NFL Simulations – Week 7 2012

13 games on the NFL schedule. 4 system plays: SEA/SF Under 37.5, Texans -6.5, Vikings -6 and PIT/CIN Over 46. NFL system plays are 6-5-0 season to date.

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Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans, Oct 11, 2012

Pittsburgh Steelers (-6) at Tennessee Titans (+6), Over/Under 43.5

The Steelers and Titans are off to slow starts. The Titans have won only 1 game but have played the toughest schedule to date. The Steelers have played a relatively soft schedule; including an early bye week.

The Steelers (2-2) are coming off a late win versus the in-state rival Philadelphia Eagles.  The Steelers didn’t cover the spread but did get a much-needed win off the bye week. The Steelers average 5.3 yards per play (YPP) and 15.0 yards per point scored (YPPT) on offense.  On defense, they allow 5.3 YPP and 12.6 YPPT.  The Steelers defense is less efficient than previous years. QB Ben Roethlisberger averages 7.11 yards per attempt (YPA) for 9 TDs and 1 INTs with a 102.9 QB rating.  Roethlisberger’s YPA is down but his TD/INT ratio is excellent.

The Titans (1-4) have lost 2 straight games and all 5 opponents have scored 30 or more points this season.  The Titans average 5.4 YPP and 17.3 YPPT on offense.  On defense, they allow 6.0 YPP and 11.3 YPPT.  QB Matt Hasselback averages a low 5.52 YPA for 3 TDs and 3 INTs with a 73.6 QB rating.  The Titans are the home underdog in a Thursday night non-divisional game and in desperate need of a win.  The Steelers are playing on the road in a game between the Eagles and division foe Cincinnati.

The Sagarin Ratings have Pittsburgh 22.91 and Cincinnati 13.88.  With the 3.51 home advantage, the fair line is Pittsburgh -5.5.  According to pregame.com, 74% of spread bets are on the Steelers and the Over/Under is split 50/50.  The spread opened at Steelers -6 and in some places moved slightly to -6.5 or -7 (depending on the book(s) you follow); the total has moved from 44 to 43.5.  A majority of bets are on the Steelers, but the line hasn’t firmly made its way to the key number 7.

My NFL model predicts Pittsburgh 28.5 over Tennessee 18.2 for 46.7 total points.  Both teams have been mediocre on offense and under performed on defense.  The Steelers are more efficient on both sides of the ball.  Tennessee gives up more than twice as many rushing yards than they gain.  Pittsburgh should win this game but has to run the ball well. Tennessee has to run the ball better, limit turnovers, and play some semblance of defense to have a chance to win or cover.

The point spread may be a bit high for Pittsburgh. Here’s why. Tennessee has looked dreadful. But they have played a much tougher schedule (opened with the Patriots and played the Chargers, Texans and Vikings on the road). They are a home underdog on a Thursday night. The Steelers are coming off a tough win against the Eagles on a short week and follow this game with a division game. Pittsburgh’s defense hasn’t been as good as we’ve seen in the past and Polamalu and Woodley remain out. Bet Tennessee plus the points (as of this writing sportsbook.ag has Titans +7 -115). Try to get the 7 and don’t take less than 6.

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Super Bowl XLV – Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Green Bay Packers

Pittsburgh Steelers (+3) at Green Bay Packers (-3), Over/Under 45

Yesterday’s bet, Thunder at Jazz, was a loser. The Steelers opened up as a 3-point underdog. The line hasn’t moved much since opening. There are a handful of story lines coming into the game; Roethlisberger sings, Capers vs. LeBeau, Polamalu or Matthews, etc. Not worried too much over any of the angles but expecting a good game today.

Pittsburgh (14-4) has been in 3 of the last 6 Super Bowls. This is the first time they are the underdog. The Steelers know how to grind out close wins. Pittsburgh averages 5.7 yards per play (YPP) and 14.1 yards per point scored (YPPT) on offense. On defense, they allow 4.7 YPP and 17.6 YPPT. Pittsburgh is a very efficient team. QB Ben Roethlisberger averages 8.23 yards per attempt (YPA) with 17 TDs and 5 INTs for a 97.0 QB rating. Roethlisberger is the public’s favorite QB but he has experience in the Super Bowl and is a unique challenge to defenses. The Steelers will likely be missing rookie center Maurkice Pouncey; that is a big hole to fill. Pittsburgh was criticized for being out on the town this week, but expect a prepared team for the big game.

