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.
|Staffer||Last Week's Picks||MNF||Last||Year to|
Quite the strong week for the staff once again in Week 13! Most of our contributors had winning weeks with 15 out of 22 getting nine or more games correct. The top of the chart was very impressive with Alex Miglio edging out myself, Matt Bitonti and Phil Alexander. It all came down to Monday Night Football, and despite the late win by the Steelers, they did not cover the spread. That gave Alex the win for the week with a 12-4 record. Even so, with three staffers at 11-5 and still five more at 10-6, it made for quite the impressive week. The staff went an incredible 50 games over .500 for Week 13 (201-151, 57.1%) which moved the group's seasonal number very close to breaking even against Las Vegas. At 168 games over .500 (2,196-2,028, 52.0%) the staff is within 0.3% of tying the Las Vegas metric of 52.3% to at least "push" against the house. Very impressive. Four weeks is still a lot of the year left, so let's see how strong of a finish the staff can put forward in December.
THIS WEEK'S PICKS
All the sets of picks are in this morning, and a lot of the games are split almost right down the middle. Five teams (Green Bay, Dallas, Tennesee, Baltimore and New England) were 13-9 favorites for the staff, while five more (Minnesota, Chicago, San Francsico, Philadelphia and the Los Angeles Chargers) were even smaller favorites with 12-10 margins. Even more remarkable is the fact that all but one of these 10 teams (the Chargers) are road teams. That trend continued across all picks for Week 14 as only three home teams (Chargers, Buffalo and Kansas City) were majority picks, making this the biggest week that I can recall where 13 of 16 majoritiy picks went with the road teams. The most popular selections were the Jets (at Denver) and Seattle (at Jacksonville), with both franchises getting 17 of the 22 possible picks. New York is a very narrow favorite at one-half point over the Broncos, while the Seahawks are a road underdog, getting 3.5 points at Jacksonville. Five underdogs were chosen by the staff this week overall, but Seattle was certainly the most popular. All four of the others were in the "close split" group as Baltimore received 13 votes and Chicago, Philadelphia and the 49ers received 12 on the week. The four teams that were in the larger majority this week but not quite at the top were Detroit (at Tampa Bay, 16 votes), Buffalo (against Indianapolis, 15), New Orleans (at Atlanta, 14) and the Kansas City Chiefs (vs. Oakland, 14 votes). Once again, Week 14 has all the makings of yet another very interesting week in the NFL and for the staff picks.
ODDS AND ENDS
The season is winding down - just a few weeks to go - 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