We were much better last week! 3-2! Not 4-1 or 5-0 but still profitable. Let's hope we have snapped out of our funk and that we finish the regular season strong. Our overall record is now 25-29-1. With 6 weeks remaining in the NFL season, we are confident we can go 27-3 the rest of the way. I know that is overly optimistic but with so much in-season data at our disposal, why not shoot for the stars. Aiming for 90% accuracy from now until Week 17 would bring our overall record to 52-32-1 or 61.76%. Profitability is our only goal!
Here are our picks for Week 12 (spreads based on SuperContest hosted by Westgate).
Game #1: Miami at Cleveland. Spread: Cleveland -10.5. Regression Model: Cleveland wins by 16.16 points. Probability Model: 59.55% chance Cleveland covers. As we have always done this season, we will provide narratives as to why we like our selections and back up our reasons with data. Of course we are transparent with what the models tell us but what fun is that if all we ever provide is just the model outputs! So what data/reasons will we use to back up our Cleveland selection? Simple ... Miami sucks. Keep in mind that Miami still ranks in the bottom five in most offensive and defensive categories. The Dolphins recent stretch of covering games from Week 6 - 10 was a mirage. Buffalo brought Miami back down to Earth by beating them to a pulp. If Josh Allen and John Brown can slice apart the porous Dolphins secondary, imagine what Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, Odell Beckham Jr., and Jarvis Landry can do. No way will Miami be able to contain all five of those players and it is conceivable that all five of them play in at least 80% of the offensive snaps. The Browns will be without defensive end Myles Garrett and for good reason but Miami's offense lacks punch so the Browns won't miss him. Also, the game time temperature in Cleveland will be below 40 degrees which does not bode well for a team accustomed to 70+ degree weather all year round. The Browns playoff hopes ended a while ago but they can still finish strong and somewhat live up to the preseason hype. Prediction: Cleveland 31 - Miami 14.
Game #2: Oakland at NY Jets. Spread: Oakland -3. Regression model: Oakland wins by 9.98 points. Probability model: 61.45% chance Oakland covers. Watch out! The Jets have won 2 games in a row and have scored 68 total points in those games! Wait one second ... did they beat in those games? Oh, the NY Giants and Washington Redskins. Two inferior teams. When the Jets have had to play teams with winning records, it has not ended well for them. Even though Sam Darnold has looked sharp recently and might put up decent numbers against a suspect Oakland secondary, this Raiders offense is clicking on all cylinders. This game will be close and the Raiders will find a way to finish off the game with a touchdown to continue their amazing turnaround. Maybe the Raiders barely miss making the postseason but they won't miss on an opportunity to pick up a W against one of the worst teams in the league. After all, it is awfully hard to expose the Raiders weak secondary when your opponent's passer rating ranks 3rd to last at 75.8. Meanwhile the Raiders passer rating is 4th at 106.3. It's a passing league and the Raiders have a superior passing offense, especially with offensive guru Jon Gruden calling the shots. This spread should be higher but perhaps it's at 3 points due to the cross country travel. That won't matter since the Raiders have already won far from home earlier this season. Prediction: Oakland 28 - NY Jets 21.
Game #3: Seattle at Philadelphia. Spread: Seattle +2. Regression model: Seattle wins by 1.61 points. Probability model: 63.51% chance Seattle covers. This spread is a funny one. Seattle just had a week off and rank as one of the top teams in the league with an 8-2 record. Philadelphia is the epitome of mediocrity with a 5-5 record and winning some great games but also losing some games that leaves you scratching your head. Seattle's two losses this year were to two very good teams: New Orleans and Baltimore. The Eagles are a far cry from being a good team. This is 2019, not 2017 when the Eagles won their first Super Bowl. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson owns the top passer rating and just as we mentioned in our narrative for our Oakland selection, this is a passer's league and the Eagles lack the pass rush to disrupt the Seattle passing game. Turnover differential also heavily favors the Seahawks. How this game is not a pick 'em or slightly favoring Seattle is asinine. Who cares that the Seahawks are travelling cross country for an early game. They are an experienced football team who knows how to win on the road against an average opponent. Prediction: Seattle 27 - Philadelphia 24.
Game #4: Detroit at Washington. Spread: Detroit -3.5. Regression model: Detroit wins by 15.19 points. Probability model: 68.38% chance Detroit covers. The Lions sorely miss QB Matt Stafford. This team is not the same without him. This is pretty much another lost season for the Lions who are one of a few teams to still not even make it to the Super Bowl. However, the Lions are playing the Redskins who have a much worse offense. Washington ranks dead last in points scored at just 12.5 points per game. That is worse than Miami and Cincinnati and we know how bad those two teams are. There have been 5 games in which the Redskins have scored fewer than 10 points. Maybe they will crack 10 points in this game but it won't be enough since the Redskins also have a terrible defense. The Lions have been able to put up points without Stafford but it has been the defense that has let them down recently. That won't be the case this Sunday since the Redskins probably can't score against one of the top college defenses. The Lions will find a way to move the ball with former Alabama RB Bo Scarborough toting the rock. Also, expect Lions WR Kenny Golladay to stretch the field and help the Lions finally get a W in our nation's capital. Prediction: Detroit 31 - Washington 17.
Game #5: Jacksonville at Tennessee. Spread: Jacksonville +3. Regression model: Jacksonville wins by 2.36 points. Probability model: 60.02% chance Jacksonville covers. Rarely do we select a team playing in a divisional game. Divisional opponents know each other really well which can be challenging to predict the outcomes in those games. Still, the Titans are a one-dimensional team. If you can contain Titans RB Derrick Henry, there is not much else Tennessee can do to move the ball. Meanwhile, the Jaguars have a very good RB of their own in Leonard Fournette and they have a decent passing game with QB Nick Foles back behind center and WR DJ Chark putting up Pro Bowl type numbers. Both teams are average defensively so this game will come down to the playmakers on offense. That notion would favor the Jaguars. Jacksonville has already beaten Tennessee earlier this season so expect a sweep of the season series. This game should be close so it's always best to take the points in such contests. Prediction: Jacksonville 24 - Tennessee 21.
That's a wrap! Four of our picks take place in the early slate of games this Sunday so by midday your bankroll will increase exponentially. Lots of early action to get your day started and then top it off with a Jaguars win in Music City. Then just enjoy a great NFC battle between the Packers and 49ers on Sunday Night Football while you count your cash!