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Written Thursday October 29th, 2020 at 7 a.m. Eastern Time (spreads/odds may have changed) Yeah, baby! The 5-star pick was a winner last week, lifting our record on such plays to a perfect 2-0 record this season! Backing the Jets was a bold call, especially considering they were 0-6 against the spread (ATS) this year, but we took them at the right moment. Notice how New York was a 13-point underdog when I took them last Thursday, while the line dropped all the way to 9.5 prior to kickoff. That was a huge indication it was a good value bet. I’ve got four official picks for you this week, as well as five “leans”. Let’s get going! PICK #1 (4 STARS): ATLANTA FALCONS +2 AT CAROLINA PANTHERS The Panthers were supposed to be one of the worst NFL teams this season, but surprised many by winning three of their first five games. They have now lost a couple of games in a row, and I would not be surprised if they go on a downward spiral. It is still uncertain if Christian McCaffrey will return to the lineup, but even if he does it looks like his ankle is still not 100%. Left tackle Russell Okung is a long shot to be available, which would be a big blow to this offensive line. I also believe losing Kawann Short for the rest of the year will have a big negative impact on Carolina’s defensive line. He was a key part of this defense. Matt Ryan is the type of quarterback who struggles a lot when pressured, but thrives when given time to scan the field. Carolina ranks dead last in sacks with only six. I expect Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage and Hayden Hurst to shine on Thursday Night Football. I also like to pick teams who have lost to the same opponent earlier in the season. That’s the case of the Falcons who lost 23-16 against Carolina three weeks ago. It’s time for some payback! Atlanta suffered another mind-boggling loss last week and I really expect them to lash out on their division rivals this Thursday. I wouldn’t be surprised if they won the game by 10 points or more. PICK #2 (3 STARS): NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS +4 AT BUFFALO BILLS After a hot start to the 2020 season, the Bills have cooled off in a big way. They were hammered 42-16 in Tennessee before getting stomped by the Chiefs despite a fairly close 26-17 score. Last week’s win over the Jets wasn’t convincing either. What I like the most about this prediction is how well the Patriots match up against Buffalo. Let me explain. First, let’s think about the case where New England has the ball. Their passing attack has been very inconsistent and they lack playmakers catching the ball. In order to have success, they must run the ball effectively, which happens to be Buffalo’s Achilles’ heel on defense (they rank 23rd in terms of yards-per-rush average). Now, how about when the Bills are on offense? Buffalo has the sixth-most passing yards per game this year versus 29th in rushing yards per game. Guess what is New England’s strength on defense? That’s right, their pass defense with Stephon Gilmore and the two McCourtys leading the way. Some might also argue that the Pats are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 meetings in Buffalo, but I’m not sure this stat is relevant with Tom Brady gone. Without hesitation, I’m going with New England to keep this game close. PICK #3 (3 STARS): NEW ORLEANS SAINTS -4 AT CHICAGO BEARS In today’s NFL, it is hard to win if you cannot throw the ball effectively, unless you are exceptionally good at running the ball like the Baltimore Ravens. Clearly, the Bears have a bad passing attack with Nick Foles posting 6 TD passes and 6 interceptions in five games. And their running game is just as bad: the team ranks last in rushing yards per game. Somehow, Chicago rode their defense to go 5-2 thus far in 2020. However, everyone knows they are not that good. Even their defense started to show some signs of weaknesses last week against the Rams, who picked up 24 first downs and 371 total yards. Relying on a stifling defense was a good recipe 20-30 years ago. It does not work as well in the modern NFL. Even then, the Bears defense is good, but it’s not a dominant force either. I do believe Sean Payton’s team will be able to move the ball offensively. Here are some interesting trends: Are you worried about how the Saints will perform on grass this weekend? They are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games on grass. New Orleans is 5-1 ATS in their last six matchups as road favorites, and 36-17 ATS in their past 53 road games overall. Also notice that the Bears are playing on a shorter week due to playing the Monday nighter, a game in which they traveled all the way to Los Angeles. PICK #4 (1 STAR): NEW YORK JETS +19.5 AT KANSAS CITY CHIEFS No need to discuss the mismatch on paper. We all know how much better the Chiefs are compared to the lowly Jets. I’m going with the Jets for a couple of reasons: Since the AFL-NFL merger, 13 teams have been favored by 20 points or more. Those teams have gone 13-0 straight up, but just 3-10 ATS. Technically, New York is not a 20-point underdog, but the line opened at 21.5. I’ll mention the same stat as last week for those of you who didn’t see my Jets pick against the Bills. Since 1985, six teams have started the season with six straight losses both SU and ATS (which is the case of the Jets in 2020). How did these teams fare in the remainder of their season? They went 34-24 ATS, a 58.6% win rate. Personally, I’m holding off before placing a bet on New York. I am waiting to obtain the injury status of wide receivers Jamison Crowder and Breshad Perriman. If both are out, I need a point spread of at least 21 to bet the Jets. Hopefully, at least one of them suits up this Sunday, otherwise Sam Darnold may not have any reliable targets. Granted, I thought rookie Denzel Mims showed promise in his NFL debut against Buffalo last week. The Jets also have four offensive linemen who are listed as questionable. In other words, depending on who plays and how the point spread changes, I’ll make a decision once I have more information. UNOFFICIAL PICKS For entertainment purposes, here are some leans: Bengals +6 vs Titans (Cincy’s five losses were by 3, 3, 4, 5 and 24-point margins, so they kept all games close except against the Ravens); 49ers +3 at Seahawks (tight divisional matchup and Seattle’s defense is horrendous); Steelers +4 at Ravens (don’t like the fact that Baltimore is coming off its bye week though); Dolphins +4 vs Rams (too much uncertainty due to Tua’s first start to bet, but the “rest” factor favors Miami in a big way. They are coming off their bye week and have been at home three straight weeks, while the Rams played last Monday night and are now traveling across the country); Over 48.5 points Jets vs Chiefs. I hope you enjoyed this post, go get your bookie man!!! Professor MJ Twitter: @DavidBeaudoin79 FB: ProfessorMJ www.professormj.com https://youtu.be/NeppsXY9WRQ
