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Against The Spread Pool: Week 17

Footballguys.com 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 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 (23) 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.   

LAST WEEK'S RESULTS

Here are the results from last week:

Road Team: NYG MIA WAS NYJ TEN ATL SD MIN IND SF TB ARI CIN BAL DEN DET      
Home Team: PHI BUF CHI NE JAC CAR CLE GB OAK LAR NO SEA HOU PIT KC DAL      
Favorite: NYG BUF WAS NE TEN ATL SD GB OAK LAR NO SEA HOU PIT KC DAL      
Point Spread: -2.5 -3.5 -3.5 -16.5 -4.5 -2.5 -6.5 -6.5 -3.5 -3.5 -3.5 -8.5 -2.5 -5.5 -4.5 -7.5      
Staffer The Picks MNF LW YtD
Chris Feery NYG MIA WAS NE TEN ATL CLE GB OAK SF NO SEA CIN BAL KC DET 42 12 122
Andy Hicks PHI MIA WAS NE JAC CAR CLE GB OAK LAR TB ARI HOU BAL KC DET 39 11 121
Devin Knotts PHI MIA WAS NE TEN ATL CLE GB IND SF TB ARI CIN PIT DEN DAL 44 11 128
Keith Roberts PHI MIA CHI NYJ TEN ATL SD GB OAK SF NO ARI CIN PIT KC DET 45 10 119
Phil Alexander NYG MIA WAS NE TEN ATL CLE GB IND SF TB SEA CIN BAL KC DET 40 10 131
Andrew Garda NYG MIA WAS NE TEN ATL SD GB OAK LAR TB SEA CIN PIT KC DAL 60 9 121
Jason Wood NYG MIA WAS NYJ TEN CAR CLE GB IND SF TB SEA CIN BAL KC DAL 51 9 128
Jeff Pasquino PHI BUF WAS NE TEN ATL SD GB OAK SF TB SEA HOU PIT KC DET 47 8 118
Alessandro Miglio NYG MIA WAS NYJ TEN ATL CLE MIN OAK LAR TB ARI HOU BAL KC DET 48 8 110
Chris Kuczynski NYG BUF WAS NYJ TEN ATL SD GB OAK LAR NO SEA CIN BAL KC DET 56 8 117
Mark Wimer NYG MIA WAS NYJ TEN ATL SD GB OAK LAR NO SEA HOU PIT KC DAL 45 8 115
Aaron Rudnicki NYG MIA WAS NYJ TEN ATL SD GB IND SF NO SEA CIN PIT DEN DET 40 7 127
Bear Heiser NYG BUF CHI NE TEN CAR SD GB IND SF NO ARI CIN PIT KC DET 36 7 127
James Brimacombe PHI MIA WAS NE TEN CAR SD GB IND SF TB SEA HOU BAL DEN DET 50 7 130
John Mamula NYG BUF CHI NE TEN ATL SD MIN OAK SF NO ARI HOU PIT KC DET 42 7 120
Matt Bitonti NYG MIA WAS NYJ TEN ATL SD GB OAK LAR TB ARI HOU BAL DEN DET 46 7 129
William Grant NYG BUF CHI NE TEN ATL SD GB OAK LAR TB ARI CIN PIT KC DET 45 7 109
Clayton Gray NYG MIA WAS NYJ TEN CAR SD GB OAK LAR TB SEA HOU BAL KC DET 41 6 119
Danny Tuccitto NYG MIA CHI NE JAC ATL SD GB IND SF TB SEA HOU PIT DEN DET 49 6 128
Jeff Haseley NYG BUF WAS NE TEN CAR SD GB OAK LAR TB ARI HOU PIT KC DET 46 6 104
Justin Bonnema NYG BUF CHI NYJ JAC ATL CLE GB IND SF NO SEA HOU PIT DEN DET 44 6 118
Justin Howe NYG BUF CHI NYJ TEN ATL SD GB OAK LAR TB ARI CIN BAL DEN DET 43 6 125
Dave Larkin NYG MIA CHI NYJ TEN CAR SD GB OAK LAR TB SEA CIN BAL DEN DET 49 5 115

This week had just one staff member (Chris Feery) atop the standings, as he went 12-4 on the week.  Two other staffers (Devin Knotts and Andy Hicks) hit the 11 win mark, while two more (Keith Roberts and Phil Alexander) were one step back with a 10-6 record.  Phil's performance pushed him to the best mark overall (131 wins this season) but several other staffers are within a few picks of the group title.  The staff overall had a winning record once again (181-171 for the week, 51.4%) which helped push the staff towards a record that would even be a winning result against the Las Vegas sportsbooks (2,781-2,499 overall, or 52.7% success rate).  This is rather remarkable by the staff considering that the picks are due on Wednesday night, making it even more challenging.  With one week left to go, a strong finish could make this a great year for the staff.  

