Against The Spread Pool: Week 14

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:
CHI
BUF
NO
TB
SF
NYJ
CLE
WAS
GB
PHI
TEN
LAR
OAK
LAC
NE
MIN
Home Team:
DET
DAL
ATL
JAC
BAL
CIN
PIT
CAR
NYG
MIA
IND
ARI
KC
DEN
HOU
SEA
Favorite:
CHI
DAL
NO
JAC
BAL
NYJ
CLE
CAR
GB
PHI
IND
LAR
KC
LAC
NE
SEA
Point Spread:
-2.5
-6.5
-6.5
-1.5
-4.5
-3.5
-1.5
-9.5
-6.5
-9.5
-2.5
-4.5
-9.5
-2.5
-3.5
-3.5
Staffer
The Picks
MNF
LW
Total
Jeff Haseley
CHI
BUF
ATL
TB
SF
CIN
CLE
WAS
GB
MIA
IND
ARI
KC
DEN
NE
SEA
49
11
97
Phil Alexander
CHI
DAL
NO
JAC
SF
CIN
CLE
WAS
GB
MIA
TEN
ARI
KC
DEN
NE
MIN
54
10
107
Matt Bitonti
CHI
BUF
NO
TB
BAL
NYJ
CLE
WAS
GB
MIA
TEN
ARI
KC
LAC
NE
MIN
54
9
93
Danny Tuccitto
DET
BUF
ATL
JAC
BAL
CIN
PIT
WAS
NYG
MIA
TEN
ARI
KC
DEN
HOU
MIN
49
9
97
Andy Hicks
CHI
DAL
NO
JAC
BAL
NYJ
CLE
CAR
GB
MIA
TEN
ARI
KC
DEN
HOU
SEA
47
9
114
Devin Knotts
DET
BUF
ATL
TB
SF
CIN
CLE
WAS
NYG
MIA
TEN
ARI
OAK
DEN
NE
SEA
45
9
91
William Grant
CHI
BUF
NO
TB
BAL
NYJ
PIT
CAR
GB
MIA
IND
ARI
KC
LAC
NE
SEA
43
9
85
Justin Howe
CHI
BUF
NO
TB
SF
NYJ
PIT
CAR
GB
MIA
IND
ARI
OAK
LAC
NE
SEA
41
9
100
Jason Wood
CHI
DAL
NO
JAC
BAL
CIN
CLE
WAS
GB
PHI
TEN
ARI
KC
LAC
HOU
MIN
55
8
94
Alessandro Miglio
CHI
BUF
ATL
JAC
SF
NYJ
PIT
CAR
GB
MIA
IND
ARI
OAK
DEN
NE
SEA
47
8
106
James Brimacombe
CHI
BUF
ATL
JAC
SF
NYJ
PIT
CAR
GB
PHI
IND
LAR
KC
LAC
HOU
MIN
47
8
95
Jeff Pasquino
CHI
BUF
NO
TB
BAL
NYJ
CLE
CAR
GB
PHI
IND
LAR
KC
LAC
HOU
MIN
43
8
97
Dave Larkin
DET
BUF
NO
JAC
SF
NYJ
PIT
CAR
GB
PHI
TEN
ARI
OAK
LAC
NE
SEA
58
7
100
Clayton Gray
CHI
DAL
ATL
TB
BAL
CIN
PIT
CAR
NYG
PHI
TEN
ARI
KC
DEN
NE
MIN
56
7
85
Andrew Garda
CHI
BUF
NO
JAC
BAL
NYJ
CLE
CAR
GB
PHI
IND
LAR
KC
LAC
NE
SEA
50
7
90
Mark Wimer
CHI
BUF
NO
JAC
BAL
NYJ
PIT
CAR
GB
PHI
IND
LAR
KC
LAC
NE
MIN
45
7
101
Keith Roberts
DET
BUF
ATL
TB
BAL
NYJ
CLE
CAR
GB
MIA
TEN
ARI
KC
LAC
NE
MIN
47
6
95
Sean Settle
CHI
BUF
NO
JAC
SF
NYJ
CLE
CAR
GB
PHI
IND
LAR
OAK
LAC
NE
MIN
44
6
92
Aaron Rudnicki
CHI
BUF
ATL
JAC
SF
NYJ
CLE
CAR
GB
PHI
TEN
ARI
KC
LAC
NE
MIN
42
6
100

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

Week 13 was a tricky week for the staff, as there were several upsets that cost the group. The top picks (Green Bay [16], Chicago [15], Buffalo [14] and Kansas City [14]) built a good start for the staff, but upsets of the Jets (13 losses), Patriots (14), Panthers (13) and a blowout loss for Arizona {13) offset the bigger wins. Overall the consensus Week 13 record for the staff was just over 50% (153-151), which kept the staff's season-long record 30 games over .500 (1,839-1,809; 50.4% on the year). Four weeks remain on the season with a full slate of games each week in December, leaving 64 games to decide how the staff closes the season and who wins the overall title. Nine staffers are sitting above 50% on the season (at least 97 wins), and four of them are beating Las Vegas with over 53% win rates and at least 101 wins on the season. Andy Hicks continues to lead the group with 114 correct picks through 13 weeks, well ahead of Phil Alexander (107), Alex Miglio (106) and Mark Wimer (101). How strong of a finish can the staff produce over the final four weeks? Let's start to see where the group is heading with a look at this week's picks.

