NFL Week #11: Analysis and Picks
Last week was an astonishing success. 16 wins. 3 losses.
The week before was 14 wins. 6 losses.
That’s 30-9 the last two weeks.
After a horrid start to the season (all documented here), finally, I’m now profitable on the season at +15 games over .500
As for the Westgate SuperContest (7 entries at $1,000 each), the picks spread across 8 teams went a combined 35-0. A perfect week.
The only bad thing about such a monster run is, it’s impossible to maintain these numbers. But for now, I’ll take the results and am thrilled to be in the black, way ahead of the mark on games picked, and with all seven contest entries live heading into the final 8 weeks of the season.
Now, let’s get to this week’s picks, with a short summary of each selection:
WEEK 11 ANALYSIS AND PICKS: 15 picks…..
[All wagers are juiced to -110 unless noted otherwise]
Teaser: Miami -6 / San Francisco -5.5 at -120 (Risking $360 to win $300)
I bet this two-team / 6-point teaser earlier in the week for fear the line could move up and render it unplayable. Obviously, the key objective here is to tease the spreads down below a touchdown on both big favorites. Miami should have no problem with Las Vegas, even though the rejuvenated Raiders are 2-0 since the head coaching change. However, both of those wins were at home versus horrible offenses (both NY teams). Now, they go on the road and face one of the best offenses in the NFL. I expect to see a stark return to reality, especially since Miami has been watching (AFC East rival) Buffalo collapse and now gets the added motivation of being able to create a 2-game separation from the Bills with a victory. The Dolphins also enjoy an opportunity to get more healthy coming off a bye, good for added rest, and should be eager to rebound decisively following a tough loss to Kansas City a few weeks ago. Laying -12 is probably worth a look on the game line, as well given their last four wins were by 14, 21, 15, and 50. But teasing down the spread to -6 makes lots of sense, too, especially given the Raiders’ problems in their passing game. I just don’t see Las Vegas being able to stay with Miami, even though the backup QB (now starter) A. O’Connell has played admirably. Still, from watching his indecision in the pocket on so many plays last week, I don’t see how he’ll lead the Raiders to stay within a touchdown. /// San Francisco is another popular favorite, which rebounded big last week by crushing Jacksonville. Everything worked for the 49ers in that game, who finally reversed an ugly losing streak. I don’t see any letdown here, except with opponent Tampa Bay, which is coming off an easy win (versus punchless Tennessee) and is now due for a jolt back to mediocrity. San Francisco should get the money laying -11.5, but the safer bet seems to tease the far-superior team and combine with a similar matchup on the other leg.
First Half: Washington -4.5 (Risking $220 to win $200)
Banking on Washington’s inconsistent offense to score many points looks risky, but this wager is mostly a fade against the floundering Giants — which is the worst first-half team in the NFL. The NYG average a dreadful 4.2 PPG in 1H, a full point lower than the 31st-ranked deadbeat offense (Green Bay). Giants were shutout last week, which bodes well for a continuing struggle here with T. DeVito still at QB for the G-Men. In fact, in the last three weeks, NYG were outscored 59-3 in first half. Washington’s offensive numbers in the first half are marginal (9.7 PPG in 1H). Nonetheless, I like them to bounce back here off a solid effort in Seattle last week, decided by a last-second loss on a late FG. Also note that Washington played poorly in their loss to the Giants a month ago, but that was with QB T. Taylor starting, who is hard to contain in the pocket. His replacement DeVito appears to be a significant drop-off and the Commanders clearly enjoy the edge as -9.5 point game-line favorites. Let’s also credit Washington’s improving offense as QB S. Howell continues to gain confidence, scoring 31, 20, and 26 points since that earlier loss to the Giants. Some concern here about NYG defensive coordinator Martindale’s clever schemes, which worked so well in the first game. I’m expecting Washington to make the necessary adjustments and build upon the production of recent weeks. So, I’ll lay this number and also hope the Giants’ offense struggles will be the difference.
