New York Jets at Denver Broncos: 2017 Week 14 NFL Pick

New York Jets (5-7) at Denver Broncos (3-9)

One of my favorites things to do as a bettor is go against significant week-to-week line movements, as they tend to be an overreaction to a single week of play. The Broncos were 3 point favorites here at home against the Jets on the early line and now they are 1.5 point underdogs, a huge swing, considering about 1 in 4 games are decided by a field goal or less. That line movement comes as a result of the Jets’ home upset victory over the Chiefs and the Broncos’ big road loss in Miami.

Given the way the Chiefs have been playing in recent weeks though, beating them on your homefield isn’t a huge accomplishment and the Broncos’ loss in Miami, while definitely concerning, was closer than the final score suggested and it came without stud cornerback Aqib Talib, who returns from his one-game suspension this week. Even without Talib last week, the Broncos had a good defensive showing, holding the Dolphins to 15 first downs and a 28.13% first down rate.

They are not the same defense they’ve been in recent years without Wade Phillips, but they still have a talented secondary and a strong pass rush and are clearly the better of the two defenses in this game. They rank 10th in first down rate allowed, allowing opponents to move the chains at just a 32.64% rate on the season. Their offense clearly holds them back, as they rank 30th in first down rate, moving the chains at a mere 29.61% rate. As a result, they rank 25th in first down rate differential at -3.03%. That being said, 25th isn’t horrible and it suggests they aren’t quite as bad as their record. On their current 8-game losing streak, they’ve actually won the first down rate battle 3 times, against the Giants, Bengals, and Chiefs.

They’ve had serious problems with the turnover margin, as they are -16 on the season, 2nd worst only to the Browns, but turnover margin tends to be inconsistent on a week-to-week basis. Their quarterback situation is so bad that they will probably continue throwing a lot of interceptions, but their talented defense only has 11 takeaways through 12 games, tied for 2nd fewest in the league, and that can definitely improve going forward. The Broncos have also faced a pretty tough schedule overall. This home game against the Jets is arguably their easiest game so far.

Given that, it doesn’t make sense that the Jets are favored. The Jets have had some success at home this season, beating the Dolphins, Jaguars, Bills, and Chiefs and playing close against the Falcons, Patriots, and Panthers, but they have not been a good road team. Their one road win came in Cleveland by 3 in a game the Browns could have easily won had they not continually squandered red zone opportunities. The Jets have losses in Tampa Bay and Miami, two comparable teams to the Broncos, and big losses in Buffalo and Oakland. On the season, they rank just one spot higher than the Broncos in first down rate differential, ranking 24th at -2.44%, despite an easier schedule. I still have this line calculated at -3, so we’re getting significant line value with the home underdog here.

The Jets are also in a terrible spot, as they are coming off of a huge home victory and play one of their toughest games of the season in New Orleans next week. They could easily look past the Broncos a little bit. Teams cover at just a 45% rate historically after a home upset victory and teams are 50-82 ATS since 2012 before being double digit underdogs, which the Jets likely will be next week against the Saints. The Broncos, meanwhile, turn around and have an easy game in Indianapolis, although it is on a short week on Thursday Night Football. This is just a medium confidence pick because I don’t trust any of the Broncos’ quarterbacks, but the Jets are in such a bad spot and this is too much line value to pass on.

Denver Broncos 19 New York Jets 16 Upset Pick +105

Pick against the spread: Denver +1.5

Confidence: Medium

Kansas City Chiefs at New York Jets: 2017 Week 13 NFL Pick

Kansas City Chiefs (6-5) at New York Jets (4-7)

Entering the season, the Chiefs were near the top of my overrated list. They finished the 2016 season 12-4, but that was largely because of a +16 turnover margin (and a subsequent +7 return touchdown margin) and a 6-3 record in games decided by 8 or fewer points, two things that tend to be inconsistent on a year-to-year basis. They ranked just 24th in first down rate differential and looked poised for a disappointing 2017. That assessment looked incorrect to start the season when the Chiefs won their first 5 games, they were never as good as that record suggested.

