5 for 5 - Week 8, 2018
The last four weeks have been a nose-dive in our picks after starting 11-4... so that means we're due!!!
Using the Westgate Super Contest lines:
1. KC -10 (Den)
2. Was PK (@ NYG)
3. Ind -3 (@ Oak)
4. NO PK (@ Min)
5. GB +9.5 (@ LAR)
1. Kansas City Chiefs -10 (Den)
Let's start big, with a 10-point favorite! Ugh.. not a fan of huge favorites and Den has had the mini-bye after the blow-out of Ari last week, but I'm doing it...
1 - When these teams first played, KC won 27-23, and it was one of the two games that KC was held under 38 points (30-14 win over Jacksonville). This was on MNF in Den. A primetime home game gets the defense going and I don't expect Den's D to step up in the same way.
2 - If Den's D can't keep KC under 35 (KC's is NFL best 37.1 points per game), how will Den keep up? Den is averaging 23.6 (20th) and their highest by 18 points was last week at Ari where they had 14 points in the first quarter from pick-6s.
3 - Den is up to 5 in DVOA, with top 10 in both offense and defense, however they are facing the top DVOA team overall, first in offense and special teams
4 - KC weakness is their defense, where they are 26h in DVOA, even with Den's offense being rated 7th, with KC being at home I don't expect Den to be able to keep up
5 - It's still early in the season, where Andy Reid and KC crush it!
Counterpoint - KC is 7-0 ATS. These lines are getting bigger and that can't last forever.
2. Washington Redskins PK (@ NYG)
1 - NYG are starting to play for 2020, trading off two defenders in the past week
2 - Eli is still starting in NYG
3 - NYG's O--Line is bad. According to FootballOutsiders.com's O-Line metrics (ALY and Adj. Sack Rate), NYG are dead last in ALY (run blocking) and 25th in Adj. Sack Rate, Was isn't much better but is closer to average instead of bottom of the barrel
4 - The line has moved to Was -1.5
5 - NYG are on a bye next week and just want to end this game
3. Indianapolis Colts -3 (@ Oak)
A road favorite is not great, especially when they are a slightly inflated after beating a Derek Anderson led Bills last week, but this is more of a bet against Oak.
1 - Sticking with O-Line stats, Ind is 5th in both ALY and Ad. Sack Rate
2 - Oak is 20th is both of the above stats
3 - On the defensive line side for the same stats, Ind is 11th in both...
4 - ...while Oak is 24th is ALY (stopping the run) and dead last in Adj. Sack Rate, which tells me that even if Ind can' turn the ball, they will be able pass whenever they want
5 - Oak is in sell-off mode, trading Cooper last week, and I doubt the team will respond positively
4. New Orleans Saints PK (@ Min)
I was surprised to see this wasn't Min -2.5 or 3, but after reviewing some numbers, I can see why.
1 - Min's defensive injuries. Rhodes and Barr are likely out or limited. I think this is huge to a Min D that has already been underperforming expectations after a great 2017.
2 - NO's revenge game after last year's crazy last minute play in the divisional playoffs
3 - NO has a balanced attack and Min has been pass heavy (due to their poor run blocking, where they rank 28th in ALY)
4 - Since Min can't reliably run the ball, they won't be able to control the clock and keep it away from Brees (always giving him a chance to comeback)
5 - The line has moved to NO -1.5
Counterpoint - NO had a tough road game last week, now on the road again at a good team, and next week host LAR.
5. Green Bay Packers +9.5 (@ LAR)
LAR are fresh off a 3-game road trip where they went 3-0 SU and 1-2 ATS, finally returning home, while GB is off their bye. GB's D is not good (almost losing to SF in their last game) and LAR could win by 20+ but I think it'll be closer.
1 - This is the healthiest Rodgers has been since before week 1
2 - He might get some of his receivers back, with Cobb a full practice participant Friday (listed as questionable) and Alison limited in practice all week (no designation for Sunday night's game)
3 - The line is down to LAR -8 (albeit 9.5 to 8 are relatively easy numbers to move through)
4 - This is the largest spread Rodgers has ever have as a dog
5 - GB off rest, LAR has had a rough schedule, I can see GB coming out firing and LAR needing a bit to get in the grove before carving up GB's D
Note: both teams have big games next week, with LAR going to NO and GB going to NE
Two Bonuses (6th and 7th)
6. Carolina Panthers +2 (Bal)
I don't understand why Car is an underdog at home to a team that is typically bad on the road, especially with Flacco's road record. The line has even moved again to Bal -2.5 and 3 in different places. Bal is solid but Car isn't bad, this spread implies Bal -7? I disagree but will avoid this one.
7. Cincinnati Bengals -4.5 (Tam)
This another that I will avoid because I don't understand it. The line opened at Cin -6 and quickly went to 4.5, now 4. Cin got smoked by KC last week but has been good otherwise, however their defense is now 27th in DVOA after that KC game and they are 22nd in DVOA overall. After a good start, Cin may be slipping. I do think Tam is not good, and well worse than Cin, but I'll avoid his one.