Wednesday, December 14, 2011

NFL 2011 - Betting Lines - Picks To Win, Versus the Spread and the Over/Under: Week 15

Welcome to week 15 everyone!  The games are getting more important and playoff pictures are beginning to unfold.  In an unforeseen event, my picks last week produced an amazing 15-1 record "to win" and 12-4 against the spread.  Only my favorite team, the San Francisco 49ers, produced my only loss. *sigh*  It's not as if I chose them with any bias.  They were 4 point favorites to win the game.  Still chasing that perfect week, but not bad to come within a game of it in the 15th week of my first season picking all of the season's NFL games(and publicly, no less).  We'll see if I can match, or exceed that record this week, but I'm really liking my chances to achieve better than 68% on my picks for the year and better than 54% against the spread by the last week.  I've come to find the over/under is really hard to nail down, though I'm still hovering at 49.5%  Let's look at how I've done so far...

Winner: 15-1   :-D!
Winner w/ Spread: 12-4   :-D
Over/Under: 8-8 :-/
Trifecta: 6
Strikeouts: 1
Perfect Team Score Predictions: 2 (Houston, Carolina)
Perfect Game Score Predictions: 0


*2011 Overall Record*
Winner: 138-70 (.663)
Winner w/ Spread: 102-99-7 (.507)
Over/Under: 101-103-4 (.495)
Trifecta: 46
Strikeouts: 28
Perfect Team Score Predictions: 29   [Week 1]: Atlanta, St. Louis, Detroit  [Week 2]: Arizona, Tampa Bay, Minnesota  [Week 4]: San Diego  [Week 5]: Jacksonville, Denver  [Week 6]: Atlanta, Oakland  [Week 7]: Chicago  [Week 8]: Houston, Carolina, Denver, Cleveland  [Week 9]: Oakland, Tennessee  [Week 10]: Miami  [Week 11]: Oakland  [Week 12]: Tampa Bay, Chicago, Seattle  [Week 13]: Buffalo, Washington, Houston, New England  [Week 14]: Houston, Carolina
Perfect Game Score Predictions: 2   [Week 1] Atlanta @ St. Louis  [Week 2]: Tampa Bay @ Minnesota

NOTE: The team with a negative number in parenthesis "(-3)" next to their name is the favorite to win the matchup and the number represents how many points the favorite has to score more than the underdog to count as a winning bet.  The over/under for the game is represented by a number in parenthesis with the letters o and u "(o/u 46)".  The number represents the amount of points you are wagering whether or not the two team's combined score will be in excess of or short of.  Official betting lines courtesy of

My picks for Week 15...

Jacksonville @ Atlanta(-11)  (o/u 42.5)
Savant Spread Pick: Atlanta and the points to win ~ 26-13
Over/Under Pick: Under

Last week was the story of two different Atlanta teams that showed up in each half.  In the first half of last week's game, they were getting torched by Cam Newton and the pass game to the tune of a 23-7 deficit and roared back to score 24 unanswered points for the win.  Jacksonville had a big scoring day which was highly out of character as their 41 points against Tampa Bay is the most for them in a game this season.  Their big day was more about Tampa's bad day on defense more than anything they did all that well.  Atlanta is not TB and they will be ready for MJD and Blaine Gabbert's less than 50% completion percentage on the season.  He's really been awful.  Atlanta also wins more than 80% of the time at home since 2008 and that's gainst all levels of competition.  The Jags are one of Atlanta's easier opponents this season.  This is a no brainer.  JAX defense is very stout against the run though, so I expect them to hold the score under the line making Matt Ryan and the passing offense do all of the work.

Tampa Bay vs. Dallas(-7)  (o/u 47)
Savant Spread Pick: Dallas and the points to win ~ 31-20
Over/Under Pick: Over

Tampa Bay comes into the game after having gotten the doors blown off of them by the less-than-stellar Jaguars.  The Cowboys come in off of a loss to the Giants and desperately need a win to keep their division title hopes alive.  As good as the Jags looked in their 41-14 rout of the Bucs, there is no question that the game was more about just how bad the Bucs are than how good the Jaguars are.  With Dallas, you can never tell which team is going to show up, whether it's the Dallas team that beat the 49ers in San Francisco or the one that lost to Arizona two weeks ago.  Expect the good Cowboys team to show up and take care of business and take the over, because that Dallas D has been giving up big plays a lot and Tampa could make a few of them to keep it closer than some expect.

Washington @ New York(N)(-7)  (o/u 46.5)
Savant Spread Pick: Giants and the points to win ~ 29-20
Over/Under Pick: Over
The Giants have gotten their swagger back after the return of RB Ahmad Bradshaw from injury.  Though they are still a below average rushing team even with his presence, they were the dead-last rushing team in the NFL with only Brandon Jacobs and D.J. Ware taking all of the carries.  That average rushing offense is just enough to give them the balance they need for their very high-powered pas offense to flourish with Nicks and Cruz leading the way from the WR positions.  Washington still has the interception prone Rex Grossman starting at QB and is now without one of his favorite targets, TE Fred Davis, who will sit the rest of the season from a drug suspension which doesn't do the Skins any favors.  New York will continue the march to winning the NFC East in this game and take the over because the Giants offense can put up points and the defense should give up a few scoring plays to the Redskins.

