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Against The Spread Pool: Week 11

Footballguys.com Staff Pick NFL Games Against the Las Vegas Point Spread

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 (23) 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.   

LAST WEEK'S RESULTS

Here are the results from last week:

Road Team: CLE MIN DEN HOU LAR CHI GB KC ATL MIA SF DAL SEA CIN      
Home Team: BAL WAS NO JAC NYJ TB TEN CAR PHI SD ARI PIT NE NYG      
Favorite: BAL WAS NO HOU NYJ TB GB CAR PHI SD ARI PIT NE NYG      
Point Spread: -9.5 -2.5 -1.5 -0.5 -2.5 -1.5 -2.5 -2.5 -0.5 -3.5 -13.5 -2.5 -7.5 -2.5      
Staffer The Picks MNF LW YtD
Phil Alexander BAL MIN DEN HOU LAR CHI GB CAR PHI MIA SF PIT SEA CIN 47 9 78
Andy Hicks CLE WAS NO JAC NYJ TB TEN KC PHI SD SF DAL SEA NYG 53 8 71
Chris Kuczynski BAL WAS DEN HOU LAR TB GB CAR ATL SD SF DAL NE NYG 41 8 71
Jason Wood CLE MIN NO HOU LAR TB GB CAR PHI MIA SF DAL NE CIN 53 8 78
Jeff Pasquino BAL MIN DEN JAC NYJ CHI TEN KC PHI SD ARI DAL NE CIN 47 7 71
Andrew Garda BAL WAS DEN HOU NYJ TB GB KC ATL SD ARI DAL NE NYG 40 7 71
Danny Tuccitto BAL WAS NO HOU NYJ TB GB CAR PHI MIA ARI PIT SEA NYG 49 7 76
Jeff Haseley CLE MIN NO HOU NYJ CHI TEN CAR PHI MIA SF DAL SEA NYG 46 7 63
Alessandro Miglio CLE WAS NO JAC NYJ TB GB CAR PHI SD SF DAL SEA NYG 48 6 66
Devin Knotts BAL WAS NO JAC LAR TB GB CAR PHI SD SF PIT NE NYG 48 6 71
Keith Roberts CLE WAS NO HOU NYJ CHI TEN CAR ATL MIA ARI DAL SEA NYG 51 6 69
Clayton Gray CLE WAS NO HOU NYJ TB GB CAR ATL SD ARI DAL SEA NYG 51 5 72
James Brimacombe CLE MIN NO HOU NYJ CHI GB CAR PHI MIA ARI PIT SEA CIN 52 5 77
Matt Bitonti CLE WAS NO HOU NYJ CHI GB KC ATL SD SF DAL NE NYG 52 5 68
William Grant CLE WAS NO HOU NYJ TB GB KC ATL SD ARI DAL NE NYG 46 5 65
Aaron Rudnicki CLE WAS NO HOU NYJ CHI GB CAR ATL MIA ARI PIT SEA NYG 46 4 70
Bear Heiser CLE WAS NO JAC NYJ CHI GB CAR ATL SD SF DAL SEA NYG 42 4 71
John Mamula CLE MIN NO HOU NYJ TB GB CAR ATL SD SF DAL NE NYG 45 4 69
Justin Bonnema CLE WAS NO JAC NYJ TB GB CAR ATL SD ARI PIT SEA CIN 48 4 67
Justin Howe CLE MIN NO HOU NYJ CHI GB KC PHI SD ARI PIT SEA NYG 48 4 79
Mark Wimer CLE WAS NO HOU NYJ CHI GB CAR ATL MIA ARI DAL NE NYG 49 4 71
Chris Feery CLE MIN NO HOU NYJ TB GB CAR ATL SD ARI DAL NE NYG 45 3 69
Dave Larkin CLE MIN DEN HOU NYJ CHI GB CAR ATL SD ARI PIT SEA NYG 45 3 69

Week 10 was a tough week for the staff, as the group ws just over 40% correct as a whole (129-143, 40.2%).  Only four staff members had winning weeks, led by Phil Alexander with a 9-5 record.  Andy Hicks, Chris Kuczynksi and Jason Wood were just one game off that pace at 8-6 on the week.  Losses by the Jets (19 picks), Packer (19), Saints (18) and Panthers (17) led the way, along with two teams that failed to cover the spread in the Giants (17) and Browns (17).  Six of the top seven picks last week were all incorrect, which never leads to a strong week.  Week 10 was the worst for the group by far on the year.  Keep in mind that a lot can happen in a day or two, and the picks are due on Wednesday night, so it is not surprising to see the group below the mark overall.  Hopefully Week 11 is the week that will mark the turning point for the staff on the way to a winning path for the rest of the season.