First Half: Philadelphia +1.5 (Risking $220 to win $200) — MNF
The most-anticipated game of the regular season is this Super Bowl rematch on MNF. The Chiefs should be favored at home, but the Eagles may actually be slightly the superior team, right now. Philadelphia is 8-2 (winners of 3 straight) while Kansas City is 7-2. Taking Philadelphia plus the points is tempting and would be an instant decision at +3, but +2.5 is far less appealing. Instead, I’ll bank on the Eagles with “revenge” in mind to have the lead, or be tied, or be losing by a single point at halftime (note the +1.5 is key–we must get the half point). There’s some concern fading a great team like the Chiefs, especially since Kansas City has been an outstanding 1H team this season, much less so in the 2H (outscored in the 2H by 24-0 in their previous two games). However, the Eagles pose an entirely different set of tough challenges for the Chiefs. In their last three games, Eagles have 13 TDs on 27 drives, which is an incredible stat. Both teams are off a bye. I see this as a coin flip where I’m getting value with points. So, I’ll take it.
Game Side: Chicago +8 (Risking $220 to win $200)
First-Half: Chicago +4.5 (Risking $220 to win $200)
Team Total: Chicago OVER 19.5 points at -115 (Risking $115 to win $100)
Just a feeling here that the high-flying Lions could mail this one in, holding a comfy 2-game division lead and riding a win streak. Detroit’s defense is average, which probably allows the Bears to move the ball and burn some clock. I also like Chicago with QB Fields back as the starter, who occasionally shows flashes of greatness. Off of plenty of rest, Chicago should be well-prepared and it helps the dog that this is a division contest. Let’s also credit Chicago with covering in 4/6, winning 3/6 outright, and keeping within a touchdown in 6/7. Despite their 3-7 record, it appears the Bears haven’t given up which should make them competitive. Also, Detroit has the annual Thanksgiving game on deck in four days, so if the Lions roar and build a lead I don’t expect them to roll up the score and show more of the playbook than necessary, not with division rival Green Bay up next. Looks like a game Chicago should stay in for a while, and do enough to cover in both the first half and the game. I’ll also make a small bet the Bears team total OVER 19.5 since the Lions have allowed 20+ in 6 of 9 games this season.
Game Side: LA Rams +1 (Risking $220 to win $200)
QB Stafford is starting, which should lift the Rams back into respectability (assuming the rest of the Rams can stay healthy). That breaking news on Sat. morning jolted the line from SEA -1 to +1, which I don’t think takes into account the significance of the starting QB. I’d make this number LAR -2.5 and perhaps even -3 juiced to -120. SEA is becoming a fade, failing to cover in 4/5 and the only cover was versus a weak Cardinals team at home (barely covering a large spread 20-10). Seahawks collapsed down the stretch last season and I see a repeat here. Yes, the Rams have been a pile of shit recently, but here’s a perfect “reset button” off their bye, with two weeks to prepare for a home game versus division rival. Oh, and the Rams humiliated Seattle in the season opener 30-13. With some teams, revenge can be extra motivation. But Seattle isn’t talented enough to crank it up and name the score. Edge to Rams at home, with extra prep time, semi-healthy again versus opponent that not a good as their 6-3 record indicates. Hell, the Seachickens have been outscored by opponents this season!
Game Total: [SNF] Minnesota / Denver UNDER 43 (Risking $220 to win $200)
I clearly had the wrong side of the TNF game when I bet UNDER 46. However, I’ll continue betting prime time UNDERs more often than not, at least until I see numbers/totals adjust. These two teams likely also play into more methodical, time-consuming offensive schemes — especially Minnesota with its lingering WR injuries and a backup QB (Dobbs) who has played remarkably well, but also doesn’t pose at much as a passing threat as Cousins when healthy. Let’s also credit the Broncos defense which is finally playing at the level that was predicted, given their talent. Denver successfully contained KC (twice), BUF, and GB its last four games — allowing just 17 PPG. Denver’s overall season defensive stats/ranking are jaded badly by that 70-point debacle in Miami early in the season. The Broncos appear to have fixed those issues. Both teams suddenly have playoff aspirations and I expect a game played a bit closer to the vest. What really stands out here is Denver rushing for a full yard more per carry this season, and Minnesota’s dead last (#32) ranking as a rushing team. That will put heavy pressure on Dobbs to produce again by moving out of the pocket and doing unorthodox things as a playmaker, which I’ll fade this week.
