Against The Spread Pool: Week 5

Footballguys' 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 Dave Larkin’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 once again this year Footballguys is proud to bring you the combination of the two - the Footballguys' staff "Against the Spread Pool Challenge". Multiple staff members (19) 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.

Please note, that this contest should NOT be viewed as direct sports wagering advice, especially later in the season. Since the staff is trying to beat one another, picks may be made to go against the grain in an attempt to try and catch up in the standings. This example of game theory is more in tune towards playing a contest such as this - so again, do not use these picks as direct advice towards which games to pick each and every week. Rather, use these picks to see the top choices each week, especially by the staff members towards the top of the standings.

LAST WEEK'S RESULTS

Here are the results from last week:

Road Team:
PHI
WAS
CLE
NE
OAK
CAR
TEN
KC
LAC
TB
SEA
MIN
JAC
DAL
CIN
Home Team:
GB
NYG
BAL
BUF
IND
HOU
ATL
DET
MIA
LAR
ARI
CHI
DEN
NO
PIT
Favorite:
GB
NYG
BAL
NE
IND
HOU
ATL
KC
LAC
LAR
SEA
CHI
DEN
DAL
PIT
Point Spread:
-4.5
-2.5
-6.5
-7.5
-6.5
-4.5
-3.5
-6.5
-16.5
-9.5
-4.5
-2.5
-2.5
-3.5
-4.5
Staffer
The Picks
MNF
LW
Total
Andy Hicks
PHI
WAS
CLE
NE
OAK
CAR
TEN
KC
MIA
TB
ARI
MIN
JAC
NO
PIT
44
9
38
James Brimacombe
PHI
NYG
CLE
BUF
OAK
HOU
ATL
KC
LAC
LAR
ARI
CHI
JAC
NO
CIN
45
9
36
Aaron Rudnicki
GB
WAS
CLE
BUF
OAK
CAR
ATL
KC
MIA
TB
SEA
CHI
DEN
NO
CIN
38
8
35
Alessandro Miglio
GB
NYG
CLE
BUF
OAK
HOU
ATL
KC
MIA
TB
ARI
CHI
DEN
NO
PIT
49
8
35
Danny Tuccitto
GB
NYG
BAL
BUF
OAK
HOU
TEN
DET
LAC
LAR
ARI
MIN
JAC
NO
CIN
49
8
33
Andrew Garda
GB
WAS
BAL
BUF
IND
CAR
ATL
KC
LAC
TB
SEA
MIN
JAC
DAL
PIT
40
7
32
Justin Howe
PHI
NYG
CLE
BUF
IND
HOU
ATL
KC
MIA
TB
SEA
CHI
DEN
DAL
CIN
47
7
28
Mark Wimer
GB
NYG
BAL
NE
OAK
HOU
ATL
KC
LAC
LAR
SEA
MIN
JAC
NO
PIT
38
7
31
Phil Alexander
PHI
NYG
CLE
BUF
OAK
HOU
ATL
KC
MIA
LAR
ARI
CHI
JAC
DAL
CIN
33
7
32
Clayton Gray
GB
NYG
BAL
BUF
IND
HOU
ATL
KC
MIA
LAR
SEA
MIN
JAC
NO
PIT
45
6
24
Dave Larkin
GB
NYG
BAL
BUF
IND
HOU
ATL
KC
MIA
LAR
SEA
MIN
JAC
NO
PIT
44
6
34
Devin Knotts
GB
NYG
CLE
BUF
IND
HOU
ATL
KC
MIA
TB
SEA
MIN
JAC
DAL
CIN
46
6
27
Jeff Haseley
GB
NYG
BAL
BUF
IND
CAR
ATL
KC
LAC
LAR
SEA
CHI
DEN
DAL
CIN
39
6
32
Keith Roberts
PHI
NYG
CLE
BUF
IND
HOU
ATL
KC
MIA
LAR
SEA
MIN
JAC
DAL
CIN
43
6
29
Matt Bitonti
GB
NYG
BAL
BUF
IND
HOU
ATL
KC
LAC
LAR
SEA
MIN
JAC
DAL
PIT
48
6
31
William Grant
GB
NYG
BAL
NE
OAK
HOU
ATL
KC
MIA
LAR
SEA
MIN
JAC
NO
PIT
41
6
23
Jason Wood
GB
NYG
BAL
NE
IND
CAR
TEN
KC
MIA
TB
SEA
MIN
DEN
DAL
CIN
53
5
27
Sean Settle
GB
NYG
BAL
NE
IND
HOU
ATL
KC
LAC
LAR
SEA
MIN
JAC
NO
CIN
40
5
26
Jeff Pasquino
PHI
WAS
BAL
NE
IND
HOU
ATL
KC
MIA
LAR
SEA
CHI
DEN
DAL
PIT
44
4
27

Week4 of the NFL season turned out to be the most difficult week yet. An upset by the Eagles on Thursday over the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field foreshadowed the week of upsets, which completely disrupted the Week 4 picks. Only 6 of 19 staff members in the pool picked the Eagles, and additional upsets ripped through the groups' selections for Week 4. Losses (against the spread) for the staff by the Chiefs (18 of 19 picks) and three road team upsets by the Titans over the Falcons (16), Carolina at Houston (13) and Tampa Bay over the Rams (12) pulled the group down overall despite the group winning with picks favoring the Giants (15) and Seattle (14). There were just 15 contests in Week 4, and the staff dropped 7 of their Top 11 picks (Chiefs, Falcons, Houston, Green Bay, Miami, Minnesota and the Los Angeles Rams), which led to the worst weekly record for the season (126-159, 44.2%). The poor showing pulled the group downwards once again for the season overall (580-664, 46.6%), highlighting just how difficult of a task picking NFL games against the spread can be, especially with picks due Wednesday night. Only five staffers had a winning week with eight or more wins, with Andy Hicks and James Brimacombe tying at the top of the weekly standings with nine correct picks. Any edged James on the tiebreaker, getting one point closer to the Monday Night Football total. Aaron Rudnicki, Alex Miglio and Danny Tuccitto ended Week 4 at 8-7, but clearly the staff is looking to rebound with their next set of picks. Let's move on to Week 5.

