Over the past few years, we have given the subscribers of Footballguys.com the Staff Confidence Pool Challenge, where numerous staffers try and pick the winners each week with a confidence ranking, and Jeff Pasquino’s “For The Win” column where Jeff attempts to pick each and every NFL game against the Las Vegas spread. Both of these have been very popular features, so this year Footballguys is proud to bring you the combination of the two. The Footballguys.com Staff Against the Spread Pool Challenge. Multiple staff members (21) will pick the winner of each NFL game against the Las Vegas line. As a tie-breaker, the person who is closest to the total points scored on the last Monday Night game will be the winner. Winners will be announced from week to week and the best overall record will be crowned Against the Spread Champion. Picks and ranks are due on Wednesday, so any late-breaking news may not be reflected in the choices.
THIS WEEK'S PICKS
Here are the picks for this week.
Its opening weekend, you would have expected some consensus on a few picks – and we nearly got one with the Rams hosting the Colts and favored by just over a field goal. All but one member of the staff (20 out of 21) picked the Rams to cover the points, so Danny Tuccitto could make a big move if the Colts can step up this week. The next favored pick was Cincinnati, with 17 of 21 staffers choosing the Bengals by more than a field goal at home against Baltimore. Justin Tucker may have something to say about that. Atlanta is the most popular road team as 16 picks came in for the Falcons to cover a touchdown in Chicago. All the other picks were 14 or fewer towards one side, with Green Bay (14) and Carolina (14) leading that pack. Only two underdogs were majority picks, but they were close calls with the Eagles (+0.5) and Raiders (+1.5) nearly at even odds and chosen about the same (11 of 21 staff). It should be very interesting to see how it plays out.
ODDS AND ENDS
It's the first week of the season, and the picks are due by Wednesday night. Most of the staff would agree that picking this weekend's games on Wednesday night is very difficult because you don't have much information about injuries and practice. If your league allows you to pick the later games separate from the rest, take advantage of it and make your Sunday and Monday picks as close to the weekend as possible.
A reminder that these picks are against the Las Vegas lines – so getting above 50% is respectable, above 53% gets you into the “profitable zone” (accounting for the Las Vegas house odds of taking 10% of every losing wager) – and anything above 60% is outstanding. That may sound easy enough, but it is much, much harder that it might seem.
Good luck this weekend!
Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to firstname.lastname@example.org