Many of those wins were close and their offense was highly unlikely to continue its incredibly low turnover rate (1 turnover in the first 5 games) and its high yards per carry average (5.70 YPC). Those rates have dropped significantly in the 6 games since, as they have 7 turnovers and a 3.50 YPC average in those 6 games. On the defensive side, they’ve continued to struggle mightily without All-Pro safety Eric Berry, who tore his achilles in the opener in New England. They rank dead last in first down rate allowed at 38.21% and have struggled mightily to get off the field when they aren’t forcing turnovers.

As a result, they’ve lost 5 of 6 games, with their one win coming at home against Denver, a 3-8 team who outgained them by 100 yards. In their last 2 weeks, they’ve lost to the Giants and the Bills, who have both made quarterback changes in the last month. Once 5-0, the Chiefs are now 6-5 with a precarious 1-game lead over the Raiders and Chargers in the AFC West. The Chiefs rank just 19th in my roster rankings and just 22nd in first down rate differential at -2.02%, so I think they’re still a little bit worse than their record.

The spreads don’t seem to be catching up with how bad the Chiefs have been lately, as they are favored by more than a field goal here in New York against the Jets. They were 6 point favorites on the early line last week, but just 14% of games are decided by 4-6 points, so that’s not a huge shift, given that the Chiefs lost at home to the Bills, who were coming off 3 straight losses by a combined 80 points. As long as this line is higher than 3 points, we are getting great line value with the Jets, as about 25% of games are decided by 3 points or fewer.

The Jets were +6 at home for the Panthers last week and were leading them before two Carolina fourth quarter return touchdowns. Even still, the Jets came close to covering in a 8-point loss and that was their only non-cover of the year at home. They’ve beaten the Bills, Dolphins, and Jaguars at home and have played close games against the Patriots and Falcons. I don’t see why they couldn’t at least keep it within a field goal against the Chiefs and I think they have a good chance to win straight up as well. I locked this in at 4 earlier this week, but the Jets are a high confidence pick at 3.5 as well and a medium confidence pick at 3. The money line is also worth a bet at +160.

New York Jets 24 Kansas City Chiefs 23 Upset Pick +160

Pick against the spread: NY Jets +4

Confidence: High

Carolina Panthers at New York Jets: 2017 Week 12 NFL Pick

Carolina Panthers (7-3) at New York Jets (4-6)

The NFC is loaded with playoff contenders, but the Panthers are in good position for at least a wild card coming out of their bye at 7-3. They are also big road favorites this week in New York against the Jets, which is typically a good spot for a team coming out of a bye. Road favorites of 3.5+ are 53-28 ATS since 1989 and the Panthers are 6 point favorites here. However, that record drops to 11-10 ATS when the opponent is also coming off of a bye, and the Jets are also coming off of their bye. On top of that, I don’t think the Panthers deserve to be 6 point favorites, as I have this these teams about 6 points apart in my rankings, meaning I have this line calculated at just 3 in favor of the visiting Panthers. Given that 30% of games are decided by 3-6 points, that’s a significant difference.

The Jets are not that talented of a team, but they are relatively healthy compared to the rest of the league and they at least try hard and are well coached under Todd Bowles and his staff, which makes them the best of about 7 or 8 bottom tier teams. They Jets are also 5-0 ATS this season at home, including an overtime win over the now 7-3 Jaguars and close losses against the 8-2 Patriots and 6-4 Falcons. If they can give those teams tough games, they should be able to give the Panthers a tough game as well. Carolina is a good team, but they’re not quite as good as their record, as they are just 3-2 in games decided by a touchdown or more. The Jets are worth a small bet as this could be another close win for the Panthers, who have 3 victories by at least 3 points already this season.

