Bet of the Day – Dallas Cowboys at Arizona Cardinals, Dec. 25, 2010

Dallas Cowboys (-7) at Arizona Cardinals (+7), Over/Under 45

There was no bet of the day yesterday.  The Cowboys and Cardinals are nowhere near the playoff picture.  This isn’t the match up we expected before the season.  With the game being televised on Christmas day, hopefully we will get a decent showing from both teams.

Dallas (5-9) won 4 of their last 6 games (since Jason Garrett took over).  They squeaked out a win last week but enter this game off of two straight division games.  Will they be deflated?  They average 5.9 yards per play (YPP) and 14.6 yards per point scored (YPPT) on offense.  On defense, they allow 6.1 YPP and 12.9 YPPT.  QB Jon Kitna averages 7.55 yards per attempt (YPA) with 15 TDs and 10 INTs for a 91.4 QB rating.  Dallas has a good run defense, but is vulnerable against the pass. Lucky for the Cowboys, the Cardinals are starting a rookie QB.

Arizona (4-10) has only won once in their last 9 games.  Their offense has sputtered along the last 4 weeks.  They average 4.9 YPP and 14.7 YPPT on offense.  On defense, they allow 5.6 YPP and 14.2 YPPT.  QB John Skelton will be making his 3rd start today.  He averages 5.09 YPA with 0 TDs and 1 INTs for a 56.2 QB rating.  Like Dallas, the Cardinals give up too many yards.  They will need Skelton and the offense to do more than just manage the game if they expect to win today.

The Sagarin Ratings have Dallas 17.73 and Arizona 10.16.  With the 2.06 home advantage, the fair line is Dallas -5.51.

My NFL model predicts Dallas 28.20 over Arizona 21.04 for 49.24 total points.  Dallas is more productive on offense.  They are similar in offensive efficiency.  Both teams give up too many yards and aren’t very efficient on defense.  The key variance contributor is Arizona’s defensive passing yards allowed.  If Dallas is able to move the ball to their average, they will win and cover.  It is interesting to note that most of the variance in the model is in both teams defensive yards allowed.

Tonight I am taking the over.  Here’s why. Both teams are weak on defense.  Dallas hasn’t scored less than 27 points in their last 6 games; Dallas’ offense will be able to move the ball and score points.  I modeled the game at 49 points.  Bet Dallas/Arizona Over 45.

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Bet of the Day – Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys, Dec. 12, 2010

Philadelphia Eagles (-4) at Dallas Cowboys (+4), Over/Under 51

Yesterday’s bet, Tennessee at Pittsburgh, was a loser.  Dallas has returned to the form we expect since Jason Garrett took over coaching responsibilities.  The Eagles are tied for the lead in the NFC East.  This is a big game for both teams.  It is the start of a treacherous 4-game stretch for the Eagles.

Philadelphia (8-4) enters this game off a nice home win over Houston with a few days rest.  The Eagles will be primed for a big game tonight.  They average 6.4 yards per play (YPP) and 14.0 yards per point scored (YPPT) on offense.  On defense, they allow 5.5 YPP and 13.9 YPPT.  QB Michael Vick averages 8.37 yards per attempt (YPA) with 15 TDs and 2 INTs for a 105.7 QB rating.  Vick also has rushed for 467 yards with 6 TDs and 3 fumbles.  Vick has a quad issue and faces a good run defense.  Facing a weak secondary, expect Vick to try to pick the Cowboys apart.

The Cowboys (4-8) are coming off a good road win in Indianapolis.  They average 5.9 YPP and 14.9 YPPT on offense.  On defense, they allow 6.0 YPP and 12.9 YPPT.  These are very inefficient numbers.  But if you look deeper at the numbers since Jason Garrett took over, it is a different picture.  In those games, they average 11.4 YPPT on offense and 15.74 YPPT on defense.  Much more efficient; they are averaging similar yardage on offense and defense but converting points better on offense and limiting converted points better on defense.  QB Jon Kitna has been decent since taking over for Romo.  He averages 7.54 YPA with 11 TDs and 8 INTs for an 89.5 QB rating.  Kitna and the Cowboys will need to limit turnovers tonight.  The Eagle defense isn’t great and the Cowboys should be able to move the ball.  Dez Bryant is out but Dallas will have Jason Witten.  A weak secondary should be the Cowboys biggest concern.

