Against The Spread Pool: Week 12

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:
PIT
DAL
JAC
ATL
BUF
DEN
NYJ
HOU
NO
ARI
NE
CIN
CHI
KC
Home Team:
CLE
DET
IND
CAR
MIA
MIN
WAS
BAL
TB
SF
PHI
OAK
LAR
LAC
Favorite:
CLE
DAL
IND
CAR
BUF
MIN
WAS
BAL
NO
SF
NE
OAK
LAR
KC
Point Spread:
-2.5
-3.5
-2.5
-5.5
-5.5
-10.5
-1.5
-4.5
-5.5
-13.5
-3.5
-10.5
-6.5
-3.5
Staffer
The Picks
MNF
LW
Total
Sean Settle
CLE
DAL
IND
CAR
MIA
DEN
NYJ
BAL
NO
ARI
NE
CIN
LAR
KC
55
12
81
William Grant
CLE
DAL
IND
CAR
BUF
DEN
NYJ
BAL
NO
ARI
NE
OAK
LAR
KC
58
12
70
Jason Wood
CLE
DAL
JAC
CAR
BUF
DEN
NYJ
BAL
NO
ARI
PHI
CIN
LAR
KC
57
11
80
Keith Roberts
PIT
DAL
IND
ATL
MIA
DEN
NYJ
BAL
NO
ARI
NE
OAK
LAR
KC
57
11
85
Andrew Garda
PIT
DAL
JAC
ATL
BUF
MIN
NYJ
BAL
NO
ARI
NE
OAK
LAR
KC
45
10
79
Devin Knotts
CLE
DAL
JAC
ATL
BUF
DEN
NYJ
BAL
TB
SF
NE
OAK
LAR
KC
45
10
78
Dave Larkin
PIT
DAL
IND
ATL
MIA
MIN
WAS
BAL
TB
ARI
NE
CIN
LAR
KC
52
9
89
Phil Alexander
CLE
DAL
JAC
ATL
MIA
MIN
NYJ
BAL
NO
SF
NE
CIN
CHI
KC
60
9
88
Aaron Rudnicki
PIT
DAL
IND
ATL
BUF
MIN
NYJ
HOU
TB
ARI
NE
OAK
LAR
LAC
47
8
87
Mark Wimer
PIT
DAL
IND
CAR
BUF
MIN
WAS
BAL
NO
ARI
NE
OAK
CHI
KC
49
8
87
Justin Howe
PIT
DAL
IND
CAR
MIA
DEN
NYJ
HOU
TB
ARI
NE
CIN
CHI
KC
51
8
82
Jeff Pasquino
PIT
DAL
IND
CAR
BUF
MIN
NYJ
BAL
NO
SF
PHI
OAK
LAR
KC
58
8
82
Andy Hicks
CLE
DET
JAC
ATL
MIA
DEN
NYJ
BAL
NO
ARI
PHI
OAK
CHI
KC
65
8
97
Jeff Haseley
PIT
DAL
IND
CAR
MIA
DEN
WAS
BAL
NO
SF
NE
OAK
CHI
KC
52
7
80
Matt Bitonti
CLE
DAL
JAC
ATL
MIA
MIN
NYJ
HOU
NO
ARI
NE
OAK
CHI
LAC
54
7
75
Alessandro Miglo
CLE
DET
IND
CAR
MIA
DEN
WAS
HOU
TB
ARI
PHI
CIN
CHI
KC
58
6
89
Clayton Gray
PIT
DET
IND
CAR
BUF
MIN
WAS
BAL
TB
SF
NE
CIN
CHI
LAC
49
5
69
Danny Tuccitto
PIT
DET
JAC
ATL
MIA
DEN
NYJ
HOU
TB
ARI
PHI
CIN
CHI
LAC
49
5
78
James Brimacombe
PIT
DET
JAC
ATL
BUF
MIN
NYJ
HOU
TB
ARI
PHI
OAK
CHI
KC
55
5
83

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

Week 11 was a fantastic week for the staff, as it turned out to be a pretty basic week: If you took all the favorites that were in the single digits (favored by 9.5 or less) and went with the double-digit underdogs to cover, you would have had nearly a perfect week at 12-2 (only Carolina failed to cover 5.5 points in an upset by the Falcons, while most were on the Jets to cover 1.5 at Washington). Three staffers came pretty close as both Sean Settle and Will Grant went 12-3 for Week 11, and Sean was closer to the total points for Monday Night Football than Will, giving Sean the win for Week 11. Overall the staff won nearly 60% of their games as a group this week (159-107, 59.8%), raising the combined staff record over 50% (1,559-1,519; 50.6% for the season) for the year. The group was only on the wrong side of four games (Cleveland-Pittsburgh, Buffalo-Miami, Oakland-Cincinnati and Chicago-Rams), and those four game were nearly evenly split across all of the picks. Seven staffers are now beating Las Vegas for the season (over 52.4%), and four more are just over 50%. Andy Hicks continues to lead the group with 97 correct picks on the season, well ahead of both Dave Larkin and Alex Miglio (89 wins each). Can the staff keep up their winning ways in Week 12? Let's take a look at this week's picks.

