Week Three Breakdown: I added Cincinnati for a 3-teamer last week. And of course I was on the wrong side immediately but the Bengals somehow managed to crawl back and cover. Also in the parlay was the surprising Lions against an unhealthy Eagles team. Did I expect the Lions to win outright? No! Not a chance. But on 9/20 I posted @gettinAfterIt (please do follow) I liked the +6 and when the line closed at +5 I still took it without second thought because sometimes health can outweight talent. The last team involved was the Chiefs (+5/5.5). I posted +5.5 here but the line closed at 5, thankfully, and took a push but two of the aforementioned three paid. For documenting purposes, I'm counting the Chiefs as a loss based off the 5.5 I published through this site. And finally, I nailed the Eagles, via @gettinAfterIt, on Thursday Night Football. Somehow Philly turned around after a home loss to the Lions and knocked off the Packers in Lambeau. But again, roster health matters.
Patriots vs. Bills (+7): The Patriots will finally allow an offensive touchdown, for the first time since the 2018 AFC Championship game. Here's how I see the game; the O/U is 42/41.5, which means there's added value in the Bills covering, because if the UNDER holds it should be a close game. The all-important caveat is, of course New England could win the game 31-3/24-3/35-0 and my theory doesn't hold up but I think that's far-fetched. Here's who the Patriots have played with offensive stats included; Steelers (27th points/30th yards), Dolphins (32nd points/31st yards), Jets (31st points/32nd yards). New England's defense ranks #1 in both statistical categories. And while that is a direct reflection of the Patriots defense in a one-game sample size, it also speaks to the collective incompetence of the three aforementioned teams.
While the Bills aren't exactly revolutionizing the offense, they're ranked 17th in points and 8th in yards. Also, not to be dismissed, the Bills Mafia defense is ranked 4th in points allowed and 5th in yards. To be fair to New England and their cupcake schedule, it should be noted that Buffalo's defense has also benefited from a favorable schedule including the likes of the Jets (31st points/32nd yards) in which the Bills scored 14 unanswered 4th Q points to come from behind on and win, Giants (20th points/7th yards) with Eli who threw 2INT and the Bengals (25th points/18th yards). Notably, the Bills almost blew the Week Three home-win as Cincy scored 17 unanswered points to cover. If not for a clutch 4:54 minute, 78-yard drive late in the 4th Q the Bills are 2-1 and this New England game probably doesn't have the same cachet.
Ironically, I just made a compelling case to bet against the Bills because A) they almost squandered a lead at home against a struggling Bengals team and B) if Sam Darnold produces anything in the 4th Q the Bills lose Week One. But I'm choosing to forget basic logic and reason and my own two eyes here because I like Josh Allen's running ability. And New England historically does not like a QB who can run. But Belichick is very aware of the task at hand quoting about Allen, "He's like a running back. He breaks tackles, he's got good speed, good power and he's shifty and he avoids and breaks a lot of tackles." The Patriots allowed 6.89 yards per rush to quarterbacks in the 2018 season, which was the highest in the NFL. For whatever reason, as good as Belichick has been with defensive schematics, the mobile QB has always presented a problem. Think Mitch Trubisky in Week Seven of 2018, ran for 81-yards on six carries and had a touchdown. Or you can bring up Cam Newton in Week Four of 2017 who rushed eight times for 44-yards and a touchdown. Two of those designed runs were critical 3rd-down situations which resulted in first-downs, and ultimately a late 3rd Q touchdown pass from Newton.
According to Pregame.com, 83% of the cash and 89% of tickets are on the current line for New England to lay the -7. I think the number is too high. It really should be Patriots -5.5, maintaining Buffalo's home-field as consideration. The major reason why the public loves the -7, recency bias. After all the research, there is no trend I could find about New England as a road favorite of 7-points. All signs point to the Patriots covering with ease, especially if you take deep dive into the trends. All signs also suggest the Patriots cover because Brady historically dominates the Bills (30W-3L, 69TD-24INT). But the pattern ends here. This Bills team can play, and it will be closer than anyone thought.
I created a few new rules last week; 1) I will bet against Cleveland until they decide to become an actual football team; 2) I will stay head-over-heels for the Chiefs until I can be proved otherwise. I think both Browns vs. Ravens (-6.5) and Chiefs (-7) at Lions are absolute locks. I do have a slight concern with Patrick Mahomes playing in his first ever NFL road dome game because down-field perception/closed feeling/lights can influence perception. But he was quite magical with closed-in stadiums in college and he's already million times better now, as a professional. I've never seen anyone like him. It's really special. He's already the best quarterback I've ever seen. Brady is the GOAT via accomplishments, rings, durability, brand, etc but Mahomes is a different kind of awesome. I can certainly appreciate the Lions cover AND outright win on the road in Philly. BUT, Philly was banged up and we seen what a relatively healthy Eagles team can do considering their win at Green Bay to start Week Four on TNF. No disrespect to the Lions; they're a nice team, quietly good and might make some noise in the NFC North. But the Chielfs will cover easily.
