Four Teams I’m Looking to Bet On Early in the NFL Season

After picking six teams I’m looking to bet against, I’ll be more positive in this article and recommend teams I’m looking to bet on. I’ll look to back these teams in individual games rather than win totals in most cases. There’s a risk betting over a team’s win total because an injury can impact everything about a team’s success. Also these win totals have been out for months so there isn’t much value left in August. Instead of waiting four months to learn the result of your bet, I prefer betting on the teams I like early in the season.

I have four teams I like but want to mention two before diving in. The Rams and Chargers are two teams I like a lot but so do a lot of people. The Rams win total is 10 and they are in a loaded NFC. It’s asking a lot of them to win 11 games. Instead of going over their win total, I tweeted that I bet them to win the NFC West at -135 because I’m down on the 49ers and Seahawks, who are the other two teams that could realistically win the division.

The Chargers win total is at 9.5 but they sit at +155 to win the AFC West. I wrote about betting against the Chiefs and Raiders so I’m considering a division bet on the Chargers. I’m interested in taking them -3 in Week 1 against the Chiefs too. I’ll tweet out whatever I end up doing with the Chargers.

Falcons- It would’ve been a very predictable outcome if the 2017 Falcons didn’t meet expectations after one of the worst Super Bowl losses in NFL history. Their play was up and down but they ended up going over a win total of 9.5 with a victory in Week 17. They were able to make the playoffs, upset the Rams and had a great chance of beating the eventual Super Bowl champion Eagles in Philadelphia. I think the Falcons’ offense will see positive regression in offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian’s second season in charge. I expect a strong year from the defense as Dan Quinn continues to develop players that fit his system. A win total at 9 seems a touch low and it’s tempting to take the Falcons in a Week 1 revenge game against the Eagles on the first Thursday night of the season.

Verdict: There are several ways to bet on the Falcons this season so I’m going to look to find spots early in the season to back them.  Continue reading

NFL Picks: Conference Championship Power Ratings and Cheat Sheet

 

Team (Home field) After Week 17 After Wild Card Round After Divisional Round
Patriots (3.5) 14 14 14
Jaguars (2.5) 9 8.5 9.5
Team (Home field) After Week 17 After Wild Card Round After Divisional Round
Vikings (3.5) 11.5 11.5 11.5
Eagles (3) 7 7 7
Game Wednesday line My line
Jaguars at Patriots Patriots -8.5 Patriots -8
Vikings at Eagles Vikings -3 Vikings -1.5

Breaking Down the NFC After Week 11

The NFC playoff picture started to take shape after key results in Week 11. The Vikings slowed down the Rams to maintain their lead the NFC North. The Eagles dominated the Cowboys to pretty much wrap up their division and put Dallas’ playoff hopes on life support. The Falcons scored a huge win in Seattle and the banged-up Seahawks look to have a challenging path to even making the postseason. Just like I did with the AFC yesterday, here is how I would rate 16 NFC teams.

Team Power Rating Record
Eagles 13 9-1
Saints 10 8-2
Rams 10 7-3
Vikings 10 8-2
Panthers 9.5 7-3
Falcons 9.5 6-4
Seahawks 7.5 6-4
Cowboys 7.5 5-5
Redskins 7 4-6
Lions 6.5 6-4
Buccaneers 3.5 4-6
Bears 3 3-7
Cardinals 2.5 4-6
Packers 1.5 5-5
49ers 1 1-9
Giants 0 2-8

As you can see the top half of this conference is far better than the top of the AFC. Out of the top eight teams in the whole league, six of them play in the NFC. A playoffs involving the Eagles, Saints, Rams, Vikings, Panthers are Falcons would be extremely fun. I think all six teams have a case to make the Super Bowl, unlike the AFC where I only see two contenders. We’ll get potential playoff previews in the last six weeks of the regular season as many of the top NFC teams still play each other.

The Cowboys and Seahawks were recently in the top part of my power ratings but multiple losses of star players forces me to downgrade both teams. At this point, I would be shocked if Dallas made the playoffs and the Seahawks look like they need to win the NFC West to be playing in January.

The Redskins have two less losses than the Lions but I think that Washington is a better team. The Redskins are coming off a stretch of games where they played the Eagles, Cowboys, Seahawks, Vikings and Saints. They went 1-4 in that stretch but three of those games were on the road, including the win in Seattle. Washington was also without key offensive lineman and their most consistent receivers for part of this brutal stretch. Their playoff hopes have greatly dwindled but I still would make them a favorite on a neutral field over the Lions.