Game Side: Cleveland -2 vs. Pittsburgh (risking $220 to win $200)
Pittsburgh is the biggest fraud in the NFL and that fact should be revealed this week in Cleveland. The Steelers have been out-gained in every game this season, including a 14-point win versus the Browns two months ago when QB Deshaun Watson gift wrapped the Steelers two easy touchdowns, losing despite out-yarding Pittsburgh by 160 yards. The revenge-minded Browns will start Thompson-Robinson at QB this week. He won’t be asked to do much. Cleveland’s #1 ranked defense should make things miserable for QB Pickett and the mediocre Steelers offense. Moreover, the Browns’ #2 ranked rushing offense should burn off lots of clock (at 314 carries per game, the Browns lead the NFL). Steelers have allowed 131 rushing YPC to opponents, ranking 25th in the NFL in run defense. These numbers add up to a probable Cleveland win and cover. The Browns are 6-3 for a reason (great defense and rushing). I still can’t figure out how the Steelers are 6-3, except for lots of breaks, including 3 games they probably should have lost.
First-Half Team Total: LA Chargers OVER 10.5 points (Risking $165 to win $150)
Full Game Team Total: LA Chargers OVER 23.5 points (Risking $165 to win $150)
The Chargers at 4-6 are a mess right now. They field a bad defense, but they also have no problem moving the ball and scoring points. I’ll take the Chargers OVER 10.5 in the first half, due in part to their 16.8 PPG 1H average. Green Bay isn’t the intimidating place it once was and the Chargers have proven to have no problems scoring on the road, eclipsing these numbers in 3/4 games (only poor offensive game was at KC where they scored 17). The Packers’ dreadful 1H numbers could also help, as Green Bay ranks #31 in the NFL in first half points at 5.4 PPG 1H.
Kicker Prop: Santos (CHI) OVER 5.5 points at -130 (Risking $260 to win $200)
Kicker Prop: Carlson (LV) OVER 5.5 points at EVEN (Risking $200 to win $200)
Kicker Prop: Folk (TEN) OVER 5.5 points at -120 (Risking $240 to win $200)
Kicker Prop: Zuerlein (NYJ) OVER 5.5 points at -105 (Risking $210 to win $200)
Those of you who follow my analysis already know about my discovery of these kicker props. I won’t spend time repeating myself on the reasoning. If interested, go back and read the earlier reports. /// One comment about Carlson for the Raiders who might be the most underrated player prop on the board each week. He’s 17/20 FGs this season. With a flunky Raiders QB who is almost certain have problems in the red zone vs. MIA, Carlson is an excellent bet this week. Only concern is a very possible MIA blowout, which means Raiders could forgo FG attempts in 2H. This line is probably correct at 5.5 but is juiced at EVEN (it should be -130). /// On Zuerlein (NYJ), he makes us money every week, despite Jets’ offensive woes. This number continues to be badly mis-lined at 5.5 (and -105 !!!!!) with public/oddsmakers unaware that a bad offense actually can help most FG props. Some sportsbook needs to hire me to recalibrate their FG numbers. I should start doing this full time next season.
—-ALL PICKS NOW COMPLETED —-
WESTGATE SUPERCONTEST PICKS – WEEK 11
What a week! All seven tickets went a perfect 5-0. We had eight teams spread across the collection of tickets, and all eight won, giving us a perfect week, at 35-0. Incredibly, all seven tickets are now in contention. Collectively, these tickets are +76 games over the .500 mark based on a total of 350 picks through ten weeks. I’m not sure anyone has 7 tickets in this good a shape.
Three tickets rank in the Top-100 (out of 1301 total entries). Five tickets rank in the top-200. All seven tickets rank in the top 300, which is the top 25 percent. Our best ticket is just a half game out of the top-20, which would mean cashing in the contest.
Last week, I mentioned if we can replicate a .66 pct. win rate, that could put a ticket or two in the top-20, which means cashing in the contest. So far, so good.
Here’s this week’s contest picks, along with the W-L records on each $1,000 ticket:
[Note that these lines differ from above because they’re based on the close as of Wednesday night at Westgate]
TICKET 1 (31-16-3)
TICKET 2 (31-18-1)
TICKET 3 (30-19-1)
TICKET 4 (29-19-2)
TICKET 5 (28-21-1)
TICKET 6 (27-21-2)
TICKET 7 (29-20-1)
SURVIVOR CONTEST STRATEGY — WEEK 11
Here’s my latest article at SurvivorSweat.com on the $9.4 million Circa contest: Click Below
2023 NFL WAGERING RECORD
107 — Wins
92 — Losses
3 — Pushes
Starting Bankroll: $10,000.