THIS WEEK'S PICKS

Here are the picks for this week:

Road Team: NO ARI BAL PIT BUF TEN TB JAC CHI MIA PHI NE GB HOU  
Home Team: CAR MIN DAL CLE CIN IND KC DET NYG LAR SEA SF WAS OAK  
Favorite: CAR MIN DAL PIT CIN IND KC DET NYG LAR SEA NE WAS OAK  
Point Spread: -4.5 -0.5 -7.5 -8.5 -3.5 -3.5 -7.5 -6.5 -6.5 -0.5 -6.5 -13.5 -2.5 -5.5  
Staffer The Picks MNF
Jeff Pasquino NO ARI DAL PIT BUF TEN KC DET NYG MIA SEA NE GB OAK 47
Aaron Rudnicki NO ARI BAL CLE BUF TEN TB DET NYG MIA SEA NE GB OAK 40
Alessandro Miglio NO MIN DAL CLE CIN TEN TB JAC NYG MIA PHI NE WAS OAK 48
Andrew Garda CAR ARI DAL PIT CIN TEN KC DET NYG MIA SEA NE WAS OAK 45
Andy Hicks NO MIN BAL PIT CIN IND TB JAC CHI LAR SEA SF WAS OAK 49
Bear Heiser CAR ARI DAL PIT BUF TEN KC DET NYG MIA SEA NE GB OAK 46
Chris Feery NO ARI DAL PIT BUF TEN KC JAC NYG MIA PHI NE WAS OAK 45
Chris Kuczynski NO ARI DAL PIT CIN TEN KC DET NYG MIA SEA NE GB OAK 49
Clayton Gray NO MIN DAL CLE BUF TEN KC DET NYG LAR SEA NE WAS OAK 52
Danny Tuccitto NO MIN BAL PIT BUF TEN TB DET NYG LAR SEA NE WAS OAK 49
Dave Larkin NO MIN DAL PIT CIN TEN KC DET NYG MIA SEA NE GB OAK 48
Devin Knotts NO ARI DAL PIT CIN IND TB DET NYG LAR SEA NE GB OAK 45
James Brimacombe NO ARI DAL PIT BUF IND KC DET NYG MIA SEA NE GB OAK 50
Jason Wood CAR ARI DAL PIT BUF TEN TB DET NYG MIA PHI NE GB OAK 43
Jeff Haseley CAR MIN BAL PIT CIN TEN KC DET NYG MIA SEA NE WAS HOU 46
John Mamula NO MIN BAL PIT BUF TEN TB JAC NYG MIA PHI NE GB OAK 45
Justin Bonnema NO ARI DAL PIT CIN IND KC DET NYG MIA SEA NE GB OAK 45
Justin Howe NO MIN BAL CLE BUF TEN TB DET NYG MIA SEA NE WAS OAK 47
Keith Roberts NO MIN DAL PIT BUF TEN TB DET NYG MIA SEA NE GB OAK 51
Mark Wimer CAR ARI DAL PIT CIN IND KC DET NYG LAR SEA NE GB OAK 59
Matt Bitonti NO MIN DAL PIT CIN TEN KC DET NYG MIA SEA NE WAS OAK 56
Phil Alexander NO MIN BAL CLE BUF IND KC DET CHI MIA SEA NE GB HOU 37
William Grant NO ARI DAL PIT CIN TEN KC JAC NYG MIA SEA NE WAS OAK 46

CONSENSUS WINNERS

With about two-thirds of the season now behind us, we should be getting closer to some collective understanding as to which teams are good and which are bad.  Of course, the point spread is the great equalizer, and Las Vegas does their job quite well - as reflected by the huge number that New England (13.5 points) must cover to "beat" San Francisco on the road.  All but one person, Andy Hicks, is on the Patriots to do just that on Sunday, as New England is the closest to a unanimous choice we have had this season.   Both the Raiders and Giants come in next with 21 selections, as no one seems to like the Bears this week after Jay Cutler's meltdown in Tampa Bay and Alshon Jeffery's suspension.  Oakland is an interesting call as the game is not really a home game as the Raiders "host" Houston in Mexico City on Monday Night Football.  Many must be on the Raiders partly for their return to action after a bye week but also as a fade against the Texans, who just cannot get out of neutral on offense.  Seattle was the fourth-most common pick with 19 of 23 selections as the Eagles are 5-4 on the year but just 1-4 on the road, and Seattle is a tough place to visit.  Four teams come in with 18 picks (Miami, Detroit, Pittsburgh and New Orleans) including our first two underdog picks with the Saints at Carolina and Miami at the Rams.  The Dolphins-LA game is a "Pick 'em" contest, so the underdog status is barely legitimate here, but I completely agree with going against a rookie quarterback (Jared Goff) in his first NFL start for the Rams.  Tennessee (17) and Dallas (16) round out our clear majority picks, and the Titans are another underdog majority choice with a trip to Indianapolis this week.  Normally picking a divisional team on the road (and against a team coming off of a bye) is not a good choice, but after watching how the Titans humbled Green Bay - and knowing that the Colts need 14 months, not 14 days to fix that defense - I am firmly on board with that choice.  Kansas City (14) and Green Bay (13) are barely majority picks, with the final two games (Buffalo - Cincinnati, Arizona - Minnesota) too close to call.  Week 11 looks to be yet another interesting week, so let's see how it all plays out.

ODDS AND ENDS

We are getting close to the midpoint 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 pasquino@footballguys.com.