It’s that time of the week again and we got a new slate of NFL picks this week. We had an up and down Sunday last time around finishing with a pedestrian 4-4 record. Overall the picks are still killing it with a 33-22-1 record and we are still hitting at a 60 percent clip. After two big cards we will go with a smaller six play card this week.
As always here are the picks, which are presented by our friends at MyBookie. If you're gambling this weekend, go ahead and use MyBookie promo code "TORRES." Do that and MyBookie will double your first deposit. So if you want to bet $50 on say the Bucs against Carolina this week, MyBookie will give you $100 to play with. It's the best deal going in sports.
Now, the picks:
Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns
Spread: Cleveland (-3.5)
Another Sunday and we are back betting on the Cleveland Browns once again. As we predicted, the Browns first season with Kevin Stefanski has been a great success. The Browns are 5-3 and control their own destiny to make it to the playoffs for the first time in a couple of decades. Cleveland will be one step closer to that goal after facing the Texans on Sunday.
To their credit, the Browns have done a really good job of taking care of business and beating up on inferior teams. The Texans are a bad football team - they have a 2-6 record with -46 point differential. Their only wins have come against the lowly Jaguars. You kind of have to feel bad for Deshaun Watson who has been playing good football lately. But Watson is going to have a tough time going against Myles Garrett and the rest of the Browns pass rush. The Texans offensive line has not protected Watson well ranking last in the NFL in offensive adjusted sack rate and 29th in pressure rate. In addition, the game on Sunday is expected to be played in 20-25 mile winds which will severely impact the upside of Houston’s deep passing game.
Offensively, the Browns got healthy after their bye week, returning key offensive contributors Nick Chubb and offensive guard Wyatt Teller. The Browns had the No. 1 rushing offense in the league when both of them were healthy. Now the two key impact players return for the juiciest matchup they'll get all season.The Texans defense gives up a league-worst 159 yards rushing per game on 5.1 yards per carry, allowing 53 percent of runs to be successful as well as the fifth-most explosive runs this season. The Browns run game will open easy play action passing opportunities for Baker Mayfield. The Houston defense has been stellar against the pass, ranking 23rd in pass defense DVOA and have allowed 59 percent of play action passes to grade successfully this season. This is simply a smash spot matchup for the Browns.
The pick: Browns (-3.5)
Denver Broncos at Las Vegas Raiders
Spread: Raiders (-4)
This is a line that simply does not make sense. Last week the Broncos were 4.5 point underdogs on the road in Atlanta and were thoroughly dominated. Now they get a better price point against a Raiders team that is coming off back-to-back wins against the Browns and Chargers? The Raiders are power rated 9-10 spots ahead of the Falcons team that just dominated the Broncos.
Ultimately, I feel the Broncos are a lot worse than their 3-5 record suggests. They rank 29th in offensive DVOA but they rank eighth in Defensive DVOA. However, the Broncos defense is trending in the wrong direction giving up 30 points or more in three consecutive games - and it could be worse. To their credit they have played well in the red zone, giving up touchdowns on just 48 percent of their trips.
Denver is going up against an undervalued Raiders offense that ranks 11th in offensive DVOA and fifth in the NFL in yards per drive. The Raiders have a winning record while facing the toughest schedule in the league, and Derek Carr is putting up MVP numbers throwing for 2,002 yards, 16 touchdowns and just two picks.
The Raiders really haven’t gotten the credit they deserve and they will throw up a big number on the Broncos on Sunday. Look for Las Vegas to get out to a lead early, and I can see the Broncos putting up garbage time scores against a Raiders defense that ranks 26th in pass defense DVOA. For that reason we are going to hedge against a Lock back door cover and take over in this game as well.
Raiders overs have been very profitable and have been consistently undervalued, going 7-1 to the Over this year.
Give me the Raiders in Vegas and the over.
The pick: Raiders (-4) and Over 50
Buffalo Bills at Arizona Cardinals
Spread: Cardinals (-2.5)
We've got an exciting matchup in the desert with two of the league’s most high octane offenses. The Bills exploded back into Super Bowl contention last week, putting 44 points on Seattle and getting another tick in the win column. That same day we saw the Cardinals lose a narrow game to a Tua Tagovailoa’s inspired Miami Dolphins, in what was the most exhilarating game last Sunday. I have a feeling we are going to get something similar with two electric quarterbacks, managed by two great play-callers, going against below average defenses. This is a fun game where we will sit back and just watch the scoreboard explode.
To start, Arizona has the top offense in the league averaging an NFL leading 429 scrimmage yards per game. The Cardinals are second in yards per rush and fourth in team rushing DVOA, and they will be facing a Bills defense that has been mowed down by running game all season, ranking 26th in total rush defense DVOA. The Cardinals are expected to get Kenyan Drake back to formulate their running back one-two punch and the Bills will have to scheme for Kyler Murray without star linebacker Matt Milano on the field. In order to defend the Cardinals, you need to have athletic linebackers to defend Murray in the run and scramble game. The Bills defense is slightly overrated - they rank 17th DVOA and 18th in points allowed, giving up 25.9 points per contest. However, the Bills had the benefit of playing in inclement weather in half of their games this season. When playing in games that don’t feature 20-25 mile winds, the Bills are giving up 32 points per game. The Bills secondary has been good but they rank 23rd in explosive passing success rate while the Cardinals rank 10th in yards per pass.
