Happy Thanksgiving to you all! Thanks to Columbus and those Pilgrims we can all enjoy a little turkey dinner on Thursday.
One of our astute readers, Tom M., asked if I had any thoughts on long-shot teams to win their division, similar to the +900 bet we cashed with Washington two years ago. How about the Atlanta Falcons?
Atlanta is +500 to win their division. Considering they're neck-and-neck with Tampa Bay, those odds are high. Someone has to win that division. Barring a late season run by New Orleans or Carolina, it's going to be either Atlanta or Tampa Bay. Atlanta has six games to play and only one of them is against a team with a winning percentage higher than 55%.
Tampa Bay has seven games to play. Four of them on the road and they will face two teams with winning percentages higher than 55%, both of them playoff teams from last year.
If Atlanta and Tampa Bay both continue on their current path, then their Week Eighteen game will determine who wins the division. If that's the case, the money line odds for Atlanta will be around +125, which is a far cry from the +500 that's available right now.
While we're on the subject, how about Atlanta at +10,000 to win the Super Bowl? Impossible, you say? Keep reading.
To win money on an Atlanta Super Bowl ticket, you don't need them to win it, you just need them to make the playoffs. At odds of 100-to-1, imagine the hedging possibilities.
Atlanta plays Washington and Pittsburgh in their next two games, both winnable, followed by their bye week. That late season bye week could leave them energized for the final four games of the season. If their final game of the season vs. Tampa Bay decides who wins the division, you could start hedging right then.
I split a small bet on Atlanta to win their division and to win the Super Bowl. My main concern is an injury to quarterback Marcus Mariota. He does have a history of late-season injuries. Also, if Atlanta is a double-digit underdog throughout the playoffs, the hedging could add up real fast, laying -400 or more a game.
How about Baltimore to win the Super Bowl at +1200? They are a top-3 team in our Game Rating System, second only to Buffalo and tied with Dallas. That system rates teams according to stats that accurately forecast how likely teams are to win and cover games; the real stats, not that analytics gobbledegook.
Baltimore has tomato cans lined up for their next six games: Jacksonville, Denver, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Atlanta, and Pittsburgh again. They're currently +1200 to win it all. My only issue with them is that they close the season with a road game at Cincinnati. As you recall from pages 33-36 of Week One NFL Winners, teams that close the season with a road game are at a distinct disadvantage in postseason play.
How about Philadelphia to win the Super Bowl at +600? They are #4 in our Game Rating System and they close the season with a home game. Philly leads the league in yards per pass attempt differential. The late Bud Goode, an expert NFL analyst, said that any team near +3 in yards per pass attempt differential will earn a Super Bowl invite. Philly is the only team in the league currently at +3.
How about Tennessee at +2800? They are ranked 6th in our Game Rating System. They've made the postseason three times in four years under head coach Mike Vrabel, including a long postseason run in 2019.
For Tennessee to fail to win their division, two things, both unlikely, need to happen. First, they need to suffer a late-season collapse. Second, either Houston, Indianapolis or Jacksonville needs to put together a late-season run. Similar to Atlanta, you don't need Tennessee to actually win the Super Bowl to make money on that ticket. All you need is for them to make the playoffs, then let the hedging begin.
Buffalo is still everyone's favorite to win the Super Bowl at +425, but something about that Josh Allen ... he's fast and loose with the football and while that might work against Cleveland and other NFL bottom-feeders, if he starts fumbling or throwing picks in the playoffs, the Bills aren't going very far.
Two teams you probably want to avoid for Super Bowl future bets are Dallas and Minnesota. They both close the season with back-to-back road games and that's the kiss of death as far as NFL playoffs go. Since 2004, teams that close the season with two consecutive road games are twice as likely to miss the playoffs as make the playoffs, and not a single one has advanced to the Super Bowl. They make great go-against teams in the postseason. (See page 34 of Week One NFL Winners for the wallet-depleting details.)
Congratulations to Our Readers!
Congratulations to Tony R., who is holding a top-15 position in the Golden Nugget contest and a top-30 position in the SuperContest Gold! Tony is also in the top-20 in two other handicapping contests! Let's root for him to win!
Congratulations to Francis W., who hit two 4-team parlays last week! Francis has hit several 4-team parlays this year! Excellent job!
Our home/road system went 2-4 ATS last week in every game that had an overlay of 3 or more points, including 1-3 ATS as underdogs. Teams with an overlay of 3 or more points are now 52-37-3 ATS on the season, including 41-24-3 ATS as underdogs.
