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NFL Betting Picks For Week 7 (10/25/2020) - Moneylines, Totals, and Spreads

We had a solid 2-0 start last week after Detroit and Tampa bay did what they needed to do. Then I put too much trust in Andy Dalton to lead a new team and he let us down substantially. Dallas is in real trouble here if he can't figure it out, and that's a terrible thing considering the talent on that offense. Nonetheless, we move onto Week 7. I wasn't even sure if we'd get to this point in the season, but here we are!

  • Week 6: 2-1 (67%, +.85u)
  • 2020 Season: 10-7-1 (55%, +3.07u)

(You can stop the intro here if you’ve read this article before). However, things are going to get interesting with the amount of injuries we're seeing around the league, but that will make capping more fun, I think? I'm not a professional but I love researching stats and finding value. My goal is to provide you with information that can help you make informed bets, whether you agree or disagree with me. I "bet to lose" one unit on almost every play but will definitely label it if I do differently.

I'm here to bring you my best bets and recommendations for Week 7 of the 2020 NFL season. I'll be here at RotoBaller all season long and you can find me on Twitter @RotoStevieJ. I am always down to chat and spend most of my days and nights browsing for information or news. You can also follow me on the Action app (@sgjanik6) where I'll post every pick I have for a day and week. With that, I hope you enjoy, best of luck, and please bet responsibly!

 

Green Bay Packers (-3.5, -186) at Houston Texans

O/U: 57

As I called it last week, the Packers were going to struggle against Tampa Bay's defense. Sure, Aaron Rodgers and co. got up 10-0 early and then proceeded to give up 38 straight points for their first loss. Rodgers had been just about as perfect as you could be coming into that game, but he's ready to put the two picks behind him. To help him, the team needs to get back to running the ball. After rushing for 417 yards through the first two games, they've rushed for just 280 in the last three combined. It would help if they decided to stick with their workhorse Aaron Jones (five touchdowns), but they've been sprinkling in Jamaal Williams quite frequently. Davante Adams is back, so when they do pass, expect Rodgers to look his way almost exclusively.

This Texans team is a mess and a half. Having Deshaun Watson has kept this team respectable from an offensive perspective, one man and a few of his offensive teammates can only foot so much of the bill. David Johnson has been mediocre at best, but that's more an estimation of the offensive line. Will Fuller is off to a great start but has one of the tougher matchups in the league this week with Jaire Alexander. On the other end, the Texans house one of the worst defensive units, allowing 30 ppg and over 420 ypg. Green Bay will certainly be a test, considering the Houston allowed over 600 yards against Tampa Bay.

Green Bay is 7-4 against the spread after a loss since the 2018 season, and while that's not otherworldly, it does show that they come ready to play following a defeat. Rodgers is still an elite quarterback and last week was a strange occurrence for the future Hall of Fame quarterback. Green Bay has better weapons and a better defense, albeit not great themselves. While this is a very popular public play, I love the Pack in a bounce-back effort. If you’re the type of gambler to fade the public, I would completely understand the rationale as well.

Pick: Green Bay -3.5 (-106, Fanduel) 1 Unit

 

Kansas City (-9.5, -435) at Denver Broncos

O/U: 46

The Chiefs took reign over the Bills thanks to a stout run game in a rain-soaked Monday Night Football game. Tallying 245 yards on the ground means Patrick Mahomes doesn't have to be the star and savior, and that's what makes them so dangerous. The gunslinger averages 280 ypg with 16TD and just one interception and has his full arsenal of weapons. This will also be the first time we see Le'Veon Bell in a Chiefs uniform, so it will be interesting to see how they utilize him with rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 1.

The Broncos actually have one of the best defenses in the league through their first five games. They rank in the Top 10 in both rush and pass defense DVOA. The problem is their offense's ineptitude has them on the field constantly; their opponents average over 32 minutes of possession when Denver is host, compared to just 28 when on the road. They held the Patriots in check last week, but yet again, their offenses inability to sustain drives score (just 12 points!!) hampered them. Considering the Broncos allow just 22 ppg, there is room for improvement here with a better offense, but sadly it's tough to expect from Denver.

Kansas City might be a little timid with displaying too much of Bell in his first game, but that's not an issue when you have Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce. They're averaging 27.7 ppg on the road thus far but I see them coming out and firing against their divisional opponent. I'd trust the full game over, but Denver's offense scares me.

Pick: Kansas City Team Total Over 27.5 (-104, Draftkings) 1 Unit

 

Seattle Seahawks (-3.5, -177) at Arizona Cardinals

O/U: 56

Fresh off their bye week, Seattle has scored at least 31 points in four of their five games and is true contender for the NFC Championship at 5-0. Russell Wilson makes defenses pay and his weapons Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf are part of that with nine combined touchdowns. The fun part of this offense is that Chris Carson hasn't even gotten started. The team averages just 115 ypg on the ground, but keep in mind Carson was dealing with injuries prior to their Week 6 bye. This is a team that has averaged over 130 rushing ypg over the last two seasons, so expect the run game to see an uptick relatively soon. Defensively, Seattle has been stout against the run, allowing just 110 ypg, but they have some real issues against the pass, allowing 370 ypg, the worst mark in the league.

Arizona is fresh off of two blow out wins against garbage teams, the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys, sans Dak Prescott. While they've scored 30 and 38 in their last two games, respectively, they averaged 24.5 ppg in their first four contests. Kyler Murray is such an exciting dual-threat player but still has some work to do, as evidenced by the six interceptions. He's led the offense to average 402.5 ypg, good for fifth in the NFL. The run game has been at the forefront, as they've tallied at least 109 yards in every game so far. In terms of passing, naturally, DeAndre Hopkins is the only passing option worth noting as he's accounted for over 40% of the team's passing yards through six games. On the defensive end, the Cardinals have been better at home allowing just 319 yards of offense but keep in mind that was against Washington and Detroit. Patrick Peterson is a shell of his former self and they're also without top pass rusher Chandler Jones.

The Cardinals have had a pretty easy schedule so far playing Washington, Detroit, and the Jets. While the Seahawks schedule hasn't really been much better, their 5-0 record would be more worrisome if the talent on the team wasn't as strong, but this unit was expected to contend for the big one. This is a primetime spot that Seattle is used to, and against an inferior team, give me the Seahawks.

Pick: Seattle -3.5 (-106, Draftkings) 1 Unit



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NFL Survivor Pool Picks (Week 7) - Targets and Avoids

It started off as a great day of football but the decision to have just two 4 p.m. games quickly backfired when the Dolphins-Jets and Bucs-Packers became blowouts after the first quarter. Another decision that is still, and will continue to be, scrutinized is the Texans decision to go for two. It was the right decision. Houston's defense was awful Sunday and Romeo Crennel, a defensive guy, knew his team wouldn't be able to stop Tennessee. A two-point conversion would've iced the game. They had the right play, the receiver was wide open, but the ball got deflected. I'm always in the belief when you can control a situation and finish something, then go for it.

Underdogs went 9-5 against the spread with six outright upsets. The biggest was the Broncos beating the Patriots in Foxborough which knocked out around 20 percent of remaining entrants in pools. Majority of entrants chose the Dolphins which required no sweat in an easy win against the Jets. My survivor plays went 3-1 straight-up. The Vikings were an avoid and they got blown out.

Week 7 kicks off with the Giants at the Eagles Thursday night. The Colts, Dolphins, Ravens, and Vikings are on bye.

 

Survivor League Week 7

Teams favored by a touchdown or more in Week 7; Bills -13.5 @ Jets, Chiefs -9 vs. Broncos, Chargers -7.5 vs. Jaguars, Saints -7.5 vs. Panthers.

If you're reading this article on Thursday or later, these lines are from Tuesday. Check the current spreads and see how the line moved.

I also give out my three top plays against the spread. That can be found at the bottom of the column.

 

Top Survivor Picks for Week 7

Bills -13.5 @ Jets

Not only are the Jets winless but they're also 0-6 against the spread. There's really not much to say about this game, only whether the Jets will cover. It's really remarkable to not have covered a game yet but that should eventually end.

Bills 30 - Jets 19

 

Packers -3.5 @ Texans

Both these teams have similarly explosive offenses, but the one difference in the stats are the Packers are fifth in converting third down's while Houston is 21st. Green Bay hadn't been tested before Sunday and they got a refreshing wake-up call, especially their defense. The Texans Defense though is so bad giving up 6.1 yards per play, 27th, and 23rd in opponent third-down conversion percentage. Aaron Rodgers should pick apart the secondary.

Packers 31 - Texans 23

 

Chargers -7.5 vs. Jaguars

The Chargers could really be 5-0. They should have beaten the Chiefs, had a great chance to beat the Panthers, and blew leads to the Bucs and Saints. Justin Herbert has been getting better by the week. Their defense ranks 17th in yards per play, 10th in getting off the field on third down, and fifth in opponent red zone touchdown percentage. But they have looked a lot better than the stats and they're fresh off a bye.

I wrote this last week about Jacksonville; "the Jaguars are who we thought they were before the season; a bad team." The Chargers should finally cruise to a win.

Chargers 26 - Jaguars 14

 

Chiefs -9 @ Broncos

Denver played a great game Sunday in New England but six field goals just won't come close to cutting it against Kansas City. I don't care how great your defense is, you won't hold Kansas City to less than 17 points or less. The Broncos offense ranks 27th in yards per play, 29th in third down conversions, and 30th in scoring touchdowns in the red zone. They may very well cover but you can't beat the best offense like that.

Chiefs 28 - Broncos 20

 

Rams -5.5 vs. Bears

Chicago keeps winning despite an offense similarly bad to Denver's; 28th in yards per play, 27th in third down conversions, and 26th in touchdowns in the red zone. Their defense is in the top six in those defensive categories. The Rams though have had all their wins come against the NFC East. They've lost to the Bills and 49ers. Jared Goff struggles in bad weather and a good pass rush. The weather will be fine in LA but the Bears pass rush will put him under immense pressure. Sean McVay better have a good plan to get the ball out of Goff's hands quick.

Another point is if the Bears are actually good and since the Rams have played a cake schedule, shouldn't this line be three. I think that's a big tell from the Vegas bookmakers.

Rams 24 - Bears 17

 

Top Survivor Picks to Avoid 

 

Saints -7.5 vs. Panthers

This game goes either two ways; the Saints come off their bye and win convincingly or struggle immensely. I can't get over the memory of last year when New Orleans came off a bye at 7-1, and were double-digit favorites over the Falcons only to be beat 26-9. The Saints don't look like a team that should be favored by more than a touchdown over anyone. Not even Carolina despite them looking awful against the Bears. However the Panthers have been up-and-down and this is a divisional game which usually tends to be close.

Saints 23 - Panthers 21

 

Browns -3.5 @ Bengals

This teams met on Thursday night football in Week 2 with the Browns winning 35-30. The game was not as close as the score was but Joe Burrow would not go down. Both teams are off losses, but Cleveland got blown out and you wonder how they'll respond. A road divisional favorite of 3.5 is too much with a guy like Burrow on the other side.

Bengals 23 - Browns 21

 

Best Bets for Week 7

  • Packers -3.5 @ Texans
  • Dallas -1.5 @ Washington - Cowboys are off an embarrassing blowout loss on national television. Teams in that situation usually rebound the following week.
  • Chargers -7.5 vs. Jaguars

 

Running Totals

  • Last week: 2-1
  • 2020 season total: 9-9
  • 2019 season total: 23-26-2


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Thursday Night Football Prop Picks for Monkey Knife Fight: Eagles vs Giants

The NFL season is back, and we cannot waste our opportunity to make some cash. We’ve seen crazy upsets so far, and we’ve seen a lot of money won. Tonight, we have another shot with the Philadelphia Eagles hosting the New York Giants.

On MKF, there are no massive tournaments where you have to get ridiculously lucky just to cash. You're just playing against the house, and the dudes at MKF have fallen all over themselves to give you really attractive opportunities to make some money.

As always, there are some solid props we can look to take advantage of.

 

Eagles vs Giants: More or Less Contest

Thus far, both of these defenses have played particularly well against the pass. Neither squad is allowing more than 235.5 yards per game through the air. Despite that, I’m taking the over for Carson Wentz. He’s only cleared this mark twice in six games, but this is also the best matchup he’s had thus far. Outside of cornerback James Bradberry, this Giants Defense leaves much to be desired. I think he can sling the ball around a little bit.

In order to keep up with Wentz, Daniel Jones is going to have to throw the ball, and that’s easier to do on this Philadelphia defense. Similar to the Giants, they only have cornerback Darius Slay that scares you in the secondary. The over/under for this game is set at 45, and that feels low despite how beaten up these two rosters are. I’m expecting a little bit of a shootout between the two sides.

Play the More or Less Contest Now on Monkey Knife Fight

 

Eagles vs Giants: More or Less Contest

Tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert are still out. Running back Miles Sanders will not be playing, and the wide receiver room has been zapped of talent. Fulgham has 23 targets in his last two games, and he’s caught at least six balls in each game. This number feels pretty easily achievable.

In his last two games, Freeman has hardly been efficient, but he’s getting plenty of volume with 35 carries over the last two weeks. He’s cleared 60 in each game, and I think he’s going to get the volume to clear the mark set for him again. This is a good Eagles front, but with Malik Jackson out with an injury, I think they can get enough push to get him over this relatively low bar.

Play the More or Less Contest on Monkey Knife Fight

 

Eagles vs Giants: More or Less Contest

  • Carson Wentz OVER 18.5 fantasy points
  • Daniel Jones UNDER 16.5 fantasy points
  • Travis Fulgham OVER 13.5 fantasy points

I think the Eagles are going to be able to move the ball through the air, and with Sanders out, I think we see even more work from Wentz. On top of his work through the air, I think we see Wentz as a key part of the ground game this week. He’s scored a rushing touchdown in four out of six games, and that can help buoy a day for fantasy.

Choosing the under on Jones here comes exclusively from his inability to take care of the ball. In 19 games under center, he has thrown 18 interceptions, and he has 22 fumbles charged to his name. Even against an Eagles Defense that isn’t the most talented, they have the players to take advantage of sloppy play.

Similar to his receptions prop, I’m comfortable taking Fulgham at this number because there is little to no competition for him to compete with. It does rely on him breaking a big play or catching a touchdown, but with the volume he’s going to get, I think he’s able to get there.

 

Play the More or Less Contest on Monkey Knife Fight

 

Eagles vs Giants: Rapid Fire Contest

I’m doubling down on my calls. For all of the Eagles’ struggles, I truly believe they’re the better team in this matchup, and they can make more plays happen. I think Freeman’s going to have a slow night, and his entire fantasy value is going to be tied to his ability to get in the endzone. I don’t think that happens. Wentz has struggled from a football perspective, but he’s still maintaining more fantasy value than Jones. That’s all that matters here.

Play the Rapid Fire Contest on Monkey Knife Fight



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NFL Survivor Pool Picks (Week 6) - Targets and Avoids

Five weeks into the season and we're starting to see who some teams really are. We already knew the Jets and Giants were awful, but are the Rams actually good? They're 4-1 with all their wins coming against the NFC East and their lone loss against the Bills. It'll also be real interesting to see how the Saints play in the coming weeks with Drew Brees unable to zip a throw in.

Underdogs went 8-6 against the spread with four outright upsets. The biggest was the Raiders beating the Chiefs which knocked out around 25 percent of remaining entrants in pools. The Dolphins beating the Niners did a little damage too. My survivor plays went 5-1 straight-up. None of my avoids lost but the Saints and Seahawks both had to come back late to win.

This is a difficult week with only three teams favored by a touchdown or more, but there is one play I really like and it's a team you won't want to choose again. There is no Thursday night football this week due to COVID rescheduling. The Chargers, Raiders, Saints, and Seahawks are on bye.

 

Survivor League Week 6

Teams favored by a touchdown or more in Week 6; Colts -8 vs. Bengals, Ravens -8 @ Eagles, and Dolphins -8 vs. Jets.

If you're reading this article on Thursday or later, these lines are from Tuesday. Check the current spreads and see how the line moved.

I also give out my three top plays against the spread. That can be found at the bottom of the column.

 

Top Survivor Picks for Week 6

Lions -3.5 @ Jaguars

You won't get another chance to take the Lions. They fit one of my favorite gambling trends; road favorite off a bye. The trend is 63-26 since 2002. RJ Bell explained why the trend is so successful.

"The team that's traveling is clearly better. Because you can't be favored on the road unless you're clearly better. But because you're clearly better, you have the distractions on the road. You might be looking ahead. You might be a little beat up from last week. Whatever it is, it's going to cause you not to play your best game; you're more susceptible to a team you think you should easily beat, even more susceptible on the road. That's why road favorites are so dangerous. Well, when you have a bye, all that stuff goes out the window. If you haven't played for two weeks, you're not going to look ahead. You're going to be focused on that team. You're not going to be tired. All the things that make traveling tough, you have that total focus."

The Lions are 1-3 and have held a double-digit lead in all three of their losses. The Jaguars are who we thought they were before the season; a bad team. They surprised many with their Week 1 against the Colts but have since lost four in a row. The stats point to Jacksonville but the eye test points to Detroit. If the Lions shore up their defense, particularly in the red zone and on third down, they could run away with this one.

Lions 27 - Jaguars 16

 

Colts -8 vs. Bengals

Cincinnati better figure out a way to protect Joe Burrow because he's been getting crushed. Now they face a ferocious Colts Defense that's first in opponent yards per play. Phillip Rivers was awful Sunday but should rebound against an average Bengals Defense. They allow 159 rushing yards per game, 29th in the league. That will allow Indy to go back to the running game to open up the passing game. Colts will control this through and through.

Colts 24 - Bengals 13

 

Ravens -8 @ Eagles

As I keep saying, Baltimore beats up on bad teams. Are the Eagles bad though? It's unclear because their win over the 49ers two weeks ago doesn't seem so good after they got blown out by Miami. Philly is off a tough loss to Pittsburgh in which their defensive front looked better, but will they be able to stop the Ravens rushing attack? They're 17th in that department and even if they do slow down Baltimore, their offense won't be able to keep up. Baltimore is fifth in opponent yards per play, and fifth in getting off the field on third down.

Ravens 30 - Eagles 20

 

Panthers -2.5 vs. Bears

Chicago is the most overrated 4-1 team I can ever remember. They should've lost to the Lions, barely beat the Giants, should've lost to Falcons, were a no-show against the Colts, and somehow beat the Bucs last Thursday. Their offense is bottom-ten in yards per play, third-down conversions, touchdowns in the red zone. But their defense is top-ten in all those statistical categories. But the defense will have their hands full with the Panthers offense. They rank sixth in yards per play and are sixth in converting on third down. Teddy Bridgewater has looked better and more comfortable each week. If they can put up 20 points in this one, they should win.

Panthers 23 - Bears 17

 

Top Survivor Picks to Avoid 

Dolphins -8 vs. Jets

You probably think I'm crazy to lean toward the Jets here but, Miami is off their biggest win of the season. This is a divisional game with an over/under at 47.5. That's pretty low for current NFL standards with 59 percent of games going over the total. A lower total means less points will be scored which gives you a lean to the underdog. The stats are pretty even for these teams with Miami's defense ranking 27th in opponent yards per play and the Jets, 22nd.