On the other side, the Cardinals likely won't have much success on the defensive end either - Arizona's defense is also overrated compared to what their numbers suggest. Currently, the Cardinals rank eight in scoring defense (22.5 points) and 10th in defensive DVOA. However, we have to divide the Cardinals defense to pre-Chandler Jones's injury and post Chandler Jones's injury. Since Jones was placed on the IR, the Cardinals rank 30th in rushing success rate defense and 22nd in passing success rate defense and have given up 30+ points in their last two games. A middle of the road offense in Miami was able to move the ball at will on them with a their rookie quarterback and the Cardinals will get their second big test in as many weeks when Josh Allen comes to town. The Bills offense got on track last week putting up 44 points against Seattle despite Allen getting sacked seven times, and overall this offense has been underrated due to poor performances playing in ghastly weather. The Bills are averaging 33.4 points per game when playing in weather friendly conditions. This will be the case when the Bills travel to sunny Arizona.
This is a matchup that is going to be very exciting to watch. Rather than picking a side, we will take the over and watch both teams light up the scoreboard.
The Pick: Over 56.5
Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams
Spread: Rams (-2)
We get a huge matchup that has major implications in the NFC West, when Seattle travels to Los Angeles after a brutal showing against the Bills last week. The Rams had a bye week to sort out their issues after a 28-17 loss two weeks ago at Miami, and face an opponent they've largely had success with in recent years. LA has won three out of its last four meetings with Seattle, and all four games overall have been decided by a touchdown or less. This has the making to be another classic matchup between two of the NFC’s top teams.
Going into the season, this is one of the games I had circled in my gambling calendar. I love Sean McVay coming off a bye, especially here, which will go down as one of the biggest games of his team's season. The Seahawks are recovering from an East Coast road trip and have played three straight daunting games.
Speaking of Seattle, I didn’t expect Russell Wilson to crap his pants against Buffalo, so we will get a more fiery Wilson coming off a loss. The Seahawks offense has been fantastic so far this year leading the league in scoring and ranking fourth in overall offensive DVOA. Wilson will get a major test facing pass rush led by Aaron Donald and passing against secondary lead by Jalen Ramsey. Surprisingly, the Rams are ranked first in overall defense according to TruMedia’s Expected Points Added (EPA) model. The Rams defense is ranked eighth in overall team defense DVOA, and they will get tested against arguably the best offense in the NFL. LA's defense is a really good matchup against Seattle. The Rams play quarters coverage at the highest rate in the league and they have allowed the fewest number of explosive passing plays in the NFL. Similar to what the Vikings did to the Seahawks on Sunday Night Football, the Rams defense will keep everything in front of them, not allowing Seattle to get huge chunks down the field. The Rams quarters alignment has made them vulnerable in the running game, but Seattle has not had much success running the ball with Chris Carson out. Jalen Ramsey is a physical style corner who can potentially take away a DK Metcalf if the Rams choose to shadow him with Ramsey. Seattle is still going to put up points, but the Rams are going to make them earn it every step of the way.
On offense, the Rams have been disappointing compared to years past, but they get the juiciest matchup in the league facing the Seahawks defense that ranks last in total defense, 30th in scoring (30.4), 23rd in adjusted sack rate, and 24th in overall defensive DVOA. We mentioned last week that the Seahawks were getting defensive reinforcements but they didn’t help much. Jared Goff has a lot of recent success against Ken Norton’s Seattle schemed defense. If Sean McVay goes back to his previous air raid experience the Rams should be able to move the ball at will. Goff throws great with a clean pocket and the Seahawks have not really been able to generate consistent pressure all year. The Rams have done a fantastic job of keeping Jared Goff upright in the pocket- and currently fifth in adjusted sack rate. Yes, the Rams had protection and communication issues against the Dolphins a few weeks ago. Those same issues will not happen after a bye week against Seattle’s far more inferior rush.
Betting market wise, there has been significant reverse line movement towards the Rams. Seahawks have garnered about 76 percent of the tickets yet the line has moved a point towards the Rams favor. This is a great bounce back spot for the Rams offense and their defense should be able to get one or two keep stops.
The pick: Rams (-2)
Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots
Spread: Baltimore (-7.5)
This may be the most square play I have given out on the column so far. The Patriots are in unfamiliar territory being a seven point home underdog for the first time since 2002. This Patriots team is bad, there is no other way to say it. New England has lost four out of their last five and barely escaped Monday night with a 30-27 win against the Jets. They have no weapons on the offensive side of the ball, O-Line play has been mediocre, and the excitement from the Cam Newton experiment has worn down. I don’t see a scenario where New England moves the football in this game. They rank 28th in passing DVOA. The Ravens run man coverage more than anyone in the league, and the Patriots don’t have any receivers that can win one-on-one matchups. Then you add to the fact that the Ravens are No. 1 in the league in run defense DVOA, and Patriots can’t do anything when they can’t run the football. The Patriots have scored a combined 18 points against the two best defenses they have faced so far - the Broncos and 49ers. The Ravens defense is a significant upgrade from those two teams.
Defensively, the Patriots have not played close to their standards. With 10 pre-season opt outs before the season started, New England's depth has really taken a toll this season. The Pats have one of the easier schedules in the league yet they rank 31st in team defense DVOA. If that surprises you, just think about it, the Pats just gave up 27 points to the New York Jets, it makes sense. Also, running quarterbacks have been the Achilles heel for Bill Belichick’s defenses when they were good. This Patriots defensive line has been pushed out in the run game all year ranking 29th in defensive line yards. What are they going to be able to do when the No. 1 rushing offense in the league comes to Foxboro?
Last season the Ravens dominated the Patriots in prime top spot 37-20 win. Lamar Jackson ran all over New England in that game, and the Patriots had one of the top defenses in the NFL then. This is one of the most lopsided matchups I have seen metrically and 7.5 points isn’t enough.
The pick: Ravens -7.5
Bonus Pick: Primetime 6 point Teaser: Ravens -1.5/Bears +8.5
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