The Sagarin Ratings have Philadelphia 24.75 and Dallas 17.39.  With the 1.85 home advantage, the fair line is Philadelphia -5.51.  According to pregame.com, 68% of spread bets are on the Eagles and 77% of the total bets are on the Over.

My NFL model predicts Philadelphia 32.2 over Dallas 26.9 for 59.1 total points.  This considers the entire season for Dallas.  If you adjusted the Dallas statistics for the last few games, my model predicts Dallas 34.9 over Philadelphia 34.1 for 69 total points.  Both teams move the ball very well.  Since the coaching change, Dallas is more efficient on offense.  The Eagles give up fewer yards and points.  Again, in recent results Dallas is more efficient on defense.  The key variance contributor for both teams is defensive passing yards allowed.  Whichever team plays closer to or below their defensive passing yards allowed should win the game.

Tonight I am going to tease Dallas and the Over.  Here’s why.  Both teams can and will score points.  Dallas is better than their season statistics show.  Philadelphia is missing Asante Samuel and Winston Justice; two key starters.  Teasing the game crosses key lines for the point spread and total.  Bet a 7-point teaser Dallas +11 and Eagles/Cowboys Over 44.

Follow me on Twitter for all my picks.  Good Luck!

Bet of the Day – New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys, Oct. 25, 2010

New York Giants (+3.5) at Dallas Cowboys (-3.5), Over/Under 45

Yesterday’s bet, New England Patriots at San Diego Chargers, was a loser.  3 losses in a row.  I am ice-cold these days.  Let’s turn it around tonight.  The Giants might be good team; they are now 4-2.  The Cowboys are 1-4 (I’m sure Dallas radio has been fun).

The Giants have won 3 straight.  During that stretch they have held all 3 teams under 100 yards rushing.  On offense, the Giants are averaging 5.9 yards per play (YPP) and 16.8 yards per point scored (YPPT).  On defense, they allow 4.6 YPP and 13.5 YPPT.  They are doing well on YPP but not too efficient on YPPT.  QB Eli Manning is averaging 7.25 yards per attempt (YPA) with 10 TDs and 8 INTs for a 86.2 QB rating.  Not convinced they are as good as their record; 0-2 against quality teams, but they are on the improve.  The Giants will need a big game in big D to beat a desperate team.

Dallas is in trouble.  1-4 and hosting a Monday Night Football divisional game.  Doesn’t get bigger than that.  The Cowboys average 6.1 YPP and 19.6 YPPT on offense.  They are allowing 5.5 YPP and 12.7 YPPT on defense.  QB Tony Romo is averaging 7.60 YPA with 10 TDs and 7 INTs for a 93.6 QB rating.  Dallas has to limit turnovers and convert points.  The Giants have stopped the run and forced turnovers of late; can Dallas turn the tide.

The Sagarin Ratings have New York 22.99 and Dallas 19.51.  With the 2.59 point home advantage, the fair line is New York -0.89.

My NFL model predicts Dallas 23.0 over New York 22.3 for 45.3 total points.  Both teams should have similar offensive yardage.  The Giants score more efficiently.  Defensively they are nearly identical; Dallas gives up a few more yards.  The key variance in the model is both teams offensive passing yards.  Whichever team can more effectively pass the ball (relative to their mean) should win the game.

I don’t have much faith in either team.  Tonight I am taking a slightly different approach to betting the game.  I am going to do a 2-side teaser with the Giants and the Under.  Here’s why.  The Giants are the better overall team.  It’s a Monday night divisional game; the Giants will come to play.  Dallas makes mistakes and the Giants force turnovers.  According to pregame.com, 84% of total bets are on the over but the total hasn’t really moved.  My model predicts a close game around 45 total points.  Bet a 7-point teaser with the New York Giants +10.5 and the New York Giants/Dallas Cowboys Under 52.

Follow me on Twitter for all my picks.  Good Luck!

Bet of the Day – Tennessee Titans at Dallas Cowboys, Oct. 10, 2010

Tennessee Titans (+7) at Dallas Cowboys (-7), Over/Under 42.5

Yesterdays bet, Michigan State Spartans at Michigan Wolverines, was a winner.  Quick bet on Florida State Seminoles at Miami Hurricanes was also a winner.  Today’s game is the Titans and Cowboys.  Both teams expected to have winning records at this point.  The Titans have been good against NFC opponents recently; Dallas is good of a bye week.  Tough game and line.

