A new football week begins with Jets-Browns Thursday night. Plus, the Price is never right vs. the New York Yankees. Sports coverage from a market perspective coming up in VSiN City.
NFL: Are the Jets and Browns about to get good?!
Rare that two teams rated so poorly by the markets are this interesting. When we ran our estimated “market” Power Ratings in the NFL Wednesday, the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns were down near the bottom of the pack. But both have a “bullet” by their rating because things are looking up.
*Cleveland turned over most of its roster and upgraded at quarterback from “horrible” to “game manager.” That has been enough already to put a scare into playoff contenders Pittsburgh and New Orleans.
*The Jets were better than expected last season…THEN used their #1 draft pick on USC’s Sam Darnold. Early returns are promising, though he needs to cut down on interceptions.
We switch to this season’s stats now in our Thursday night previews. That will take some extra explaining along the way, because we have a small sample size and a large difference in strength of schedule. The Jets accomplished their stats against Detroit and Miami, not nearly as difficult as what the Browns have dealt with so far.
Point spread at the South Point is Cleveland -3.5, with a total of 39.5 as of Wednesday night. Most stores are showing Cleveland -3 (-120), meaning you have to lay extra juice on the field goal. South Point’s policy in the NFL is to keep all point spread with 11/10 vigorish. Hence the hook. You can watch Thursday at 8:20 p.m. ET (5:20 p.m. in Vegas) on the NFL Network. FOX will go national on Thursday’s next week with the much-anticipated Vikings-Rams showdown.
NY Jets: 5.8 on offense, 4.8 on defense
Cleveland: 4.5 on offense, 5.3 on defense
Already strength of schedule is a big issue. The Jets aren’t a juggernaut. And, frankly, holding Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees to 5.3 yards-per-play is AMAZING for the Cleveland defense. So many teams are moving easily with the rule changes. For now, let’s say that the Jets can be competitive with anybody if they avoid mistakes. Cleveland has toughened up and smartened up. If you think the Browns will be flat off two nail biters vs. playoff teams…then the Jets can get the money.
Third Down Conversions
NY Jets: 38% on offense, 35% on defense
Cleveland: 30% on offense, 37% on defense
Good defense from both. Again, Cleveland is more impressive in context with the worse number because it was getting stops against Big Ben and Brees. That offensive number for the Browns will be a concern this season. Can Tyrod Taylor start moving the chains? Punting all the time will put too much of a burden on the defense.
Red Zone TD Percentage
NY Jets: 17% on offense, 40% on defense
Cleveland: 75% on offense, 57% on defense
Too early to jump to conclusions. It’s not surprising that the Jets have struggled in this stat with a rookie quarterback. That 17% mark is worst in the NFL through two weeks. Cleveland is finding the end zone on their rare forays into the red zone at an impressive clip.
NY Jets: plus 2
Cleveland: plus 6
Both have benefited from other team’s implosions. Remember Pittsburgh suffering all those giveaways in the overtime game? Matthew Stafford was a mistake machine for Detroit in the season opener. Important facts are: Jets are third worst in giveaways with their rookie QB, and are only positive above thanks to Stafford…Browns are playing conservative football on offense that should keep their giveaway counts respectable.
What’s it all mean? If Sam Darnold doesn’t set up any more cheap points with bad interceptions, this can be a close game or a Jets’ win. Cleveland is in a tough schedule spot…and played a full overtime period to boot. Both could turn out to be teams in 2018 who are feisty dogs but untrustworthy favorites. Browns 2-0 ATS as dogs (not far from 2-0 straight up!). Jets 1-0 ATS as a dog, 0-1 ATS as a favorite. Worth noting, though, that sharps are showing respect to the Browns at -3. Respected money knows the schedule situation, and would still consider the Browns as slightly superior on a neutral field.
Look for in-depth analysis throughout the day on all VSiN programming. Stats and trends are available as always in Point Spread Weekly. We’ll review box score stats for you Friday here in VSiN City.
NFL: Week 3 “market watch”
Here are Wednesday night point spreads from the South Point for the rest of the NFL weekend. Only one game still down because of injury uncertainty.
Indianapolis at Philadelphia (-6.5/47.5)
Cincinnati at Carolina (-3/43.5)
Tennessee at Jacksonville (no line pending status of Mariota)
New Orleans at Atlanta (-3/53)
Denver at Baltimore (-5/43.5)
NY Giants at Houston (-6/41.5)
Oakland at Miami (-3.5/44)
Green Bay (-2.5/45.5) at Washington
Buffalo at Minnesota (-16.5/41)
San Francisco at Kansas City (-6/56)
LA Chargers at the LA Rams (-7/48)
Chicago (-6/37.5) at Arizona
Dallas at Seattle (-1/41.5)
New England (-6.5/42) at Detroit
Pittsburgh (-1/53.5) at Tampa Bay
Only one game in the “basic strategy” teaser window right now. That’s where you look for 6-point moves that cross both the 3 and the 7 in one fell swoop to use in two-team (or more) teasers.
