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Play, action or pass recap: What we learned in Week 17

Marcus Mariota and the Titans slipped into the playoffs. Andy Lyons/Getty Images

As we discussed last week, you shouldn't look too much into the results of some of the games in Week 17, but the final weekend does give us a chance to sharpen our power rankings on teams advancing to the postseason. What did we learn from some of last week's performances?

FALCONS 22 PANTHERS 10

In a game that had implications for both teams, Cam Newton came up short in an abysmal performance. Many are saying that Cam looked unconcerned during the contest, but I see it the opposite. Cam was entirely into the game, and you can see that on his Quarterback runs and his reactions after them. What affected him was the inability of his wide receivers to create separation in addition to the horrible performance from Greg Olsen. On numerous plays, the two seemed to be on different beats with Olsen running completely different routes and dropping multiple passes. The Panthers have run an unconventional offense the entire year with a playbook that doesn't require a true #1 wide receiver. While it did work the first time around, when playing divisional foes in the yearly rematch, the Panthers only averaged 17.7 points and 260.7 yards a game. Are the adjustments from their opponents in their second meetings a mold of how to stop the unorthodox attack of the Panthers? If so, what does it say when a team sees the scheme for the third time this year? The Saints held Carolina to an average of 17 points in their two encounters this season.

BUCCANEERS 31 SAINTS 24

In a "need" game for the Saints, they failed to win outright as a 7 point road favorite. New Orleans was very fortunate the Panthers lost to the Falcons. Otherwise, they wouldn't be playing at home this weekend. The Saints managed to lose the game with a +2 turnover margin. When you look at the boxscore, and the final stats for the Saints offensive stars Alvin Kamara (9/44/1) and Mark Ingram (13/35), you see modest numbers compared to what we have been accustomed to the entire season. The reason behind these low totals has to be accredited to Tampa Bay's ability to convert on third down where they were 12 for 14, ultimately keeping the ball away from the Saints offense.

TITANS 15 JAGUARS 10

Doug Marrone's decision to play Blake Bortles and the rest of the starters has to be the worst coaching decision of the season. Bortles limped off in the second quarter after a low hit but surprisingly was put back into a meaningless game. Many would use the "gaining postseason momentum" theory, and if that's the case, then the Jaguars achieved the contrary. Bortles finished with a 33.7 QB rating while going 15-34, with a shameful 158 yards and two picks. On the Titans side, we saw what we have been watching all year, a putrid offense that only netted 232 total yards. Tennesse will be a team we look to take advantage of in the playoffs.

BENGALS 31 RAVENS 27

The Bengals looked like the inspired team as  Baltimore had five drops in the first half. The Ravens failed to hold the late lead, and Andy Dalton's late-game heroics punched a ticket for Buffalo's first postseason since appearance since 1999.

VIKINGS 23 BEARS 10

The Vikings finished 6-2 ATS at home while finishing +7.9 in ATS +/- in those contest.

CARDINALS 26 SEAHAWKS 24

Arizona's defense played inspired for Bruce Arian's farewell, allowing Seattle only 13 first downs in a must-win game for the Seahawks.

CHARGERS 30 RAIDERS 10

Not much to be said, the Raiders are the Raiders.

Inside The numbers

Based on the odds of -110 (11/10) for a straight football wager, a handicapper needs to be right 52.38% to break even. If you can manage to exceed that figure, you have beat the book, something many fail to do over a large sample size.

For example, If you make ten wagers to win $100 (risking $110 to win $100) and win 6 out of 10, you won $600. Take out the losses at -110 odds you subtract -$440. So you profited $160.

Let's say you make the same wagers and spilt, five wins and five losses. Now you won $500, but you lost $550 after the -110 odds. Going even ultimately cost you a -$50 result. The one game difference holds a value of +/- $210.

The smallest of percents are critical to your final net gain and losses.