THIS WEEK'S PICKS

Here are the picks for this week.

Road Team:
LAR
NE
TB
MIN
CHI
NYJ
JAC
ARI
BUF
ATL
BAL
DEN
GB
IND
CLE
Home Team:
SEA
WAS
NO
NYG
OAK
PHI
CAR
CIN
TEN
HOU
PIT
LAC
DAL
KC
SF
Favorite:
SEA
NE
NO
MIN
CHI
PHI
CAR
CIN
TEN
HOU
BAL
LAC
DAL
KC
SF
Point Spread:
-1.5
-15.5
-3.5
-4.5
-4.5
-13.5
-3.5
-4.5
-2.5
-4.5
-4.5
-6.5
-3.5
-10.5
-3.5
Staffer
The Picks
MNF
Total
Jeff Pasquino
LAR
NE
NO
MIN
CHI
PHI
CAR
CIN
BUF
HOU
BAL
LAC
DAL
KC
SF
53
27
Aaron Rudnicki
SEA
NE
TB
NYG
CHI
NYJ
JAC
ARI
TEN
HOU
PIT
DEN
GB
IND
CLE
42
35
Alessandro Miglio
SEA
WAS
NO
NYG
OAK
NYJ
CAR
ARI
BUF
ATL
PIT
DEN
DAL
IND
CLE
52
35
Andrew Garda
SEA
NE
NO
MIN
CHI
PHI
JAC
CIN
TEN
HOU
PIT
LAC
DAL
KC
CLE
45
32
Andy Hicks
LAR
NE
NO
MIN
CHI
NYJ
JAC
ARI
BUF
HOU
BAL
DEN
DAL
KC
CLE
45
38
Clayton Gray
LAR
NE
TB
MIN
CHI
PHI
JAC
ARI
BUF
ATL
PIT
LAC
DAL
KC
CLE
44
24
Danny Tuccitto
LAR
NE
TB
NYG
OAK
NYJ
JAC
ARI
TEN
ATL
PIT
LAC
GB
KC
SF
49
33
Dave Larkin
SEA
NE
NO
MIN
CHI
NYJ
JAC
CIN
BUF
ATL
PIT
LAC
GB
IND
CLE
46
34
Devin Knotts
SEA
NE
TB
MIN
OAK
NYJ
JAC
ARI
BUF
ATL
BAL
LAC
GB
KC
CLE
46
27
James Brimacombe
LAR
NE
NO
MIN
CHI
PHI
JAC
ARI
BUF
ATL
PIT
LAC
GB
KC
CLE
49
36
Jason Wood
SEA
NE
TB
MIN
CHI
PHI
CAR
ARI
TEN
HOU
BAL
LAC
DAL
KC
CLE
54
27
Jeff Haseley
LAR
NE
TB
NYG
CHI
NYJ
CAR
CIN
BUF
HOU
PIT
DEN
GB
KC
SF
48
32
Justin Howe
LAR
WAS
NO
NYG
OAK
NYJ
JAC
CIN
TEN
HOU
PIT
LAC
DAL
IND
SF
48
28
Keith Roberts
LAR
NE
NO
NYG
CHI
PHI
CAR
ARI
TEN
HOU
BAL
LAC
GB
KC
CLE
51
29
Mark Wimer
SEA
NE
NO
MIN
CHI
PHI
CAR
CIN
BUF
HOU
PIT
LAC
DAL
KC
SF
51
31
Matt Bitonti
SEA
NE
NO
NYG
OAK
PHI
JAC
ARI
TEN
HOU
BAL
LAC
GB
IND
SF
52
31
Phil Alexander
SEA
NE
NO
MIN
OAK
PHI
CAR
ARI
TEN
ATL
PIT
DEN
DAL
KC
CLE
50
32
Sean Settle
LAR
NE
NO
MIN
OAK
PHI
JAC
ARI
BUF
HOU
BAL
LAC
GB
KC
CLE
45
26
William Grant
SEA
NE
NO
MIN
CHI
PHI
JAC
ARI
BUF
HOU
BAL
LAC
DAL
KC
CLE
42
23

CONSENSUS WINNERS

The staff is certainly looking towards a better performance in Week 5, and the group's picks are led by the Patriots (17 of 19) even with a big point spread (-14.5) to cover in Washington. New England has been dominant this season and Washington (0-4) has not shown much life so far this year. Two other home favorites come in with 14 picks this week, as both the Chargers (-6.5, hosting Denver) and the Chiefs (-10.5, vs. the Colts on Sunday Night Football) lead the way. The rest of the 15 contests on the week are pretty close picks across the group, as only three teams received 13 of 19 picks (Saints hosting Tampa Bay, Arizona at Cincinnat and Cleveland at San Francisco on Monday Night Football). Five underdogs are top picks this week (Cardinals, Browns, Jacksonville, Buffalo and Pittsburgh) - and only one of those teams is at home (Steelers, hosting Baltimore). Seven road teams are majority selections (New England, Arizona, Cleveland, Jacksonville, Minnesota, Chicago and Buffalo), but one of those "road' designations is a bit of a stretch as both the Bears and Raiders are traveling to London this week. As always, it will be fun and interesting to see how the games and the week plays out.

ODDS AND ENDS

A quarter of the NFL season is already complete, and the next set of 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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