1. #1
    Point Blank
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    PB (11/14): What a "Bettor Better Know" - NFL Week #10



    What a “Bettor Better Know” – NFL #10…What a Bettor also Better Know about Purdue hoops getting out of the gate well, and the markets still not recognizing the way the Lakers are playing


    Point Blank – November 14, 2017

    Instead of a full NFL edition today there will be takes across the board, both the NCAA and NBA hardwoods bringing key handicapping notions for your files, plus something that we take to the windows. But since it is Tuesday you know where we will begin, sorting through the NFL to both better decode what happened this past weekend, and project where that may lead to edges for the board(s) ahead. So that this does not run on too long, I will also spread some of the key NFL takes over the next couple of days as well; you’ll just have to wait to read more details about Cleveland’s comedy of errors at the end of the first half in Detroit.


    Item: It sure looked like the Bills quit in the second half
    Sub-Item: Even if they do play hard they will miss Marcell Dareus

    It isn’t easy to come to grips with the New Orleans/Buffalo scoreboard or box score. For the Saints to win is not a shock because the defensive improvements have been noted here often this season, and with Alvin Kamara emerging there are so many options developing on offense. But it was a stupefying beat-down, and to fully appreciate it you need to stop the charting before that final Buffalo TD drive. Prior to that march first downs were 32-6, and total offense was 485-138. And for as dominating as it was to see 298-69 on the ground, the Saints actually had 300, on only 45 attempts, before three Chase Daniel kneel-downs at the end (somehow one of them got officially tracked as being for no loss of yards).

    It was a frustrating outing for my personal net worth, an Under ticket going into play, and it was a ticket that felt comfortable throughout. One of the on-going issues written about here concerning the Bills was that they are not built at all to play from behind on offense, so once the Saints established the lead all I needed was for Drew Brees to just work the clock in the second half. And he did, only throwing one pass after the 12:25 mark in the third quarter, when it was 17-3 Saints.

    Understand that moment. 17 points, 12:25 left in the third quarter, and the ball near midfield. And then add that the Saints went on to score 30 points the rest of the way with just that lone pass. Until those final kneel downs there were runs on 30 of 31 snaps, good for 199 yards and four TDs. That included a 94-yard TD drive in 10 plays, all runs.





    All the Saints were really trying to do on most of those plays was just work the clock, including taking over at the Buffalo 43-yard line with 3:55 remaining, Daniel already in at QB, and Kamara and Mark Ingram being given the rest of the game off. One first down and it would have been kneel-down time, and a 40-3 final, but undrafted rookie Trey Edmunds, who hadn’t had a carry before Sunday, ran 41 yards for a TD through a defense that showed little interest in making a tackle.

    There are two prime issues to sort through here, the first being that the Buffalo rush defense has been awful in both games since dealing Marcell Dareus to Jacksonville. The Jets ran right at them for 38-197 with the kneel-downs removed, before the New Orleans onslaught. The second is naturally about the lack of effort.

    Sean McDermott tried to make it about tactics in the post-game: “Technique, fundamentals, it’s always a combination of that. Give them credit but we’ll look at the tape. It’s hand balance up front, gap integrity. We’re getting knocked out of our gaps, that’s where it starts.’’

    But it wasn’t just about being weak tactically against the Saints, it was a case of being weak-willed. That is where some digging will be going on the rest of the week, to determine if there might be a deeper issue lingering.

    I’ll also get back to Dareus in a moment, but when it comes to a defense being weak-willed, the Giants naturally come to the front.


    Item: The Giants allowed 8.7 yards per play* on Sunday (* - yes, you’ll only see 8.2 in the box scores)
    Sub-Item: The Giants were playing the #30 offense in the league

    Entering Sunday the 49ers were ranked the #30 offense on the Football Outsider charts, and I noted in a recent edition the comments from Kyle Shanahan as to why the newly-acquired Jimmy Garropolo would not be seen at QB any time soon – the OL just could not be trusted enough to protect him. Of course Shanahan was at the same time admitting that rookie C.J. Beathard was being a bit of a sacrificial lamb, but the relationship between coach and his young QB has come across that they both understand what is going on.

    On Sunday, Beathard and that struggling offense put up 8.7 yards per play. You will see 8.2 in the official stats, but I remove the late kneel-downs. In most NFL season’s we can count how often even that 8.2 happens on one hand. They had four TD drives of more than 60 yards in rolling up 31 points, and Beathard averaged 11.5 yards per drop-back, without being sacked a single time. The San Francisco offense did some things right, but in this instance there also has to be some shading of that for simply how futile the Giants were.

    I could run through a litany of quotes from the Giants players that made the files (Jonathan Casillas: “That’s pretty tough to swallow. We’re not a good team right now.” And Olivier Vernon: “We made some costly mistakes and that’s on us. There’s no excuse for that. It’s on us as a defense to get it right.”), and I have written about Ben McAdoo probably more than any other coach or player the last two seasons. But it is a bit sticky for NYG management right now.

    Naturally McAdoo needs to go, he had never shown that he was ready for that position, and GM Jerry Reece will likely be on the way out as well. But what would have seemed like the natural fix – promoting Steve Spagnuolo to HC the rest of the way, has become an open question because the defense isn’t showing any desire to play for him either.

    How far has the defense fallen since the strong showing in 2016, one that brought notions of being a contender to win the NFC?

