October 11, 2007

Week 6 Against the Spread NFL Picks

Amongst the humans, Brien and Jeremy have tied for the lead (by win/tie percentage). This week offers quite a few sucker bets. Check back Tuesday to see who among us is a sucker.

Brien (14-11-0)

Tempting as it is to just pick against Russell for the rest of the season, we're back to my picks this week.

Houston (+6.5) over JACKSONVILLE - Even though the Texans have dropped off a bit in the past few weeks, I still like them. There's no way they should be getting almost a touchdown against a mediocre Jags team (even on the road).

GREEN BAY (-3) over Washington - I'm still not sold on the Redskins this year.

St. Louis (+9.5) over BALTIMORE - The Ravens only scored 9 points total last week, and now they're giving 9.5? They also haven't won a game by more than a touchdown all year, with a lot of games ending up closer than they should have been.

I found a new handicapping tool this week, courtesy of the Sports Guy's links. Sportsbook.com has a page showing the amount bet on each side for every NFL game each week. This lets you pick out the WTF lines and go the other direction. This week there are two clear cases where we need to go against the pack.

ATLANTA (+3) over NY Giants - A home underdog on Monday night, and 93% of the money is going to the away team? WTF? Exactly. Take the Falcons. It's not like either team is any good.

DALLAS (+5) over New England - I'm a little upset that Sheridan still has the 5 line, since covers.com shows every online sportsbook with a line between 5.5 and 7. If you're betting this game, you should get a much better line than this. Sportsbook.com says 95% of gamblers are taking the Patriots in this game. That's a huge red flag. The Cowboys had their shit-the-bed game last week, probably because they were looking ahead to this week.

Bonus pick: if the Cowboys are losing at halftime, take them in the halftime line, no matter what it is. They've been a second half team all year.

Jeremy and Magic 8 Ball (12-9-4) and (14-7-4)

Posted last week in this space: "Sounds like it's about time for the wheels to come crashing off, and this slate of football games is just the right medicine for that." Yup. I went 1-3-1 last week. This week's slate of games isn't any easier. Sad when I'm getting my ass beat by the equivalent of flipping a coin That being said...

Jeremy's Picks:
New York Giants (-3) over ATLANTA - I'm amazed the Giants are only favored by this small amount given the fact that they've played relatively good football thus far into the season.

Arizona (-4) over CAROLINA - David Carr is proving that even with Steve Smith and offensive weapons, he's just not a very good NFL QB.

New England (-5) over DALLAS - Neither team has really played anybody yet but the Pats have whipped up on their nobodies way more than the Cowboys have.

Oakland (+10) over SAN DIEGO - I think the Chargers win, but I don't have enough faith in them to see them covering this kind of spread, even at home, even after last week's game, even against the Raiders.

Washington (+3) over GREEN BAY - I ducked the Skins game last week, but I'm drinking the Kool Aid this week, even at Lambeau... 'Skins secondary shuts down Pack passing and Pack have no rushing game to speak of. Road dog to win straight up.

Magic 8 Ball Picks:
ATLANTA (+3) over Giants - "Yes." [Atlanta will beat the spread]

CAROLINA (+4) over Arizona - "Yes." [Carolina will beat the spread]

New England (-5) over DALLAS - "My answer is no." [Dallas will not beat the spread]

SAN DIEGO (-10) over Oakland - "My signs point to yes." [San Diego will beat the spread]

GREEN BAY (-3) over Washington - "Yes" [Green Bay will beat the spread]

Note that the Magic 8 Ball disagreed with me on four picks which means I'm totally screwed. And I'm going to have the ball inspected for getting three of the same answer this week.

J-Red (11-13-1)

It looks like I picked a slate of surprise teams, or at least picked against disappointing teams. I'm sure I'll regret this decision.

CLEVELAND (-4.5) over Miami - Cleveland isn't good, and they'll be without Jamal. That's ok. I think Cleveland needs to air it out a bit anyway.

Washington (+3) over GREEN BAY - I still think the Redskins might be very good. If they can hold on to the picks, they should control this game pretty well.

ARIZONA (-4) over Carolina - Kurt Warner is back baby. Hide your bibles.

SEATTLE (-6.5) over New Orleans - I'm ready for the Saints' jazz funeral. I'll be in the second line, because the bandwagon is getting lonely.

Houston (+6.5) over JACKSONVILLE - I just don't like anything about Jacksonville, especially not to beat any team with good linebackers by a touchdown.

Russell (9-15-1)

Hopefully this week the seesaw takes me back up. Otherwise, I'll remain in the cellar.

