September 21st 2014 - Posted at 11:00 AM ET
There are 2 NFL picks today.
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On another note, it is always worth remembering that profiting from sports is a daily grind and no easy task. It is a marathon and not a race and there will be both ups and downs along the way. Those who are patient and disciplined will reap the rewards! Because much like even championship winning teams, SPS will inevitably suffer some losses but we win more often than not and will once again be at the very top by February! As such, the real value lies in long term success and results should only be evaluated at the end of the season.
Finally, although it does not affect SPS, we highly recommend that clients place their bets with a book that offers 'Reduced Juice'. Wagering at -105 vig/juice instead of -110 makes a huge difference over the course of a long season! It is the primary distinction between clients who profit big and those that profit small since the picks are the same for everyone.
Note: Experienced sports-bettors know the importance of shopping lines. We suggest that you shop for the best lines whenever possible since that half a point or so will at times decide the outcome and turn a win into a push or vice versa.
#1: Take New Orleans Saints at -10 spread against Minnesota Vikings risking 2%
The New Orleans Saints have had a habit of starting off the season slow. For the third time since 2006, the Saints have started the season 0-2. The 2007 and 2012 Saints would counter those early miscues with rallies near midseason but in both years they ultimately missed the postseason. This year, although winless through their first two games, the Saints appear stronger than those other slow-starters and are poised to go on a run now that they are back in the comforts of the Superdome. The Superdome is a place that teams fear playing. The Saints are a completely different team in front of their home crowd and we believe that will be on full display this afternon. They were undefeated in this venue last year and only failed to cover once! They now desperately need a win to avoid starting the season 0-3 and are more than capable of getting that against the Minnesota Vikings who are distracted by off-field matters.
The Vikings are in a bad place at the moment. The allegations of child abuse by the face of their franchise, Adrian Peterson has flipped this team on its head. Peterson was banned from the Vikings 30-7 blowout loss last week at New England. He was reinstated after the game, but after further investigation was again deactivated by the team. This is a black mark on the Vikings and has provided costly distraction. Some sponsorships and endorsements have been pulled over the last week and this franchise is struggling with off-field issues. Playing with all these distractions is one thing, missing their star player is another, but then having to go into the Superdome facing a 0-2 Saints team makes it even tougher! The Saints simply don't lose at home and typically win by big margins, this is the perfect opportunity for a blowout to take out some of their early season frustrations.
With Peterson out, wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson will more than likely become the focus of the Vikings offensive scheme. Patterson is a major threat as a pass catcher and as a rusher, and he is exceptional in space. This is something that the Saints are going to have a game plan for and Saints coach Sean Peyton and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will surely have a way of keeping him in check.
There has been a lot of talk about the Saints’ defense struggles to begin 2014 season. However, the Saints did show a lot of improvement in Week 2, something that Rob Ryan had promised and held the Browns to just 4.5 yards per play. People are quick to make wrong judgements by final scores but the fact is that this defense allowed 244 yards less then in their opening week performance against Matt Ryan. Since Rob Ryan has taken over, the Saint defense is hugely improved and will continue to grow. The New England Patriots laid the blueprint last week on what the Saints will have to do on defense to shut down the Vikings offense and we expect an improved performance from that unit.
Vikings QB Matt Cassel threw 4 interceptions last week against New England. He has also fumbled the ball 3 times in the first two games (although he has yet to lose one). The key to disrupting Cassell is to put pressure on him. Looking back at the New England game, the Vikings offensive line was not doing their job as the Patriots defenders were easily pressuring Cassell. With consistent pressure, he got jumpy, looking to scramble before there was any real pressure in his face. Forcing the ball out early and often is not something Cassell is comfortable with and and with Adrian Peterson out once again, all the pressure will be on him and likely too much for him to handle.
On the offensive side of the ball, what does one really need to say about the Saints? New Orleans is one of the most potent offenses in the entire league and Drew Brees is an elite QB who has a number of dangeorus weapons at his disposal. Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham, Robert Meachem and now through youngsters Kenny Stills and Brandin Cooks, there are many ways the Saints offense hurts teams. The Patriots were able to run, pass and basically do whatever they wanted and we expect New Orleans to do the same. Mark Ingram will be missed but they do have solid depth at the tailback position and Pierre Thomas will be a handful. Ingram's absence is not as detrimental to his team as Adrian Peterson's is.
The Saints are desperate for a win and quality teams do great things whe nmotivated. This number is not out of the realm of where it should be for a Saints home game as New Orleans has routinely won by substantial margins and should do so again this afternoon. They have been nothing short of dominant under Sean Payton and with Drew Brees as QB at home and barring a backdoor cover, we don't see Vikings staying within this spread.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Saints are 10-1-1 ATS in their last 12 home games.
