Against The Spread Pool: Week 9

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:
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
LW
Total
Jason Wood
WAS
IND
LAC
SEA
JAC
NO
PHI
LAR
TB
NYG
CAR
CLE
OAK
GB
MIA
47
11
56
Keith Roberts
MIN
IND
LAC
SEA
NYJ
NO
BUF
LAR
TEN
NYG
SF
NE
HOU
GB
MIA
39
10
62
Justin Howe
WAS
DEN
LAC
SEA
JAC
ARI
BUF
CIN
TEN
NYG
CAR
CLE
OAK
GB
MIA
38
10
61
Jeff Pasquino
MIN
IND
CHI
SEA
JAC
NO
PHI
LAR
TEN
DET
SF
NE
HOU
GB
MIA
47
10
62
Andy Hicks
WAS
IND
LAC
SEA
NYJ
NO
BUF
LAR
TEN
NYG
SF
CLE
OAK
KC
MIA
55
10
74
Sean Settle
WAS
IND
CHI
SEA
JAC
ARI
BUF
LAR
TEN
NYG
SF
NE
HOU
GB
PIT
41
9
59
William Grant
MIN
IND
LAC
SEA
JAC
NO
BUF
LAR
TB
DET
SF
NE
HOU
GB
MIA
41
9
50
Mark Wimer
MIN
IND
CHI
SEA
JAC
NO
BUF
LAR
TEN
NYG
SF
NE
HOU
GB
PIT
42
9
64
Aaron Rudnicki
WAS
IND
LAC
SEA
JAC
ARI
PHI
LAR
TB
NYG
CAR
CLE
HOU
GB
MIA
38
9
66
Alessandro Miglio
WAS
DEN
CHI
SEA
NYJ
ARI
BUF
LAR
TEN
NYG
CAR
NE
HOU
GB
MIA
44
9
68
Clayton Gray
MIN
IND
CHI
SEA
JAC
NO
BUF
LAR
TEN
NYG
SF
NE
HOU
GB
PIT
45
9
53
Andrew Garda
MIN
IND
CHI
SEA
JAC
NO
BUF
LAR
TEN
DET
SF
NE
HOU
GB
PIT
40
8
60
Devin Knotts
WAS
DEN
LAC
SEA
NYJ
ARI
PHI
CIN
TB
NYG
CAR
CLE
OAK
KC
MIA
45
8
55
Dave Larkin
MIN
IND
LAC
SEA
NYJ
NO
PHI
CIN
TEN
NYG
CAR
CLE
HOU
GB
PIT
41
7
62
Matt Bitonti
MIN
IND
CHI
SEA
JAC
ARI
BUF
LAR
TEN
DET
SF
NE
HOU
KC
MIA
48
7
58
Jeff Haseley
MIN
IND
CHI
SEA
NYJ
NO
BUF
LAR
TB
NYG
CAR
NE
HOU
KC
MIA
34
6
63
Danny Tuccitto
WAS
DEN
CHI
ATL
NYJ
NO
BUF
CIN
TB
NYG
CAR
CLE
OAK
KC
MIA
49
6
57
Phil Alexander
WAS
IND
CHI
SEA
NYJ
ARI
BUF
LAR
TEN
NYG
CAR
CLE
HOU
KC
MIA
33
6
63
James Brimacombe
WAS
IND
LAC
ATL
JAC
NO
PHI
CIN
TB
DET
SF
CLE
HOU
KC
PIT
50
6
64

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

Week 8 was one of the best weeks of the season for the staff, as the group overall was 33 games above .500 (159-126, 55.8% win rate), led by five staff members that had double-digit wins for the week. Jason Wood won the week with an 11-4 record, just edging out Keith Roberts, Justin Howe, Jeff Pasquino and Andy Hicks who all were one game back at 10-5. It was a good week with the top picks with Seattle adding 17 wins for everyone, along with the Rams (14), Giants (14), Dolphins (13), Packers (12), Titans (12), Saints (12) and Jaguars (11). All of those big wins afforded two bigger losses with Denver covering against the Colts (15 losses), the Texans winning but failing to cover the number against the Raiders (14 losses), and the Eagles upsetting Buffalo (13 losses). With the 55+% winning week, the group is now winning on the season (1,157-1,142, 50.3%) - which is a good result given that game picks are due by Wednesday night. Table 1 highlights the 11 staffers with winning records (at least 61 wins) for the season, and five staffers are beating Las Vegas (over 52.3%) with 64 or more wins this year. Andy Hicks leads the way with 74 wins, well ahead of Alex Miglio (68), Aaron Rudnicki (66), James Brimacombe (64) and Mark Wimer (64). Nearly half of the season is behind us, but there are still nine weeks to go. How will it all play out? Let's start finding out by taking a look at the Week 9 selections.

