It was a tough week as Team Degenerate went 1-3-1 with a loss of four units. That brings the season total to 14-9-2 and +3 units. I do feel we were on the right side of most of the games, but unfortunate luck hit.
The Lions were up 14-0 in the first quarter and still couldn’t cover +4 against New Orleans. A brutal Matt Stafford pick in the end zone in the first half was a killer. The Chargers only got a push as seven-point favorites over the Bucs after leading 24-7.
The Dolphins were inside the +6 number for most of the game against the Seahawks despite kicking an absurd five field goals and giving up a touchdown before the end of the first half on a series that began with just 24 seconds remaining. Miami still had a chance for the backdoor cover, but Ryan Fitzpatrick threw an interception.
Detroit, Los Angeles and Miami were all the right sides that did not hit, which is life in sports gambling sometimes. Every game listed on here last week we beat the closing number on, and that’s all you can really do. Time to make it back in Week 5, although there are not a ton of games I love this week.
Green Bay Packers Bye Week Review
Things could not have gone any better for the Green Bay Packers through four games. At +51, the Packers lead the NFL in point differential. Their offense leads the league with 6.8 yards per play and the team ranks fifth in Football Outsiders DVOA.
I’ve seen a lot of folks taking a victory lap over the gambling and analytics community for their commentary on last season’s Packers and the thinking that they would regress this season. What the Packers have done this season does not change at all the fact that the 2019 Packers did not perform like your usual 13-3 and had some very fortunate breaks go their way. It does not take away at all what they accomplished last year, but those are what the facts are.
The predictions that they would regress were based on assuming the Packers would play at or near the same level as they did last year. If they were playing to the level that they did last year then their results would have absolutely regressed. However, the Packers have stepped up their quality of play in a major way and now are playing like an elite team worthy of their record.
My reasoning for thinking that the Packers would play near the same level and regress was because I didn’t like anything they did in the offseason and didn’t think they improved the team really at all. The funny thing is that was not really a wrong take. The draft class has contributed basically nothing and they’ve gotten little out of free agents Christian Kirksey, Devin Funchess and Ricky Wagner.
All of their improvements have been internal. Aaron Rodgers is back to playing like on an MVP caliber level. Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Robert Tonyan have stepped up in a big way. The offensive line has basically been flawless. Matt LaFluer is scheming players wide open. Jaire Alexander has played at an all-pro level. Kingsley Keke has taken a second-year leap. The list can go on forever.
Green Bay is 4-0 against the spread and is covering the spread by an average of 10.9 points per game. No other team in the NFL is covering spreads by more than 5.5 points per game.
Carolina Panthers (+2) over Atlanta Falcons 1 unit
The wrong team is favored here. Carolina might be the team I had the worst read on in the preseason. I expected them to be one of the worst teams in the NFL, and they have been anything but that.
The Panthers should only continue to get better as Matt Rhule gets more experience and a bunch of new personnel continues to play more together. Atlanta still has major injury issues with Julio Jones and its secondary. If the Falcons had a great effort in them it probably would have come last week.
Cleveland Browns (+1) over Indianapolis Colts 1 unit
The Colts are in a tough injury situation with Darius Leonard and Anthony Costanzo both out. Linebacker Anthony Walker is also questionable and his loss combined with Leonard would be huge. The Colts have the NFL’s best defense so far this season, but I question the level of competition. This is a big statement game for Cleveland.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-7) over Philadelphia Eagles 1 unit
There is an outstanding trend in Pittsburgh’s favor that is too good to pass up. Teams that won the previous week as an underdog of six or more and are underdogs of six or more the following week are 3-50 straight up and 13-39-1 against the spread.
The Eagles qualify for this after their outright upset over the 49ers last week. Pittsburgh is in a great spot coming off a bye after Philly had to travel to the west coast the previous week. The Eagles were fortunate to win anyways thanks to a brutal Nick Mullens interception. Without any weapons, it’s hard to see Carson Wentz getting much done against this Pittsburgh defense.
Mike Davis Over 37.5 receiving yards 1 unit
Since Christian McCaffrey got hurt Mike Davis has been a machine catching balls out of the backfield. He has at least five catches in each of his past three games and has 74, 45 and 27 receiving yards, respectively. As everyone saw last week, the Falcons cannot cover running backs. They’ve allowed the second most catches in the league to backs.
Antonio Gibson Over 18.5 receiving yards 3 units
This should be free money. With Kyle Allen taking over at quarterback, nobody checked it down to running backs more than he did last year. Gibson did nothing receiving in his first three games, which is why this total is so egregiously low, but broke out for 82 yards receiving last week. In every game this season a running back has caught at least 30 yards against the Rams.
D.K. Metcalf over 67.5 receiving yards 2 units
I’m not sure why the books have yet to adjust for Metcalf and how much more Seattle is passing. We will happily take advantage though. Metcalf has had at least 92 yards in each of his four game this year. The Vikings allow the fifth most yards to receivers in the NFL and the fourth highest yards per catch. This is a smash spot