New York Jets at New England Patriots: 2017 Week 17 NFL Pick

New York Jets (5-10) at New England Patriots (12-3)

Since losing Josh McCown for the season with injury a few weeks back, the Jets have become arguably the worst team in the league, along with the Browns and the TJ Yates led Texans. They weren’t blown out by either the Saints or the Chargers, but that was because they won the turnover battle in New Orleans (and still lost by 12) and because they got a couple long runs against the Chargers, who were missing key players on both sides of the ball. Neither of those are sustainable ways to win, as both turnover margin and big plays tend to be unpredictable on a week-to-week basis. The lost the first down rate battle by a wide margin in both games (-9.91% and -11.31%).

New starting quarterback Bryce Petty has been terrible, as he was last season when he was forced into starting action down the stretch, completing less than 50% of his passes in both starts so far this year. Even before having to start Petty, the Jets had no success away from home this season, as they have a -74 point differential in 7 road games this season (10.57 points per game), even though the Saints are the only difficult team they’ve faced on the road this season (Buffalo, Oakland, Cleveland, Miami, Tampa Bay, and Denver are the other 6).

The Patriots are an obvious step up in class and should be favored by much more than 15 in this one. The Patriots covered as 11-point favorites at home last week against the Bills in a game in which they won the first down rate battle by 22.06%. I don’t buy that the Bryce Petty led Jets are only a few points worse than the Bills. The only explanation I can think of for why this line is only 15 is that the oddsmakers think the Patriots could pull their starters in the second half if they are up big, but that’s not historically how they’ve done things in week 17. In fact, they are 12-4 ATS in week 17 games in the Bill Belichick era. The Patriots may pull their starters late in the game if the game is completely out of hand, but by that point they’ll likely have already covered, so I’m not too worried. This is a high confidence pick.

New England Patriots 34 New York Jets 13

Pick against the spread: New England -15

Confidence: High

Los Angeles Chargers at New York Jets: 2017 Week 16 NFL Pick

Los Angeles Chargers (7-7) at New York Jets (5-9)

The Chargers lost last week 30-13 in Kansas City, but the game was closer than the final score suggested. The Chargers actually led 13-10 in the 3rd quarter before turning the ball over on 4 straight possessions. Turnover margins tend to be unpredictable on a week-to-week basis though (teams that have a -4 turnover margin, on average, have a turnover margin of +0.0 the following week), so I don’t expect the Chargers’ turnover problems to continue into this week. They are still +7 in turnover margin on the season anyway and they are facing a Jets team that is starting backup quarterback Bryce Petty, who has thrown at least one interception in each of his first 5 career starts.

This line dropped from 10 on the early line last week to 6.5 this week, crossing two key numbers (7 and 10), which is a huge overreaction to the Chargers’ loss in Kansas City. I am still very high on the Chargers, who still have a +56 point differential on the season, despite the 17-point loss last week. If you exclude their 2 games against the Chiefs, who seem to have their number and who won the turnover battle by 7 in their 2 games, that point differential is +87. They are just 7-7, but their other 5 losses have come by a combined 18 points, with three of them coming against the Eagles, Patriots, and Jaguars, who are among the best teams in the NFL.

In first down rate differential, they are even better, as they rank 4th in the NFL at +4.80%, despite the middling record. Making that even more impressive is the fact that they have next to no homefield advantage in Los Angeles. With a reasonable homefield advantage and better luck in close games, they could easily be 9-5 and in the driver’s seat in the AFC West, despite the two losses to the Chiefs. Outside of Los Angeles, the Chargers have been a great team against the spread this season, going 5-2 ATS, with one of their non-covers coming in an 8-point loss in New England as 7.5-point underdogs. That actually dates back a few years, as the Chargers had next to no homefield advantage in their final years in San Diego. Since 2015, they are 15-8 ATS on the road.

The Jets have had success at home this season, going 6-1 ATS, with the one non-cover coming in a 8-point loss as 6-point underdogs against the Panthers, a game in which the Jets led until the Panthers had two return touchdowns in the fourth quarter. This is where I think their home success runs out. Not only are the Chargers a great road team, but this isn’t the same team without quarterback Josh McCown, who is out for the season with a broken hand. McCown was having one of the best seasons of his career prior to going down and was the main reason this team was surprisingly winning some games, despite having one of the weakest rosters in the NFL.

Petty, meanwhile, is arguably the worst starting quarterback in the NFL. Outside of the Browns and maybe the Colts, the Jets are the worst team in the league right now with Petty under center. I still have this line at -10, so I’ll happily take the Chargers at -6.5, especially since the Jets are in a very tough spot with a game in New England on deck. Underdogs of 6+ are 39-60 ATS since 2014 before being underdogs of 6+ again, as it’s very tough for inferior teams to compete against superior teams when they have a tough upcoming game. On top of that, teams are just 32-52 ATS since 2014 before being double digit underdogs. If the Jets get down big early, they could quit in this meaningless game with a bigger game on deck. This is my Pick of the Week.

Los Angeles Chargers 24 New York Jets 10

Pick against the spread: LA Chargers -6.5

Confidence: Pick of the Week

New York Jets at New Orleans Saints: 2017 Week 15 NFL Pick

New York Jets (5-8) at New Orleans Saints (9-4)

The Jets had a brutal loss in Denver last week. Not only did they lose 23-0 to a team that hadn’t won in over 2 months (managing just 6 first downs on 48 plays in the process), but they also lost quarterback Josh McCown for the season with a broken hand. As a result, this line shifted from New Orleans -10.5 to -16. I think that’s fair. McCown was not playing at a Pro-Bowl level or anything, but he was having one of the best seasons of his career and he was the biggest reason why the Jets, despite not having a ton of talent, had been surprising teams and getting a few wins. Backup Bryce Petty, meanwhile, looked like one of the worst quarterbacks in the league in limited starting experience down the stretch last season. He’s a steep downgrade.

The Jets have also had very little success on the road this season, as most of their surprise success has come at home this season. On the road, they are just 1-5 ATS, with their 1 cover coming in a 3-point win as 2-point favorites in Cleveland, in a game in which the Browns could have easily won had they not blown numerous red zone opportunities. The Jets have a -10.33 scoring differential on the road this season, even with McCown healthy, and the Saints are easily the toughest team they’ve faced so far on the road this season. Prior to this week, their previous road games came in Buffalo, Oakland, Cleveland, Miami, Tampa Bay, and Denver.

It does help the Jets that this is their 2nd of two road games, as road underdogs are 121-80 ATS in their second of two road games off of a road loss. That’s because teams typically do better in their second of two road games, as opposed to a single road game sandwiched between two home games, but lines don’t really adjust for that. Teams are 258-276 straight up in their 2nd of two road games since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 0.90 points per game, as opposed to 379-525 straight up in a road game that’s sandwiched between two home games, getting outscored by an average of 2.95 points per game, a difference of about 2 points.

However, the Jets are also in a terrible spot because they have another tough game on deck, with the Chargers coming to town next week.  It’s very tough for teams to keep it close against superior teams when they have another tough game on deck. Teams are 33-55 ATS as underdogs of 7+ before being underdogs of 7+ since 2012, including 7-18 ATS before being home underdogs of 7+, which the Jets likely will be next week (+10.5 on the early line). This should be a blowout, but this line is too high for me to bet confidently on the Saints.

New Orleans Saints 27 New York Jets 10

Pick against the spread: New Orleans -16

Confidence: None

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