    2016 2017
    Per Play 5.1 6.0
    Per Rush 3.6 4.4
    Net Per Pass 6.0 7.4
    Passer Rating 75.8 102.8

    Yet the worst may be yet to come if the effort does not return. They just allowed 8.7 per play to the 49ers…


    Item: Is Blake Bortles still just Blake Bortles
    Sub-Item: The Jaguars defensive stats corrected a bit

    The Jacksonville defense was a feature topic here last Tuesday, and there is something pertinent to touch on with that group, which I will get to in a moment. But one of the prime issues the rest of the season, and likely into the playoffs, will be how we rate Bortles. The quality of that defensive play has given him some rather easy rides this season, five wins of 16 points or more that were mostly low-leverage in the second half. Could those wins also have done something in terms of his overall confidence level? That was an open issue in Sunday, but now there are serious doubts.

    Prior to Sunday the Jaguars had only been in two games that were competitive, and the offense failed to score a TD in the fourth quarter vs. either the Rams or the Jets, extending that through nearly a full OT period at New York. It became more of the same against an average Charger defense, no touchdowns in the fourth quarter, and the field goal that won it in OT only required a march of five offensive yards following a long interception return by A.J. Bouye.

    It was the closing stretch in regulation that deserves the most attention. Trailing 17-14 at the 2:00 warning, Bortles and the Jacksonville offense had the ball at their own 47-yard line, plenty of time to get into FG range to tie the game, or score a TD to win it. On the first play after the game break Bortles instead threw an interception.

    The Jaguars were fortunate to get the ball back after a fumble by Austin Ekeler at the Charger 36, but Bortles followed that with two incompletions, and then a third-down interception. But because the Jaguars had saved their time outs they got one more crack, from their own 48 with 0:58 remaining. This time they got into FG range but it wasn’t pretty, a roughing the passer penalty helping to pave the way.

    There was an opportunity to seize command on the first possession of overtime, but after two first downs the offense had to punt. Bortles did have a pair of completions on the drive, but both were to RBs, he did not hit anything downfield. In truth it was an ugly performance at crunch time, and it leaves the same old questions in play – the Jaguars may be 6-3, but does their QB have the confidence that is going to be needed as the challenges grow stronger?





    As for that defense, a forum conversation point last week stemmed on the gap between a pass defense near the top of the league and a rush defense near the bottom, with the answer being that the latter was not what the official stats portray it to be, those long TD runs by the Jets from back in Game #4 still clogging the data-bases. What we saw on Sunday was partially a case of football correcting itself, the Jaguars allowing just 2.9 per rush, but also the impact of Dareus, who was on the field for 26 snaps, after playing 12 in his Jacksonville debut the previous week.

    The rush defense will be fine, and as for getting no sacks vs. Philip Rivers that also helps to statistically correct a pass rush that was at a historic pace, but not one that any team was going to maintain. Not sacking Rivers brings little cause for alarm – the Chargers are #3 in Sack% allowed this season, only the Vikings and Saints doing a better job of keeping their QBs upright.

    And for stat tracking purposes, I shouldn’t have to tell most of you that the 56-yard TD run by Corey Grant does not belong in the files. That came on a well-executed fake punt, but tells us nothing about the Jacksonville rush offense, or the LAC rush defense.


    Item: The Bengals offense couldn’t stay on the field in the second half (again)

    When we get to Thursday I will bring Steelers/Titans to the lead, some genuine questions there about the lack of efficiency from the Tennessee offense, a big part of why it was only 24-20 vs. the Bengals on Sunday, despite the Titans having a monstrous edge of 84-50 in offensive plays. It wasn’t so much their offense being good to amass all of those plays, they only averaged 5.0 per snap. Instead it was something that is a real running issue – the Cincinnati offense is having an awful time staying on the field in the second half of games.

    In earlier Tuesday reviews this offense was made a focus point, basically averaging one yard per play in the second half at Pittsburgh and Jacksonville, the two games since their bye, a time at which they claimed to have made the proper adjustments to Bill Lazor’s playbook. Those are two of the best defenses in the game right now, so you can excuse things a bit, but that also meant that the spotlight was on for the second half against Tennessee, the Titans entering the game at only #22 on the Football Outsiders charts. And that spotlight showed that the Bengals could not stay on the field again.

    The first five Cincinnati drives of the second half lasted just 17 plays, all ending in punts. On drive number six there was a home run, Andy Dalton hitting A.J. Green for a 70-yard TD, and then their final possession was mostly desperation, beginning at their own 25 with 0:36 remaining, and not generating anything.

    What happened to put the Bengals behind after the Dalton/Green hook-up? A 73-yard Titan TD drive that took 12 plays. Might the case be made that a big part of that drive was the Cincinnati defense being tired? I believe there is a substantial degree of logic to that. That defense has now been on the field for 162 plays the last two games, the offense only having 87, and as bad as that is overall, it becomes magnified in the rare setting of three straight road games, especially with that third game being at the altitude of Denver.

    I’ll bring some more NFL into the discussion on Wednesday, but now time to talk some hoops…


    Item: Purdue should be as ready to get out of the gate well as any team

    Last Wednesday there was a prime take on early-season NCAA Hoops handicapping, and in particular how those off-season trips overseas can help a team to prepare. No team got a better opportunity to get a jump on this season than Matt Painter’s Purdue Boilermakers, who were chosen to represent the United States in the World University games in Taipei, where they made it to the championship game before losing to Lithuania.

    Note that extra prep time is allowed for that tournament because naturally the U.S. wants to show well, and that even meant a pair of exhibition games vs. Team Canada before heading over. Given that this is already a rare team for the modern basketball era, one with four senior starters returning from the group that made their way to the Sweet 16 last March, Caleb Swanigan the only piece of the puzzle missing, that off-season experience would project to have them as close to peak form early as any team in the nation, and that showed in a pair of easy routs over the weekend in tune-up games.

