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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Bet of the Day – Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans, Dec. 9, 2010

Indianapolis Colts (-3) at Tennessee Titans (+3), Over/Under 45

Yesterday’s bet, Heat at Jazz, was a loser.  Tonight is the first of two meetings between the Colts and Titans.  Both teams are at a season low; Tennessee has lost 5 straight and Indianapolis has lost 3.

The Colts (6-6) are still missing several key pieces.  Tonight is a must win.  They average 5.7 yards per play (YPP) and 14.5 yards per point scored (YPPT) on offense.  On defense, they allow 5.6 YPP and 14.2 YPPT.  The Colts aren’t very efficient on defense; they give up too many rushing yards.  Peyton Manning hasn’t been very good in recent weeks.  He averages 6.95 yards per attempt (YPA) with 24 TDs and 15 INTs for a 89.4 QB rating.  The Colts defense is suspect.  But expect a big effort from Manning and the Colts tonight.

The Titans (5-7) have little hope for a playoff spot.  They need to win out and get some help.  To do that they have to beat the Colts twice.  Tennessee averages 5.4 YPP and 13.3 YPPT on offense.  On defense, they allow 5.3 YPP and 18.5 YPPT.  Kerry Collins will likely get the start.  Collins averages 5.81 YPA for 5 TDs and 5 INTs with a 68.8 QB rating.  The Titans can’t stop the run.  Lucky for them, the Colts can’t run the ball.

The Sagarin Ratings have the Colts 21.85 and the Titans 19.72.  With the 1.85 home advantage, the fair line is Indianapolis -0.28.

My NFL model has Indianapolis 28 and Tennessee 25.3 for 53.3 total points.  Indianapolis moves ball better but Tennessee is more efficient at converting points.  Tennessee is also more efficient on defense, but the Colts allow fewer yards.  The key variance contributors are each team’s passing yards allowed.  The Titans will need to hold the Colts well below their passing yardage average to win the game.

Tonight I am taking the Colts -3.  Here’s why.  Indianapolis hasn’t been great lately but they have played a tough recent schedule.  They continue to score points and their games have been close.  4 of Tennessee’s 5 straight losses were by more than a touchdown against mediocre opponents.  Peyton Manning will bounce back.  Tennessee is vulnerable to both the run and pass.  Tonight is a must win for the Colts.  Bet the Indianapolis Colts -3.

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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!

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