*Washington plus 2.5
You can take Washington from plus 2.5 vs. Green Bay (off a grueling OT tie) up to plus 8.5 as a home underdog. Of course, you need something to link Washington with!
Here’s a quick list of teams who could move into the sweet spot with late-week line moves: LA Rams if they go to -7.5, Dallas if it goes to plus 1.5, Tampa Bay if it goes to plus 1.5
Remember to be careful with teams at -6 or -6.5. Those look tempting to move down because “all they have to do is win the game.” Several this week. Do you remember what happened last week? Two of three got there last week (Denver and San Francisco). But Washington didn’t in an upset loss to Indianapolis.
A 2-1 mark is NOT a winning record for teaser “nominees.” In fact, it’s a losing record. Here’s what happened if you moved those teams from -6 down to pick-em and paired them off in two-team teasers.
Washington-San Francisco: lost
Denver-San Francisco: won
A 2-1 record on nominees for teasers only goes 1-2 with actual two-teamers. Also worth noting…a 3-1 record on “nominees” only goes 3-3 if you pair them all possible ways. Upsets are more common than realized in that range…making sweeps of all the nominees difficult.
MLB Wednesday: Yankees pop Price again; Braves avoid a sweep
The last time David Price pitched in the Bronx, he allowed FIVE home runs to the New York Yankees in just 3.1 innings. Thursday, the Boston hurler improved (ha!). Only THREE home runs allowed in 5.1 innings.
If the Yankees win their wildcard knockout vs. Oakland (or, Houston), they will face Boston in the divisional round. Price’s ERA in four 2018 starts vs. the Yankees is 10.34, with nine home runs allowed in 15.2 innings.
NY Yankees (-160) 10, Boston 1
Total Bases Plus Walks: Boston 12, New York 27
Starting Pitchers: Price 5.1 IP, 4 ER, Severino 7 IP, 1 ER
Bullpen: Boston 2.2 IP, 4 ER, New York 2 IP, 0 ER
Good night for Luis Severino, which is music to pinstripe ears. Though, he may not have been getting Boston at peak intensity. Red Sox will coast to the #1 seed in the AL brackets regardless of what happens in this series. If Severino’s about to enjoy a resurgence, October just got even more interesting.
Yankees move to 93-58 with the win, holding on to home field over the AL West runner-up for the time being. Boston falls to 103-49, and can still officially clinch the AL East with a win in the series finale Thursday.
One other early finisher matching contenders from Wednesday afternoon.
Atlanta (even) 7, St. Louis 3
Total Bases Plus Walks: St. Louis 17, Atlanta 20
Starting Pitchers: Flaherty 4.2 IP, 5 ER, Toussaint 5.2 IP, 2 ER
Bullpen: St. Louis 3.1 IP, 1 ER, Atlanta 3.1 IP, 1 ER
Braves avoid a home sweep, though they’re still performing at a level below other NL threats. Atlanta took its turn clustering bases more efficiently, turning what should have been more like a 5-4 win into a comfortable 7-3 decision. (Dividing “total bases plus walks” by four is a surprisingly accurate “runs created” shortcut. Try it for league or MLB totals and you’ll see it’s right on the money.)
Atlanta up to 84-68 on their way to a divisional crown. St. Louis falls to 84-69 at a time when any loss could be the one that keeps you home on the couch in October.
From Wednesday night early finishers…
*Milwaukee (-165) beat Cincinnati 7-0. That moves the Brewers to 87-66. And, they pick up a game in the standings on St. Louis because of the Cards’ loss earlier in the day. Just nine games left, three of which are against the Cardinals. What’s it going to take to earn one of the two Wildcard spots? A record of 90-72 would only take a 3-6 finish. Maybe that’s not enough amidst Milwaukee/St. Louis/NL West runner-up fighting for two places. A 5-4 finish ends the season 92-70. Cards have to finish 8-1 to land on that record.
*Cleveland (-370) beat the Chicago White Sox 4-1. If you weren’t following along, the Chisox led 1-0 in the bottom of the ninth as a HUGE underdog! Grand slam home run by Jason Kipnis ended the evening. Cleveland now 85-66 as it awaits the AL West champ in the divisional round.
*Houston (-200) LOST to Seattle 9-0. Repeating as divisional champs sure isn’t coming easily. Houston falls to 95-57 with this defeat. Seattle waited too late to get things back in gear. Current record of 84-68 with 10 games left isn’t going to cut it in this league.
VSiN Broadcast Notes
Wanted to make you aware of a couple of things.
*Our own Matt Youmans was the guest this week on ESPN’s “Behind the Bets” podcast hosted by Doug Kezirian. You can listen in by clicking here.
*Longtime writer Pete Pistone will be the special guest Thursday on “Gone Racin’” with Ron Flatter, Brendan Gaughan, Jeff Motley, and star handicapper Jeff Cogliandro (after another winning week on matchups!). VSiN “All Access” subscribers can listen live at 5 p.m. ET, 2 p.m. in Las Vegas. Or, check, out the video replay at your convenience. Thanks to all of you who joined us for expanded NASCAR coverage through the South Point 400 extravaganza. Plenty more to talk about through the championship chase.
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