Tag Archives: Aaron Donald

Week 11 Primetime Moneymakers: Like Looking Into a Mirror

After weeks of having at least one stinker on the primetime NFL slate, we finally get treated to great matchups across the board in Week 11. All six teams are in the playoff hunt and two of the games feature divisional opponents. We also have no fewer than four MVP candidates and a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year. You could say it’s pretty loaded.

Week 10 was a rough one. We committed a cardinal sin in betting: betting with the heart and not with the mind (looking at you, Chicago Bears), resulting in an 0-3 week. It’s the first winless week of the year and it stings. The record now stands at 8-11. Yuck. It is what it is and we won’t be dissuaded. As usual, there’s money to be made and if anyone is going to make it, it might as well be us!

Primetime Moneymakers: Like Looking in a Mirror

Arizona Cardinals (6-3) at Seattle Seahawks (6-3)

Spread: Seahawks -3

O/U: 57.5

Arizona Cardinal’s (5-4 ATS) Kyler Murray Hail Mary’ed himself back into the MVP race with his late-game heroics in Week 10. A 43-yard heave found stud wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins in the end zone in the middle of three Buffalo Bills defenders. After starting the season 2-2, the Cardinals have won four of their last five to pull into a tie with their opponent in this very game. Arizona leads the league in total yards, rushing yards, and rushing touchdowns. They’re also seventh in points per game. And they’re far from one-sided, ranking ninth in scoring defense and have allowed just 23 touchdowns, four off the league-lead.

Russell Wilson has seen his MVP stock dip in recent weeks. He threw 19 touchdowns to just three interceptions through the first five weeks. He’s thrown nine scores to seven picks and lost three fumbles in the four games since. The Seattle Seahawks (5-3 ATS) need Wilson to play perfectly because their defense is as porous as they come. Seattle ranks 32nd in total yards and passing yards allowed. They’re a respectable fourth against the run but are 28th in scoring defense. It’s why they’ve lost three of their last four after starting off 5-0. Letting Russ cook has led to them getting burned.

This is the matchup that started the recent woes for the Seahawks. Tyler Lockett was dominant and D.K. Metcalf famously hawked safety Budda Baker but the Cardinals won 37-34 in overtime.  A Wilson interception essentially sealed that one too. Arizona has won the last two meetings between these two squads after losing the previous three. These two teams are trending in different directions heading into this battle for a leg up in the chase for the NFC West crown. Ride the heater and take the Cardinals plus the points. Speaking of points, expect a lot of them. Arizona has allowed an average of 32.6 PPG over its last three contests while Seattle has allowed 32.7 in their last four.

 

Kansas City Chiefs (8-1) at Las Vegas Raiders (6-3)

Spread: Raiders +8

O/U: 56.5

Led by MVP-frontrunner Patrick Mahomes, the Kansas City Chiefs (6-3 ATS) sit just behind the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers for the best record in the NFL. The Chiefs are first in offense DVOA, per Football Outsiders, tied for first in points per game, and fifth in total yards. Mahomes is third in the NFL with 25 touchdown passes to just one interception. Kansas City may also get wide receiver Sammy Watkins back this week as well. He hasn’t played since Week 5 when these teams last met. They will be without tackle Mitchell Schwartz, however. Their defense is no slouch either. While they rank 14th in defense DVOA, they are sixth in scoring defense, allowing just over 20 PPG.

It’s been about as good of an inaugural season in Sin City as the Las Vegas Raiders (6-3 ATS) are off to their best start since 2016. They finished that season 12-4 but lost to the Houston Texans in the Wild Card round. Derek Carr was an MVP candidate that season but suffered a broken leg in Week 15. Flash forward and Carr is having the best statistical season of his career while the Raiders offense is eighth in scoring, ninth in DVOA, and 13th in total yards. Their defense is ungood so they rely on a run game ranked fifth in rushing attempts and touchdowns, and seventh in rushing yards to keep them looking average statistically.

Las Vegas pulled off the shocker last time these two met, walking out of] Kansas City with a 40-32 victory over the defending Super Bowl champs. The Raiders are 3-1 since that game and have averaged 34 PPG over their last two contests. Too bad for them they are facing an Andy Reid team. His record coming off of extra rest is the stuff of legend. Add in the extra incentive of revenge and this could be a recipe for disaster if, unlike last time, the Raiders fail to establish the run. Look for the Chiefs to be aggressive early to eliminate that threat and protect their 27th ranked (30th in DVOA) run defense. Take K.C. but just moneyline as the Las Vegas ground game could keep this one close. That also makes the under appealing.

