Gambling recap

NFL Week 16: They are who we thought they were

NFL Week 16: They are who we thought they were
The Chiefs have turned it on since changing play call duties. Peter Aiken/Getty Images

Week 16 handles the duties of pointing teams in their respective direction of fate. This week a few teams showed us precisely what we thought they were.

Biggest favorites to Cover

Chiefs-11
Who did we think the Chiefs were to begin the season? A team capable of knocking off the defending Super Bowl Champion Patriots, scoring 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to pull off a stunning upset, that's what we learned opening night. Also, a unit that would carry that momentum starting the year 5-0 straight up and ATS. After a few injuries and the offense becoming stagnant, the Chiefs regressed drastically going 1-6 ATS in the following seven games. Don't look now, but the Chiefs are rolling and are perfect vs. the spread in the last three contest. The offense seems to have found their rhythm again, and much has to do with Andy Reid giving up the play-calling duties to Matt Nagy. Since making the change, the Chiefs have scored 38,26,30,29.

Patriots -11


After defeating the Steelers the previous week, the destiny was in the Patriots hands going into a divisional clash vs. the Bills.  A tale of two halves, the game was tied at the intermission, but the doors were blown wide open in the closing half. Tom Brady threw a pick-six in the first half to give the Bills a 10-3 lead. This makes it five consecutive games that Brady has turned the ball over, something he hasn't done in 15 years. Just when you consider maybe his age is catching up, he proceeded to score on the next six possessions. In the closing half, Brady was a perfect 9-for-9 with a touchdown leading New England to a blowout win. Who did we think the Patriots were? They are exactly who we thought they were. The team that was always going to get the number one seed in the AFC, therefore, directing the road to the Super Bowl through Foxborough. With Tom Brady under center, New England is 14-3 in the playoffs; Is there an opponent this year worthy of knocking out the Patriots at home in the postseason?

Vikings-9

The Vikings defense was scary last week, exactly what we thought they had been all year. The Vikings have now held opponents to single digits in four of the last six contests and have given up and an average of 11 points a game in the last month. This is nothing new for a squad who ranks 1st overall in weighted defensive DVOA and 11th in turnover +/- differential. Minnesota has now won 10 of their last 11 and is 8-1 ATS in the last nine contests. With a win this week (or a few scenarios),  would put them in a position to not have to travel for over three weeks. Furthermore, if the Eagles were to be upset in the playoffs, they wouldn't have to leave home at all as the Superbowl is being held at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota this year.

From the Cashiers window

Most Bet Teams:
Panthers 85%
Rams 81%
Chiefs 77%
Jags 77%
Chargers 74%

Favorites were 13-3 straight up but only managed to go 8-7-1 ATS. The number sits at 123-103-9 for 2017.
The dominating figure this week went to the under, where wagering on low totals went 13-3.

Play Action Pass went 4-5-1 in week 16 bringing us to 45-33-2 on the year winning at a rate of 57.7%.

Eagles-9 PUSH
Texans+10 LOSS
49ers+4  WIN
Seahawks +3  WIN
Seahawks/Cowboys over 47  LOSS
Browns+7  LOSS
Rams/Titans under 49 LOSS

Teaser 7- point
Chargers+.5/Vikings-2 WIN

10-point teaser
Chiefs PK/ Eagles+1/Patriots -1.5  WIN
Eagles+1/Seahawks-Cowboys over 37/Chiefs PK LOSS

For any questions or comments reach me at @JerryBoKnowz on twitter.

 

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The Astros have their work cut out for them. Composite Getty Image.

Through 20 games, the Houston Astros have managed just six wins and are in last place in the AL West.

Their pitching staff trails only Colorado with a 5.24 ERA and big-money new closer Josh Hader has given up the same number of earned runs in 10 games as he did in 61 last year.

Despite this, these veteran Astros, who have reached the AL Championship Series seven consecutive times, have no doubt they’ll turn things around.

“If there’s a team that can do it, it’s this team,” shortstop Jeremy Peña said.

First-year manager Joe Espada, who was hired in January to replace the retired Dusty Baker, discussed his team’s early struggles.

“It’s not ideal,” he said. “It’s not what we expected, to come out of the shoot playing this type of baseball. But you know what, this is where we’re at and we’ve got to pick it up and play better. That’s just the bottom line.”

Many of Houston’s problems have stemmed from a poor performance by a rotation that has been decimated by injuries. Ace Justin Verlander and fellow starter José Urquidy haven’t pitched this season because of injuries and lefty Framber Valdez made just two starts before landing on the injured list with a sore elbow.

Ronel Blanco, who threw a no-hitter in his season debut April 1, has pitched well and is 2-0 with a 0.86 ERA in three starts this season. Cristian Javier is also off to a good start, going 2-0 with a 1.54 ERA in four starts, but the team has won just two games not started by those two pitchers.

However, Espada wouldn’t blame the rotation for Houston’s current position.

“It’s been a little bit of a roller coaster how we've played overall,” he said. “One day we get good starting pitching, some days we don’t. The middle relief has been better and sometimes it hasn’t been. So, we’ve just got to put it all together and then play more as a team. And once we start doing that, we’ll be in good shape.”

The good news for the Astros is that Verlander will make his season debut Friday night when they open a series at Washington and Valdez should return soon after him.

“Framber and Justin have been a great part of our success in the last few years,” second baseman Jose Altuve said. “So, it’s always good to have those two guys back helping the team. We trust them and I think it’s going to be good.”

Hader signed a five-year, $95 million contract this offseason to give the Astros a shutdown 7-8-9 combination at the back end of their bullpen with Bryan Abreu and Ryan Pressly. But the five-time All-Star is off to a bumpy start.

He allowed four runs in the ninth inning of a 6-1 loss to the Braves on Monday night and has yielded eight earned runs this season after giving up the same number in 56 1/3 innings for San Diego last year.

He was much better Wednesday when he struck out the side in the ninth before the Astros fell to Atlanta in 10 innings for their third straight loss.

Houston’s offense, led by Altuve, Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker, ranks third in the majors with a .268 batting average and is tied for third with 24 homers this season. But the Astros have struggled with runners in scoring position and often failed to get a big hit in close games.

While many of Houston’s hitters have thrived this season, one notable exception is first baseman José Abreu. The 37-year-old, who is in the second year of a three-year, $58.5 million contract, is hitting 0.78 with just one extra-base hit in 16 games, raising questions about why he remains in the lineup every day.

To make matters worse, his error on a routine ground ball in the eighth inning Wednesday helped the Braves tie the game before they won in extra innings.

Espada brushed off criticism of Abreu and said he knows the 2020 AL MVP can break out of his early slump.

“Because (of) history,” Espada said. “The back of his baseball card. He can do it.”

Though things haven’t gone well for the Astros so far, everyone insists there’s no panic in this team which won its second World Series in 2022.

Altuve added that he doesn’t have to say anything to his teammates during this tough time.

“I think they’ve played enough baseball to know how to control themselves and how to come back to the plan we have, which is winning games,” he said.

The clubhouse was quiet and somber Wednesday after the Astros suffered their third series sweep of the season and second at home. While not panicking about the slow start, this team, which has won at least 90 games in each of the last three seasons, is certainly not happy with its record.

“We need to do everything better,” third baseman Alex Bregman said. “I feel like we’re in a lot of games, but we just haven’t found a way to win them. And good teams find a way to win games. So we need to find a way to win games.”

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