Saturday, December 28, 2013

NFC East Week 17 Preview and "Pick of the Week"

Before the 2013 NFL regular season got underway, I predicted that the NFC East title would come down to the final week. I had Dallas and New York both finishing 9-7 with the tiebreaker going to the Giants for the division championship. I also had Philadelphia and Washington finishing a close second at 8-8. The Redskins never lived up to the hype created by last year's unexpected title run and a disastrous 0-6 start by New York ended its chances at competing for the division crown.

As for the Cowboys, that was a pretty easy pick considering they have been in this exact same position the last two seasons; losing the division to the Giants in the final week of 2011 and falling to Washington last season in a Week 17 loss to miss the playoffs. The big story out of this bunch was Philadelphia; however the turn around from a 4-12 record in 2012 to the brink of the playoffs this year should not have been that big of a surprise. Most of the talent was already in place and it just had to be harnessed and redirected by a fresh face at head coach.

Andy Reid did all he could in Philadelphia and found himself burnt out after 14 seasons with the same team. The proof is in what he did with Kansas City this year. The Chiefs only won two games in 2012 and they have already clinched a playoff spot in the AFC with a record of 11-4 heading into the final week. Chip Kelly came into Philadelphia hell-bent to change just about everything from last year except key personnel. He staged a very public battle at the quarterback position between a veteran Michael Vick and a second-year upstart Nick Foles. As expected, Vick's body could not hold up and Foles got an opportunity to flourish in a system that capitalizes on all of his strengths. In a previous post I stated that when all the smoke clears from whatever happens with this team, the biggest accomplishment of Kelly's first year at the helm is finding and developing a franchise quarterback that can lead this team for years to come.

As far as Sunday night's game, I have made the Eagles my final NFC East 'Pick of the Week' with a predicted double-digit victory over Dallas. I would have made the same pick even if Tony Romo was playing quarterback as this game comes down to the matchup between Philly's high-octane offense going up against one of the worst defenses in the league. Forget about the 17-3 loss at the Linc the first time these two teams met and focus on what Foles has been able to accomplish over the past seven weeks. Even in that terrible loss to Minnesota in Week 15, he led this offense to 30 points which is usually enough to win most games. LeSean McCoy has also been a huge factor in the Eagles' success this season as he closes in on a NFL rushing title. DeSean Jackson returned to form and the emergence of Riley Cooper in the place of an injured Jeremy Maclin and rookie tight end Zach Ertz have helped make this unit one of the best in the league. The biggest difference between last year's collapse and this season's winning run is a healthy offensive line that is opening huge holes in the running game as well as doing an excellent job at protecting Foles in the pocket.

Below is a link to my weekly NFC East preview that will be the final installment of an ongoing series for Doc's Sports. As far as my 'pick of the week' I bring a highly profitable 12-4 record into Week 17 that would have earned $2,970 on a $100 wager using Doc's Unit Betting System. I plan on going out with a bang by making this week's selection a 5-unit play!

NFC East Weekly NFL Betting Picks: Week 17

Friday, December 27, 2013

NFL Top 3 "Over/Under" Picks for Week 17

For the past 16 weeks of the NFL season I have released my top 3 "Over/Under" picks as part of an ongoing series for Doc's Sports. For the most part the results have been profitable and with last Sunday's 2-1 mark I am 27-20-1 heading into Week 17. The betting trends have been all over the board in the NFL recently with the total going OVER in 10 of the 16 games in Week 15 followed by 11 of 16 games staying UNDER last week. There are quite a few matchups on this Sunday's slate that have major playoff implications so who knows what to expect.

I personally see things tightening up a bit with so much on the line, so look for the UNDER trend to continue in the regular season finale. The one game that could easily go OVER the 52-point total is the Eagles vs. Cowboys' showdown for the NFC East Division title. Philadelphia should be able to move the ball up and down the field and score with ease against one of the most porous defense's in the league, but also look for some big scoring plays by Dallas. It really does not matter whether it is Tony Romo or Kyle Orton behind center as either quarterback should be able to test the Eagles' secondary with their arm.

As far as my top three picks for this week, I did not go with this game so please consider this prediction a belated Christmas gift. To check out my "Over/Under" picks for this Sunday's games in the NFL just click the link below.

NFL Totals Betting: Week 17 Over and Under Predictions

Saturday, December 21, 2013

NFC East Week 16 Preview and "Pick of the Week"

The Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys have been on a collision course for the NFC East title almost since Day 1 of this year's NFL regular season and it will all come to ahead next Sunday when the two square off against one another in Big D. Even though the Cowboys are mired in another December swoon with back-to-back losses to Chicago and Green Bay, all they need to do is get by the hapless Redskins this Sunday to set up next Sunday's tilt against the Birds for the division title and a spot in this year's Super Bowl tourney.

