NFL Picks and Betting Strategies - Week 3

Overrated home teams, Goliath beats David, and other opportunities on week 3 of the NFL.

Wild & exciting week 2! One of my favorite strategies that we've talked in the past came true in two games and if you follow me on Twitter, you could've capitalized on MNF. Strong teams blow out weak teams. The spread is hardly ever above 14 and many strong teams blowout their opposition by more than two touchdowns.

On MNF we saw the undermined by recency bias Green Bay Packers cover a double digit spread against a weak prey in the Detroit Lions & Jared Goff. Tampa Bay also took care of their double digit spread against Atlanta triggered by their defense and Tom Brady wanting to get TDs under his belt. The Bills and Miami a similar story but one could argue Miami wasn't as weak as the latter two but the Bills were also under rated from their first week loss. 

Unfortunately this week there's only one double digit spread and it's Denver which wouldn't be categorized as "strong" just yet. The second highest spread, Baltimore against Detroit, could be an interesting one. At 8.5 road favorites, the Ravens are coming off a big win and should cruise in Detroit and players will be eager to gather stats into their game logs. 

The machines were trained and the numbers crunched. Below are the model outputs. We talk about 4 games that look interesting against the spread. There were like 4 QBs that went down last week so we have to be careful with back QBs and just sit out of those games to see how they perform. 

Here's the breakdown on games where there seems to be something off with the spread:

NEW ORLEANS +3
The Saints are going to Foxborough and these two teams are considered equal by putting a spread of 3 for the home team. But are they? The Saints are coming off a really poor offensive performance against the Panthers. Winston threw 0 TD and 2 INT and they rushed for a total of 48 yards, 19 from Winston himself. Maybe we are underestimating the Panthers D? The Patriots beat the Jets, c'mon man! In terms of ranking of defenses and offenses they might be the same, but the variability is worth noting. New Orleans has been the most night and day team so far while New England has been consistently ranked upper 20s on both sides of the ball on both games. It won't be another dark night for the Saints and they not only cover but win outright. 

GREEN BAY +3.5
Another prime time game for Aaron Rodgers and he's an underdog? Against Garoppolo? This is too good to be true. Sure they have also been night and day, but Rodgers won't be consistently bad. There's no other QB that can throw like he did on Monday. The defense might be the issue for the Packers especially on the ground where SF can take advantage. The 49ers are currently ranked 13th in defense but that's just two games and in one of them they allowed 33 points to the Lions. This means that GB will score big which will force SF to throw the ball and with Garoppolo that means game over, Packers roll. 

Get my other two takes and the results of the statistical models free on Rokfin

NFL Point Spread Model Outputs 2021 - Week 2

All statistical models need data. Without counting the pre-season, this year has given us 1 week of data. Although one can use data from last season, which we do, there's just not enough to make conclusive decisions for this week. 

If you have followed my blog for the past 14 years, you know I stay away in any significant way from week 1 to 5. To have fun watching games, throwing a .1 unit is fine, but even that, you know it's lost, could get lucky though. 

Last week we got a glimpse of a few surprises. 

The RAMS are good or the Bears are horrible
Could definitely be a little bit of both. The Bears defense, especially the secondary, is no good. Fade them against good QBs, yeah Stafford included. The Rams with Stafford might be a big deal, but the cat is not out of the hat yet. 

The Saints Still the Most Balanced Team
Winston looked good. He will throw the picks, but he will keep throwing. Stopping the Packers offense is no easy feat. They have good defense, a good offense, and even a top 10 special teams. They will, at some point, be over-rated but probably not yet for week 2. 

Arizona and Philadelphia Surprise
Both teams played well. Both ranked top 5 in offense and defense for last week. But this smells like low sample size bias and they should regress to the mean.

TEN, ATL, DET, JAX, GB Sucked
Mostly expected except for the Packers and Tennessee. I expected Julio Jones to be a bigger presence in Tennessee and probably they will target him more this week. The other 3 teams seems like fade every week type of teams.

That's it for this week's take. Sorry for the late Thursday night post (not before TNF), but did wanted to share what the model outputs are using last week and last year's second half of the season.

As always, give my channel a follow on Rokfin.com/nflpickles and subscribe to get my premium picks starting on week 5; oh and you also get access to a bunch of political and wrestling content. 