THIS WEEK'S PICKS

Here are the picks for this week:

Road Team:
DAL
IND
BAL
SF
MIA
CIN
WAS
DET
DEN
CAR
LAC
TEN
KC
PIT
SEA
NYG
Home Team:
CHI
TB
BUF
NO
NYJ
CLE
GB
MIN
HOU
ATL
JAC
OAK
NE
ARI
LAR
PHI
Favorite:
DAL
TB
BAL
NO
NYJ
CLE
GB
MIN
HOU
ATL
LAC
TEN
NE
PIT
SEA
PHI
Point Spread:
-2.5
-2.5
-5.5
-2.5
-5.5
-8.5
-12.5
-14.5
-9.5
-2.5
-2.5
-2.5
-3.5
-2.5
-1.5
-8.5
Staffer
The Picks
MNF
Total
Jeff Pasquino
CHI
TB
BAL
NO
MIA
CLE
GB
MIN
HOU
CAR
LAC
TEN
NE
PIT
LAR
PHI
51
97
Aaron Rudnicki
CHI
TB
BUF
NO
NYJ
CIN
GB
DET
HOU
ATL
LAC
TEN
KC
PIT
SEA
NYG
42
100
Alessandro Miglio
CHI
TB
BUF
NO
MIA
CIN
WAS
DET
DEN
ATL
JAC
OAK
NE
ARI
LAR
NYG
54
106
Andrew Garda
DAL
TB
BAL
SF
MIA
CLE
GB
MIN
HOU
ATL
LAC
OAK
NE
PIT
SEA
PHI
45
90
Andy Hicks
DAL
IND
BUF
NO
MIA
CIN
WAS
DET
DEN
ATL
JAC
TEN
KC
PIT
SEA
NYG
67
114
Clayton Gray
CHI
TB
BAL
SF
NYJ
CLE
GB
DET
DEN
ATL
JAC
TEN
NE
PIT
SEA
PHI
50
85
Danny Tuccitto
CHI
TB
BUF
SF
MIA
CIN
WAS
DET
DEN
ATL
JAC
TEN
NE
PIT
LAR
NYG
49
97
Dave Larkin
DAL
TB
BUF
SF
MIA
CIN
GB
DET
HOU
ATL
JAC
OAK
KC
PIT
SEA
NYG
41
100
Devin Knotts
DAL
TB
BUF
SF
MIA
CLE
GB
DET
DEN
ATL
LAC
OAK
NE
ARI
LAR
NYG
44
91
James Brimacombe
CHI
IND
BAL
NO
NYJ
CLE
GB
MIN
HOU
ATL
LAC
TEN
KC
PIT
LAR
PHI
55
95
Jason Wood
DAL
TB
BUF
NO
MIA
CIN
GB
MIN
DEN
CAR
LAC
TEN
KC
ARI
LAR
PHI
49
94
Jeff Haseley
DAL
TB
BUF
NO
NYJ
CIN
GB
DET
DEN
ATL
LAC
TEN
KC
PIT
SEA
NYG
47
97
Justin Howe
CHI
TB
BUF
NO
MIA
CIN
GB
DET
DEN
CAR
JAC
TEN
KC
PIT
LAR
PHI
41
100
Keith Roberts
DAL
TB
BAL
NO
MIA
CIN
GB
DET
HOU
ATL
LAC
TEN
KC
PIT
LAR
PHI
44
95
Mark Wimer
CHI
IND
BUF
NO
MIA
CLE
GB
MIN
HOU
CAR
JAC
OAK
KC
ARI
SEA
PHI
59
101
Matt Bitonti
CHI
IND
BUF
SF
MIA
CIN
WAS
DET
DEN
ATL
LAC
TEN
KC
PIT
LAR
NYG
48
93
Phil Alexander
CHI
IND
BAL
NO
NYJ
CIN
GB
MIN
DEN
ATL
JAC
OAK
KC
ARI
LAR
NYG
46
107
Sean Settle
DAL
TB
BAL
SF
MIA
CIN
WAS
DET
DEN
ATL
JAC
OAK
KC
PIT
SEA
PHI
48
92
William Grant
CHI
IND
BAL
NO
MIA
CLE
GB
DET
HOU
CAR
LAC
TEN
NE
PIT
SEA
PHI
46
85

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

CONSENSUS WINNERS

This might go down as one of the toughest weeks in "Against the Spread" staff history. There is no consensus this week, as NFL Week 14 looks to be quite the challenge for office pools and similar contests as we get to our first full week of December football. No team was chosen by more than 75% of the staff, and only two teams (Miami as a road underdog at the Jets, Atlanta as a slight home favorite against Carolina) were selected by 14 out of 19 staff members this week. Six teams received 13 votes - three favorites (Tampa Bay and Green Bay at home, Pittsburgh at Arizona) and three road underdogs (Cincinnati at Cleveland, Detroit at Minnesota and Kansas City at the Patriots). Two underdogs logged 12 votes - Buffalo hosting Baltimore and Denver at Houston, while four more teams garnered 11 of 19 selections (Chicago and the Rams as home underdogs, New Orleans as a home favorite against San Francisco and Tennessee as a road favorite at Oakland). Finally, two games were nearly too close to call with two underdogs winning the votes 10-9 as both the home Jaguars (vs. the Chargers) and road Giants (at Philadelphia on Monday Night Football) broke a close call. Overall the staff is on 10 underdogs this week to cover or win, while they are also siding with home teams 9 out of 16 contests. With such disparate selections, it looks likely that the group will average out and have another near-50% week after Monday, but be sure to check back next week for the full results.

ODDS AND ENDS

The calendar now reads December, and the NFL season is now in the final weeks. Most of the staff would agree that picking this weekend's games on Wednesday 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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