Dolphins 23 - Jets 21

 

Vikings -3.5 vs. Falcons

Minnesota may be an appealing survivor pick because they're playing the putrid Falcons and when would you be able to take Minnesota again? Atlanta is also off firing their general manager and head coach. Their owner won't even commit to Matt Ryan in the future. The team is a mess. But there are just too many question marks with not only the Falcons but Vikings too. How will Minnesota respond after a gut-wrenching last-second loss in Seattle. Their defense seems to be much improved in the past two weeks but the Falcons will throw, throw, and throw. I don't trust the Vikings in this spot.

Vikings 31 - Falcons 30

 

Best Bets for Week 6

  • Lions -3.5 vs. Jaguars - Road favorite off a bye.
  • Panthers -2.5 vs. Bears - Chicago will get exposed in this spot.
  • 49ers +3.5 vs. Rams - Niners have lost two in a row, and looked awful Sunday. Rams haven't beat anyone good yet. I'll take the home team and the hook.

 

Running Totals

  • Last week: 2-1
  • 2020 season total: 7-8
  • 2019 season total: 23-26-2


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Chef's Special - NFL Best Bets for Week 6

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"Foos-ball? Buncha overgrown monsters man-handlin' each other -- 'Member when dat man wanted you to play foos-ball, Bobby?"  Waterboy is bringing all the good vibes this weekend after an excellent week 5.  The bets continued to crush for the season with a 4-2 card, and I was fortunate enough to take down a second-place price of $4500 on DraftKings using the rankings and plays from the preview video.

Before getting too far into the post, please refer to this post as an introductory piece before continuing.  Also, be sure to check out the betting tools and

 

Introduction to Chef's Special Betting Picks

***Read only if it is your first week here***

This week I will layout a little more information than usual since it is Week 1.  Last year I handicapped the entire season and had a solid year finishing up 20+ units.  If you are new or unfamiliar with the terminology, I will explain (also use Google if you need it).

In a nutshell, it is a way to measure the size of a bet for players of all bankroll sizes.  For example, @Uncle_Leo may have a standard bet size of $10, @GarageGuyChase may have a standard bet size of $25, and @ThunderDanDFS may have a standard bet size of $50.

The weight of a unit would mean different financial gain for all of these players but tracks how well someone is doing betting as a sports bettor.  For all of you basic bois, let's use my results from last year as an example - see below:

  • NFL Best Bets (+22.5u) 64-54 Total Bets [7-2 on 4&5U plays]
  • Mr. Uncle Leo would be the following:  22.5U x $10 = $225 in the green on the season
  • Mr. Garage Guy would be the following:  22.5U x $25 = $562.50 in the green on the season
  • Mr. Danny Boi would be the following:  22.5U x $50 = $1125 in the green on the season.

So, let's discuss the trend.  Everyone finished in the green.  However, Mr. Danny Boi being up 22.5U means something much more financially positive than Mr. Uncle Leo. With that being said, I performed equally for all parties.

 

Drew Deen's (@ChefBoiRDeen) Week 6 Betting Card

Here, I will post my Week 6 picks.  Staying consistent with your unit size is crucial.  Without it, it will seem as if I am doing better or worse than I actually am because some wins/losses will be weighted differently than the others.

2019 NFL Best Bets (+22.5u) 64-54 Total [7-2 on 4&5U plays]

2020 NFL Best Bets (+21.85u) 33-18 Total [1-0 on 4&5U plays]

  • 0-1.5U Risk Record:  19-14
  • 1.51U - 3.99U Risk Record:  13-4
  • 4-5U Risk Record:  1-0

A bit of a smaller card this week but more could be added so be sure to check back before kick-off.

  • Bears ML vs Panthers - Risk 1U to win 1.05U
  • Lions -2.5 vs Jaguars - Risk 1.2U to win 1U
  • Texans/Titans Over 53 - Risk 1.1U to win 1U
  • Packers/Bucs Over 55 - Risk 1.1U to win 1U
  • Steelers ML - Risk 4U to win 2.2U
  • Steelers/Ravens ML Parlay - Risk 1.15U to win 1U
  • Steelers/Dolphins ML Parlay - Risk 1.1U to win 1U
  • Ravens/Dolphins 7pt Teaser - Risk 2.6U to win 2U
  • More could be added - typing this up earlier than usual this week

Chef's Yolo Parlay:  None for now - could add later



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NFL Betting Picks For Week 6 (10/18/2020) - Moneylines, Totals, and Spreads

As fans, we had our emotions played with in Week 5 a bit. There were several COVID-19 cases that made their way around the league, but in turn, we only had one game moved. In our games, Arizona was ready to hit the over themselves, but they pulled back and took it easy on the Jets. Indianapolis was missing one of their best defensive players and completely dropped the ball on offense, killing any shot at taking down the Browns. Atlanta and Carolina gave us a push on the 1H total; it puzzles me how the Atlanta offense has struggled as much as they have.

  • Week 5: 1-1-1 (33%, -.15u)
  • 2019 Season: 8-6-1 (53%, +2.22u)

(You can stop the intro here if you’ve read this article before). However, things are going to get interesting with the amount of injuries we're seeing around the league, but that will make capping more fun, I think? I'm not a professional but I love researching stats and finding value. My goal is to provide you with information that can help you make informed bets, whether you agree or disagree with me. I "bet to lose" one unit on almost every play but will definitely label it if I do differently.

I'm here to bring you my best bets and recommendations for Week 6 of the 2020 NFL season. I'll be here at RotoBaller all season long and you can find me on Twitter @RotoStevieJ. I am always down to chat and spend most of my days and nights browsing for information or news. You can also follow me on the Action app (@sgjanik6) where I'll post every pick I have for a day and week. With that, I hope you enjoy, best of luck, and please bet responsibly!

 

Green Bay Packers (-1, -108) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

O/U: 55

The Packers are on fire for Aaron Rodgers' tour to silence any doubters, reeling off four straight wins, by an average of 12.7 ppg, before hitting their Week 5 bye. Over 1,200 yards with 13 touchdowns and no blemishes, Rodgers is going for a championship and might bag an MVP award on the way. It's looking like Davante Adams will suit up this week, which is an instant boost to the offense, but what really makes the Packers tick is their run game which averages over 150 ypg but just 128 in their two road games. If Aaron Jones is producing, so is this offense. Defensively, things could be better, as they rank 25th in both rushing and passing DVOA. They're getting healthy, but their secondary will have their hands full with a talented Bucs receiving corps.

The Tom-pa Bay Bucs are in a three-way tie for the NFC South but they seem to have yet to hit their stride. Tom Brady's offense averages 365 ypg and 28 ppg, and that's without Chris Godwin (hamstring) for three games. They've posted two strong wins at home already, and with Godwin likely returning, we'll see these Bucs back to full strength. Defensively, Tampa houses one of the best units in the NFL, ranking Top 5 in both passing and rushing DVOA. They've held opponents to under 275 passing yards three times in five games, including not allowing more than 87 yards rushing once. One issue they'll need to correct is taking penalties, with which they've been one of the league's worst, averaging over 80 yards of penalties per game.

Tampa Bay opened as three-point favorites and the line has shifted to favor the Packers by a point. Green Bay coming off a bye gives them the rest advantage but Tampa Bay likely getting their stars healthy and back at home, it's interesting to see the line shift towards the Packers. They have just one turnover this season, but with Tampa's stout defensive unit, I see that changing and the Bucs offense putting a ton of pressure on GB with their full arsenal of offensive weapons and picking up their fourth win.

Pick: Tampa Bay ML +100 (Foxbet) 1 Unit

 

Detroit Lions (-3.5, -180) at Jacksonville Jaguars

O/U: 54.5

The Detroit Lions are a mess, but they somehow still make every week interesting. The passing game hasn't been anything to write home about, but Matthew Stafford has weapons in Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, and T.J. Hockenson. All three are healthy, and while none of have exactly taken over, they have a juicy matchup against the Jaguars. The running game is a total disaster, which doesn't help matters for the offense, but I think Matt Patricia is fine with throwing it all over the yard (averaging 34 attempts per game). One benefit for the unit is their ability to get to the red zone, averaging 4.5 trips per game. They just need to work on cashing in for a touchdown at more than a 55% clip.

The Jaguars Defense is one of the league's worst, ranking 32nd in passing DVOA and 20th against the run. Losers of four straight, Jacksonville has surrendered at least 123 yards on the ground in all of those games, and have allowed 991 total yards over their last two. Not a good recent performance. However, they do seem to have a bend but don't break approach, allowing around 54% of opponent's red zone trips to end in a touchdown.

It's not fun gambling on the Lions, especially when they struggle with any amount of consistency. However, with as bad as the Jags' defense is, I see Stafford and co. being able to take the top off and make some noise in Week 6.

Pick: Detroit Team Total Over 28.5 (-115, Draftkings) 1 Unit

 

Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys

O/U: 55

The Cardinals came into this season with some lofty expectations and despite a bad loss to the aforementioned Lions, things could be worse. Kyler Murray has done well leading the offense, averaging over 395 ypg. However, his six interceptions make you raise your eye brow a bit. He’s made up for it with the five rushing scores, complementing Kenyan Drake quite nicely. DeAndre Hopkins has maintained his role as a reception receptacle, hailing in 45 balls but only scoring twice thus far. Utilizing their weapons better will be key moving forward. Defensively, they are going to have their hands full, especially in the run game, where they’ve allowed over 90 yards in every game thus far. They’ve yet to allow over 276 yards passing, but they also haven’t faced an offense of this caliber.

Dallas might be missing Dak Prescott, but it's hard to see this offense skipping a beat. No, Andy Dalton isn't a Super Bowl winning signal caller, but with Ezekiel Elliott behind him, and Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup to throw to, this offense is surely just as potent. They've averaged 38 ppg at home thus far and it's not like Arizona is some juggernaut who will stop them, especially after losing pass-rush extraordinar Chandler Jones (bicep) for the season. Defensively is where some issues lie, as the Cowboys can’t stop anyone, allowing 34 or more points in each of the last four games, including last week’s gross affair with the Giants.

I get it. Without Dak Prescott, the Cowboys shouldn't be favored. He was their guy. I'm in no way saying Dalton is anything special, but the guy deserves some respect, especially with the weapons he now has to throw to. With Zeke behind him and those threats in the passing game, it's hard to imagine Dallas skipping any major beats. Trust in the talent on Dallas and don't doubt them in Jerry's World.

Pick: Dallas ML (+106, Draftkings) 1 Unit



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NFL Survivor Pool Picks (Week 5) - Targets and Avoids

A month into the season and coaching is somehow getting worse and worse. The Chargers were in every position to upset the Bucs but Anthony Lynn had them run the ball up 24-7, with under a minute to go from their own 10. The Chargers proceeded to fumble and Tom Brady converted for a touchdown. 24-14 at halftime and that was it. If you've been reading this column for some years, you know I've been an early Bill O'Brien hater and been saying for four years he shouldn't be the coach.

Favorites went 10-5 straight up in Week 4 and 7-7-1 against the spread. My best bets went 1-2 against the spread, survivor plays went 3-0 and avoids went 0-3. The Ravens and Rams were the plays in survivor pools last week. LA gave everyone a scare but came through. The 49ers were the biggest favorite to lose outright.

This week we have another full slate kicking off with the Bucs and Bears Thursday night. Bye weeks also begin with the Lions and Packers off.

 

Survivor League Week 5

Teams favored by a touchdown or more in Week 5; Chiefs -13.5 vs. Raiders, Ravens -13.5 vs. Bengals, Cowboys -9.5 vs. Giants, Rams -8 @ Washington, Seahawks -7 vs. Vikings, Saints -7.5 vs. Chargers, Steelers -7 vs. Eagles, and Cardinals -7 @ Jets.

If you're reading this article on Thursday or later, these lines are from Tuesday. Check the current spreads and see how the line moved.

I also give out my three top plays against the spread. That can be found at the bottom of the column.

 

Top Survivor Picks for Week 5

RAVENS -13.5 vs. Bengals

Baltimore beats up on bad teams. They get into trouble when facing elite teams. The Ravens, who average 160 rushing yards per game, third most, will be able to run the ball all over Cincy. The Bengals allow 158 yards on the ground per game, 27th in the league.

Joe Burrow is going to be very good, but he's taking way too many big hits. Baltimore will blitz Burrow and get to the rookie.

Ravens 31- Bengals 14

 

CHIEFS -13.5 vs. Raiders

Kansas City is the best team in football. They rarely make mistakes, and when they do, you better make them pay. Just ask New England. The Raiders don't have the offense or defense to keep pace with the defending Super Bowl champions.

Chiefs 37 - Raiders 21

 

Rams -8 @ WASHINGTON

Are the Rams actually good? Their three wins have come against the Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, all NFC East teams. Their lone loss was against Buffalo where they fell down 28-3, then scored 29 unanswered, and then lost. It's too early to know about the Rams. The fact that they couldn't blow out the Giants was telling though. Jared Goff was 25-32 for 200 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. 55 of those passing yards came on a Cooper Kupp catch-and-run. Goff is not good when facing a good pass rush, which Washington has. He's also bad in cold weather, which it shouldn't be cold Sunday, but there is a chance of rain.

Washington is 30th in yards per play and Aaron Donald is going to constantly pressure Dwayne Haskins. However, Washington's defense will make some plays, but the Rams pull it out late.

Rams 24 - Washington 19

 

STEELERS -7 vs. Eagles

The Eagles offense is abysmal. They're averaging 4.5 yards per play, tied for last with the Jets. The Steelers are off a bye (COVID postponement) and have a defense that's second in opponent yards per play with 4.8. Pittsburgh's offense is average and Philly's defense does rank in the top-five in yards per play and third down's. But how much can their defense hold up against a legitimate two-dimensional offense with an offense that stinks?

Steelers 21 - Eagles 13

 

COWBOYS -9 vs. Giants

The Giants Defense somehow ranks sixth in opponent yards per play, but now they face a statistically great offense. Dak Prescott has been putting up such good numbers, because their defense is so bad. The Giants offense is 29th in yards per play, 27th in third-down conversion percentage, and dead last in scoring touchdowns in the red zone. If there's a game the Cowboys Defense can play well, it's this one.

Cowboys 28 - Giants 10

 

Cardinals -7 @ JETS

Can it get any worse for the Jets? Their loss to practice squad quarterback Brett Rypien on a short week was embarrassing. Sam Darnold gave the team a chance, but the defense couldn't get off the field and make the stops when they needed to. Now the defense faces a dynamic dual-threat quarterback, Kyler Murray, and plethora of weapons.

Arizona's defense is average but if the Jets can't convert touchdowns in the red zone, like they couldn't last week, then this game is over.

Cardinals 23 - Jets 14

 

Top Survivor Picks to Avoid 

SAINTS -7.5 vs. Chargers

The Chargers put up a really good fight Sunday in Tampa Bay and they should have won. This game in April seemed daunting but without fans on a Monday night in New Orleans, it seems to be just another game. Drew Brees's arm strength is shot and the Chargers Defense has looked good. They're above average in opponent yards per play and third-down conversion percentage, but they force field goals in the red zone ranking third in that category. The Saints are 12th in scoring touchdowns in the red zone. That's the key to this game.

A7.5 is too much to lay especially considering how much Justin Herbert has been improving by game.

Saints 27 - Chargers 26

 

SEAHWKS -7 vs. Vikings

Seattle has finally taken the leash off Russell Wilson and their offense has looked dominant. Wilson's rainbow throws are pure beauty. Their offense is second in yards per play and they're averaging 35.5 points per game, second in NFL. They should have no problem against a Vikings Defense that ranks 25th in opponent yards per play. But Seattle's defense has not shown me anything. They're 29th in opponent yards per play and 30th in getting off the field on third down's. The Vikings have two very good offensive weapons in Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson that will expose the Seahawks secondary.

Seahawks 38 - Vikings 35

 

TEXANS -6 vs. Jaguars

Houston will either blow out Jacksonville or lose a close one. They have a new interim head coach in Romeo Crennel so this game is really a crapshoot.

Texans 24 - Jaguars 17

 

Best Bets for Week 4

  • Vikings +7 @ Seattle - Notes above. Backdoor cover will be wide open late too if they're down two scores.
  • Washington +8 vs. Rams - Washington's front-seven will keep them in this game.
  • Panthers +2.5 @ Falcons - I'm getting points against a team that is nothing short of a mess. The Falcons are poorly coached, can't play defense, and make one boneheaded play after another.

 

Running Totals

  • Last week: 1-2
  • 2020 season total: 5-7
  • 2019 season total: 23-26-2


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Chef's Special - NFL Best Bets for Week 5

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Last week the heater finally came to an end, but it was basically a break-even week going 5-5 with a pair of pushes on a total of 12 plays.  One of those losses was a low risk, high reward "chef's yolo parlay" so the 5-5 was more like a 5-4 with the total loss on the week being less than a half unit.  Obviously, we want to win every week, but I was happy to not cut into all of the progress and winnings from week 2 and week 3.

No damage was done, and now we turn to a fresh slate.  The NFL is on 'Rona alert so that definitely impacts how many games are available on the slate and how many games are "off the board" and unavailable to bet.  The featured cover photo theme for Week 5 is Any Given Sunday.  This movie has a lot of big names, and one of my favorite speeches comes from Al Pacino.

Before getting too far into the post, please refer to this post as an introductory piece before continuing.  Also, be sure to check out the betting tools and

 

Introduction to Chef's Special Betting Picks

***Read only if it is your first week here***

This week I will layout a little more information than usual since it is Week 1.  Last year I handicapped the entire season and had a solid year finishing up 20+ units.  If you are new or unfamiliar with the terminology, I will explain (also use Google if you need it).

In a nutshell, it is a way to measure the size of a bet for players of all bankroll sizes.  For example, @Uncle_Leo may have a standard bet size of $10, @GarageGuyChase may have a standard bet size of $25, and @ThunderDanDFS may have a standard bet size of $50.

The weight of a unit would mean different financial gain for all of these players but tracks how well someone is doing betting as a sports bettor.  For all of you basic bois, let's use my results from last year as an example - see below:

  • NFL Best Bets (+22.5u) 64-54 Total Bets [7-2 on 4&5U plays]
  • Mr. Uncle Leo would be the following:  22.5U x $10 = $225 in the green on the season
  • Mr. Garage Guy would be the following:  22.5U x $25 = $562.50 in the green on the season
  • Mr. Danny Boi would be the following:  22.5U x $50 = $1125 in the green on the season.

So, let's discuss the trend.  Everyone finished in the green.  However, Mr. Danny Boi being up 22.5U means something much more financially positive than Mr. Uncle Leo. With that being said, I performed equally for all parties.

 

Drew Deen's (@ChefBoiRDeen) Week 5 Betting Card

Here, I will post my Week 5 picks.  Staying consistent with your unit size is crucial.  Without it, it will seem as if I am doing better or worse than I actually am because some wins/losses will be weighted differently than the others.

2019 NFL Best Bets (+22.5u) 64-54 Total [7-2 on 4&5U plays]

2020 NFL Best Bets (+19.55u) 29-16 Total [1-0 on 4&5U plays]

  • 0-1.5U Risk Record:  16-12
  • 1.51U - 3.99U Risk Record:  12-4
  • 4-5U Risk Record:  1-0

A bit of a smaller card this week but more could be added so be sure to check back before kick-off.

