Welcome to Week 14 in the NFL and a new column here at Past the Wire!
One question I’m sure you have is: Where have you been for the first 13 weeks of the season? It is a fair question that I don’t have a great answer for, but we’re here now and have five games on Sunday we feel there’s an edge.
Overall this season, this model is 28-22-2, just about 54% and turning a small profit.
NFL betting model
First, I’d like to provide a brief explanation of the model. It’s very offense-heavy. Most of the metrics revolve around moving the ball down the field and scoring.
It will be no surprise to you that Miami, San Francisco, and Buffalo are near the top of the ratings system.
Defense is factored in, though at a much smaller rate, because it’s an offense-driven league with very few lockdown defenses that win games despite a functioning offense. The New York Jets are a great example. Elite defense is one of the best we’ve seen, but they can’t score points or move the ball. They’re one of the lowest-rated teams in our model.
With that, let’s get to the games.
Detroit (-3) at Chicago
This line probably seems a bit low to begin with, and as we know, there’s likely to be a few questions as to why Detroit isn’t giving more points.
Generally, that’s a red flag. Though, I’m going to go against that and rely on my numbers which puts this game closer to a touchdown difference. I believe the Bears should be getting seven whole points here.
A difference of four points is enough of an edge. Detroit moves the ball very well, while Chicago doesn’t stop the ball all that well. Detroit is averaging nearly a full yard more per play than Chicago, has better success on 3rd down, and picks up first downs on their drives at a higher rate.
Line movement throughout the week has moved in Detroit’s direction, which suggests the Lions are taking sharp money.
It’ll be cold and windy in Chicago, what else is new in December? I think that keeps the game close, but Detroit covers the 3.
Houston (-3.5) at New York Jets
It looks like Zach Wilson is worth two more points than Tim Boyle. This line opened at 5.5, then dropped to 3.5 after the news of Zach Wilson getting the start.
Which, I believe, works in our favor. Zach should be going out there looking to move the offense, but it’s going to be windy, like super windy at 20+ mph, steady breeze with rain, all game long. I think that neutralizes whatever “eff it” mode Zach planned to be in.
That said, the Jets’ offense is still one of the worst in the league. Can the Texans and CJ Stroud score one touchdown against this top-level Jets defense? I think they can, and that will be all they need to win and cover.
Seattle (+10.5) at San Francisco
San Francisco erased any doubt last week by going into Philadelphia and stomping the Eagles. They’re the class of the NFL right now.
Seattle, though, is no slouch. Their overall offensive rating is middle of the road, as is their defense, but in individual offensive categories, they tend to move the ball well. Last week we saw them put up a bunch of points on the Dallas Cowboys, one of the better defenses in the league.
I think 10 points is too much for a team that picks up 6.5 yards per play and has one of the best third-down conversation percentages (47%) in the league.
Believe it or not, San Francisco isn’t all that great on third down themselves, converting less than 35% of third down opportunities.
We backed the Seahawks last week on Thursday Night Football against Dallas and were rewarded, let’s see if we can do it again.
Line movement throughout the week went in the direction of the Seahawks, dropping to +10.5 after opening at 12. According to the BetMGM bet splits as of Friday morning, damn near even number of bets and dollars on both teams.
Buffalo (+1.5) at Kansas City
Buffalo is statistically one of the best teams in football, at least on offense. They gain about 6 yards per play, hit 50% of their third down attempts, and rarely go three-and-out.
The trouble is their defense isn’t all that great, and Josh Allen has a tendency to turn the ball over at inopportune times.
That said, our model shows the Bills should be favored here, not getting points. We know Kansas City is as steady as they come, and they deserve respect but they trail Buffalo in every offensive category we look at.
These two have had some epic battles in recent years and I expect this one to be the same. Buffalo needs a win to keep their playoff hopes alive and KC needs a win to keep pace for a possible first-round playoff bye.
Watching Buffalo the last few weeks it feels like that drubbing of the Jets was a “get right” game for them. They should have beaten the Eagles and then went into the bye week. I think they’ve turned a corner and will win outright in Kansas City behind their offense.
This line movement has been worth monitoring, too. Chiefs opened at -3, now the line is down to -1.5 despite KC taking 78% of bets and 82% of the money. That screams sharp money on the Bills, at least through BetMGM.
Green Bay (-6.5) at New York Giants
Much like Buffalo turning a corner, I think Green Bay has turned a corner. They’ve won three straight and four of their last five, including wins over the Lions and Chiefs in back-to-back weeks.
Jordan Love is looking like a quality QB. Our ratings have them slightly above the league average at #13, well ahead of the Giants, who rate at the bottom #32.
While the Giants have won two straight games, they did not look great on offense last week against New England. They only average about 4 yards per play, 31% on third down, and go three-and-out more than most everyone else in the league outside the Jets and Panthers.
Our model has this at an 11-point spread, so I’m eager to take the Packers, especially with the half-point in our favor under the touchdown.