Green Bay (13-6) fought off injuries most of the season. They seemed to get healthy at the right time. The Packers rolled through the playoffs and their late-season momentum is reflected in the betting line. Green Bay averages 5.9 YPP and 14.3 YPPT on offense. On defense, they allow 5.3 YPP and 19.9 YPPT.  Green Bay has an excellent defense and their offense improved in the 2nd half of the season. QB Aaron Rodgers averages 8.26 YPA with 28 TDs and 11 INTs for a 101.2 QB rating. Green Bay faces a talented and fast defense today, running the ball will be tough. The Packers are very focused for this game; they have to control Roethlisberger and limit turnovers to win.

The Sagarin Ratings have Pittsburgh 31.35 and Green Bay 31.18. With no home advantage, the fair line is Pittsburgh -0.17. According to pregame.com, spread bets are 50/50 and 72% of total bets are on the Over.

My NFL Model predicts Pittsburgh 21.3 over Green Bay 20.15 for 41.45 total points. Green Bay moves the ball better than Pittsburgh on offense. Pittsburgh is more efficient on offense. The defenses are very similar; but Pittsburgh has the better rushing defense. The key variance contributor is Pittsburgh’s pass defense. They have to keep Green Bay below their average passing yardage per game to win and cover.

I don’t have a strong lean on either team today. I modeled the game at Steelers -1.15. Based on that and the Sagarin Ratings, I think the betting value is with Pittsburgh. Since I don’t have a strong lean (partly because I had preseason Super Bowl bets on the Packers, Steelers and Cowboys), I am taking the Under. Here’s why. A majority of the public is on the over and the line hasn’t fluctuated much.  There are two excellent defenses playing. The extended commercials and hoopla make it more difficult for an offense to get in rhythm. I modeled the game at 41.45 total points. Bet Steelers/Packers Under 45.

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NFL Conference Championship Round

Yesterday’s bet, Marquette at Notre Dame, was a winner. Taking a bit of a different approach today. I am going to preview both NFL games.

Green Bay Packers (-4) at Chicago Bears (+4), Over/Under 42.5

This is the 3rd meeting between the Packers and Bears this season. They split the first two games. It will be cold (20 degrees) with a chance of snow (as it should be). Green Bay had an injury-plagued season but now enter this game full of momentum. They have an excellent QB and defense.  Chicago found a running game mid-season winning 8 of their last 10 games. Like the Packers, they have a good QB and defense (of course, at this point of the playoffs most teams have those two qualities).

Green Bay (12-6) clinched a playoff spot in the last week of the season. They can thank Chicago for that. The Packers average 6.0 yards per play (YPP) and 14.2 yards per point scored (YPPT) on offense. On defense, they allow 5.4 YPP and 19.8 YPPT. They are efficient. QB Aaron Rodgers averages 8.26 yards per attempt (YPA) with 28 TDs and 11 INTs for a 101.2 QB rating. Rodgers played excellent in both playoff games.  The Packers will need another big game from Rodgers and their run defense to win today.

Chicago (12-5) is likely regretting that final game against the Packers. They won relatively handily last week (more than the score shows) holding the Seahawks to 34 rushing yards. The Bears average 5.3 YPP and 13.7 YPPT on offense.  On defense, they allow 5.2 YPP and 17.1 YPPT. They are efficient on both sides of the ball. QB Jay Cutler averages 7.58 YPA with 23 TDs and 16 INTs for a 86.3 QB rating. Cutler will need a big game and help for his running game to win today. The Bears are a good home team and shouldn’t be overlooked as home-underdog.

