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December 13th, 2015 (10:07 AM ET)

There are two NFL picks today.
 

1) Take the UNDER 45 total points in San Diego Chargers vs. KC Chiefs for 3% of the bankroll.

The Kansas City Chiefs continued their impressive winning streak last week with a big 4th quarter to defeat the Oakland Raiders. The Chiefs have not been a team that has been known for their offense. QB Alex Smith has often been labeled as a "game manager" more than an elite level quarterback. The offense that he runs is methodical but not necessarily explosive. Jamaal Charles is out for the year and they have a committee of RBs in the backfield. Their two best receivers are Jeremy Maclin and TE Travis Kelce. There is no secret how the Chiefs move the ball down the field. They are a team that often grinds out small chunks of yards at a time. That is what works for them and the strategy that Andy Reid prefers.

With that being said, the Chiefs have been lighting up the scoreboard recently and have eclipsed the 30 point mark in 4 out of their last 5 games. Their one lone miss was a 29 point outing on the road against the Denver Broncos. A big reason for their outburst on the scoreboard however has little to do with their offense. The Chiefs have been extremely opportunistic on the defensive side of the ball forcing turnovers at an alarming rate. They have been the beneficiaries of 14 turnovers in their last 5 games. They own a +12 turnover margin during that span. Their opponents have often gifted them turnovers deep in their own zone or they have taken back interceptions deep into their opponent’s territory which has set the Chiefs up with short fields. A credit to Kansas City is that they have often turned those turnovers into touchdowns rather than settling for field goals. 21 of their 34 points last week to the Raiders directly came off of turnovers.  Turnovers are not something that can be expected and at the rate that the Chiefs have been on the fortunate end of things recently, it is highly unlikely that their good fortune continues. Even if they do continue to dominate the turnover battle, there will come a time where they do not convert them into points and that could be in this contest.

The San Diego Chargers have had an extremely frustrating season. This is a team that has been bit hard by the injury bug and at this point in the season, they are the most depleted that they have been. They have a banged up offensive line. They don't have any semblance of a ground game which has forced Phillip Rivers to drop back and pass for a majority of the game and because of that, he is starting to feel the effects of an above average amount of hits this season. The Chargers are also down to some of their 3rd string players at the receiver position. Keenan Allen, Stevie Johnson, Dontrelle Inman are all out for this contest. With no ground game and no marquee playmakers to throw to at the receiver position, we believe the Chargers will have a difficult time moving the football in this game. Let's not forget that this is a team that managed to score just 3 points at home in their last contest! Rivers himself has been dealing with a flu bug and though he'll play, he's been battling illness and is not 100%.

Being limited on the offensive end will force the Chargers' defense to step up to keep their team in this game. This is a revenge game for San Diego and a chance for the defense to make amends for giving up 33 points to this team earlier in the season. These two teams are ones that know each other well. In fact the last 3 meetings in this series have played Under the total with an average of 35 points per game scored. We expect a similar result this afternoon as both offenses take somewhat of a backseat and the defenses steal the show.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • The total has gone 'Under' 10 straight times when Chiefs were hosts after a game that they had less than 28 minutes of possession!
  • The Under is 9-1 for team that have scored +30 points in 3 straight games facing a losing team and the total is less than 45 points!
  • The Under is 11-2 in December when AFC West home favorites of +10 points face a division opponent and the total is more than 42 points.
     

2) Take NY Jets at -7 spread (buy half a point) against Tennessee Titans for 3% of the bankroll.

Last week we successfully backed the Titans when nobody wanted to touch them. That's because despite owning an ugly 2-9 record and going into that contest winless at home, they were in a favorable situation and likely to get that elusive first W in Nashville and they did. Fast-forward a week and this is a different matchup and one that does not bode well for them. That's because while the coaches, players and the entire organization gave everything it had to get that important first win at home, they won't be as motivated to do so anymore. Every win from now on reduces the possibility of Tennessee getting that #1 draft pick! Not only are they the less talented team in this contest but they have less desire to win as well. 

Todd Bowles is a mild-mannered man with a poker face on just about all the time. Yet even he couldn't contain his excitement and relief when his squad beat local rivals, the Giants! That will serve as a morale-booster given that the G-Men had dominated recent series and have always stolen a good amount of their spotlight. It also kep Gang Green firmly in the hunt for an AFC Wild Card spot but one that will no easy task to clinch given the large number of teams competing for them. The Flyboys know that they must win a game like this, at home, against the lowly Titans to not lose ground on the likes of Steelers, Chiefs and division rivals, Bills who currently have the tie-breakder advantage over them. If they can get a win here today which we expect them to, they can create some separation with some of the other contenders. They need all the confidence in such a tight race and last week's overtime win over Giants will have given them the belief that they can make the playoffs after a few years of missing out.

Kendall Wright was the #1 go-to option for Marucs Mariota earlier in the season but just as he was really starting to establish himself as a solid NFL receiver, he got injured. He then came back and participated in the last couple of games but took another knock and is out for this game. That means Tre McBride will likely get the start. It's worth noting that he, nor Green-Beckham nor Harry Douglas have shown any real consistency this season! Wright was their most consistent start and outside of Delanie Walker (tight-end), Mariota doesn't seem to have much rapport with any other others. If the Jets defense can contain Walker, they'll go a long way toward winning this game as he has become the QB's favorite target. It doesn't help the Titans that this team ranks near the very bottom in terms of rushing yards gained by running-backs! If it wasn't for Marcus Mariotta scramling around himself at times, they would have even a less of a ground attack. Antonio Andrews may well be the worst starting RB in the league and now has to face one of the tougher defenses he has seen.

The Jets have the better offense and the better defense! If their special teams unit can do a better job than it has in recent weeks, they should have no problem winning this game. The Titans don't exactly have the best set of wide receivers but Darrelle Revis should be back in action for the home side and the veteran has long proven himself as one of the best corner-backs in NFL! On the offense, Ryan Fitzpatrick has had a solid season and may even reach 30 TDs by the end of the season! He was the QB for Tennessee in 2013 and may have a point to prove to his former employers. In Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and Jeremy Kerley, he has the much more talented set of receivers and won't be shy in finding them. Their rushing attack led by Chris Ivory is of course a much bigger threat than the Titans as well.

The team from East Rutherford has not had to travel for this game, unlike the Titans and should be ready to put a beating on the visitors. If they don't let up in the 4th quarter and allow Tennessee to slip in through the backdoor, they can even win this by double-digits. We handicapping this line at -9.5 but given that we are able to get it laying just a touchdown (-7), it provides great value since a 14 point lead turning into a 7-point win late in the game due to a meaningless late TD does not screw us. The Jets are +47 in net points this season while Tennessee is -51 and there's a big gap betweeen these teams as one is in rebuilding mode while the other is a playoff contender and one that needs to win games like this to make the post-season.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • The Titans are 0-11 ATS on the road over the last decade after gaining 22 or more first downs!
  • The Jets are 12-0 ATS against a team that has an avg turnover margin of -0.6 or worse on the season!
  • The Titans are 0-9 ATS over the last two years after a game in which a receiver had a 40+ yard reception!



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