Best bets, week 9: We’re betting on one regression, one win streak (P.S. The Oakland Raiders are f^%#^&ing bad)
So now we get four days of Nick Mullens hype, stupid jokes about Jimmy Garoppolo getting Wally Pipped and Jon Gruden memes – actually, we’ll take the Gruden memes – right?
NFLbets would like to do our part in tempering said hype by quoting Yards After Catch (YAC) stats for San Francisco 49ers receivers this game, but apparently this isn’t a f&^#&^ing official statistic of the NFL and thus cannot be found on the official site or the awesome Pro Football Reference. On the “53”-yarder to Richie Jones, 44 (or nearly 17% of Mullens’s total yards “passing” for the game) were gained on the ground by Jones against a field full of Oakland Raiders defenders who mistakenly thought they were playing touch football.
And now, a few words about our nearly complete whiff in analyzing the Oakland Raiders/San Francisco 49ers game: We don’t care. The truth is, our bet on under 44 points paid off, even if we greatly misoverestimated the Raiders’ ability to, well, frankly do anything in any facet of the game. Beyond the approximately 656 missed tackles, the Raiders allowed 8 QB sacks, were 3-of-13 on third and fourth downs, and somehow lost by 31 despite never turning the ball over.
Wow, are these Raiders bad. And now, they’re at the very bottom of the ATS standings board at 2-6. This is the team that’ll be representing Las Vegas in the post-legalized gambling NFL? O, sweet irony!
For now, we’ll bury the Raiders like their NFL competitors and move on to Sunday’s games – and Sunday’s bets!
Atlanta Falcons +1½ at Washington, over/under 48 points
NFLbets’ll just go ahead and call this one the Regression To The Mean Bowl. Going solely on reputation through one half of the season, a Washington win is the pick: The Reds have pulled off home upsets against the Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers at home already in 2018. Alex Smith has been Mr. Efficiency again, with just 2 interceptions thrown in 228 attempts – bad news for a defense not great at producing turnovers (the Falcons are actually down in the TO ratio going into this game, 10 to 9) or rushing the passer (with 14 sacks, Atlanta is a lowly 28th in the stat).
But the truth is NFLbets will take the Atlanta Falcons +1½, probably even to take the Falcons ML at +110 to get a nicer payout – unless you’re worried about another tie in 2018, heh heh.
NFLbets would probably make these bets blind even if we didn’t believe that the Falcons (at least on offense; the defense is really quite brutal) are playing better football than their 3-4 SU record indicates. This team got off to a 1-4 start thanks to five games pitting them against playoff contenders – at Philadelphia, vs Carolina, vs New Orleans, vs Cincinnati and at Pittsburgh. And in three of those SU losses, the Falcons stayed within six points of the victor. After two home wins plus the bye week amidst a six-week stretch on the schedule wherein Washington is the toughest opponent, this in terms of fickle momentum would appear to be the Falcons’ game.
Well more compelling then the Falcons’ apparent decent run are the ATS numbers for the year. Washington has ascended to the no. 3 spot on the ATS standings board at 5-2-0, while Atlanta languishes at the very bottom, tied with the Raiders at 2-6-0. In addition, the Falcons are now *the only team* without an ATS road win. That may represent only two games, but if Oakland are good for a win on the road in the first half, the Falcons certainly can.
NFL bets is not understanding this point spread, but is loving the opportunity.
Los Angeles Chargers +2 at Seattle Seahawks, over/under 47½ points
Now on this one, we’re advising that NFL bettors take the Seattle Seahawks -2 vs the Chargers for reasons completely counter to those of the first game. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks have run up some truly gaudy numbers playing in Seattle, but the ATS numbers bring this bet back from the scary cliff of impossibly good.
To begin with, the homefield advantage enjoyed by Seattle is real. How much we can attribute to the biological realities of playing in the Pacific Time Zone and how much to the proto-mythical qualities of the “12th Man”, an away game in Seattle could be penciled in as a loss (at least until the disastrous 2017). Since Wilson was plugged in as a rookie started in 2012, the Seahawks have gone 40-10 SU at home; removing ’17 from the equation, that mark rises to 36-6.
Even more ridiculous is the Seahawks SU record at home against AFC teams: A neat 12-0 over the 6½-season span. Naturally, the team’s mark at home ATS can’t match the SU record, but 30-20-0 is nothing to sneeze at. Finally, against AFC teams at home, the ’Hawks are a solid 8-4 ATS. Further, those four losses ATS came against point spreads of, in chronological order, 11½, 13½, 10½ and 6 points; two of the four ATS losses came against teams with SU winning records and a third was on Opening Day 2014.
Sure, on the other side, the Chargers are a West Coast team coming off a bye week (though prior to that was the London game nine time zones away) with the defense rounding into shape and Melvin Gordon looking increasingly unstoppable facing the middling Seattle D.
But ever since Wilson entered the NFL, Pete Carroll and the Seahwaks have been defying expectations (the team’s ATS marks bear this out) and, in ’18, have been doing more with less. Any 12-0 run is just begging to be bet against, but NFLbets believes that Wilson will simply not stop beating those sides most unfamiliar with his team, i.e. the AFC’s, through 2019 – if he does so, he will have beaten every one of the 16 in Seattle.
This one may be grueling (and so bettors may consider taking the under 47½ points), but the home Seattle Seahawks are at least a field goal better than nearly any NFL team in 2018.