Just a quick overview of what is to follow. I will be doing a SMOTE (Spread, Moneyline, Over/Under, Trends, Evaluation) for all 4 games that are featured this week. I will go over why I feel a certain way about each of the first three and then include some trends that may be relevant. The reason the acronym is SMOTE is because you will all be smitten with me after these picks.
Going forward I will track all my picks for the year and by sport (football won’t last forever).
(All lines are provided by Bovada.lv as of 1/6/17)
Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers 1:05 p.m. ET on CBS
Spread: Steelers -10.5
I was ready to give this one to the Dolphins (not the win just the spread), but then something gave me pause. The Dolphins run defense is putrid and the Steelers have one Le’veon Bell. The Dolphins run defense is effectively the worst in the league (the only two lower ranked teams are the 49ers and Browns), and not only are they the worst but they have been even worse the last three games. In a game that will be played in a frigid Heinz Field the running game will be key. The Steelers aren’t great verses the run (13th) and Jay Ajayi is no slouch, he is not Le’veon Bell.
*See above* I mean not to be lazy or anything, but seriously. If I am picking a huge number for the Steelers to cover you bet your damn britches that I am getting them straight up. Oh yeah, did I mention that the Dolphins are starting their backup quarterback, regardless of the fact that I don’t think that Matt Moore is not a far drop from Ryan Tannehill.
Over/Under: Over 46
Both teams have reached the 46 point threshold in about half of their games. The Dolphins offense has been actually pretty good Moore took over the starting reigns averaging 27 per game in those three starts. On top of that the Steelers have a some of the best top end skill position players in all of football. Despite the expected temperatures I expect this one to be the highest scoring game of the week as Le’veon Bell runs over the Dolphins, and Matt Moore shows that he is more than just a guy.
Well here is where I am starting to be a little worried about my extreme confidence in the Steelers. The Dolphins are 8-2-1 ATS in their last 11, and that’s pretty damn good. On top of that they are 4-1 ATS against the Steelers in their last 5 match-ups and all those games have taken place in the last 10 years.
Similarly, the Steelers are a solid 5-1-1 in their last 7 and much of that featured a Ben Roethlisberger that was rounding back into form after a serious knee injury that he pretty much shrugged off (despite stats that are quite contrary).
This is the second best game of the week, I know bold statement considering the field, but it really is. I think that Matt Moore is vastly underrated as Ryan Tannehill’s backup, I think he played well in 2011 when he had 12 starts and then got screwed by a team that drafted their “QB of the future.” The Dolphins run first offense will still be able to operate just as well as with Tannehill. Meanwhile Big Ben and Co. will be able to run all over the Dolphins swiss cheese run defense, and Antonio Brown will have at least two big plays that end in touchdowns for the Steelers. Fuck I think I just talked myself out of the +10.5 pick for the Steelers, but whatever I’m gonna roll and we’ll all get rich.
New York Giants at Green Bay Packers 4:40 p.m. ET on FOX
Spread: Packers -5
You know what the Giants are? Average. Their defense sits at 10th in yards allowed per game, but that doesn’t really tell the whole tale, especially against a team like the Packers. You know what the Packers don’t do? Run the ball. You know what the Giants D is really good at? Run D. You know what the Packers do?… You get the picture here. The Giants have the 23rd ranks pass D and that will kill them verses Aaron Rodgers. Pack win by at least a touchdown.
Okay full disclosure: I have been writing for about 4 hours and I’m about 4…5 beers deep. I know it seems lazy (see a trend when I pick the spread and the moneyline for the same team) but just see above. Aaron Rodgers, the assemblance of a running game that Ty Montgomery allows, and being at home will lead to a big Packers win. As a Bears fan that really hurts to write.
Over/Under: Over 44.5
Most of the Giants games have been under this mark, a whopping 13! On the other side of the coin the Packers have gone over this mark in 11 of their games this season. What that tells me is life is to short to bet the under (shout out @Bigcat). A little more stats for ya, Packers are over in 4 of their last 5, and the Giants are under in 7 of 8. Go figure.
You saw above that the over under in this game is a complete mess as both teams are polar opposites from one another, so on that front we will move on.
Giants have been 8-3 overall ATS in their last 11, but only 3-4-2 in their last nine road games. They love to play in the friendly confines, but when they go away anything can happen. You know why? Eli Manning. Green Bay on the other hand is 4-1 ATS in their last 5, but 0-4-1 ATS against the Giants in those teams last 5 match-ups which take place over the last 5 years.
This game is a toss up, but if you are smart believe me #Trumpism.
I have no idea what to say about this game except to say that according to all the trends that I looked up these teams are like Superman and Lex Luther, the only problem with that analogy is that I really don’t like either team. So maybe they are more like Russia and Germany in WWII. When push comes to shove I’m going over. Why? Because Aaron Rodgers is the best player in the league (once again tough to write as a Bears fan), and all the Giants have on offense is Odell Beckham. I’m picking the Packers for the same reasons.
OAK @ HOU: Raiders +4, Houston to win, Under 37
DET @ SEA: Lions +8, Seahawks to win, Over 44
MIA @ PIT: Steelers -10.5, Steelers to win, Over 46
NYG @ GB: Packers -5, Packers to win, Over 44.5
Keep an eye out late tonight or mid-day tomorrow for my Sunday picks.