    Tonight I will put some #523 Purdue (8:00 Eastern) into pocket, with -5 as your target (sorry, but those -4's out there this morning were not going to last), the Boilermakers much further advanced than Marquette to this point, while also being much bigger around the basket, and having a greater sense of purpose for this game.

    There is no reason for Painter’s team to bring anything less than their best focus, with only a home walkover vs. Fairfield coming up over the next week, before they head to the Bahamas over Thanksgiving. It is a different story for Steve Wojciechowski, who has to weave a lot of new faces into his rotation, with Andrew Rowsey the only senior, and also no major urgency tonight – the Golden Eagles are off to Hawaii in a couple of days, before they open play in the Maui Invitation on Monday. For Wojo this season will be a work in progress until Big East play begins, and next week’s tournament helps to make the immediate cycle one of experimentation to put the proper pieces together, instead of having to maximize scoreboard results.


    Item: About last night, and better understanding both LA NBA teams

    There is a lot going on with the Lakers and Clippers right now, and it is providing opportunity in a marketplace that has been slow to react.

    Last Wednesday there was a focus here on how the Lakers were playing much better defensively than could have been anticipated, all the while the Sports Mediaverse notions have been more about Lonzo Ball and “showtime” returning. On their recent four-game road trip the markets were running Totals the opposite way of the emerging team performance, and it led to quite a ride for Under bettors who waited until tipoff to get the best value:

    BOSTON: Under by 11.5
    WASHINGTON: Under by 16.5
    MILWAUKEE: Under by 29
    PHOENIX: Under by 37.5

    Note that there was also something else a little different from last night’s win in Phoenix - Ball did not leave the bench over the final 15 minutes of play, which saw some solid Laker defense in a 26-20 fourth quarter grind-out.





    What should be mostly good news for Luke Walton, his team sitting at a shocking #4 in PP100 defense, after finishing #30 last season, is also a time in which he has to be delicate in handling the media coverage surrounding Ball. Hence his need to be a diplomat last night, instead of merely talking about the team winning a road game:

    “The way the NBA’s supposed to work and has worked, as long as I can remember, is young players come in and sit. And they watch vets do it, and they watch how vets do it. …And, they get hungry. As they get opportunities, they’re more professional because they’ve learned from people who have done it before them.”

    The Monday outcome wasn’t nearly as good for the Clippers, who are on an 0-6 SU and ATS slide, and now have to begin a long road trip. The problem is that without Patrick Beverley and Milos Teodosic they just don’t have creators in the back-court, and the absence of Danilo Gallinari up front exacerbates the situation. Yet the markets remain short on making the adjustments.

    How bad was it vs. the 76ers? The starting guard tandem of Austin Rivers and Sindarius Thornwell, neither a true PG, combined for just two assists over 67:40 of court time. You can’t win games that way, and they didn’t.


    Vegas: Monday with the Review Journal NFL box score page

    One of the great pleasures of a life cycle I had for about 15 years was extensive travel across Latin America and into the Caribbean, which brought an opportunity to study, and even be a small part of, some fascinating cultures. It certainly opened many doors for me across the dining landscape, including the vast array of cuisine across Mexico.

    Many of those regional specialties have become available here since the turn of the millennium, with Las Vegas having become a magnet, yet my first experiences with what would later become a true favorite, the street food of Mexico City, is something that I sampled here first. Los Antojos has been in the same little spot at 2520 South Eastern since 1995, after Carmen Ruiz opened up shop to cook the dishes from her birthplace (she came to the United States in 1994, and opened the restaurant a few months later), and they have helped me to both learn, and appreciate, not only the food but the culture behind it.

    What I cherish about Los Antojos is the fact that not all that much has changed through the years – there is a passion behind what they do, and when someone focuses on specialties that are dear to their heart, you can taste in on the plate. Especially a “Carne Asada Huarache”, which has been a favorite of mine for a couple of decades now.





    The photo doesn’t do justice to the dish this week, especially since I do a half-and-half of their roasted green and red chile sauces, but here it is in all of its glory – a thick oblong corn tortilla, covered with a layer of refried beans, grilled onions, skirt steak, grated cotija cheese, and the two sauces (you can go straight green or red if you prefer, but I like the different dimensions that each brings). It is simple yet complex, the meat getting just the right sear to bring out the flavor without drying it out, and the beans and tortilla serving as pillows against the vibrancy of the sauces. And while I am usually not a soft drink person, someone in Mexico City would most likely be having a coca cola with a huarache, so I do as well (in truth, it pairs well off of the spices).

    What I also like about this dish is that it holds up for the short drive home that I have, since it is often a carry-out order, largely because many days you will not find a place to sit. There are only six tables at Los Antojos, plus a handful of counter seats against the wall, but when I want to relax for a moment and ponder something like those 8.7 yards per play that the 49ers got, I know to get there early (they open at 10 AM), before the lunch crowd moves in.



    If you want to know when PB is ready to go each day, as well as following along for some of the most important Sports Betting news as in unfolds, make @Vegaspointblank a part of your routine.
    Last edited by Point Blank; 11-14-17 at 04:52 PM.

  2. #2
    Point Blank
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    And to take a deeper dive into the upcoming week, here are the individual unit ratings from Hector Mendez. We greatly appreciate him sharing his work with us (you can click directly on the image to open it in a new window at a larger size) -


  3. #3
    Eric Nisbet
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    Dave, as always thanks for your valuable information & insight. I'm an avid reader & huge fan. I don't make a move without giving you a read first. Take care Dave & have a good one!

  4. #4
    SportsHec8
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    Hi Dave, Enclosed are my power ratings!

    The only real disagreement with the market I have is on Cinci/Denver, in which my ratings made cinci a road favorite. Market seemed to make those teams equal which I vehemently disagree with.

    Kinda funny that week 2 pats/saints game was a potential super bowl preview?

