Archived: Hank’s Weekly Report
December 20, 2021
December 20, 2021
Kansas City Makeover, Vikings/Bears, College Basketball Rivalries and Defense The...
December 20, 2021
The Missouri Tigers play the Army Black Knights Wednesday, December 22, in The Armed...
December 20, 2021
NFL power rankings 1. Green Bay Packers 11-3 (previous ranking: 2) The Packers keep...
December 14, 2021
Players, YET ANOTHER WINNING WEEK! NOTE: BE sure to enroll Early for the 2021 Bowl Package...
December 14, 2021
When Allegiant Stadium was built near the Strip, the general consensus was Las Vegas would...
December 11, 2021
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will look to do something that the franchise has done just once...
December 20, 2021
Kansas City Makeover, Vikings/Bears, College Basketball Rivalries and Defense
The Kansas City Chiefs have had two seasons as different as night and day. The first half was about a struggling offense and a really bad defense that gave up 29 points to the Browns, 36 to Baltimore, 30 in back-to-back games against the Chargers and Eagles, 38 to the Bills, and bottomed out in a 27-3 loss at Tennessee. Since then, they’ve looked like the team to beat in the AFC. It was no surprise that an offense with QB Patrick Mahomes would get on track at some point. But it’s the defensive turnaround that has been the biggest surprise.
Several things happened. They traded for Steelers’ DE Melvin Ingram the first week of November. The move had a pinball effect allowing 6-6 Chris Jones to play exclusively inside. Ingram is an outstanding disruptor of blocking schemes, attacking B gaps, taking on double-teams, freeing up flexibility for Jones and linebackers. Gap shooting LB Willie Gay Jr returned in Week 5 from an injury, while the secondary saw a subtle makeover with safety Juan Thornhill and a return to health of CB Charvarius Ward, who was out Weeks 3-6. As the offense builds up leads, DC Steve Spagnulo is able to utilize 6 DBs in the secondary more.
The Chiefs jumped the Patriots as the No. 1 seed in the AFC after the Colts put on an impressive display in a 27-17 victory. It was a big weekend for me backing those Colts on Saturday, then a Sunday Upset Special on the Cincinnati Bengals, a 15-10 winner at Denver as a dog. Kansas City is peaking at the right time, winning a pair of divisional games in five days over the Raiders (48-9) and Chargers (34-28). In the first five games, the Chiefs went 2-3 SU, 1-4 ATS allowing 32.6 points per game. Since then, 8-1 SU/6-3 ATS allowing 116 total points (12.8 points per game, 6-3 UNDER the total). The stats say it’s not the same Kansas City defense as in the first two months of the season — and it’s not.
Vikings/Bears (Monday night): The team that can’t play defense against the team that can’t score! Minnesota is third in the NFL offensively in yards, #11 in points (25.9 ppg) behind QB Kirk Cousins (27 TDs, 5 INTs), RB Dalvin Cook (978 yards), and WR Justin Jefferson (1,288 yards). The defense has been the weak spot (6-2 run OVER the total), #28 in yards allowed, #25 in points surrendered (25.6 pg). The Vikings are 2-9 ATS as chalk, 0-7 ATS against losing teams, 3-12 ATS on Monday night. Chicago’s ‘Monsters of the Midway’ nickname comes right out of the George Halas game plans of the 1940s. Unfortunately, so does the current Bears’ offense, ranked #31 in yards, #29 on third down, behind rookie QB Justin Fields (6 TDs, 10 INTs) on a 1-7 SU/ATS run. Minnesota is 47-20 UNDER the total after scoring 30+ points. When these division rivals clash the home team is 25-12 ATS, the UNDER is 13-6.
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Rivalries and Defense: Kentucky isn’t in the Top 10 but showcased plenty of their raw talent in destroying North Carolina, 98-69. Kentucky leads the country in rebound margin and outrebounded the Tar Heels by 18 (44-26). Kentucky plays Louisville this week, with the Cardinals off an 82-72 loss at Western Kentucky as a small favorite. Louisville played without 6-foot-11 Malik Williams (13.9 points, 9.9 rebounds per game), out because of COVID protocols. Louisville beat Kentucky last year in a defensive duel, 62-59, which is often the case in rivalry games. That was the case in Saturday’s Providence/UConn battle, a 57-53 Friars’ win as a +6 dog. Providence has been an underdog four times this season and won all four straight up. The Friars (9-4 ATS) are on a 7-3 run UNDER the total with that great ‘D’.
