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November 13, 2016

There are two NFL picks.

A poor Saturday was inevitable at some point in what has been a largely successful college football season. Even after an extremely rare 0-3 day, SPS is hitting just shy of 60% thanks to a 25-17 college record!
 

Take Pittsburgh Steelers -3 spread against Dallas Cowboys for 3% of the bankroll.

The Cowboys are the hottest team in NFL coming into this contest. They have won 7 in a row and own the joint-best record in the league and yet find themselves installed as underdogs to the 4-4 Steelers! There are good reasons for that. Their records may not be that close right now but in reality these two teams are pretty evenly matched up. In fact in this particular game, we believe the hosts own a distinct advantage or two which will allow them to win this game and end Dallas' impressive run.

Whether you look at Mike Tomlin's record in this unique situation or Big Ben and the Steelers as a whole, they almost always respond to adversity. Coming off a disappointing loss to division rivals, Baltimore Ravens, look for them to come out fired up today! This is a squad that rarely shies away from the big games and this is certainly one when two of America's most-storied franchises hook up to do battle. We believe Le'Veon Bell and company will want to remind everyone who's the best running back in NFL given all the hype that Ezekiel Elliot has generated this season! 'Zeke no doubt deserves credit thanks to that impressive offensive line and so does rookie Dak Prescott, but today they are likely to face their stiffest test and it wouldn't surprise us if Pittsburgh veterans came out on top ahead of Dallas rookies.

The Steelers are suddenly in some danger of missing the playoffs after dropping 3 straight games and have seen a winnable division in AFC North start to stray away from them. Let's not forget that this last game against Baltimore was Ben Roethlisberger's first since returning from an injury and he was understandably not that sharp. Despite their poor start, they actually showed heart and character in rallying from 21-0 down to within a TD and had their chances in the final minutes of the game. They were unable to complete the comeback but proved resilient and that'll serve them well going into this contest. Now, at home, against the hottest team in NFL, they'll relish this matchup and want to prove to everyone just how good a team they are. They were 4-1 on the season before dealing with some key injuries and know at 4-4 now, they can ill-afford to drop any more games. They need to stay in the division as well as Wild Card hunt and with the improvement of other AFC teams, they risk being left behind.

Despite what the current records of the two respective sides are, we believe Pittsburgh is actually the better team in most aspects of the game. The offensive line edge will probably go to the Cowboys as it would almost against any team but other than that, there are advantages all over the field for the Steelers. We don't believe their defense has played as well as it is capable of while it is also worth recalling that the strength of scheduled they have faced has been much tougher than what the Cowboys have had to endure. We believe this is a big step up in competition from the likes of Cleveland Browns last week for Dallas and that while they will fight bravely, they will likely fall short. Given the short spread and that only a 1 or 2-point margin of victory doesn't work for us, we'll back the team that we believe will win this game knowing that they are likely to cover the small spread in the process.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Steelers are 4-1 ATS after a loss to a division rival over the last 3 seasons.
  • Steelers are 6-1 ATS as a home favorite of 3 points or less over the last 3 seasons!
  • Steelers are also 6-1 ATS in the second half of the season when facing teams with winning records over the last 3 years.
     

Take Seattle Seahawks +7.5 spread against New England Patriots for 3% of the bankroll.

It's the 2015 Super Bowl rematch that everyone has been waiting for as the Seattle Seahawks travel to Gillette Stadium to take on the New England Patriots. Both teams are likely to be playoff contenders this season and this matchup could serve as a potential Super Bowl preview.

This is an interesting matchup. Since Tom Brady returned to the team in Week 5, the New England Patriots have looked like an unstoppable force. They have benefited from playing some mediocre / below average teams in the last few weeks, so this matchup with the Seahawks should serve as a stern test for Brady and company. Even though the Legion of Boom aren't as stout as they were in years past, they do still have the aggressiveness and ability to pressure opposing quarterbacks that have made them one of the more feared defenses in the league. The Pats have yet to throw an interception this season which is remarkable but also highly unusual and unlikely to continue. Turnovers change games and we believe Bill Belichick's side will have a couple in this contest. It's worth noting that Brady has thrown at least one INT in each of his previous starts against the Seahawks.

Tom Brady may be the best QB in the league, however if there is one thing that we have all learned about Brady, it's that he does not like to be hit. Pressure has been and always will be the way to slow down the New England offense. The New York Giants in their 2 Super bowl victories over New England, their ability to create pressure on Brady was an instrumental factor in those victories. The Patriots are not a team that loses very often, however looking back at some of their recent losses, it has been team's ability to get to Brady that has been their biggest keys to success.

The New England offense works strictly on timing. Brady likes to get the ball out of his hands early and has been largely vocal about his receivers 'doing their jobs'. Timing and execution is what moves the Patriots on offense. To slow them down, teams simply have to 'dirty' the game up and there is no team in the league who is better at disrupting opposing offenses than the Seattle Seahawks. If their defensive line can win the matchup in the trenches and get pressure on Brady, they will have a great chance at not only staying competitive, but also potentially pulling out the victory. They will also receive an immediate boost in the secondary as Kam Chancellor will be back on the field for this contest and as we have seen, Chancellor has proven to be a game-changer.

At the end of the day, this should be an extremely entertaining contest between two of the top teams in the league. Their Super Bowl in 2015 was an instant classic and was as close as a game could possibly get. While we don't expect Pete Carroll to pass the ball on the one yard line again, we do expect this will be a similarly played game. New England has been rolling and there is no question the odds makers respect their ability to play hard and continue to pile up the points, even late in the game, but giving the Seahawks more than a touchdown cushion is simply too much. This is an opportunity for Pete Carroll and his team to gain a matter of retribution from their Super Bowl loss and we expect that to motivate them on the field tonight. This is a nationally televised game, under the bright lights and we expect this will be a slugfest and Seattle should be able to keep this game close and within a single possession. Even if New England manages to take a double-digit lead late in the game, there is always a chance Seattle comes away with a late score to narrow the gap and get a backdoor cover. The points will prove to be valuable in this one.




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