5 for 5 - Week 6, 2018
Week 5's 5 picks with 5 reasons for each, using the Westgate Super Contest lines:
1. Min -10 (Ari)
2. Chi -3 (@ Mia)
3. Cin -2.5 (Pit)
4. Den +6.5 (LAR)
5. GB -9.5 (SF)
Four favorites this week, and it worked out terrible last week, so looking for better results this week.
1. Minnesota Vikings -10 (Ari)
A big number to lay with an inconsistent defense, but this pick is more about Ari.
1 - Ari won 28-18 @ SF last week, however it took +5 in turnovers
2 - Ari's offense last week put up only 220 total yards and 10 first downs (in comparison SF put up 447 total yards and 33 first downs! for another comparison, Min @ Phi last week to show what a close game looks like, saw just under 300 total yards and nearly 20 first downs for each team)
3 - Min is only 24th in overall DVOA while Ari is 30th, typically not enough for me to agree to laying 10 points, however what stood out for me, was Ari is 31st in offense. Min is 26th in defense but I think that is skewed by the weird Buf loss (gave up 27 points) and the LAR shootout (gave up 38 points)
4 - I don't think Vikings have a repeat of the Buffalo game, there is no look ahead this week (@ NYJ next Sunday) like how they had a Thursday game @ LAR
5 - Rookie QB starting on the road (although it didn't matter for Buffalo when they were at Min earlier, but point 4 covers that) and in the team's second straight road game
2. Chicago Bears -3 (@ Mia)
1 - The line has moved from Chi -3 to Chi -6, because...
2 - Tannehill is now a game time decision, which means if he doesn't go...
3 - Brock Osweiler will get the start for Mia. So this matchup will be highlighted by...
4 - Khalil Mack versus Osweiler.
5 - As a partial counterpoint, Mia is high in DVOA but moving the wrong way, they are ranked 7th overall, but were higher before being blowout @ NE and imploding @ Can, with a lower offense (18th) and higher D and SP (5th each). I do think Chi is overrated after thumping Tam before their bye last week. Never good that a team on a high goes into their bye and then a road favorite (not really the mental state for full preparation), but all that aside, I will gladly gamble against Osweiler versus a good D.
3. Cincinnati Bengals -2.5 (Pit)
This spread has moved in Pit's favor (now Cin -1) but that plays into the first point...
1 - Pit is overrated after beating a bad Atl team who has zero defense
2 - Cin is quietly 4-1, coming off of two solid road games (loss @ Car, win @ Atl)
3 - I am giving Cin more credit versus Atl since it was in Atl, and they are a much better team at home than on the road
4 - Using DVOA, these teams are nearly identical, with Pit ranked 10 and Cin 11, with Cin slightly better on Off and Pit slightly better on D and SP. Using yards per play from Teamrankings.com, these teams are also nearly identical offensively, with Pit ranking 8 (6.1 ypp) and Cin at 9 (6.0 ypp). It is similar on defense, with Cin giving up 5.6 and Pit at 5.7. It is a minor point but with even rankings this should fall to the standard -2.5 / 3 point home spread, and I am happy to lay less than a FG to an under-the-radar team
5 - To backup my thoughts on Cin being underrated: Cin is 4-1 SU and ATS, while Pit is 2-2-1 SU and 2-3 ATS. Cin is outperforming market expectations
4. Denver Broncos +6.5 (LAR)
I do not want to stand in front of the LAR, but time to close my eyes and do so...
1 - LAR is in a let down game situation, having played @ Sea in a tough fought game that saw two of their starting WRs leave with concussions
2 - Den is not a great team, but they are much better at home: 2-1 SU at home in all three being close games (Sea, Oak, KC: 3, 1, and 4 point games) while 0-2 on the road and both were double digit losses (Bal, NYJ)
3 - Den is 0-4-1 ATS, and about as low as they can go in the public eye, but I don't think that lasts forever and the spread will grow until they start covering, just as the spread for LAR has been growing and their ATS record has been flipped (Cover, Cover, Cover, Push or Loss pending number, Loss)
4 - LAR are 1st in DVOA, led by their offense, however building the perception that Den is bad enough to warrant a +6.5 at home, Den is 16th in DVOA, and average team with good offense (10th) and below average D (22nd) (and defenses usually play better at home)
5 - Snow in Denver! Although it will likely be over by game time, the elevation, cold, and snow combined with a tough game last week is enough for me to expect a close game and go with the +6.5 home dogs
Counterpoint - the close game against KC was on MNF, where you can expect a louder crowd and more of a home field advantage
5. Green Bay Packers -9.5 (SF)
1 - As much as I hate to say it, I think GB is a little underrated after their game-from-hell in Detroit, they lost by only 8 after numerous turnovers, missed XP, and 4 missed FGs
2 - This game is on MNF, which gives GB's injury another day to heal up, with two key areas...
3 - WRs were one of GB's major problems last week in Det, with only Adams and the rest essentially practice squads players. With another week to get healthy, Allison and Cobb are now questionable which would be a big benefit to their offense
4 - Bulaga is also questionable, potentially adding a key piece back to their O-line to protect Rodgers
5 - CJ Bethard versus Rodgers, in Lambeau