Written Thursday October 22nd, 2020 at 2 p.m. Eastern Time (spreads/odds may have changed) This week we’ve got just our second 5-star play of the 2020 season! The only other one was Arizona +7 against the 49ers in Week #1, a bet that easily covered since the Cards won the game straight up by a margin of four points. Such picks rated 5 stars have done very well since I started this “Professor MJ” brand a few years ago. That being said, I’m not suggesting to bet your house on it. You’ll never hear me talk about “the lock of the century” or “100% guaranteed winner” or any similar bull$$hit. There is always risk involved. Bet at your own risk and never bet an amount that you cannot afford to lose. PICK #1 (5 STARS): NEW YORK JETS +13 VS BUFFALO BILLS Wow, picking the lowly Jets as a five-star play is pretty bold, isn’t it? Adam Gase’s team is 0-6 both straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) this year. Since 1985, six teams have started the season with six straight losses both SU and ATS. How did these teams fare in the remainder of their season? They went 34-24 ATS, a 58.6% win rate. I like the Jets for many other reasons. The rest factor is in favor of New York since the Bills are coming off a Monday night game. Also, NFL teams tend to do very well in the rematch against a division rival after losing the first meeting of the season. In this case, Buffalo won 27-17 in Week #1, which makes the Jets a good play based on this betting angle. Finally, the Bills have been struggling a lot recently. They blew a 25-point lead against the Rams before escaping with the win, thanks to a questionable pass interference penalty on fourth down in the final drive. They got hammered 42-16 against a depleted Titans team two weeks ago. Last week, losing 26-17 against the Chiefs may not look bad on paper, but if you watched the game you know what I’m talking about. The Bills were out of sync on offense, where Josh Allen looked more like the 2018 or 2019 version of himself. And their defense was gashed on the ground by allowing 5.3 yards per carry. This unit was supposed to be among the league’s best, but they an average of 28 points per game. Meanwhile, Sam Darnold has a shot to be back under center. He is a big improvement over Joe Flacco, and he would finally have some weapons around him with Jamison Crowder, Breshad Perriman and maybe rookie Denzel Mims who could make his NFL debut. Some bookies have already lowered their spread to 12, but at the time I’m making this video BetOnline still has 13. This is where I placed my bet. I really like New York to cover in this one. PICK #2 (3 STARS): KANSAS CITY CHIEFS -9.5 AT DENVER BRONCOS Over the last nine meetings between these two clubs, Kansas City holds an 8-1 record ATS. If you focus on games played in Denver only, the Chiefs have beaten the spread on six consecutive occasions. Sure, Kansas City loses one day of rest after playing the Monday nighter. But in my opinion, elite teams fare well when facing adversity. They are a well-coached team and it won’t affect them that much. The Broncos are coming off a nice upset win in New England. Quarterback Drew Lock made two incredibly bad decisions that almost gave the game away, but he should be thankful that his defense saved the day. Denver’s offense struggled most of the day and couldn’t score more than 18 points despite the Pats turning the ball over three times. They won’t be able to keep up with KC’s offense, who are unlikely to take them lightly, considering it’s a divisional game. PICK #3 (3 STARS): LAS VEGAS RAIDERS +4 VS TAMPA BAY BUCS I feel like the public is getting overexcited following Tampa’s convincing win over the Packers. It was indeed an impressive outing where emotions were high, which makes this non-conference matchup a trap game for them. Las Vegas is also coming off their bye week, which is always a nice advantage. Tampa’s top three receivers (Evans-Godwin-Miller) are all likely to play, but are nursing injuries. On the defensive side of the ball, the loss of nose tackle Vita Vea for the rest of the year was a big blow and is an underrated loss for this squad. They also have three good guys on defense who are listed as questionable: LB Lavonte David and DEs Jason Pierre-Paul and William Gholston. The Raiders have beaten the Chiefs, the Saints and the Panthers, while losing to Buffalo and New England. In other words, there wasn’t a single easy opponent (Carolina was expected to be weak, but they are off to a nice start). I’m taking the Raiders as home underdogs here. PICK #4 (1 STAR): SEATTLE SEAHAWKS -3 AT ARIZONA CARDINALS Seattle is coming off their bye week, while the Cards lose one day of preparation after playing the Monday night game. Arizona also had to travel on three straight weeks prior to this week, which isn’t easy. I’m pretty sure the Seahawks remember the last time they faced Kliff Kingsbury’s squad: a 27-13 home loss in Week #16 that hurt their chances of clinching a first-round bye. Payback time! Over the last 11 meetings between these two rivals, the road team has a 9-1-1 record ATS. Please note that the “under” was a winning bet in each of the last five matchups. As mentioned last week, I also like to back road favorites coming off a bye week. A reminder that such teams showed a jaw-dropping 15-1-2 ATS record over four seasons (they went 1-1 last week though). Best of luck with your plays and I’ll see you again next week! Professor MJ https://www.youtube.com/c/ProfessorMJ/featured Twitter: @DavidBeaudoin79 FB: ProfessorMJ www.professormj.com