The Lions are not as good as their record indicates but they could find themselves right back in the division race if they beat the Vikings on Thanksgiving. They would own the tiebreaker over Minnesota so it’s a must-win game for Detroit. They are still a team I will look to fade in the last six weeks of the season.

There’s a pretty big drop off between the Lions and the last six teams in my NFC rankings. The Buccaneers, Bears, Cardinals, Packers, 49ers and Giants are all below average. The Packers are 5-5 but are a completely different team when Aaron Rodgers is out. If Rodgers was healthy then the NFC would’ve been even more loaded.

How Bad Is the AFC?

The AFC is bad in 2017. But how bad is it?

To start the Jacksonville Jaguars are the third best team in the conference.

The 4-6 Los Angeles Chargers would only be underdogs against the Patriots, Steelers and Jaguars on a neutral field based off my numbers.

The New York Jets somehow have four wins.

The Texans and Dolphins are power rated by me in the bottom seven of the entire league but are only one game out of a playoff spot.

The Buffalo Bills are right in the middle of the playoff standings despite getting crushed in three straight games.

Below is a chart of my power ratings for just the 16 AFC teams with their record after Week 11:

Team Power Rating Record
Patriots 13 8-2
Steelers 11.5 8-2
Jaguars 9 7-3
Chiefs 8 6-4
Chargers 8 4-6
Titans 6 6-4
Raiders 6 4-6
Ravens 6 5-5
Bengals 5.5 4-6
Bills 4 5-5
Jets 3 4-6
Broncos 2.5 3-7
Dolphins 2 4-6
Texans 1.5 4-6
Colts 1 3-7
Browns -1 0-10

The Patriots and Steelers are two of the top three teams in the entire league. The Jaguars have an edge over the Chiefs and Chargers for third best in the AFC.

To compare it to the NFC, I would install the Eagles, Saints, Rams, Vikings and Panthers as a favorite over the Jaguars on a neutral field. The Falcons and Seahawks play tonight on Monday but they would be right at a pick ’em price against Jacksonville. The Cowboys would’ve also been above the Jaguars before they lost three of their most important players.

Hopefully this helps breakdown the weakness of this conference especially compared to the NFC, which is loaded this season. Here are some comments about all 16 AFC teams:

Patriots: The offense is rolling and the defense has played much better. I would currently have the Patriots as a five-point favorite against the Steelers in a potential AFC Championship Game in Foxboro.

Steelers: The most talented team in the league for me. Their no-show and almost loss to the Colts is typical under Tomlin. Following it up with a onslaught at home against the Titans was also not a surprise. I think Steelers would be a small favorite if they hosted the Patriots right now. The Week 15 game against New England could be huge for home field.

Jaguars: The defense is legit and they really have committed to the run game. But having this team as third best in the conference with Blake Bortles under center seems absurd but it’s perfectly fair.

Chiefs: They have lost four of five games after starting 5-0. Losing off a bye to a Giants team that has seemingly quit is a huge concern. Kansas has become predictable on offense and the defense is overmatched against superior teams. Looks like they’ll win one playoff game at best.

Chargers: So many painful losses but this team is starting to show how talented I thought they would be. Really good pass rush and cornerbacks. The offense is full of weapons but they can’t win close games. The timing of playing the Cowboys this week is optimal so the over 7.5 wins pick is still alive with six games to play. If they could only have the Dolphins and Jaguars games back.

Titans: Thought this team would take the next step this season but it’s hard to see them threatening any of the top teams in the AFC. They were overmatched on Thursday in Pittsburgh. They’re still in a good spot to make the playoffs but I have no interest in betting on them as favorites.

Raiders: Under 9.5 wins looks like the season win total bet of the season as they are 4-6. Still have a shot at the playoffs but this season has proved how lucky they were in 2016.

Ravens: I will make them the favorites to get a playoff spot after the improved to 5-5. The quarterbacks they have beat in their five wins are Andy Dalton, DeShone Kizer, EJ Manuel, Matt Moore and Brett Hundley. They also lost by 37 to the Jaguars and were defeated by Mitch Trubisky in his first career road start. It’s still a below average team but they will likely be favorites in four or five of their last six games.

Bengals: Really disappointing season but they have some life after winning in Denver. Crazy to think they closed as a four-point underdog in Pittsburgh four weeks ago.