THIS WEEK'S PICKS

Here are the picks for this week:

Road Team:
IND
MIA
DET
DEN
TB
SEA
CAR
PIT
OAK
NYG
JAC
DAL
GB
BAL
Home Team:
HOU
CLE
WAS
BUF
ATL
PHI
NO
CIN
NYJ
CHI
TEN
NE
SF
LAR
Favorite:
HOU
CLE
DET
BUF
ATL
PHI
NO
PIT
OAK
CHI
TEN
NE
SF
BAL
Point Spread:
-3.5
-10.5
-3.5
-4.5
-4.5
-1.5
-9.5
-6.5
-3.5
-6.5
-3.5
-6.5
-3.5
-3.5
Staffer
The Picks
MNF
Total
Jeff Pasquino
HOU
CLE
DET
BUF
ATL
SEA
NO
PIT
OAK
NYG
TEN
NE
SF
BAL
51
82
Aaron Rudnicki
IND
CLE
DET
DEN
TB
SEA
NO
PIT
NYJ
NYG
JAC
DAL
GB
LAR
40
87
Alessandro Miglio
HOU
MIA
DET
BUF
TB
PHI
CAR
CIN
NYJ
NYG
TEN
DAL
GB
BAL
50
89
Andrew Garda
HOU
CLE
DET
BUF
ATL
SEA
NO
PIT
OAK
CHI
JAC
NE
GB
BAL
50
79
Andy Hicks
IND
MIA
DET
DEN
ATL
SEA
CAR
CIN
NYJ
NYG
JAC
DAL
GB
BAL
61
97
Clayton Gray
HOU
CLE
DET
DEN
TB
SEA
CAR
CIN
NYJ
CHI
TEN
NE
SF
BAL
52
69
Danny Tuccitto
IND
MIA
WAS
BUF
TB
SEA
CAR
CIN
NYJ
CHI
TEN
NE
SF
LAR
49
78
Dave Larkin
HOU
MIA
DET
DEN
ATL
SEA
NO
PIT
OAK
NYG
TEN
NE
GB
BAL
41
89
Devin Knotts
IND
CLE
DET
BUF
ATL
PHI
NO
PIT
OAK
NYG
JAC
NE
GB
LAR
45
78
James Brimacombe
IND
CLE
WAS
BUF
ATL
PHI
NO
PIT
OAK
CHI
JAC
NE
GB
LAR
50
83
Jason Wood
HOU
CLE
DET
BUF
ATL
SEA
CAR
PIT
OAK
CHI
JAC
DAL
GB
BAL
47
80
Jeff Haseley
HOU
MIA
DET
BUF
ATL
SEA
NO
PIT
OAK
NYG
TEN
NE
SF
BAL
46
80
Justin Howe
HOU
MIA
DET
BUF
ATL
SEA
CAR
PIT
NYJ
NYG
TEN
DAL
SF
BAL
45
82
Keith Roberts
HOU
MIA
DET
DEN
ATL
SEA
NO
PIT
OAK
NYG
TEN
NE
GB
BAL
46
85
Mark Wimer
HOU
CLE
DET
BUF
ATL
SEA
NO
CIN
OAK
NYG
JAC
DAL
GB
BAL
48
87
Matt Bitonti
IND
MIA
DET
BUF
ATL
SEA
NO
CIN
NYJ
NYG
TEN
DAL
GB
BAL
55
75
Phil Alexander
IND
MIA
WAS
BUF
ATL
PHI
NO
CIN
NYJ
NYG
TEN
DAL
GB
BAL
48
88
Sean Settle
HOU
MIA
DET
DEN
ATL
SEA
CAR
PIT
OAK
CHI
TEN
NE
SF
BAL
52
81
William Grant
HOU
MIA
DET
BUF
TB
SEA
NO
PIT
NYJ
NYG
JAC
NE
GB
BAL
48
70

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

CONSENSUS WINNERS

Once again there are an interesting mix of picks from the staff here in Week 12. The top pick for the staff (15 of 19 selections) goes to two road teams in Seattle (getting 1.5 points in Philadelphia) and Baltimore (a 3.5-point favorite in Los Angeles as the Ravens visit the Rams). Both teams are coming off of big wins, with the Seahawks well rested after their Week 11 bye. The Ravens are running and scoring like mad this season and are rightly so favored over the banged up Rams. Atlanta (14) is also a top-three pick for the staff as the Falcons have won two straight since their bye week, and Atlanta hopes to win their third straight NFC South contest as the Falcons host Tampa Bay. Four teams come next with 13 staff selections (Detroit, Buffalo, the New York Giants and Green Bay), with three road teams (Lions, Giants and Packers) and two underdogs (Giants and Packers) on this list. Mostly favorites round out the picks for Week 12, as three teams garnered 12 votes (Houston, New Orleans and the Steelers on the road in Cincinnati), while Tennessee (11), New England (11) and Oakland (10) are also slightly favored by the staff as Las Vegas favorites. Only Miami (11) is slightly favored as a road underdog as the Dolphins are getting a lot of points (+10.5) in Cleveland. Four underdogs made the "staff favorite" list for the week (Miami 11, Giants 12, Packers 12 and Seattle 15). Lots of picks spread out for Week 12, but if Seattle, Baltimore and Atlanta all win, the staff is in a great spot for another winning week.

ODDS AND ENDS

The NFL season is now well past 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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