The Sagarin Ratings have Green Bay 30.5 and Chicago 25.4. With the 1.9 home advantage, the fair line is Green Bay -3.2. According to pregame.com, 66% of spread bets are on Green Bay and 58% of total bets are on the Under. The point spread moved from Green Bay -3 to -3.5 early in the week; it is now sitting at -3.5 and -4 depending on where you look.

My NFL model has Green Bay 22.6 and Chicago 20.3 for 42.9 total points. Green Bay has a more effective passing game. The teams are similar in offensive efficiency. The teams are also similar in defensive yards allowed. Packers are better against the pass; Chicago is better against the run. The Packers are more efficient. The key variance contributor is Chicago’s passing yards allowed.  Chicago has to slow down Aaron Rodgers and the Packer receivers to win.

New York Jets (+4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (-4), Over/Under 38

The Jets beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh earlier this season. The Steelers out gained the Jets in that game but the Jets won the special teams battle. QB Mark Sanchez had a mediocre game against a Steeler defense missing Troy Polamalu.  Polamalu is playing today. The Jets beat the number 1 seed Patriots last week.  Can they win their 3rd straight road playoff game today? The Steelers faced a physical Ravens team last week. They were down by 14 at the half. Will that physical, emotional win cause a letdown today?

The Jets (13-5) said all preseason its Super Bowl or bust.  Should we be surprised they are one game away? They have been quiet all week following their upset win in Foxboro. New York averages 5.3 YPP and 15.2 YPPT on offense. On defense, they allow 5.0 YPP and 15.7 YPPT. They aren’t the most efficient team. QB Mark Sanchez averages 6.49 YPA with 17 TDs and 13 INTs for a 75.3 QB rating. Sanchez is turnover prone but took a big step forward in the 2nd half last week. The Jets have more offensive weapons but must protect Sanchez (this isn’t the Colts or Patriots defense).  The Jets will need to limit turnovers, have excellent special teams play, and control Roethlisberger and the Steeler passing game to win today.

Pittsburgh (13-4) didn’t look like a playoff team in the 1st half last week. They scored 24 points and held the Ravens to 3 in the 2nd half. They don’t have the momentum that the Jets do, but they have proven all year they can put it together when they need to. The Steelers average 5.7 YPP and 14.3 YPPT on offense.  On defense, they allow 4.7 YPP and 17.8 YPPT. They are efficient. QB Ben Roethlisberger averages 8.23 YPA with 17 TDs and 5 INTs for a 97 QB rating. Roethlisberger is the better QB and has the playoff experience advantage. The Steelers have to get pressure on Sanchez and limit the special teams big plays.  Pittsburgh will be tough to beat at home twice.

The Sagarin Ratings have Pittsburgh 30.74 and New York 28.76. With the 1.9 home advantage, the fair line is Pittsburgh -3.9. According to pregame.com, 56% of the spread bets are on Pittsburgh and 59% of total bets are on the Over.  The point spread opened at Pittsburgh -3 and has slowly moved to -4.

My NFL model has Pittsburgh 22.5 and New York 17.4 for 39.9 total points.  The teams have similar offensive yardage production; Steelers pass more, Jets run more.  The Steelers are more efficient on offense.  The Steelers have a better, more efficient defense.  The key variance contributor is both teams pass defense.  Whichever team can better pressure the QB and limit passing yards will win the game.

Summary

The Packers have momentum entering today. The Bears have steadily improved this season. Green Bay is the better overall team; but the Bears have dangerous weapons and are a home underdog. I think the Packers edge out a close win today but the Bears cover the spread. I modeled the game at Packers -2.3. I think there is value with the Bears. Bet the Chicago Bears +4.

The Jets beat the bet two QBs in the league over the last two weeks. They are living up to their own hype. Pittsburgh comes off a physical, come-from-behind win over a divisional rivalry.  Both teams have a case for deflation. The Jets have better offensive weapons but winning 3 road playoff games is a tall task.  I modeled the game at Pittsburgh -5.1. Pittsburgh will be tough to beat twice at home and has the playoff experience in key positions. Bet the Pittsburgh Steelers -4.