Kansas City vs. Green Bay(-14)  (o/u 46)
Savant Spread Pick: Green Bay and the points to win ~ 41-9
Over/Under Pick: Over

There really isn't any analysis you need for this game.  Kyle Orton ill make his first start for the Chiefs since he was waived by Denver.  Green Bay is still undefeated and will roll in this one.  Greg Jennings is out for a couple weeks but it will not faze the offense a bit.  Green Bay, the points and the over are the lock of the week.

Minnesota vs. New Orleans(-7)  (o/u 50.5)
Savant Spread Pick: Minnesota with the points; New Orleans to win ~ 27-21

As good as we know the Saints are, they have been a very mediocre team on the road.  They've managed to come out with some close road wins and even an inexplicable loss to the NFL's worst offense in the Rams.  You can't typically count on them to put teams away by a lot on the road.  It looks like the Vikings will have Adrian Peterson back from his ankle sprain and that's important because the Vike's offense relies on him more than any offense in the NFL.  He will help QB Christian Ponder get last week's bad game a memory, but the Saints will pull it out.  Saints also have superstar TE Jimmy Graham in the lineup, but with a sorely sprained ankle.  He looked very slow and gimpy in last week's game.  It's a decent blow to what they do on offense, but the other WR's should be able to pick up the slack enough to get it done in Minnesota.

Seattle @ Chicago(-3.5)  (o/u 35.5)
Savant Spread Pick: Seattle to win ~ 17-13
Over/Under Pick: Under

Chicago is just not the same team as they were with Jay Cutler and Matt Forte.  They are not even recognizable, except on defense.  That offensive unit already had some problems with a lack of talent and now they are without the two must talented players on offense.  Chicago's D can hold Marshawn Lynch and the Seattle offense in check, but I don't think they will do it enough to make up for that atrocious offense the Bears are running behind Caleb Hanie at QB.  Their only TD may even come on defense because I have no faith in that offense to do much more than a few field goals.  Neither team's offense has much firepower so the under is a safe bet.

Miami @ Buffalo(Pick)  (o/u 42)
Savant Spread Pick: Miami to win ~ 24-16
Over/Under Pick: Under

Miami just fired their head coach this week after winning 3 of 4 games looking relatively good for the little amount of elite talent they possess.  They are a hard team to figure out, but I believe they come back in a big way from last week's loss for their fallen coach that they really liked.  Buffalo has been a team struggling since the loss of their all-world RB, Fred Jackson.  WR1 Stevie Johnson has had injury struggles and the defense hasn't been able to stop anyone from scoring points.  Even an offense as average as the Dolphins' can look good against this defense and Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Bills QB, is 1-6 since signing a major contract extension so I think there has been something mental to his play.  I like the Dolphins to win but not much offense in this one.

Carolina @ Houston(-6.5)  (o/u 45.5)
Savant Spread Pick: Houston and the points to win ~ 24-16
Over/Under Pick: Under

Houston is still without Andre Johnson this week and will still have T.J Yates under center, but this team's strength is in it's top ranked defense.  Houston should put the clamps on the Cam Newton show and the Panthers.  In addition, top RB Arian Foster should have another monster game with RB2 Ben Tate cleaning up as well against one of the worst run defenses in all of the NFL.  T.J. Yates will be used sparingly but will be effective in his 20 or so pass attempts.  Carolina's defense just makes it impossible for them to win games with any consistency no matter how well Cam plays.

Indianapolis vs. Tennessee(-6.5)  (o/u 41)
Savant Spread Pick: Tennessee and the points to win ~ 27-13
Over/Under Pick: Under

It's hard to imagine the Colts having any success against this Tennessee team that has a stout defense and one of the top RB's in the NFL considering their inept offense and being one of the worst teams in the NFL against the run.  QB Matt Hasselbeck is questionable to start but his backup Jake Locker has proven that he can step in and win immediately in his play the last couple of weeks in Hasselbeck's absence.  Dan Orlovsky has been an improvement over Curtis Painter at the QB position for the Colts, but he won't be enough to overcome the Titans D.  This game sets up for Chris Johnson to have another 100+ yard game and a TD or two.

St. Louis vs. Cincinnati(-6.5)  (o/u 38.5)
Savant Spread Pick: Cincinnati and the points to win ~ 28-10
Over/Under Pick: Under

It looks like St. Louis will be without starter Sam Bradford who is undecided at this point if he will play, but it won't matter if he does or does not play in determining the outcome of this game.  No matter who is behind center for the Rams, they are the lowest scoring team in the NFL.  They only make it to double-digit points in about half of the games they play.  It doesn't help them any that Cincinnati is one of the top rush defending teams in the NFL which takes away the Rams only real strength, RB Steven Jackson.  The Rams rush defense is also the worst at giving up big rushing plays leading the NFL in yards allowed after contact.  This plays well for Bengals stud RB, Cedric Benson to have a big day.  In any game that St. Louis is playing, it's a pretty safe bet to take the under.