Carolina Panthers 20 New York Jets 17

Pick against the spread: NY Jets +6

Confidence: Medium

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New York Jets: 2017 Week 10 NFL Pick

New York Jets (4-5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-6)

One of my favorite things to do when picking games is go against significant week-to-week line movements, as they tend to be overreactions to a single week, and this line had a  very significant line movement, shifting from 4.5 in favor of the hometown Buccaneers last week on the early line to 2.5 in favor of the visiting Jets this week. Tampa Bay top wide receiver Mike Evans was suspended and Ryan Fitzpatrick will start this game at quarterback for the Buccaneers with Jameis Winston taking a few weeks off to rest his shoulder injury, but none of that justifies this 7 point line movement.

Ryan Fitzpatrick is not a good starting quarterback, but as far as backup quarterbacks go he’s among the better ones and he might not be that much of a downgrade from Winston considering how badly Winston had been playing in recent weeks, as he tried to play through his injured shoulder. Losing Evans hurts, but the Buccaneers have a very deep receiving corps and still have good receiving options this week with wide receivers DeSean Jackson, Adam Humphries, and Chris Godwin and tight ends Cameron Brate and OJ Howard. Against a relatively easy matchup at home, Fitzpatrick should be able to move the ball.

They’re also arguably as healthy as they’ve been on defense since the start of the season with top cornerback Brent Grimes returning from injury. He’s missed 3 games, linebacker Kwon Alexander has missed 4, and fellow linebacker Lavonte David has missed 2, but all three will be on the field this week. Prior to Winston’s injury, I thought this was an underrated team, as they started 2-2 and would have beaten New England if they had make makeable field goals, and now I think they are underrated once again, as the public has soured on them despite their defense getting healthier. Even with all of their injury issues, the Buccaneers still rank 19th in first down rate differential, as 3 of their 6 losses have come by a touchdown or less.

The Jets are well coached and give good effort, but they aren’t that talented of a team and don’t deserve to be favored on the road against anyone except the worst few teams in the league, which I don’t think the Buccaneers are. They were road favorites in Cleveland earlier this year and they would have lost that game if the Browns hadn’t consistently imploded in the red zone. They haven’t been nearly as good on the road in general this season, losing by more than a touchdown in Buffalo and Oakland, losing in Miami, and barely winning in Cleveland.

The Jets are 5-0 ATS at home and are coming off of a win against the Bills, but the Bills were an overrated team, so I’m not as impressed with that victory as the odds makers and the general public seem to be. I have this line calculated at -3 in favor of the Buccaneers, so we are getting a lot of line value at +2.5. I am hoping this line moves to +3 before game time, in which case I will make this a high confidence pick. The Buccaneers are worth a bet as long as we are getting points with them, but about 1 in 6 games are decided by a field goal exactly, so I want protection from the Jets winning by 3.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23 New York Jets 20 Upset Pick +120

Pick against the spread: Tampa Bay +2.5

Confidence: Medium

Buffalo Bills at New York Jets: 2017 Week 9 NFL Pick

Buffalo Bills (5-2) at New York Jets (3-5)

The Bills beat the Raiders 34-14 last week, triggering a movement in this game’s line from BUF -2.5 @ NYJ last week on the early line to -3.5 this week. However, that final score is deceiving, as the Raiders won both the first down and the yardage battle. The Bills were able to win by 20 because they won the turnover battle by 4 and brought one back for a touchdown, but turnover margins tend to be inconsistent on a week-to-week basis. The average turnover margin for a team that won the turnover battle by 4 in their previous game is +0.0, the same as the turnover margin for a team that previously lost the turnover battle by 4.

The Bills have been pretty reliant on the turnover margin so far this season, as they lead the league with a +14 turnover margin. They’re unlikely to continue winning the turnover battle at that same rate, which will have a noticeable effect on the scoreboard. They rank just 28th in first down rate differential at -3.74%, only one spot ahead of the 29th ranked Jets (-5.05%). Adding Kelvin Benjamin to this receiving corps via trade will help in future weeks, but he’s unlikely to be much help on Thursday Night Football after just being acquired from Carolina on Tuesday.

