New York Giants v Minnesota Vikings (Over 45)
The totals line on this game has been trending lower all week after opening at 46 on Monday. I’d suggest that the weather is partially to blame for this, as it is supposed to be around 17 degrees at game time. However, the snow should stop falling on Saturday which should allow for clear field conditions on Sunday. The other reason of course is the subtraction of Odell Beckham from the Giants lineup, as he is apparently an insane person.
It is a common preconception that scoring will be lower in colder weather and cold weather does in fact affect the kicking game to a great degree. A recent study done of games from 1989 to 2011 indicates that scoring is one point lower in games played in northern outdoor stadiums after Week 14. However, lines makers also know this and compensate as well. Their compensation is actually two points per game – they overdo it a bit because of the public action on the Under.
Going into this matchup the Giants bring the 32nd ranked road passing defense in the league. There is a good chance that Teddy Bridgewater has a second good performance in a row here, and as long as it isn’t wet and cold, the throwing game should not be affected by the weather. The Giants also allow a league worst 423 yards per game, and are 31st in the league in sacks with just 19 on the season. Good ol’ Teddy will have time to throw on Sunday. The Vikings should have no problem putting up 24+ points.
And I’d like to think that the removal of Beckham from the lineup will help the Giants offense, similar to Seattle post-Percy Harvin or Jimmy Graham. Giants tight end, Will Tye, just looks like he is made for a cold game in Minnesota doesn’t he? The Minnesota defense is also banged up (as we took advantage of) and their coach, Mike Zimmer, has already stated that he will be conservative in bringing players back too fast because of the Vikings imminent playoff berth. The Giants put up 35 points against a superior Carolina team last week and should have no trouble scoring 24+ points in this one either.
Betting System: Fade Public Perception
Cleveland Browns @ Kansas City Chiefs (-11)
I believe this matchup for Cleveland is actually worse than last week in Seattle, yet the line isn’t nearly as steep. The Chiefs have won eight games in a row now and are arguably the hottest team in the NFL. They also have beat the teams that they were supposed to beat by a significant margin, piling up ATS wins in the process with the exception of their 10-3 win against San Diego in Week 14.
The Chiefs only trail the Seahawks in weighted DVOA through Week 15, ranking 2nd in the league. Cleveland ranks 30th in the NFL. So in this matchup we have almost the best team in the NFL, at home, against almost the worst. This is going to be an absolute blowout.
Cleveland has proven that they can’t keep things close against strong rated DVOA teams this year as well. Of course we have the 17-point loss to the Seahawks last week, but you can add 21 and 34-point losses to Cincinnati, a 23-point loss to Pittsburgh, a 14-point loss to Arizona, an 18-point loss to St. Louis, and a 21-point loss to the New York Jets. All of those teams are in the top 10 in weighted DVOA.
Cleveland’s wins are against the 20th, 31st, and 32nd ranked teams in the league by this measure. The Browns are very bad, you guys.
This will likely be my biggest wager on Sunday. The Chiefs have the Broncos in their sights for the AFC West, and wounded prey on their home turf.
Betting System: Hottest Team in the Land
San Francisco 49ers @ Detroit (-10)
Apparently I need to hurry this up because I have to open some presents. The only reason to watch this game may be if you have a wager on it, so here goes.
As stated above, the 49ers are nearly last in the NFL in multiple categories and statistical devices. Their score differential this year is negative 9.8 points. They average just over 14 points a game on offense, which is similar to the output of say, just one Doug Baldwin.
Detroit isn’t half bad and are just outside of the top 10 in the NFL in DVOA and have been improving over recent weeks, winning 4 of their last 6. They were even a Hail Mary away from sweeping the season series with the Packers. Out of their 9 losses, only two were to teams that are not going to the playoffs. The schedule gets much easier this week for the Lions and they will take advantage of it.
Betting System: They Really Are That Bad
Betting trends and odds provided by sportsbookreview.com.
As always, do your due diligence and be aware that lines are made to get action at 50% on each side and are not a 50/50 proposition. Good luck!