As for the Browns, I do not have one ounce of faith in Kitchens to go toe-to-toe with Harbaugh. I think Baker Mayfield is overwhelmed because his offensive line is a joke. And, not to be dismissed, he's targeting Odell entirely too much, instead of letting the game come to him. This happens all the time when a superstar WR is involved, the QB feels overly obligated to get the WR targets. Sometimes it does work. But Baker isn't Montana or Young going to Rice. Baker isn't Aikman feeding it to Irvin. Baker isn't even Romo/McNabb forcing it to Owens. Baker is still a project, who is being shortchanged by a bad offensive line and below-average head coach. Lastly, something else to watch, Browns' Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams were highly limited in practice during the week. Hello Ravens receiving corps whose been torching the league!!! Even if they play, which they will, they're not at full-strength, and it will show immediately. Ravens win by 10 or more and so do the Chiefs.
Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @gettinAfterIt for more picks throughout the day. Happy Week Four and the best of luck.
The Patriots defense has not given up an offensive touchdown since the 2018 AFC championship game. The Jets in Week Three scored TD's on a pick six and muffed punt. Also, New England has allowed just five successful third-down conversions in three games,
Sincere apologies for not posting for Week Two. It was one of the most difficult weeks of my life which affected my beautiful fiance and her closest friend. RIP Biggie. Your memory will forever go on.
Week Two best bets were Cowboys -6.5, Cardinals +14, 49ers +1 which was documented via Twitter account @gettinAfterIt. Also documented, my dumbass took the number on MNF with Jets. Needless to say, Siemian was bad then the injury was worse. And Falk, predictably as a 3rd stringer, could not bring back the Jets. Credit to Cleveland for taking care of business.
Ravens vs. Chiefs (-5.5): I finally got the line where I wanted. New rule; I am going to bet on Kansas City in the 5-8 number range every week if it's available. I took a last minute $100 play with my bookie on KC in Oakland. With one quarter in I was a little nervous but then Mahomes and that awesome offense woke up.
The reason I like the number falling is A) the public really likes the Ravens. Remember, this game opened at 8. If you're on the side of KC then (B) 2.5 extra points is a goddamn steal. The market will likely correct by kickoff and land at the 6 or 6.5 number so get it at 5.5 ASAP. And (C) I don't really trust the Ravens. I like the Ravens. I've seen a remarkable improvement in Lamar Jackson from 2018 to now. They're unbelievably well-coached ... yada yada yada. Here's my point; they beat up on a historically bad Miami team then went home to Baltimore and struggled against the Cardinals, who in preseason, I didn't rate much better than Miami. Kyler Murray, in his 2nd NFL game, posted 349-yards 0TD 0INT, against a home defense who's perceived to be top-level. Sure, Murray didn't throw touchdowns but he kept Arizona in the game. What will Mahomes do at Arrowhead? If Murray is now the measure, then it seems like Mahomes will torch the Ravens. Also, Baltimore managed to produce just 23-points against the AZ defense that's ranked 24 in points and 31 in yards allowed.
Were the Ravens looking past Arizona? There could be a level of truth to that. It could also be that Murray might just be awesome and Baltimore wasn't prepared for the Kingsbury 'Air Raid' offense. A key thing to remember is Baltimore played KC to the max Week 14 of 2018, pushing the Chiefs to OT but ultimately losing 27-24. What's even crazier, the Chiefs sort of spiraled after the Ravens "exposed" them losing back-to-back weeks to the Chargers and Seahawks. Again, this information could point to the Ravens lackluster performance in Week 2. But I give the edge to Chiefs HC Andy Reid for not letting history repeat itself and I think the KC home-field is the best in the league which will result in just enough pre-snap/Jackson mistakes to keep the points at bay. Lastly, the weather is going to be nasty, flash floods in Northwest Missouri and 99% precipitation throughout the game. Advantage home team. Advantage Mahomes who is the more gifted QB and Chiefs defense who can force Jackson to beat them with his arm and focus on stopping the run.
Rams (-3.5) at Browns: Another new rule; I will bet against Cleveland until they actually look like a good football team. As I previously said, credit for beating the Jets but how far does that go? What is the current narrative if they didn't beat the Jets?