Cincinnati (-3) over KANSAS CITY - Are you kidding? This appears to be a WTF lock, but given my record with those, don't bet the farm.

CLEVELAND (-4.5) over Miami - In spite of the good record by backups making their first start this year, Lemon just doesn't inspire confidence.

CHICAGO (-5.5) over Minnesota - The Bears D is getting healthy and the offense is figuring things out. What's Minny got?

St. Louis (+9.5) over BALTIMORE - Doesn't anyone actually watch the Ravens games? They won 9-7 against a crippled SF team last week, and the Rams have a lot more offense. The Rams pull it together enough to keep it close and maybe win, even though their entire offense is hurt.

New England (-5) over DALLAS - The best of the AFC is much better than the best of the NFC.


Magic 8 (14-7-4) - .640
Brien (14-11-0) - .560
Jeremy (12-9-4) - .560
J-Red (11-13-1) - .460
Russell (9-15-1) - .380

Magic 8 - ATL, CAR, GB, NE, SD
Brien - ATL, DAL, GB, HOU, STL
Jeremy - ARI, NE, NYG, OAK, WAS
Russell - CHI, CIN, CLE, NE, STL

(Italics indicate disagreement between human pickers. There were no three-picker consensuses.)

15 Responses:

J-Red said...

For the record, one might argue that a Ravens team without TE Todd Heap, TE Daniel Wilcox, LT Jon Ogden, LT Adam Terry, C Mike Flynn, and CB Samari Rolle is pretty close to crippled as well. Did I mention the RG, RT, and FB are all rookies?

Brien said...

Come on, those are the types of excuse a Nats fan would make. "We're hurt, expectations are low, we're just happy to be .500!" You play the games with what you've got.

Anyway, we should call this moving week. Either Jeremy or I will get clobbered this week, since we picked against each other on 3 games. We're going to start seeing some separation between the wheat and the chaff.

And I hope that betting trends site made you second guess some of your picks, Russell.

Russell said...

What? Cin (90%), Cle (85%) and NE (94%) doesn't look so good? Just call me a lemming, or maybe I'm choosing to be chased off the cliff, like the scene from Monty Python.

We should track the percentage of winners that are picked by less than 25% of the betting public. That could lead to a new strategy.

J-Red said...

My point was that we won, despite getting shit upon by the injury bug.

It's not like I'm trying to pretend the 49ers are something more than putrid.

Russell said...

At least I didn't pick any of the four games where one team was getting less than 10% of the action on the moneyline (Green Bay, NY Jets, Tampa Bay, and Atlanta). Given that the spread in all of those games is 3 or less, that's very concerning. And it's not that people are just taking the moneyline instead of the spread, because two of those are the underdogs, so the moneyline is juicier.

Brien said...

Russell, the point is that Vegas is smarter than the gambling public. If 94% of people take New England, and the Pats cover, Vegas takes a bath. The sports books know what the line would have to be to get even action on both sides (probably NE -7.5 in this case), but they set a different line to make a higher profit. If those consensus picks were right most of the time, the sports books would go out of business.

Russell said...

I understand. My comment about my three picks with the crowd was plenty sarcastic. I know I'm screwed. My comment about the moneyline was just that the spread percentage isn't always fully representative. For example, Cle is getting 85% of the spread betting, but Miami is getting 75% of the moneyline action, which means the total money on the game isn't nearly as swayed as 85% looks.

Brien said...

Good point. I almost always bet that way. It feels better to get +130 straight up than it does to get 3 points in the spread.

Russell said...

And for clarity, I agree that GB, NYJ, TB, and ATL would all be great picks this week on the "Vegas not taking a bath" theory. Vegas would not still be in business if they payed out on 19-1, or 10-1, very often. If 90% of the bettors are taking the same team ATS and moneyline, going the other way is a great idea.

Russell said...

Except maybe the Jets, they just suck.

Russell said...

I'm honestly shocked that Vegas is willing to let it go that far. They have to be really sure things will go their way. A loss in any of those games would be tough to recover. Basically, Vegas is paying those bets out of pocket if the betting favorites win.

J-Red said...

Looking at that site, I picked a pretty good slate this week then.

Why does it say 70+% take the Rams both on spread and moneyline, and then say 70+% overall take the Ravens? Just a typo?

Russell said...

That confused me too at first. The legend at the bottom says that the "total" is for the O/U, not the combined ATS and moneyline like you would think.

J-Red said...

Oh, that makes a big difference. Good looking out Russell. Reading to the end is probably a skill I should learn.

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