantly easier for the rest of the season, so I will definitely revisit the Jets at some point if I find some value in their point spreads. But in the interim we need to see Darnold put together a few solid performances before we waste anymore money betting on him.
BUF -2 (-115) vs PHI Result: LOSS (PHI 31-BUF 13)
The wind really played a factor in this game. There were gusts of over 25 mph, so neither quarterback threw the ball more than 20 yards in the air more than four times in that game. A game in which both teams were forced to run a lot and play solid defense against the run should have played right into Buffalo’s hands. Instead they got whipped at home. Josh Allen even played well all things considered, finishing the day with 169 passing yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. But he was Buffalo’s leading rusher on the day with only 45 yards. Frank Gore had 34 yards on nine carries, and Devin Singletary added just 19 yards on three carries. Buffalo’s problem was that they fell behind very quickly in the second half as Philadelphia scored a touchdown on the opening possession to go up 17-7. As I mentioned above, the wind was a major factor, so if either team fell behind by a lot it was going to be very difficult to pass their way back into the game.
Bottom line though, this was a bad call by me. I took Buffalo because of their massive edge in Early Down Success Rate (EDSR) over the Eagles. (You can find an excellent explanation of EDSR at SharpFootballAnalysis.com.) But Buffalo’s run-first offense inflated their EDSR edge, and I failed to recognize that. I won’t make that mistake again.
CAR +6 (-110) at SF Result: LOSS (SF 51-CAR 13)
I’ve spent enough time talking about this game. Carolina +6 was a good bet. Kyle Allen simply imploded and the 49ers rushing offense took care of the rest. Bad luck ruined this bet. Oh well. Time to move on.
GB at KC UNDER 48 (-110) Result: LOSS (GB 31-KC 24)
Ugh, this game. There was way more scoring in the first half than I thought there would be. Matt Moore didn’t struggle as much as I thought he might, and Andy Reid didn’t really slow things down much like I anticipated he would. One of the major issues with this bet was that Green Bay moved the ball very effectively against Kansas City’s sieve of a defense. Thus, the Chiefs were in catch up mode all game long and that sunk this bet. I’ll adjust my perception of Kansas City while Patrick Mahomes is injured and make sure to react accordingly.
Six Point Teaser of The Week: + 6 points, -110
Result: WIN TB +8 at TEN – Result: WIN (TEN 27-TB 23) LAC +10 at CHI – Result: WIN (LAC 17-CHI 16)
Hey! I won a bet! How novel.
Both teams should have won their games outright, but the referees blew a fumble recovery play dead too early, taking a return touchdown away from the Buccaneers and with it, a win. It has really been noticeable how bad NFL referees have been this year. If I were Bruce Arians, I would have been fined well over 100K after that game because I just wouldn’t have stopped telling the entire world how the refs stole a win from my team. That was an awful call and it cost an NFL team a win. That’s gross.
Regardless, we won that half of the teaser easily which was nice. The other leg was never in doubt either as Chicago played predictably poor even at home, and the Chargers won the game on the field. Easy betting wins are so nice.
NFL Week Nine – Best Bets
We have 13 more games of NFL action to focus on this week. The San Francisco 49ers edged out their division rival Arizona Cardinals this past Thursday night by a score of 28-25. It was an exciting and surprising game, as Kyler Murray and the Cardinals moved the ball fairly well against an impressive Niners defense. It wasn’t the rout that a lot of people expected, which is always nice to see from those Thursday night games.
The Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints all have byes this week.
Alrighty then. Let’s move on to the week nine action and see if we can’t make some money together!
IND -PICK- (-115) at PIT – 1:00 PM
Indianapolis is simply the better team in this game. They have the better quarterback, better offensive line, and better coach by frickin’ mile. Frank Reich should get way more credit for his hand in constructing Philadelphia’s potent offense when he was coaching there. He should also get a lot more credit for how good he has his Colts playing this year despite the fact that Andrew Luck retired a week before the season began. That is a massive issue to get over, but Reich and the Colts haven’t missed a beat. They are 5-2 this year, and that record includes wins at Kansas City and at home vs Houston. We’re backing the better team in this game, plain and simple. This line opened at Indianapolis -1.5 and has been bet down to even, so if you like the Colts like I do you may want to hold off on placing this bet until tomorrow morning. It may be Colts +1 or +1.5 then, so grab the extra points if you can. If it swings back the other way and you have to lay a point or a point and a half, that’s totally fine as well. I’d recommend this play all the way up to Colts -2.
OAK -2.5 (-110) vs DET – 4:05 PM
Believe it or not, Oakland hasn’t played a game at home in the past 49 days. They’ve been on the road or “at home” in London for a month and a half. They will be thrilled to be back in the Bay Area for this game.
Additionally, Oakland is a much better team than people realize they are. They gave the Texans all they could handle last weekend, almost winning that game. Box Score Scouts will look up their week seven 42-24 loss at Green Bay and say that the Raiders got destroyed. But the Raiders made multiple trips to the red zone that ended without points, including a bad fumble by Derek Carr that went out of bounds in the end zone resulting in a turnover for the Packers. If Carr just hangs on the ball while diving for the pylon, the Raiders go up 17-14 in that game. Instead, Green Bay turned that fumble into points the other way, a 14-point swing that hurt Oakland a lot. Despite losing by 18 to Green Bay, I liked what I saw from Oakland in that game.
