I have to start out this week’s Roundtable article by thanking our followers and readers for sticking with us through a couple rough weeks we had in late November and early December. It’s easy to spotlight the wins, but we strive to be great and also accountable. Stretches like that can give people an easy out go find their information elsewhere. But for those who rode with us, it has paid off and paid off in a MONSTER way.
In the last two weeks, our crew has rattled off a 9-1 record, topped off with a perfect 5-0 last week. Patrick and Sean have been especially on fire of late, with Sean hitting on four of his last five and Patrick hitting three straight. Joe, with a kick in the ass courtesy of his son Brock, got off the schneid for his first win since bringing his talents to TheLoopSports.com. We hope our readers capitalized on the information we have been throwing out. We have a mixed resource of tools each of us use – whether it’s statistical data, the eye test, trend following, and as always the most reliable tool for gamblers – our gut.
Sports Business Journal named their most influential person in the sports business world earlier in the week. In prior years they have named league commissioners, ESPN executives, and even the President. This year however, it was the American Sports Gambler. With the decriminalization of sports gambling in the US, more and more legislation to regulate the industry is being tossed around in Washington and at the state level as each state tries to develop their own way to control and profit from sports betting. It’s likely that in a few short years you will be able to place a bet while sitting in the stands at Soldier Field. The voice of the sports gambler has been heard and people are taking notice.
With that, we ask that you keep sticking with us. We’ll keep doing our best to ensure you are equipped with the knowledge and information to back the right side. Here we go with the winners.
Matt’s Pick (@schools_01; 3-3): Houston Texans (O/U 46) @ Philadelphia Eagles (-1.5) (Sun. 12/23 – 12:00pm CST)
The legend(s?) of Nick Foles are real. The Eagles for whatever reason are a different team when he is under center after Carson Wentz inevitably gets hurt. It’s insane. At 7-7, fresh off of heading to Los Angeles to beat up on the Rams, the Eagles are the team none of the contenders in the NFC want to face early on. They’ve done it before obviously being the defending champs and all so the experience factor is with them. They are chasing the Cowboys who I am not convinced is a good team.
Houston has their playoff spot locked up and is still in a good position, win or lose, to earn one of the two coveted byes in the AFC playoff race. It clearly would be benefit to win this week but desperate times call for desperate measures. Foles inexplicably has figured out a way to flip the switch and Houston is still Houston which you feel always is primed to lay an egg in big spots. I just can’t see that logo everywhere in a celebration. It doesn’t work.
Foles showed his nickname fits the way he dragged one of the better defenses up and down the field in his first start since leading the Philly huddle in Weeks 1 and 2 while Wentz finished rehabbing a torn ACL. The Eagles have some mojo cooking with Nick and the defense will be able to contain the Deshaun Watson and company. I think the sharps were right jumping out to an early bargain getting Philly at home with even money. Even as a very slight favorite I love Philly to live to fight another week and watch Bill O’Brien scramble to save a shot at a bye.
Pick: Philadelphia (-1.5)
Sean’s Pick (@Sean_Trader; 5-2) Baltimore Ravens (O/U 43.5) @ Los Angeles Chargers (-4) (Sat. 12/22 – 7:20pm CST)
I see this one as one of the more entertaining games to bet here. You can get multiple bits of action here and if you notice I like going off the grid a bit. It’s all about maximizing value and sometimes you have to take interest on both sides.
Here’s how I see this game playing out: The Chargers are fresh off another huge win beating the Chiefs in Kansas City with a shocking comeback win capped off with a 2-point conversion to win by a single point. They are going to be off to a bit of a rocky start. The Ravens have one of the best defenses in the league as well. I’m to give out another 1Q under here again.
I’m also going to tell you that despite the slow start the Chargers are one of the best teams in the league and have showed it the last month or so. Phillip Rivers is playing the best ball of his career. Melvin Gordon is back after missing time with a knee injury. Lamar Jackson has shown his athleticism and ability to run but he has done it in the last five games against teams with DVOA rushing ranks of 26th, 27th, 30th, 31st, and 32nd. The Chargers are at least middle of the pack at 18. This is one of the more formidable defenses he will have faced led by stud safety Derwin James and a fully healthy Joey Bosa.