Los Angeles Rams (6-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3)

Spread: Bucs -4

O/U: 48

It’s been a bit of a mixed bag for the Los Angeles Rams ( 5-4 ATS) of late. Despite coming off their bye week to beat the Seahawks, they’re just 2-2 in their last four games after starting the season 4-1 with road losses to the San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins. Jared Goff is 12th in passing attempts and 11th in passing yards but has just 13 touchdowns (and six picks) to show for it. L.A. is eighth in rushing and their 14 rushing touchdowns rank second but they’re only 18th in scoring. The Rams defense is second in total yards, third against the pass, and fourth in stopping the run.

Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5) are second in total DVOA while he leads the league in pass attempts and sits fourth in pass attempts. This is the Bucs best start since 2010 when they also started 7-3. They finished 10-6 that season but still missed the playoffs. That shouldn’t be an issue this year as they sit behind the 7-2 New Orleans Saints in the NFC South but Drew Brees just went on IR and Taysom Hill is starting his first-ever game in the NFL. The Bucs could easily find themselves in the catbird seat with a win. Tampa also boasts the number one defense in DVOA, though the unit has allowed 26 PPG over the last four games; nearly four points higher than their season average.

L.A. is looking for just its third win this season over a team with a winning record after beating the Chicago Bears a few weeks back in addition to the Seahawks last week. Tampa is still seeking its first. If we look at the season, all three of the Buccaneers losses have been against teams in the top-five in DVOA. Their only win against a team in the top half of the league in defense DVOA is against the Denver Broncos. The Rams are eighth. But Los Angeles is just 2-3 on the road this season while Tampa Bay’s lone loss at home was to the Saints. Both teams are just 2-2 ATS over their last four, so we revert back to home-field advantage (and Goff’s disadvantage). That makes the Bucs the preferred play and with these defenses, hit the under.

NFL Week 7 Primetime Moneymakers: Mack/Donalds

Don’t look now, but we are on course to have all our regularly scheduled games played at the time they were initially scheduled! It’s the small victories people. We even get the luxury of Thursday Night Football. Hopefully, you read the sarcasm dripping from the word “luxury” because the matchup is another letdown; the New York Giants (1-5) take on the Philadelphia Eagles (1-4-1). Despite their putrid records, this game will have first-place implications for the NFC East.

Another 1-2 week brings us to 2-4 on the season. No, it’s not ideal, but that’s the process and we have notched a win each week. As usual, there is still more money to be made. If anyone is going to win it, it might as well be us, right?

**Just when we thought we were safe from games being rescheduled, for at least a week anyway, the NFL has flexed the Seattle Seahawks visiting the Arizona Cardinals to Sunday night in place of Bucs-Raiders due to Las Vegas having its entire starting offensive line and safety Johnathan Abram on COVID watch**

Primetime Moneymakers Week 7

New York Giants (1-5) @ Philadelphia Eagles (1-4-1)

Spread: Eagles -4.5

O/U: 45

This would typically be one to avoid. With so many injuries for both teams, it’s challenging getting a bead on how this one will go. New York is 3-3 ATS, but all three of their wins have come on the road and two have come in the last three weeks. The Giants offense is putrid, ranking 32nd in DVOA, per Football Outsiders, and 27th or worse in passing yards per game, rushing yards per game, in points per game. But their defense is…better. They rank 17th in DVOA (23rd in pass defense, 15th in rush defense).

Philadelphia (2-4) can’t catch a break. Okay, bad choice of words. But just as the Iggles look to get DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery back they lose Zach Ertz and Miles Sanders for multiple weeks. How healthy will Jackson and Jeffery (a longshot) be in their respective returns? Already without Dallas Goedert, will Richard Rodgers be able to step up? Or will it be the Travis Fulgham show for another week?

Both of these teams are bad and injured and are only on in primetime because everyone must get a shot. Philly’s defense is porous, but the Giants offense is inept. So the question is can the Giants defense keep this one close. They managed to hold the Rams offense to 17 points on the road a couple of weeks ago before struggling against the Cowboys and Football Team. Leave the spread alone and take the Eagles straight up and the under (44.5) in what could be a very ugly watch. They should win handily and hopefully (and mercifully) will get this one over quickly.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-2)  @ Las Vegas Raiders (3-2)

Spread: Raiders +3.5

O/U: 52

Last we saw of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers they were putting the screws to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to the tune of 38-straight points and a 28-point lead. It was Tampa’s (3-3 ATS) largest margin of victory of the season and came against what was supposed to be their stiffest challenge. Tampa is first in overall and defensive DVOA and is seventh in offensive DVOA. Not an easy task, though both of their losses came on the road.