The Raiders have a massive edge in EDSR over Detroit’s porous defense, and that’s the edge we’ll be exploiting in taking the Raiders in this game. Now, Oakland’s pass defense is pretty bad, so Matthew Stafford will probably end up having a great day stats-wise. But I don’t think that will be enough to win them the game, so I like the Raiders playing at home for the first time since Bush Jr. was President, especially since they’re laying less than a field goal.
TB +5.5 (-110) at SEA – 4:05 PM
I love this bet, perhaps more than any other I’ve recommended all year. Tampa Bay is going to win this game, or Seattle will pull it out at the very end on a last-second field goal or Russell Wilson touchdown drive. But the composition of these two teams’ rosters, in addition to the way that Seattle runs their offense leads me to love the Bucs in this game.
Tampa Bay has a massive edge in EDSR over Seattle. The Bucs are playing very well on first and second downs while Seattle is terrible at stopping opposing offenses on those downs. Also, the Seahawks are a fun-first offense to a fault. Regardless of their opponents’ strength or weaknesses, they won’t change their rushing-focused philosophy. Well, that’s going to bury them in this game because Tampa Bay has the NFL’s best rushing defense. They are impossible to run on, which means Seattle is going to struggle a lot. Perhaps they’ll have success throwing the ball against the Bucs’ atrocious secondary, but even if they do, they will fall back into their rushing habits in situations that simply won’t call for it. In other words, they’re their own worst enemy. And even if Seattle does manage to get a lead on the Bucs, they won’t be able to simply run out the clock since Tampa is so good against the run.
Last, Seattle defense is really poor. I know that Jameis Winston can be difficult to trust because he turns the ball over so much, but the Seahawks just don’t have the players to take advantage of that. Winston will make some questionable throws tomorrow. It’s what he does. But Seattle will struggle defending him because they just don’t have the players to do so. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are going to annihilate Seattle’s secondary as well. Obviously, you’re starting them in season-long fantasy leagues, but stacking them in your DFS lineups will be a smart strategy as well.
The edge that the Bucs have in those two areas of the game are huge, and they are the reason that we are taking the Bucs in this game. I would also sprinkle a little something on Tampa’s moneyline (+200) if I were you.
Six Point Teaser of the Week: +6 points, -110
JAX +7.5 vs HOU – 9:30 AM in London BAL +9.5 vs NE – 8:20 on SNF
(There is a teaser bet explanation below if you need it.)
I like the way Gardner Minshew and the Jaguars have looked on offense lately. Leonard Fournette is going to be a handful for a defense that wasn’t very good to begin with, and just lost J.J. Watt for the season. Fournette has had issues scoring touchdowns this year, but positive regression is coming, folks. I bet he scores three times tomorrow morning.
Houston’s offense should be fine against a middling Jaguars defense. But the Texans’ defense is a huge liability, which is why I like them in this teaser. Taking a short dog and moving them up through two key numbers (three and seven) is typically a smart bet to make, but it’s especially smart when the game features two division opponents. The Jags nearly beat the Texans the first time these two teams squared off, and that game was in Houston. I like Jacksonville to keep this one close, if not to win the game on the field.
Last weekend we all watched New England beat Cleveland largely because of three key turnovers by the Browns very early in the game. We also watched Nick Chubb and the Browns offensive line give the Patriots defense fits all day long. Despite being down two scores almost immediately after the kickoff, the Browns ran for 159 yards against New England. The Patriots are 8-0, but they’ve had one of the easiest schedules in the entire NFL this year. I’m not suggesting that New England’s record is entirely a product of their soft schedule. But in the NFL, who you play matters. And last week the Patriots played a solid rushing team and got exposed.
Fast forward to this week and the Patriots are traveling to Baltimore to take on the NFL’s second-best rushing offense. The are going to struggle containing Baltimore’s rushing attack. Don’t get me wrong; I fully expect the Pats to win this game. But this is going to be a tough game for New England’s defense and I fully expect the Ravens to be in this one the whole time. I love them getting nearly 10 points in this bet.
Alright y’all, that’s it for week eight. Good luck to us all this weekend!! Let’s cash some tickets!!
(TEASER BET EXPLANATION: In case you’re not familiar with a teaser, it’s a bet in which you get six points to manipulate the point spread and/or game total in a favorable direction. For example, in week two this year Denver was underdog against Chicago, as the Broncos were getting +2 points. In a teaser, you get to add six points to Denver’s line and increase it from +2 to +8. Or instead, if you liked Chicago in that game you could have taken the six points and teased their line from -2 to +4. Teasers are great ways to manipulate lines so that they’re more favorable to you. Last, just like a parlay, teasers must include two bets or more, and you must win all the legs in the teaser to win the bet. If you lose one leg of the teaser your whole bet is busted.)
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