November 27, 2016
There are 2 picks today.
#1: Take Jacksonville Jaguars +10 spread (buy half a point) against Buffalo Bills for 3% of the bankroll.
Gus Bradley is on the 'hot seat' and could lose his job as early as next week if his team doesn't show some improvement. The Jaguars were expected to be better this season but find themselves with just 2 wins on the season after throwing away several games in the closing minutes. This is a team that has at times outgained opponents in yardage and led for 3 quarters before shooting themselves in the foot in the 4th and final period. They are very much a work in progress and still have a lot to learn but they aren't as bad as their record currently suggests nor are their opponents that much superior. That means there's value in taking double-digit points in what we believe is a line that has inflated too much.
The players' body language at the end of the last game said it all. Once again playing well but falling just short at the end... they seem to like coach Bradley and we expect them to go out and play hard for him. It's unlikely that they leave Orchard Park with a 'W' but they don't need to, in order for us to cash our tickets. This is likely to be a closer game than the betting public anticipates. We don't see this as a mismatch and even if it was, laying 10 points always leaves the door open for a potential 'backdoor' cover.
The Jacksonville defense is under-rated in the sense that turnovers grab headline and they haven't forced many yet. When it comes to actually ranking them based on passing and rushing yards allowed, however, they are formidable and hardly push-overs. This is a team that held the Lions to just 17 rushing yards last week and has also allowed very few opposing quarterbacks to pass for more than 300 yards, in fact they have held their last 7 opponents to less than that! All in all, this is a unit that is flying under the radar due to the team's poor overall record which has more to do with Blake Bortles' inaccuracy this season than anyone else.
We don't believe they'll keep LeSean McCoy and the Bills to just 17 rushing yards as they did with Detroit but we don't see them getting torched either. Keep in mind McCoy had a hand surgery this week and will have wrapping around his thumb. Will he be at his best? Unlikely. Meanwhile, their second running-back, Mike Gillislee who has been a real bright spot this season has already been ruled out due to a hamstring injury! Rex Ryan will have his team run the ball nonetheless which isn't the worst thing when you're taking this many points as teams leading will focus on running the clock out normally as opposed to adding to their lead. We believe this is a generous point-spread and there's value in taking the capable underdogs to stay within it.
#2: Take Cleveland Browns +7 spread against NY Giants for 3% of the bankroll.
There is no question that the winless Cleveland Browns are one of the worst teams in the league. Injuries have been common place on this team and is a huge factor as to why they have struggled much of the season. While they have yet to find any kind of consistency, they are a team that does have quite a bit of young talent to build around. While the Browns are looking towards the future, no team wants to go through an entire season winless. Picking up that critical first victory must be high on the short list of priorities that the Browns are holding onto. With their opportunities dwindling, we expect an all-out effort from the Cleveland players in this contest.
The New York Giants have seemingly found their rhythm; however, we believe they are not as good a team as their overall record and recent success shows. They have been a very 'fortunate' team this season. Of any team with 7 wins this season, the Giants have the smallest point differential / margin of victory. What that means is that they have been in some very closely contested games this season and have done just enough to come away with the win. Had a couple of bounces gone the other way, the Giants could arguably have a losing record this season.
While the Giants have been doing what has been needed to win games, it's certainly worth mentioning that they have had the benefit of playing at home for a majority of them. Except for a game out in London, the Giants have played 4 straight home games! Prior to that home stand, the Giants had lost their two previous road contests. They are simply not a very good road team this season and we believe their recent stretch of games at home have given them a false sense of security. The Giants may have forgotten how to play on the road and against what should be an extremely motivated Browns team, that could pose problems for New York.
The Giants are also one of the more one-dimensional teams in the league. They do not run the ball very well and have relied on the arm of Eli Manning to win games. Manning has a long history of inconsistent play and when pressure has been put on him, he has shown his ability to make mistakes. Odell Beckham has undoubtedly been Manning's security blanket this season, but he will be shadowed by underrated defensive back Joe Haden. If the Browns can get pressure on Manning, we expect Haden to be able to take advantage of some questionable decisions by Manning in the secondary.
It is certainly difficult to back a team who has struggled as mightily as the Browns have, but at this point in the season, there is value backing them in certain favorable situations. With there only being a handful of games for the Browns to capture that elusive first win, this would be (arguably) their best chance to get it against a somewhat over-rated Giants team. Even if they don't happen to win this contest outright, they are catching the Giants in an unfavorable spot having to go back on the road and should managed to keep this within the touchdown spread.
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