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.