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.
|Staffer||Last Week's Picks||MNF||Last||Year to|
Both Keith Roberts and Dave Larkin had strong finishes in Week 16, getting 11 games correct and finished tied atop the standing for the week. Keith won the tiebreaker with the lower projected score for the Raiders-Eagles game, which was a wild finish to a rather dull contest (19-10 with a touchdown by the defense on the final play). Four other staffers went 10-6 while four more went 9-7 on the week. Minnesota helped the group the most with 20 wins (thanks in part to Aaron Rodgers getting put on IR and changing the line and outcome significantly), but Detroit dropped the ball in a big way and gave the group 19 losses. Overall the staff had another winning week at 181-171, putting the record for the year at over 200 games above .500 (2,752-2,528 for 52.1%). That is right at the Las Vegas breakeven rate, which is a solid showing especially for mid-week picks. One week to go to wrap this up and declare an overall winner, so let's see what Week 17 looks like.
THIS WEEK'S PICKS
Here are the picks for this week.
Week 17 is always interesting, but several early lines made it even more intriguing for the last week of the regular season. All but two sets of picks are in this morning (20 of 22), and no team earned more than 75% of the votes. Three teams did get 15 of 20 - Washington, Seattle and San Francisco. The 49ers are the most interesting since they were listed as underdogs at first, but now that the Rams are resting players they are favored and getting points on several sites, so they are an easy call this week. Buffalo comes in with 14 picks and Pittsburgh (13) and Kansas City (13) are just one step back. The Bills must win this week while the Steelers face Cleveland at home. Pittsburgh has to win and hope New England loses to get the #1 AFC seed, but either way they should push the Browns to an 0-16 record for the year. Sorry Cleveland fans. The rest of the picks are about even, with four teams getting 12 votes (Green Bay, Chicago, the Chargers and the Jets) and four more getting 11 picks (Philadelphia, Indianapolis, New Orleans and Jacksonville). Two games were dead heats with Baltimore-Cincinnati and Carolina-Atlanta split down the middle.
As for the staff standings, Matt Bitonti leads Bear Heiser and Phil Alexander by two games and Mark Wimer by three. It will be a tight finish in Week 17, so check back next week to see who won.
Thanks to everyone who read this article this year and played along. I hope it was helpful to you. Feedback is always welcome, and let us know what you liked or didn't like! Happy New Year and good luck this weekend!
ODDS AND ENDS
This is it! The final week of the regular 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 than it might seem.
Good luck this weekend!
Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to firstname.lastname@example.org