    I had downgraded Minny by 2pts when bradford went down and never adjusted back until this week. whoops

    Rank Team Week 11
    1 New Orleans 6.5
    2 New England 6
    3 Philadelphia 5.5
    4 LA Rams 5
    5 Pittsburgh 4.5
    6 Minnesota 4.5
    7 Kansas City 3.5
    8 Jacksonville 3.5
    9 Atlanta 3.5
    10 Carolina 3
    11 Seattle 2.5
    12 Dallas 2
    13 Washington 0
    14 Detroit 0
    15 Tennessee 0
    16 LA Chargers 0
    17 Baltimore 0
    18 Oakland -1
    19 Buffalo -1.5
    20 Cincinnati -2
    21 Chicago -3
    22 NY Jets -3
    23 Tampa Bay -4.5
    24 Denver -6
    25 Green Bay -6
    26 Miami -6.5
    27 Indianapolis -6.5
    28 Arizona -7
    29 San Francisco -7.5
    30 NY Giants -8
    31 Cleveland -8
    32 Houston -8.5

    The teams highlighted in yellow are the ones my PR recommends in an ATS pick 'em pool. I also keep track of any my ratings are more than a fg off the vegas line and see if i'm right or if vegas is right.

    Cin -1.5 not +3
    G3 wk10: 0-2
    Wk10: 8-6
    Season 3pts: 10-6
    Season: 81-49-11
    Last edited by SportsHec8; 11-14-17 at 11:59 AM.

  5. #5
    Point Blank
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    Quote Originally Posted by SportsHec8 View Post
    Hi Dave, Enclosed are my power ratings!

    The only real disagreement with the market I have is on Cinci/Denver, in which my ratings made cinci a road favorite. Market seemed to make those teams equal which I vehemently disagree with.

    Kinda funny that week 2 pats/saints game was a potential super bowl preview?

    I had downgraded Minny by 2pts when bradford went down and never adjusted back until this week. whoops

    The teams highlighted in yellow are the ones my PR recommends in an ATS pick 'em pool. I also keep track of any my ratings are more than a fg off the vegas line and see if i'm right or if vegas is right.

    Cin -1.5 not +3
    G3 wk10: 0-2
    Wk10: 8-6
    Season 3pts: 10-6
    Season: 81-49-11
    I get both Cincinnati a little lower, and Denver a little higher, this week, though some of that is circumstantial to the Bengals - three straight road games in the NFL doesn't bring much sample size, but running it back as far as we could, the defense being off 162 plays in the first two legs is by far the toughest stretch from a fatigue standpoint. To set some perspective, the average workload for an NFL defense this season is 63.4 snaps, or 126.8 over two games. The Bengals exceed that by 35.2 plays, which means that instead of 8 quarters of defensive action the past two weeks on the road, it is more like 10 quarters, plus one possession into #11. That may take a toll, especially playing in Denver, so I have made it a part of my ratings.

    Now, of course, I have to spend the week trying to get inside the heads of the Broncos, to see how much spirit that defense is going to bring, which makes their ratings precarious. I thought they would play with some passion against the Patriots, but that one became a tough grading because their special teams put them in such a hole.

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    Champthinks
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    Sh8 are u indicating that the Eagles are 3.5 better than the cowboys on a neutral ?

  7. #7
    SportsHec8
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    Yep.

    Clearly the market disagrees as it has the eagles 5.5-6pts better (giving Dallas 2.5 for HFA a 3 or 3.5 line)

    How big of a gap do you have between those two?

    Quote Originally Posted by Champthinks View Post
    Sh8 are u indicating that the Eagles are 3.5 better than the cowboys on a neutral ?

  8. #8
    benjy21
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    Hey Dave,

    Here is the updated version of the NCAA Worn Down Defenses lists.

    The green highlights indicate a team that has a defense in the bottom quartile of defensive yards per play allowed. The bold teams indicate that they appear on both lists (opponent plays per game & opponent average time of possession).

    Opp. plays/game Def Adj. YPP Rank Bye Week Week 12 Opponent Opp Avg TOP (min) Def Adj. YPP Rank Bye Week Week 12 Opponent
    Memphis 81.33 42 11/11 SMU Missouri 35.74 61 9/30 Vanderbilt
    San Jose State 80.91 116 10/21 Colorado State San Jose State 35.57 116 10/21 Colorado State
    Connecticut 80.30 122 No bye Boston College Mississippi 34.71 117 9/23 Texas A&M
    Houston 79.67 33 11/11 Tulane Florida Atlantic 34.15 64 10/14 Florida Int'l
    Florida Atlantic 79.60 64 10/14 Florida Int'l Nevada 34.09 111 10/28 San Diego State
    Wake Forest 79.20 49 10/14 NC State Memphis 33.77 42 11/11 SMU
    Arizona 78.40 72 9/30 Oregon UCLA 33.76 105 10/7 USC
    UCLA 78.20 105 10/7 USC Arkansas State 33.47 46 11/4 Texas State
    Nevada 78.00 111 10/28 San Diego State North Carolina 33.29 85 11/4 Western Carolina
    Miami (Florida) 77.44 11 9/16 Virginia West Virginia 32.98 81 9/30 Texas
    Texas Tech 77.20 70 9/9 TCU BYU 32.93 65 9/23 Massachusetts
    Louisiana-Lafayette 77.11 104 9/30 & 10/28 New Mexico St. Utah State 32.84 54 11/11 Hawaii
    Bowling Green 76.60 123 10/29 Toledo Tulsa 32.78 129 11/11 South Florida
    UNLV 75.90 99 9/16 New Mexico Cincinnati 32.75 108 10/28 East Carolina
    Missouri 75.10 61 9/30 Vanderbilt Wyoming 32.72 12 10/7 Fresno State
    Northwestern 75.10 39 9/23 Minnesota Charlotte 32.64 86 10/28 Southern Miss
    California 75.10 48 11/11 Stanford Troy 32.53 27 10/7 & 11/18 BYE
    Oklahoma State 74.90 41 10/7 Kansas State Bowling Green 32.51 123 10/29 Toledo
    North Carolina 74.90 85 11/4 Western Carolina Miami (Florida) 32.49 11 9/16 Virginia
    Central Michigan 74.60 35 No bye Kent State UTEP 32.36 97 10/21 Lousiana Tech
    Last edited by benjy21; 11-14-17 at 01:45 PM.

