Against The Spread Pool: Week 15

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:
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
LW
Total
Matt Bitonti
CHI
IND
BUF
SF
MIA
CIN
WAS
DET
DEN
ATL
LAC
TEN
KC
PIT
LAR
NYG
48
14
107
Danny Tuccitto
CHI
TB
BUF
SF
MIA
CIN
WAS
DET
DEN
ATL
JAC
TEN
NE
PIT
LAR
NYG
49
13
110
Keith Roberts
DAL
TB
BAL
NO
MIA
CIN
GB
DET
HOU
ATL
LAC
TEN
KC
PIT
LAR
PHI
44
11
106
Sean Settle
DAL
TB
BAL
SF
MIA
CIN
WAS
DET
DEN
ATL
JAC
OAK
KC
PIT
SEA
PHI
48
11
103
Justin Howe
CHI
TB
BUF
NO
MIA
CIN
GB
DET
DEN
CAR
JAC
TEN
KC
PIT
LAR
PHI
41
10
110
Aaron Rudnicki
CHI
TB
BUF
NO
NYJ
CIN
GB
DET
HOU
ATL
LAC
TEN
KC
PIT
SEA
NYG
42
10
110
Jeff Haseley
DAL
TB
BUF
NO
NYJ
CIN
GB
DET
DEN
ATL
LAC
TEN
KC
PIT
SEA
NYG
47
10
107
Alessandro Miglio
CHI
TB
BUF
NO
MIA
CIN
WAS
DET
DEN
ATL
JAC
OAK
NE
ARI
LAR
NYG
54
10
116
Andy Hicks
DAL
IND
BUF
NO
MIA
CIN
WAS
DET
DEN
ATL
JAC
TEN
KC
PIT
SEA
NYG
67
10
124
Dave Larkin
DAL
TB
BUF
SF
MIA
CIN
GB
DET
HOU
ATL
JAC
OAK
KC
PIT
SEA
NYG
41
9
109
Devin Knotts
DAL
TB
BUF
SF
MIA
CLE
GB
DET
DEN
ATL
LAC
OAK
NE
ARI
LAR
NYG
44
9
100
Clayton Gray
CHI
TB
BAL
SF
NYJ
CLE
GB
DET
DEN
ATL
JAC
TEN
NE
PIT
SEA
PHI
50
9
94
Phil Alexander
CHI
IND
BAL
NO
NYJ
CIN
GB
MIN
DEN
ATL
JAC
OAK
KC
ARI
LAR
NYG
46
8
115
Jason Wood
DAL
TB
BUF
NO
MIA
CIN
GB
MIN
DEN
CAR
LAC
TEN
KC
ARI
LAR
PHI
49
8
102
Jeff Pasquino
CHI
TB
BAL
NO
MIA
CLE
GB
MIN
HOU
CAR
LAC
TEN
NE
PIT
LAR
PHI
51
8
105
James Brimacombe
CHI
IND
BAL
NO
NYJ
CLE
GB
MIN
HOU
ATL
LAC
TEN
KC
PIT
LAR
PHI
55
8
103
Andrew Garda
DAL
TB
BAL
SF
MIA
CLE
GB
MIN
HOU
ATL
LAC
OAK
NE
PIT
SEA
PHI
45
7
97
William Grant
CHI
IND
BAL
NO
MIA
CLE
GB
DET
HOU
CAR
LAC
TEN
NE
PIT
SEA
PHI
46
7
92
Mark Wimer
CHI
IND
BUF
NO
MIA
CLE
GB
MIN
HOU
CAR
JAC
OAK
KC
ARI
SEA
PHI
59
3
104

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

Week 14 was outstanding for the staff, led by an amazing 14 wins for Matt Bitonti. Getting 14 of 16 games right would win most any office pool, but it barely edged out our crack staff as Danny Tuccitto made 13 correct picks, just one behind Matt. Nearly half of the group (9 of 19) had 10 or more correct picks, which more than made up for a few staffers going against the grain to try and make up ground and possibly win the week with a ton of upset selections. The group had a very strong week, going 175-129 for Week 14 (57.6% win rate), boosting the staff record for the season to 76 games above 50% (2,014-1,938; 51.0%). After such a strong performance, 12 of 19 staffers are sitting ar 50% or better on the season (at least 104 wins), and now seven Footballguys' writers are beating Las Vegas with over 53% win rates and at least 109 wins on the season. Andy Hicks continues to lead the group with 124 correct picks through 14 weeks, well ahead of Alex Miglio (116) and Phil Alexander (115). It is a tall order to make up that many picks with only three weeks left in the regular season, but the staff will definitely be trying to keep up their winning ways after such a strong week. Let's see which ways the group is leaning for this weekend with a look at this week's picks.