- Saints are 13-4 ATS in home games directly after a road loss under Sean Payton.
- Saints are 8-0 ATS at home since 2011 after a loss in which TE Jimmy Graham had 20+ yards reception.
#2: Take Seattle Seahawks at -4.5 spread against Denver Broncos risking 2%
This is a matchup that everyone had circled on their calendars, including the Denver Broncos. This is a rematch from the Super bowl, where the Seattle Seahawks laid an absolute beating on the Broncos. Last season Denver was the very best offensive team and even set some new NFL records. They led the league in scoring, at just under 38 points per game, while also ranking 1st in total yards (457.3 ypg), 1st in passing (340.3 ypg) and 15th in rushing (117.1 ypg). Despite all of those accolades, the Seahawks completely shut them down.
The Broncos are once again poised to have a good season, however they are a different team and at least thus far, appear to have lost at least some of their offensive firepower. Denver is just 14th in total offense (343 ypg) currently and 5th in scoring (27.5 ppg). Meanwhile the Seahawks seem to be just as good, if not a better team as they look to defend their title. The Seahawks are led by Russell Wilson, who may now be asked to do a lot more in this offense. He is maturing into an elite QB and what is most impressive about him is his decision-making. He is making all of the right calls on the field and is a big reason why Seattle has been successful. He has a solid set of WRs to work with and a powerful ground attack that is led by the bruising Marshawn Lynch. On the other side of the ball they look very stout once again, especially in the secondary, where they might have the best set of corners in the entire league. The line backing corps is also rated as one of the best while the defensive line is near the top of the league. Seattle opened up the season with another beat down of a highly offensive minded team in the Green Bay Packers 36-16! In that game, played at Century Link Field, the Seattle defense put a lot of pressure on Aaron Rodgers and forced him into getting rid of the ball quickly. That is the mantra of this Seattle defense.
Century Link Field is the toughest venue to play in for opposing teams. It is loud, it is rowdy and it is extremely disruptive. The Seahawks did an unbelievable job in creating and enforcing their "12th Man" concept as every single fan in the stadium buys into that and it has translated to how the Seahawks perform on the field. The crowd is disruptive to opposing offenses and QBs, as evidenced by the Seahawks home record since Russell Wilson took over as the leader of this team. The Seahawks have lost only one home game in 19 Wilson starts. They are simply a different team at home and have covered spreads with ease. The legendary Peyton Manning will have a tough task ahead of him when these teams meet this afternoon. Manning is a master of changing the plays at the line of scrimmage and adjusting to what opposing defenses show him. The issue with that at Century Link is that it is incredibly difficult to communicate over such a loud crowd. This stadium has by far the most pre-snap penalties by opposing teams in the entire league. Players simply cannot hear the snap count and miscommunications happen. That is going to cause Manning and co problems. He complained of the noise at the Super bowl, which will be less than the noise on Seattle's home turf.
The Broncos will no doubt be seeking revenge for their humiliating Super Bowl loss but that doesn't mean they will get it. Teams have hardly been able to avenge losses to the Seahawks as evidenced by their failed 1-13 SU and 2-12 ATS records in such situations. We have also seen with regularly in sports that a great defense will usually beat a great offense. The saying, “Defense wins championships" epitomizes Pete Carroll's team. Their defense should once again be able to contain the Broncos. Denver's defense on the other hand has been upgraded with quality additions but has yet to bear fruit. They've been scored on regularly and that is the only reason their wins have been close instead of dominant and why they have yet to cover a spread. The Seattle offense is more potent than it was last season and should be able to put up points this afternoon.
Lastly, the Seahawks come into this game after a loss to the San Diego Chargers. No team likes to lose, especially this proud squad. Coming off a rare defeat and one in which their normally excellent defense was lit up, will fuel them with fire and being back at home gives them an immediate advantage. There is no doubt that they will be motivated to cement thattheir Super bowl victory was not a fluke. We don't see it being as big a blowout but do expect Seattle to grab a convincing win and cover this number. It's worth mentioning that Peyton Manning has been an underdog as Broncos QB only 5 times; Denver is 1-4 ATS in those games. This is their first road game of the season and couldn't have come at a tougher venue. They haven't been to Seattle since 2002 and will find it difficult! Lay the points with the defending champions as they bounce back at home!
Other notable facts to consider:
- The Denver Broncos are 3-30 ATS in their last 33 losses as an underdog.
- Seattle is 14-5 ATS in their last 19 home games.
- NFL teams coming off a game where they had less than 19 mins of possession are 48-27-1 ATS.
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