NFL Machine Learning Picks - Week 14

Admittedly, it was a disappointing week last week. The "locks" didn't perform as well, yet all other picks (honorable mentions and others) did perform. The Rams (free pick of the week) was an easy pick and so money. But what was I thinking to bet against Russel Wilson during primetime? He's the captain of the Captain's class, can't do that. As much as I enjoy betting the Patriots, they are on timeout until I see that offense do something. We did have BUF, CIN, and SF (risky) clear the ATS and Atlanta as bad as they looked didn't cover by a point.

As for this week, I'm excited about the picks the models arrived at. Although my models use offensive and defensive stats, it's educational to look at the difference DVOA metrics for each game. That's why now in every analysis, you will see me make a case or double down on say a weak rushing D against a strong rushing offense.  

As it's been throughout the season, my full results and analysis are available on the NFL Pickles Rokfin channel. I gave you the Rams last week, here's this week's pick and it's TNF. If you make money off it, come support me at Rokfin, it's only $9.99 and you can cancel at any time. This week we go 3-0. Let's goooooo!

Baltimore -6 correct NFL point spread pick
Lamar Jackson is a QB freak and the point spread hasn't caught up yet. The most confidence game from my models to the best team in the league right now? I'm all in. Buffalo's defense is good, but it won't be able to stop this rush threat from the Ravens just like the Patriots defense wasn't able to either. Their weakness is the rush (Buf ranked #22 in rush D) and against by far the #1 rush offense on the league. The strength of schedule is 4 standard deviations different, the easiest schedule (Buf) against the toughest schedule yet (Bal). The sharps so far are also all over Baltimore. This is a game the books are going to regret they didn't put at double digits and yet it's at less than a TD. Money!

Dallas -3 

For the first time this year, the Bears are homedogs. Part of that it's probably because they are dead last in the ATS Standings sitting at 3-9 ATS (2-4 at home). This Chicago defense is ranked 11th because it hasn't been consistent. It's overrated by the public. Now it's facing one of the toughest offenses in the NFL (Dallas #2 offense in DVOA). The Cowboys just had a tough loss (as predicted here) against Buffalo which signals recency bias. Before that, they only scored 9 points against the Patriots. They have scored lots more against good defenses like the Eagles and the Vikings. Their defense isn't that good, but their weakness is mostly against the pass. That means the Bears will depend heavily on Trubisky. Do I need to say more? I love the Bears, they're my team, but Trubisky isn't the guy and just like Cutler, they will stick to their horrible decision for years to come. My models have the Cowboys winning by a TD and covering the spread with 60% confidence.

Tennessee -3 correct NFL point spread pick
My models love this situation and that's why it's at over 58% confidence. A road favorite by 3 mainly getting only 3 because they're on the road and over estimating the home field advantage. The Titans have another freak in Derrick Henry. He's averaging over 150 yards per game in the last 3 games with 5 TD. How is Oakland's #26 rush defense going to stop this beast? Since Ryan Tannehill is taking care of the ball better and hitting the endzone a couple of times a game, opening up the running game. This team is on a streak since Mariotta left and it's a serious contender for the wildcard, while Oakland looks like they're already in a Vegas mindset. Love this situation. Let's goooo!

Atlanta -3 correct NFL point spread pick

Julio Jones is playing! Without him, Matt Ryan is a disaster. Josh Allen is horrible. Tight End Greg Olsen isn't playing for the Panthers and coach Rivera is out. Carolina's defense is bottom 5 in the league, especially against the pass. Atlanta has a passing field day and covers the 3 points. Lock this up.

***Honorable Mentions***

Washington +13 correct NFL point spread pick
Not in love with the situation, but didn't want to take it out based on pure emotions. My models think that 13 points is just too much. The Redskins as bad as they are, especially their offense, have managed to stay under 13 against the Vikings, 49ers, and Cowboys. Yes, they got blown out by the Jets, Bills and Patriots. Not too excited either about the QB matchup here. 57% doesn't make my cut for betting so I'll probably pass on this one.

Kansas City +3 correct NFL point spread pick
When the Patriots won the Super Bowl last year, I won a friendly bet that paid with the Bet Against Us t-shirt. The models are mixed some having still the Patriots covering but on average and the better ones have KC with decent confidence. The Chiefs have the two Williams RBs questionable for Sunday so we'll have to where that goes. I am worried that Bellichick will run the ball more on this game and exploit the #30 rush D. It probably won't be enough for #3 offense in the NFL. Tom Brady yelling at his receivers is probably bad blood in the locker room. Never bet against them, but this seems to be the point where the Patriots truly collapse.

GameVegas LineEstimateDiffConfidence
BALTIMORE @ BUFFALO6.022.316.363.6
TENNESSEE @ OAKLAND3.08.85.858.7
CAROLINA @ ATLANTA-3.0-10.5-7.558.0
WASHINGTON @ GREEN BAY-13.0-310.057.1
CINCINNATI @ CLEVELAND-9.0-11.4-2.456.1
SF @ NEW ORLEANS-2.59.411.953.2
SEATTLE @ LA RAMS1.0-5.9-6.942.7