November 12, 2017
Both NFL picks were released a day early, on Saturday.
#1: Take Minnesota Vikings -1 spread (buy half point) against Washington Redskins for 3% of the bankroll.
The Redskins shocked everyone last week by walking out of Seattle victorious. It was a valiant effort from them but largely made possible when Seahawks kicker, Blair Walsh, missed not one, not two but 3 field goal attempts! Jay Gruden’s team deserves credit nonetheless but we do believe they are up against it tonight against an under-rated Minnesota squad that continues to win and yet go unnoticed.
The Vikings have the best defense in NFL in our opinion and yet often don’t get the credit they deserve because they don’t create that many turnovers! The Jacksonville Jaguars, for example, have gotten a lot of hype this year because of pick-sixes and defensive touchdowns via fumble recoveries. Meanwhile Mike Zimmer's defense continues to shut down teams and held many opponents to their season-low yardage! They are an extremely organized unit and have a number of outstanding players in their ranks. This defense allows an average of just 16.9 points per game and is capable of making life difficult for the Washington offense.
Kirk Cousins has played very well this season and spread it around nicely but he’ll once again be without his favorite go-to target, TE Jordan Reed! Reed has been excellent over the last couple of seasons when on the field but unfortunately for the Redskins, that’s not been all that often as he continues to miss games here and there through different niggling injuries. The ‘Skins O-line has also had a lot of banged up players in recent weeks and although getting healthier, is still a work in progress due to all the recent changes. Jamison Crowder will likely start this week in the slot after missing the Seattle game but he, like many of his teammates is banged up and not at 100%. Washington had more players listed on the injury report this week than any other NFL team and for them to not be at their best against this solid Minnesota group means they will have a tough time winning this matchup.
Case Keenum continues to start for the Vikings and they continue to win and yet many are still not sold on him. He’s one of the best backup signal-callers in the league and more than serviceable option. He's got the confidence of his receivers and offensive co-ordinator and it would surprise us if anything but an injury took him out of the starting lineup. The fact that Teddy Bridgewater has been activated from the Physically Unable To Perform list means Keenum has to stay focused and has competition on his hands. Bridgewater was supposed to be the franchise quarterback for Minnesota until a brutal injury sidelined him for over a year! While it’s good to see him back on the bench and ready to be called upon, we believe that’ll only motivate Keenum to perform even better in order to keep his job. Stefon Diggs is back healthy and that means Josh Norman will likely have the task of keeping him quiet. That’ll be challenging but even if that's the case, we expect Adam Thielen who’s been their best receiver and one of the most under-rated in the league this year to have an opportunity to shine. The Vikings are not only the healthier squad, they are simply the more disciplined and organized team. Look for them to build on their lead atop the NFC North division and find a way to leave the nation’s capital with a ‘W’. Given that any margin of victory would do for them, the -1 spread presents great value on the visitors.
- Vikings are 11-2 ATS after two or more wins over the last 3 seasons!
- Redskins are just 4-9 against teams with a winning record over the last 3 years!
- Vikings are 9-5 when the the total was set between 35.5 to 42 points over the last 3 seasons.
#2: Take Cleveland Browns +11 spread against Detroit Lions for 3% of the bankroll.
Nobody wants to bet on the Browns. That’s understandable given that they are still winless on the season! It also doesn’t help that they’ve been blown out in the vast majority of their games. And yet that is exactly what separates sharps from the average NFL fan/bettor. Those who do this for a living understand that Vegas often spots such hopeless squads a few extra points to entice action on them. They know that most bettors go for the favorite and don’t give a chance to teams like Cleveland. In order to get some money on winless squads, they inflate the spread on purpose and go for a higher number than their actual calculation suggests. This is one such case today when in reality the spread should be no more than +9 but the Browns opened as +12 underdogs! Sharp money of course quickly bet that number when few others would bringing it down to a somewhat more accurate equilibrium.
There are reasons to believe Cleveland should play better this afternoon. They have gotten the London distraction out of their system and come into this matchup well rested. Their last game was on Oct 29th, giving them two full weeks to heal their banged up bodies and prepare for this clash in Detroit. In their previous game at the tail end of last month, this offense finally showed some promise. DeShone Kizer and Isaiah Crowell finally got going a bit and even though the team ultimately lost by double-digits after a dominant second half by the Vikings, there were positives seen in that matchup. The Browns have young players and sometimes young players just need a bit of confidence, especially after such a tough start to the season! The fact that some of the players regained a bit of their swagger in that London matchup and then had time to rest and reflect on it could bode well for them against a Lions defense that is certainly not as stout as the Vikings’ stop-unit.
Jim Caldwell’s squad, on the other hand, is coming off a Monday Night Football game meaning they had just 5 days of rest before playing another football game on the sixth day! Given that one team is coming off a short week while the other is heading into this one after its bye-week, it wouldn’t surprise us if the Browns had more gas left in the tank in the second half of this contest. They have the healthier roster heading into this matchup while Detroit has quite a few banged up players. Not only that, the Lions’ offensive-line saw some changes this week and while that should improve them moving forward, we don’t believe it’ll pay immediate dividends. We foresee #1 draft pick Myles Garrett and company causing a few more issues for this O-line than most anticipate. Garrett leads the team in sacks despite missing 4 games! He’s already shown that he can wreck game plans and could put some much-needed pressure on the impressive Matthew Stafford this afternoon.
DeShone Kizer has regularly thrown picks in the red zone to start the year but having gained valuable experience as a rookie, we think he’l do a bit better in the second half of the season. Not many realize that this Cleveland defense has been made to look worse because of the Browns’ offense and turnovers. In fact when you compare the Lions’ D vs. Browns’ D, you’ll see that Cleveland has suprisingly given up less yards than the hosts. They have allowed less rushing yards, less passing yards and therefore less total yards than the Detroit defense! It’s also worth remembering that the Lions have yet to have a 100-yard rusher this season and going back for quite some time now and don’t exactly have a balanced offense. Even Cleveland with all its troubles has had a more balanced offense in the sense that Duke Johnson Jr. and Isaiah Crowell have contributed a bit and get quite a few carries making the Browns not so one-dimensional. We believe they are capable lf putting up a fight today and challenge for the outright win much to the surprise of many. Teams that are winless are extremely motivated to get that first ‘W’ of the season, knowing they are currently the laughing stock of the league! We don’t think they’ll necessarily accomplish that goal but we do see them avoiding another blowout and losing this by single-digits. That provides a ton of value given that we expect them to stay within this generous spread. Back the unfancied underdogs and take the points.
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