Washington Redskins at Green Bay Packers: 2019 Week 14 NFL Pick

Washington Redskins (3-9) at Green Bay Packers (9-3)

The Packers have been close to an auto-bet at home with Aaron Rodgers under center, going 42-21 ATS since 2011 in games that Rodgers starts and finishes. Unfortunately, we’re not getting good line value with them at home this week. The Packers are 9-3, but 5 of their wins were decided by a touchdown or less, as opposed to just 1 of their losses, and they’ve benefitted from a +11 turnover margin, which tends to be very unpredictable on a week-to-week basis.

In terms of first down rate differential, the Packers rank just 16th at +0.52% and have been even worse in recent weeks, ranking 22nd since week 7 at -0.76%. The Redskins are one of the worst teams in the league, ranking 31st in first down rate differential at -7.07%, but I still only have this line calculated at Green Bay -11.5. I’m still taking Green Bay -13 for pick ‘em purposes because of the Packers’ incredible homefield advantage, but I’m not confident in this one at all. 

Green Bay Packers 27 Washington Redskins 13

Pick against the spread: Green Bay -13

Confidence: None

Washington Redskins at Carolina Panthers: 2019 Week 13 NFL Pick

Washington Redskins (2-9) at Carolina Panthers (5-6)

This was one of the toughest games of the week to decide. On one hand, the Panthers have struggled in recent weeks with Kyle Allen falling back to earth after surprisingly playing well in his first few starts of the season and, as a result, they probably shouldn’t be favored by double digits against anyone, even the Redskins. Dating back to week 7, the Panthers have a first down rate differential of -7.81%, 29th in the NFL over that time period. I still have them calculated as 7.5-point home favorites this week against one of the worst few teams in the league, but we’re getting line value with the visitors.

On the other hand, the Redskins are in a tough spot as big underdogs before being big underdogs again. It’s tough for an inferior team to keep it close against a superior team with another tough game on deck, as teams are 29-59 ATS since 2002 as underdogs of 10 or more before being underdogs of 10 or more again. The Redskins are currently 14.5-point underdogs on the early line for next week’s matchup in Green Bay with the Packers and, in a lost season, might not bring their best effort for this game with a tougher game on deck. I’m taking the Redskins for pick ‘em purposes, but this is one of my lowest confidence picks of the week and a push is a strong possibility.

Carolina Panthers 20 Washington Redskins 10

Pick against the spread: Washington +10

Confidence: None

Detroit Lions at Washington Redskins: 2019 Week 12 NFL Pick

Detroit Lions (3-6-1) at Washington Redskins (1-9)

The Lions are arguably the most injury affected team in the league right now. The most visible absence is quarterback Matt Stafford, who will miss his third straight game with a back injury, but the Lions are also missing several other key contributors. Defensive end Trey Flowers, center Frank Ragnow, running back Kerryon Johnson, defensive tackle Da’Shawn Hand, and safety Tracy Walker are all out for this game, while cornerback Rashaan Melvin is questionable after picking up a late week injury. The Lions only rank 25th in first down rate differential at -3.11% and, factoring in all their absences, they rank 30th in my roster rankings.

The Redskins rank 31st in first down rate differential at -8.21%, but they actually rank one spot better than the Lions in my roster rankings. With these two teams about even, I have this line calculated at Washington -3, so I genuinely don’t understand why the Lions are favored in this game by 3.5. Even if Stafford was healthy, I’d have the Lions favored by just 5 points on the road in this matchup, as their largest margin of victory this season was a 5-point home win over the Giants. The Lions are also in a tough spot with another game in 4 days on deck, a spot with a 44% cover rate all-time, so the Redskins are my top pick this week.

Washington Redskins 17 Detroit Lions 13 Upset Pick +160

Pick against the spread: Washington +3.5

Confidence: Pick of the Week

New York Jets at Washington Redskins: 2019 Week 11 NFL Pick

New York Jets (2-7) at Washington Redskins (1-8)

These two teams are very similar. Both have had awful seasons, as the Jets rank 31st in first down rate differential at -7.54% and the Redskins rank 30th at -7.07%, but both have been slightly better when a key player has been in the lineup. The Jets have a 31.14% first down rate and a -4.36% first down rate differential in the 6 games quarterback Sam Darnold has started, while the Redskins have a 31.81% first down rate and a -4.18% first down rate differential in the 7 games guard Brandon Scherff has started. Darnold has struggled in his second season in the league, but he’s been a massive upgrade over backup quarterback Luke Falk, while Scherff is one of the top interior offensive linemen in the league and his impact has been very noticeable for a team that wants to run the football up the middle.

