NFL Week 5 Winners - Pick Recap
The GreenZone home game struggle continues. Our bread and butter continues to get the worst individual performances of the season. The Titans missed FOUR field goals, Dak threw 4 picks while the Cowboys still out gained the Packers by 230 yards, and the Chargers went to San Diego instead of coming to LA to play.
Below is our updated season performance. Our time is coming and our process will lead us to positive units on the year, as it does every single year.
Welp, that didn’t suck. A nice little 5-1 last week, including the teaser win, got us all right back on track to a respectable, and very NICE, +6.9 units on the season. Additionally, the 15-11 record in the GreenZone is coming back close to our expected target of 60%. Like we said last week, it’s a long season…keep the discipline with your wager sizes and random “hunch” games, and we’ll take care of the rest. As you can see in the chart, we have a HUGE slate of games this week. Eight greenie-boys with 7 home teams feels like (*knock on wood*) a gift from the wagering gods. So far this season, away teams are 42-21 against the spread, for a preposterous 67%-win rate. The public are quick studies and have decided that the 30-years of home/away splits being right at 50% must be out the window this year and are loading up to ride that “trend” on the away teams. Equally amazing, our models, without any influence from us, want to be on the other side of that. If you google regression to the mean, this week is setting up to be a textbook definition.
Shit ton of action. Let’s hope the home/away splits normalize this week and we will all be very happy heading into Week 6. The 5-team parlay and teasers for this week are still both 0.5-Units and include: NYG, LACH, TEN, NO, and DAL.
[6.6 Units] New York Giants (+5.5) at home with Minnesota Vikings - LOSS
6.6 Units – NYG +3.5 or more
3.3 Units - NYG +3
No Action – NYG +2.5 or less
This is a lot of points for a home team who has won two games in a row and looks rejuvenated after switching out crusty Eli Manning for booed 1st rounder Danny Jones. Our models have it as about a 1 to 1.5-point game in favor of the visiting Minnesota Vikings. While the Giants season can really be summed up as before and after Jones took the reigns, the Vikings season has had a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde quality to it. At home, Minnesota dismantled the Falcons and Raiders….on the road, they are 0-2 and looked very bad against the Bears last week. We don’t overreact to home/away splits, but the root cause is likely traced back to this offensive line. The Giants come into this week 7th in adjusted sack rate, while the Vikings offensive line is 25th in the league in pass pro. Kirk Cousins stepped up in the media this week and took blame for the loss, but anyone with a functioning set of eyes could see that offensive line was an absolute disaster last week. The Giants aren’t as potent as the Bears up front, but with a top-10 pressure unit, you better believe they are going to be coming after the guy who leads the league in fumbles every year and immediately checks down every play once he’s rattled. Minny probably sneaks out a win here, but the 5+ points will get us the cover we need.
[6.6 Units] Los Angeles Charges (-6.5) at home with Denver - LOSS
6.6 Units – LACH -6.5 or less
3.3 Units – LACH -7
No Action – LACH -7.5 or more
While the Chargers are welcoming back an impact player in Melvin Gordon, the Broncos are going to be without dynamic 2nd year edge Bradley Chubb. It is an especially big blow to the Broncos because, even with Chubb, they rank 30th in adjusted sack rate through the first four weeks of the season. The best way to stop Rivers, as is true of all QBs, is to get pressure on him. The Broncos are 0-4 for a plethora of reasons, but not being able to consistently create problems for opposing quarterbacks is very near the top of the list and that certainly isn’t going to be aided with the loss of their 1a or 1b rusher. Despite the 2-2 record that has been impacted by typical Chargers mistakes, we have them as just inside our top-10, primarily driven by a very efficient offense. They had a “get right” game last week in Miami and now get to come back home against a struggling team while also returning one of the best backs in the league…we think that’s more than enough reason to trust our numbers here and hope for a touchdown or more victory by the Bolts.
[6.6 Units] Tennessee Titans (-3) at home with Buffalo - LOSS
6.6 Units – TEN -3 or less
3.3 Units – TEN -3.5
No Action – TEN -4 or more
Josh Allen is officially out of the concussion protocol as of mid-morning Saturday. The -3 spread is, as always, reflective of the official line in the Las Vegas SuperContest, but that also appears to be where most books are now that it is back on. We have this game at 5 to 6-points in favor of the Titans. The Bills offense is in our bottom 5, with or without Allen. Additionally, we have them as our worst special teams units… How are they 3-1, you ask? Riding that Sean McDermott defense who is in our top-5. The Titans have been up and down, but they are still one of the more balanced teams in the league…ranking at our above league average in all three phases of the game. Welcoming back Taylor Lewan at LT after his suspension is a huge injection (pun intended) of talent and energy. Not only is he one of the best and most nasty left tackles in the game, he is also the heart and soul of the offensive line and a key driver of the identity of the team. This is going to be a very physical game, but we like the Titans to get it done at home…they will do enough on offense to sit back and let their defense overwhelm this bad Bills O.