  • Seahawks -7 vs Vikings - Risk 1.1U to win 1
  • Rams -7 vs Washington - Risk 1.1U to win 1
  • Bengals +13 vs Ravens - Risk 1.1U to win 1
  • Seahawks/Rams 6PT Teaser (SEA -1, LAR -1) - Risk 1.1U to win 1U
  • Cowboys/Rams 7PT Teaser (DAL -1, RAMS PK) - Risk 1.3U to win 1U
  • Cowboys/Seahawks 7PT Teaser (DAL -1, SEA PK) - Risk 2.6U to win 2U
  • More could be added - typing this up earlier than usual this week

Chef's Yolo Parlay:  None for now - could add later



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NFL Betting Picks For Week 5 (10/11/2020) - Moneylines, Totals, and Spreads

We took care of some business in Week 4, going 2-1, with the loss being a disappointing one. Baltimore took care of business, although a bad no-call on a would-be Marquise Brown touchdown made it a little more a sweat than need be. Jacksonville and Cincinnati covered the over with ease, and that was after the total jumped by five points from the opening line. Then we have the Los Angeles Rams who completely wet the bed against the Giants. While they still won, it was nowhere near the dominating performance I was expecting. Anywho, we move forward to Week 5 of the COVID stricken 2020 NFL season!

  • Week 4: 2-1 (66%%, +1.12u)
  • 2019 Season: 7-5 (58%, +2.37u)

(You can stop the intro here if you’ve read this article before). However, things are going to get interesting with the amount of injuries we're seeing around the league, but that will make capping more fun, I think? I'm not a professional but I love researching stats and finding value. My goal is to provide you with information that can help you make informed bets, whether you agree or disagree with me. I "bet to lose" one unit on almost every play but will definitely label it if I do differently.

I'm here to bring you my best bets and recommendations for Week 5 of the 2020 NFL season. I'll be here at RotoBaller all season long and you can find me on Twitter @RotoStevieJ. I am always down to chat and spend most of my days and nights browsing for information or news. You can also follow me on the Action app (@sgjanik6) where I'll post every pick I have for a day and week. With that, I hope you enjoy, best of luck, and please bet responsibly!

 

Arizona Cardinals (-7, -335) at New York Jets

O/U: 47

Arizona hasn't exactly jumped into our living rooms as the potent offense everyone expected from them entering 2020. After starting 2-0, they find themselves losers of their last two. They've averaged just 370 yards per game (ypg) and 24.5 points per game (ppg) through four games. Add in a negative turnover differential and you're asking for trouble. Kyler Murray has definitely done his part, throwing for 900+ and rushing for 400+ more, while accumulating 11 touchdowns, but nothing too special. Kenyan Drake has been a disappointment, albeit because of strange usage, and aside from DeAndre Hopkins, no one else has really stepped up to make plays. Defensively the Cardinals have been about league average, but struggle on the road, allowing almost 90 yards more as visitors than as hosts.

The Jets are a debacle, and now they will be starting Joe Flacco, since Sam Darnold (shoulder) is hurt. At 0-4, somehow Adam Gase still has a job, but not for much longer at this pace. They're tied for 32nd in yards with the Giants averaging just 278 ypg and a paltry 4.5 yards per play. Leveon Bell is still on injured reserve which leave Frank Gore and Kalen Ballage to take care of the run game. Their receiving corps of Jamison Crowder, Braxton Berrios, and tight end Chris Herndon is less than average, at best. To close out, they've eclipsed 280 yards of offense just once and it was last week against a bad Denver team. Defensively, the Jets actually house a somewhat respectable defense, ranked 7th in the run, based on DVOA, and they allow just 240 ypg through the air, including only 209 passing yards per game at home.

Both of these teams are having their fair share of issues. Neither averages more than 5.5 yards per play or more than 24.5 ppg. The under is 4-0 in all of Arizona's games this year, while the under is 1-3 for the Jets to start the year. Arizona has their issues defensively on the road, but the Jets garbage offense shouldn't create too many problems for the cards. However, their defense could give Arizona some issues, so I'm hitting the under, especially after it's jumped three points since opening at 44.

Pick: Under 47.5 (Fanduel) 1 Unit

 

Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (-1.5, -120)

O/U: 54

We can't say for sure what to make of the Panthers just yet, under a new regime, with a new quarterback. Christian McCaffrey has been out but Mike Davis has given them a solid effort in his place. Teddy Bridgewater's 1,100 yards passing puts him 6th in the league, but just a 4/3 TD/Int will need some work, but something tells me this offense hasn't quite popped off yet, as evidenced by D.J. Moore's uneventful start to the year. Defensively, they give up over 352 ypg and 387 ypg on the road.

Atlanta has continuously been a team that had high expectations. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are some good reasons why. Well, Ryan hasn't exactly been his usual self and now Jones (hamstring) could possible miss Week 5. Averaging 26.5 ppg shows that offense isn't the issue though, it's the 31.5 ppg allowed (31st in the NFL). Todd Gurley has capped off four drives in pay dirt so far, but the 3.9 yards per rush isn't exaclty hard to gameplan against. If Jones does miss, Russell Gage, Hayden Hurst, and Olamide Zaccheus will do just fine. As previously mentioned, their defensive unit is atrocious and they've allowed 355 ypg over the last three contests.

There's way more talent on both of these offenses than the defenses could even wish to have. Together, through four games, both combine for 28.5 points in the first half. If Jones was sure to be playing, this game total would be higher, but I like each side to come swinging, despite potentially missing two of the biggest weapons on the field. These defenses are very, very bad.

Pick: First Half Over 27 (+110, Fanduel) 1 Unit

 

Indianapolis Colts (-1, -118) at Cleveland Browns

O/U: 46.5

This Colts offense hasn't exactly seen the resurgence that some seemed to think they would have with Phillip Rivers under center.  He's yet to eclipse 1,000 yards with only four touchdowns in four games. Rookie tailback Jonathan Taylor has done about as well as a newcomer can, but Rivers' inability to make anything exciting happen has hampered this unit. Backup running back Nyheim Hines is leading the team in catches, which says everything about T.Y. Hilton's season thus far, while tight end Mo-Allie Cox and company round out the group. Favoring the Colts is the 271+ passing yards they average on the road thus far, which is over 50 yards more than at home. This Colts Defense is one of the best in the league and will present a much stronger challenge for Cleveland than Dallas did a week ago. They boast the best pass defense and fourth best run defense, in terms of yards allowed per game.

The Browns are 3-1 and no one knows whether to believe it because it feels like we’ve been getting hyped up about the Browns for the better part of the last two seasons. Baker Mayfield hasn’t been asked to do too much, since the Browns lead the league with around 204 rushing ypg. That’s likely the cause for their success, but now that Nick Chubb (knee) is on the IR, we’ll see if Kareem Hunt can handle being the lead back. Receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. came alive last week, but it’s almost too much to count on it to happen again, especially facing a tough defense. The Browns Defense is no slouch either, hosting the most feared pass rusher in the league in Myles Garrett. The defensive end has willed the unit to be ranked top 5 in the NFL in run defense, and that will likely have to continue since the pass defense is one of the league’s worst so far.

The mood is too high on the Browns after last week’s win over the Cowboys. Without Chubb, Cleveland might look for Mayfield to pass more which could spell trouble. Indy is still flying under the radar because of a relatively light schedule so far, but this defense is legit. Cleveland might have better offensive talent overall, but Indy takes the cake on offensive line and defense which will be two crucial aspects of this game.

Pick: Colts -1 (-110, Draftkings) 1 Unit



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Thursday Night Football Prop Picks for Monkey Knife Fight: Bears vs Buccaneers

The NFL season is back, and we cannot waste our opportunity to make some cash. We’ve seen crazy upsets so far, and we’ve seen a lot of money won. Tonight, we have another shot with the Chicago Bears hosting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

On MKF, there are no massive tournaments where you have to get ridiculously lucky just to cash. You're just playing against the house, and the dudes at MKF have fallen all over themselves to give you really attractive opportunities to make some money.

As always, there are some solid props we can look to take advantage of.

 

Bears vs Buccaneers: More or Less Contest

With a total score of around 44.5 points, Las Vegas thinks this won’t be a high-scoring game, and I tend to agree. The Bears’ defense has the pieces to slow down this Tampa Bay offense, especially in the secondary. In addition to that, the Buccaneers will be without Chris Godwin (hamstring) and LeSean McCoy (ankle), and their other pass catchers are all dealing with injuries right now as well. I think it’s a low-scoring game, and we see these two teams just slog it out all night. 

Unless Tampa gets up big and the Bears are forced to throw, I think this under is pretty easy. Foles struggled against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 4, and he didn’t start moving the ball until late in the game when the Colts were playing prevent defense. This Buccaneers’ defense is playing really good ball right now, and, with limited receiving weapons, I don’t have confidence in Foles’ ability to move the ball with ease.

Play the More or Less Contest Now on Monkey Knife Fight

 

Bears vs Buccaneers: More or Less Contest

  • Allen Robinson OVER 5.5 receptions
  • Ronald Jones OVER 69.5 rushing yards

In the last two games, Robinson has been feasting for the Bears. He’s caught 17 balls for 224 yards and two touchdowns. He’s been the most reliable producer on this offense, and Foles was looking his way constantly as he had a nearly 25 percent target share. The Buccaneers don’t have the secondary to slow him down, so I think he clears this mark with ease.

On the other side, we’re taking the over for Jones for a couple of reasons. One is that running back Leonard Fournette (ankle) is doubtful to play with an injury. The second is Jones figures to get a stable number of touches in the running game that, even if he’s inefficient, he should be able to clear this number. His offensive line has also been playing really well to this point in the season, and I think that can continue.

Play the More or Less Contest on Monkey Knife Fight

 

Bears vs Buccaneers: More or Less Contest

  • Tom Brady UNDER 265.5 passing yards
  • Nick Foles UNDER 248.5 passing yards
  • Allen Robinson OVER 5.5 receptions

I’ve already covered everything in this category, but I’m just doubling down on the confidence I have here. I think the Buccaneers win this game in an ugly fashion. I think the over/under of 44.5 is too high, and we’re going to see them have to grind out this win. The Bears held the high-flying Atlanta Falcons to just 238 yards through the air. I don’t think Brady and the Bucs top this mark. 

I will die on the hill that Foles was not a massive upgrade over Trubisky, and the benching of him made no sense at the time it occurred. Foles last week struggled to move the ball against the Colts, and he only had three points until late in the fourth quarter. The Buccaneers have been playing strong defense to start the year, and I think they can slow down Chicago tonight.

Robinson might be the safest bet in this game. When the Bears move the ball through the air, it’s through Robinson. He’s had 23 targets in the last two games, and, when they were moving the ball late last week, they were force-feeding him touches. They may not get him 10 targets, but I think he’ll still have a good amount of them. I love him again in this group.

Play the More or Less Contest on Monkey Knife Fight

 

Bears vs Buccaneers: Rapid Fire Contest

  • Tom Brady more passing yards than Nick Foles & Ronald Jones more rushing yards than David Montgomery

The Brady one is a reasonable one to have confidence in due to how the offense has looked thus far. Other than garbage-time throwing, the Bears just haven’t moved the ball well. Brady and the Bucs should be able to outpace Foles. Jones has to outdo Montgomery in a pretty big way for it to happen, but it’s not that outlandish for it to occur. The Bears are struggling to run the football, and the Bucs are playing great defense up front. I’ll take Jones here.

Play the Rapid Fire Contest on Monkey Knife Fight



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NFL Survivor Pool Picks (Week 4) - Targets and Avoids

Another great week of football that saw comebacks, blowouts and even a tie. And now we're dealing with the first COVID outbreak in the NFL. Hopefully everyone is healthy and if any games get postponed, they will be played.

Favorites went 9-6-1 straight up in Week 3 and 9-7 against the spread. My best bets went 1-2 against the spread, survivor plays went 3-1 and avoids went 2-1 with the Bengals and Lions coming through. The Colts were the big play in survivor pools last week and they easily took care of business. The Chargers and Cardinals losing, and the Eagles tying, knocked out more than 30 percent of remaining entrants.

This week we have another full slate kicking off with the Broncos and Jets Thursday night.

 

Survivor League Week 4

Teams favored by a touchdown or more in Week 4 per The Action Network (home team in caps); Ravens -13 @ WASHINGTON, RAMS -13 vs. Giants, BUCS -7.5 vs. Chargers, PACKERS -7.5 vs. Falcons, CHIEFS -7 vs. Patriots, 49ERS -7 vs. Eagles, Seahawks -6.5 @ DOLPHINS

If you're reading this article on Thursday or later, these lines are from Tuesday. Check the current spreads and see how the line moved.

I also give out my three top plays against the spread. That can be found at the bottom of the column.

 

Top Survivor Picks for Week 4

Ravens -13.5 @ Washington

The Ravens were exposed by the best team in football. The Chiefs were able to stop the run and dare Lamar Jackson to try and throw to beat them, which he couldn't do. But the Ravens beat up on non-elite teams. Washington is a nice team with a good front-seven, but they won't be able to match the Ravens scoring output. I also love backing a team that's off a big loss on national television.

Ravens 38 - Washington 14

 

RAMS -13 vs. Giants

The Rams are off a really tough loss where they came back from a 28-3 deficit, to take a 32-28 lead and then were hosed on a defensive penalty on 4th-down when the ball was uncatchable. The Rams offense has been very good ranking third in yards per play. The Giants are 27th. The biggest edge though is the Rams will be able to sustain long drives; they rank first in third-down conversions and the Giants are dead last in opponent third-down conversions.

The Giants have no big-play capability. They have eight plays of 20 yards or more, bottom half in the league, while the Rams are third in the league with 17. The Giants can not throw 5-yard passes and think they'll win.

Rams 31 - Giants 13

 

PACKERS -7.5 vs. Falcons

How does a team recover from not one, but two straight losses after being up by 16 and 17 points late in the fourth quarter. Now they have to play the Packers on Monday night football with the 31st ranked pass defense. The Packers meanwhile rank sixth in passing yards per game. Aaron Rodgers is an MVP frontrunner through three games, and will be salivating over this matchup.

Packers 38 - Falcons 24

 

Top Survivor Picks to Avoid 

CHIEFS -7.5 vs. Patriots

The way to beat Kansas City is to run the ball, go on long drives, and score touchdowns when in the red zone. New England is first in rushing yards per game, seventh in time of possession, and 18th in the red zone. The Patriots have the system to beat the Chiefs, but their defense will have to get off the field on third down. The Chiefs are first in converting on third down and the Patriots are seventh defensively. That will be the key to this game.

Chiefs 24 - Patriots 23

 

BUCS -7.5 vs. Chargers

It's really interesting to see the Chargers rank higher in yards per play than the Bucs. You'd think the Bucs would be a lot higher based on the fact they're averaging 27 points per game and the Chargers are averaging 17. Tampa's defense is second in opponent yards per play and should be able to hold the Chargers in check.

Tom Brady does not do well against a fierce pass rush and the Chargers Defense had that but are without pass-rusher Melvin Ingram. Still, 7.5 is too much.

Bucs 20 - Chargers 17

 

Seahawks -6.5 @ DOLPHINS

What makes me nervous about taking Seattle is that they're allowing 430 passing yards per game, last in the NFL, 80 yards more than the next team. They're also 29th in getting off the field on third down and 31st in opponent yards per play. I have no doubt Russell Wilson will have this offense humming along but their defense will keep the Dolphins in this game with a good chance to pull off the upset.

Dolphins 27 - Seahawks 24

 

Best Bets for Week 4

  • Lions +4.5 vs. Saints - Drew Brees is really struggling to throw the ball down the field. The Lions finally have a two-dimensional offense and should be able to move the ball to cover this line.
  • Browns +4.5 @ Cowboys - Dallas's defense has looked awful. Cleveland should be able to run and open up the passing game.
  • Patriots +7.5 @ Chiefs - Notes above.

 

Running Totals

  • Last week: 1-2
  • 2020 season total: 4-6
  • 2019 season total: 23-26-2


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Chef's Special - NFL Best Bets for Week 4

All other Premium Tools can be accessed on the premium dashboard. Drew's article is available for free to all readers as a special this week. 

"Hard work pays off.....sometimes!"  A quote that I love to bring up when people say that hard work pays off.  Well, right now, hard work is paying off as I am currently on the hottest NFL run with a 22-4 record over Weeks 2 and 3 of the season. Even I did not envision this sort of run when RotoBaller reached out to me wanting to increase betting content.

Varsity Blues brings us into Week 4, and I wanted to go with the whipped cream scene for the cover photo, but I figured that would no sit well with the powers that be at RB.  If you have not seen it, basically the cheerleader girlfriend tries to jump ship and get with the backup QB and main character, Mox (James Van Der Beek), after star QB, Lance Harbor (Paul Walker) gets injured.

Before getting too far into the post, please refer to this post as an introductory piece before continuing.

 

Introduction to Chef's Special Betting Picks

***Read only if it is your first week here***

This week I will layout a little more information than usual since it is Week 1.  Last year I handicapped the entire season and had a solid year finishing up 20+ units.  If you are new or unfamiliar with the terminology, I will explain (also use Google if you need it).

In a nutshell, it is a way to measure the size of a bet for players of all bankroll sizes.  For example, @Uncle_Leo may have a standard bet size of $10, @GarageGuyChase may have a standard bet size of $25, and @ThunderDanDFS may have a standard bet size of $50.

The weight of a unit would mean different financial gain for all of these players but tracks how well someone is doing betting as a sports bettor.  For all of you basic bois, let's use my results from last year as an example - see below:

  • NFL Best Bets (+22.5u) 64-54 Total Bets [7-2 on 4&5U plays]
  • Mr. Uncle Leo would be the following:  22.5U x $10 = $225 in the green on the season
  • Mr. Garage Guy would be the following:  22.5U x $25 = $562.50 in the green on the season
  • Mr. Danny Boi would be the following:  22.5U x $50 = $1125 in the green on the season.

So, let's discuss the trend.  Everyone finished in the green.  However, Mr. Danny Boi being up 22.5U means something much more financially positive than Mr. Uncle Leo. With that being said, I performed equally for all parties.

 

Drew Deen's (@ChefBoiRDeen) Week 4 Betting Card

Here, I will post my Week 4 picks.  Staying consistent with your unit size is crucial.  Without it, it will seem as if I am doing better or worse than I actually am because some wins/losses will be weighted differently than the others.

2019 NFL Best Bets (+22.5u) 64-54 Total [7-2 on 4&5U plays]

2020 NFL Best Bets (+19.8u) 24-11 Total [1-0 on 4&5U plays]

  • 0-1.5U Risk Record:  14-9
  • 1.51U - 3.99U Risk Record:  9-2
  • 4-5U Risk Record:  1-0

Releasing this post earlier this week because of a Thursday night official play.

  • Lions +3 vs Saints - Risk 1.1U to win 1 - I played this early in this week at 4.5 for more than 1U but since it wasn't posted, it will be scored from +3.
  • Cardinals -3 vs Panthers - Risk 1.1U to win 1 - I predicted the Cardinals let down a spot last week, but hoping to see them get back on track against a Carolina team with Bridgewater starting to look more comfortable.
  • Bengals ML vs Jaguars - Risk 2U to win 1.5U
  • Seahawks/Dolphins Over 54 - Risk 1.1U to win 1U
  • Bears +3 vs Colts - Risk 1.8U to win 1.5U - This is another line I played early in the week at 3.5 but will score it from 3.
  • Bills -2.5 vs Raiders - Risk 1.9U to win 1.5U (Don't mind ML here if you want to pay the juice)
  • Bills/Raiders Under 53 - Risk 1.1U to win 1U
  • Bucs/Seahawks ML Parlay - Risk 1.8U to win 1.5U
  • Bucs/Lions Teaser  (Bucs Pick, Lions +10) - Risk 1.3U to win 1U
  • Seahawks/Bills ML Parlay - Risk 1u to win 1.3U
  • Texans ML vs Vikings - Risk 2.55U to win 1.5U

Chef's Yolo Parlay:  Lions +3, Bears +3, Bucs ML, Seahawks ML, Bills ML - Risk 0.5U to win 4.5U



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NFL Betting Picks For Week 4 (10/4/2020) - Moneylines, Totals, and Spreads

Woah baby did we have some sweats going on in Week 3, but we earned a sweep that will hopefully set the tone for the rest of the season. While this is without a doubt the most unprecedented season of my lifetime, the NFL will do everything they can to keep the train from derailing. So we’re going to treat this season as normal as possible and have some fun doing it!