If there’s one team with reason not to fear the Bucs it’s Las Vegas (3-2 ATS). After all, they have already taken out the Saints and beat the Chiefs in Arrowhead before their bye. Those are two impressive notches for a team no one is talking about. Derek Carr is having a career year. He commands the sixth-ranked offense in DVOA, is leading the league with a career-best 73.1 completion percentage, and is throwing more touchdowns to fewer interceptions than he ever has. His defense is among the worst in the league so he will have to keep it up to keep up the Raiders winning ways.

The spread (-4) wants you to remember and believe the Raiders two big wins instead of the Bucs thrashing of Green Bay. But Tampa’s defense is better than the Saints or Chiefs and does a good job of limiting big plays over the top; a key in Vegas’ win over KC. Only two of the Bucs opponents have matched the Raiders implied total of 24 points. And against the Patriots and Broncos, two defense close to the Bucs, the most Vegas could muster was 23 points. Take the Bucs, minus the points, and the under as they match up perfectly with what the Raiders want to do.

Seattle Seahawks (5-0) @ Arizona Cardinals (4-2)

Spread: Cardinals +3.5

O/U: 56

The Seahawks (4-1 ATS) are the sole remaining undefeated team in the NFL. Russell Wilson is the odds-on favorite to win MVP, the first of his career. Following the #LetRussCook motto, Seattle’s gunslinger leads the NFL in touchdown passes, yards per attempt, and passer rating. The Seahawks are fifth in total DVOA. That’s due to their offense ranking first because their defense is 26th. Letting Russ cook has seemingly been more out of necessity than choice.

Two weeks in a row in primetime for the Cardinals (4-2 ATS)? That’s what the first 4-2 start since 2015 gets you. Obviously this has everything to do with the Raiders COVID issues, but don’t sleep on Kyler Murray’s Cardinals. What we saw from this offense (12th in DVOA) against the Cowboys last Monday could happen again against the porous Seattle secondary. Murray, a preseason favorite for MVP, has had an uneven 2020, throwing six interceptions. But he threw three of those in one (awful) game but he has also thrown 10 touchdown passes and has run for another.

Arizona won the last matchup between these two teams back in December last season. Before that though, Seattle won three straight. Wilson is absolutely dealing right now and, while Murray’s Cardinals had big plays against the Cowboys, he was just 9/24 passing on the night. The Seahawks only win by fewer than five points came last week against a desperate Minnesota Vikings squad. Arizona’s losses both came against the best offenses they’ve faced. Take Seattle minus the points and the over as this could be a fun watch on Sunday night.

Chicago Bears (5-1) @ Los Angeles Rams (4-2)

Spread: Rams -6

O/U: 45

These two teams are meeting in primetime for the third time in as many seasons. The Chicago Bears (4-2 ATS) are riding high on a two-game win streak and sitting in first place in the NFC North. Very much on-brand, it has been the defense (fifth in DVOA) doing the heavy lifting. Khalil Mack and Akiem Hick are dominant as ever and Kyle Fuller has locked down the perimeter along with Jaylon Johnson. Can Nick Foles survive a Rams defense that features the NFL sack-leader, Aaron Donald?

Jared Goff has enjoyed a bounceback season and has the Rams (3-3) looking like a contender once again. They’re fifth in offensive DVOA and the offensive line has only allowed seven sacks, tied for second in the league. Goff has his full-compliment of weapons with Cooper Kupp back after tearing his ACL last season. And he has the luxury of three talented running backs to hand the ball off to. He has one of the highest yards per attempt averages which could be problematic against Mack and Co.

Neither of the previous two matchups between Sean McVay’s Rams and Matt Nagy’s Bears have topped 24 points. So the 45-point total might be a little optimistic. The Bears offense isn’t reliable and their defense should be able to limit the Rams. The spread (Rams -6) says Vegas thinks that won’t be the case. After what we saw against the bruised and beaten 49ers, you have to understand our skepticism. Even if this is in-line with the margin of victory from before. The Bears don’t look scary offensively. But the Rams, outside of Donald, don’t either. Take Chicago plus the points and ride the under.

All lines and other betting information courtesy of Covers.com