Against The Spread Pool: Week 8

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:
KC
SF
MIA
HOU
MIN
JAC
LAR
ARI
OAK
LAC
NO
BAL
PHI
NE
Home Team:
DEN
WAS
BUF
IND
DET
CIN
ATL
NYG
GB
TEN
CHI
SEA
DAL
NYJ
Favorite:
KC
SF
BUF
IND
DET
JAC
LAR
NYG
GB
TEN
CHI
SEA
DAL
NE
Point Spread:
-3.5
-9.5
-16.5
-1.5
-0.5
-3.5
-3.5
-2.5
-6.5
-2.5
-3.5
-3.5
-2.5
-9.5
Staffer
The Picks
MNF
LW
Total
Phil Alexander
KC
WAS
MIA
IND
MIN
CIN
LAR
ARI
OAK
TEN
CHI
BAL
DAL
NYJ
43
10
57
Jason Wood
KC
SF
MIA
HOU
MIN
JAC
LAR
ARI
GB
LAC
NO
SEA
PHI
NE
38
9
45
Jeff Pasquino
KC
SF
BUF
HOU
MIN
JAC
LAR
NYG
GB
TEN
NO
BAL
PHI
NE
46
9
52
Jeff Haseley
KC
SF
BUF
IND
DET
JAC
LAR
ARI
OAK
LAC
NO
BAL
DAL
NE
50
9
57
Mark Wimer
KC
SF
BUF
HOU
MIN
JAC
LAR
ARI
GB
LAC
NO
SEA
DAL
NE
59
9
55
Clayton Gray
KC
WAS
MIA
IND
DET
JAC
ATL
NYG
GB
LAC
NO
BAL
PHI
NYJ
42
8
44
James Brimacombe
KC
SF
BUF
HOU
MIN
JAC
LAR
ARI
OAK
LAC
NO
BAL
PHI
NE
47
8
58
Keith Roberts
KC
SF
MIA
HOU
MIN
CIN
ATL
ARI
GB
LAC
NO
SEA
DAL
NE
47
8
52
Sean Settle
KC
SF
MIA
HOU
MIN
JAC
ATL
NYG
GB
LAC
NO
BAL
DAL
NYJ
48
8
50
Andy Hicks
DEN
WAS
MIA
IND
DET
CIN
LAR
NYG
OAK
TEN
NO
BAL
DAL
NYJ
55
8
64
Dave Larkin
DEN
SF
MIA
IND
DET
JAC
ATL
NYG
GB
LAC
NO
BAL
DAL
NYJ
37
7
55
Aaron Rudnicki
KC
SF
MIA
HOU
MIN
CIN
LAR
NYG
GB
LAC
NO
SEA
PHI
NE
44
7
57
Devin Knotts
KC
WAS
MIA
IND
DET
JAC
ATL
NYG
GB
LAC
CHI
SEA
PHI
NE
45
7
47
Justin Howe
KC
WAS
MIA
HOU
MIN
JAC
LAR
NYG
OAK
TEN
CHI
SEA
PHI
NYJ
48
7
51
Andrew Garda
KC
SF
BUF
HOU
MIN
JAC
LAR
NYG
GB
LAC
CHI
SEA
DAL
NE
50
7
52
Alessandro Miglio
KC
SF
MIA
IND
DET
JAC
LAR
NYG
OAK
TEN
CHI
SEA
DAL
NYJ
51
7
59
William Grant
DEN
SF
MIA
HOU
MIN
JAC
ATL
NYG
GB
LAC
NO
SEA
PHI
NE
51
6
41
Danny Tuccitto
DEN
WAS
MIA
HOU
MIN
CIN
ATL
NYG
OAK
LAC
NO
SEA
PHI
NYJ
49
4
51
Matt Bitonti
DEN
SF
BUF
HOU
MIN
JAC
LAR
NYG
OAK
LAC
NO
SEA
PHI
NYJ
54
4
51

Vegas Winners - Over 52.4% Hit Rate
Over 50% Hit Rate

Week 7 was much better for the staff, as nearly everyone had at least half of their picks land in the win column as the NFL week concluded. Phil Alexander led the way with a 10-4 effort, one game better than four others (Jason Wood, Jeff Pasquino, Jeff Haseley and Mark Wimer). The staff did not have much in the way of consensus picks, but they hit as a group on five of their top eight majority picks. Kansas City, Jacksonville and New Orleans all gave the group 14 wins, with the Vikings and Bills adding 13 more each. The group went 142-124 (53.4%) on the week, one of the staff's best collective results on the season. The staff are now just a shade under 50% on the season (998-1,016; 49.6%) after their strong Week 7 performance. Table 1 highlights the eight staffers with winning records (at least 53 wins) for the season, and six staffers are beating Las Vegas (over 52.3%) with 56 or more wins this year. Andy Hicks leads the way with 64 wins, well ahead of Alex Miglio (59), James Brimacombe (58) and three more staffers one game behind with 57 wins. Seven weeks are done, but there are still 10 more to go. How will it all play out? Let's start finding out by taking a look at the Week 8 selections.