  • Week 3: 3-0 (100%, +3.15u)
  • 2019 Season: 5-4 (55%, +1.25u)

(You can stop the intro here if you’ve read this article before). However, things are going to get interesting with the amount of injuries we're seeing around the league, but that will make capping more fun, I think? I'm not a professional but I love researching stats and finding value. My goal is to provide you with information that can help you make informed bets, whether you agree or disagree with me. I "bet to lose" one unit on almost every play but will definitely label it if I do differently.

I'm here to bring you my best bets and recommendations for Week 4 of the 2020 NFL season. I'll be here at RotoBaller all season long and you can find me on Twitter @RotoStevieJ. I am always down to chat and spend most of my days and nights browsing for information or news. You can also follow me on the Action app (@sgjanik6) where I'll post every pick I have for a day and week. With that, I hope you enjoy, best of luck, and please bet responsibly!

 

Baltimore Ravens (-13.5, -1000) at Washington Redskins

O/U: 45.5

The Ravens got embarrassed last Monday night, and while they have a short week to prepare, they luckily get to play one of the laughing stocks of the NFL, the Washington Football Team. Though the offense struggled to even move the ball, we know of the talent here. Lamar Jackson is responsible for over 700 yards of offense and five passing touchdowns. Mark Ingram II, Gus Edwards, and J.K. Dobbins are in as much of a timeshare as possible, with none of them registering more than 37% of snaps this season. Ingram's been the least effective of the trio, but he's gotten the most opportunities thus far. The passing game hasn't quite taken off, but Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews have received 47% of the team's targets, with Andrews hauling in two scores.

Washington's defense is led by a solid pass rush that has tallied 13 sacks through just three games. Of course Chase Young is the spotlight being the elite rookie but he’s now hurt. This shouldn’t be too big of an ask, as the unit generates pressure on 25% of dropbacks, good for Top 10 in the league. Unfortunately for them, they face the most mobile quarterback the NFL has seen since Mike Vick. They'll be able to generate pressure, but they'll need some extra game planning to be able to truly force Jackson to make mistakes through the air.

Baltimore averages around 18 ppg in the first half so far; however, the majority of their first-half success comes in the second quarter where they average 17 ppg. The Football Team are obviously terrible and their 18 ppg allowed in the first half is evidence of that. There is no way the Ravens should be projected to score just 15.5 points in the first half. Following their embarrassing performance Monday, they will be out to prove they're not frauds, and they will have no problems doing it at the expense of their neighbor.

Pick: Baltimore First Half Team Total Over 15.5 (+103, Draftkings 20% Profit Boost) 1 Unit

 

Jacksonville Jaguars at Cincinnati Bengals (-3, -157)

O/U: 49

The Jaguars caught some people off guard with their first two games, where they went 1-1. Then they got throttled by the Miami Dolphins a week ago. Look, Gardner Minshew is certainly entertaining, but when it comes to being an NFL caliber quarterback, I'm not sure he fits the bill. His backfield mate, James Robinson, has come onto the scene, rushing for 210 yards and three scores, which has aided Minshew in the passing game. In their one road game, the Jags gained 480 yards of offense in a tough loss to the Titans. D.J. Chark (chest/back) could return this week, and he certainly make their offense better, but Keelan Cole and Laviska Shenault Jr. aren't slouches and give Minshew a solid duo if Chark does miss again.

We've gotten a good glimpse of what Joe Burrow can bring to the NFL, and so far so good. It's unfortunate his offensive line and defense aren't up to snuff to give him a shot at making an impact as a rookie. The LSU product has been sacked 13 times in three games but has still managed to throw for 821 yards with a 5/1 TD/Int. Those same offensive line struggles have affected their run game with Joe Mixon who's averaged 3.2 ypa (yards per attempt) and no touchdowns. Needless to say, it's obvious tht any chance this offense has will come through the air.

Both defenses give up between 5.5-6 yards per play and around 13 yards per completion in their respective situation (home or away). Both defenses have some major players banged up, which makes them even more porous. Keep in mind this total opened at 44.5 and jumped up to 49, so they public is on this heavy. That might push some towards the under, but with how bad these defenses are, and the chance that Chark plays for the Jags, I see points being aplenty here. I also lean Jacksonville and the points here.

Pick: Over 49 (+109, Draftkings 20% Profit Boost) 1 Unit

 

New York Giants at Los Angeles Rams (-12.5, -640)

O/U: 48

The Giants are an absolute mess, especially without Saquon Barkley. Many think Daniel Jones could be a solid NFL quarterback, and they're probably right, but he can't save this team. The Giants ranked 27th or worst in every major offensive category, including the league's worst rushing attack with just 170 yards through three games. Devonta Freeman was brought in to "shore up" their run game, but that likely will never happen due to the wear on his legs. They do host a solid receiving corps but facing a tough Rams secondary could cause problems for this offense. Defensively, the Giants have been better on the road than at home, but that's just on a one-game sample. By DVOA, they have the 8th ranked run defense, but the 30th pass defense.

Sean McVay has a plethora of weapons to use on offense, and use them he does. The Rams have averaged 450 ypg so far, including 170 ypg on the ground. However, expect the Rams to attack the Giants secondary this week, using Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, but also the streaky Tyler Higbee. Defensively, all you really need to speak about is Aaron Donald. He's matchup proof virtually every week, and his constant pressure will create opportunities for the Rams secondary that allows an average of just 10.1 yards per completion.

The Giants got throttled a week ago by a decimated 49ers group. The Rams are in much better shape and clicking on all cylinders offensively. I'd lean the full game spread, but I think the Rams get ahead early and often before pulling back a little in the second half, so I'm taking the Rams first half.

Pick: Rams -6.5 First Half (-110, Draftkings 20% Profit Boost) 1 Unit



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Thursday Night Football Prop Picks for Monkey Knife Fight: Jets vs Broncos

The NFL season is back, and we cannot waste our opportunity to make some cash. We’ve seen crazy upsets so far, and we’ve seen a lot of money won. Tonight, we have another shot with the New York Jets playing host to the Denver Broncos.

On MKF, there are no massive tournaments where you have to get ridiculously lucky just to cash. You're just playing against the house, and the dudes at MKF have fallen all over themselves to give you really attractive opportunities to make some money.

As always, there are some solid props we can look to take advantage of.

 

Denver Broncos @ New York Jets: More or Less Contest

This game is the classic Thursday game that we’ve all come to abhor. The Jets look like one of the worst teams in recent memory, and they draw a matchup with the broken and battered Broncos. Quarterback Sam Darnold is missing several receiving weapons, and his stud rookie tackle Mekhi Becton (shoulder) has a strong chance that he misses tonight’s game. Give me the under, and, if I miss, I’ll live.

If you have a friend that’s a Broncos’ fan, call them and ask them if they’re ok. After an offseason that saw them coming in with so much excitement, all of that hype has been thoroughly derailed. With numerous injuries to starters and a limited amount of practice time, you just can’t have faith in Rypien to hit the over here. This number is low, but I just have no faith in either quarterback here.

Play the More or Less Contest Now on Monkey Knife Fight

 

Denver Broncos @ New York Jets: More or Less Contest

This one is pretty easy math for me. When Crowder has been healthy, he’s been the primary target of Darnold. Over the last two years, in the 14 games he’s played with Darnold, he’s averaged 5.5 receptions per game, and this receiving corps is just decimated with injuries right now. Darnold will have no choice but to throw the ball to Crowder all night to move the ball.

Similar to Crowder, I just think that Denver’s entire offense will be running through Gordon. Before the team’s Week 3 performance, Gordon had gone for 70 plus yards in each of the first two games. With Rypien under center, it’s unlikely that they’ll be letting him cut completely loose, and Gordon will probably see 20+ carries on the night. I think he clears 65.5.

Play the More or Less Contest on Monkey Knife Fight

 

Denver Broncos @ New York Jets: More or Less Contest

  • Sam Darnold UNDER 218.5 passing yards
  • Jerry Jeudy OVER 4.5 receptions
  • Melvin Gordon OVER 65.5 rushing yards
  • Jamison Crowder OVER 60.5 receiving yards

This Jets’ team is flat out bad. They’re awful. The offensive line was improved, but they’re dealing with a lot of injuries. The pass-catchers are all injured or underwhelming. Whatever promise that Darnold had when he entered the league has been spoiled in the last two years. I have no faith in his ability to hit even this small number.

I love getting Jeudy at this number. Jeudy has caught at least four balls in all three games this season, and he’s seen at least seven targets in all three games. His issue is not with getting open. He just needs to focus on his concentration drops. I think Rypien will be very conservative in this game, and Jeudy will be a primary beneficiary of that. 

I mentioned before where I fall on this one. Denver wants to run the ball and play defense under Vic Fangio. Gordon is the perfect type of back to do that. Tonight, I think he has an opportunity to clear this mark with ease. He won’t be the most efficient player, but the sheer volume that he’s going to get will push him over this number.

Crowder has never been a big yardage guy. In Week 1 of last season, he had 14 catches for 99 yards. He’s dealt with an injury the last couple of weeks, but, now that he’s back, he’s the team’s number one option. 60.5 isn’t an overwhelming mark, but I think he can hit against this Denver defense that has their own slew of injuries. 

Play the More or Less Contest on Monkey Knife Fight

 

Denver Broncos @ New York Jets: Rapid Fire Contest

  • Sam Darnold more passing yards than Brett Rypien & Jerry Jeudy +1.5 more receptions than Jamison Crowder

This one we’re getting a little weird. I’m comfortable with Darnold with leading in passing yards, but it’s the second category that we have to get a little frisky. Crowder is the 1.5 reception favorite in this category. Crowder can finish with 10 catches and lose if Jeudy gets to nine. I think Jeudy accomplishes that. I’ll take Darnold and Jeudy to cover on this one.

Play the Rapid Fire Contest on Monkey Knife Fight



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NFL Survivor Pool Picks (Week 3) - Targets and Avoids

Week 2 saw another great day of action, but some teams will begin looking very different after devastating injuries across the league. Saquon Barkley, Nick Bosa, Courtland Sutton, are all out for the season with torn ACLs. Malik Hooker is done with a torn Achilles. Christian McCaffrey and Drew Lock will miss some time. Jimmy Garoppolo too. It's tough to fathom how anyone could replace Barkley, Bosa, and Sutton but I'm reminded of the famous football saying, 'next man up.'

My best bets against the spread went 1-2 but my survivor picks went 6-0 straight up. Nothing to brag about when favorites went 14-2 straight up (Rams and Raiders were sole outright underdogs winners.) Underdogs though went 9-7 against the spread. With Week 2 seeing nearly all the favorites win, it can only mean one thing for the coming weeks; beware, survivor doomsday is nearing.

This week we have another full slate kicking off with the Jaguars and Dolphins Thursday night.

 

Survivor League Week 3

Teams favored by a touchdown or more in Week 3 per The Action Network (home team in caps); COLTS -10.5 vs. Jets, PATRIOTS -6 vs. Raiders, EAGLES -6.5 vs. Bengals, BROWNS -7 vs. Washington, CHARGERS -7 vs. Panthers, CARDINALS -6.5 vs. Lions, BUCS -6 @ Broncos.

If you're reading this article on Thursday or later, these lines are from Tuesday. Check the current spreads and see how the line moved.

I'm going to be giving out my three top plays against the spread. That can be found at the bottom of the column.

 

Top Survivor Picks for Week 3

COLTS -10.5 vs. Jets

The Jets may be the worst team in the NFL. The offense ranks bottom five in many statistics like yards per play, rushing yards per game, and rushing yards per game. They have no playmakers. Sam Darnold looks like he's taken a step backward. The team looks lost. They'll have real trouble moving the ball Sunday against a Colts Defense that's first in the league in opponent yards per game with 208. The Colts offense is averaging 5.9 yards per play which ranks in the top half of the league.

Colts 27 - Jets 14

PATRIOTS -6 vs. Raiders

Vegas is off a huge win to open their new stadium. They gave a 110% percent going all out in a physical game against the Saints. I'm not sure if that will take a toll on a team traveling east for an early 1 p.m. game.

I loved the Steelers last week because the Broncos played in the second Monday night game and then had to travel east. The Raiders are in the same situation. Records for West Coast teams from 2003 to 2018 were 80-133 (37.6%) straight up, a 37.6% win percentage. Jon Gruden is very good at scripting plays early on, but so is Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels.

Patriots 24 - Raiders 16

Bucs -6 @ BRONCOS

This game is more about the injuries to Denver. They're without Drew Lock, Courtland Sutton, and Von Miller. Bradley Chubb has looked nonexistent in two games with only three tackles, one for a loss, and one quarterback hit. The way to beat Tom Brady is to pressure him and they won't be able to do that. Plus their offense is going to struggle to score without its top playmaker.

Bucs 28 - Broncos 16

CHARGERS -7 vs. Panthers

The Chargers gave one valiant effort against the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs. As of this writing, it's unclear if Tyrod Taylor or Justin Herbert will start. Herbert looked a lot better but this game won't be about the Chargers offense. Their defense is one of the league's best and the Panthers have no offensive firepower with the absence of Christian McCaffrey.

Chargers 24 - Panthers 13

 

Top Survivor Picks to Avoid 

EAGLES -6.5 vs. Bengals

Philly has played one good half of football so far. Carson Wentz is unpredictable. How could he throw an interception into double coverage in the end zone against the Rams. The Eagles Defense has good statistical numbers but when you watch them, they don't look so good. They've given up 27 and 37 points. Joe Burrow and the Bengals will come in with nothing to lose and play fearless. They've had an extra few days to prepare for this one too.

Eagles 23 - Bengals 21

BROWNS -7 vs. Washington

This game will come down to Washington's front seven against the Brown's offensive line. Cleveland has allowed two sacks while Washington has 11 sacks. Baker Mayfield is really bad under pressure and if they can't get their running game going, it's going to be a big problem for the offense. Washington isn't going to score a lot but their defense can keep them in games if they can hold the opponent to around 17-20.

Washington 17 - Browns 16

CARDINALS -5.5 vs. Lions

The Cardinals look like the highest-octane offense in football through two games while the Lions look like the same hapless team. Detroit is going to give their all in all attempts not to fall to 0-3. It's hard to believe but they've held double-digit leads in both losses this year.

Lions 31 - Cardinals 27

 

Best Bets for Week 3

  • Patriots -6.5 vs. Raiders - Also really like Patriots first half in case Raiders come out sluggish with early 1 p.m. start.
  • Titans -2.5 @ Vikings - Minnesota looks like one of the bottom-five worst teams. I know it's only two games but their offense looks dreadful. Tennessee can play defense and score points.
  • Rams +2.5 @ Bills - Buffalo beat the Jets and Dolphins while the Rams beat the Cowboys and Eagles. Let's see how Buffalo plays against a team with an actual offense.

 

Running Totals

  • Last week: 3-3
  • 2020 season total: 1-2
  • 2019 season total: 23-26-2


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NFL Betting Picks For Week 3 (9/27/2020) - Moneylines, Totals, and Spreads

Week 2 brought along one of the worst, in terms of injuries, that we've seen in a long time. It didn't quite affect my picks, but Christian McCaffrey going down definitely made things hard for Carolina down the stretch. Green Bay almost hit the over themselves, so that was an easy cash. Then Sunday Night Football came along and gave us one of the most exciting offensive explosions we've seen in awhile. All-in-all, not a great week for us, but as usual, it's onto the next!

  • Week 2: 1-2 (33%, -.8u)
  • 2019 Season: 2-4 (33%, -1.9u)

Things are going to get interesting with the amount of injuries we're seeing around the league, but that will make capping more fun, I think? I'm not a professional but I love researching stats and finding value. My goal is to provide you with information that can help you make informed bets, whether you agree or disagree with me. I "bet to lose" one unit on almost every play but will definitely label it if I do differently.

I'm here to bring you my best bets and recommendations for Week 3 of the 2020 NFL season. I'll be here at Rotoballer all season long and you can find me on Twitter @RotoStevieJ. I am always down to chat and spend most of my days and nights browsing for information or news. You can also follow me on the Action app (@sgjanik6) where I'll post every pick I have for a day and week. With that, I hope you enjoy, best of luck, and please bet responsibly!

 

Houston Texans at Pittsburgh Steelers (-4, -205)

O/U: 45

Man do the Texans miss DeAndre Hopkins. David Johnson struggled against the Ravens a week ago and gets an even tougher matchup this week, but he'll need to start producing to makeup for the missing Nuk. Naturally, Deshaun Watson has felt extra pressure to make plays, and while he still has some weapons in Brandin Cooks and Will Fuller, no one can predict when they show up and when they don't. As an offense, they're middle of the pack with an average of 5.8 yards per play (ypp) but they've averaged just 18 ppg through the first two weeks and have struggled getting red zone opportunities so far. Defensively, they've allowed just under 400 ypg and given up 61 points to the Chiefs and Ravens, two great offenses. While the Steelers aren't at that level, they sure are talented.

Nature is healing when you have Ben Roethlisberger slinging the rock 41 times to nine different receivers. There were obvious questions about him coming into the season, and while they haven't been completely answered, we've seen an eagerness from the future Hall of Famer. His backfield mate James Conner is a bit of a wild card but when he's healthy and getting opportunities, he thrives in this offense, as evidenced by the 106 rushing yards and a score last week. The Steelers also have a potentially league-winning trio of receivers in JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, and Chase Claypool. The latter two are more trusted, but at any point one could take over a game. There's not much that needs to be said about the Pittsburgh defense, though they did get a little lackadaisical in the second half against the Broncos last week, this is not so arguably the best defense in the NFL.

If there were fans in the stands, the Steelers might be at -6. While I don't believe it will be quite that one sided, books have the Steelers at -2.5/3 in the first half and I like that spot as well. Coming down to the nitty gritty, the Steelers at home is a different animal, with or without fans and Roethlisberger will give his defense an early lead so they can put pressure on Watson and force him to make mistakes.

Pick: Pittsburgh -4 (+109, Draftkings 20% Profit Boost) 1 Unit

 

Tennessee Titans (-2.5, -141) at Minnesota Vikings

O/U: 49.5

The Titans were a sleeper team in the AFC Coming into 2020, and they've made good on that by starting 2-0. Ryan Tannehill has gotten off to a blazing start with six touchdowns and no interceptions through two games, while Derrick Henry has averaged 100 yards but has yet to find pay dirt. Top receiver A.J. Brown (knee) will miss his second-straight game which leaves unproven Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith as the leading receivers for an offense that averages only 239 passing yards to start the season. Defensively, the Titans are one of nine teams to allow an average of at least 400 yards per game to their opponents. A problematic stat early in the season is the four redzone trips that their opponents average.

