Last week, we got weird with the picks and it (kind of) worked. Two wins and one loss in week fourteen take me a little closer to back in the black at 24-29. We were so close to winning all three bets, but beggars can’t be choosers. I’m going to try to continue to get creative with the picks as the season winds down to see if I can get back in the black and profit over the course of the season. Here’s a quick look at last week’s picks before getting to the week fifteen picks.
Raiders @ Chiefs Longest Touchdown O/U 42.5 Yards: This one really hurts to lose. There was plenty of scoring in the game, most of which came from short distances until Derrick Gore took a handoff 50 yards to the house while the backups were in and the game was over. A tough loss but that was always a risk with this pick.
Saints @ Jets Longest Field Goal O/U 47.5: I never really even had to worry about this one. The Jets did kick a 46-yard field goal, but 46 yards is less than 47.5 yards, so that’s still a winner. I might have to revisit this with some bad kicking teams going forward.
Amon-Ra St. Brown O/U 4.5 Receptions: Another easy winner. Amon-Ra finished the game with eight catches, mostly against soft coverages over the middle. I won’t write up the same pick for the sake of being entertaining, but if Hockenson and Swift are out again, I may have to put a little money on St. Brown’s receptions over again next week. He’s really starting to come into his own as a rookie receiver.
Now, let’s get to some picks.
Falcons @ 49ers First Half O/U 23.0
After looking at the board for several
minutes hours, it’s really hard for me to get a good read on the games, especially with players going down left and right due to covid. I do think I have a decent read on this game where neither team is dealing with too many covid issues. The Falcons are coming off a win against the Panthers and have found themselves in second in the division, despite their lack of overall talent and losing record. The 49ers are coming off an overtime win against the Bengals and have been playing better ball lately, winning four of their last five. I’m going back to the first half total for this game which isn’t ideal, but with all of the uncertainty about player statuses, there aren’t too many lines available to get creative with as of the time of writing this.
The first-half total for the game is set at 23, which feels a bit too high for me in this one. Neither team boasts a particularly explosive offense, although Deebo Samuel has shown he’s capable of breaking off big plays. The Falcons don’t have too many playmakers on offense outside of Cordarrelle Patterson, but the Niners do a fairly good job stopping the run so the Falcons may have to lean on the pass to put points on the board. The problem there is just how bad the Atlanta offensive line has been, coupled with how good the 49ers pass rush is. Nick Bosa has been one of the best in the league with 59 pressures, he could be living in the Falcons’ backfield on Sunday and making life for Matt Ryan difficult. On the other side of the ball, the 49ers aren’t going to score in a hurry. They’re content with running the ball, huddling up, and moving the chains for long, sustained drives. With just one or two scoreless drives in the first half, this game could go well under the 23 point total.
Pick: UNDER 23.0 First Half (-105, DraftKings Sportsbook)
Nico Collins O/U 30.5 Yards
Before we get started, I’d like to apologize for this pick in advance. Nobody should be watching the Jags play the Texans by choice unless you’re a little bit sadistic. Even if you do want to watch these teams play, it takes a special kind of individual to bet on Nico Collins, the Texans rookie receiver out of Michigan. If you’re still reading at this point, you’re a special kind of individual for listening to my advice about a Texans’ receiver prop when I consistently have shown an inability to pick winners. Now that I’ve effectively told everyone to stop reading, let’s get into some reasoning for why Collins will rack up some receiving yards on Sunday afternoon.
Last week we hit with Amon-Ra St. Brown’s reception total, so I’m going back to a rookie receiver prop bet, as they tend to take a little time to adapt to the NFL and the lines can be suppressed by previous performances. The Jaguars are five-point favorites at home after some line movement following the firing of Urban Meyer. Vegas tends to be right more often than they’re wrong, leading me to believe the Texans will be trailing and have a need to throw the ball throughout the game. Ignoring the fact that I sometimes use the Vegas lines to support my point, I think the oddsmakers are wrong about Nico Collins this week. Nico Collins is coming off a game with ten targets, five catches, and 69 yards, well over the total of 30.5 yards set in this game. Brandin Cooks is the teams’ clear WR1, followed by Collins after he out-snapped Chris Conley last week 57-46. He ran routes on 79% of offensive pass plays and has an average depth of target of over 10 yards. Davis Mills isn’t a superstar quarterback by any stretch of the imagination, but with a total this low it really could go over the total in just one or two catches. Lastly, the Jags corners are on the smaller side, with Collins having a size advantage of at least two inches on all of the Jags’ corners, if not more. I like Collins to get at least five or six targets which he can easily convert into over 30 yards.
Pick: OVER 30.5 Yards (-115, DraftKings Sportsbook)
CeeDee Lamb O/U 67.5 Yards
I’m not in love with this pick as the Cowboys passing game is a bit crowded in terms of receiving options, but with all of the covid uncertainty and rescheduling of games, the lines are very limited so I’ll have to make do with what’s available. The line for CeeDee Lamb receiving yards is set at 67.5 after a performance against Washington where he was targeted ten times and caught seven balls. Those ten targets were 24% of Dak Prescott’s attempts. It’s always difficult to predict who will be fed in the Cowboys’ receiving room, especially as Prescott has been in somewhat of a slump, but for a few reasons, I like Lamb to be the receiver of choice on Sunday. Picking prop bet overs has proven to not be profitable in the long run, but it’s much more fun than picking unders so I’m going to go against logic and make what’s probably a bad pick.
Sunday will be the second meeting of the two teams this season, with Lamb going for 84 yards on just four catches last time out against the Giants. Four catches in the last meeting is a bit discouraging, but his alignment has shifted considerably since that outing. Over the last two weeks, Lamb has played the majority of his snaps out of the slot where he’s been targeted double-digit times in each game. His average depth of target has fallen out of the slot, likely due to the shorter routes he’s been running over the middle of the field, but his speed and run after catch ability should be able to compensate for the shorter routes. The Giants have also been frequently attacked over the middle of the field, ranking sixth in targets to receivers lined up in the slot, and allowing a passer rating of 106 on targets over the short middle part of the field.
Pick: OVER 67.5 (-115, DraftKings Sportsbook)
Featured Image by Jacob Roy (@jmrgraphics3 on IG)