We’re in the home stretch of the NFL season. We only have one college game on this week’s slate while we wait for bowl season to begin – the annual armed forces battle between Army and Navy. A side note, from what I hear attending that game is supposed to be a blast. At the very least it definitely is one of those events that you don’t think about at the forefront of sports experiences, but with the history and pageantry behind it, I could see it being a riot.
The NFL action ahead this week is really rather uninspiring as far as match-ups themselves, with the marquee game of the week unquestionably being the Bears (+3) hosting the Rams on Sunday night. In assessing the early lines this week there have been two games that have flipped faves – Carolina going to a 1.5 point favorite on the road at Cleveland from an opening pick’em line and the Washington Redskins going from a 1.5 home favorite against the Giants to a 3.5 point underdog by Thursday night. Large line movements in the NFL aren’t nearly as common as in the college game and personally, I am always checking out the flippers.
Last week was another rough one for the Roundtable. There is no way around it – however, I can still say I don’t see any of last week’s Best Bets being terrible calls. It was a weird week and we’ve hit a tough stretch, but we will keep grinding it out and give our loyal readers some good information and more importantly some winners.
Patrick’s Pick: (@TCFPgoy and @typical_chicago; 1-2) Atlanta Falcons (O/U 50.5) @ Green Bay Packers (-5) (Sun. 12/9 – 12:00pm CST)
Last week we got on the W train as we had the Ravens (-1.5) at Atlanta. An interesting note on that game is that the Ravens actually opened a 2.5 point favorite but closed a 2.5 point dog at kickoff. Whatever line you got it at didn’t matter though as Baltimore flew into not-so-hot-Lanta and cooked the dirty birds by 10.
My pick this week will be related to last week’s theme and that is we are going to fade the Falcons again as they go on the road to Green Bay and take on the Packers.
Listen, the Falcons are DONE absolutely DONE this season. This team couldn’t be any further from that super bowl team from 2 years ago despite having similar offensive weapons still this season. The defense is non-existent, the offense can’t score, the coach can’t coach and he dam sure can’t call plays when Atlanta is fortunate enough to find itself in the red zone.
The biggest offensive threat on the Falcons as of late has been Matt Bryant. As I stated last week in my pick analysis, Atlanta’s defense ranks 32 overall in team efficiency DVOA, 31st against the pass and 29th against the run (per Football Outsiders). At home last week their receiving core was paced by TE Austin Hooper who tallied a whopping 44 yards receiving, their biggest weapon Julio Jones saw 8 targets, only snagged 2 of them and failed to break 20yds receiving (18). The Atlanta rushing attack was dam near invisible as well as Ito Smith paced all ball-carriers with just 22 yards on 7 carries.
The Falcons are barely better than Oakland against the pass for cryin out loud and now they have to go into Green Bay and face a pissed off yet probably overjoyed Aaron Rodgers who now doesn’t have to deal with Mike McCarthy anymore. Now they have to go on the road to freezing ass cold Green Bay, forget about it. Falcons won’t want any part of this game.
Green Bay ranks 12th overall in team efficiency in DVOA which I thought was surprising considering how frustrating a season it has been for the GB offense as they have only mustered up 4 wins. Aaron Jones has emerged as a reliable and welcomed new weapon in the run game over the past few weeks as well. The Aaron Rodgers “F*** You McCarthy” revenge tour begins Sunday and I think he is out to prove that this Packers team could have been something this year had it not been for the horrendous end to the Rogers-McCarthy relationship.
Lay the 5 with Green Bay here. Packers by approximately 400 in this game.
Pick: Green Bay -5
Jeff’s Pick (@RealJeffKerr21; 0-1-1) Carolina Panthers (-1.5) @ Cleveland Browns (O/U 47) (Sun. 12/9 – 12:00pm CST)
I’m back after a two-week hiatus. What better way to return from a short break from the Roundtable with jumping on the Cleveland Browns, right? This line is a classic Vegas plea at taking the perceived better team. I’m riding heavily on fading the public in this game. As Matt mentioned above this game is one of two flippers from the opening lines of the week. That’s always a welcome sight.