Minnesota has been severely disappointing, leading to an 0-2 record. Sure they scored 34 Week 1, but they still lost by double digits. Kirk Cousins is having a real probelm throwing to anyone bu Adam Thielen, who's caught both of Cousins' touchdowns. Unsurprisingly, the Viking shave relied on Dalvin Cook to pace their offense, and his three scores show that, but just 113 yards through two games isn't going to get it done. On the defense, the Vikings have allowed 10 red zone trips through two games, so that's an obvious "room for improvement."

We're buying the hook here. Minnesota has the best ATS record at home since 2014 (when Mike Zimmer became head coach) at 33-17-1. Both of these offenses might struggle to move the ball, which leads me to believe it will be ket quite close, and at home I favor the Vikings.

Pick: Minnesota +3 (Draftkings) 1 Unit

 

New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts (-11.5, -560)

O/U: 44

It's hard to find nice things to say about the Jets. They've averaged just 15 ppg (only better than the Giants) and just 4.6 yards per play. Sam Darnold hasn't been awful but the only weapons he does have keep going away. Le'Veon Bell (hamstring) and Jamison Crowder (hamstring) are both out, leaving the eternal Frank Gore, Breshad Perriman, and Chris Herndon to make all the plays; not exactly a recipe for success. The Jets Defense has given up at least 27 points and over 350 yards per game, and granted it was against the Bills and 49ers, but flat out the Jets defense will be bad all season.

This is certainly a new look Colts offense with Phillip Rivers taking snaps. Things haven't been all sunshine and rainbows, as the offense lost two producers, but their fill-ins will be able to handle the workload. Johnathan Taylor has been impressive with 135 yards and a score on the ground, and while the passing game hasn't taken off yet, T.Y. Hilton is still in town with Parris Campbell and Mo Allie Cox expected to see increased workloads. Defensively, I expect the Colts to have their way with Adam Gase's offense. They've held the Jags and Vikings to under 250 yards of offense, and that was with giving up 27 points in a loss to Jacksonville. With seven sacks, they've been one of the best at getting to the quarterback, and that means errors made by Darnold.

I don't have confidence in the offense moving the ball consistently. Sure, they'll have their moments, but Indy has a sneaky good offense that can create opportunities with pressure. I also think the Colts will have their struggles on offense until Taylor gets more comfortable in the NFL. I'm looking for a low-scoring, easy win for the boys from Indianapolis.

Pick: Under 44 (Draftkings) 1 Unit



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Chef's Special - NFL Best Bets for Week 3

All other Premium Tools can be accessed on the premium dashboard. Drew's article is available for free to all readers as a special this week. 

Welcome back, RB fam.  The Remember the Titans theme treated us well last week with a 10-2 betting day.  This included a "W" on the first official big play of the season and a massive ML parlay "W" on the "Chef's Yolo Parlay."  This means we might have to cycle back to Remember the Titans at some point, but for now, we turn to the movie Friday Night Lights.  Do not worry, the TV show is coming at some point this season.

Before getting too far into the post, please refer to this post as an introductory piece before continuing.

 

Introduction to Chef's Special Betting Picks

***Read only if it is your first week here***

This week I will layout a little more information than usual since it is week 1.  Last year I handicapped the entire season and had a solid year finishing up 20+ units.  If you are new or unfamiliar with the terminology, I will explain (also use Google if you need it).

In a nutshell, it is a way to measure the size of a bet for players of all bankroll sizes.  For example, @Uncle_Leo may have a standard bet size of $10, @GarageGuyChase may have a standard bet size of $25, and @ThunderDanDFS may have a standard bet size of $50.

The weight of a unit would mean different financial gain for all of these players but tracks how well someone is doing betting as a sports bettor.  For all of you basic bois, let's use my results from last year as an example - see below:

  • NFL Best Bets (+22.5u) 64-54 Total Bets [7-2 on 4&5U plays]
  • Mr. Uncle Leo would be the following:  22.5U x $10 = $225 in the green on the season
  • Mr. Garage Guy would be the following:  22.5U x $25 = $562.50 in the green on the season
  • Mr. Danny Boi would be the following:  22.5U x $50 = $1125 in the green on the season.

So, let's discuss the trend.  Everyone finished in the green.  However, Mr. Danny Boi being up 22.5U means something much more financially positive than Mr. Uncle Leo. With that being said, I performed equally for all parties.

 

Drew Deen's (@ChefBoiRDeen) Week 3 Betting Card

Here, I will post my Week 3 picks.  Staying consistent with your unit size is crucial.  Without it, it will seem as if I am doing better or worse than I actually am because some wins/losses will be weighted differently than the others.

2019 NFL Best Bets (+22.5u) 64-54 Total [7-2 on 4&5U plays]

2020 NFL Best Bets (+7.25u) 12-9 Total [1-0 on 4&5U plays]

  • 0-1.5U Risk Record:  6-8
  • 1.51U - 3.99U Risk Record:  5-1
  • 4-5U Risk Record:  1-0

Releasing this post earlier this week because of a Thursday night official play.

  • Dolphins +3.5 vs Jaguars - Risk 2.6U to win 2U - Like many, I have been impressed thus far from what I have seen from Minshew and the Jags.  They were incredibly close to beating the Titans and moving to 2-0 on the season.  With that being said, I do have this game closer to Pick instead of -3, and actually think the Dolphins have a better roster.  Ultimately, the majority of betting this game will come down to each individual's stance on the two-game sample size.  Are the Jags playing over their head, or are they much better than most expected before the 2020 season started?  My stance is both, but much more the former as I indicated earlier having this line closer to Pick'em.  The Dolphins being 0-2 carries little to no value to me here, and if you asked me two weeks ago if I could get +3 with the Dolphins, I would gladly take it.  The crappy part is that I'm a lowkey Jags fan because of Mr. Minshew and James O'Shaunessy (one of my favorite all-time guests on GG - interview here).  I rarely recommend this, but I'm actually buying a half-point.  Many will tell you to never but points because mathematically and financially it is not ideal, but I occasionally do it in the NFL.
  • Eagles ML vs Bengals - Risk 1.9U to win 1U - PUSH
  • Bills ML vs Rams - Risk 2.4U to win 2U - WIN
  • Titans -2 vs Vikings - Risk 1.65U to win 1.5U - LOSS
  • 49ers -3 vs Giants - Risk 1.2U to win 1U - WIN
  • Falcons -2.5 vs Bears - Risk 1.2U to win 1U - LOSS
  • Panthers +7 vs Chargers - Risk 1.2U to win 1U - WIN
  • Steelers -4 vs Texans - Risk 1.1U to win 1U - WIN
  • Bucs/Steelers ML Parlay - Risk 1.75U to win 2U - WIN
  • Bucs/Seahawks ML Parlay - Risk 1U to win 1.2U - WIN
  • Eagles/Seahawks ML Parlay - Risk 1U to win 1.4U - Partial Win (Seahawks ML paid out)
  • Lions/Cardinals Under 56 - Risk 1.1U to win 1U - WIN
  • Sunday Night - Packers +4 vs Saints - Risk 1.9U to win 1.5U
  • Teaser 7 point - Packers/Chiefs - Risk 1.3u to win 1U

 

Chef's Yolo Parlay: Bucs, Seahawks, Steelers, Eagles ML Parlay - Risk 0.6U to win 2U

 



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TNF Prop Picks for Monkey Knife Fight: Jaguars vs Dolphins

The NFL season is back, and we cannot waste our opportunity to make some cash. We’ve seen crazy upsets so far, and we’ve seen a lot of money won. Tonight, we have another shot with the Jacksonville Jaguars playing host to the Miami Dolphins. 

On MKF, there are no massive tournaments where you have to get ridiculously lucky just to cash. You're just playing against the house, and the dudes at MKF have fallen all over themselves to give you really attractive opportunities to make some money.

As always, there are some solid props we can look to take advantage of.

 

Miami Dolphins @ Jacksonville Jaguars: More or Less Contest

  • Ryan Fitzpatrick OVER 268.5 passing yards
  • Gardner Minshew OVER 263.5 passing yards

This one is a bit of a toss-up, but I’m taking the over here. There are games when Fitzpatrick looks electric. However, the other games look just absolutely awful. This Jaguars’ team hasn’t been a complete pushover as everyone was expecting, and they’ve been able to keep games close. I think they’re able to do that again against a Dolphins’ unit that has failed to live up to some of the offseason hype they had. In a game that has some sneaky shootout potential, we’re going over here.

In 16 games of play, Minshew has gone over this mark just six times. I think he makes it seven tonight. The Dolphins’ defense hasn’t been as effective as they had hoped, and Byron Jones is out for this one. I think Jacksonville is able to throw the ball, and Gardner goes big again to try and keep pace with Miami.

Play the More or Less Contest Now on Monkey Knife Fight

 

Miami Dolphins @ Jacksonville Jaguars: More or Less Contest

This one is pretty easy math for me. If I’m taking the over on Fitzpatrick, Parker is going to be a key part of that. Parker has the ability to catch balls down the field with ease thanks to his size. The Jaguars lost a lot of talent at corner over the last year, and rookie C.J. Henderson doesn’t have the size to match up on those jump balls. He hits the over here.

I love Robinson for this week. The Dolphins’ have been gashed on the ground in the first two weeks of the season. Robinson is going to keep that rolling in Week 3. He’s run well, and he has a solid offensive line in front of him. As long as the Jags are able to keep this one close, Robinson will have a steady role all game long.

Play the More or Less Contest on Monkey Knife Fight

 

Miami Dolphins @ Jacksonville Jaguars: More or Less Contest

  • Ryan Fitzpatrick OVER 268.5 passing yards
  • D.J. Chark UNDER 4.5 receptions
  • DeVante Parker OVER 60.5 receiving yards
  • James Robinson OVER 69.5 rushing yards

I’ve already given you my analysis here, but, just to reiterate, I’m expecting Miami to have to throw in this game. Their running game has been scattered and confusing. Fitzpatrick remains polarizing and inconsistent, but he can still chuck the ball all over the field. He hits the over here.

This is the only pick in this category that I haven’t covered yet. I love Chark, but he’s not performing up to expectations thus far. He has caught less than five balls in each game thus far, and it’s not going to get better against Xavien Howard. Additionally, he’s dealing with a chest injury, and we can see him bow out of the game at any time as a result. Take the under here. 

As I said previously, Parker going over hinges on the success of Fitzpatrick. He’s the team’s leading receiving option, and it just takes him one jump ball along with his regular work to hit this mark. Assuming he gets force-fed by Fitz early in the game, he could clear this mark before the first half is over.

Robinson will hit this mark as long as Jacksonville isn’t down by a huge amount early in the game. Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden has tried to keep this team balanced between the run and pass, and Robinson’s effectiveness has allowed them to do just that. Against a Dolphins’ defense that has struggled to stop running backs, fire him up with some confidence.

UPDATE: D.J. Chark has been scratched and will not play on Thursday night.

Play the More or Less Contest on Monkey Knife Fight

 

Miami Dolphins @ Jacksonville Jaguars: Rapid Fire Contest

  • Ryan Fitzpatrick MORE passing yards than Gardner Minshew & DeVante Parker MORE receptions than D.J. Chark

We have to go 2/2 on this one, and I think we should have no problem with that. Fitzpatrick is going to have to throw more because this Dolphins’ running game just can’t get rolling. Additionally, if tight end Mike Gesicki can keep rolling, that instantly elevates the ceiling of Fitz. At receiver, I just think Parker is going to have more opportunities to catch the football. Fitz is going to feed him as much as he can, and Chark’s injury doesn’t help his cause. Throw in other options like Keelan Cole and Tyler Eifert, there is a clear path here, and he has the bonus 0.5 receptions to help him out.

Play the Rapid Fire Contest on Monkey Knife Fight



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NFL Survivor Pool Picks (Week 2) - Targets and Avoids

A full Sunday slate of football, watching the Red Zone channel, and not having to change the channel finally felt like a return to normalcy. What felt even more normal was Phillip Rivers throwing a late-game interception, the Lions losing in heartbreaking fashion, the Broncos losing yet another close one, and Baker Mayfield looking lost.

My best bets against the spread went 2-1 but my survivor picks went 1-2 (Colts lost to Titans, Lions lost to Bears, and Steelers beat Giants). The Colts held a 7-0 lead with the ball in the red zone late in the first. They proceeded to have fourth-and-one from the three when Nyheim Hines got stuffed. Right then and there, Colts backer knew we were in trouble. I even in-gamed Indy -13.5 in the red zone so that was a loser right there. As for the Lions, this is the second year in a row where the Lions held a lead of 17 points or more in the fourth quarter to then blow it (they tied the Cardinals last year.) Then for D'Andre Swift to drop the ball was nauseating. Even more sickening, I have Detroit to win division, make playoffs, and over their win total.

The Colts losing knocked 25 percent of survivor entrants out of my pool. The Eagles knocked out anther nine. Favorites went 7-6-1 against the spread, 9-5 straight up with underdogs winning five games outright. Two games were pick 'em. This week we have another full slate kicking off with the Bengals and Browns Thursday night.

 

Survivor League Week 2

Teams favored by seven or more in Week 2 per The Action Network (home team in caps); TITANS -9.5 vs. Jaguars, BUCS -9 vs. Panthers, 49ers -7 @ JETS, CHIEFS -8.5 @ Chargers. There are several games where the line is around six.

If you're reading this article on Thursday or later, these lines are from Tuesday. Check the current spreads and see how the line moved.

I'm going to be giving out my three top plays against the spread. That can be found at the bottom of the column.

 

Top Survivor Picks for Week 2

49ers -7 @ JETS

I'm usually hesitant about taking west coast teams traveling east for a 1 PM ET game. Records for West Coast teams from 2003 to 2018 were 80-133 (37.6%) straight up, a 37.6% win percentage. But this is more how about how putrid the Jets are than the Niners having to travel east. As a Jets fan, I couldn't even watch their game against the Bills. This was the Jets drive summary in the first half Sunday.

Just embarrassing. The 49ers, like the Bills, will jump all over the Jets early. The 49ers Defense seemingly struggles with mobile quarterbacks, but Sam Darnold is not a dual-threat. The Jets Defense looked awful and the Niners have more weapons than the Bills do.

49ers 24 - Jets 13

 

STEELERS -6 vs. Broncos

As I ignore the trend of a west coast team coming east, I now veer to it. But this one I like more because Denver played in the last game of the week, the 10 p.m. Monday game and then have to travel to Pittsburgh for an early 1 p.m. start Sunday. Pittsburgh also played Monday night but it was the early game and it was in New Jersey, not that far from Pittsburgh.

The Steelers Defense, as expected, stifled Daniel Jones and the Giants offense. The Steelers offense picked it up as the game went along. Meanwhile the Broncos looked just how they did last season. Good defense, an offense that doesn't take too many chances, and then losing with less than 30 seconds left. Drew Lock did not face too many good defenses last season, but Pittsburgh has one of the best.

Steelers 27 - Broncos 14

 

Chiefs -8.5 @ Chargers

Having no fans this year is actually beneficial to the Chargers because the opposing teams fans can't take over the stadium. Anyway, this is simple; the Chargers offense won't be able to keep pace with Kansas City's. Tyrod Taylor is a solid quarterback but you need around 30 points to beat the Chiefs. Since Taylor became a starting quarterback in 2015 for Buffalo, and several games with Cleveland, he's started 47 games with their team scoring 30+ points 12 times.

Chiefs 35 - Chargers 17

 

TITANS -9 vs. Jaguars

One week is not going to change my perspective on the Jaguars season outlook. I wasn't the biggest fan of Tennessee's to begin with, but they got the win Monday night and that's what matters. They have a lot more talent than the Jaguars and are better coached. This line is too high though.

Titans 24 - Jaguars 17

 

CARDINALS -6.5 vs. Washington

This feels like letdown game written all over it for Arizona. They're off a huge win against the Super Bowl runner-up. Washington is also off a great come-from-behind win where they scored the final 27 points winning 27-17. The Football Team looks like a vintage Ron Rivera team; run the ball, play good defense, and be extremely physical. But the Cardinals just have one too many weapons with DeAndre Hopkins, Larry Fitzgerald, Kenyan Drake, and then Kyler Murray's running ability too.

Cardinals 28 - Washington 19

 

BEARS -6 vs. Giants

Taking the Bears gives me the jitters, but their defense should be able to do enough to keep the Giants under 17 points. If Mitchell Trubisky can get this offense to score more than 20, they should win.

Bears 21 - Giants 16

 

Top Survivor Picks to Avoid 

BUCS -8 vs. Panthers

I'm not sure what warrants this line being eight. The Panthers were moving the ball Sunday. Teddy Bridgewater went 22-34 for 270 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions. Christian McCaffrey was his usual self running for 96 yards and two touchdowns. They scored 30 points narrowly losing to the Raiders.

The Bucs did not look in sync and need more time to gel. After they scored the first touchdown Sunday, the Saints outscored them 34-16. You're paying a Tom Brady premium here if you bet Tampa.

Panthers 31 - Bucs 30

BROWNS -6 vs. Bengals

I'm not sure how this line isn't three. Just from Week 1, these teams looked very even. I'd highly advise not put tingyour survivor pool life into the hands of Baker Mayfield.

Bengals 16 - Browns 14

 

Best Bets for Week 2

  • Steelers -6.5 vs.  Broncos - As discussed above, I love the angle of Denver having to travel East after a late Monday night game that ended in a crushing loss.
  • 49ers -7 @ Jets - San Fran has too much talent for the Jets.
  • Panthers +9 @ Bucs - Just way way way too many points for a solid Carolina team.

 

Running Totals

  • Last week: 2-1
  • 2019 season total: 23-26-2


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NFL Betting Picks For Week 2 (9/20/2020) - Moneylines, Totals, and Spreads

Man what an odd first week of the season. Arizona not only covered the seven points, but beat the NFC Champions outright on their home field. Carolina had some mishaps offensively and weren't able to contain Josh Jacobs, losing by four points, just missing the cover. Meanwhile, the Cowboys and the Rams couldn't do anything offensively in the second half of Sunday Night Football, dooming any chance at an over.

  • Week 1: 1-2 (33%, -1.1u)
  • 2019 Season: 1-2 (33%, -1.1u)

Sure, it's going to take a few weeks to truly grasp how every team will square off, but I'm feeling confident after Week 1. I'm not a professional but I love researching stats and finding value. My goal is to provide you with information that can help you make informed bets, whether you agree or disagree with me. I "bet to lose" one unit on almost every play but will definitely label it if I do differently.

I'm here to bring you my best bets and recommendations for Week 2 of the 2020 NFL season. I'll be here at Rotoballer all season long and you can find me on Twitter @RotoStevieJ. I am always down to chat and spend most of my days and nights browsing for information or news. You can also follow me on the Action app (@sgjanik6) where I'll post every pick I have for a day and week. With that, I hope you enjoy, best of luck, and bet responsibly!

 

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-9.5, -420)

O/U: 48.5

The Panthers were one of 10 teams to average six yards or more per play (ypp) in Week 1, but overall inconsistency was attributed to their loss to the Raiders. They still dropped 30 with a new coach, system, and quarterback, all while supporting 96 rushing yards and two scores from Christian McCaffrey. Defensively, they had their struggles as well, allowing Vegas to churn out 372 yards, or 6.1 ypp. Their secondary was already banged up and now they might be without starter Donte Jackson in Week 2, so they'll have their hands full guarding the Bucs' receiving corps.