The Tennessee Titans had an ugly loss at home last weekend.  How ugly you ask?  The Titans gained 288 yards.  That’s okay, but they gave up 111 yards on 10 penalties.  The Titans are averaging 5.2 yards per play (YPP) and 11.7 yards per point scored (YPPT) on offense while allowing 4.8 YPP and 17.8 YPPT.  Not bad.  QB Vince Young is averaging 7.2 yards per attempt for 4 TDs and 2 INTs for a 94.3 QB rating.  The Titans have to limit turnovers and penalties to have a chance today.

The Cowboys looked bad in their first 2 games.  They moved the ball but couldn’t score points.  In their third game at Houston, they were more balanced on offense, didn’t turn the ball over and scored.  Who will show up today?  Dallas is averaging 5.7 YPP and 21.8 YPPT on offense (as I said, convert points).  On defense, Dallas is allowing 5.7 YPP and 16.9 YPPT.  Tony Romo is averaging 7.34 YPA with 4 TDs and 2 INTs for a 93.9 QB rating.  That’s right readers, Vince Young has a higher QB rating than Romo.  Remember this day!  Dallas has to run the ball and convert points to win and cover today.

The Sagarin Ratings have Tennessee 21.91 and Dallas 20.71.  With the 2.57 home advantage, the fair betting line is Dallas -1.37.  Currently, Dallas is a 7 point favorite, indicating the betting value is with the Titans.  According to Pregame.com, 56% of bets are on the Titans yet the line has moved from -6.5 to -7 for Dallas.  There may be some sharp action on Dallas.

My NFL model predicts Dallas 19.7 over Tennessee 16.7 for 36.5 total points.  Digging into the stats, both teams are giving up nearly identical yards on defense; Dallas is more prone to giving up a big pass play.  On offense, Tennessee runs the ball well and Dallas passes the ball for a bulk of their production.  The major variance contributor is Tennessee’s offensive production.  To win the Titans must gain more yards than their mean.

Today’s bet is the Dallas Cowboys.  Here’s why.  Dallas improved last time out and had a bye week to continue to work things out.  Tennessee is sloppy and will turn the ball over.  Dallas will control the clock and stop the Titan running game. Bet on the Dallas Cowboys -7. Try to find -6.5 but don’t take -7.5.

Feel free to comment or ask questions below or email me at derekbets@gmail.com.  Follow me on Twitter for all my picks.  Good Luck!

Bet of the Day – Texas A&M Aggies at Oklahoma State Cowboys, September 30, 2010

Texas A&M Aggies (+3) at Oklahoma State Cowboys (-3), Over/Under 67

Yesterday’s bet, New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays, was a winner.  Today we are back on the football field (Yeah!).  Tonight’s Oklahoma and Texas A&M matchup is the first real big 12 showdown of the year.  It’s like a warm up for Texas and Oklahoma on Saturday.  Don’t tell the Aggies and Cowboys that.  Both teams are entering tonight 3-0 and outscoring their opponents by more than 25 points per game.  Both can score, but can either team defend?  Both teams have had an extra 5 days to prepare for tonight’s game.  Expect an exciting game.

The Texas A&M Aggies have dominated opponents.  But they haven’t played anyone, YET.  The Aggies are averaging 5.9 yards per play (YPP) and 12.2 yards per point scored (YPPT) on offense while allowing 3.6 YPP and 17.8 YPPT on defense (very efficient).  They have moved the ball well but have turned the ball over too much.  Senior QB Jerrod Johnson is averaging 7.94 yards per attempt (YPA) for 7 TDs and 4 INTs with a 139.23 QB rating.  In his last game, Johnson threw 4 consecutive picks against a underated Florida International team.  Johnson faces a Cowboy defense that has forced 9 turnovers in 3 games (against OSU in 2009, Johnson threw for 273 yds, 3 TDs and 0 INTs).  The Aggies face Arkansas next week.  Are they looking ahead or is tonight’s game a must win?