Play Action or Pass went 3-5 in Week 17 bringing the final regular season number to 48-38-2 (55.81%)

Patriots -15    WIN
Raiders+8     LOSS
Packers+7     LOSS
Redskins -3     LOSS
Panthers+4    LOSS
49ers Moneyline   WIn
Teasers 7 point
Panthers+11/ Patriots-8  LOSS
Teasers 10 point
Patriots-5/Vikings-1/Saints-Bucs over 40  WIN

Favorites finished 2017 with a 132-110-9 ATS record.
Home Teams 126-116-9 ATS
Over/ Under 118-133-5 ATS
72 of 110 underdogs won their games outright this season 65%

Best teams ATS in 2017

Vikings    11-5
Patriots   11-6
Chiefs     10-6
Eagles     10-6
Bills      9-6-1
Jets       9-6-1

Final Regular Season Power Rankings
Patriots
Steelers
Vikings
Saints
Rams

Super Bowl Odds
New England Patriots    +210
Minnesota Vikings    +375
Pittsburgh Steelers    +525
New Orleans Saints    +750
Los Angeles Rams    +900
Philadelphia Eagles    +1200
Kansas City Chiefs    +1800
Jacksonville Jaguars    +2200
Carolina Panthers    +2500
Atlanta Falcons    +2500
Tennessee Titans    +7500
Buffalo Bills    +7500

For any question or comments reach me at @JerryBoKnowz on twitter
 

 




 

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ROCKETS BEAT THUNDER

Rockets blast Thunder in home opener, 124-91

Rockets take care of business in home opener. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets had an impressive outing versus the Oklahoma City Thunder after an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. They took care of business at home on Friday night, which was a surprising blowout. The Rockets didn't have to worry about Karl-Anthony Towns screaming at Alperen Sengun or Anthony Edwards telling Coach Silas to call a timeout. Instead, they took their frustrations out on the Thunder (another younger core).

"We responded and bounced back from that game 1," Silas said. "I wouldn't say it was taking anything out. It was just learning and applying to what you learn and that's going to be us this year. Applying to what you learn and getting better and having some games like we had the other day. Veteran teams have some games when they don't play as well they want."

Christian Wood led the way, as he controlled the paint on all aspects with rebounding and putbacks. He played an incredible game after having a poor performance versus the Timberwolves. Silas showed complete trust in allowing Wood to open sets, as he walked the ball down the court several times, and in transition too. Wood became aggressive on the perimeter with open shooting and tough shots, and long strides towards the rim. He finished the night with 31 points and 13 rebounds off 66 percent shooting from the field.

The young core for the Thunder had a tough night defending Wood from every aspect. Hopefully, he keeps this play up. Silas loved the space that was created throughout the game for Wood, which included the help from Eric Gordon, as he continued to play better. Wood continues to develop underneath the Silas umbrella. He had a great feel for off-the-dribble shooting a few times. Wood becomes more dangerous when space is created on the court.

"It allows me to show what I can do. It allows the floor to be open and I can create for other guys and create for myself," Wood said.

As Gordon continues to impress, his teammate Kevin Porter Jr was amazed with his performance.

Gordon looked marvelous inside and outside of the paint, as it looked like a time ripple. The younger guards of the Thunder had a tough time staying in front of Gordon. His size and strength gave the Thunder a huge problem. Gordon is shooting the ball better too, as he is shooting the three-ball at 70 percent this season. Although it's a small sample size, Gordon is trying to overcome his shooting struggles from last year. Gordon finished with 22 points on 66 percent shooting versus the Thunder.

"EG is the biggest part of this squad," Porter said. He comes in and just scores. We need somebody off the bench to do that. He is our guy when me and J come out, it's EG time and he knows that, and comes in aggressive. So much energy on the bench, and we need that every night from him if we want a chance to win."

As I recently mentioned Porter, his facilitation did look better versus the Thunder than the Timberwolves. Porter had nine turnovers in his first game but managed to have two Friday night. He made great slip passes and found open teammates in the open corner. Porter forced a good number of passes versus the Timberwolves but looked more relaxed Friday night. The hardest position in the NBA is the point guard position, but Silas will not allow Porter to fail. Instead of nine turnovers, Porter dished out nine assists. Silas said:

"Bounce back right, going from nine turnovers to nine assists… I think he had two turnovers tonight, which is great. He is making plays for his teammates, and he was really focused."

Porter's shiftiness and creative ability allowed his teammates to get open looks near the rim. He had 18 points because of his step-back threes and first step going towards the basket. Thankfully, Porter is a great ball handler, which confuses defenders on different spots on the court. It's almost like watching a ballerina skate on ice in the Olympics. Hopefully, his confidence continues to get better throughout the year. Porter shot the three-ball at 50 percent tonight. Efficiency is key for Porter this year.

"I'm just trying to let the game slow down," Porter said. "I had a lot of turnovers last game and I just wanted to piggyback and learn from them and learn from some of my forced passes and reads. And sometimes I still force it a little bit. My guys hate that, and sometimes I'm still passive and I'm working on that. When to pass and score and bounce it out, and tonight I felt like I did a good job of that."

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