NFL Week 12 Pick Recap

Each week we'll be providing our pick recap to validate our performance and give everyone an in depth view of what our subscribers receive. Let's have a look at the selections below from week 12. 

The GreenZone had a slow week going 2-5. ATL, WSH, and NYJ had all the chances in the world to cover at the end of their games and extend our winning streak.  We did hit our 3 game teaser on Thanksgiving for some added units. Straight Bets are up 22.55  Units on the year, and exotics are up 17.85 Units! Bringing our season cumulative total to +40.4 Units.

The Yellow and RedZone were hot as they finished 5-3, the system overall had a mixed weekend going 7-8 straight up. Below is a breakdown of the entire Zone performances, along with Bankroll return based on our recommended unit sizing of each GreenZone game and exotic wagers. For the record we only recommend and count towards our units the GreenZone games. 

Our published write-up and picks for Week 12 is below:

Exotic Bets this Week

[0.5 Units] 3-Game Parlay: Bears, Redskins, Falcons - LOSS

[0.5 Units] 3-Game Teaser: Bears, Redskins, Falcons - WIN 

[0.5 Units] 4-Game Parlay: BUF, CIN, TEN, NYJ - LOSS

[0.5 Units] 4-Game Teaser: BUF, CIN, TEN, NYJ - LOSS

 

[6.6 Units] Chicago Bears (-3) at Detroit - WIN 

6.6 Units – CHI -3.5 or less

3.3 Units – CHI -4 to -5

No Action – CHI -5.5 or more

This is an interesting play for a multitude of reasons.  The primary driver of the line down this week has been the uncertainty surrounding the availability of Mitch Trubisky, who is listed as doubtful and will be a game time decision.  Any time a starting QB is down, the public runs as far away from that team as they can.  The difficult part of our process is trying to assess whether that fade action is overdone or not.  In this case, we think the answer is a resounding yes.

Chicago is still our top defense in the league, while Detroit is very comfortably in our bottom-5 and comes into the game VERY banged up.  Yes, the Bears may be starting Chase Daniel, but the Lions may be without a plethora of key starters on both sides of the ball.  Defensively, Ziggy Ansah (DE), Snacks Harrison (DT), Jalen Reeves-Maybin (LB), A'Shawn Robinson (DT), and Darius Slay (CB) were all limited practice participants and are officially listed as questionable.  Anyone who knows anything about the Lions knows these are key starters who are the best players at their position in every case except for Maybin (Davis is best LB).  That's a problem when they are already almost the worst defense in the league.  Even if the Bears offense loses some of the run threat from Trubisky, they are still going against a very bad defense and should still be able to move the ball effectively with a top-tier back-up QB.

On the flip side, the Bears defense is downright nasty.  The Lions have struggled big time in games where they have not been able to establish the run game.  To that end, difference maker and starting running back, Kerryon Johnson, is...you guessed it...not going to suit up today.  Additionally, receiver 1a or 1b, Marvin Jones is not going to be playing today either.  Well, that's ok, they still have Golden Tate and Golladay, right... oh shit, they shipped Tate off to Philly for a pick...yeah.  So, the depletion theme continues for the Leos.  

At the end of the day, the raw numbers have this as a big time GreenZone game for the Bears.  There is the obvious starting QB caveat for the Bears, but in aggregate, the Lions are dealing with a lot more issues than the Bears will be today.  We are going to trust the data on this one and should kick off the three-piece slate with a cover in this divisional match up. 

Side note, if you are thinking the Lions perform better on Thanksgiving Day than their ability...not so fast.  In the last 17 years they are 5-12 on Turkey Day.  They have gone a 4-1 run the last 5 years, but prior to that they were 1-11 in the 2000s.

 

[6.6 Units] Washington Redskins (+7) at Dallas  - LOSS

6.6 Units – WAS +6 or more

3.3 Units – WAS +5 to +5.5

No Action – WAS +4.5 or less

This game is very similar to the first in terms of the data and the back-up QB situiash.  In this case, there is no doubt that Alex Smith is unavailable after he suffered that gruesome injury last week in the midst of getting us that cover against the Texans (thanks, Alex!).  Colt McCoy came in and looked like he hadn’t missed a beat despite his very limited playing time the last several years.  The Redskins offense, by the numbers, is slightly better than Dallas.  Taking into account the drop-off from Smith to McCoy means that Dallas likely now has an edge in the offensive department.  However, that is where the advantages end for Dallas.  Washington is substantially better on the defensive side of the ball and is a top-5 special teams unit vs. Dallas who is in the last third of the league in both of those facets of the game.  Our models see this as anywhere from a pick ‘em, to Dallas being favored by about three points.  To be getting a full touchdown in this one is simply the overreaction to the Washington QB situation.  If it feels a bit uncomfortable for you, good…that means that the rest of the public feels the same way, and hence, the value in taking this road dawg.  All we need is for McCoy to manage the game back home in Texas and for this Redskins defense to force the Cowboys into obvious passing downs.  If that happens, this Washington secondary will feast in more ways than one today and we will waltz out of the Big D with an easy cover and potential money line outright winner.