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Bet of the Day – Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns, Jan. 2, 2011

Pittsburgh Steelers (-5.5) at Cleveland Browns (+5.5), Over/Under 38

Yesterday’s bet, TCU vs. Wisconsin, was a push.  The Steelers are in the playoffs.  But a win today drastically changes their playoff seeding.  Cleveland has only pride to play for today but don’t expect them to roll over.  Both teams will come to play today; Cleveland will try to jump on Pittsburgh early.

The Steelers (11-4) can lock up the division, a bye, and second round home field with a win today.  Lose and they could play next weekend as a wild card team.  They average 5.7 yards per play (YPP) and 15.3 yards per point scored (YPPT) on offense.  On defense, they allow 4.9 YPP and 18.9 YPPT.  QB Ben Roethlisberger averages 7.96 yards per attempt (YPA) with 15 TDs and 5 INTs for a 94.3 QB rating.  He has also rushed for 2 TDs but has 3 fumbles.  The Steelers have a decent offense.  Their run defense is excellent but are vulnerable against the pass.  They will look to slow RB Peyton Hillis and put pressure on rookie QB Colt McCoy.  The Steelers won the first meeting by 18 and they don’t lack motivation today.

Cleveland (5-10) hasn’t had much to play for in the last few weeks.  Today is their third straight division game.  Now they play a good team that needs to win.  The Browns average 5.3 YPP and 16.8 YPPT on offense.  On defense, they allow 5.4 YPP and 17.8 YPPT.  They are a decent, efficient defensive team.  QB Colt McCoy averages 7.55 YPA with 5 TDs and 6 INTs for a 81.9 QB rating.  McCoy played well against the Steelers in their first meeting.  They will need another big game from McCoy, Hillis and their defense for a chance today.

The Sagarin Ratings have Pittsburgh 29.19 and Cleveland 18.74.  With the 2.08 home advantage, the fair line is Steelers -8.37.

My NFL model predicts Pittsburgh 21.79 and Cleveland 15.23 for 37.03 total points.  Pittsburgh gains more yardage and is more efficient on offense.  Both teams are good on defense.  Pittsburgh is better against the run and is more efficient.  The key variance contributor is Cleveland’s defensive yardage allowed.  Cleveland has to limit Pittsburgh’s yardage below their season average to cover and/or win the game.

Today I am taking the Steelers minus the points.  Here’s why.  Cleveland has played 3 straight division games and has no playoff hopes.  Pittsburgh has too much at stake to sleep on Cleveland.  Pittsburgh has the advantage in defense, game experience and quarterback.  Ultimately, the Steelers are a better team and will wear down the Browns’ defense.  I modeled the game at Pittsburgh -6.56.  Bet the Pittsburgh Steelers -5.5.

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Bet of the Day – Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens, Dec. 5, 2010

Pittsburgh Steelers (+3) at Baltimore Ravens (-3), Over/Under 38.5

Yesterday’s bet, Auburn vs. South Carolina, was a winner.  Cam Newton gift wrapped his Heisman.  Fun game in Baltimore tonight.  Both teams have won two straight.  Tonight’s winner take the lead in the AFC North.

Pittsburgh (8-3) lost the first meeting at home to the Ravens.  They didn’t have Roethlisberger in that game.  Tonight they do, but he has foot injury that could slow him down.  The Steelers average 5,8 yards per play (YPP) and 14.5 yards per point scored (YPPT) on offense.  On defense, they allow 5.0 YPP and 18.5 YPPT.  They are efficient on both sides of the ball.  QB Ben Roethlisberger averages 8.3 yards per attempt (YPA) with 12 TDs and 4 INTs for a 99.1 QB rating.  With the injured foot, there are questions to be answered.  But Pittsburgh is better with him on the field.  The Steelers’ will be able to run the ball but must protect Roethlisberger and slow down the Ravens’ passing game.

The Ravens (8-3) have been good of late.  They are 4-1 in their last 5; the only loss was at Atlanta.  They average 5.4 YPP and 15.3 YPPT on offense.  On defense, they allow 5.3 YPP and 17.9 YPPT.  Efficient, but not as efficient as Pittsburgh.  QB Joe Flacco averages 7.46 YPA with 18 TDs and 8 INTs for a 93.2 QB rating.  Flacco has been better in the Raven’s last six games.  He has an opportunity tonight to continue that success against a vulnerable Steeler secondary.  The Ravens will need to limit the Steelers’ passing yards and convert points in the red zone to win tonight.