  9. #9
    Point Blank
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    Quote Originally Posted by benjy21 View Post
    Hey Dave,

    Here is the updated version of the NCAA Worn Down Defenses lists.

    The green highlights indicate a team that has a defense in the bottom quartile of defensive yards per play allowed. The bold teams indicate that they appear on both lists (opponent plays per game & opponent average time of possession).
    Excellent work once again. For as bad as Kent State has been, and the passing game has set some new standards of futility, there is a chime at +18 tonight, not only playing into general Central Michigan fatigue, but that off of revenge wins over rivals Eastern and Western Mich the past two weeks, and with a key game against Northern Illinois next week (the MAC West could still end in a 4-way tie for first place), the Chippewas might be thrilled to win this one by 14 and move on, with as few possessions as possible. Not the sort of ticket a guy can go crazy with, but +18 with a total this low (45.5 becoming common) means the game pace puts the underdog in it, and if the favorite has little reason to pile on late it can fit.

  10. #10
    DoggyJuice
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    Dave-

    We have an early season college hoops treat at the United Center this evening with Duke vs. Michigan State and Kansas vs. Kentucky. I am interested in the totals. You have noted the anticipation that 17/20 starters in these two games will be freshmen and sophomores. Although these diaper dandies are no strangers to the big stage, the bright lights and national TV cameras will be on them in Chicago.

    The backdrop behind the baskets at neutral sites is a topic that has been discussed around tournament time. Some of these tournament games are played at large football stadiums or other venues where there is more space behind the baskets. The notion that this can mess with the vantage point of shooters certainly has merit, and the United Center may apply here.

    The two totals are sitting at 158 and 152, respectively. I understand the reluctance to look at the totals with much confidence this early on in the season, especially when considering the youth of these four teams, but do you see a potential opportunity to get in play on the under in either of these two matchups on the totals? I am particularly hoping for a 160 to show in Duke/Michigan State. From a broad perspective, how much weight, if any, do you normally give to this "backdrop/different vantage point" angle?
    Last edited by DoggyJuice; 11-14-17 at 01:50 PM.

  11. #11
    benjy21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Point Blank View Post
    Excellent work once again. For as bad as Kent State has been, and the passing game has set some new standards of futility, there is a chime at +18 tonight, not only playing into general Central Michigan fatigue, but that off of revenge wins over rivals Eastern and Western Mich the past two weeks, and with a key game against Northern Illinois next week (the MAC West could still end in a 4-way tie for first place), the Chippewas might be thrilled to win this one by 14 and move on, with as few possessions as possible. Not the sort of ticket a guy can go crazy with, but +18 with a total this low (45.5 becoming common) means the game pace puts the underdog in it, and if the favorite has little reason to pile on late it can fit.
    How do you factor in teams on these lists with defenses that rank highly in YPP allowed? Do you downgrade the defenses enough to get in play against them due to the fatigue issues? Or, is it just noting their potential fatigue and not play against them because they are good defenses (ie Miami).

  12. #12
    Point Blank
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoggyJuice View Post
    Dave-

    We have an early season college hoops treat at the United Center this evening with Duke vs. Michigan State and Kansas vs. Kentucky. I am interested in the totals. You have noted the anticipation that 17/20 starters in these two games will be freshmen and sophomores. Although these diaper dandies are no strangers to the big stage, the bright lights and national TV cameras will be on them in Chicago.

    The backdrop behind the baskets at neutral sites is a topic that has been discussed around tournament time. Some of these tournament games are played at large football stadiums or other venues where there is more space behind the baskets. The notion that this can mess with the vantage point of shooters certainly has merit, and the United Center may apply here.

    The two totals are sitting at 158 and 152, respectively. I understand the reluctance to look at the totals with much confidence this early on in the season, especially when considering the youth of these four teams, but do you see a potential opportunity to get in play on the under in either of these two matchups on the totals? I am particularly hoping for a 160 to show in Duke/Michigan State. From a broad perspective, how much weight, if any, do you normally give to this "backdrop/different vantage point" angle?
    The backdrop at the United Center isn't too bad - a comfy "basketball" place as compared to some of the silly venues they bring into play at tourney time, but one thing that I have seen folks track over time is that NBA courts have slightly tighter rims. Some good research an associate has done indicates that to be the case, though only slight, although as we all know every half point matters.

    The markets have been pushing the Duke game up to the point at which 160 may show, and that would be just enough for a peanut under. But I don't agree with the move down in Kansas/Kentucky; the Wildcats looked bad defensively in what should have been two easy home wins over the weekend, and may struggle to guard the kind of talent and basketball tactics the Jayhawks offense brings (I have some Kansas Team Total Over 78 in pocket, though the board limits on that prop are rather scant).

