In this series, I will pick an underdog every week that I think will not only cover the spread, but also have a good chance at winning outright.
Oh well, all streaks come to an end at some point. Just have to start a new winning streak.
Underdog of the Week:
ATL @ ARI
ATL +2 (some books have it at 2.5)
ATL +120 ML
While most of my picks so far have been based on previous years' trends, we're far along enough in the season to start looking at trends that have developed during this season. I originally read this trend in Bill Simmons' article on Grantland, but it has since been written about elsewhere and makes a lot of sense. Fade the team that played against Seattle's bruising defense the previous week. Some would chalk the trend up to coincidence, but I vaguely remember similar trends from back when Baltimore and Pittsburgh had brutally punishing defenses a few years ago. Of course, it's possible that this streak will stop simply for the reason that Arizona is on 10 days' rest, but they also played a bruising 49er defense the week before playing Seattle.
I'm also curious about the line. While Atlanta is a more high profile name, Arizona has played well with excellent defense at home. Add to that Atlanta's road woes, and I would originally guess that sharps would be all over Arizona at home giving less than a FG. Yet the line hasn't moved to the key number of 3. In terms of the actual match up, while Atlanta has a losing record, all their games have been close, and none of the teams that they've lost to have been revealed to be particularly bad. If it comes down to the last possession or two, Matt Ryan vs. Carson Palmer is not much of a contest.
Interesting Stat of the Week:
So far this season, all the teams that have played Seattle have gone on to lose the following week, going 0-6 ATS and 0-2 straight up as a favorite.
ML 3-4 +30