The Sagarin Ratings have Pittsburgh 28.29 and Baltimore 27.01.  With the 2.13 home advantage, the fair line is Baltimore -0.85.  According to pregame.com, 58% of spread bets are on the Ravens and the total bet is split 50/50.  There hasn’t been a big move in the point spread or total.

My NFL model has Baltimore 22.0 over Pittsburgh 21.0 for 43.0 total points.  These teams are similar but average in offensive yardage and efficiency.  They are both efficient on defense.  Pittsburgh is vulnerable to the pass.  Baltimore doesn’t stop the run like year’s past.  The key variance contributor is both teams defensive passing yards allowed.  Whichever team is more effective passing the ball will likely win the game.

Expecting a close game that could be decided by one or two plays so no point spread bet for me.  There has been a lot of hype about the hard-hitting, grinding type of game this will be.  Not sure I want to be with the public/media here, so tonight I am taking the over.  Here’s why.  Both team’s defenses are good but not as good as they have been in the past.  The Steelers will be able to run the ball.  The Ravens will be able to pass the ball.  My NFL model predicts the game at 43 points against a 38.5 total line; the value is on the over.  Bet Pittsburgh/Baltimore Over 38.5.

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Bet of the Day – New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers, Nov. 14, 2010

New England Patriots (+5) at Pittsburgh Steelers (-5), Over/Under 45

Yesterday’s bet was a loser.  Won the Auburn leg of the teaser but lost the 2nd leg.  Big game in Pittsburgh tonight featuring two of the top AFC teams.  The Patriots got beat by a mediocre Cleveland team last week.  The Steelers won a divisional game in Cincinnati.

New England (6-2) gave up 34 points last week at Cleveland.  Easily the low point of their season but it was a clear “trap” game.  New England is better than that game indicates.  The Pats average 5.5 yards per play (YPP) and 11.8 yards per point scored (YPPT) on offense.  On defense, they allow 5.9 YPP and 16.4 YPPT.  QB Tom Brady averages 7.00 yards per attempt (YPA) with 14 TDs and 4 INTs for a 95.7 QB rating.  The Patriots haven’t been as effective on offense since Randy Moss’ release.  But they still have several weapons; expect a better game tonight from the Patriots.  It doesn’t help the Patriots case that their kicker is now on injured reserve.

The Steelers (6-2) finally return home after 3 straight road games.  Pittsburgh averages 5.6 YPP and 13.8 YPPT on offense.  On defense, they allow 5.0 YPP and 19.4 YPPT.  Their defense still hasn’t given up 100 yards rushing this year.  QB Ben Roethlisberger averages 8.41 YPA with 6 TDs and 3 INTs for a 96.8 QB rating.  Roethlisberger is in his 5th game back and has been okay.  Pittsburgh is the better team.  This is a tough schedule spot (i.e. three road games , a short week off a divisional game).  Will we see some deflation with the Steelers this week?

The Sagarin Ratings have Pittsburgh 29.22 and New England 25.28.  With the 2.88 home advantage, the fair line is Pittsburgh -6.82.  According to pregame.com, 67% of spread bets are on the Patriots but the line has moved from Steelers -4 to -5.

My NFL model predicts Pittsburgh 27.5 over New England 24.1 for 51.6 total points.  New England averages more offensive yardage and is more efficient.  Pittsburgh is clearly better on defense.  The key variance contributors are both teams passing defense.  The team that allows fewer passing yards relative to their mean, will cover the point spread.

Today I am teasing New England and the Over.  Here’s why.  This is a tough schedule spot for the Steelers.  New England hit a low point last week following their own tough schedule stretch.  New England can score without relying on the rushing game.  I think there is value in both New England and the Over.  Bet a 7-point teaser New England +12 with Patriots/Steelers Over 38.

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