  13. #13
    Point Blank
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    Quote Originally Posted by benjy21 View Post
    How do you factor in teams on these lists with defenses that rank highly in YPP allowed? Do you downgrade the defenses enough to get in play against them due to the fatigue issues? Or, is it just noting their potential fatigue and not play against them because they are good defenses (ie Miami).
    I look at both YPP and YPR (per rush), the latter sometimes telling us more about the fatigue level for the guys up front. What also factors in is motivation, and that is a big deal with a team like Miami. Usually on these charts we are looking at bad teams that have been beaten up and pushed around, which accentuates the fatigue issues. For the Hurricanes their mental focus is about as high as could be for this time of the season, which has a way of keeping the energy levels high.

    Tired losing teams don't always pay attention when watching video of their next opponent, and can find it difficult hitting the weight room as well. You can't blame them. But when you are unbeaten and have the chance to be in the playoffs, there is plenty to counter-attack physical fatigue.

  14. #14
    2daBank
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    Speaking of those backdrops and tourneys I really hope they still play that one in Puerto Rico I believe? Trying to remember it one the thanksgiving tourneys and it like in a convention hall, the under has always been a great play at that event!!

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    Champthinks
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    David ?
    I think 2 defensive players. linebackers Luke K. of Panthers and Sean Lee of Cowboys are worth 2 PR points ? Do u have any other Defensive NFL players that u consider worth 2 points if out ? And do u agree with 2 point adjustment on these 2 players ?

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    MoneyWithNoCash
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    Hey Dave, search some videos in the late 90s when Houser was at the helm... a very underrated musician to say the least

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    2daBank
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    While I don't disagree on those players being incredibly valuable everything I have ever read says line makers don't give any non qb that many points on the spread.

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    Point Blank
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    Quote Originally Posted by Champthinks View Post
    David ?
    I think 2 defensive players. linebackers Luke K. of Panthers and Sean Lee of Cowboys are worth 2 PR points ? Do u have any other Defensive NFL players that u consider worth 2 points if out ? And do u agree with 2 point adjustment on these 2 players ?
    I get Kuechly and Lee both around one point, though I know one oddsmaker that had Kuechly at 1.5. J.J. Watt and Aaron Donald come to mind quickly as being worthy of line movement, guys in the front seven being a little easier to quantify. What is difficult is grading players in the secondary, and consider a situation like what Seattle may be going through this week without Richard Sherman, and possibly without Earl Thomas again as well. That is one heck of a cluster, and I am still sorting through various aspects of it, not just from a talent standpoint, but also in terms of how much it limits their playbook.

  19. #19
    Point Blank
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoneyWithNoCash View Post
    Hey Dave, search some videos in the late 90s when Houser was at the helm... a very underrated musician to say the least
    I think we will have to do just that, the reference being to Michael Houser, a brilliant guitar player whose life was cut far too short by pancreatic cancer. Let's make the morning line favorite for the Friday jukebox something from that era.

  20. #20
    SportsHec8
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    Dave I'll provide some color on this while also ask a question about the upcoming week

    1) With the Giants now my #32 Defense and the ghastly performance vs SF on Sunday, I made over 44 in the KC game one my strongest plays of the season. As you can see, I have KC rated 30 and while the Giants don't have much offensively, there should be enough there to allow eli to get me a couple td's, which is all i think i'll need if KC gets the 30+ i expect. Any thoughts on that total?

    2) The other game with seemingly terrible defenses facing off is Oak/NEP. I made that total 59 so I fired on over 51. But it has to be said that NEP again held another opponent to under 20 pts while giving up over 5.9 YPP. Is their redzone D truly that spectacular? I was happy to cash the over ticket on SNF but did feel fortunate with the special teams providing so much of the help. How much have you upgraded NEP's defense?

    3) There will be an awful lot written about the Sean Lee absence for Dallas. The numbers are dramatically different. But is one player really that important on defense or was it just that he missed games against Atlanta, Green Bay and LAR?

    I ask this because the 48 seemed way too high for SNF. Eagles #1 Run D will make it very difficult for dallas to move the ball and may be it's wrong but I still believe Dallas has put together a top 10 D, especially on the Dline that will pressure Wentz all night long.

    Thank you!

    Quote Originally Posted by Point Blank View Post
    And to take a deeper dive into the upcoming week, here are the individual unit ratings from Hector Mendez. We greatly appreciate him sharing his work with us (you can click directly on the image to open it in a new window at a larger size) -


  21. #21
    SportsHec8
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    Dave, one last thing - regarding the Jax comments... I had a big jax -3.5 ticket and what drove me insane was the play calling. Jax was always in the game but they just refused to give it to Fournette. The commentators even discussed him not being in there a lot of the 4q. What do you think that was about? Did LAC stack the box forcing Bortles to beat them? Will more teams do that? Cleveland's Run D ranks #4 for me so it will be fascinating to see their tactics.

    If the chargers 31st ranked run d somehow tricked the Jax coaches into passing so much, will we see the same against an actual good run d?

    My Jags love has fallen not because of Bortles's terrible performance but because of the coaching staff putting him in a position to be terrible

  22. #22
    SportsHec8
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    this is excellent thank you. it explains the line a lot more. It does put into the question the under 40 ticket I wanted to play. Although with Andy and Brock out there, 40 still seems like a distant number....

    Quote Originally Posted by Point Blank View Post
    I get both Cincinnati a little lower, and Denver a little higher, this week, though some of that is circumstantial to the Bengals - three straight road games in the NFL doesn't bring much sample size, but running it back as far as we could, the defense being off 162 plays in the first two legs is by far the toughest stretch from a fatigue standpoint. To set some perspective, the average workload for an NFL defense this season is 63.4 snaps, or 126.8 over two games. The Bengals exceed that by 35.2 plays, which means that instead of 8 quarters of defensive action the past two weeks on the road, it is more like 10 quarters, plus one possession into #11. That may take a toll, especially playing in Denver, so I have made it a part of my ratings.