THIS WEEK'S PICKS

Here are the picks for this week:

Road Team:
SF
HOU
MIN
NYJ
IND
CHI
TEN
WAS
TB
DET
CLE
GB
NE
DAL
Home Team:
ARI
JAC
KC
MIA
PIT
PHI
CAR
BUF
SEA
OAK
DEN
LAC
BAL
NYG
Favorite:
SF
HOU
KC
NYJ
IND
PHI
CAR
BUF
SEA
OAK
CLE
GB
NE
DAL
Point Spread:
-9.5
-2.5
-2.5
-5.5
-0.5
-4.5
-3.5
-9.5
-6.5
-2.5
-2.5
-3.5
-3.5
-7.5
Staffer
The Picks
MNF
Total
Jeff Pasquino
SF
HOU
MIN
NYJ
IND
PHI
CAR
BUF
SEA
OAK
CLE
GB
BAL
DAL
47
62
Aaron Rudnicki
ARI
HOU
MIN
MIA
IND
CHI
TEN
WAS
SEA
DET
CLE
LAC
BAL
NYG
45
66
Alessandro Miglio
SF
JAC
KC
MIA
IND
CHI
CAR
WAS
SEA
OAK
DEN
GB
NE
NYG
53
68
Andrew Garda
SF
HOU
MIN
MIA
IND
PHI
CAR
BUF
SEA
DET
CLE
GB
NE
NYG
45
60
Andy Hicks
SF
JAC
KC
MIA
IND
CHI
TEN
WAS
SEA
OAK
DEN
GB
BAL
DAL
61
74
Clayton Gray
SF
JAC
KC
NYJ
PIT
CHI
CAR
WAS
TB
DET
CLE
GB
NE
NYG
47
53
Danny Tuccitto
ARI
JAC
MIN
MIA
PIT
CHI
TEN
BUF
TB
DET
DEN
LAC
BAL
NYG
49
57
Dave Larkin
SF
JAC
KC
MIA
PIT
PHI
CAR
BUF
TB
OAK
CLE
GB
NE
NYG
37
62
Devin Knotts
ARI
JAC
MIN
MIA
IND
CHI
CAR
WAS
TB
OAK
CLE
GB
NE
DAL
45
55
James Brimacombe
SF
HOU
KC
NYJ
IND
PHI
CAR
BUF
TB
DET
CLE
LAC
NE
NYG
55
64
Jason Wood
ARI
HOU
MIN
NYJ
IND
PHI
CAR
BUF
TB
DET
CLE
GB
NE
DAL
55
56
Jeff Haseley
SF
JAC
KC
MIA
IND
CHI
CAR
BUF
TB
DET
CLE
GB
NE
NYG
46
63
Justin Howe
ARI
JAC
KC
MIA
IND
PHI
CAR
WAS
SEA
OAK
CLE
GB
NE
NYG
51
61
Keith Roberts
SF
HOU
MIN
MIA
IND
PHI
TEN
BUF
SEA
OAK
CLE
GB
NE
DAL
46
62
Mark Wimer
ARI
HOU
MIN
MIA
IND
PHI
CAR
BUF
SEA
DET
DEN
GB
NE
DAL
35
64
Matt Bitonti
SF
JAC
MIN
MIA
IND
PHI
TEN
WAS
SEA
DET
CLE
GB
BAL
NYG
58
58
Phil Alexander
ARI
JAC
MIN
MIA
IND
CHI
TEN
BUF
TB
OAK
CLE
GB
BAL
NYG
43
63
Sean Settle
SF
HOU
MIN
MIA
IND
PHI
CAR
BUF
SEA
OAK
CLE
GB
NE
NYG
40
59
William Grant
SF
HOU
MIN
MIA
IND
PHI
CAR
BUF
SEA
DET
CLE
GB
NE
NYG
44
50

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

CONSENSUS WINNERS

Injuries and road teams are the themes for the staff picks in Week 9. Both the Colts (very small favorite at 0.5 points in Pittsburgh) and Green Bay (at the Chargers) are the top picks this week as road favorites for different reasons. The Colts (16 of 19 picks) visit a depleted Steelers in Pittsburgh this week, while Green Bay (16 picks) does travel to southern California to take on the Los Angeles Chargers but the crowd is expected to be on the side of the Packers. Miami (15) and Cleveland (15) are also heavily favored by the staff as the Browns travel to Denver to face Brandon Allen getting his first start at quarterback for the Broncos, while the Dolphins are getting 5.5 points against the 1-6 Jets. Carolina, New England and the Giants come in with 13 picks this week while San Francisco, Minnesota and Buffalo received 12 votes. The staff only slightly favored home favorites in Philadelphia (12) and Seattle (12). Two very close calls (10-9 in selections) are Jacksonville as a home underdog against Houston and Detroit on the road in Oakland. Across 14 games in Week 9, the staff leaned towards favorites in nine contests while splittlng the selections evenly (7-7) amongst home and away teams. After a strong Week 8, the staff looks to build upon that performance and put up another solid performance.

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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