Here are the lines the system has for this week:
Tampa Bay -2
NY Jets PK
LA Chargers -8
San Francisco -4
Game Rating System
Our Game Rating System went 4-1 ATS last week in every game that had an overlay of 3 or more points. It is now 22-13 ATS over the last five weeks, including 18-10 ATS as underdogs. Here are the lines for this week:
Tampa Bay -2.5
NY Jets -2.5
LA Chargers -5.5
San Francisco -4
League Ranking Analysis
Our League Ranking Analysis went 5-3 ATS last week in every game that had an overlay of 3 or more points. It is now 18-24-2 ATS the last five weeks, including 11-12-2 ATS as underdogs. Here are the lines for this week:
Tampa Bay -5
NY Jets PK
LA Chargers -3
San Francisco -15
Smart Investor System
Tennessee was a triple winner for us last week, winning with the points, on the money line, and in the 1st half. This week, the Giants qualify. Tennessee will qualify if they are getting 2 or more points. These games are currently 1-4-1 ATS, 1-5 SU on the money line, and 3-3 ATS in the first half this year.
Our 7-11 System went a whopping 10-3-1 ATS last week. It will finish the 2022 season with a record of 41-26-4 ATS (61.1 percent). I said five weeks ago that the 7-11 System wins every year and in the fifteen-plus years that I've been using it, it's done exactly that. You could use the 7-11 System as your sole handicapping criteria and guarantee yourself nothing but winning seasons. You'd never have a losing season ever again.
A couple of weeks we ago, we discussed how to arrive at the actual score, the real score, and the maximum score. Those numbers will be either positive or negative. Now we'll discuss what to do with them.
What I do is compare each team's season-to-date margins in all three categories. If both margins are positive or if both margins are negative, I subtract the smaller margin from the larger. If one team has a negative margin and the other team has a positive margin, I add the negative margin to the positive margin.
The easiest way to explain that is with some examples from last week. Here is the Washington at Houston game.
Actual Score -2.2 -6.4 Wash +4.2
Real Score -.3 -6 Wash +5.7
Maxim Score 0 -6.1 Wash +6.1
Washington had an advantage over Houston in actual score, real score, and maximum score. According to the 7-11 System the scoring margin for this game should land between Washington +4 and Washington +6. The line was -3 to -3.5, therefore Washington was projected to cover the spread and they did. Washington's superiority in scoring margins per the 7-11 System was a primary reason why I ended up betting on them last week.
Here's the Tennessee at Green Bay game.
Actual Score 0 -3.1 Ten +3.1
Real Score -5.3 .8 GB +6.1
Maxim Score -5.6 2.8 GB +8.4
In this game, Green Bay was capable of covering the spread in both real score and maximum score, but not in actual score. If a favorite cannot cover all three scoring margins (like in the example with Washington above), then the system says to take the underdog. In this case, Tennessee was the underdog and they won and covered.
If you have any questions about the 7-11 System, feel free to email me and I'll be happy to walk you through it step by step. Though if I receive 500 emails, it may take me a little while to respond.
7-11 System results for the last three years:
Week 7) 9-2 ATS
Week 8) 8-1 ATS
Week 9) 7-6 ATS
Week 10) N/A
Week 11) N/A
Week 7) 9-3 ATS
Week 8) 7-4 ATS
Week 9) 8-4 ATS
Week 10) 5-6 ATS
Week 11) 5-7 ATS
Week 7) 8-6 ATS
Week 8) 10-5 ATS
Week 9) 6-5-2 ATS
Week 10) 7-7 ATS
Week 11) 10-3-1 ATS
The 7-11 System is a winner. I've even come up with a way to tweak it for the playoffs.
Buffalo at DETROIT
Wow, Buffalo just played in Detroit and now they're going back to Motor City to play again on Thursday. It begs the question: why didn't they just stay where they were? Think about it. They went through the hassle of flying out from Buffalo amid all that snow last Saturday and now they have to do it again on a short week. How retarded is that?
I went back both this year and last and couldn't find a single case of a team playing on the road and then going back on the road for a Thursday game. As far as I know, it's never been done before. On top of that, Buffalo has three consecutive division games on deck. That first division game is on the road too, against New England. This is a terrible scheduling spot.
Detroit is averaging 25 points per game, including 32 points per game at home. Suppose they score 25 points here. Buffalo is going to need to score 36 or more points to cover the 10-point line. That's not an easy thing to do. The last time Buffalo scored 36 or more points on the road was in Week Ten of last season. All it takes is one turnover to spoil the odds of Buffalo scoring those 30+ points. Meanwhile, Buffalo has 8 turnovers in their last four games, with quarterback Josh Allen responsible for 7 of them.
