NFL Handicapping Preview & Free Sports Pick: Washington (+9.5)

Nov 23, 2014

NFL: Preseason-New England Patriots at Washington Redskins

According to the NFL pundits, the Redskins are in complete disarray due to in-fighting between the players and their starting quarterback. Washington head coach Jay Gruden is rumored to be on his way out after just one season in the nation’s capital, and the Redskins are averaging just 13.0 points in the three games Robert Griffin III has started. In short, the Redskins are a hapless bunch of “professionals” who will not win another NFL game this decade.

In the famous words of Lee Corso, “not so fast my friend.” While the Redskins have certainly struggled this season, they now get to face a San Francisco squad that is primed for a letdown following back-to-back road wins over the Saints and Giants. San Francisco can’t be very excited to be playing a 3-7 Washington team, especially when the 49ers have a huge primetime game on deck against the defending Super Bowl champions on Thanksgiving.

Washington’s offense is actually 0.5 yards per play better than average this season (6.3 yards per play against teams that would combine to allow 5.8 yards per play). Even more impressive is the fact that the Redskins are averaging 408 total yards on the road at 8.4 yards per pass play and 6.6 yards per play. Washington is also capable of running the ball as the Redskins are averaging 4.8 yards per rush play over their last four games, with Alfred Morris doing most of the damage.

Meanwhile, San Francisco takes the field with a subpar offense that is 0.4 yards per play worse than average (5.5 yards per play against teams that combine to allow 5.9 yards per play). Interestingly, the 49ers’ attack has looked even worse at home where they are averaging just 19.5 points per game and 347 total yards at 6.4 yards per pass play, 5.5 yards per play and 17.8 yards per point. And, over its last three games, San Francisco’s offense is averaging a woeful 17.7 points and 309 total yards at 5.8 yards per pass play, 5.0 yards per play and 17.5 yards per point.

Most sports bettors would be surprised to learn that Washington possesses an advantage defensively over the 49ers’ pedestrian attack. In fact, Washington owns a +0.4 yards per rush play, +0.1 yards per pass play and +0.4 yards per play advantage defensively over the 49ers’ attack. Most bettors would also be surprised to learn that the Redskins have actually won the statistics by an average of +49 net yards per game this season despite being 3-7.

In short, the Redskins are not nearly as bad as the media is making them out to be, and the point spread is grossly inflated due to all of the chatter surrounding the purported ineptitude in our nation’s capital.

Free NFL Sports Pick: Washington Redskins (+9.5) (-110)