The Eagles had an opportunity to put some serious distance between themselves and their bitter rivals with a win over Minnesota last Sunday, but sticking true to form, they dropped the ball in one of their worst showings of the year. This Sunday night's game against Chicago could be meaningless if Dallas topples Washington earlier that day, but in reality that could not be further from the truth. Philly is a good team, but it is also one that needs to play its absolute best to get a win no matter who it is playing. The letdown against Minnesota sapped quite a bit of the momentum that was generated from the Eagles' recent five-game winning streak. A loss to the Bears at home this Sunday night would completely drain that bank account heading into their Week 17 showdown against Dallas. Chip Kelly’s team is still learning how to win and victories this time of year can be worth their weight in gold in getting his team to the next level; the level where wins are expected and delivered on a regular basis.

I continue to drag my feet when it comes to getting completely on the Eagles’ bandwagon this season. I believe they have all the tools to stand up to the best teams in the NFC, but they also have that ability to implode at a moment’s notice. This is the main reason I have completely stayed away from using them as one of my weekly NFC East picks with the exception of a total line play.

I am staying away from this week’s matchup against Chicago as well, but if you are interested in a preview of all the games in the NFC East this Sunday as well as my ‘pick of the week’ please check out the link below to my Week 16 article as part of an ongoing series for Doc’s Sports.

NFC East Weekly NFL Betting Picks: Week 16

Thursday, December 19, 2013

NFL Top 3 "Over/Under" Picks for Week 16

After ending up on the wrong side of all three of my total line picks for Week 14 of the NFL regular season, as promised I bounced back with a clean sweep in last Sunday's selections. This turnaround raised my year to date record to 25-19-1 which is about par for the course for a wannabe handicapper like myself. The OVER has dominated the total line the past two weeks with 20 of 32 games going OVER the closing total line. Sometimes streaks like this will carry over to another week, but more times than not it presents an opportunity to go big in the other direction. Over the course of the 17 week NFL season you would be amazed how the Oddsmakers have a knack for evening things out.

I did not make a conscious effort to go with the UNDER in all three of this Sunday's picks, it just so happened to work out that way. None the less, I head into Week 16 with a high level of confidence that I will turn in another winning performance with the right call in what should be three low scoring contests.

To check out all three of this week's total line selections just click the link below to my ongoing series for Doc's Sports.

NFL Totals Betting: Week 16 Over and Under Predictions

Saturday, December 14, 2013

NFC East Week 15 Preview and "Pick of the Week"

The Cowboys loss to Chicago this past Monday night put the Eagles in complete control of their playoff destiny but they will probably have to win out to actually lock-up the division and earn one of the five remaining spots in the NFC (Seattle already clinched). Dallas still holds the edge with a victory in the first meeting this season as well as a perfect 4-0 record in the division.

The Cowboys play Green Bay this Sunday (without Aaron Rodgers at quarterback) and the hapless Redskins in Week 16 before welcoming Philly to town in the season finale. The Eagles are on the road this Sunday against Minnesota in a game they are favored by 5.5 points. They will be back home next Sunday night against Chicago before making that trip to Big D. Unless one of these teams completely falls apart in their next two contests, the Week 17 showdown between the two will be for the division title. Dallas has been in this same exact situation the past two seasons and came up short against the Giants in 2011 and Washington last year. We have to hope that history continues to repeat itself at least one more time.

The Birds' five-game winning streak has been a great ride, but given their past history, I am still leery of completely jumping on their bandwagon. So much so, that have not used them as my NFC East 'pick of the week' during this run other than a play on the UNDER against Arizona in Week 13. Nick Foles continues to perform at a high level, LeSean McCoy is having the best season of his career and the defense has not allowed more than 21 points in the last nine games. The biggest difference with this team could be a head coach that continues to defy the odds with his unconventional style. I was always a big Andy Reid fan, but he did have trouble keeping his team loose in pressure situations. Chip Kelly looks like he is having fun both on and off the field and this is reflected in the demeanor of his entire team. Last Sunday against Detroit they looked like a bunch of kids playing in the snow and more importantly there was no sense of panic even when they trailed 14-0 early in the third quarter.

It has always been hard being an Eagles' fan especially in situations like this, but I cannot help but get the feeling that this team is on its way to accomplishing far more than it was ever expected to this year. I am not going as far to say that I am making arrangements for an early February trip to see some old friends in North Jersey, but I am excited at the prospect of seeing Jerry Jones' face when his team blows a third straight chance to win the NFC East against three different teams.

For my complete preview of all the games in the NFC East this Sunday as well as my 'pick of the week' click the link below for this week's article that was previously posted at Doc's Sports.

