Week 13 is officially in the books. We recommended 3 bets, lost 1 easily, won 1 easily, and narrowly won a third for a 2-1 record. The model is rolling. Let’s get into it.
Kansas City (-15) @ Oakland
Vegas: OAK +15
DomModel: OAK +19.506
Recommendation: KC -15
Let’s start with the bad. We officially recommended KC before the Kareem Hunt news went down, but I double downed on the bet even after it was clear Hunt wasn’t going to play. I detailed the entire thing in a blog post here. The long and short is this – running backs are simply not that important in today’s NFL, and Spencer Ware is a worthy back up for Hunt. I also recommended waiting to see what kind of line you can get, and I personally bet this game at 14. The site bet naturally stays at 15.
Not that it mattered.
Do I regret the bet? No, not at all. The Chiefs still dropped a 40 burger on the Raiders. Pat Mahomes had a literal perfect QB rating when targeting Travis Kelce, who went off for 12 catches for 168 yards and 2 touchdowns. Though Tyreek Hill was silenced in the box score, he was incredibly close to catching a long, “classic Tyreek” touchdown pass. Even the two running backs combined for 4.4 yards per carry. For the Chiefs, things went just fine offensively.
The problem was that fucking defense — though things were fine until the 4th quarter. At that point, KC lead 33 – 16. Up 17, we were in fantastic shape, but it just wasn’t our game. The Raiders started the 4th quarter with a 10 play, 75 yards drive that resulted in a touchdown pass to some guy named Lee Smith. After a KC punt, Oakland scored another touchdown. This time it was a 9 yard touchdown pass to some guys named Marcell Ateman. Suddenly Kansas City was only up 3, and though the game was never in doubt for the Chiefs, there was no chance we were covering.
Final score: Kansas City 40, Oakland 33
San Francisco @ Seattle (-10)
Vegas: SEA – 10
DomModel: SEA -13.497
Recommendation: SEA -10
And now the easy win. I spent the analysis blog pointing out that Nick Mullens had played poorly against weak teams thus far, so I have to give him some credit in this one. The 49ers played from behind the entire game, forcing Mullens to attempt 48 passes. Good ole’ Nick completed 30 of those passes (62.5%) for 414 yards (8.6 average), 2 touchdowns, and 1 pick. Daniel Pettis parlayed 7 targets into 5 catches, 129 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Everyone else sucked.
In addition to Mullens’s interception, the 49ers fumbled twice. Plus, they 49ers couldn’t stop.. well, anybody. On the ground, Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny combined for 134 yards on 20 carries (6.7 average). Russ Wilson only needed to attempt 17 passes, and he completed 11 of those for 185 yards and 4 (yes, four) touchdowns. Damn Russ, the 49ers have a family.
This one was a good old fashioned blow out.
Final score: Seattle 43, San Francisco 16
LA Chargers (+3.5) @ Pittsburgh
Vegas: PIT -3.5
DomModel: PIT +1.029
Recommendation: LAC -3.5
This one started out fucking ugly, with the Steelers up 23-7 at the half. Big Ben targeting Antonio Brown, and the Chargers only touchdown came on a play that should have been called back for and obvious false start that was so blatant I called it drunk from my couch. But never fear, the second half was coming and everything was about to change. There was a difference maker in this game that was going to impact this one in a major way, swinging the pendulum completely to the Chargers side.
It was Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.
The Steelers opened the second half like the game was already in the bag. They were acting like they were up 3 scores with 5 minutes left to play, when it was just a two score game with an entire half to play against a very good Chargers team. Consider this, from Warren Sharp:
“The Steelers 1st down play calls in the 1st half vs 2nd half (until they blew the lead)
1st half 1st downs:
4 runs (outside the 1-yd line)
2nd half 1st downs:
1 pass (runs avg’d 3.4 YPC)”
And that wasn’t even the worst part. Easily the most egregious thing to happen in this game was the Steelers instance on using a fucking linebacker to cover Keenan Allen (maybe you’ve heard of him).
Think about that for a second. The Chargers were without RB Melvin Gordon, who is second on the team in targets behind Allen. The Steelers not only allowed for the clear cut number 1 option on the Chargers to be covered by a linebacker, they game planned for it.
What. The. Fuck.
Here’s how the second half played out for the Chargers:
-Philip Rivers: 13/16 (81%), 152 yards, 1 TD
-Keenan Alleen 7 catches, 79 yards, 1 TD
-Desmond King returned a punt for a TD
And just like that, the Chargers were up 30-23. Now, the Steelers did come back to tie the score at 30-30, but for our purposes, the bet was in fantastic shape. The Chargers would have the ball for one more drive before the game ends. Even if they failed, the game goes to OT and we’re still in great shape. Consider the possibilities:
-Game ends in a tie (we cover)
-Game ends with a Chargers field goal (we cover)
-Game ends with a Chargers touchdown (we cover)
-Game ends with a Steelers field goal (we cover)
-Game ends with a Steelers touchdown (we lose)
That just helps illustrate the importance of being +3.5. If we head to OT, 4 of the 5 possibilities end with us winning.
Turns out, that wasn’t even necessary. The Chargers marched down the field, including picking up a key 3rd down when Philip Rivers successfully completed a pass to Keenen Allen, who was covered by — you guessed it — a fucking linebacker. Then it was time for a last second field goal, but there was more fun to be had:
-K Mike Badgley lines up for a 39 yard field. He misses, but the Steelers were offsides.
-Badgley lines up for a 34 yard field goal. It’s blocked, but the Steelers are offsides.
-Badgley lines up for a 29 yard field goal. It’s good. The Steeleres are offsides again. Penalty declined. Games over.
Final score: Los Angeles 33, Pittsburgh 30
That’s it for now, bitches. We will see you next week.