The Oklahoma State Cowboys have scored 65 points twice but barely survived a sneaky Troy team at home.  The Cowboys are averaging 7.6 YPP and 10.5 YPPT (very efficient) on offense while allowing 5 YPP and 13.5 YPPT on defense.  Teams have moved the ball well against the Cowboys.  The Cowboy defense will be looking to pressure Jerrod Johnson and force turnovers.  Junior QB Brandon Weeden is averaging 9.65 YPA for 11 TDs and 2 INTs with a 186.33 QB rating.  In 3 games this year, he has nearly passed for 1,000 yards and only sacked 3 times (Jerrod Johnson was 10 times in 3 games).  The Cowboys come into this game with a mediocre opponent next week, biggest game of the year so far, and have had a scare with Troy.  They will be focused.

The Sagarin Ratings have Oklahoma State at 81.35 over Texas A&M at 74.2.  With the 3.01 home advantage, the ratings indicate a fair line of 10.16 points.  With the Cowboys a 3 point favorite, the betting value appears is on the home team.  According to Pregame.com, 82% of bets have been on the Cowboys and the line hasn’t actually gotten closer.  My gut tells me there is some big money from sharp bettors on the Aggies.

My football model predicts Oklahoma State 32.9 over Texas A&M 25.7 for 58.6 total points.  On paper, both teams move the ball and score efficiently.  Texas A&M’s defense allows fewer yards and points but the Cowboys have faced a tougher schedule.  So far, no one has slowed the Cowboys down.  The single biggest variance contributor is the Cowboy pass offense.  If Oklahoma State moves the ball in the air, they will win.

I am a bit torn on this game; it will be close and Aggies will be motivated.  Normally I would go Aggies here.  But I am going to stick with the Cowboys tonight.  Here’s why.  Cowboy’s are the Thursday night home team in their biggest game of the year so far (the first road game of the year for the Aggies).  The Cowboys have a better QB and offense.  The Cowboys had a scare at home against Troy, have had two weeks to prepare, and next week is their let down game.  Aggies may be better than we think, but I am going to make them prove it before I support them.  Bet on the Oklahoma State Cowboys -3.  Follow me on Twitter for all my picks.  Good Luck!

Bet of the Day – Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets – Sept. 13, 2010 7:00 ET

Baltimore Ravens (+1) at New York Jets (-1), Over/Under 36

Yesterday’s bet was a winner.  We had a good weekend covering on both the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Washington Redskins.  Today we are looking at the much-anticipated Ravens and Jets Monday night opener.  Both teams are known for their aggressive defense but the use of their new weapons may decide this game.  Trash-talk will be the norm in this chippy matchup.

The Baltimore Ravens have added several receiving options for quarterback Joe Flacco.  Some say more options than they can use.  The Ravens averaged 5.7 YPP and 14.4 YPPT in 2009.  They rushed for 130 yards per game but passed for only 203 yards per game.  The Ravens added Anquan Boldin which gives the Ravens the physical slot option they may need.  Physicality isn’t a problem on defense, but age is.  The Raven defense, still led by Ray Lewis, allowed only 4.9 YPP for 17.9 YPPT.  Tonight they face a talented Jets offense whose biggest question is chemistry.

Teams don’t get more quotable than the New York Jets and their coach Rex Ryan.  The Jets were a surprise team in 2009.  They won’t surprise anyone in 2010.  Since late in the 2009 season, the Jets have been on a steady diet of big names and big paychecks.  Behind a heavy run game, the Jets averaged 5.2 YPP for 15.2 YPPT in 2009.  Adding RB LaDainian Tomlinson and WR Santonio Holmes gives sophomore quarterback Mark Sanchez more depth and options in 2010.  Santonio Holmes is suspended for this game.  Like Baltimore, the Jets have a physical and  stiff defense.  What the Ravens do to the run, the Jets do to the pass.  The Jets allowed 4.6 YPP for 17.4 YPPT.  The unknown will be Darrelle Revis’ game shape.

I will use Sagarin Ratings and my football simulation model to evaluate the point spread and betting value.  Following Sagarin, New York is a slight favorite.  Sagarin values New York at 22.68 and Baltimore at 24.51.  With a 3.07 home advantage, New York would be a 1.24 favorite.

My football model predicts a similarly close game with New York 22.46 over Baltimore 20.08 for 42.54 total points.  On paper, it is clear that Baltimore is slightly better passing while New York is better running.  Both teams do a good job on run defense.  The Jets pass defense is clearly better on paper.  The key variance contributor is Baltimore’s ability to pass against the Jet defense.  Considering the close projections and the very close point spread, I decided to run the model on 2009 home and away stats.  This produces much different results; New York 24.49 over Baltimore 15.20 for 39.69 total points. Two key factors drive this point difference, Baltimore’s pass offense and defense.  In road games, Baltimore averaged 63 yards per game less on offense and allowed 30 yards more per game.  With the drop in offensive production on the road, can Baltimore’s passing additions bolster their road performance against the Jets defense?