 

[6.6 Units] Atlanta Falcons (+13) at New Orleans - LOSS

6.6 Units – ATL +10 or more

3.3 Units – ATL + 9 to +9.5

No Action – ATL +8.5 or less

Holy shit that is a lot of points for a top-10 offense to be getting spotted!  The Saints have been white-hot…there’s no doubt about that.  We have them as a top-3 offense behind the Chiefs and Rams, but the last couple weeks, they have been playing like the best in the league and running it up on people.  That’s fine, we aren’t trying to argue that the Saints offense isn’t really good, this is more about the Saints defense being able to stop Matt Ryan and the boys from ATL.  This is a divisional game for two teams that have had a ton of continuity over the years, and thus, a very high degree of familiarity with one another.  The Saints are going to win this game…no doubt.  But, the Saints defense is still in the bottom-10 in the league and this Atlanta offense will be able to score some points in the dome they play in at least once a year.  A damn near two-touchdown spread is a best in the league vs. worst in the league type of number.  The Saints are undoubtedly among the best in the league, powered by that offense, but there is NO way the Falcons are any worse than league average.  This should be a really fun game to watch with fireworks all night.  That being said, Atlanta will keep it respectable and maybe even access the back door if need be.  Just have to be down 20 in the 4th quarter going against a prevent defense with Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Sanu, and Calvin Ridley… yeah, we can live with that. 

 

[6.6 Units] Cincinnati Bengals (-3) at home with the Browns - LOSS

6.6 Units – CIN -3 or less

3.3 Units – CIN -3.5

No Action – CIN -4 or more

The 3-6-1 Browns have a bottom-5 offense and almost the worst special teams in the league, per our rankings.  Despite their top-10 level defense, those two other integral aspects of a solid football team have held them back to this point in 2018.  The Bengals are pretty much the opposite, with strong offense and special teams, but a bottom-5 in the league defense.  From a style perspective, it’s very hard to gauge how this one is going to play out.  That is a hard thing for public bettors, but it isn’t for us.  Our objective models have this game as anywhere from a 4.5 to 7.5-point spread in favor of the Bengals.  There is a little bit of noise in the data with the uncertainty surrounding AJ Green’s availability (officially listed as questionable as of writing), but some of that impact has already been baked into our numbers since he has not played the last two weeks.  One other unique scenario playing out in this game is the Hue Jackson effect.  We cannot think of another instance where a head coach was fired mid-year, and then basically immediately hired by a divisional rival.  Make any joke you want about Hue with his horrible career W-L record as a head coach, but he is a smart guy.  Yes, every play of every game is on film and dissected by every staff, but to know every single call, verbiage, etc. HAS to be an advantage.  The Browns are basically forced to change all of their audible calls and hand signs…that adds a lot of work to do that doesn’t really have much benefit in terms of improving.  We aren’t taking this game because of that fact, but it certainly makes us like the numbers even more.

 

[6.6 Units] Tennessee Titans (+6.5) at Houston - LOSS

6.6 Units – TEN +6.5 or more

3.3 Units – TEN +6

No Action – TEN +5.5 or less

These are another two teams who are intimately familiar with each other, being divisional rivals, but also because Vrabel was the defensive coordinator in Houston before taking the Tennessee HC job this year.  They played in Nashville Week 2 and the Titans snuck a 20-17 home win after a handful of shenanigans and some bad play down the stretch by Desaun Watson.  Houston has got hot after the slow start, winning the last seven games in a row to sit at their 7-3 record.  The Texans D is still the identity of the team, but the offensive line giving Watson enough clean pockets to make plays down the field has been the difference maker over this great run they’ve had.  The Titans are not as easy to weave a narrative arc around since they have basically been bipolar all season.  They have a handful of really good wins and a handful of headscratchers where they look like they are complete dogshit.  All we can do is trust the overall season data and hope to be on the right side of that spectrum again like we were when they were getting points at home against the Patriots.  It looks as if Marcus Mariota is full go and going to be starting, which was the only real caveat we were trying to make sure didn’t go against us.  We think the Texans win this game, but a touchdown in this match up is a lot.  We need the Titans D to maintain their bend but don’t break mentality and continue to shut down the run.  If they can turn the Texans offense into a one-dimensional pass attack, we’ll have a great shot at covering with the points.

 

[5.5 Units] Buffalo Bills (+3) at home with Jaguars - WIN

5.5 Units – BUF +3 or more

2.75 Units – BUF +2.5

No Action – BUF +2 or less

Buffalo has the #2 defense in the league and is playing a team from Florida at home in almost December.  That’s really this one boiled down into as simple terms as it can be.  The Bills offense is getting back Josh Allen and has Barkley backing him up in case anything goes awry.  Regardless of who is taking snaps, the Bills offense is still battling the Cardinals for the worst in the league.  However, the Jaguars are almost as bad when they have the ball in their hands and are a bottom-5 offense for us.  On paper, these two teams are extremely similar this year with very good defenses and piss poor offense.  It’s supposed to be about 38 degrees and raining in Buffalo when this one kicks off on Sunday, meaning it’ll probably be sloppy and favor the guys who are used to that type of gross environment.  It’s basically impossible to feel good about backing the Bills this year, but getting points at home, in a bad weather game, against an almost equally bad offense, is the perfect storm.  We have to trust the data here and hope that the offense the Bills put together in their last game was a sign of them turning the corner now that the Peterman curse has been lifted.    

 

[5.5 Units] New York Jets (+9.5) at home with the Patriots - LOSS

5.5 Units – NYJ +7.5 or more

2.75 Units – NYJ +7

No Action – NYJ +6.5 or less

What a QB matchup this week with 41-year old Tom Brady getting the chance to go to battle against the 39-year old legend Josh McCown.  Uhh, yeah…about that…  This is another one in the “scary” category this week, but the Jets have a better defense and better special teams.  The Patriots offense has heated up and is now in our top-10, but they are in no way a juggernaut like the Rams, Chiefs, and Saints.  There isn’t going to be a lot of public money on the Jets and it takes some stones to go against Brady and Belichick after a bye, but 10 points is 10 points.  We went against the Patriots in Tennessee when everyone was jamming the Pats and we are going to continue to trust the data in this one.  The Patriots will definitely win the game, but the Jets will stay pesky in this one and lose it for us by a touchdown or less.