    Now, of course, I have to spend the week trying to get inside the heads of the Broncos, to see how much spirit that defense is going to bring, which makes their ratings precarious. I thought they would play with some passion against the Patriots, but that one became a tough grading because their special teams put them in such a hole.

  23. #23
    lukenfl
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    Hi Dave,

    With the New Orleans/Washington total being set at 51 would you agree that seems a little high? Despite Washington getting a couple of key offensive linemen back I still think their lack of a ground game combined with the improved Saints defence and change of pace may limit their opportunities to score. As you have noted the Saints run game has been successful and I see this as a good match-up for them against Washington's rush defence. If the Saints are to build a lead I think they showed us against Buffalo that they will look to work the clock successfully and at 51 (-105) this just feels a little too high despite both teams being involved in high scoring games recently.

    The other game that interests me is Philadelphia/Dallas on Sunday night, the line there sitting at 3 in most places. The absence of Sean Lee is obviously a big negative for Dallas and with Elliott suspended and doubts about Tyron Smith I can see the Eagles having their way here. How likely do you think Smith is to play and would that have much impact on your opinion of the game?

  24. #24
    Point Blank
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    Quote Originally Posted by SportsHec8 View Post
    Dave I'll provide some color on this while also ask a question about the upcoming week

    1) With the Giants now my #32 Defense and the ghastly performance vs SF on Sunday, I made over 44 in the KC game one my strongest plays of the season. As you can see, I have KC rated 30 and while the Giants don't have much offensively, there should be enough there to allow eli to get me a couple td's, which is all i think i'll need if KC gets the 30+ i expect. Any thoughts on that total?

    2) The other game with seemingly terrible defenses facing off is Oak/NEP. I made that total 59 so I fired on over 51. But it has to be said that NEP again held another opponent to under 20 pts while giving up over 5.9 YPP. Is their redzone D truly that spectacular? I was happy to cash the over ticket on SNF but did feel fortunate with the special teams providing so much of the help. How much have you upgraded NEP's defense?

    3) There will be an awful lot written about the Sean Lee absence for Dallas. The numbers are dramatically different. But is one player really that important on defense or was it just that he missed games against Atlanta, Green Bay and LAR?

    I ask this because the 48 seemed way too high for SNF. Eagles #1 Run D will make it very difficult for dallas to move the ball and may be it's wrong but I still believe Dallas has put together a top 10 D, especially on the Dline that will pressure Wentz all night long.

    Thank you!
    The Giants defense is a grading conundrum, as are the Broncos, because the capacity is for far between than what we have seen from them, Denver #1 and NYG #2 on the Football Outsiders adjusted ratings last year, without many changes in personnel. So some of their downfall may be football regression off of 2016 being a little too good, and some of it certainly stems from a lack of passion in recent weeks. But is there a sense of professionalism still there with either that could have them trying to right the wrongs? The situations are vastly different, one team with coaches on the way out, and another with a new staff trying to build something, but I will be doing a lot of reading between the lines for both, their attitudes influencing how I weigh their statistics. I can't fault a KC Over notion, since the Chiefs run some complex offensive schemes that force an opponent to study hard during the week, which NYG may not do, all the while if McAdoo is on the way out, he may get creative and open up his own offensive playbook down the stretch (certainly no reason not to).

    My Patriot defensive upgrades have been slow, but gradual. In watching their games it is as much what the opposition is doing wrong as what they have been doing right, even admitting that part of the program for them is in getting the opposition to be inefficient. I am still keeping them down because they just aren't making plays to force action: #32 in Yards Per Rush; #20 in Interception% and #27 in Sack%. They have to rely on the opposition not maximizing, because they still aren't stepping up and making clean stops.

    There is a lot to be said for itemizing the Lee In/Out based on the opposition, but there has also been a body of work accumulating - while he wasn't a starter as a rookie in 2010, since then he has missed 22 regular-season games. It may be more of an issue this time because one of the things the Cowboys have done intentionally has been to get their best players on the field in the DL, regardless of traditional position fits, and while that has made the pass rush dynamic, they are #24 in yards per rush allowed, and I believe when the Football Outsiders have their updated rush defense rankings out tomorrow morning the Cowboys are going to be #31. They can get after QBs, but they can also be blocked at the point of attack on running plays, and without lee cleaning up against the run, his absence may be magnified this time.
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    Point Blank
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    Quote Originally Posted by SportsHec8 View Post
    Dave, one last thing - regarding the Jax comments... I had a big jax -3.5 ticket and what drove me insane was the play calling. Jax was always in the game but they just refused to give it to Fournette. The commentators even discussed him not being in there a lot of the 4q. What do you think that was about? Did LAC stack the box forcing Bortles to beat them? Will more teams do that? Cleveland's Run D ranks #4 for me so it will be fascinating to see their tactics.

    If the chargers 31st ranked run d somehow tricked the Jax coaches into passing so much, will we see the same against an actual good run d?

    My Jags love has fallen not because of Bortles's terrible performance but because of the coaching staff putting him in a position to be terrible
    The LAC defense really was forcing the Jacksonville hand, with those injuries at WR also contributing to that, though it is a box score that does not reflect that. The stats will show the Jaguars running for 135 at 5.0, but when it was a RB carrying from scrimmage only 21-45, including 17-33 for Fournette. The end-game may have been an acknowledgment of the defensive fronts they are seeing, which will continue to be the case until they can stretch the field a bit with the passing game. It looks like no Allen Hurns this week, on top of Allen Robinson already being out, which leaves Marqise Lee and Keelan Cole as the other WRs that have made ay kind of impact,

  26. #26
    2daBank
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    Quote Originally Posted by Point Blank View Post
    The LAC defense really was forcing the Jacksonville hand, with those injuries at WR also contributing to that, though it is a box score that does not reflect that. The stats will show the Jaguars running for 135 at 5.0, but when it was a RB carrying from scrimmage only 21-45, including 17-33 for Fournette. The end-game may have been an acknowledgment of the defensive fronts they are seeing, which will continue to be the case until they can stretch the field a bit with the passing game. It looks like no Allen Hurns this week, on top of Allen Robinson already being out, which leaves Marqise Lee and Keelan Cole as the other WRs that have made ay kind of impact,
    I believe a huge chunk of their rushing yards came on a fake punt that went for almost 60.

