November 15, 2015 (11:00 AM ET)
After Saturday's 3-0 sweep, SPS has won 17 of its last 25 football picks.
There are 2 selections today.
1) Take Denver Broncos at -3.5 spread against Kansas City Chiefs for 3% of the bankroll.
The Broncos are no longer undefeated. Gary Kubiak's side now has the pressure of going undefated off of them and that may well help them going forward. Let's not forget that this is still a quality team at 7-1 and one that is poised to make some more noise before the season is over. While Peyton Manning is no longer the QB that he used to be, this team is still more than capable of winning and covering games in the right situations. The defense alone has shown that it can win games on its own but Denver still has offensive playmakers all over the field and is more balanced now than it has been in years past.
If the Chiefs were ever going to win against the Broncos, it was in Kansas City earlier this season when they outplayed them for 57 minutes before giving up not one but two TD's in the final couple of minutes of the game! They showed they still lack that 'winning mentality' and choked under pressure. They went from being up 7 points to losing the game by 7 points all within less than a minute thanks to a fumble returned for a touchdown! That heart-breaking loss combined with Jamal Charles' season-ending injury against the Bears completely derailed the Chiefs' season and put them out of contention. Now they come into this game off a couple of wins against lesser competition including one in London, England where distractions were aplenty and they have to go to a stadium that they've had little success in.
The Denver Broncos are an experienced and determined bunch. They've all been in similar situations before and often bounce back after a defeat. This is the same team that crushed the Green Bay Packers just two weeks ago! The trip to Indianapolis was always going to be tricky given Manning's history with the Colts and the media focus on 'yards record' did not help either. Today, John Elway's club gets back to focusing on winning games and on-field matters and we believe they will end KC's mini-streak.
The reason this line has moved down is due to the likely suspension of Aqib Talib and the injury to DeMarcus Ware! However, as talented as those two veterans are, this Broncos defense has been excellent collectively this season. They aren't about one or two individual players, they are stout from front to back and it's not exactly like the Kansas City Chiefs have the most dangerous set of wide receivers in the league. Andy Reid's side went the entire previous season without a passing TD to a WR! They often rely on tight-end Travis Kelce and Talib wouldn't have been covering him. They do need to contain Jeremy Maclin but overall, Alex Smith has always been more of a game-manager than a game changer and the absence of those two Denver defenders shouldn't matter as much as the spread has shifted.
Another reason, the line has moved down and is now more affordable is the fact that Peyton Manning is dealing with a minor injury but one that won't keep him from starting this game. At this stage of his career, this isn't a play so much on Peyton Manning (like in previous years) as it is on Denver as a whole. It doesn't bother us that he'll be somewhat limited today as he's also going up against a limited QB in Alex Smith. It is the rest of the players that are likely to decide how this game unfolds as the Broncos defense and RB's have for much of the season! Nonetheless the former 5-time MVP is still a threat when protected well by his offensive-line.
The Broncos will battle Chicago next where they will face off against former coach, John Fox. The last thing they want to do is head into that game off 2 straight losses! We believe they will bounce back against a team that wants revenge but has not fared well in such situations and has little chance of making the playoffs. Whether it's through their defense, through Manning's arms or through CJ Anderson and Hillman from the backfield, the Broncos are likely to bounce back, get the W and cover the spread in the process. At this reduced line, there is value in taking the better team, at home, off a defeat.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Broncos are 11-3 ATS in division games over the last 3 seasons!
- Chiefs are just 1-5 ATS as an underdog of 3.5 to 9.5 points over the last 3 seasons!
- Broncos are 5-2 ATS in games against teams with losing records in the second half of the last 3 seasons.
- Chiefs have lost 7 straight times to Broncos since Peyton Manning's move to Denver!
2) Take Minnesota Vikings at +3 spread against Oakland Raiders for 3% of the bankroll.
The Oakland Raiders are certainly a team on the rise. Derek Carr and Amari Cooper are doing great things this season, however the team still has work to do in other areas before it can be considered a real contender. They are overvalued in this spot laying an almost arbitrary 3 points just because of home field advantage. The Vikings present a unique challenge that they have yet to see this season.
The Minnesota Vikings have quietly been one of the best teams in the league this season that no one is really talking about but SPS has made good money from backing. Minnesota has been playing as well as any team and is tied with Green Bay for the division lead! They come into this contest having won 4 straight games and have managed to cover the spread in their last 7 overall, only falling short in a season-opener at San Francisco when some of these younger players were understandably nervous. They are one of the most balanced team in NFL as they have a capable running back in Adrian Peterson in the backfield and a dual threat QB in Teddy Bridgewater under center.
The Vikings are a team that doesn't play flashy football but has the ability to grind out wins each and every time they step on the field so being spotted a full field goal adds real value in taking them. They are 14-5 ATS in their last 19 games when the spread has been in the +3 to -3 range! It's also worth mentioning that the listed favorites haven't exactly been profitable in this series as the favorites are just 1-5 both straight up and ATS (against-the-spread) in the last 6 meetings.
There is no question that Derek Carr has been excellent in his sophomore season with Oakland. The Raiders have put up back to back 30+ point games and have a good pass offense. Carr himself has thrown for more than 300 yards in each of the last two games and has thrown eight total touchdowns and one interception! On the season he has thrown for an impressive passer rating of 104.3, which ranks sixth overall in the league but he's rarely faced a defense as stout as this and if Kendricks and Barr play (both are questionable), he'll find it very tough.
The Raiders offense has caught the attention of the betting public a bit too much. And yet it is it interesting that the oddsmakers have set this total rather low (43.5 points) given the way the Oakland offense has recently played! This is clearly more of a total in the range that would see in a Vikings game, which hints that Vegas is expecting Minnesota's defense to dictate the pace and tempo of the game. We don't believe we will see the same Raiders offense that the betting public has seen put up 35+ points!
This will be an interesting matchup between two young up and coming quarterbacks and while Oakland has arguably the more polished QB in the pocket, it's the Vikings that are the better overall team. Minnesota is the more balanced and well-rounded squad and plays much stingier defense. They have made a habit of playing closely contested game and have shown their ability to make plays when needed to win the game. At this point, Mike Zimmer's squad is a year ahead of Oakland in terms of 'transition' and the Raiders are still unproven in situations such as this. Even if they do win this football game, we don't believe it will come by more than a field goal and that makes the extra points very precious in what should be a closely contested game.
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