Current Bankroll: $10,395.
Net Gain/Loss: + $395.
Last Week: 16 wins – 3 losses (+ $2,470.)
11-Year Comprehensive Record (2012-present):
Game Total: [TNF] Cincinnati / Baltimore UNDER 46 (Risking $220 to win $200)….LOST
This week’s Thursday Night Football matchup features what’s expected to be one of the better games of the season. The Ravens (7-3) are favored by -3.5 vs. the Bengals (5-4), which makes the underdog a tempting pick in this AFC North division rivalry. However, I think the unmistakable trend to continue riding is the roaring “UNDER” train, especially when it comes to primetime games. NFL games this season are hitting the UNDER nearly 80 percent on Thur.-/Sun.-/Mon.-night showdowns. UNDERs have now cashed an eye-popping and bankroll-building 25 of 32 primetime games in 2023 (78 pct.). Starting Week 1 in 2022, UNDERs in games played under the lights are 65-29 (69 pct.) — so tell me why anyone sane was betting OVER on last MNF game (DEN-BUF) when the O/U went from 46.5 to 47.5?—-I just don’t get it. Some of these low scores are due to horrid offenses and bad quarterbacks being showcased far more often than usual (the NY Giants and NY Jets have combined for 8 appearances, so far — and we still have to stomach 3 more NY teams during the remainder of the season–enough!). This could explain the number of UNDERs being an outlier, to date, but it also goes along with general league-wide trends that have resulted in a reduction in scoring. The last six primetime games have all gone UNDER, yet this week’s three games under the lights are totaled at 46, 43, and 46. Hence, they’re all lined higher than average (due to good offenses playing, of course). I tend to like UNDERs in division rivalries anyway. It’s also certainly possible that either (or both) defenses shuts down the opponent. Cincinnati isn’t the offensive power of recent seasons (they’ve actually surrendered more points than they scored). The Bengals rank 24th offensively in YPG, and playing at Baltimore isn’t exactly the place to jump start an offense. The Ravens rank a little better (9th in the NFL YPG), yet the passing game is mediocre at best (207 YPG, below league average), and we’ve seen QB Lamar Jackson make some mind-boggling throws and bad decisions with the game on the line resulting in turnovers. Looks like a 23-20 type of game won or lost in the final seconds. Hoping here that the night train continues producing UNDERs.
Last Week’s Picks and Results:
Game Bet: Indianapolis -1 at -115 (Risking $230 to win $200)….WON
Game Bet: Tampa Bay -1 (Risking $220 to win $200)….WON
Game Bet: Minnesota +3 at -120 (Risking $240 to win $200)….WON
Game Bet: Dallas -16.5 at -115 (Risking $230 to win $200)….WON
Game Bet: Las Vegas [pick] (Risking $220 to win $200)….
Game Bet: Washington +6.5 (Risking $220 to win $200)….WON
First Half Bet: Minnesota +1.5 at -115 (Risking $230 to win $200)….WON
First Half Bet: Washington +3.5 at -115 (Risking $220 to win $200)….WON
First Half Bet: Dallas -9.5 (Risking $220 to win $200)….WON
Team Total: Tampa Bay OVER 19.5 points (Risking $220 to win $200)….WON
Kicking Prop: Gay (IND) OVER 6.5 points at -115 (Risking $230 to win $200)….LOST
Kicking Prop: Grupe (NOR) OVER 6.5 points at -120 (Risking $240 to win $200)….LOST
Kicking Prop: Joseph (MIN) OVER 5.5 points at -125 (Risking $250 to win $200)….WON
Kicking Prop: Hopkins (CLE) OVER 5.5 points at -110 (Risking $220 to win $200)….WON
Kicking Prop: Tucker (BAL) OVER 6.5 at -120 (Risking $240 to win $200)….WON
Kicking Prop: Koo (ATL) OVER 6.5 at -130 (Risking $260 to win $200)….LOST
Kicking Prop: Zeurlein (NYJ) OVER 5.5 at -130 (Risking $260 to win $200)….WON
Kicking Prop: Carlson (LVR) OVER 5.5 at -130 (Risking $260 to win $200)….WON
Game Total: Denver/Buffalo Under 46.5 (Risking $220 to win $200)….WON