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Against The Spread Pool: Week 16

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 (22) 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 in 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 this week.

Road Team: DEN CHI LAC NYJ HOU PHI MIA BAL CIN ARI GB LAR NE TEN DAL ATL      
Home Team: IND DET KC NO JAC NYG BUF CLE MIN WAS CAR SEA PIT SF OAK TB      
Favorite: DEN DET LAC NO JAC PHI BUF BAL MIN WAS CAR SEA NE SF DAL ATL      
Point Spread: -2.5 -5.5 -1.5 -15.5 -11.5 -7.5 -3.5 -6.5 -10.5 -4.5 -2.5 -1.5 -2.5 -1.5 -2.5 -6.5      
Staffer Last Week's Picks MNF Last Year to
Tot Pts Week Date
William Grant DEN CHI KC NYJ JAC NYG BUF BAL MIN WAS CAR SEA PIT SF DAL ATL 49 12 124
Bear Heiser DEN DET KC NO HOU NYG BUF BAL MIN WAS CAR LAR PIT SF DAL ATL 52 12 121
Andrew Garda DEN DET LAC NO JAC NYG BUF BAL MIN WAS CAR SEA NE TEN DAL ATL 45 11 120
Justin Bonnema DEN DET KC NO JAC NYG BUF BAL MIN WAS CAR SEA PIT TEN DAL ATL 48 11 118
Matt Bitonti IND CHI KC NO JAC NYG MIA BAL MIN WAS CAR LAR NE SF DAL ATL 50 11 129
Phil Alexander IND CHI KC NYJ HOU NYG BUF BAL MIN ARI CAR SEA NE SF DAL TB 50 11 124
Aaron Rudnicki DEN DET LAC NYJ JAC NYG MIA BAL CIN ARI CAR LAR NE TEN DAL ATL 48 10 118
Chris Feery IND DET LAC NYJ HOU NYG BUF CLE MIN ARI GB LAR NE SF DAL TB 45 10 110
Alessandro Miglio DEN CHI KC NYJ HOU NYG MIA CLE CIN WAS CAR SEA PIT SF DAL TB 54 9 116
Jason Wood DEN DET LAC NYJ HOU NYG MIA BAL MIN ARI GB LAR PIT SF DAL ATL 43 9 117
Jeff Haseley DEN DET KC NO HOU PHI MIA CLE MIN WAS CAR SEA PIT SF DAL TB 46 9 113
John Mamula IND DET LAC NO HOU NYG BUF BAL MIN WAS GB SEA NE SF DAL ATL 55 9 119
Danny Tuccitto IND DET KC NYJ HOU NYG MIA BAL MIN WAS GB SEA PIT TEN OAK TB 49 8 124
Devin Knotts IND DET KC NYJ HOU PHI BUF CLE CIN WAS GB LAR PIT SF OAK TB 44 8 117
Justin Howe DEN DET KC NYJ HOU PHI MIA CLE MIN ARI CAR SEA NE TEN DAL ATL 49 8 101
Mark Wimer DEN CHI KC NO JAC PHI BUF BAL MIN WAS GB LAR PIT TEN OAK ATL 63 8 124
Jeff Pasquino DEN DET KC NO JAC PHI MIA CLE MIN ARI GB SEA NE TEN DAL ATL 48 7 114
Andy Hicks IND CHI KC NYJ HOU NYG BUF CLE CIN ARI CAR SEA PIT SF OAK TB 71 7 102
Dave Larkin DEN CHI LAC NO HOU PHI MIA BAL CIN ARI CAR SEA NE SF DAL TB 41 7 120
James Brimacombe DEN DET LAC NO JAC PHI MIA BAL MIN ARI GB LAR PIT SF OAK ATL 47 7 119
Keith Roberts DEN CHI LAC NO HOU PHI MIA BAL MIN WAS GB LAR PIT TEN DAL TB 49 7 110
Stephen Holloway DEN CHI LAC NYJ HOU PHI MIA BAL CIN ARI GB LAR NE TEN DAL ATL 39 6 111

The staff had another strong week, winning big (197-155, 56.0% correct).  Will Grant and Bear Heiser tied with 12 wins, but Will won the tiebreaker with a lower total score (49) than Bear (52).  The total was just 45 points, but an overtime session might have changed the outcome in the 24-21 Falcons win.  Four staffers racked up 11 wins and two more logged 10, so it was quite a strong week.  The solid overall performance raised the combined overall record to 2,571-2,357, or 214 games above .500.  The staff is hitting at a 52.2% clip, which is nearly ideal to the breakeven number for Las Vegas (usually viewed as 11-10, or 52,4%). 

With two weeks left, it is time to take a hard look at the overall standings as well.  It takes 128 wins to achieve 50% or better for the year, and 134 to tie Vegas.  Tall orders, for sure.  Right now, we have eight of the staff at 50% or better for the year (120 or more wins), with just the leader (Matt Bitonti) beating Vegas with his 129-111 record (53.8%).  See how hard this is?  So with two weeks left, Matt has has a five game lead on four of the staff that have achieved 124-116 records (51.7%):  Bear Heiser, Danny Tuccitto, Mark Wimer and Phil Alexander.  Well done, guys.  Let's see if Matt can hold on with two weeks to go.  Let's take a look at what Week 16 looks like.