In my roster rankings, I have these two teams with identical scores, tied for 3rd worst in the NFL ahead of the Bengals and Dolphins. This line, favoring the hometown Redskins by 2 points, suggests the Jets are slightly better, so we’re getting a little bit of line value with the Redskins, but not nearly enough to bet them confidently. The Redskins should be the pick for pick ‘em purposes, if only because the single most likely outcome in any football game is the home team winning by a field goal. 

Washington Redskins 19 New York Jets 16

Pick against the spread: Washington -2

Confidence: None

Washington Redskins at Buffalo Bills: 2019 Week 9 NFL Pick

Washington Redskins (1-7) at Buffalo Bills (5-2)

It’s unfortunate that the Redskins won’t be starting Case Keenum in this game because I probably would have made a pretty substantial bet on the Redskins this week if he was starting. The Bills are 5-2, but shouldn’t be favored by double digits except anyone except maybe the Dolphins. Despite facing the 2nd easiest schedule in the NFL in terms of DVOA, the Bills have just one win by more than 10 points, with an average margin of victory of 7.2 points per game against 5 teams that are a combined 7-31. Their only win over a team that currently has at least a .500 record came by 7 points against a now 4-4 Titans team that missed 4 field goals in the game.  However, with Keenum still in the concussion protocol, the Redskins will have to turn to first round rookie Dwayne Haskins, which adds a lot of uncertainty to this game.

Haskins still has upside long-term, but he’s been horrendous in limited action thus far, completing just 12 of 22 passes with 4 interceptions, and behind the scenes he likely hasn’t been much better, as the Redskins have been very hesitant to let him play, even with a first round pedigree and an overall lost season. He also was pretty underwhelming in the pre-season, despite playing against mostly backups. Haskins came into the NFL very inexperienced and may ultimately benefit in the long run from being forced into some action as a rookie, but he could also go through some serious growing pains in his first few starts. I still have this line calculated at only Buffalo -7.5 even with Haskins in the lineup, but there’s too much uncertainty for me to bet the Redskins confidently, even with the line moving up to 10.5. 

Buffalo Bills 20 Washington Redskins 13

Pick against the spread: Washington +10.5

Confidence: Low

Washington Redskins at Minnesota Vikings: 2019 Week 8 NFL Pick

Washington Redskins (1-6) at Minnesota Vikings (5-2)

This line is pretty big at Minnesota -16, but it’s completely understandable, as this is a matchup between one of the best and one of the worst teams in the league. The Vikings rank 4th in first down rate differential at +6.23% and are the only team in the league in the top-10 in both first down rate and first down rate allowed. Meanwhile, the Redskins rank 30th at -7.51%, only ahead of the Jets, who have been without their quarterback for most of the season, and the Dolphins, who are arguably the worst team of all-time and have given the Redskins their only win. 

This matchup should be even more lopsided on a short week in Minnesota, as it’s very tough for an inferior team to go on the road on a short week and compete on the road against a non-divisional foe. Teams are just 16-36 ATS all-time as non-divisional road underdogs on Thursday Night Football, including 1-10 ATS as underdogs of 10+. I wouldn’t go crazy with this bet because we’re not really getting any line value with the Vikings, especially with Adam Thielen questionable, but I have no problem laying this many points in this situation, as history suggests this is very likely to be a blowout.

I am also locking in one game early before the line moves. I will have a full write-up this weekend.

LAC +4.5 @ CHI

Minnesota Vikings 31 Washington Redskins 10

Pick against the spread: Minnesota -16

Confidence: Medium

San Francisco 49ers at Washington Redskins: 2019 Week 7 NFL Pick

San Francisco 49ers (5-0) at Washington Redskins (1-5)

The 49ers are just one of two undefeated teams left, along with the New England Patriots. The Patriots have the edge in average margin of victory (23.7 vs. 16.6), but that’s largely due to the Patriots having the significant edge in turnover margin (+9 vs. +2), which tends to be very inconsistent week-to-week. In terms of first down rate differential, the Patriots have only a slight edge at +13.11% vs. +11.44% and the 49ers have faced a tougher schedule, so there’s a case to be made that the 49ers have been the best team in the league thus far. 

On the road this week against a Redskins team whose only win came by 1 against the league worst Dolphins, the 49ers are favored by 10 points, which is about right. I am actually going to take the Redskins against the spread for pick ‘em purposes because this could be a let down spot for the 49ers, on the road against a bad team, off of back-to-back big wins over the Browns and Rams, with a game against the 4-2 Panthers on deck. The 49ers could still cover this spread even if they don’t play their best game though, so this is one of my lowest confidence picks.

San Francisco 49ers 26 Washington Redskins 17

Pick against the spread: Washington +10

Confidence: None