The second key factor based on gambling data is according to The Action Network 64% of public bets are coming in on the Panthers – further justifying the line movement mentioned. The Panthers have lost four straight. Cam Newton is banged up. They appear to have mailed it in with dwindling playoff chances. The Browns, on the other hand, are starting to build a little momentum with an eye on 2019 and beyond behind Baker Mayfield. The hiring of Hue Jackson did nothing to hurt matters for the Browns as they have played with an extra bit of fight the last few weeks. Look for rookie Nick Chubb to keep running wild and Mayfield to make enough plays to keep the Panther D on their toes.
Pick: Cleveland + 1.5
Matt’s Pick (@schools_01; 2-2) Detroit Lions (-3) @ Arizona Cardinals (O/U 40.5) (Sun. 12/9 – 3:25pm CST)
Take a walk with me on this one. I have vowed both privately and publicly to stop betting on shit teams. Not only am I dancing with one bad team I am now setting my sights here on a game with two of the NFL’s bottom feeders this season. I can’t help myself. Apparently, I am drawn to betting on awful NFL teams.
The Detroit Lions have some talent on their roster. Kerryon Johnson has looked to be capable of being a lead back in the NFL in his rookie season. NIU product Kenny Golladay is a damn good NFL wide receiver bordering on No. 1 status. Ziggy Ansah when healthy is an absolute monster and Darius Slay is one of the better cover corners in the league. Unfortunately for Detroit, all four of them are questionable to play and none appear to be close to certain to suit up. And really, for a 4-8 team, why should they? I have seen enough Matthew Stafford quarterback play in my life to know he’s really never going to be a difference maker.
He’ll put up gaudy stats much of it in garbage time and will have a week here and there where he really shines. But he’s a middle of the pack QB at his best and he’s been far from his best this season. The Lions also are 1-5 ATS in their last six games.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, the Cardinals are 3-2 in their last 5 ATS and coming off a huge road win. I love seeing the line move as much as it has from an initial line of Detroit -1. Cardinals Head Coach Steve Wilks has finally seen the light giving his best player RB David Johnson 20+ carries in three of the last four weeks. Johnson got off to a rocky start this season but much of that has to do with being the focal point for opposing defenses due to Sam Bradford and rookie Josh Rosen’s weak play at the quarterback position.
The Cardinals defense still has some talent at all three levels and Detroit traveling across the country to face a team who just went into Lambeau Field and basically ended the Packers season last week is a recipe for disaster. I love a lot of dogs this week and this one really stands out.
Pick: Arizona +3
Sean’s Pick (@Sean_Trader; 3-2) New York Giants (-3.5) @ Washington Redskins (O/U 41) (Sun. 12/9 – 12:00pm CST)
As the great philosopher, Lloyd Christmas said, “We’re really doing it, Harry.” Yes, for a third week in a row, I am giving a first-quarter total. I can’t help myself. Both of the last two I gave out were winners and I don’t see this one being any different.
Things just went full circle last week for Mark Sanchez, he of the butt fumble fame as he “totally redeemed himself” with the butt recovery. What all of this doesn’t do is make him a professional quarterback. The Giants trade of Snacks Harrison earlier in the season didn’t help their defense but the Sanchize is going to be protected early on by head coach Jay Gruden. The Giants will take notice and allow Saquon Barkley to methodically run up and down the field early on (and just as importantly for us keeping that clock moving as well). Let’s do it again.
Pick: 1st Quarter UNDER 7.5
Nick’s Pick (@PetroTLS; 36-34-2) Baltimore Ravens @ Kansas City Chiefs (-6.5) (O/U 53.5) (Sun. 12/9 – 12:00pm CST)
Going to keep this short and sweet. The Ravens have become a run the ball team since Lamar Jackson has taken over the offense. That means their time of possession will go up naturally. While the Chiefs have been deadly at home, they may not have the ball very much. The Ravens defense is also legit. To be honest, I can see the Ravens winning this one outright. For now, I like the under in this one a bit more.
Pick: UNDER 53.5
Follow the Roundtable guys on Twitter: @PetroTLS; @schools_01; @typical_chicago; @TCFPgoy; @RealJeffKerr; @Sean_Trader; @abes34; @TheChalksTLS