Avoid the Vig
Picks - NFL Week 5
At Avoid the Vig, we promised transparency and that is what we are delivering. We were abysmal last week. We went 0-4. Certainly, there were things that just didn't go our way, but we aren't going to apologize for any wins, so we can't make excuses for the losses. Overall, we are still hitting at a 61% clip, up 11 units. We look to get back to our winning ways.
On to Week 5...
GAME: CHI -4.5 @ OAK (O/U 41.5)
According to our Power Ratings, the Bears went into Week 4 with a Power Rating of 2.5 better than the average team. The Raiders went into Indianapolis 5.5 worse than the average team. The Bears completely dominated the Vikings on both sides of the ball, despite their quarterback, Mitch Trubisky, getting knocked out of the game with a shoulder injury. Chase Daniels took over and orchestrated multiple scoring drives, which created a lead that proved to be insurmountable. The Vikings took heavy action before kickoff and the games closed Bears only -1. As the game unfolded, the Bears proved to be clearly the superior team. The Bears beat the spread by 9 points in this divisional rival.
Perhaps, we were too down on the Raiders going into the Colts game. The Raiders were catching 6.5 at kickoff, but ended up kicking the Colts while they were down. After grabbing an early 21-7 lead in the second quarter, the Colts mounted a comeback, but their effort proved futile. The Raiders beat the closing line by 13.5.
Both teams outperformed the spread by more than a touchdown. So where does that leave us heading into Week 5? For starters, I think both teams need to be adjusted at least by a half a point. For arguments sake, lets give the Bears a half point adjustment up to +3 and the Raiders a full point adjustment to -4.5. On a neutral field, the game should be Bears favored by 7.5. Take into consideration that the Raiders are wearing the home dark uniforms, the line should be set at Chicago -4.5, exactly where it is. Except, here is the rub, the Raiders aren't at home. The game is in London, which means it is on a neutral field. According to everything we discussed, the line should be -7.5. At, -4.5 we get it with a ton of value and through the key number of 7.
Some other things in our favor:
Vontez Burfict, starting linebacker for the Raiders, just got suspended for his hit this past weekend.
Derek Carr underwent precautionary X-ray on his lower leg. It could be nothing, but NBC Sports Bay Area reporter, Scott Bair, stated that it was, "something to keep an eye on".
Jon Gruden is still the coach. He is a great TV personality, but his talents as a head football coach are horribly overestated.
The Bears have been winning despite Mitch Trubisky, not because of him. If he is, in fact, out for the game next Sunday, maybe have additional hidden value.
3 Units: CHI -4.5 (DraftKings -110) LOSS
GAME: BAL -3.5 @ PIT (O/U44.5)
One of the most profitable plays in sports betting is fading the public. This game is a typical Pros vs. Joes game, which provides a fantastic contrarian play. As of this post, the Ravens are receiving 57% of the bets, yet only 30% of the cash. The syndicates are pounding Pittsburgh while they still have the hook. Every book that is still offering 3.5 has extra vig shaded to the Steelers. As far as reading the market place, this one screams Pittsburgh being the correct side.
We can see why the public is jumping on the Ravens. Lamar Jackson is one of the most exciting players in the NFL. Baltimore swept the preseason straight up and ATS, so they were carrying a lot of momentum coming into the year. However, the regular season has not proven as fruitful. After dominating Miami, they failed to cover against Kyler Murray and the Cards by only winning by 6. They had a backdoor cover in KC, but were the wrong side throughout. Last week, their doors were beaten off by a Cleveland Browns team that was not living up to expectation in Baltimore. It seems that John Harbaugh is starting to run out of tricks in his quirky offense.
On the other side of the ball, the Pittsburgh Steelers got off the snide by finally winning a game against the lowly Cincinnati Bengals. Sitting at 1-3 and 2-2 ATS, the Steelers have doubled down on their belief in Mason Rudolph by trading away their first round pick in this upcoming draft. Much has been made of his performance thus far. One of the highlighted concerns is his inability to throw the ball down the field, a justifiable area in need of improvement. However, Mike Tomlin knows he no longer has Ben Roethlisberger's creativity on the field. Moving forward, I expect to see the Steelers taking more shots down the field, which will open up the run game and increase the likelihood the Steelers cover the spread and perhaps win outright as home underdogs.
Grab the line now. That hook won't make the weekend!
2 Units: PIT +3.5 (PointsBet -115) WON
GAME: NE -14.5 @ WAS (O/U 42.5)
The spread indicates that this will not be a game. In February, New England may be preparing for the Super Bowl while the Washington Redskins may be pondering who to select with the number one overall pick in the upcoming draft. We don't think either scenario is out of the realm of possibility. Yet the two teams, at opposite ends of the spectrum, face off this weekend with a hefty spread. Even when the best play the worst, covering two touchdowns plus is a tall task. Usually, its a dog or pass mentality.
We don't anticipate the Patriots overlooking the Redskins. Belichick will make sure that doesn't happen. However, I wouldn't be surprised if they want to get a win and get out with limited injuries. That means grabbing a sizable lead and sitting on it in the most mundane way possible. This may leave a backdoor cover open for Washington if they show they can overcome their early season ineptitude. With that being said, we don't even know which quarterback will start for the Skins. God help Hog Nation if they end up starting Dwayne Haskins on Sunday. If the rookie does in fact start for Washington, you might as well take the Hogs to slaughter
In order to take advantage of this handicap, lets come at it from a more niche market. First off, it is October, a month in which Bill Belichick covers 60% of the spread. On top of that, the Patriots have scored at least a touchdown in the first quarter in each of their first four games. The cumulative first quarter score of their opponents? Zero. Washington hasn't scored a first quarter point since Week 1. We'll take Belichick over Jay Gruden. We'll take Tom Brady over <insert Washington Redskins quarterback here>. We'll take the Patriots in the first quarter.
2 Units: NE -3.5 First Quarter (DraftKings -106) LOSS
*CHECK BACK LATER IN THE WEEK FOR MORE PLAYS!*
YEAR TO DATE: 20-14-1 / +7.58 Units