Game Vegas Line Estimate Diff % Conf.
LAS VEGAS @ PITTSBURGH -5.5 -10.8 -5.3 68.2
NEW ORLEANS @ CAROLINA 3.5 15.0 11.5 60.8
KANSAS CITY @ BALTIMORE 3.5 11.5 8.0 60.8
ATLANTA @ TAMPA BAY -12.5 -11.6 0.9 60.7
LA RAMS @ INDIANAPOLIS 3.5 7.2 3.7 60.4
CINCINNATI @ CHICAGO -2.5 -7.3 -4.8 56.5
NEW ENGLAND @ NY JETS 5.5 1.7 -3.8 54.9
TENNESSEE @ SEATTLE -5.5 4.0 9.5 53.6
MINNESOTA @ ARIZONA -3.5 -5.2 -1.7 52.4
DENVER @ JACKSONVILLE 6.0 -5.5 -11.5 50.8
DALLAS @ LA CHARGERS -3.5 0.7 4.2 50.7
BUFFALO @ MIAMI 3.0 4.5 1.5 48.1
DETROIT @ GREEN BAY -11.0 -8.1 2.9 46.2
NY GIANTS @ WASHINGTON -3.5 -1.6 1.9 45.6
SAN FRANCISCO @ PHILADELPHIA 3.0 2.8 -0.2 44.9

6 Teams Covered Over 60% of the Time, Who Will It Be in 2021?

There were also 6 other teams that only covered less than 40%. Accurately finding these teams from the beginning is a jackpot strategy for the season.

Pick your pony! Or ponies... Last year there were 6 teams that didn't cover the spread over 60% of the time and and 6 teams that covered the spread 60% of the time. If you bet against and for these teams respectively all season long, you come out winning big. Let's take a look:

2020 Over-rated teams (covered the spread <40%)

CLEVELAND 6-10 37.5%

NY JETS 6-10 37.5%

MINNESOTA 6-10 37.5%

ARIZONA 6-10 37.5%

DALLAS 5-11 31.2%

HOUSTON 5-11 31.2%


CLEVELAND

Does Cleveland's "stacked" team continue to be over-rated in 2021? It might not. Many "experts" gave their first pick of the draft an A by grabbing Newsom who will protect against the pass more effectively than they have. On their second pick, they selected Anthony Schwartz who could've been the fastest player in the whole draft giving Baker a shot at long passes. Not a big fan on the volatility of the Browns, but they might get out of the <40% ATS in 2021.

NY JETS

Zach Wilson already being compared to Mahomes? He's got worked to do, but it was the right move for the Jets to pick the best QB available. On their second pick, they select an offensive lineman in Alijah Vera-Tucker to protect the young QB. Their defense wasn't horrible (a bit below avg) so I think the Jets will be out of these and won't finish as one of the teams under 40. 

MINNESOTA

I'm not a fan of Kirk Cousins so that makes me biased. They have plenty of weapons in the offense with Jefferson and Thielen and finished last year with one of the top 10 offenses in the league. Despite that, they were able to finish just below 40% even with an impressive run in the end. Kirk will be Kirk and this team stays under 40.

ARIZONA

Kyler Murray is too short to be a franchise QB, there I said it. Even though I'm 5'7" and always looking for short athletes to succeed, I'm not getting the Altuve vibe from Murray. The offense finished 20th overall in the league and they drafted a LB on their first pick. For their second pick, the selected a 5'7" receiver in Moore. This midget team is going nowhere and it might be a good strategy to just bet against every week and come out +60% on it.


Keep reading on Rokfin and see my picks for which ponies I'm gonna ride this year.




 

"Defense Wins Championships" - Part 2 - Myth or Fact for Super Bowl


Last year, I wrote a piece on whether defense wins championships in the Super Bowl. It was an interesting analysis, given that last year's Super Bowl was clearly a big offense in KC vs a strong defense in the 49ers. We busted that myth, bet on the Chiefs, and put another Super Bowl win under our belt. This year, things are a little bit different. Let's get into it. 

We have arguably the best offense in the 2020 Chiefs against the best defense in the Bucs. But the buc doesn't stop there. It's not like the Bucs have a weak offense or the Cheifs have a weak defense. The plot above has the last 31 Super Bowl winners by DVOA and take a look. You can quickly see where KC falls on the chart. Pretty close to where they were last year but better on offense. 