Tampa Bay got their first look at the aging Tom Brady against the Saints in Week 1. No, the GOAT didn't look like the player we've come to know, but you should've had tempered expectations anyway. He threw a pair of touchdowns and interceptions, and oddly enough only looked Mike Evans' way four times, which Bruce Arians wants to change. The run game will continue to be tough to predict, but Ronald Jones II looked much better than Fournette did in Week 1. Defensively, the Bucs had the best run defense and the third worst pass defense in terms of yards allowed per game in 2019. They held CMC to just 68 rushing yards and a score with six catches for 42 yards and a score in two games last year.

It's going to take some time for Bridgewater to develop a true chemistry with his receivers, yet Vegas is still favoring Brady big here, despite him having to make the same transition. Now Chris Godwin (concussion protocol) could potentially be out Sunday. I'm respecting Bridgewater's ability to go toe-to-toe with the GOAT in this matchup. I might even sprinkle a small ML bet on the Panthers.

Pick: Carolina +9.5 (FYI, I got this at +10 using Draftkings 25% Profit Boost for Week 2) 1 Unit

 

Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (-6, -245)

O/U: 49.5

The Lions could be 1-0 had they held a 23-6 lead and if their first-round pick, Deandre Swift, hadn't flat out dropped the game-winning touchdown with two seconds left on the clock. Kenny Gollday (hamstring) didn't play which obviously affected the offense, but Matthew Stafford still threw the ball 42 times, completing 24 for 297 yards and just one touchdown. Regardless of if Golladay misses another contest, expect Satfford to sling at least another 35 times. Adrian Peterson seems to have walked right in and taken Kerryon Johnson's job, but this rushing attack is still incredibly volatile. Their defense is in trouble yet again, this time due to injury as seven players are on IR on that side of the ball. The Lions housed the worst pass defense in the NFL in 2019 and that could be the case again this year.

Aaron Rodgers had no issues against Minnesota in Week 1, completing 73% of his passes for 364 yards and four scores. Naturally, Davante Adams caught two of them and this connection should have a field day against the Lions secondary. Aaron Jones was steady but not stellar, though he is known to have explosive games. Defensively, the Packers were a top 10 pass defense by DVOA in 2019 but struggled mightily stopping the run, allowing almost 130 ypg, and they allowed 134 in the opener.

The Packers will likely rely on the Rodgers-Adams connection once again as Detroit's secondary is dismantled. For Detroit, they'll be throwing a lot, and yes, without Golladay, this offense is a shell of what it could be; however, Stafford could be forced to throw the ball 40-plus times again. If Golladay is out again, I like GB to cover, but I'm targeting the points here even if the Lions' star receiver is out.

Pick: Over 49.5 (Draftkings) 1 Unit

 

New England Patriots at Seattle Seahawks (-4, -190)

O/U: 45

Cam Newton seemed to ease a lot of Patriot fans' minds with his Week 1 performance. Sure, he didn't even throw for a touchdown or eclipse 200 yards, but he rushed for 75 and two scores. I think it's pretty clear that New England still isn't worried about throwing the ball a lot. A four-headed running back committee led by Sony Michel is the opposite of exciting but they continue to find ways to win and no, WR1 Julian Edelman doesn't give them much of a reason to change. Despite losing several key players to opting out for the 2020 season, this defense still houses Stephon Gilmore among others. They held Miami to just 3.2 yards per carry and only 200 yards passing with three picks. Miami is no Seattle, but those are still impressive numbers.

The Seahawks started strong and finished strong in Week 1, and t had nothing to do with the run game like many would've expected. Russell Wilson threw for 322 yards and four scores while Carlos Hyde added a score on the ground. Think this was a statement to the league that they're for real? I do. Jamal Adams made his presence known as a new member of the Seahawks, and they surrounding cast performed well against a stout Atlanta offense. If they can continue at that pace, they'll clearly outperform their 16/23 pass/run rank by DVOA from 2019.

New England might try and exercise their passing options more this week, but the offense is going to run through Cam Newton regardless so if he wants to run, he's going to run. Seattle on the other hand clearly is fit to both run and pass. Both sides will be met with tougher than expected defenses making this a low scoring game to end the Sunday slate.

Pick: Under 45 (Draftkings) 1 Unit



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TNF Prop Picks for Monkey Knife Fight: Browns vs Bengals

The NFL season is officially back. After not having football since the Super Bowl back in February, this is exactly what we need right now. What makes football more exciting than it already is? Putting money on it, and Monkey Knife Fight is the way to do it. 

On MKF, there are no massive tournaments where you have to get ridiculously lucky just to cash. You're just playing against the house, and the dudes at MKF have fallen all over themselves to give you really attractive opportunities to make some money.

As always, there are some solid props we can look to take advantage of.

 

Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns: More or Less Contest

Our first contest is actually one of the easier ones I’ve come across so far. Even when they got steamrolled by 32 points, the Cleveland Browns only gave up 275 yards through the air to Baltimore Ravens’ quarterback Lamar Jackson. Against the Los Angeles Chargers, Burrow got 70 of his 193 passing yards on the final drive of the game. The Browns Defense should be able to get pressure and keep him under this mark.

Similar to the Burrow prop, I’m taking the under pretty comfortably. Even with a game-script that required him to throw a ton to try and close the gap, Baker only generated 189 yards through the air. The Bengals Defense isn’t anything to write home about, but I have more faith in the running game of Cleveland than anything else. Running back’s Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt have a great game, and that keeps Mayfield’s total low.

Play the More or Less Contest Now on Monkey Knife Fight

 

Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns: More or Less Contest

  • Tyler Boyd OVER 54.5 receiving yards
  • Nick Chubb OVER 72.5 rushing yards

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd finished with four receptions for 33 yards in the loss to the Chargers. He was tied for second on the team with five targets, and that will go up as his chemistry with Burrow improves. If he can get just one big reception to go with his usual workload, he’ll crush this with relative ease.

Like I said before, I think Chubb is going to have a good game. This Browns’ offensive line is massively improved from last season, and they can give Chubb the room he needs to get a head of steam going. Once he gets that, I don’t have faith in anyone on the back end slowing him down consistently. I’ll take the Chubb over pretty easily, especially if they’re able to get their lead early in the game.

Play the More or Less Contest on Monkey Knife Fight

 

Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns: More or Less Contest

I’ve already given you my analysis here, but, just to reiterate, I’m expecting to Cleveland to get the lead then utilize their running backs. Baker struggled in Week 1, and they’ll be looking to make life easier on him in Week 2. You do that by leaning on your stud running backs.

Green will likely be drawing the coverage of cornerback Denzel Ward, who is one of the best young corners in football. Green will have the size advantage, but I think Cincinnati will be playing conservative again with Burrow under center. Green could catch a big-play ball, but we can miss one on this bunch of picks.

Beckham finished with just three receptions in Week 1, but I think he’ll have no trouble hitting the over in Week 2. He saw 10 targets in Week 1, which lead the team by four over second. Beckham remains supremely talented, and he has struggled to find a rhythm with Baker. I think he can get some of that rolling against a Bengals’ secondary that is still trying to find their footing.

Cleveland just got done shutting down the NFL’s best rushing attack from last season. If you take out the 45 yards gained by quarterback Lamar Jackson, they finished with just 66 rushing yards. Mixon’s offensive line is severely overmatched against the majority of defensive fronts, and Cleveland’s is no exception.

Play the More or Less Contest on Monkey Knife Fight

 

Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns: Rapid Fire Contest

Baker Mayfield MORE passing yards than Joe Burrow & Odell Beckham Jr. MORE receptions than A.J. Green

We have to go 2/2 on this one, and I think we should have no problem with that. Baker’s receiving weapons are better, and they are more willing to let him take shots down the field than Zac Taylor appears to be with Burrow. On the other side, it’s simple history. Green has never been a big volume guy. He lives on big plays, while Beckham gets force-fed by Baker when he’s on the field.

Play the Rapid Fire Contest on Monkey Knife Fight



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NFL Survivor Pool Picks (Week 1) - Targets and Avoids

Believe it or now, Week 1 of the football season is here. It's hard to believe how fast these last few months went. The season seemingly snuck up on us with no preseason games, but did we even miss those? However, without the preseason, it's making Week 1 more difficult than usual. There are two things I'll be looking at to help you navigate Week 1 and advance on.

Returning starters vs. roster turnover. How many starters are returning from last season and which teams have the most new players? Continuity is going to be so important this year with teams unable to build chemistry in preseason. The Steelers have 20 of 22 starters returning. The Ravens are returning 19 of 22 starters. The Patriots, a team of consistency for years, not only lost Tom Brady but had several defensive starters opt-out.

Another indicator to help me navigate the early weeks is regular-season win totals. If you're unsure if teams are even, check out who's win totals are higher.

 

Survivor League Strategy

I usually have several rules but this year that's all out the window. Survive and advance. We have no idea what's going to happen so make this a week-to-week game. What if one week the Jaguars, who are expected to be one of the worst teams in football, are playing the Chiefs, but the Chiefs are missing several starters to COVID. My point is you have no idea what will happen with the swirling questions. This year it's a week-to-week game.

For those of you unfamiliar with survivor pools, it’s very simple: pick a team to win each week; if they win, you move on to the next week. But you can't use that team again. There's no point spread involved.

Teams favored by seven of more in Week 1 per The Action Network (home team in caps); CHIEFS -9.5 vs. Texans, Colts -8 @ JAGUARS, RAVENS -8.5 vs. Browns, 49ERS -7 vs. Cardinals,

If you're reading this article on Thursday or later, these lines are from Tuesday. Check the current spreads and see how the line moved. Lines I'll be using are from topbet.eu.

With gambling now legal for some of you, I'm going to be giving out my three top plays against the spread. I will italicize the team I like. It will look like this for example: Chiefs -7 vs. Broncos.

 

Top Survivor Picks for Week 1

Colts -8 @ JAGUARS

This is going to be one of the most popular plays survivor plays of Week 1. Jacksonville is so bad. Their quarterback is Gardner Minshew and running back is James Robinson. It feels like they're getting ready to throw this season away, fire their entire front office, head coach, and restart with Trevor Lawrence.

In a way, I know I'm going against my lead of this column regarding continuity taking the Colts with new quarterback Phillip Rivers but he's a veteran. Head coach Frank Reich is a quarterback's coach. I feel the turnover for the Colts won't be an issue.

Take a look at these two win totals too. The Colts are at nine and Jaguars 4.5.

Colts 27 - Jaguars 20

Steelers -6 @ GIANTS

This line opened at three and has been bet all the way up to six. The big question here is Ben Roethlisberger. How will he look after missing nearly all of last season. There's a lot of consistency around him with 20 of 22 starters returning. The Giants don't have much turnover, but this is Joe Judge's first game as head coach. Pittsburgh's continuity will be enough for them in Week 1.

As for win totals, Pittsburgh's is set at 9.5 and the Giants 6.5

Steelers 34 - Giants 17

LIONS -3 vs. Bears

This line opened at Lions -1 and has now moved to -3. Matthew Stafford was having a career year last season before being lost to the season in Week 9. Their defense has four Patriots starters and third overall pick, cornerback Jeff Okudah. What have the Bears done? Added Jimmy Graham who's underperformed for the past several seasons. I'm sure their defense will be good but with Mitchell Trubisky leading that offense, how are they going to keep up with Detroit's offense?

Lions 24 - Bears 14

 

Top Survivor Picks to Avoid 

BILLS -6 vs. Jets

The Bills are everyone's darling pick to win the AFC East this season but are we sure we trust Josh Allen? Buffalo has a good defense with most of its defensive starters returning. The Jets though have a lot more turnover on its roster. But it is the second year of Sam Darnold and head coach Adam Gase to further their chemistry.

These two teams usually play close games and I expect yet another one. Buffalo will not have their raucous crowd so we'll see how much of a part that plays.

Jets 23 - Bills 20

PATRIOTS -7 vs. Dolphins

As I mentioned earlier in this column, New England has had so much turnover yet are big favorites Sunday. Cam Newton is the starter but they've had no real games to build any chemistry. Miami has Ryan Fitzpatrick starting who's a good quarterback and helped the Dolphins get to 5-11 last season, something not many expected. They even beat New England in Foxborough in Week 17 last year. I think this line is too high and you're paying the Belichick Patriots tax.

Patriots 20 - Dolphins 17

 

Best Bets

  • Lions -3 vs. Bears - Notes are above.
  • Cardinals +7 vs 49ers - Arizona has a ton of speed. Will San Fran's conditioning be ready to go a full 60-minutes to slow down the Cardinals offense? The Super Bowl hangover is another aspect. Seven is too much to lay in a Week 1 divisional game.
  • Saints -3.5 vs. Bucs - I hate going against Tom Brady but New Orleans has so many of their starters returning. Tampa has had their entire team re-done. I don't believe the Bucs will be bad this year but it may take a little time to get going.

 

Season Picks

AFC                                NFC

1 - Chiefs                          1 - Cowboys

2 - Ravens                        2 - Saints

3 - Colts                            3 - 49ers

4 - Dolphins                    4 - Lions

5 - Steelers                       5 - Bucs

6 - Titans                          6 - Seahawks

7 - Patriots                        7 -  Rams

Wild Card:

Ravens over Patriots          Saints over Rams

Colts over Titans                 49ers over Seahawks

Steelers over Dolphins       Bucs over Lions

Divisional:

Chiefs over Steelers         Bucs over Cowboys

Ravens over Colts            Saints over 49ers

Conference Championships:

Chiefs over Ravens          Saints over Bucs

Super Bowl:

Chiefs over Saints



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NFL Betting Picks for Week 1 (9/13/2020)

Never have I experienced a summer where it doesn't feel like the NFL season is about to begin. We all know why this year feels so different, but regardless, we have football! No one truly knows what to expect, but I think the product on the field is going to take a few weeks to get up to the par we are used to. For that reason, you should tread lightly when placing bets until we see more play out on the field.

I'll be bringing you the action all season long. I'm not a professional but I love researching stats and finding value. My goal is to provide you with information that can help you make informed bets, whether you agree or disagree with me. I "bet to lose" one unit on almost every play but will definitely label it if I do differently.

I'm here to bring you my best bets and recommendations for Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season. I'll be here at Rotoballer all season long and you can find me on Twitter @RotoStevieJ. I am always down to chat and spend most of my days and nights browsing for information or news. You can also follow me on the Action app (@sgjanik6) where I'll post every pick I have for a day and week. With that, I hope you enjoy, best of luck, and bet responsibly!

 

Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers (-305, -7)

O/U: 47

The Cardinals have an obvious addition to their roster in DeAndre Hopkins. Head coach Cliff Kingsbury knew what he was doing by shipping off the oft-injured David Johnson for Nuk, it's a massive upgrade. These Cardinals finished 2019 with the 22nd ranked passing unit, averaging just 217 yards per game (YPG), but now second-year signal-caller Kyler Murray has an abundance of weapons at his disposal and that number should only go up, which in turn "should" improve the scoring output. Defensively, The Cardinals had a top 10 run defense but a bottom-five pass defense based on DVOA in 2019. They made some solid additions but it should be about the same this year.

It's not surprising the 49ers were NFC Champions in 2019, as their offense and defense were both one of the league's best units. They kept several key pieces and added Trent Williams to bolster an already strong offensive line. Jimmy Garoppolo won't blow the doors off of any opponent, but he doesn't need to with a rushing attack that averaged 4.8 YPG. Kyle Shanahan is one of the best offensive minds in the league and will utilize all of Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, and even some Jerick McKinnon. On the defensive front, San Fran had the second-best passing defense by DVOA and they'll need all of that and more to check up this Cardinals offense.

Arizona was 5-1-2 against the spread as visitors with a new head coach in 2019. With a year under everyone's belt in the system and the addition of Hopkins, combined with one of the league's best returning run defenses, the Cardinals might give the Niners more trouble than some might think.

Pick: Arizona +7 (-110, Draftkings) 1 Unit

 

Las Vegas Raiders (-162, -3) at Carolina Panthers

O/U: 47.5

The NFL finally has a team in Vegas, and the Raiders have some interesting players to show for their new fan base. Sure, Derek Carr isn't the most exciting franchise quarterback (hence why they signed Marcus Mariota), but Josh Jacobs is set to really break out and that's who the Raiders are relying on. They averaged just 18.7 ppg on the road a season ago, and the addition of Nelson Agholor shouldn't change much. Defensively, the Raiders had one of the league's worst units, allowing 26 ppg and 354 YPG. They made some moves in the offseason to improve, but nothing noteworthy, so I wouldn't expect much of a change.

Carolina is undergoing one of the bigger transitions in the league this year, as Cam Newton and coach Ron Rivera was shown the door. They brought in Matt Rhule and Teddy Bridgewater to turn things around. This is Bridgewater's first go at being a franchise signal-caller, so it's natural to have second guesses about him running the offense. Then you remember Christian McCaffrey is around, followed by D.J. Moore and it takes a little weight off the quarterback's shoulders. Now if you want to bring up the defense, the Panthers are bad. They were worse at home in 2019 so they made some moves to improve, but again, no one to write home about.

Even with a new quarterback, this Panthers offense deserves more respect. While I'll be the first to admit that I love Jacobs and think I think he can carry them a long way, Carolina is in a better spot here at home. Give Bridgewater more credit than you might think because he has better weapons overall.

Pick: Carolina +3 (-110, Fanduel) 1 unit

 

Dallas Cowboys (-162; -3) at LA Rams

O/U: 52

It's no surprise to see the Cowboys as favorites for Week 1's Sunday Night Football. After all, they are +1500 to win the big one. Dak Prescott is still fighting for his long-term deal, but this offense averaged 27.1 ppg and about 297 passing YPG in 2019 so it's hard to believe management doesn't want to reward him. Ezekiel Elliott returns from a 1,300 yard, 12 touchdown season, along with receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, and newcomer CeeDee Lamb. This has the makings of one of the best offenses in the game. Defensively, Dallas was middle of the pack a year ago, but they went out and made some splash acquisitions in Everson Griffen, Dontari Poe, and Aldon Smith (who hasn't played since 2015 due to legal troubles). They allowed around 322 YPG and just 20 ppg on the road in 2019.

The Rams offense is already gaining a lot of traction before a game is played and that's on good merit. they averaged 24 ppg and 375 YPG a year ago. Sure, they let Todd Gurley go, but many would argue that benefits the unit. They replaced him with rookie Cam Akers and returners Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson Jr. Jared Goff is an underrated quarterback coming off a down year where he still threw for over 4600 yards. Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods are a dynamic duo and Tyler Higbee has garnered a lot of attention over the offseason, so look for things to improve this year. Their defense carried a little more weight against the pass than the run in 2019 and they allowed just under 23 ppg.

LA struggled at home in 2019, allowing over 24 ppg and averaging just 22 ppg themselves. Dallas had drastically worse offensive numbers away from Jerry's World last season, averaging just 22 ppg (10 less than at home), but their defense picked up the slack giving up just 20 ppg as visitors. At +/- 3, this spread is tight and for good reason. These offenses are stout and now they each face a defense with prior issues and haven't faced off against a real opponent in since the end of last season.

Pick: Over 51.5 (-110, Fanduel) 1 Unit



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2020 NFL Player Prop Bets: Passing, Rushing and Receiving Leaders

When making NFL player prop bets for the 2020 season, wagerers must take into account the odd offseason and preseason, given the global COVID-19 concerns. Still, the books can still present opportunities for sharp bettors to take advantage of lax oddsmaking by considering possible shifts in the NFL's power rankings. Revamped offensive strategies, breakout players, and more developments can tilt the books in wise bettors' favor.