NFC East Weekly NFL Betting Picks: Week 15

Thursday, December 12, 2013

NFL Top 3 "Over/Under" Picks for Week 15

Last Sunday I played the UNDER in three games where weather was a major factor with cold temperatures, snow and heavy wind and all three games easily went OVER the total. So much for the theory that bad field conditions slow these elite athletes down.

The Eagles' game against Detroit was not one of my picks although I probably would have went with the UNDER in that game as well. It actually ended up as a PUSH on a closing line of 54 after Philly played its best fourth quarter of the season. This team had made an art of jumping out to a fast start in the first four victories of its current five game winning streak, but against the Lions, the Birds saved their best for last with a 34-point explosion after trailing 14-0 early in the third quarter. This just goes to show you that when it comes to betting the total line in the NFL, nothing is in the bag until the final gun.

Just ask the Eagles' opponent this week about that. Heading into the final quarter, the Ravens had a 7-6 lead over Minnesota so the UNDER in this game was well in hand. With a little over two minutes left in the game Baltimore went up 15-12, which was still way below the 41.5-point closing line. Over the next two minutes, the Vikings scored twice and the Ravens scored twice to take the game way OVER the total with a final score of 29-26 in favor of Baltimore.

It was back to the drawing board after last week's 0-3 fiasco, but I feel confident that it will be a complete turnaround after this Sunday's games. Below is a link to my NFL Week 15 Over/Under picks as part of an ongoing series for Doc's Sports.

NFL Totals Betting: Week 15 Over and Under Predictions

Saturday, December 7, 2013

NFC East Week 14 Preview and "Pick of the Week"

The battle for the NFC East title heats up this week with Philadelphia playing host to Detroit at the Linc on Sunday afternoon followed by a Monday night battle between Dallas and Chicago. These are crucial games for all four teams considering that the Eagles and Dallas are tied at 7-5 and the Lions (7-5) lead over the Bears (6-6) in the NFC North is just one game.

The key to the Eagles' chances to extend their current winning streak to five games will be once again jumping out to an early lead. They have been able to do this in their last four games and, despite the fact that the defense tried to make things a bit too interesting against both Washington and Arizona, the net result has been a win. Detroit is a team that can put points on the board in a hurry, but it also has a tendency to shoot itself in the foot with costly turnovers, penalties and mistakes. This trend could be heightened if it is forced to play from behind on the road.

The other key is the play of Nick Foles. During this four-game run he has thrown for 1,169 yards and 13 touchdowns while completing an impressive 67.9 percent of his 106 attempts. Even more impressive is the fact that he has put the ball up 196 times this season and has yet to be intercepted. I would be thrilled to see Philadelphia go on and win the division at the expense of the Cowboys, but unless it ends up winning the Super Bowl, the biggest accomplishment in Chip Kelly's first season at the helm will still be the discovery of a franchise quarterback that can successfully run his complex offensive scheme. I think that even the most skeptical Eagles' fan out there would have to agree that the second-year gunslinger out of the University of Arizona is the real deal.

As far as which team will win on Sunday, I have to go with the Birds in what is actually a homer call. They have a huge advantage playing this game at home against a dome team. Weather is expected to be a factor with rain and snow in the forecast, but even if nothing is falling from the sky, the December winds at the Linc could reek havoc on a Lions' offense that relies heavily on the pass. If the Eagles' secondary can somehow contain Calvin Johnson (nobody stops him) and if they can get another huge effort from LeSean McCoy and a rushing attack that is ranked second in the NFL in yards per game (146.8) the winning streak reaches five.

For my complete preview of all the games in the NFC East in Week 14 as well as my 'pick of the week' follow to link below to Doc's Sports.

NFC East Weekly NFL Betting Picks: Week 14

Thursday, December 5, 2013

NFL Top 3 "Over/Under" Picks Week 14

Lower than expected scores ruled the day in Week 13 of the NFL regular season with 10 of the 16 games on the schedule staying UNDER the closing line. I was a victim of this trend with a 1-2 record in my top picks, but my lone win was the UNDER on the Eagles' 24-21 victory over Arizona.

I thought I had this game easily in hand with a total line of 48, but once again the Birds decided to make things interesting by blowing a comfortable lead. The defense came up with the plays when it had to, but to get to the playoffs Philadelphia is going to have to learn how to keep its foot on the throat once it gets a big lead. This week's game against Detroit is an interesting matchup between two teams that know how to quickly rack-up points. I almost bit on the OVER, but with the line set at 54.5 it was just a bit too high for my taste. It also looks like weather could be a factor at the Linc this Sunday so I am glad I decided to pass.

I did find three other matchups that I really like so look for a return to my winning ways. To get the inside scoop on all three picks be sure to click the link below to my weekly article for Doc's Sports.

NFL Totals Betting: Week 14 Over and Under Predictions