Bills: Have to think they go back to Tyrod Taylor. If not you can lower them more in the power ratings. The defense has been horrible too.

Jets: As long as Josh McCown keeps playing, they will have a shot to win some games.

Broncos: I was down on the Broncos going into the season and looked totally wrong after four weeks. Since then they have lost six straight and their offense is unwatchable. Maybe Paxton Lynch will start soon and provide hope for the future.

Dolphins: Still don’t know how this team has won four games, including a huge comeback in Atlanta. America got to see how bad they are when they got three straight national tv games. Everyone knew their 2016 playoff season was fraudulent and I’m not sure they’ll win another game this season.

Texans: If Deshaun Watson is healthy then they might be AFC South favorites and the third best team in the conference. Instead they are the third worst team in the AFC with Tom Savage under center and cluster injuries on the defense.

Colts: Jacoby Brissett has been a pleasant surprise but they need a few good drafts.

Browns: The best 0-10 team ever?

NFL Picks: Saints vs Packers

This is probably the most intriguing NFL game of the season when it comes to the point spread. The betting market has spoken and downgraded Green Bay substantially after Aaron Rodgers’ broken collarbone. In comes Brett Hundley who has been a preseason star the last few months of August. I personally downgrade the Packers seven points, which would still only make the Saints a one-point favorite based off my numbers.

I explained in the beginning of this voice recording about why I like the Packers for the game so give it a listen: 

The spread has dropped to +4.5 so I will make this pick official before it goes any lower.

In the voice recording I mentioned a few other games I liked with my favorite being Redskins plus the points on Monday night. I’m still waiting to see where the point spread goes but will tweet as soon as I think I’m getting the best number on Washington.

Podcast: Week 8 College Football, Keeneland and Week 7 NFL

Andy and Nate review the recents upsets in college football along with the big games in Week 8 (1:30-24:30). They take a break from the football talk to discuss their recent trip to Lexington, Kentucky and Keeneland (24:30-28:00). Then Nate finishes the show with discussion about Aaron Rodgers’ injury and other key Week 7 games in the NFL (28:00-end).

NFL Picks: Week 7 Power Ratings and Cheat Sheet

Recorded a podcast this week. Below is the NFL only portion of the show breaking down Saints-Packers, Jets-Dolphins, Broncos-Chargers, Redskins-Eagles and a few more marquee games.

 

Team After Week 5 After Week 6
Patriots 11.5 11
Chiefs 11.5 11
Steelers 10.5 11
Eagles 10 10.5
Seahawks 10 10
Falcons 10.5 9.5
Panthers 10.5 9
Cowboys 9 9
Redskins 9 8.5
Vikings 8.5 8.5
Saints 8 8.5
Broncos 9 8
Titans 8.5 8
Bengals 8 8
Texans 7 7.5
Raiders 7.5 7
Bills 7 7
Rams 6.5 7
Chargers 6.5 7
Buccaneers 7 6
Lions 7 6
Ravens 7 6
Jaguars 6.5 6
Cardinals 4 5.5
Dolphins 4.5 5
Giants 3 5
Packers 11 4
Bears 3 3.5
49ers 3 3.5
Jets 2 2.5
Colts 1 1
Browns -1 -2
Game Lookahead Line Thursday Line My Line
Chiefs at Raiders Chiefs -2.5 Chiefs -3 Chiefs -1.5
Titans at Browns No line Titans -5.5 Titans -7
Jaguars at Colts Jaguars -3 Jaguars -3 Jaguars -2.5
Bengals at Steelers Steelers -7 Steelers -5 Steelers -5.5
Ravens at Vikings Vikings -3 Vikings -6 Vikings -5.5
Jets at Dolphins Dolphins -4.5 Dolphins -3 Dolphins -4
Buccaneers at Bills Bills -2 No line Bills -3.5
Panthers at Bears Panthers -4.5 Panthers -3 Panthers -3.5
Saints at Packers Packers -6.5 Saints -5.5 Saints -1
Cardinals vs Rams (London) Rams -3 Rams -3.5 Rams -1.5
Cowboys at 49ers Cowboys -4.5 Cowboys -6 Cowboys -4
Seahawks at Giants Seahawks -7.5 Seahawks -5 Seahawks -3
Broncos at Chargers Broncos -2.5 Chargers -1.5 Pick ’em
Falcons at Patriots Patriots -4 Patriots -3 Patriots -5
Redskins at Eagles Eagles -6.5 Eagles -4.5 Eagles -5