Dope Ropes Career Record: 153-130
Follow @DopeRopesChi on Twitter
I went 1-3 last week and got smoked on Thanksgiving. I own it when I suck, so there you go.
Fading me has not been a profitable strategy historically, but if you think this is the time, have at it hoss.
Browns (5-6) @ Steelers (6-5)
Pick #1: First Half Under 20
Pick #2: First Half Steelers +0.5
Action: 71% of bets on the Browns, 72% of money on the Browns;
53% of bets on the Under, 72% of money on the Under
The Steelers are an emotional team and they are predictably inconsistent. This is a direct reflection of their head coach Mike Tomlin. I'm not even saying it's a bad thing - Tomlin is uniquely gifted at motivating a team when the occasion calls for it, and that's why the vast majority of NFL franchises would love to have him on their staff.
Yes, Tomlin can get a team "up" for a game, but this indirectly sends a message to his players that some games are more important than others. It opposes the Patriot way of preparing for each game in the exact same manner, and it's why Tomlin's team can play like ravenous savages one week but lay an egg the next week, while Belichick gets consistent effort week-to-week.
Last week, the Steelers sleepwalked into Cincinnati as a road favorite and eventually needed Duck Hodges to bail them out for a second half comeback. The winless Bengals did not get Pittsburgh's attention in the week of preparation, and it showed.
This week, Tomlin has plenty of bulletin board material, as his team returns home to avenge the 21-7 loss to the Browns two weeks ago that culminated in a helmet-swinging clown show. Tomlin is going to use the drama to his advantage and put his fingerprints all over this game. His guys will come out like maniacs and Heinz Field will be a madhouse. Just imagine an early T.J. Watt sack on Baker Mayfield with the terrible towels flying, and tell me you would still feel good about a bet on the Browns.
The Browns have won three in a row, and now the public is back to buying them as the playoff-caliber team they had envisioned coming into the year. The big piece that the public is overlooking is that the Browns still take a million penalties and are led by a guy who may not be a head coach next year. Facing an extra-motivated Steelers defense that ranks Top-3 in the league, the Browns will need to play a clean game, and they simply aren't organized/disciplined enough to do so. Get ready for penalties, bad play-calling, unnecessary timeouts, and turnovers.
Everyone knows the Steelers offense blows. But in this game, they don't need to do anything special. The emphasis will be to limit mistakes and put this game in the hands of their defense to create favorable field position. If Duck Hodges doesn't turn the ball over, that will be four less turnovers than what Mason Rudolph surrendered to the Browns two weeks ago before Myles Garrett bashed his fat head.
This is Tomlin's game, and it will be most evident in the first half. The Steelers top-tier defense will come out with their hair on fire to remind us how disjointed the Browns offense can be, and the Steelers offense will play extremely conservatively to keep this game under control. Playing their type of game in front of a raucous home crowd, this first half belongs to the Steelers and the Under.
Raiders (6-5) @ Chiefs (7-4)
Pick #3: First Half Under 24.5
Action: 63% of bets on the Under, 66% of money on the Under
I'm keeping this one short. On paper, both of these teams have good offenses and bad defenses, so the Over is the obvious choice. Well, weather changes everything.
The winds in Kansas City are going to be 20 mph. This will keep both offenses grounded. More importantly, it will play nicely into Oakland's game plan of running Jacobs against the Chiefs weak run D to bleed clock and keep the ball out of Mahomes' hands.
There's a reason why the game total quizzically dropped from 54.5 to 49.5 between two offensive-minded teams. Under is the play.
Sorry this blog was pretty straightforward, but I'm not in a joking mood. First things first, I'm here to get wins.