Read the rest at https://rokfin.com/article/3292/Defense-Wins-Championships--Part-2--Myth-or-Fact-for-Super-Bowl

Conference Championship NFL Point Spread Picks

You're not gonna like this week's picks. You could be better off betting against them. I'm sticking to the models and either going down with the ship or ending the season with a solid 3-0 ATS. They are contrarian, you could find 10 reasons why not to do it, but I'm here to tell you why I'm sticking to it.

Buccaneers +3.5

Betting against Aaron Rodgers at home? You're crazy. Betting against Aaron Rodgers (6-2 ATS last 8 games) during the playoffs is absurd. The public surely thinks so. As of Tuesday, they have 57% of the bets and 60% of the money. This means that there's no clear sharp action on the Packers but the general public are cheeseheads. He beat the Rams defense, good for him. But played a mediocre offense without its top receiver and a QB with a broken thumb. Let's see how the Bucs challenge will pan out.

  • Machine learning models (ALL of them) have the Bucs winning outright with high confidence. Through 20 years of data, the models have seen this situation 74 times and have been correct 64.9% of the time.
  • Bucs pass offense is top 3 in the league. #3 in pts/gm and #2 in pass yards/gm. The Green Bay pass defense is decently ranked #8. If they fall asleep in the back or get tricked with a play action, Brady will catch on and throw long.
  • Bucs will run the ball a lot. It worked for them last week and it did in week 6 against the Packers (158 yards and 2 TDs). Runs the clock out and keeps the game close.
  • The Bucs weakness in defense is the run, but they were able to hold their ground against Kamara last week and against the Packers in week 6 (94 rushing yards and 1 TD).
  • Will Rodgers again have a hard time against them? Possibly. The answer is in the blitz.
  • Tampa Bay had the toughest schedule in the league according to teamrankings. Green Bay's schedule is ranked #18. Point Bucs.
  • The Green Bay offense is in full speed. Against the #1 defense, they were still able to score 32 points, rushing for 188 and passing for 296. They have a lot more weapons now that the Bucs need to figure out. Point Packers.
  • Who's the real goat? I'm gonna go with the guy with 6 rings vs. 1. Aaron Rodgers hasn't won a Super Bowl in 10 years and was humiliated by SF last year who I never thought had that good of an offense. Now, although a much better team, they face an even tougher defense and top 5 offense. Brady > Rodgers.
  • LaFleur is a great coach and in two years has built one of the best offenses in the league. Arians takes more risks, sometimes not good ones. But no risk no reward. Experience > 2 year coach.
  • Trends: Since 2006 (51 games) road dogs between 0 and 4 points are 64.6% against the spread. 7-2-1 (77.8%) in the last 10 games.
  • Intangible: Tampa is one game away from playing the Super Bowl at home.
As the locals in Tampa Bay would say, Tampaaaaaaaa!

For all other picks, visit rokfin.com/nflpickles

Wild Card NFL Point Spread Picks

A historical 61% ATS during playoffs in 13 years of experience. The real ride starts this week. Up your bankroll % because we're going to win big. Wildcard weekend is here and we've found 3 solid opportunities. Let's roll!

Subscribe today. It's the best $9.99 you will invest in sports. The Super Bowl is in Feb 7th so if you subscribe today, you only have to stay for one month. That's all playoff picks + Super Bowl for $9.99. Why so cheap? Because Rokfin is the best place to monetize content. You win and I win. 

The first one is a freebie.

Buffalo -6.5 Saturday 12pm CST
Buffalo is unstoppable right now and there are no signs of stopping. We have picked them 2 weeks in a row now out of a 8-0 ATS streak their in. Now they face noodle arm Philip Rivers and the Colts as a 6 and a half point home favorite. Although most of my models hover around a 10 point win for Buffalo, here are some reasons why I think this could get ugly for the Colts quick:
  • The Colts have had the easiest schedule of all the teams. Of their 11 wins, only 3 were against playoff teams (Bears, Titans, Packers).
  • Josh Allen's story of being rejected by universities (Fresno State) over and over until Wyoming gave him a chance is amazing. The guy is a fighter and will continue to prove his haters wrong. Captain Class type of guy.
  • My favorite angle here is that the Colts weakness in the defense is in the pass while we all know the strength of the Bills offense is in that same spot. Colts rank 19th in pass D while the Bills are 3rd in the league.
  • The Bills D is playing much better as of late especially against the run game. 
  • Home teams favorite between 6 and 7 are 57% ATS in the last 216 games. That's a big sample! About the same percentage in 2020.
Buffalo rolls past the Colts, Philip Rivers retires.

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