Somehow, in the eyes of Browns fans, that win was a formality and the best is yet to come and there's little - if any - worries about the direction of the Browns.. I just don't see it. I think they're undisciplined, poorly coached, underwhelming when it comes to schematics and creativity and the offensive line is a shitshow. I think Baker's mechanics are off. In fact, I'm not sure Baker is actually a good quarterback. A one year sample size for rookies is bait for fans to go crazy but invaluable tape for the rest of the NFL. Just ask RG3 how that worked out? I'm not comparing the two, nor am I insinuating Baker's career will follow the same arc. However, Year Two looks a whole lot different than Year One. And most of that comes down to his mechanics, being forceful, little-to-no patience and his offensive line. Moreover, I'm not sure Kitchens is any good at all. I firmly believe Rams HC Sean McVay will throw everything but the sink and thoroughly outcoach Kitchens (see what I did there?) from start to finish.
Just do this exercise with me; compare rosters first. Go down each roster line by line, position by position and say it out loud. You will be less than half the rosters in and it will start to make sense. It's actually going to get laughable. Then, go to the Rams 2018 schedule and see how well they performed on the road (6-2). Then, lastly, look at how the Browns played against winning teams in 2018.
If you want to win a little money just play these two games.
More predictions will be posted @gettinAfterIt throughout the day.
Titans (+5.5) vs. Browns: In 2018 the Browns managed to beat just one playoff team, the Baltimore Ravens. Coincidentally, Baltimore was also the only team the Browns beat with a winning record. They beat the Ravens 12-9 in a mostly unwatchable shitshow of a game, when Joe Flacco was the quarterback.. But out of the other 15 games, they could not claim a victory over another winning or playoff team. The Browns finished very strong down the stretch, winning 5 of their final 7 games. Which was, if you think about Cleveland's incompetent culture and history of losing in the Modern Era, a great end to the 2018 season. But what did they really do? Beat 7-9 Atlanta by 1 possession, beat 6-10 Cincy by 15 (who was ALSO 6-10 when Cleveland was 7-8-1 ... not a huge swing), lost at Houston by 16-points, slid by Carolina at home, lost at 6-10 Denver, beat the Bengals again and lost to Baltimore on the road.
In no way is this downplaying the 2018 success of the Browns. Well, actually, it kind of is. Cleveland 1-2-1 in OT games. Granted, all these aforementioned OT losses happened when now fired Hue Jackson was the head coach. Way to go Hue. No one in the history of modern sports has effectively showed more incompetence at managing the OT capacity. But then, enter former 'Hit Master' Gregg Williams, who inexplicably when 5-3 with the same team, same culture, same roster, same mediocre expectations and all the sudden, after an off-season of hype, with a now 1st year HC in Freddie Kitchens (who is also calling the plays and at the beginning of 2018 was the RB coach - Go back a few words - Again, he was the running-backs coach, a year ago today. When does any RB coach get promoted this far up in the matter of 12 months .... Answer ... Absolutely bl**ping NEVER ... but they're suddenly going to the Super Bowl, make a strong playoff run AND/OR win their division. Very strange if you ask me.
Tennessee went 9-7 in 2018. Unlike the Browns, the Titans 3 teams that went to the postseason, lost by 1-point at the LA Chargers and completely dominated the Patriots and Cowboys in back-to-back weeks. The reason the Titans were 9-7 had little to do with the offensive side of the ball. Mariota was mostly God-awful. Derrick Henry had one outstanding run that was comparable, if not better, than Lynch's 'Beastmode' run and put together an above-average season. But Henry only managed to string together two 100-yard + games, which happened to be in back-to-back weeks in early December. Unfortunately, if Henry could have managed to produce more than 60-yards in 12 of his starts, maybe the Titans offense looks a little different? He was seriously bad for most of the season. And in those huge breakout games, 238-yards against Jacksonville and 170-yards against Indy, Tennessee won convincingly. What's worse, Tennessee went 3-3 in one-possession games during Henry's poor stretch. If Henry does just a little more, maybe they go 4-2, 5-1 or 6-0 and make the playoffs? By the way, Tennessee receivers sucked ... because Mariota wasn't good. The Tennessee camp seems to love the upward progression of Corey Davis, and they added Adam Humphries for the slot. I don't know if it's going to matter because I don't trust Mariota.
The reason I like Tennessee in this spot is because of defensive trends; TEN finished 3rd in yards allowed and 8th in points allowed. Cleveland is trying to show off in preseason but what does an exhibition game ever matter, especially against non-starters? Answer ... it doesn't matter. Answer #2 ... Cleveland has not only bought into their own hype, they're eating it up like a buffet after smoking ten bowls of chronic.