THIS WEEK'S PICKS

Here are the picks for this week:

Road Team:
WAS
DEN
LAC
SEA
NYJ
ARI
PHI
CIN
TB
NYG
CAR
CLE
OAK
GB
MIA
Home Team:
MIN
IND
CHI
ATL
JAC
NO
BUF
LAR
TEN
DET
SF
NE
HOU
KC
PIT
Favorite:
MIN
IND
CHI
SEA
JAC
NO
BUF
LAR
TEN
DET
SF
NE
HOU
GB
PIT
Point Spread:
-15.5
-6.5
-4.5
-3.5
-5.5
-9.5
-1.5
-12.5
-2.5
-7.5
-5.5
-12.5
-6.5
-4.5
-14.5
Staffer
The Picks
MNF
Total
Jeff Pasquino
MIN
IND
CHI
SEA
JAC
NO
PHI
LAR
TEN
DET
SF
NE
HOU
GB
MIA
47
52
Aaron Rudnicki
WAS
IND
LAC
SEA
JAC
ARI
PHI
LAR
TB
NYG
CAR
CLE
HOU
GB
MIA
38
57
Alessandro Miglio
WAS
DEN
CHI
SEA
NYJ
ARI
BUF
LAR
TEN
NYG
CAR
NE
HOU
GB
MIA
44
59
Andrew Garda
MIN
IND
CHI
SEA
JAC
NO
BUF
LAR
TEN
DET
SF
NE
HOU
GB
PIT
40
52
Andy Hicks
WAS
IND
LAC
SEA
NYJ
NO
BUF
LAR
TEN
NYG
SF
CLE
OAK
KC
MIA
55
64
Clayton Gray
MIN
IND
CHI
SEA
JAC
NO
BUF
LAR
TEN
NYG
SF
NE
HOU
GB
PIT
45
44
Danny Tuccitto
WAS
DEN
CHI
ATL
NYJ
NO
BUF
CIN
TB
NYG
CAR
CLE
OAK
KC
MIA
49
51
Dave Larkin
MIN
IND
LAC
SEA
NYJ
NO
PHI
CIN
TEN
NYG
CAR
CLE
HOU
GB
PIT
41
55
Devin Knotts
WAS
DEN
LAC
SEA
NYJ
ARI
PHI
CIN
TB
NYG
CAR
CLE
OAK
KC
MIA
45
47
James Brimacombe
WAS
IND
LAC
ATL
JAC
NO
PHI
CIN
TB
DET
SF
CLE
HOU
KC
PIT
50
58
Jason Wood
WAS
IND
LAC
SEA
JAC
NO
PHI
LAR
TB
NYG
CAR
CLE
OAK
GB
MIA
47
45
Jeff Haseley
MIN
IND
CHI
SEA
NYJ
NO
BUF
LAR
TB
NYG
CAR
NE
HOU
KC
MIA
34
57
Justin Howe
WAS
DEN
LAC
SEA
JAC
ARI
BUF
CIN
TEN
NYG
CAR
CLE
OAK
GB
MIA
38
51
Keith Roberts
MIN
IND
LAC
SEA
NYJ
NO
BUF
LAR
TEN
NYG
SF
NE
HOU
GB
MIA
39
52
Mark Wimer
MIN
IND
CHI
SEA
JAC
NO
BUF
LAR
TEN
NYG
SF
NE
HOU
GB
PIT
42
55
Matt Bitonti
MIN
IND
CHI
SEA
JAC
ARI
BUF
LAR
TEN
DET
SF
NE
HOU
KC
MIA
48
51
Phil Alexander
WAS
IND
CHI
SEA
NYJ
ARI
BUF
LAR
TEN
NYG
CAR
CLE
HOU
KC
MIA
33
57
Sean Settle
WAS
IND
CHI
SEA
JAC
ARI
BUF
LAR
TEN
NYG
SF
NE
HOU
GB
PIT
41
50
William Grant
MIN
IND
LAC
SEA
JAC
NO
BUF
LAR
TB
DET
SF
NE
HOU
GB
MIA
41
41

Vegas Winners - Over 52.4% Hit Rate
Over 50% Hit Rate

CONSENSUS WINNERS

Well, this looks boring. While there is not much in the way of true consensus with the picks, the staff are clearly going with the chalk in Week 8, as the staff chose the home favorite in 12 of the 15 contests this week. Seattle (17 of 19 picks) leads the way for Week 8, as the Seahawks are currently only 3.5-point favorites in Atlanta on CBSsports, but odds are that the point spread spikes upwards if Matt Ryan cannot take the field. Indianapolis and Houston tied for second place for the staff with 15 picks each, and the London Rams (14) and Giants (14) round out the Top 5 selections. The Giants are one of only three road underdogs (Miami [13], Washington [10] ), and with even those picks the staff is clearly taking the big point spreads with selections of both the Dolphins (+14.5) and Redskins (+15.5). After an exciting Week 7, chalky results will be a bit dull for the staff, but will certainly help the group's combined record.

Commentary

One staffer felt that he wanted to express his viewpoints for his picks this week.

Devin Knotts: "Since I am in 16th place in this pool, and 17 picks behind the leaders, I need to make up ground on the entire field. With how many big favorites there are this week, I'm hoping that people are more attracted to the favorites. Therefore, I am taking only taking one favorite which is Seattle in hopes that Matt Ryan does not play."

Well, I take it back! This week could get interesting if there are a few upsets, and Devin can gain ground on the field. Since Devin took 14 underdogs on the week and the staff is mostly concentrated on the favorites, Devin could easily make up several games if underdogs step up this week.

ODDS AND ENDS

The NFL season draws closer to the midway point of the schedule, 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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