With the close point spread, we are really betting on the winner here.  This is a tough game to call, but I am going to go with the Jets at home.  Here is why.  The Jets are a good team at home.  Baltimore’s drop in passing production in road games is a concern.  The Jets added depth and weapons to their offense.  Kris Jenkins returns and will bolster the already strong run defense.  Rex Ryan knows how to motivate and the team knows the spotlight is on.  Expect a tough game, but Bet on the New York Jets (-1).  Follow me on twitter for all my picks.  Good Luck!

Bet of the Day – Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins, Sept 12, 2010 8:15 ET

Dallas Cowboys (-3.5) at Washington Redskins (+3.5), Over/Under 40

Yesterday’s bet was a winner on the Buckeyes.  Tonight, the Cowboys and Redskins renew the long rivalry.  As with every new season, the Cowboys have big expectations.  The new-look Redskins also have lofty expectations of under new coach Mike Shanahan.  Dallas isn’t a great road team.  The Redskins did win 3 of their 4 2009 wins at home.   Both teams are very physical so expect a good game tonight.

The Cowboys return a similar squad to their 11-5 2009 team.  Quarterback Tony Romo has decent weapons in recently extended Miles Austin, Roy Williams, and rookie Dez Bryant.  The Cowboys had the 6th rated offense in 2009 averaging 6.3 yards per play (YPP) but only 17.7 yards per point scored (YPPT).  What does that mean?  They moved the ball well but weren’t very efficient scorers.  The Cowboys only ranked 22nd in the Red Zone.  Their offense will have to convert points to win on the road today.  Romo had his best year in 2009 (4483 yards, 26 TDs and 9 INT).  Romo wasn’t consistent in preseason but is that cause for concern?  The bigger concern is the Cowboy defense.  Though they were 9th overall last year, their pass defense was 20th allowing 6.8 yards per attempt (YPA) and 19 TDs.  In road games, Dallas’ defense allowed 16.7 YPPT.  This is 3 YPPT less efficient than they are at home.  The Cowboys will be able to stop the run, but how will they handle Redskins veteran QB Donovan McNabb and his receivers.

Washington’s 2009 team was 4-12.  The Redskins added a new executive, coach and QB to their perennial under achieving roster.   The Redskins only averaged 5.4 YPP and 18.8 YPPT on offense while allowing 5.3 YPP and 15.2 YPPT on defense.  They weren’t very effective moving the ball and their pass defense was mediocre.  Their run defense is excellent and they are very effective in the red zone (when they actually get there).  As with earlier Shanahan teams, he will establish the run.  Can McNabb get more out of this group of receivers?  On defense, the Redskins will be looking to put pressure on Tony Romo and shut the run down.  This could force Romo into difficult passing situations.   Despite the much publicized Haynesworthgate, I expect the Redskins to step forward this year.

Sagarin Ratings project Dallas 24.43 and Washington 16.78.  Given a 3.07 point home advantage, Dallas is a 4.58 point favorite.

I simulated the game using stats from 2009.  My football model predicts Dallas 25.79 to Washington 23.05 for 48.84 total points.  This isn’t adjusted for any home advantage.  The key variance drivers are Washington’s pass offense and Dallas’ pass defense.  This validates that if Washington steps forward with McNabb, it could spell trouble for Dallas. I also adjusted for home/away stats.  With the home/away adjustment, the model predicts Dallas 24.93 over Washington 23.99 for 48.92 total points.  Reviewing these results, it was clear that Dallas’ run production dropped in road games and Romo became dependant on the pass.  The big unknown will be, how effective can the Dallas pass game be with pressure on Romo and a less effective run game?

This is a big game for both teams.  Who should we pick?  With the new faces and public Haynesworth spectacle, I think it is more important for Washington.  Dallas isn’t great on the road.  McNabb is a proven quarterback who has been successful with mediocre receivers. Washington can stop the run.  Dallas’ secondary is suspect.  Bet on the Washington Redskins +3.5. Follow me on twitter for all my picks.  Good Luck!

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