The Jets aren’t a very good team, but they’re not the worst and they’ve played pretty well at home this season (4-0 ATS), defeating the Jaguars and Dolphins and playing the Falcons and Patriots close. Given that, we’re getting some line value with the Jets as 3.5 point home favorites because the Bills are overrated right now as a result of their turnover margin. 3.5 points doesn’t seem like a lot, but about 1 in 4 games are decided by a field goal or less and this could easily be a close game. This is just a low confidence pick, but the Jets should be the right side for pick ‘em purposes.

Buffalo Bills 17 New York Jets 16

Pick against the spread: NY Jets +3.5

Confidence: Low

New York Jets at Miami Dolphins: 2017 Week 7 NFL Pick

New York Jets (3-3) at Miami Dolphins (3-2)

These two teams both have decent records, but neither one is good. The Jets’ wins have come over the Dolphins, the Browns, and the Jaguars, with the latter two victories coming by just a field goal. They rank just 29th in first down rate differential at -5.04% and still rank dead last in my roster rankings. The Dolphins, meanwhile, have wins over the Chargers, Titans, and Falcons, but their win over the Chargers was only because the Chargers missed two makeable field goals and their win over the Titans was because of a return touchdown and because Matt Cassel was starting. Their victory in Atlanta was impressive, but they still lost the first down battle and they rank dead last on the season in first down rate differential at -6.44%. They also rank near the bottom in my roster rankings, though their defense has been a lot better since linebacker Lawrence Timmons returned to the team.

Timmons played a big role in the Dolphins’ victory in Atlanta last week, by far the Dolphins’ best team performance of the season. You’d expect a victory like that to shift this line in Miami’s favor, especially with the Jets losing at home to the Patriots, but this line has actually moved from -4.5 in favor of Miami to -3 in the past week, pretty significant line movement. Neither one of these teams is good, but the Dolphins are about 2 points better, so we’re getting some line value with the host at -3. This line suggests these two teams are about even, which isn’t quite accurate.

The Dolphins are in a tough spot with a Thursday night game against the Ravens on deck, as favorites are 59-92 ATS before Thursday Night Football since 2008, but the Jets aren’t in an easy spot either, as they host the Falcons next week. The early line has them as 7 point home underdogs and teams are 30-70 ATS since 2012 before being home underdogs of 6 or more, as it’s tough for teams to be completely focused throughout the week when there’s a tough home game on deck the following week. The Dolphins should be the right pick here, but there’s not enough to bet on them confidently here unless this line drops below 3.

Miami Dolphins 17 New York Jets 13

Pick against the spread: Miami -3

Confidence: Low

New England Patriots at New York Jets: 2017 Week 6 NFL Pick

New England Patriots (3-2) at New York Jets (3-2)

Few people would have predicted both these teams would be 3-2 in their week 6 meeting, given that the Patriots were seen as arguably the best team in the league coming into the season, while the Jets were seen as arguably the worst team in the league. The Jets have gotten lucky during their 3 game winning streak, as they beat a bad Miami team at home before Miami had to go to London, an average Jacksonville team who had just came back from London, and a terrible Cleveland team that got 0 points on 3 drives inside the Jets’ 5 and missed 2 field goals. Their wins against the Jets and Browns came by just 3 points each. They still rank just 29th in first down rate differential at -4.81% and they rank dead last in my roster rankings.

The Patriots have definitely been disappointing and could easily be 1-4 if things hadn’t gone their way against the Texans and Buccaneers, but their offense has been as good as ever and their defense should get better as the season goes on, especially as linebacker Dont’a Hightower works back to 100% from injury. The Patriots should benefit from the extra time off after their Thursday night win in Tampa Bay last week, especially since Bill Belichick is 10-2-1 ATS after Thursday Night Football as head coach of the New England Patriots, and this game against the Jets is a good opportunity for them to get back on track in a big way. We’re not getting any line value with the Patriots as 9.5 point road favorites, but they’re the smarter pick in pick ‘em leagues since this could easily be a New England blowout.

New England Patriots 34 New York Jets 23

Pick against the spread: New England -9.5

Confidence: None