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 Jeff Pasquino’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 this year Footballguys is proud to bring you the combination of the two. The Footballguys.com Staff Against the Spread Pool Challenge. Multiple staff members (22) 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 in 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.
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS
Here are the results from this week.
|Point Spread:||-6.5||-7.5||-2.5||-1.5||-7.5||-10.5||-2.5||-2.5||-2.5||-3.5||-2.5||-6.5||-3.5||-2.5||MNF||Last||Year to|
|Staffer||Last Week's Picks||Tot Pts||Week||Date|
Mark Wimer was the only staffer to get to 10 correct selections in Week 11, so he finished ahead of the staff in our weekly contest here. Overall the group did quite well, with nearly everyone at 7-7 or better. That strong performance by the team (170-138, 55.2%) moved the group up on the season to 120 games over 50% (1,820-1,700 or 51.7%). That is very close the Vegas profitability number (52.3%) which is remarkable for the staff and getting picks in early. That will be tested quite a bit this week with a short and tight schedule to get articles published a day early.
THIS WEEK'S PICKS
Here are the picks for this week.
|Staffer||The Picks||Tot Pts|
All but one set of picks are in this morning, and only two teams had more than 70% of the votes. Strangely enough, the Baltimore Ravens led the way with 19 of 21 picks this week. I guess everyone believes in that defense (two shutouts including last week in Chicago) and also has no faith in Houston. I can get behind that (and I did). Seattle (16 of 21) is also expected to win and cover the number by the staff, as the Seahawks head to San Francisco. I went there with my pick, but I think that this game could be much closer than many think with Seattle's secondary banged up and the 49ers coming off of a bye. These two teams really tend to play each other hard every time they match up, which is common with divisional foes.
As for the rest of the picks, they were all clustered around 11-14 out of 21 choices for majorities for the remaining 14 games. Five underdogs were majority choices (New Orleans, Detroit, Cleveland, the Giants and the Chargers) - and all three underdogs from Thursday were top picks. Road and home teams were split 8-8 this week, with Seattle the top road team on the list. Four games were nearly split down the middle with four teams getting the nod 11-10 (Giants, Chiefs, Jaguars and Steelers). Tough week with picks due 24 hours early, but as long as Seattle and Baltimore cover the spread, the group should do reasonably well.
ODDS AND ENDS
We have reached the midpoint of the season - nearly half of the games have been played (due to byes) - and the 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 firstname.lastname@example.org