NFL Major Money Moves: There were four big totals’ moves on Sunday. The Jets/Dolphins plummetted from 45- to 41 and the books breathed a sigh of relief when QB Tua Tagovailoa threw a pick-six halfway through the fourth quarter. Two of the worst offenses in the league squared off and the total went from 43 to 40 in the Texans/Jaguars game. No dice 30-16 Houston win.
Bettors had much better luck with the other two. The Cowboys/Giants total moved from 47 to 44- and never was in a doubt in a 21-6 Dallas win. Sharp bettors pushed the Titans/Steelers total down from 47 to 43 and it was a defensive duel all the way as Pittsburgh rallied to a 19-13 win. Neither QB Ryan Tannehill nor Ben Roethlisberger threw a touchdown pass. The Steelers won despite getting just 168 total yards while going 2-of-11 on third down as Tennessee turned it over 4 times. A nice win for me and my clients as Pittsburgh was my NFL Game Of Month.
No one saw the shocker of the day as the Cardinals were bet up to 13 and lost at Detroit, 30-12. The Cardinals took a wide-body jet for the first time all season, complete with 28 lie-down seats. The players must have enjoyed the plush surroundings too much. They’ll be flying coach to Dallas in their next road game.
College Basketball Betting Notes: In the revolving door of No. 1 teams Baylor (7-1-1 spread run) stepped into the void. The versatile Bears can bomb away from downtown when they have to, or harass opponents with defensive clinics. They forced Michigan State into 19 turnovers in a 75-58 win in the Bahamas, then shut down No. 6 Villanova last week, 57-36, allowing 22.2% shooting. It was the worst shooting night for the Cats in Jay Wright’s 21 seasons. Baylor hit 12 of 23 three-pointers in rallying to win at Oregon Saturday, 78-70. Baylor lost four starters from last year’s title team, including Davion Mitchell as the No. 9 overall pick to the NBA. Scott Drew has reloaded with another attacking, team-oriented defense. The last three winners of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament went on to win March Madness: Villanova in 2017, Virginia in 2018, and Baylor a year ago. Maybe the pandemic cost the Michigan Wolverines a title, as they won the 2019 Atlantis tourney only to have the season curtailed three months later.
Purdue’s journey to No. 1 didn’t last long losing 70-68 to Rutgers as a 13-point favorite. After starting 5-1 ATS, the Boilermakers went 1-3 ATS when briefly crowned No. 1. Rutgers showcased how many college basketball teams can play so differently at home versus on the road. The Scarlet Knights were on a 1-4 SU/ATS run after losing at Illinois, 86-51. Then they came home and beat the No. 1 team in the nation, 70-68. Getting some respect from oddsmakers, Rutgers (2-8 ATS) went on the road the next game…and failed to cover in a 77-63 loss at Seton Hall. That Seton Hall squad is very good (6-3 ATS), with wins over No. 4 Michigan (67-65 as a +8 dog) and No. 7 Texas (64-60), and a loss to No. 21 Ohio State (79-76) on a late three-pointer.
Armed Forces Bowl – Missouri/Army (Wednesday): Missouri (8-21 ATS run) seems to have found a decent coach in Eliah Drinkwitz, 5-5 last year and 6-6 this year despite playing in the rugged SEC. They won a pair of non-conference games against Central Michigan (34-24) and North Texas (48-35) but failed to cover. Senior RB Tyler Badie (1,604 yards, 6.0 ypc) carries the offense taking some of the pressure off sophomore QB Connor Bazelak (16 TDs, 11 INTs, only 13 sacks). Army plays everybody tough with its option ground attack and a Top 20 defense, ninth in the nation on third-down, second in rush ‘D’. They lost 20-14 at Wisconsin and ran for 416 yards in a 70-56 loss to Wake Forest. Against winning teams, Missouri is 2-9 ATS, 10-4 UNDER the total. Army is 13-29 ATS versus defenses that surrender 34+ points per contest.
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