Detroit head coach Dan Campbell is 9-4 ATS at home, including 8-3 ATS as a home underdog. When quarterback Jared Goff was with the Rams in 2020, he led his team to 32 points against Buffalo and that was on the road. When Campbell was with New Orleans in 2017, his team scored 47 points against Buffalo and that was on the road too.
I'll take those 10 points with Detroit.
NY Giants at DALLAS
Dallas is flying high after their win last week in Minnesota. Owner Jerry Jones called the Cowboys a "Super Bowl team," and the betting public is pounding them, as they always do. But has everyone forgotten that only two short weeks ago, Dallas lost outright as favorites in Green Bay after tubby head coach Mike McCarthy elected not to kick a field goal that probably would have won the game?
Speaking of McCarthy, he is 5-8 SU and 6-6-1 ATS on Thursdays since 2013, including 0-4 SUATS on Thanksgiving. The corpulent coach seems more concerned with his post-game turkey feast than winning on the field.
This is a triple revenge game for New York and it finds quarterback Daniel Jones in his best role as a road underdog, where he has gone 13-7 ATS, including 10-5 ATS vs. NFC opponents, and 5-1 ATS in division games.
New York head coach Brian Daboll went into Dallas for a Thanksgiving game in 2019 when he was with Buffalo and left with a 26-15 win. New York defensive coordinator Don Martindale went into Dallas for a Thursday night game in 2020 when he was with Baltimore and left with a 34-17 win.
I'll take those 10 points with New York, along with a little something on the money line and a little something on the 1st half.
New England at MINNESOTA
Bill Belichick vs. Kirk Cousins is a rare occurrence. We've seen it twice and the old man has come out on top both times, limiting Cousins's teams to 10 points in both games, and holding the stalwart signal-caller to 4.5 net yards per attempt and a TD/INT ratio of 2/3.
New England has held six of their ten opponents to 17 or less points. The only teams they've struggled with are Baltimore and Chicago; two teams with mobile quarterbacks. Meanwhile, Minnesota has allowed six of their ten opponents to score 24 or more points. Since their bye week, they've allowed the following point totals: 26, 17, 30, and 40. Minnesota is 1-3 ATS this year vs. head coaches who are former defensive coordinators.
I like New England. They also work well in teasers.
Denver at CAROLINA
Carolina is switching quarterbacks yet again, this time going to Sam Darnold. You remember him. He started 3-0 for Carolina last year before bombing out.
Denver quarterbacks have taken 33 sacks this year and they're facing an underrated Carolina defense that has generated 8 sacks in their last two games and held five of their eleven opponents to 19 or less points.
Carolina on a teaser is probably the smartest way to play this one. Denver hasn't beaten an opponent by more than 7 points all year. Playing Denver opponents on a 6-point teasers is 10-0 this season.
Tampa Bay at CLEVELAND
If Tom Brady didn't have enough troubles ... His whorish wife left him, he's lost tens of millions of dollars in a shitcoin Ponzi scheme, and now he's being sued.
Brady was shilling FTX, a money laundering scam endorsed by the bug-eating scum at the World Economic Forum and run by Bernie Madoff lookalike Sam Bankman-Fried, who is now on the lam, although the New York Times has him booked for a conference at the end of the month which you can attend for the modest sum of $2,499. Something tells me he's not gonna show.
The FTX collapse began when our fraudulent and illegitimate government sent billions of dollars in taxpayer money to the Ukraine, who then invested the money in FTX, who then funneled the money to the Democratic Party in order to finance their races for the fake midterm elections. Then the day after the phony midterm elections, FTX folded and now all of the dumbasses who invested in FTX and lost their life savings are suing Tom Brady. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
It's a bigger scandal than Enron and it makes me wonder if I should go back to making movies, because I could pitch this one as a knockoff of The Wolf of Wall Street, with Jim Carrey as Tom Brady; Wilford Brimley, if he was still alive, as Bruce Arians; and Seth Rogan as Bankman-Fried. I could sell that picture in a heartbeat.
Now the question is how will all of this impact Brady's ability to concentrate on this game. To me, he's in prime fade mode. The only problem is this week's opponent. Cleveland has won only one of their last seven games and it came against Cincinnati on the same day that Cincinnati offensive consultant Adam Zimmer died from the dangerous and fake vaccine that's killing everyone. There was no way Cincinnati could have won that game under those circumstances. No way at all. Remove that game and Cleveland hasn't won since Week Three.