I'll remind readers that my aim for these NFL betting tips articles isn't to say, 'Patrick Mahomes will lead the league in passing,' or, 'Christian McCaffrey will lead the league in total yards.' Aim higher. Go for a bigger return on your NFL betting investment.

Here are some of my favorite football player props worth a bet on DraftKings Sportsbook.

 

LEADER IN PASSING TOUCHDOWNS

Favorite to Bet: Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (+800)
Realistic Profit Play: Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (+1400)
Take a Shot: Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals (+2500)

Wilson is still a relative favorite, but he's being held back a bit by questions over how often he'll pass. He ranked just 13th in 2019, after all. Still, if the health of RB Chris Carson's hip becomes a bigger concern and/or the defense falters (even with S Jamal Adams now in town), Danger Russ could be unleashed to hit the air more often to target DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Greg Olsen and Will Dissly.

Prescott may not have gotten his big-money, long-term deal (he really should), but he got a major gift in rookie wideout CeeDee Lamb to go along with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Blake Jarwin, Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard as receiving weapons. Damn.

I’m stoked thinking about Murray's system (Kliff Kingsbury's Air Raid); his group of receiving options (DeAndre Hopkins, Larry Fitzgerald, the emerging Christian Kirk, reception-friendly RB Kenyan Drake); and, despite new defensive contributors, the likely game scripts that will encourage him to sling it.

 

LEADER IN RUSHING YARDS

Favorite to Bet: Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (+900)
Realistic Profit Play:
Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders (+1400)
Take a Shot: James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers (+4000)

My RotoBaller colleague Kev Mahserejian ranks Barkley as the No. 1 pick in 2020 fantasy football drafts. I agree. A big reason why:

Daniel Jones’ mobility and big-play potential opens up defenses, and the Giants’ O-line could take a major step forward with rookie tackle Andrew Thomas. Plus, it never pays to bet on a repeat rushing king, and I’ll take a shot that Barkley keeps that form from late last year.

If any undervalued back has the volume to make a strong contention, it’s Jacobs. The Raiders’ offensive line is underrated, and the passing offense – despite the entrance of rookies Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards, among others – still isn’t trustworthy; Derek Carr’s passing game plays off the run. Jacobs will dictate the pace and should get 300-plus touches.

Conner has lost some buzz due to the excitement over rookie Anthony McFarland and coach-speak that Mike Tomlin wants to preserve him. Also, unfortunately, we have to acknowledge the increased risk of a former cancer patient in a COVID-19 athletic universe.

It’s time to remind yourself of how Conner’s excellent interior-rushing vision could lead to more volume and preserve the real fragile franchise player: QB Ben Roethlisberger.

Just look at this:

Even with the possible drawbacks, too many people are sleeping on the 2018 Pro Bowler’s favorable offensive line, offense, talent and role.

 

NFL LEADER: RECEIVING YARDS

Favorite to Bet: Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions (+2000)
Realistic Profit Play:
Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons (+2800)
Take a Shot: D.K. Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks (+7000)

Golladay isn’t exactly a secret, but he deserves optimism due to a presumed full season of Matthew Stafford, who was on pace for a 5,000-yard passing season through the first eight weeks before suffering multiple back fractures and a hip injury, ending his season.

I was tempted to list A.J. Brown (+3300) as the Profit Play, but I see a bit of regression with Ryan Tannehill’s ability, despite the fact I see Brown keeping a similar pace of production with a featured role over a full season. Ridley, meanwhile, certainly has Matt Ryan’s volume working for him, and while Julio Jones remains beastly, Ridley has a third-year breakout working for him on top of back-to-back 800-yard seasons.

The final listing, however, is my favorite player futures prop bet for the entire football season so far. Among wideouts who had 100-plus targets last year, Metcalf ranked in the top seven, along with Golladay (second) in average depth of target (aDOT) with 13.0 yards. If Wilson can boost his volume of aerial attempts and the second-year wideout can refine his physical tools, Metcalf could melt the league.



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2020 NFL Bets: Super Bowl Winners and NFC Playoffs

A lot of this NFL betting advice may change in the coming days as the league institutes its cutoff for players to opt out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns.

Still, football bettors should have an idea about their favorite sleepers and value picks ahead of time, so they know which NFL wagers to make if anything major changes. Also, it pays to know the possible permutations of team outlooks that could change on a dime if Player X says he's not playing this year, or whether we know borderline names will give it a go in the NFL regular season.

In my last NFL betting column, I talked about my favorite AFC Playoff Futures bets. I'll circle back to the topic for the other conference, the NFC, and share my top sleeper from there. To close out this topic, I'll add my sleeper Super Bowl LV winner selections for the upcoming season.

 

2020 NFC Playoff Futures and Division Finish Bet

Arizona Cardinals +650 to finish 2nd NFC West (+650), DraftKings

$100 bet pays $750

I was tempted to just go the distance and go for first place (+900 on FanDuel), but this is a promising alternative if you still, logically, back the San Francisco 49ers as the tops. The Seattle Seahawks’ acquisition of safety Jamal Adams has further strengthened the books’ expectations of their postseason trip, and the Rams probably are better than they looked last year.

However, Arizona’s passing offense will guide the ship, and Kyler Murray showed enough promise as a rookie to bank on a step forward. The arrivals of WR DeAndre Hopkins and RB Kenyan Drake jolt an offense that already had some intrigue (especially with third-year WR Christian Kirk) that’ll air it out often. The defense gets a boost from LB/S hybrid rookie Isaiah Simmons and the additions of DT Jordan Phillips, LB De’Vondre Campbell, and OLB Devon Kennard.

 

2020 Super Bowl Winner Futures Bets

No, I’m not selecting the Kansas City Chiefs or San Francisco 49ers, out of principle. Let’s focus on a larger ROI.

PROFITABLE CONTENDERS

Philadelphia Eagles (+2000), DraftKings
Pittsburgh Steelers (+2500), DraftKings

The Pennsylvania squads are getting a bit underrated. Given, the Steelers are in a tough division with the juggernaut Baltimore Ravens and possibly upstart Cleveland Browns, and the Eagles will surely tangle with the Dallas Cowboys for 1 (max 2) spots, but both teams are built for a deep postseason run.

The Eagles bolstered their secondary, chiefly by bringing in CB Darius Slay.

The Steelers get QB Ben Roethlisberger back, and while his age (38) keeps him in the risky tier, if he finds a way to survive the season, Pittsburgh has the offensive talent and elite offensive line to make a long playoff run. (It would be a better proposition if they can somehow land homefield advantage for most of the postseason, considering Big Ben’s shaky splits away from Heinz Field.)

Even with those questions, the offense has plenty of weapons on the ground (James Conner, Benny Snell, and exciting rookie Anthony McFarland) and through the air (JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, James Washington and new arrival Eric Ebron). Plus, that defense is loaded, notably after trading for safety Minkah Fitzpatrick last year. (Steal, by the way.)

SLEEPER

Cleveland Browns (+4000), DraftKings
The Browns’ offense may determine whether this can play, but Kevin Stefanski’s system thrived in Minnesota last year, working from the run game outward. Leaning on Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt would be smart, though developing Baker Mayfield to be more efficient in his work with Odell Beckham Jr and tight end Austin Hooper (and, if they keep him, David Njoku). A smooth recovery these next few weeks for possession wideout Jarvis Landry (hip) would help, too. The defense has the talent to survive LB Joe Schobert’s departure.

 

More NFL Playoff Bets to Consider

If you have extra funds to throw bigger darts:

Indianapolis Colts to win AFC Conference (+1200), DraftKings

I’m high on the Colts this year, as explained in my AFC Playoffs column. I’ve added this as another option if you want to buy in strongly, too.

Detroit Lions to win NFC North (+600), FanDuel

Try this if Kenny Golladay and T.J. Hockenson appear ready for Week 1 following their COVID-19-list stays. (Credit to RotoBaller’s Frank Ammirante for the solid case. I faded them earlier this offseason, but for this ROI in a volatile division, it’s not a bad dart, especially with the drafting of RB D’Andre Swift and improvements made on defense:



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AFC Playoff Bets - Division Finishes for 2020

In my first column for RotoBaller's betting section, I offered suggestions for wagering on 2020 NFL win totalsWith those in mind, I return with tips for the next logical progression: NFL division winners and teams that'll make the playoffs. 

If you're just starting on the betting track, the 2020 season is a good time to jump in with predicting which NFL teams will reach the postseason. The NFL has expanded the playoff format to include seven teams: the top seed, which will receive its conference's sole first-round bye, and six teams playing on the wild-card round. This means a whopping 43.75% of a conference's teams will make the playoffs(The NFL's first round is now just the first two days of March Madness, and I'm here for it.)

That extra spot from which to chase the Lombardi Trophy makes this category more fun. You can now bump up an extra "borderline" team if you think they have some semblance of a shot to surpass the regular season. On top of that, many betting outlets allow you to wager on a team's exact finish in the final regular-season division standings. This often gives you a more favorable return on investment if you have an optimistic or pessimistic read on a team. And we're all over having more outs for us to hit for a win.

 

AFC Bets: Division Place, Exact Finishes, and Playoff Berths

When you're picking your favorites from some of the divisions that are expected to have tight races, you can make a bit bigger of a return by nailing the exact finishing order.

With all this in mind, here are my favorite division finish and playoff wagers for the AFC. The NFC edition will come out next week. (Also, I plan on doing a "Long Shots" article later in the preseason, so I won't include those here.)

(Notes: Odds taken from DraftKings, FanDuel, FoxBet, and BetMGM Sportsbooks. I'm defaulting to viewing New Jersey's odds and lines. See where sports betting is legal in the United States.)

 

1. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

AFC No. 2 Playoff Seed: +700 (FoxBet)
$10 bet pays $80

These two wagers show that I'm all over the Colts in 2020.

Sadly, to a degree, so are the books (nothing more favorable than FanDuel's +135 to win the division), which lowers our ceiling to cash in on their potential AFC South win.

If you want to go beyond the slightly risk-averse payouts for AFC South win, stretch for this one.

Philip Rivers' arrival gives Indy at least a short-term rock under center, and he should have plenty of time to dissect defense behind one of the NFL's best offensive lines. He already led the NFL in passing yards under pressure last year:

The Colts also drafted NCAA stud Jonathan Taylor to lead an already sturdy backfield with Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines. The way Rivers can move the chains, the Colts could wind up as the most-improved team in time of possession.

Big-play wideout T.Y. Hilton's still there, too, to lead an uncertain but budding group of wideouts.

They also enjoyed a major upgrade on the defensive side: Trading for DeForest Buckner shores up an already rising defensive front, anchored by linebacker Darius Leonard. 

Plus, ESPN's NFL Nation slotted Indy third in their continuity rankings with 82.7% of player snaps returning from 2019. Considering how much of their core remains intact, even with some big additions, that's an all-too-important development as COVID-19 threatens the normalcy of preseason preparation. (I'm not worried about that much regarding Rivers, who is all too familiar with Frank Reich and Nick Sirianni's system from their days with the Chargers.)

Now, of course, nudging ahead of the Kansas City Chiefs or Baltimore Ravens is a tough proposition, but you can wistfully poke just enough holes in Baltimore (Lamar Jackson regression? Young linebackers hurting the defense? Still not a great wideout corps....) to think Indy could sneak in as the No. 2. In fact, the Colts play Baltimore in Week 9 and could accomplish that feat themselves.

BONUS: AFC SOUTH EXACT ORDER OF FINISH

+500 (FoxBet)
$10 bet pays $60

  1. Indianapolis Colts
  2. Houston Texans
  3. Tennessee Titans
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars

 

2. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

2nd Place in AFC East: +210 (FanDuel)
$10 pays $31

Sure, Tom Brady showed signs of fading in 2019, but his departure still leaves a major hole and puts football's most recent dynasty into major transition mode.

Even if the offense turns run-heavy, Sony Michel (foot surgery) may undergo delays in getting ready for the season. The WR depth behind Julian Edelman is suspect (despite N'Keal Harry's intrigue), and they're wishing for some spark from rookie tight ends Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene.

The defense remains one of the league's best, but it'll likely be on the field more often in 2020 if Jarrett Stidham (or another quarterback, like Cam Newton?) can't carry the offense -- which negates how much it'll help.

Buffalo wasn't too far off the AFC East title in 2019, thanks to a talented defense. The Bills look like at least a co-favorite for the division crown this year. Their buzz is already loud at the books after they traded for difference-making wideout Stefon Diggs and drafted possible franchise back Zach Moss, giving QB Josh Allen support and possibly increasing Buffalo's time of possession.  

This is a roundabout way to cash in on Buffalo's expected surge; none of the four books here have their AFC East Win bet at a better ROI than +135.

(Bettors who can afford more gusto could try a 3rd Place bet for +400 on DraftKings or BetMGM if they think the New York Jets or the Miami Dolphins can sneak into second. I don't. Yet.)

BONUS: AFC East, Exact Order of Finish
+900 (FoxBet)
$10 bet pays $100

  1. Buffalo Bills
  2. New York Jets
  3. New England Patriots
  4. Miami Dolphins

 

3. TENNESSEE TITANS

3rd Place in AFC South: +250 (DraftKings, BetMGM)
$10 pays $35

Tennessee surpassed their 9-7 record last year, coming up one win short of a Super Bowl appearance, and the Titans still have the personnel to remain in the competition for a seven-team playoff picture. A full season led by QB Ryan Tannehill, who broke out late last year, preserves optimism.

However, his efficiency was basically as perfect as it could've last year, especially in what his receivers did after completions:


Now, this could be a product of the offensive improvements under OC Arthur Smith, but Tannehill's '19 per-game production looks too brilliant to sustain for a second straight year, especially when relying on production after the catch.

Bruising franchise RB Derrick Henry, great trench play, and emerging wideout A.J. Brown give Tennessee a sturdy foundation in a division ripe for the taking, but fading a quarterback after a likely career year (or at least a career-best pace) is a good way to navigate around the books.

Would it shock you if Tennessee finished behind Indianapolis and Houston after a tight race? In a seven-team playoff format, that even gives them a really outside shot at making the playoffs. (Probably not, though.

 

4. DENVER BRONCOS

2nd Place in AFC West: +260 (FanDuel)
$10 pays $36

I'm predicting the Broncos to sneak into the postseason in that seventh spot. The Los Angeles Chargers lost Philip Rivers, and the Las Vegas Raiders still have at least another year before stepping into a valid postseason chase.

Adding reception-happy RB Melvin Gordon and rookie wideouts Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler to a receiving crew that already had Courtland Sutton and emerging tight end Noah Fant should help Drew Lock take a notable step forward under center in Year 2. Talented tandem back Phillip Lindsay is still in town, which takes the offense to another level.

Denver also welcomes back pass-rusher Bradley Chubb after he missed nearly all of 2019 after partially tearing his ACL in Week 4. His pairing with Von Miller should rejuvenate this pass rush.

BONUS: AFC WEST, EXACT ORDER OF FINISH
+600 (FoxBet)
$10 bet pays $70

  1. Kansas City Chiefs
  2. Denver Broncos
  3. Las Vegas Raiders
  4. Los Angeles Chargers

Stay tuned for the NFC edition next week.

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2020 NFL Betting Tips: Win Totals Worth a Wager

Despite all the uncertainty in the sports world, the National Football League looks like it’s on track to start its 2020 season on time, meaning sports betting fans looking to wager are likely in luck. Sportsbooks will require a full 16-game schedule to be played in order for us to cash on any odds and lines.

Considering we’re not even up to the NFL preseason yet, the most logical bets to make right now are “futures”: how teams or individual players will perform over a full season. As opposed to weekly betting on game odds, lines, spread, etc., savvy sports bettors can gain a major edge/EV+/return on investment (ROI) by reading tea leaves far in advance. Get ahead of the market. Take chances!

One of the best ways to get a handle on the upcoming football season is to predict how many wins each NFL team will have.

 

Tips for Betting 2020 NFL Win Totals

Sportsbooks allow you to bet on how many wins each NFL team will have. They set an Over/Under, and you have to wager on what side of that number will happen. For example, if the Baltimore Ravens’ Over/Under is set at 11.5 wins, you have to wager on whether they’ll get 12 or more, or whether it’ll be 11 or fewer.

In addition to the O/U figure, each side is accompanied by a betting line, noting how likely the book thinks the win total is to happen. A line of -100 implies 50/50 odds. -110 means the item has an implied likelihood to happen of 52.38%. A successful bet of +101 or higher will mean your payout will be more than double your initial wager. For example, if you bet $5 on a +110 and hit, you win $5.50 on top of your initial $5, giving you a $10.50 payout. (For more reading on common betting terms, read this handy guide from DraftKings SportsBook.)

More often than not, the safest strategy for betting win totals is to lock in the Under, but sharp football handicappers and analysts can find flaws on the flip side if a team is being underappreciated. Some aggressive lines may rely too heavily on strength of schedule ratings that reflect last year’s standings. Generally, I try to balance "strength of schedule" rankings carefully: Relying on the previous year's results to forecast the upcoming season always comes with risk that blinds bettors to new trends.

 

 2020 NFL Win Total Bets

Here are a few 2020 NFL win total bets that have caught my eye so far.

(Note: Odds and lines are current as of Monday, June 8, at 9 a.m. ET, on DraftKings SportsBook, FanDuel SportsBook, FoxBet, and BetMGM.)

 

New England Patriots: Under 8.5 Wins (+107), DraftKings

$10 bet pays $20.70
2019: 12-4

Tanking for Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields is a total Bill Belichick move. At the very least, Belichick likely wants to replicate – to some degree – the way he found success at quarterback with former franchise icon Tom Brady: Buy as low as possible and develop the next signal-caller into the system that’s proven successful.

I’ve had fleeting thoughts that New England could take a low-risk shot on Cam Newton, rehab him, and possibly gain a rehabbed monster for the next few years. However, considering it’s already June, the shrewd Belichick is expected to give Jarrett Stidham a trial with a bland Brian Hoyer in-season insurance policy. If that fails (it probably will), the Pats may position themselves to nab a new blue-chipper near the top of the 2021 draft board.

Though the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets should also struggle for a playoff spot, the Buffalo Bills are likely the AFC East favorites, especially with WR Stefon Diggs now in town to help Josh Allen. New England also travels to face the Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Rams, and defending champion Kansas City Chiefs.

Even with the talented defense and a likely run-first approach with several gifted backs, the major question under center and thin receiving corps behind 34-year-old Julian Edelman could prompt New England to take a gap year and miss the playoffs for the first time since 2008 -- either by purposeful 2021 NFL Draft planning or by Stidham's ineptitude. (And don’t complain, Pats fans; you’ve enjoyed yourselves plenty the past decade.)

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Under 9.5 Wins (+110), FanDuel

$10 bet pays $21
2019 regular season: 7-9

Hype for Tompa Bay is understandable. Tom Brady gets an excellent group of receivers in Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, O.J. Howard and even longtime teammate Rob Gronkowski. Plus, the Bucs’ emerging defense finally has an offense that could sustain possessions (unlike Jameis Winston) and keep them fresh. A warm-weather home may help stave off further decline in Brady’s 43-year-old body.

Though they face the AFC West, including the Super Bowl-champion Kansas City Chiefs, they could pick on the other three squads. Road trips to the Las Vegas Raiders, Detroit Lions and New York Giants should still be friendly, and they at least get to host the tough Los Angeles Rams.