Pick: Los Angeles Chargers -4
Bonus Pick: 1Q Under 7.5
Patrick’s Pick: (@TCFPGoy and @typical_chicago; 3-2) Cincinnati Bengals (O/U 45) @ Cleveland Browns (-9)
The Roundtable has been ON FIRE the last 2 weeks hitting at a 9-1 clip over that span and that’s now 3 in a row for your boy after the 49ers beat the Seahawks outright as a 4pt underdog last week. I’m back at it again for week 16 of the TLS Roundtable in a tricky week due to injuries, lack of motivation for some teams, and some tough lines. I think I’ve sorted through the rubble and have come up with another winner for you in Week 16. Let’s break it down.
My pick this week comes from the battle for the great* state of Ohio in the Bengals/Browns game. The total is sitting at 45 and we are going to look at the under in this one. That total seems high for a couple of reasons; here they are.
1 – Cincinnati Injuries (notable)
The Bengals FULL injury report is about as long as a receipt from Target that your girl brings back home when they said they had to run out for “just a few things.” Cincy has Jeff Driskel leading the charge into the Dawg Pound on Sunday and with little to no playmakers surrounding him. If he can get this Bengals offense in the endzone twice despite Hue & Marv’ calling the plays I’d be shocked.
2 – Browns Defense
Now after seeing what the Browns have done the past couple of weeks in rattling off some wins and playing some very inspired football since the firing of former HC Hue Jackson I knew they had some potential, but this defense is something else.
- Cleveland D has not allowed an opponent to score over 23 points since 4
- have held opponents to 20 or under in 8 games since week 4
- 10th overall in DVOA
- 6th against pass in DVOA
- 23rd against the run in DVOA
People, the Browns are a good football team and it sucks that they had been handcuffed by incompetence in the beginning of the season or this team might have been able to reach 10 wins this year.
Cincy won’t be able to throw it in this game due to the pass rush of Cleveland so about the only thing they will be able to do is attempt to run against that Browns 23 ranked D which = time running off the clock. I don’t think Cleveland is going to be out for A LOT more blood against their former head coach but they will want to stick it to Hue Jackson again here in this one, but this time with defense.
This game features a complete mis-match in the Bengals O vs the Browns D. I’ll say Browns 26 – Bengals 12. Take the under 45 in this one.
*Losely defined and difficult to quantify
Pick: UNDER 45
Joe’s Pick (@abes34; 1-4) Memphis Tigers (-3) vs Wake Forest Demon Deacons (O/U 73) (Sat. 12/22 11:00am CST) – Jared Birmingham Bowl
As Matt mentioned above I summoned the help of my kid last week and it got me my first win here with the Roundtable. I’m going to give you all a college game early Saturday to wet your beaks with. Bowl games frequently never have any defense. This one will be no different.
It’s a pretty simple equation in this game. Memphis averages over 43 points per game while the Deacons rack up 32.5 on their own. The bigger indicator is neither teams stops anyone either as they both allow over 31 points per game. It’s going to turn into a track meet even with Memphis’ propensity to run. Losing RB Darrell Henderson who is sitting out after throwing his name in the NFL Draft is a blow, but the Tigers will lean on their other 1,000 rusher in Patrick Taylor, Jr. The weather will be in the 50’s with no rain currently in the forecast to slow the game down. Memphis, owner of one of the best offenses in the country has gone over the total in four of their last five and I don’t think it will be an issue to see them end the year going over another total.
Pick: OVER 73
**Nick will be making his picks on the Chalk Twitter account! Free picks for the holiday season.
Photo: AP. Pictured: Philip Rivers.
Follow the Roundtable guys on Twitter: @PetroTLS; @schools_01; @typical_chicago; @TCFPgoy; @RealJeffKerr; @Sean_Trader; @abes34; @TheChalksTLS