We win 65% of our placed Best Bets against the spread. on Gridiron Experts every week, we choose every game and I win a total of 58%. I have the most wins out of the 205 experts and the highest win percentage of any expert who chose each game on Tallysight’s ATS leaderboard. I’m also tied for fourth Fantasy Nerd’s accuracy rankings for straight picks. It’s been a good year, and while our Best Bets haven’t been as hot as they were in the beginning, they’re still profitable. Over the course of a long season you will have highs and lows and it’s important to be realistic with your expectations.
To me, a really good year is picking at the 55% spread. With a few smart bets and a bit of luck for the rest, we’ll handily beat that number this year. As for this week’s best bets, we’re going for all the underdogs. I think recent bias and misperception is affecting some of the rules and I want to take advantage of that.
Minnesota Vikings +2.5 at Detroit Lions
Detroit is definitely an improved team. They held close against Miami and Buffalo, winning games against fringe teams in recent weeks. Minnesota, on the other hand, has won nine of their last 10 games and their only losses this season are against the Eagles and Cowboys. At first glance, it seems strange that the Lions are favored. Even my own system rates this game as a push. One wonders why the Vikings are so disrespected despite their track record. Part of it has to do with that aforementioned loss to Dallas, which was brutal. But they bounced back with heavy wins against the Patriots and Jets. Sometimes one deviation can change a team’s perception, especially when evaluating team metrics. The truth about Minnesota is that they win games they should win and even some they don’t, like the win against Buffalo, and they’ve only lost to top five teams. Detroit, while improving, still has no wins against top teams. The look-ahead line for this game was Minnesota -2.5, and even after beating the Jets last week, the line movement shifted massively to the Lions. I think the Vikings are the better team on a neutral field, but home field advantage in Detroit evens it out. I take Minnesota here and I think they win the game outright.
New York Jets +9.5 against Buffalo Bills
Road underdogs have slipped a bit in recent weeks from the near-lock status they had early in the season, so they’re no longer a priority for me, but I’m intrigued by this line. The Jets defeated the Bills 20-17, at home, in week nine. Buffalo was a 10.5 favorite in that game. New York won with their defense, stopping the passing play and controlling the pace on offense. The Jets ran the ball 35 times, 10 more than their average. Zack Wilson only passed for 154 yards, but he didn’t turn the ball over. I expect the Jets to have a similar game plan this week, although they may now open the passing game with Mike White under center. Like the first meeting between these two, I think this game will go below 43.5. Josh Allen could again struggle to pass the ball. In four games against teams in the top 11 defenses of Pass DVOA, Allen has averaged 215 passing yards with five touchdowns and four interceptions. In all other games, Allen averages 321 yards and has 17 touchdowns with only four interceptions. Keeping Josh Allen in check is one thing, but the Jets have yet to score points. That task is a little easier with Von Miller on IR, but still a daunting task. Like Wilson, Mike White will probably have to be more of a game manager and rely on high percentage short passes. I expect to see a lot of Michael Carter and Zonovan Knight. Their success running the ball will be a big factor. In the end I think the Bills will win, but it won’t be easy.
Los Angeles Chargers +3.5 vs Miami Dolphins
Home underdogs have the highest winning percentage against spread this year and I think the Chargers are in a good place to cover at home this week. This is a huge game for the Chargers, who need this win to stay in the AFC Wildcard race. They have lost three of their last four games, but two of those losses have been against the 49ers and Chiefs. I don’t think the Chargers are as bad as people think. PFF has them ranked 25th, below the Broncos, Rams and Colts. I think they are somewhere between 15 and 18. Injuries have devastated Los Angeles on offense and defense. There is a chance that Mike Williams will return this week and that would be a huge asset to Justin Herbert. Miami has its own questions and Jaylen Waddle’s status is uncertain. For fantasy owners, this could be a huge game for Tyreek Hill. This will be a contest won or lost by air. Both teams are close to the top in terms of success rate. The Chargers are seven spots ahead of Miami in defensive pass DVOA, which could be the difference in the game. This game has the second highest total of the week, but I think it’s slightly below it and the Chargers are keeping it close.
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