However, Brady must now adapt to a new scheme at an advanced age, and he was already losing some downfield potency in 2019. A Week 3 visit to the Denver Broncos could make or break this bet, but Brady is 8-9 overall in his career against Denver and would have to take extra care in the Mile High air.

The New Orleans Saints likely still rule the NFC South, and the Atlanta Falcons are also on the cusp of improving and could steal one of their two matchups with the Bucs.

This O/U is just high enough to support the logic that Tampa Bay will challenge for a playoff spot but slip up with an unexpected loss or two.

 

Philadelphia Eagles: Over 9.5 Wins (+110), DK

$10 bet pays $21
2019: 9-7

Getting Washington and the Giants twice always helps pad the Eagles' possible total, and they’ve had a great chance to at least split their annual pair with the Dallas Cowboys in recent seasons. While some of their 2020 NFC West and AFC North matchups present big obstacles, at least they’ll get the Arizona Cardinals and Cincinnati Bengals in there, and they can hang with the Los Angeles Rams.

Philadelphia restocked its secondary with CBs Darius Slay and Nickell Robey-Coleman, which could help them match up with the Cowboys’ loaded wideout corps, which just added rookie CeeDee Lamb. Philly also welcomes rookie WR Jalen Reagor and speedster Marquise Goodwin to help the aging DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery complement tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. When we add a possible star RB in Miles Sanders and a talented backfield receiver in Boston Scott, QB Carson Wentz will enjoy a wealth of options.

Behind an elite offensive line, an adept, offensive-minded head coach, and top-shelf personnel, the Eagles should at least be in the running to lock up the NFC East once again and remain built to keep pace with their tougher draws.

 

Green Bay Packers: Under 8.5 Wins (+113), DK

$10 bet pays $21
2019: 13-3

The books have hinted that a fall is coming after the Packers’ 13-win season; though a 5-win drop seems like a lot, DraftKings is at least offering a little breathing room to profit in case the Packers can’t repeat. Green Bay presumably addressed its future in the NFL Draft, eschewing much immediate help (aside from RB A.J. Dillon) and drafting QB Jordan Love -- despite likely having at least two more years left of Aaron Rodgers.

Aside from its annual trip to NFC North foes Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay faces some tough road assignments against the New Orleans Saints, the rebuilt Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the defending NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers, and the competent Indianapolis Colts. This doesn't account for hosting the talented Philadelphia Eagles and Tennessee Titans -- two run-powered clubs built to barrel through a run defense that has ranked 22nd and 23rd, respectively, in the two years with Mike Pettine coordinating the defense.

Though RB Aaron Jones is a game-breaker, Green Bay's questionable group of pass-catchers behind Davante Adams reinforces the idea that the Pack may struggle to keep pace in shootouts. Plus, those road games … Rodgers slipped when playing outside of Lambeau Field last year, being sacked 24 times (compared to 12 at home) and averaging 6.63 air yards per attempt (8.69 at home). 

 

More NFL Win Total Bets to consider

  • Las Vegas Raiders: Under 6.5 (+123), DK: Las Vegas made some intriguing moves for the long term (hello, Henry Ruggs III), but given their overall flaws, this feels like a gift.
  • Detroit Lions: Under 6.5 (+115), FD & FoxBet: Same here. Dig the Lions’ offense for fantasy purposes, but the defense isn’t going to be saved by Jeff Okudah.
  • Dallas Cowboys: Under 9.5 (+135), BetMGM: Dallas should hover around the seven-team playoff picture, but its schedule doesn’t have many holes, and their season always seems to tip with a loss to the Eagles.
  • Los Angeles Chargers: Under 7.5 (+125), MGM: The uncertainty at quarterback negates the excitement over the defense.
  • Seattle Seahawks: Over 9.5 (+120), FD: Following an 11-win 2019, the Seahawks again could reach double digits if they can steal an extra victory from a tough NFC West foe.
  • Tennessee Titans: Under 8.5 (+110), DK: Ryan Tannehill is not a complete fluke, but fading his efficiency would be a good place to start for doubters of last year’s AFC runners-up.

 

Next week, I’ll share my favorite bets and specials for the NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl LV.

I was away from the fantasy sports and betting worlds for a bit. Thank you, RotoBaller, for welcoming me back with this opportunity. RotoBallers, I hope I can help with your sports bets and fantasy football questions!

Want to chat? Catch me on Twitter. Stay safe.




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Super Bowl - Vegas Lines, Over/Under Picks and Predictions

Welcome to the Super Bowl betting breakdown here at RotoBaller!

We have ourselves quite the matchup to end the season, and it is going to take a unique angle to figure out who has the edge for the finale.

There are a lot of moving pieces to begin any NFL week, so I will update this article as pertinent information comes to light. Without further ado, let's jump right into Super Bowl weekend.

 

San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs (-1.5): O/U 55

As someone with a relatively large futures wager on the Kansas City Chiefs, my hope of how this game will play out might go slightly against conventional wisdom. If we look back historically at when an elite defense faces an elite offense, defensive wizardry has often been the deciding factor. I've defined "elite" by a unit ranking inside the top-five for EPA on the season, which has amounted to qualifying defenses going 6-2 straight up, allowing just 21 points per contest since the Super Bowl in 2000. In fact, if you just assess the matchups by offense versus defense and don't attach a threshold needed to qualify, the higher-ranked offense has gone only 7-12 in the past 19 games, opposed to the better defense operating at a 15-4 clip and winning by a margin of 7.7 points per game.

None of that bodes well for Patrick Mahomes and company, but I am not so quick to write them off. The easy route to take when trying to make a case for the Chiefs is that Mahomes has another gear that won't allow him to lose, but that obviously isn't something that can be quantified. It is also the sort of a thought process that gets amateur bettors in trouble, so we need to figure out if there is a statistical edge we can point to for what the Chiefs will need to change to place the odds in their favor. Let's start with this vaunted Niners defense that has been elite at times this season.

Ranked second in passing success rate on the year, San Francisco has used their front four to create pressure to opposing QBs and place teams in third and long situations that they were not able to convert. That is generally a pretty good recipe for success for any unit, but I could argue that their prowess isn't exactly what it appears to be on paper. The Niners got off to a blistering start through their first eight games of 2019, not only starting the year 8-0 but also ranking first in the league against the pass. You can't take away any of that from the record book, but when we look at the opposing QBs they faced, it doesn't jump off the page. Jameis Winston, Andy Dalton, Mason Rudolph, Baker Mayfield, Jared Goff, Case Keenum, Kyle Allen, and Kyler Murray are the names that make up the list, and it makes us question the legitimacy of some of that production.

Luckily, we do have a more precise picture to look at during the second half of the season when the Niners drew a much tougher crowd of Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Lamar JacksonI realize it is not 100 percent ideal either since the defense did face injuries to Kwon Alexander, Dee Ford, and others throughout the last half of the year, but the most comparable competition to what they will be facing on Sunday came during this stretch. During Weeks 10-17, San Francisco struggled to stop their increased level of opponents, ranking 23rd in the NFL against the rush and 15th against the pass.

Robert Saleh's defense has been built to defeat teams by playing zone defense and creating pressure on the QB. If a quarterback doesn't have time to find the open man, chances of either a turnover or sack get exponentially increased. Both of those are advantageous outcomes for the Niners since it either gives them the ball or puts teams way behind the yardage stick, and it makes sense why they have called 77 percent of their formations to feature that setup. I will agree that part of the reason behind this decision is that there is no need to change something that is working, but cornerbacks Richard Sherman and K'Waun Williams don't have the speed to face speedy wideouts in man-t0-man coverage.

Sherman doesn't usually travel with WRs anymore, which could give Kansas City an interesting spot to find some advantages on offense. If I were them, I would stick Sammy Watkins on Sherman's side of the field and set Tyreek Hill in different spots throughout the night. By doing that, you take Watkins' boom-or-bust nature off the table, and you also remove your opponents' best CB. If the Niners choose to continue to play zone out of that look, the Chiefs can create mismatches in other places if their offensive line can keep Mahomes upright. On the flip side, if San Francisco decides to change things up and play one-on-one coverage, Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson, Sammy Watkins or Tyreek Hill could turn this game into a barnburner against Richard Sherman and K'Waun Williams.

From a pure power rating perspective, it is hard to argue against the 49ers not being a slightly better team on paper, but some holes quickly begin to form for why this contest isn't like every other battle of offense vs. defense. I look for Andy Reid to call an aggressive gameplan from the opening minute to tire out San Francisco's front four, and I think we eventually see Mahomes and KC breakthrough in the first quarter for a lead. If the Chiefs do get up early, they should be able to control the tempo of the game the way they would like with a mix of Damien Williams on the ground and play-action pass attempts, which puts a Jimmy Garoppolo led offense behind the eight-ball against a difficult Chiefs secondary.

Prediction: Chiefs 31 – Niners 20

Recommended Picks: Chiefs (ML), Under 55

With the Super Bowl being the only NFL game that bettors are wagering on, casinos will shade the over/under slightly higher than usual. Even doing that, we have seen both sharp and square bettors push the total up to 55 at the time of writing this article. It seems likely to me that the number will continue to gradually increase throughout the week and will eventually reach a point where sharp bettors weigh in late to get maximum value on their under bets. I like the idea of waiting as long as possible, but it is always a scary venture to oppose the scoreboard being lit up by the Chiefs.

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NFL Prop Bet Picks - Super Bowl LIV Predictions

The biggest game of the football season is upon us, but it's a melancholy game. We all are excited to watch and find out who wins, but as each second passes, the closer we are to not watching a meaningful football game for seven months. That's why you need to make the most of this game. Most people do that by gathering with friends for Super Bowl parties. However, most of those people don't know anything about football. They cheer for meaningless plays and don't understand the basic concept of 1st-and-10. In fact, for some people, the Super Bowl is the only NFL game they'll watch all season. For us hardcore fans, at least Vegas gives us many wild and crazy prop bets to follow so that we can focus on something meaningful.

In this column, I will be breaking down the big game including several prop bets, whether it's a player prop or game prop. These props were found in VSIN's 78-page prop bet compilation, as well as DraftKings and FanDuels sportsbook My best advice would be to handicap the game as to what you think will happen and bet accordingly. If you expect a shootout, then go over on pass attempts and completions. If you expect a ball-control, low-scoring game, then go under rushing yards, etc. I'd highly advise not betting the coin toss. That's because you have to bet $102 to win $100 on a 50/50 chance. You're better off betting that with a friend and this way don't have to pay the extra juice.

I can't stress enough to shop around for the best value. If you're in Nevada, you have a robust amount of sportsbooks to choose from. If you're in New Jersey, DraftKings and FanDuel are both options. If you're unfamiliar with gambling, -110 means you have to lay $110 to win $100. If the line is +110, that means you bet $100 to win $110. Now, let's get to the final game of the NFL season and pick some props that will hit.

 

Super Bowl Picks - Player/Game Props

Shortest touchdown of the game under 1.5 (-155) - Circa

This is heavy vig, but it's worth it to lay the extra money. This prop hit in all four divisional-round games as well as both championship games. With referees reviewing every scoring play, how often is the runner down just before the goal line which then sets up the 1-yard touchdown?

First pass attempt of Patrick Mahomes incomplete (+180), Jimmy Garoppolo (+165) incomplete - DraftKings

Last year, both Tom Brady and Jared Goff threw an incompletion on their first attempt. How will that impact this game? There is absolutely no correlation but if you bet both and one of them throws an incomplete pass on that first pass, you win, because you're getting plus money on both.

Matt Breida OVER 15.5 rushing yards (-110) - South Point

Raheem Mostert is all the talk of Niner fandom after his 220-yard, four-touchdown performance in the NFC Championship game. But Breida has been consistent all season, going over 15.5 yards in all but two games. One of those games was the NFC Championship. Even if Mostert gets the bulk of the carries, the 49ers' motto lately has been to run, run,  run. Why stop that against the Chiefs when the recipe to beat them is controlling the clock by running the ball? Add in a run defense that was sixth-worst in the league and this seems like an obvious bet. The other 49ers running back is Tevin Coleman but he's been dealing with a separated shoulder. All you need is Breida to break one or two runs for a decent-sized gain and you'll cash this ticket.

Matt Breida OVER 3.5 rushing attempts (-110) - South Point

The only game in which he didn't have 3.5 rushing attempts was the NFC Championship.

Three unanswered scores by either team? YES (-170) - Circa

So you may think this prop should be plus-money, but it hits more often than not. That's why Vegas has heavy juice on the "yes" on this.

Patrick Mahomes UNDER 29.5 rushing yards (-110) - William Hill

Mahomes's highest rushing games have been 59, 54, 54, 53, 25, 21 and so forth. So only in four of 16 games (including the playoffs) has Mahomes gone over 29.5. I'm nervous about Mahomes escaping the pocket on a four-man rush and beating this prop on one play, but that's gambling.

First quarter under 10 total points (+105) - Circa
First half under 27 total points (-120) - William Hill

I'll put these two unders together. It takes teams a little while to get out the jitters of playing in front of the world. I also expect the 49ers to come out and try and slow the game down with a ton of runs and long drives. The 49ers Defense allowed the fewest number of passing plays of more than 20 yards and second-fewest plays of more than 40 yards this season.

 

Cross-Sports Props

Miami (FL) points +15.5 vs. Raheem Mostert rushing yards (-110) - Superbook

The Hurricanes average 72 points per game. They play in Pittsburgh Sunday and the Panthers allow an average of 63 points a game. Say Miami scores 67, Mostert would need 83 rushing yards or more to lose the prop. He's hit that number three times this year: Week 2, Week 13, and the NFC Championship game. I think everyone is making way too big a deal about the game against the Packers. Their defense was suspect all season and they were finally exposed. Kyle Shanahan rode the hot hand, which was Mostert, but that could very well be Breida this game.

George Kittle receiving yards +3.5 vs. St. John's points (-110) - Superbook

St. John's averages 75 points per game while their opponent Sunday allows, Georgetown, allows 73. However, St. John's played Villanova Tuesday night and they couldn't finish a layup or hit wide open threes. It was a really poor shooting performance. Kittle's receiving yard total is set at 70.5. So even if St. John's gets to 70 points, you're getting 3.5 yards. Kittle is the 49ers' engine and I expect the Niners to get him going early.

 

Super Bowl Score Prediction

These teams have had two weeks to prepare for this game so they'll know each other's tendencies. The 49ers are the better overall team but the Chiefs have Patrick Mahomes. As I mentioned above, the recipe to beat Kansas City is to sustain long drives, chew the clock, and run the ball. It's also being able to get pressure on Mahomes without blitzing, something the Niners can do very well. When you have a defense like the Niners, it's really hard to not go with them in the Super Bowl. Top defenses usually win. Think Broncos against Panthers in 2016, Seahawks against Broncos in 2014, and Ravens against Giants in 2000. It really does feel like Andy Reid will finally get his Super Bowl but you can't bet with emotion.

49ers 27 - Chiefs 24

 

Thanks for reading my columns all year. I'll be back writing my NFL Survivor Picks series in the fall!

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Super Bowl Squares - Strategies and Historical Trends for SB LIV

One of the most common "office pool" games across the country this time of year is played on a piece of paper with 100 squares. The "Super Bowl Squares" game is a staple in offices and at Super Bowl parties because it is a fun way for everyone to have a rooting interest in the big game.

The game works simply. In the days leading up to the big game, a box with 100 squares, 10 wide by 10 high, is slowly filled one-by-one. Once all the boxes have been filled, the numbers 0 through 9 are randomly assigned to each column and then to each row so that each individual cell is a unique combination. The players now have their number combination that they are rooting for. The last digit of each team's final score will correspond with the winning square.

In the Chiefs' two Super Bowl appearances, the number zero was extremely popular, connecting on all four quarters in their Super Bowl I loss to Green Bay and the only other numbers to hit were the next-most-popular three and seven. The 49ers have appeared in the Super Bowl six times, bringing many unconventional or unexpected results. For example, their Super Bowl games have never ended the first quarter with a score ending in zero, bucking the most popular number in favor of three, seven and four. Over the course of the six appearances, the 49ers have ended a quarter with each of the 10 possible last digits. How much does historical data matter for something that seems like random luck, especially for games that took place years and even decades ago? More than you might imagine. Let's take a look, quarter by quarter.

 

First Quarter

Q1
# NFC AFC Total %
1 - - - 0.0%
2 - - - 0.0%
3 14 9 23 21.7%
4 4 3 7 6.6%
5 - - - 0.0%
6 1 1 2 1.9%
7 8 11 19 17.9%
8 1 - 1 0.9%
9 2 - 2 1.9%
0 23 29 52 49.1%

The first-quarter results show that the best number to have on the board is undoubtedly zero, which has been one of the two teams' results in 49.1%. If you have the numbers one, two, five, six, eight or nine, you should take another trip to the buffet line during the first quarter because those have been winning numbers in the first quarter combination only six combined times. The American Football Conference (AFC) team has ended the first quarter with zero more often than their National Football Conference (NFC) counterparts.

 

Halftime

Q2/Halftime
# NFC AFC Total %
1 2 3 5 4.7%
2 2 3 5 4.7%
3 11 9 20 18.9%
4 5 6 11 10.4%
5 1 - 1 0.9%
6 5 5 10 9.4%
7 6 12 18 17.0%
8 3 - 3 2.8%
9 3 - 3 2.8%
0 15 15 30 28.3%

The second quarter adds variability to the results. Zero is still the most common result at 28.3%, followed closely by three, seven, and four. Five has only been in the halftime winning combination once out of 106 results.

 

Third Quarter

Q3
# NFC AFC Total %
1 4 2 6 5.7%
2 1 2 3 2.8%
3 7 7 14 13.2%
4 4 9 13 12.3%
5 3 1 4 3.8%
6 7 5 12 11.3%
7 10 13 23 21.7%
8 3 3 6 5.7%
9 3 4 7 6.6%
0 11 7 18 17.0%

The third quarter is much more wide open, as teams' scores increase and more time for missed extra points and safeties helps the range of reasonable possibilities expand. As expected, the numbers zero, three and seven are the most common winners, but the rest of the pack is not far behind.

 

Final Score

Q4/Final
# NFC AFC Total %
1 7 7 14 13.2%
2 2 2 4 3.8%
3 6 6 12 11.3%
4 4 11 15 14.2%
5 3 2 5 4.7%
6 3 7 10 9.4%
7 13 6 19 17.9%
8 3 3 6 5.7%
9 6 2 8 7.5%
0 6 7 13 12.3%

So what is the best final score number combination to have for the big game? The Chiefs' average points scored in a Super Bowl is 17 points per game (ppg), and they have allowed 21 ppg in their two collective Super Bowl appearances. The 49ers are averaging a more robust 37 ppg in six appearances against 21 ppg allowed in Super Bowls. Overall, the best number is traditionally zero, followed by seven, three and four, while two and five are the numbers that a competitor should desire to stay away from in the past.

 

Conclusion

The beauty of the Super Bowl Squares game is that anything can happen. In Super Bowl XLVIII, the Seahawks' Cliff Avril tackled Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno in the end zone for a safety, which caused unexpected Super Bowl Squares results for the remainder of the game. When Adam Vinatieri's extra point attempt failed in the first quarter of Super Bowl XLI, the resulting scores in the game's four quarters did not follow historical precedents.

We've seen which numbers are most likely to hit based on past results but often this game is played without player choice, meaning you are simply hoping for a lucky draw. The best thing you can do is sit back, relax, enjoy the game and hope history is on your side or that history is made depending on the number combination that you end up with.

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