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  27. #27
    2daBank
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    Speaking of lee for Dallas I read somewhere Dallas opponents have scored on 19 of last 23 drives Lee was not on the field!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by lukenfl View Post
    Hi Dave,

    With the New Orleans/Washington total being set at 51 would you agree that seems a little high? Despite Washington getting a couple of key offensive linemen back I still think their lack of a ground game combined with the improved Saints defence and change of pace may limit their opportunities to score. As you have noted the Saints run game has been successful and I see this as a good match-up for them against Washington's rush defence. If the Saints are to build a lead I think they showed us against Buffalo that they will look to work the clock successfully and at 51 (-105) this just feels a little too high despite both teams being involved in high scoring games recently.

    The other game that interests me is Philadelphia/Dallas on Sunday night, the line there sitting at 3 in most places. The absence of Sean Lee is obviously a big negative for Dallas and with Elliott suspended and doubts about Tyron Smith I can see the Eagles having their way here. How likely do you think Smith is to play and would that have much impact on your opinion of the game?
    I will likely have at least a pinch of Saints Under just about every week until the markets begin pricing them the right way, in this case an instance of both far better defense, and a much slower tempo, than a past reputation that still seems to be carrying influence.

    There is already some significant adjustment in the Eagles/Cowboys pricing but I have a lot of sorting to do. The status if Smith will likely not be known until Friday (he won't practice tomorrow), and there is also a question as to what they will do at MLB, with the prospect of Justin Durant, who has been inactive the last four weeks, playing a bigger role because Jaylon Smith struggle so much against the Falcons. So I have juggling to do in my ratings, as have the rest of the marketplace. I don't have good answers on my stuff yet.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2daBank View Post
    I believe a huge chunk of their rushing yards came on a fake punt that went for almost 60.
    That was in today's lead topic on the Jags - "And for stat tracking purposes, I shouldn’t have to tell most of you that the 56-yard TD run by Corey Grant does not belong in the files. That came on a well-executed fake punt, but tells us nothing about the Jacksonville rush offense, or the LAC rush defense." Removing plays like that from the data bases are a crucial part of the process each week, because they just don't tell us anything predictive going forward.

  30. #30
    2daBank
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    Feel like browns can do kind of same thing this week and force it into bortles hands again. Bortles did a good job in Indy with similar situation the game fournette sat if I recall correctly. So tough to back the browns tho.

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  31. #31
    Champthinks
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2daBank View Post
    While I don't disagree on those players being incredibly valuable everything I have ever read says line makers don't give any non qb that many points on the spread.
    Correct everything u ever read says that no d player is worth 2
    Thats the whole point as I search for hidden value .
    Please feel free to check past performance records vs. the spread with either of these 2 guys in or out .If I am wrong I am flexible enough to reset those 2 athletes down to 1 .
    But its what I have been doing with these 2 when I set a line .
    I have admitted before that I sometimes see things slightly differently than the standatd norm .

  32. #32
    spindoc932
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    SH8.......over 44 in KC/NYG was the first game i bet this week.......seeing 43.5 now and i will be checking weather

  33. #33
    2daBank
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    Quote Originally Posted by Champthinks View Post
    Correct everything u ever read says that no d player is worth 2
    Thats the whole point as I search for hidden value .
    Please feel free to check past performance records vs. the spread with either of these 2 guys in or out .If I am wrong I am flexible enough to reset those 2 athletes down to 1 .
    But its what I have been doing with these 2 when I set a line .
    I have admitted before that I sometimes see things slightly differently than the standatd norm .
    Oh I totally agree with you on that point, was just saying what oddsmakers think of non qb's value in relation to spread. As I mentioned I saw that stat that Dallas opponents have scored on 19 of last 23 drives where lee was not on the field, to me that pretty much screams he is worth more than a point! Just eye test alone you can see what a huge impact he has on that defense!!

    That -3/3.5 they hanging on this game incredibly tempting to side with the road fav!

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  34. #34
    Champthinks
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2daBank View Post
    Speaking of lee for Dallas I read somewhere Dallas opponents have scored on 19 of last 23 drives Lee was not on the field!!
    See ..now u can say u have read somewhere that a few D. Athletes may be worth 2 pts
    And just maybe everything u have read in the past was incorrect to a degree .
    Thanks for the research

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Champthinks View Post
    See ..now u can say u have read somewhere that a few D. Athletes may be worth 2 pts
    And just maybe everything u have read in the past was incorrect to a degree .
    Thanks for the research
    Not saying I agree with how oddsmakers value players. Was just stating what I believe their philosophy to be in doing so.. personally I think there lot of non qbs worth more than lines suggest, which odd cause in baseball I find a single position player to be damn near meaningless but you often see rather large jumps based on a big name guy being out.

    My pleasure, I've just started seeing these "point blank" threads, nice to see a thread with intelligent conversations without all the bs that typically comes in these forums. I do season long threads in the sub forums where I think we do a pretty good job of accomplishing the same thing but certainly rare. Feel free to stop in sometime!!
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