[6.6 Units] New Orleans (-3.5) at home with Buccaneers - WIN
6.6 Units – NO -3.5 or less
3.3 Units – NO -4
No Action – NO -4.5 or more
Our models have this as a 5.5 to 8-point game in favor of the Saints, obviously factoring in Teddy getting another start under center. Has there been anyone as impressive as Sean Payton so far this season? Not counting the game when Brees actually went down, he has put together game plans and in-game decision making that has led to wins at Seattle and against the Cowboys with a very limited QB. Those are two impressive wins even IF Brees is playing… The defense, skill players, special teams, and offensive line (at times), have all stepped up in the absence of the best player in the history of the organization. What could have otherwise derailed a season, probably has the team more confident than ever, knowing that if they can do this without Drew, look out once he’s back. The Bucs have made big strides since bringing in Bruce Arians, which isn’t surprising at all…dude is a great football coach. That being said, Bruce can’t make decisions for Jameis on the field. In Tampa’s two wins, Jameis has thrown 1 int with 0 fumbles…in their 2 losses, he’s thrown 4 ints and has 2 fumbles. If there is anyone in the world we have faith in taking it easy, getting some crab legs, hanging out and slacking on their preparation after hanging 55 on the Rams…. it’s Jameis Winston. Our models like the game, Bucs are feeling themselves, and don’t forget the Saints are still pissed about losing as double-digit favs last year at home to start the season. We don’t think the hook will be a factor and see the Saints as winning by 7 to possibly a blowout.
[6.6 Units] Dallas Cowboys (-3.5) at home with Packers - LOSS
6.6 Units – DAL -3.5 or less
3.3 Units – DAL -4
No Action – DAL -4.5 or more
A reoccurring, but true, theme we talk about here is the importance of matchups. Not only do our models have this as a 6ish point game, we also have the benefit of a very favorable matchup with the Cowboys run game vs. the Packers run D. Tyron Smith is out at LT for this stellar ‘boys o-line, but what is more important is the fact that we have the Packers as dead last in the league against power runs. Last week in New Orleans, the Cowboys got outplayed and didn’t bring their typical tenacity…Zeke said he was embarrassed and making it a point of pride to get things corrected this week. The Packers soft, rushing the passer focused, d-line should be just what they need to get back on track. Green Bay’s success so far this season has been predicated on the defense leading the way and this is simply just a very bad matchup for them. We expect a bounce back from the Cowboys and another big win in a game where we have the hook hanging over our head.
[6.6 Units] New York Jets (+13.5) at Philadelphia Eagles - LOSS
6.6 Units – NYJ +13 or more
3.3 Units – NYJ +12.5
No Action – NYJ +12 or less
The Eagles cornerbacks for Sunday’s game could not possibly be more depleted, including two guys who were both signed within the last week or so. The 2-2 start from Philly has been a little bit of inconsistent play, but also has been influenced by a surge of early season injuries that they are still trying to dig their way out of. The Jets at 0-3 are bad, but they are more in the 20-24 range vs. being towards worst in the league. Additionally, they are coming off of the bye week and are as healthy as they have been outside of the last-minute failed spleen test to hold Sammy Darnold out for one more week. This is one that takes some trust and there’s no doubt we will be against the public, but that’s why we win 60% year after year. Give your balls a tug, take a deep breath, and just wait for this one to be a boring 7-10 point win for the Eagles.
[6.6 Units] Pittsburgh Steelers (+3) at home with Ravens - PUSH
6.6 Units – PIT +3 or more
3.3 Units – PIT +2.5
No Action – PIT +2 or less
The only tricky part of this game is our models are still getting calibrated with Mason Rudolph as starting QB. For that reason, we have a wider distribution of expected outcomes…. ranging from Pittsburgh as 2.5-point FAVORITES, down to Steelers being 2-point dogs. We are pretty confident in our base case that has this at a pick ‘em, so we feel comfortable taking this as a full 6.6-unit play with them getting a field goal at home. The Steelers looked great last week, but it has to be discounted given the Bengals appearing to be a bit of a dumpster fire at the moment. Conversely, the Ravens got their lunches handed to them by the Browns, but the Ravens have a history of being volatile at this stage of the season. This should be a competitive and physical game…we’ll take the home dogs with the three free points.
[3.3 Units] Washington Redskins (+15.5) at home with the Patriots - LOSS
3.3 Units – WSH +14 or more
No Action – WSH +13.5 or less
Our quantitative models have this as the number 1 ranked game this week in terms of value. We have it at 10-11 points, which means we are getting 5.5 for a home team, but clearly there is a lot going on. The Redskins, threw Haskins to the wolves last week against the Giants, but are now starting painfully mediocre veteran Colt McCoy. The Patriots are on back-to-back road games but look like the best team in the league. At the end of the day, we have to throw this one in due to a stabilizing force at QB for the Redskins and the extreme model value. However, we also understand, given all the other value this week, there is no reason to go for broke when there is some noise in the data.