THIS WEEK'S PICKS

Here are the picks for this week:

Road Team:
NYJ
DEN
PHI
TB
NE
SEA
MIA
HOU
CHI
MIN
JAC
CLE
LAR
ATL
BUF
IND
Home Team:
BAL
KC
WAS
DET
CIN
CAR
NYG
TEN
GB
LAC
OAK
ARI
DAL
SF
PIT
NO
Favorite:
BAL
KC
PHI
TB
NE
SEA
NYG
TEN
GB
MIN
OAK
CLE
LAR
SF
PIT
NO
Point Spread:
-14.5
-10.5
-4.5
-3.5
-9.5
-6.5
-3.5
-3.5
-4.5
-2.5
-6.5
-2.5
-0.5
-10.5
-2.5
-9.5
Staffer
The Picks
MNF
Total
Jeff Pasquino
BAL
DEN
PHI
TB
NE
SEA
MIA
TEN
GB
MIN
OAK
CLE
LAR
ATL
PIT
NO
47
105
Aaron Rudnicki
NYJ
DEN
PHI
TB
NE
SEA
NYG
HOU
GB
LAC
JAC
CLE
LAR
ATL
BUF
IND
46
110
Alessandro Miglio
NYJ
DEN
WAS
DET
CIN
CAR
NYG
TEN
GB
MIN
OAK
ARI
LAR
ATL
PIT
NO
58
116
Andrew Garda
BAL
KC
PHI
TB
NE
CAR
NYG
TEN
GB
MIN
OAK
CLE
LAR
SF
BUF
NO
50
97
Andy Hicks
NYJ
DEN
WAS
DET
CIN
SEA
MIA
TEN
GB
MIN
OAK
CLE
DAL
SF
BUF
IND
51
124
Clayton Gray
BAL
KC
WAS
DET
CIN
CAR
NYG
TEN
GB
LAC
JAC
CLE
DAL
SF
BUF
IND
45
94
Danny Tuccitto
BAL
DEN
WAS
DET
CIN
CAR
MIA
TEN
CHI
LAC
JAC
CLE
DAL
SF
BUF
IND
49
110
Dave Larkin
NYJ
DEN
PHI
DET
NE
SEA
MIA
TEN
CHI
MIN
OAK
ARI
DAL
ATL
PIT
NO
52
109
Devin Knotts
NYJ
DEN
PHI
DET
NE
CAR
MIA
TEN
GB
LAC
JAC
CLE
DAL
ATL
PIT
NO
45
100
James Brimacombe
BAL
KC
PHI
TB
NE
SEA
MIA
HOU
CHI
MIN
JAC
CLE
LAR
SF
PIT
NO
50
103
Jason Wood
NYJ
DEN
PHI
TB
NE
SEA
MIA
HOU
GB
MIN
JAC
CLE
DAL
SF
BUF
NO
59
102
Jeff Haseley
NYJ
DEN
WAS
TB
NE
SEA
MIA
TEN
GB
MIN
OAK
CLE
LAR
SF
BUF
NO
52
107
Justin Howe
NYJ
DEN
WAS
TB
NE
CAR
MIA
HOU
GB
MIN
JAC
CLE
DAL
ATL
BUF
IND
48
110
Keith Roberts
BAL
DEN
PHI
DET
NE
SEA
MIA
TEN
GB
LAC
OAK
CLE
LAR
SF
PIT
NO
46
106
Mark Wimer
BAL
KC
PHI
TB
NE
SEA
MIA
TEN
GB
MIN
OAK
CLE
LAR
SF
BUF
NO
70
104
Matt Bitonti
NYJ
DEN
WAS
TB
NE
CAR
MIA
HOU
CHI
MIN
OAK
CLE
LAR
SF
BUF
NO
62
107
Phil Alexander
BAL
KC
WAS
DET
NE
CAR
NYG
HOU
CHI
LAC
JAC
CLE
DAL
ATL
BUF
NO
33
115
Sean Settle
NYJ
DEN
PHI
DET
NE
SEA
MIA
HOU
GB
MIN
OAK
CLE
LAR
ATL
BUF
NO
48
103
William Grant
BAL
DEN
PHI
TB
NE
SEA
NYG
TEN
GB
MIN
OAK
CLE
LAR
SF
BUF
NO
54
92

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

CONSENSUS WINNERS

Week 15 looks to be a week without much consensus or agreement amongst the staff, except a few general thoughts on taking favorites and road teams this week. The top pick (16 of 19 selections) goes to Cleveland, which fits both categories as a road favorite as the Browns go to Arizona to try and keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Three teams received 14 votes - Denver (at Kansas City) and Miami (at the New York Giants) as underdogs on the road, while the third team chosen 14 times was New England as a road favorite in Cincinnati. Three more teams were one vote behind with 13 of the 19 staff members in the group going with two home favorites (Green Bay hosting the Bears and New Orleans facing off with the Colts on Monday), along with road underdog Buffalo as the Bills head to Pittsburgh for a huge matchup on Sunday Night Football. Minnesota (12) was popular as another road favorite as the Vikings head to Los Angeles to face the Chargers. The only other games that are not nearly an even split (10-9) are the Jets (big underdogs in Baltimore Thursday) and Tennessee (home favorite against Houston), as both teams received 11 picks from the staff. Six games are 10-9 splits - Philadelphia (10) at Washington, Detroit (10) as a home underdog against Tampa Bay, Seattle (10) at Carolina, Oakland (10) vs. Jacksonville, the Rams (10) in Dallas and San Francisco (10) hosting Atlanta. Overall the group went with 11 favorites and 11 road teams out of the 16 contests this week. With such a variety with the Week 15 picks, 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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