Jason The Contrarian: Forget The Broncos, Take 'Under' Instead

Jason Lake

Tuesday, November 20, 2018 7:59 PM UTC

Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018 7:59 PM UTC

There’s an easy contrarian NFL pick for Sunday’s game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Denver Broncos – but it’s not the Broncos. Jason Lake mansplains why.

Jason’s 2018-19 NFL picks record through Week 11: 6-11 ATS, 2-4 Totals

Pittsburgh (7-2-1 SU, 6-3-1 ATS) at Denver (4-6 SU, 4-5-1 ATS)Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)Free NFL Pick: UnderBest Line Offered: Bovada

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Before we head out on our next adventure, let’s do a quick postmortem on last week’s Contrarian NFL pick. We begrudgingly went with the Atlanta Falcons as 3-point home faves against the Dallas Cowboys; the Falcons were back up to -3.5 by kickoff, but it didn’t matter, because they lost 22-19 on a sayonara field goal. Never mind that – we want to know who the public ended up choosing in this matchup. And judging by the expanded consensus reports for November 18, it was Atlanta. Fooled again.

There isn’t an obvious Contrarian pick for Week 12, either. At least when it comes to the spread for Sunday’s game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Denver Broncos. I mean, it should be Denver, right? But the public money charts don’t show tons of support out there for the Steelers, and the consensus figures at press time have just a 51.88-percent lean towards Pittsburgh as a 3-point road fave. Crom on a cracker!

Gods Of The North

If that weren’t bad enough, the Steelers have the earmarks of a sharp pick. They’re pulling in 63.43 percent of the amount wagered at press time, for an average bet size of $74 compared to $46 for Denver. And FiveThirtyEight projects Pittsburgh as a 6-point favorite using their Elo-based magic. So much for riding the Broncos this week.

But what’s this? The Steelers opened at the full -3.5, yet here they are at -3 despite all that action. I am going to need several flagons of wine to help me make sense of it all. Why would the books want even more action on Pittsburgh, especially at this price? There must be supernatural forces at work here. I blame Le’Veon Bell. He ruined my fantasy team, you know.

Pool Of The Orange One

We didn’t make the default Contrarian pick against the total last week, but we’re doing it this time – and the sharps are with us. They pounded the "under" right off the bat at a 97-percent clip, driving the total down from 47.5 at the open to 46.5 at press time. Not ideal for us, because 47 is one of the bigger magic numbers against the total, but you can still get 47 (-115) at press time, and that five-cent premium is worth it according to Wizard of Odds.

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Keenum wasn't even under pressure, just a blatant miss on 3rd down. Also had a receiver open at the top of the screen... That $18 million looking worse by the day. #DENvsLAC pic.twitter.com/s1fapiRrTt

— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) November 18, 2018
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Sunday’s conditions look better for the "under" than they did last week, too. Instead of a dome, they’ll be playing outdoors at Mile High, where the weather forecast calls for light snow in the morning and temperatures in the low 40s at kickoff. And the Broncos (Under 6-3-1) have one of the best defenses in the league, along with Case Keenum (No. 22 overall in passing DVOA) at quarterback. We’ll buy that for a head of cattle.

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