Cleveland does benefit from playing at home. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett is 13-12 SU in home games. Cleveland also benefits from the weather which is forecast to be cold and windy. Dumb money has come in on Tampa Bay, pushing the line up to -3.5. That also benefits Cleveland.
Pending on the game, likely play on the under.
Baltimore at JACKSONVILLE
In Jacksonville's last game before their bye week they were +3 in turnover margin, yet still lost and even failed to cover the spread. That is extremely rare. It's possible that Jacksonville's incompetent front office has ruined the career of quarterback Trevor Lawrence, just like they ruined the careers of so many other promising young quarterbacks, by pairing them with clueless assistant coaches.
Jacksonville is 0-28 SU and 5-23 ATS the last three years when they allow 100 or more rushing yards, including 0-5 SUATS this year. When allowing 150 or more rushing yards, they are 0-14 SU and 2-12 ATS. Baltimore is ranked 6th in rushing attempts and averages over 160 rushing yards per game. Do the math.
Jacksonville is 0-2 SUATS this year vs. mobile quarterbacks, losing to both the Giants and Eagles.
I like Baltimore.
Houston at MIAMI
We're nearing the part of the season when coaches who know they are going to be fired at the end of the season begin throwing in the towel. It is inconceivable to think that Houston's incompetent coaching staff will be retained after this season. They may have started throwing in the towel already. Since Houston's bye week, they are 0-5 SU and 1-4 ATS. In those five games, quarterback Davis Mills has a TD/INT ratio of 6/7.
Miami has quietly raced to a 7-3 record. They have three consecutive road games on deck, all against teams that are .500 or better. That makes this an important game for them to seize an easy win before the tougher games begin.
Chicago at NY JETS
When news leaked out that Chicago quarterback Justin Fields injured his shoulder and might not start this week, my neighbor, who isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, shouted, "The Jets are gonna kill the Bears!" My thoughts were the exact opposite. Chicago backup quarterback Trevor Siemian lacks the mobility of Fields, but at least he knows how to complete a pass. He's 13-16 SU as a starter, which is better than Zach Wilson, who is 8-13 SU.
But then Wilson might not start either. The best quarterback on New York's roster is Mike White. If he starts then maybe the Jets will kill the Bears. But what if the Jets stick with Wilson? What if Joe "the Human Statue" Flacco starts? What then? Impossible to forecast this game without knowing the quarterbacks for both teams.
Cincinnati at TENNESSEE
This is a playoff revenge game for Tennessee. They felt they should have won last year's postseason match and they should be focused for this one. They've had it circled since the schedule first came out and they've had a few extra days to prepare.
Tennessee has the league's top run defense, but that shouldn't faze Cincinnati head coach Zac Taylor, who prefers to pass on every down regardless of the situation. What should faze Taylor is Tennessee averaging 3 sacks a game as quarterback Joe Burrow continues to get taken to the turf, despite "improvements" to the offensive line.
This is Cincinnati's seventh road game this season vs. only four games at home.
I like Tennessee. Perhaps the best way to play them is on a teaser from +1.5 to +7.5.
Atlanta at WASHINGTON
I've been Washington's biggest cheerleader the past six weeks. The changes they made to their defensive backfield have propelled them to a 5-1 SU and 6-0 ATS run since we noted it. But after playing their most complete game of several seasons at Philadelphia, followed by more of the same at Houston, I'm wondering if they've hit their peak. They're laying 4 points here. That's not a huge number for most teams, but for Washington it is.
Washington was favored by 6 points in the final game of each of their last two seasons. But those games came against a Philadelphia team that announced beforehand they weren't playing to win and then made a mid-game quarterback swap to prove it, and against a New York Giants team with Mike Glennon at quarterback. Aside from those gimme games, the Redskins haven't laid more than 3 points to anyone under their current coaching staff. And going back to 2018, head coach Ron Rivera is 2-5-1 ATS as a favorite of more than 3 points.
Meanwhile, Atlanta has thrived in the role of an underdog this season, going 3-5 SU and 6-1-1 ATS, including 1-3 SU and 3-1 ATS as a road underdog. Quarterback Marcus Mariota is 8-5 SU and 10-3 ATS on the NFC road in his career.
LA Chargers at ARIZONA
Los Angeles quarterback Justin Herbert has quietly earned a reputation as the king of blown leads, particularly when it comes to playing Kansas City. It's a habit he may have picked up from the former king of blown leads, Anthony Lynn.