Oakland vs. Detroit(-1)  (o/u 48)
Savant Spread Pick: Detroit and the points to win ~ 21-12
Over/Under Pick: Under

Since Ndamukong Suh's Thanksgiving Day stomp that landed him a two game suspension, the Lions have mentally fallen apart.  They lost the next game with a number of personal foul penalties and looked sloppy last week against a very injury decimated Vikings team that shouldn't have torched the Lions D the way that they did.  Suh is back though for his first game since the incident and the Lions are looking to right the ship for a playoff push.  Carson Palmer, the Raiders QB traded for two first round picks earlier this year, has been up and down in his starts, but looked awful last week in a big loss to the Packers.  RB Darren McFadden is still out of the lineup with an ankle that has taken way longer than they thought it would.  The rushing game for Oakland misses him dearly, even with the serviceable backup Michale Bush filling in admirably in his absence.  McFadden is a game-changer that can't be replaced though. Matt Stafford and the Lions offense will light up the Raider secondary and take home a win.

Denver vs. New England(-6.5)  (o/u 46)
Savant Spread Pick: New England and the points to win ~ 29-17
Over/Under Pick: Under

Who knew we would be caring about a game between the Patriots and Broncos 10 weeks ago?  The Broncos are a well documented anomaly, that though putting themselves in positions where winning is completely improbable, they catch breaks and take advantage of opponent mistakes.  The biggest reason why they will fail against the Patriots is because Bill Belichick coached teams don't make the mistakes that other teams have against the Broncos during this winning streak.  Tim Tebow may very well have the most yards passing yards in a game in his young career against a Patriots secondary that is on pace to break the record for most passing yards allowed in a season.  The real test of the Broncos will be how well the defense can perform against Brady and that high-powered offense.  The Bronco D won't keep it close enough for Tebow to do the unimaginable this week.

New York(A) @ Philadelphia(-3)  (o/u 44)
Savant Spread Pick: New York with the points; Philadelphia to win ~ 21-19
Over/Under Pick: Under

Philadelphia looked like it got it's stroke back when they went down to Miami and stomped out a pretty hot Miami team.  Andy Reid and the team know that the way they finish is going to go a long way towards how they move forward next year, but even with that in mind, don't count out the Eagles for the division which is still winnable with two Cowboy and Giants losses.  The Jets are desperately playing for their playoff lives as well, but they continue to look like a team that doesn't have all of it's parts working well together.  Mark Sanchez has done little to prove to the Jets that he is a long term solution at the QB position with lots of inconsistency still in his third year as the starter.  Michael Vick was sharp in his last game and should be fully healthy from his rib injury now a month ago.  It will play out very closely, but I've got the Eagles to make the big play that wins it in the end.

Cleveland @ Arizona(-6.5)  (o/u 37.5)
Savant Spread Pick: Arizona and the points to win ~ 21-6
Over/Under Pick: Under

Cleveland starting QB Colt McCoy will miss the game with concussion symptoms suffered from the helmet-to-helmet hit that got Steelers LB James Harrison suspended for his game this week against the 49ers.  Without McCoy they have no shot at winning this game, which would have already been difficult with him playing.  Beanie Wells will have a day rushing the ball against Cleveland's very soft run defense.  Arizona wins big in this one and shuts down the Browns' offense.

San Diego vs. Baltimore(-2.5)  (o/u 44.5)
Savant Spread Pick: San Diego to win ~ 28-24
Over/Under Pick: Over

San Diego looked impressive in last week's win and seems to have found their winter stride.  They always seem to as the Chargers are amazingly successful under Head Coach Norv Turner in December and January, posting a 19-2 record in those months combined.  The Chargers know that they can make a run at the division with a big win over Baltimore and a loss by the Broncos who look like they will against a tough Patriots team this week.  Baltimore does not travel well and especially to the west coast where they had a major let-down earlier this year against the Seahawks in Seattle.  Philip River will play like the QB he should have been all seaason in this game and will rack up 3 TD passes, a couple to Vincent Jackson. 

Pittsburgh @ San Francisco(-2)  (o/u 39.5)
Savant Spread Pick: San Francisco and the points to win ~ 19-16
Over/Under Pick: Under

This game will be a battle, but it's hard to foresee the Steelers traveling 3,000 miles to San Fran without James Harrison because of a suspension, possibly without Big Ben at QB and at best a very hobbled Big Ben with a high ankle sprain and likely the absence of their best offensive lineman(and most important to Ben), Center Mike Pouncey and winning this game.  The 49ers defense, without superstar LB Patrick WIllis is still one of the best in the NFL and #1 against the run.  The 49ers have not allowed a rushing TD this entire season, the first to not allow a rushing TD in 13 games to start a season since the 1920 Decatur Staleys(later the Chicago Bears).  Alex Smth has shown this year that he can make the big throws on a consistent basis without turning the ball over like he did in the past and the 49ers should make just a few more plays than the Steelers to pull out a big win as they try to secure the 2nd seed and a playoff bye week.

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