October 23, 2016
There are two picks on Sunday.
1: Take Philadelphia Eagles +3 spread against Minnesota Vikings for 3% of the bankroll.
The Vikings are an excellent team but with everyone now fully believing in them, the value is gone. They are now a favorite of the betting public even when laying more points than they should be. The oddsmakers know that and have inflated their prices. With Minnesota not only undefeated but also a spread-covering machine, Vegas realizes that people are gonna want to wager on this team. For that reason, they are now setting the lines higher than they normally would to reduce liability and get some action on the opposing side as well. That's when sharps come in and take advantage!
Sam Bradford would no doubt like to prove a point in this game against his former team. The Eagles traded him away and put their faith in rookie Carson Wentz! That was a brave decision that has since been justified. The Eagles have a quality QB for years to come in Wentz, and he too, will want to outdo Bradford, to repay the faith of the GM and coaching staff, since he realizes, he could have easily been his backup but has been given the chance to play. Both of these quarterbacks are talented but while Bradford is the more experienced one, he lacks a winning mentality. His confidence can easily be shaken and it wouldn't surprise us if he regressed. He's been playing above his class so far this season completing an impressive 70% of his passes with zero interceptions! That won't continue. Against an opportunistic defense that knows his tendencies well, we expect him and the Vikings to turn the ball over multiple times. Bradford has choked in high-pressure situations throughout his NFL career and likely has a more in store.
The Vikings are the only undefeated team in NFL and that puts a big target on their back in each and every game moving forward. They've introduced themselves as the team to beat, especially in the NFC conference! The Eagles know they have a challenge on their hands and will want to bring their 'A' game. Meanwhile, some Minnesota players may now be feeling a false sense of security. Complacency is a killer in sports and when a team has been as dominant as Mike Zimmer's squad to start the season, wins can be taken for granted. Some players may feel that giving less than 100% should still be enough to walk out victorious but that's a big mistake. Not only is that far from guaranteed, failure to execute could make this a very tightly contested game, one in which the points come into play.
This has the look of a 50-50 game that could go either way, with the exception that one team is laying 3 points! We'll gladly take the points as we believe a late field goal may decide it. If that's the case, we may win or push even if the Eagles do fall just short. Minnesota kicker Blair Walsh has been inconsistent all season and is clearly lacking confidence. Eversince his chip shot miss against the Seahawks in last year's playoffs, he's been in his head and not looking like the kicker he used to be. He'll eventually get back to his best but for now remains a question mark and in what could be a low-scoring game, the right choice is to side with the points. Bye weeks are generally beneficial to a squad but with Vikings being red hot prior to it and then suddenly not playing for awhile, the layoff may just have cooled them off. They have a poor record against the spread in post-bye games in recent years. Not many realize that the Eagles actually have a slightly better point-differential (net points) than the Vikings despite the 3-2 record compared to a 5-0 one! That's because one has lost some close games while the other has so far won them. Look for fortunes to flip somewhat on Sunday afternoon as the Eagles give the visitors a tougher test than most expect.
2: Take Jacksonville Jaguars -1 spread against Oakland Raiders for 3% of the bankroll.
Normally teams that fall in an early unenviable hole such as the 0-3 start that the Jaguars experienced have almost no chance of making the playoffs! Don't count Jacksonville out just yet though. That's because they quickly responded by winning their next two games to climb to a 2-3 record. The first one came in London, England and proved a nice bit of distraction from their early-season struggles while the second victory has revitalized their preseason hopes and has them dreaming again. Let's not forget, this is a team that has improved and was expected to have a chance this season, unlike in years past.
The pressure and raised expectations may have gotten to them in September but they've now found their footing and are not out of the race, in what is a weak AFC South division. The Houston Texans currently lead the division but they haven't looked unstoppable or anything. The Texans have lost JJ Watt for the season and have already experienced two defeats. The Jax are just a couple of games behind and with much of the season still remaining, there is a lot left to play for. All 4 teams still have a chance with no team running away with it just yet. The Jax can climb to a .500 record with a 'W' on Sunday and we expect them to do just that.
The Raiders have a good offense but they have issues elsewhere on the field and have long struggled when travelling to the East coast. We wisely backed them in Baltimore earlier this season knowing that particular situation was favorable to them but overall, it should be noted that 1:00 PM ET start times have been atrocious for this club for years! We don't believe they'll shake it off easily. Travelling across the country from coast to coast will have had an adverse affect on a team that is off a demoralizing home loss to a division rival. Such intangibles are largely ignored by the casual bettor but have proven profitable for years in wagering on NFL when utilized selectively. The fact that Latavius Murray is not 100% and Oakland is struggling to run the ball effectively is another reason they may have trouble on Sunday afternoon.
Gus Bradley's biggest problem over the last couple of years has been his team's inability to win close games. The Jaguars have put up a brave fight plenty of times only to throw it all away late in the game, whether due to a missed FG or a costly turnover. However, after a series of heart-breaking losses, this is a squad that is finally learning how to win games. They've secured a couple of tight victories recently and that gives them some much-needed confidence heading into this game. With the possibility of pulling to a 3-3 record on the season and putting them right back in the race, look for Blake Bortles and his athletic set of receivers to do damage against an Oakland secondary that leaves a lot to be desired. This team has momentum on its side after an outstanding 4th quarter rally that saw them win 17-16 after trailing 13-0! There's a reason they are installed as favorites here against a popular Raiders team that tops the AL West division with a 4-2 record on the season.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Jaguars have won 9 of their last 13 games as a home favorite.
- The home team has won the last 4 matchups in this series.
- Oakland's defense ranks dead last in the NFL in passing yards allowed!
- Jaguars are 9-0 ATS in the +3 to -3 range after a game as an underdog against a team that averages 25 or less rushes per game!
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