Name one starting defensive player for Tennessee? Don't worry, I'll wait. Name two Tennessee starters on the offensive side not Mariota and Henry? Don't worry, I'll wait. Name a Cleveland starter? It's not hard, they're all over the place, offense and defense combined. Cleveland has more collective talent on this current 2019 roster than they've seen in the last twenty years. No one is denying that. But talent alone doesn't mean automatic Super Bowl wins. The Browns will be interesting, fun, explosive and polarizing but I think there's a lot going on. I like quiet. Tennessee is quiet. Also, Tennessee has an experienced head coach, better offensive line, disruptive defensive line albeit Cleveland might have the edge, has played together with mostly the same construct and this is a 'something to prove' year for Mariota AND, maybe most importantly, they're not celebrating meaningless pre-season touchdowns by taking fake pictures to put on their IG account.. 5.5 points is a lot, especially for the first week of the season. Also, especially considering the Browns are basically playing backyard football and has produced the most noise of any team heading into the regular season. The Titans are a lock for the points, and they might just win the game outright.
I have eight teams ready to win Super Bowl LIV; New England(6/1), Kansas City(6/1), LA Rams(10/1), Philadelphia(14/1), LA Chargers(16/1), Pittsburgh(20/1) and Minnesota(25/1).
I bet you're already calling me names! I mean, how the hell could I include Pittsburgh in such a list, right?
I know, they lost Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell - and Roethlisberger is supposedly nearing the end (despite throwing for a career-high in yards and touchdowns in 2018, without Bell). But there's something about "cleaning house" that can redirect the focus of an already proud and stable organization. The behavioral patterns that aided in disruption in recent years seemed to come from the two guys they decided to part ways with, allegedly. However, damaging reports and rumors were also printed about Roethlisberger, with unnamed locker room sources, along with AB, blaming Big Ben for some of the issues with regards to leadership, or lack thereof . And in retrospect, it's not like Roethlisberger already had a squeaky clean reputation. But if those reports about Big Ben were true, why did they all just disappear after very little airplay? And why did GM Kevin Colbert quickly come to Ben's defense? I can certainly appreciate any cause for concern about his leadership, age, commitment to the grind and passion he has left. Yet, he produced the best season of his career in spite of the distractions. And lastly, if Roethlisberger is nearing the end - and if he's a poor leader and supposed locker-room cancer - why did Pittsburgh give him a two-year contract extension? Moreover, I think you can look at AB's recent troubles and quickly surmise that maybe AB is, at the very least, problematic.
Most franchises would never contemplate moving on from talented players like Brown or Bell, and Pittsburgh said bye to both. There's something to be said for recognizing their place, owning up to the problematic tendencies they were facing and making two very hard decisions. I firmly believe, despite the state of the division with Cleveland on the rise and Baltimore looking to improve from a 2018 playoff run, Pittsburgh feels under the radar. Don't forget, the Steelers finished 2018 top-6 in both offensive yards and points scored, 6 in defensive yards allowed and 16 in points allowed. I think they're a sneaky damn good football team. And at 20/1, I can't think of a stronger value play.
Now back to the actual game, which will be featured on NBC's Sunday Night Football, has the feel of a future playoff game, in the same place, and could be Week One's best contest. Oddshark has New England and Pittsburgh power ranked 4 and 5, respectively. Which I happen to disagree with. In my opinion, the #1 spot on any power ranking should probably be the defending Super Bowl champions = Patriots, followed by Kansas City and then you can put Indianapolis, LA Chargers and New Orleans or Philadelphia to round out the top-5. Personally, I think Philly is better and I expect the Saints to decline. I would place Pittsburgh ahead of New Orleans = 6.
Traditionally, the Patriots do not start the season hot. They win games early, but they don't dominate. Since 2013 the Pats are 3-3 in Week One, but all three of those wins are by a single possession; 28-21 over Pittsburgh in 2015, 23-21 vs. Cards in 2016 and beat Houston 27-20 in 2018. And last year they started 1-2 losing at 5-11 Jacksonville 31-20 and 6-10 Detroit 26-10. The Patriots are a team that learns who they are early and perfects it late. Moreover, all these Patriots teams since 2013 have had top-5 scoring offenses. Maybe the most polarizing stat, considering year-to-year turnover, is how the Pats have been top-5 in scoring since 2010, and most of those years they finish top-3. But for whatever reason, they always seem to struggle early.
Washington at Eagles (-10) feels a little high considering it's Week One AND it's a divisional rivalry. I never like to bet double-digits on the opening week, or even well into the season if I'm being honest, but that's where a nice teaser bet comes in. I would tease out the Eagles with Jacksonville (+4) and Balitmore (-7.5). I'm looking at a 6-point +150 teaser here; you're buying the points down to Philly -4, Jacksonville +10 and Baltimore -1.5. Lay $100 to win an easy $150. Conversely, if you bet this straight up in a parlay you're paying $100 to win $600 and some change, which presents a huge risk. This can't be a bookie bet as most local guys don't allow teasers. Shop these prices on places like Bovada, BetNow, etc to find the most advantageous numbers.