THIS WEEK'S PICKS

Here are the picks for this week.

Road Team: IND MIN DET LAR DEN ATL CLE BUF MIA LAC TB JAC NYG SEA PIT OAK  
Home Team: BAL GB CIN TEN WAS NO CHI NE KC NYJ CAR SF ARI DAL HOU PHI  
Favorite: BAL MIN DET LAR WAS NO CHI NE KC LAC CAR JAC ARI DAL PIT PHI  
Point Spread: -12.5 -2.5 -3.5 -6.5 -3.5 -5.5 -6.5 -12.5 -10.5 -6.5 -9.5 -4.5 -4.5 -4.5 -9.5 -8.5  
Staffer The Picks MNF
Tot Pts
Jeff Pasquino IND MIN DET LAR WAS NO CHI NE KC LAC CAR JAC NYG DAL PIT PHI 48
Aaron Rudnicki IND MIN DET TEN DEN ATL CLE BUF MIA LAC TB SF NYG SEA PIT OAK 45
Alessandro Miglio IND MIN DET TEN WAS ATL CLE BUF MIA NYJ TB SF ARI SEA PIT OAK 45
Andrew Garda BAL MIN DET LAR WAS NO CHI NE MIA LAC CAR JAC ARI DAL PIT PHI 45
Andy Hicks IND GB CIN TEN DEN ATL CLE BUF MIA NYJ TB SF NYG SEA HOU OAK 61
Bear Heiser BAL MIN DET LAR WAS NO CHI BUF KC LAC TB SF NYG SEA PIT OAK 54
Chris Feery IND MIN DET LAR WAS NO CLE BUF MIA LAC CAR SF NYG SEA PIT OAK 49
Danny Tuccitto BAL GB CIN TEN WAS ATL CHI BUF MIA NYJ TB JAC NYG SEA HOU PHI 49
Dave Larkin BAL MIN DET TEN WAS ATL CLE NE KC LAC TB SF NYG SEA PIT PHI 52
Devin Knotts IND MIN DET TEN DEN ATL CLE BUF MIA NYJ TB SF NYG SEA HOU OAK 44
James Brimacombe IND MIN DET LAR WAS ATL CLE BUF MIA LAC CAR JAC NYG SEA PIT PHI 47
Jason Wood IND MIN DET LAR DEN NO CHI NE MIA LAC TB JAC NYG SEA HOU PHI 51
Jeff Haseley BAL MIN DET TEN DEN ATL CHI BUF KC NYJ CAR SF NYG DAL PIT PHI 47
John Mamula IND MIN DET LAR WAS NO CHI BUF MIA LAC TB JAC ARI DAL HOU OAK 47
Justin Bonnema IND MIN DET TEN WAS NO CLE BUF MIA LAC CAR SF NYG SEA PIT PHI 48
Justin Howe IND MIN DET TEN DEN ATL CLE NE MIA NYJ TB JAC NYG DAL HOU PHI 47
Keith Roberts BAL MIN DET TEN WAS NO CHI NE MIA LAC CAR SF ARI DAL PIT PHI 42
Mark Wimer IND MIN DET LAR WAS ATL CHI BUF KC LAC CAR JAC ARI DAL PIT PHI 52
Matt Bitonti IND MIN DET TEN DEN ATL CLE BUF KC NYJ CAR SF NYG DAL PIT PHI 52
Phil Alexander IND MIN CIN TEN WAS ATL CLE NE MIA NYJ CAR SF ARI SEA PIT OAK 47
Stephen Holloway IND MIN DET LAR DEN ATL CLE BUF MIA LAC TB JAC NYG SEA PIT OAK 49
William Grant BAL MIN DET LAR DEN ATL CLE BUF KC LAC CAR JAC ARI SEA PIT PHI 48

CONSENSUS WINNERS

All the picks are in, and two teams stand out above the rest in Week 16.  Minnesota received 20 out of a possible 22 picks, but that is likely due to the site (CBS Sports) relying on an early point spread of just -2.5 over Green Bay.  After Aaron Rodgers was placed on IR, that line moved to -9, so it is no surprise to see the Vikings getting 90% of the votes.  The surprise is Detroit getting 19 picks, but the Lions are highly motivated to beat a Bengals team that has all but given up on the season.  Detroit must win to keep their playoff hopes alive, and Cincinnati has 14 total points the past two weeks. 

The rest of the picks are closer this week.  Pittsburgh (16) was third-most popular as the Steelers visit Houston, and four road underdogs (Indianapolis, Buffalo, Miami and the Giants) all received 15 votes.  The Colts, Bills and Dolphins are all double-digit underdogs, but clearly the staff think that they can cover those big numbers.  Three teams (Atlanta, Seattle and the Chargers) received 14 votes while still three more (Washington, Cleveland and the Eagles) received 13 this week.  Two teams were barely in the majority (Tennessee, San Francisco) and one game was a dead heat (Carolina-Tampa Bay).  The interesting things to note are that 11 of the 15 games with a majority pick went towards road teams, while 9 of 15 went toward underdogs.   Once again, Week 16 has all the makings of yet another very interesting week in the NFL and for the staff picks.

ODDS AND ENDS

It is almost all over - just two weeks left - 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 than it might seem.

Good luck this weekend!

Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to pasquino@footballguys.com

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