Last week's 30-27 loss to Kansas City was the second time this year that Herbert blew a late 4th quarter lead against the Chiefs. Last year in Week Fifteen, he blew a late 4th quarter lead against the Chiefs and lost in overtime. In Herbert's very first NFL start, he also blew a 4th quarter lead against the Chiefs. From his first start to his most recent, Herbert has blown four 4th quarter leads against the Chiefs. Mixed in between have been blown 4th quarter leads to other teams. What interests me, of course, is what happens after those games.
In 2020, after Herbert blew a 4th quarter lead to the Chiefs, his team lost outright as 6.5-point home favorites to Carolina. It was one of only five games that Carolina won that year.
In 2021, after Herbert blew a late 4th quarter lead to the Chiefs, his team lost outright as 13-point road favorites to the lowly Texans. It was one of only four games that Houston won last year.
In 2022, after Herbert blew a late 4th quarter lead to the Chiefs, his team lost outright as home favorites to the lowly Jaguars. It's one of only three games that Jacksonville has won this year. Are you beginning to see a pattern?
Herbert and the Chargers continually put all of their time and energy into beating the Chiefs, only to come up short by blowing a 4th quarter lead, and then fall flat on their face the following week to a vastly inferior opponent.
In addition to that, Herbert has an interception in each of the last five games. He has 9 total turnovers for the season.
As for Arizona, they fired assistant coach Sean Kugler prior to their Monday night game vs. San Francisco. Kugler is the best coach on their staff. If I had known he was fired, I'd have bet on Frisco. Arizona is also dealing with multiple injuries. If some of those players come back, the letdown king of Los Angeles could be headed for an Arizona ambush.
Las Vegas at SEATTLE
This the fourth game out of five on the road for Las Vegas and their seventh game out of eleven on the road. It's also a division sandwich game. Opponents of Las Vegas have missed seven field goals this year, including a miss in each of their last six games.
Seattle quarterback Geno Smith has thrown two or more touchdown passes in eight out of ten games. He's thrown more touchdown passes in his last four games than Russell Wilson has thrown all year. The Las Vegas defense is last in the league in sacks, averaging a puny 1.3 per game. That should give Geno plenty of time to do his thing.
I like Seattle if the line drops to -3.
LA Rams at KANSAS CITY
Many were expecting these teams to meet in the Super Bowl last year. If that had transpired, I don't think Kansas City would have been favored by 15 points.
The major question for this game is who will start at quarterback for Los Angeles. If Matthew Stafford starts, then the Rams have a decent shot of covering the inflated line. But if Stafford doesn't start, or if he does and then gets injured again, the Rams will get tomahawked.
New Orleans at SAN FRANCISCO
As we've noted in the past, New Orleans head coach Dennis Allen struggles on the road. Going back to his time with Oakland, the embattled head coach is 3-20 SU when playing away from the comfy confines of home. Like the lovable losers on Houston's coaching staff, Allen and everyone under him is likely to be fired at the end of the season. They may have already thrown in the towel.
Since 2016, New Orleans is 24-34 SU and 22-35-1 ATS when they score 27 or less points. Meanwhile, San Francisco is allowing 17 points per game and they are projected to hold New Orleans to 16 points in this game.
Green Bay at PHILADELPHIA
Philadelphia is enduring a slight mid-season slump. It happens to even the best of teams. They should rebound soon, but I don't like laying 6.5 points with them. If you like Philly, the best way to play them is probably in a teaser. I did play the Eagles in a Super Bowl futures ticket.
Pittsburgh at INDIANAPOLIS
Pick your poison. With Pittsburgh, you have Matt Canada who I consider to be the absolute worst play-caller in the entire league, maybe even the worst play-caller in the last decade. He's worse than Jay Gruden, worse than Dirk Koetter, worse than Pat Shurmur; he's worse than everybody. Expecting Canada to call a competent game is like expecting the tooth fairy to leave a quarter under your pillow.
On the other side, you have quarterback Matt Ryan of Indianapolis. Ryan is 14-17-1 SU and 11-21 ATS as a favorite over the last five years, including 9-13 SU and 7-15 ATS as a home favorite. Those are games he is expected to win, but doesn't. Ryan has been sacked 29 times for 226 yards in nine games this season. He hasn't led a team to the playoffs in five years. He really shouldn't be favored over anyone.
Ryan has also struggled in recent night games. Over the last five years, he is 2-6 ATS when playing on a Thursday or Monday night, with a TD/INT ratio of 5/9. Those eight games have all gone under the total.
Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin is 3-0 SUATS vs. Ryan, winning by scores of 15-9, 27-20, and 41-17. That would have me picking Pittsburgh in an office pool.
Pass on the spread, possible play on the under.