Welcome to the recap blog. Weekly results are a silly thing to track -- the small sample and high variance nature of the NFL makes them totally irrelevant. However, I do feel it's important to have an easy place to track all our bets, where we can easily see how we're performing over a larger sample size.
Cleveland (+1.5) over LA Chargers
Holy points. This was a nice back and forth game, where both teams essentially took turns scoring touchdowns. Such games can certainly be suitable to picking the team with the points, since it truly feels like a 50/50 outcome, but unfortunately this one didn't go our way.
Things started out well enough, with the Browns taking a 20-13 lead at the half. The Browns defense then took a steaming dump on midfield and proceeded to set it on fire -- allowing 5/6 Chargers second half drives to result in touchdowns. They had no answer for Mike Williams, who reeled in 8 catches for 165 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Browns top performers was Nick Chubb on the ground, who carried the rock 21 times for 161 yards (7.7 average) and scored a touchdown, as well as David Njoku through the air (7/149/1). Odell Beckham was a disappointment, catching just 2 balls on 3 targets for 20 yards. The Browns did have a chance for one final drive but couldn't get the ball over mid field.
Final score: LA Chargers 47, Cleveland 42 (lost 1 unit)
San Francisco (+5.5) @ Arizona
The model didn't love this bet, the strength was 2.85 and we typically like to see a strength of 3 before green lighting. However, at the time I felt both George Kittle and Jimmy Garoppolo were both going to play despite injuries the previous week, and thought we should take advantage on the markets hesitancy. Regular readers know my source for injuries is profootballdoc, who I consider to be the best at getting the most accurate injury information out as quickly as possible. Here is what they posted to their site last Tuesday.
San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and tight end George Kittle did not practice on Wednesday. Garoppolo told reporters Wednesday his calf is "not terrible right now" after he suffered a contusion during the first offensive series Sunday. The 49ers quarterback's comments confirm our assessment of the injury and it is good news that he did not suffer a calf strain. The 29-year-old should practice in some fashion this week and will likely be healthy enough to play this Sunday. Whether head coach Kyle Shanahan will start Garoppolo or rookie Trey Lance against the Cardinals is another matter. Kittle did not practice Thursday last week and was limited the other two days with a calf injury. He played the entire game against Seattle, finishing with 4 catches for 40 yards. We expect him to play again this week, but will likely have limited effectiveness.
Unfortunately, Jimmy ended up being ruled inactive and Kittle was placed on IR. Such things happen, but I still naturally believe that this type of analysis, along with help from the model picking games is the correct process.
As for the game, the 49ers struggled immensely to move the ball through the air. They had some success on the ground, as expected, but it wasn't enough to sustain drives where they could put points on the board. The defense did a decent job limiting the Cardinals offense outside of DeAndre Hopkins (who predictably had an excellent game, posting a 6/87/1 line), but it wasn't enough to cover the 5.5 point spread.
Final score: Arizona 17, San Francisco 10 (lost 1 unit)
This week puts us back to even from a unit's bet perspective on the year. The good results will come, don't you worry.
Week 5: It's Raining on First And Thirty (0-2, -2 units)
Season total: 7-8, -2 units