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WEEK 5 BEST BETS: 4-4 (-2.13 units)
REGULAR SEASON BEST BETS: 23-23 (+1.77 units)
At 21-3, we felt great and I thought we would coast to an easy victory. As Chris Berman would say, “Not so fast my friend!” The Bears punched in a touchdown with just over a minute left in the first half, which was the start of 18 unanswered Chicago points. Trailing by one, our cover looked in doubt, but the backdoor was open. With a TD and a 2 point conversion, we cover. Taking this on the lookahead was the difference in cashing the ticket. The Vikings opened up 7 point favorites on Sunday night before closing -8.5. In sports betting, we make money on the margins. As far as moving forward, the Vikings continue their Jekyll and Hyde performance. They are good, but not great. The Bears are still playing hard because their record suggests they are better than they are. Once reality sets in, I expect a team I have rated as one of the worst in the NFL to be in free fall.
We steal some points on the lookahead here as this one closed SF -6, but let’s be honest, pleasers even covered this spread. This game was never in doubt which clearly was the final straw to break before Matt Rhule's firing. The Panthers aren’t playing hard, have one of the worst quarterback position groupings in the NFL, and there are reports of Christian McCaffrey getting traded. I’m not running to the window to fade them this week because teams tend to get a boost after coaches get fired, but I’m not sure Rhule was vilified in the locker room. This isn’t an Urban Meyer situation. The 49ers continue to be a team we want to back as they secure themselves in the top 4 of my Power Ratings, particularly against teams that can’t stop the run.
GB -1.5/TB -2.5 Teaser
We never made it to the second leg of our teaser because London was falling. The Packers blew a 17-3 lead to a team who’s best receiver on the day was projected to be cut this offseason, whose quarterback was limited all week in practice due to an ankle injury, whose star running back went to the locker room with a shoulder injury, and an offensive line of misfit toys. I proclaimed that GB was my favorite teaser leg this week. I was wrong and I’m absolutely stunned. After watching that first quarter unfold, I gave the Giants zero chance to score double digits, let alone come back and win the game. I don’t know what to make of the Giants. Their personnel is one of the worst in the league, yet they are 4-1. They are greater than the collection of their parts, which is in no small part due to the coaching of Daboll, Wink, and Kafka. Conversely, I have a very large play on the Packers laying a touchdown against another New York team that is playing over their heads. What could go wrong?
We grabbed this at the opener and we cashed early in the third quarter. This number was bet all the way up to 46.5 at some spots before some buyback pushed it back to 45 at close. Seattle is a team that is still under the radar, whose offense is better than the public realizes and whose defense is just as bad as expected. New Orleans got Kamara back, but Taysom Hill was the catalyst for their offensive output. Michael Thomas and Jameis Winston could play this week, but even if they don’t, the Saints may have figured out how to maximize Taysom Hill again, which could provide dividends moving forward.
It is tough to say how bad of a bet this was considering Teddy Bridgewater got hurt on the opening drive and Tyreek Hill was hampered later in the game. The Phins were forced to use their rookie 7th round draft pick for nearly the entirety of the game. He performed just as you would have expected. With that said, it was the Dolphins defense that truly let us down by giving up 40 points to the Jets. The Jets are now 3-2, are playing with a ton of confidence and for a coach that seems to be pressing all the right buttons. I really don’t know what to make of them at this point, but they are going to Lambeau and have to play a really pissed off, embarrassed team. As for the Dolphins, without clarity on their quarterback situation, I won’t be getting involved with them this week.
Here we have another play that didn’t sniff covering. The Rams have been dreadful of late and I backed them. I’m a huge believer that the Cowboys are overrated as a team because their defense is masking their offensive inefficiencies. I’d argue I was proven right in this one even if the results didn’t manufacture a win. Should we have pivoted to an under DAL team total instead (which would have lost anyway), possibly. With a quick fumble returned for a touchdown and the Rams completely unable to run the ball, the Cowboys pass rush could get down field all day and pressure Stafford. In hindsight, this was a bad matchup even if there was value based on my power ratings. I’m going back to the well with Philadelphia this week laying the 4.5, which may just be the measure of insanity.
CIN to Score First
Everything about this play happened just as expected. CIN has now received the ball for 3 straight games. This is the first time they didn’t score. If the Bengals are 90% to get the opening possession, but the book prices it at a 50% chance, I’ll live with the results. We lost, but it was the right play.
TEN to Score First
Tennessee didn’t receive the opening kickoff, but just like every other game this season, they have scored on the opening possession. Both of these plays are worthwhile until otherwise noted.
MIN -1/KC -1 Teaser
After hitting the front end of this teaser on Sunday, we waited until Monday night to figure out if we would cash. Unfortunately, the Chiefs got down big early and fought their way back to push this leg. KC was 4-4 in Red Zone opportunities, all four of which resulted in a Kelce touchdown. But the Raiders dominated the yard per play in this one, but the Chiefs ran 13 more plays. I did move KC down a hair after this one and gave the Raiders a bump.