THIS WEEK'S PICKS

Here are the picks for this week:

Road Team: CAR JAC CLE CHI BAL BUF DAL HOU NE NYG OAK SEA KC NO ARI GB  
Home Team: TB IND PIT MIN CIN NYJ PHI TEN MIA WAS DEN SF SD ATL LAR DET  
Favorite: TB IND PIT MIN CIN BUF PHI TEN NE WAS DEN SEA KC ATL ARI GB  
Point Spread: -6.5 -4.5 -7.5 -5.5 -2.5 -6.5 -6.5 -3.5 -9.5 -7.5 -2.5 -9.5 -4.5 -6.5 -6.5 -3.5  
Staffer The Picks MNF
Jeff Pasquino TB JAC PIT MIN BAL NYJ DAL TEN NE WAS OAK SEA KC ATL ARI DET 51
Aaron Rudnicki TB IND CLE CHI BAL NYJ PHI HOU NE NYG DEN SF KC NO LAR GB 44
Alessandro Miglio CAR JAC CLE MIN BAL NYJ DAL TEN MIA NYG DEN SF SD NO LAR GB 52
Andrew Garda TB IND PIT MIN BAL BUF DAL HOU MIA NYG DEN SF KC ATL ARI GB 45
Andy Hicks CAR JAC PIT CHI CIN NYJ PHI HOU MIA NYG OAK SF KC NO LAR DET 70
Bear Heiser CAR JAC PIT CHI BAL BUF DAL HOU MIA NYG DEN SEA KC ATL ARI GB 42
Chris Feery CAR JAC CLE CHI CIN NYJ DAL TEN MIA NYG DEN SEA KC NO ARI GB 45
Chris Kuczynski CAR IND PIT CHI BAL BUF DAL HOU MIA NYG OAK SEA KC ATL ARI GB 44
Clayton Gray TB IND PIT CHI BAL BUF DAL HOU MIA NYG DEN SEA KC ATL ARI GB 54
Danny Tuccitto CAR JAC CLE CHI BAL NYJ PHI TEN MIA WAS DEN SF SD NO LAR DET 49
Dave Larkin CAR JAC PIT CHI BAL BUF PHI HOU MIA NYG DEN SF KC NO ARI GB 51
Devin Knotts CAR JAC PIT CHI BAL NYJ DAL HOU NE NYG OAK SF SD NO LAR DET 46
James Brimacombe CAR IND CLE MIN BAL NYJ DAL HOU MIA WAS OAK SEA KC ATL LAR DET 51
Jason Wood CAR IND PIT MIN BAL BUF PHI HOU MIA NYG DEN SEA KC ATL ARI GB 61
Jeff Haseley CAR IND PIT MIN CIN NYJ DAL HOU MIA NYG OAK SEA KC ATL LAR DET 49
John Mamula CAR IND PIT CHI CIN NYJ PHI HOU NE NYG OAK SEA KC ATL ARI GB 47
Justin Bonnema CAR IND PIT CHI CIN NYJ DAL HOU MIA NYG DEN SEA KC ATL ARI GB 52
Justin Howe CAR IND CLE MIN BAL NYJ DAL HOU MIA NYG DEN SEA SD ATL LAR DET 49
Keith Roberts CAR IND PIT MIN CIN NYJ DAL HOU MIA NYG DEN SEA KC NO LAR GB 55
Mark Wimer TB IND CLE MIN BAL BUF PHI HOU MIA NYG OAK SEA KC ATL ARI GB 77
Matt Bitonti CAR JAC CLE CHI BAL NYJ DAL HOU MIA WAS DEN SEA KC ATL LAR GB 49
Phil Alexander CAR JAC CLE MIN BAL NYJ PHI HOU NE NYG DEN SEA KC NO ARI GB 50
William Grant CAR IND PIT MIN BAL BUF DAL HOU NE WAS OAK SEA KC ATL ARI GB 61

CONSENSUS WINNERS

With only one week to go, you would think that the picks would show better alignment for the final weekend.  Nothing could be further from the truth, as the picks are all over the place for Week 17.  Only five of the 16 majority selected teams are favorites in Las Vegas this week, with eight road teams also chosen.  The final NFL week can be very difficult, and the scattered results reflect the indecision that lies out there for Week 17.  Houston and Kansas City lead the group with 19 choices (out of 23), as the Chiefs have to go for a win in San Diego to secure the AFC West title.  The Texans do not have anything to play for except tuning up for next week.  Carolina and the Giants come in next with 18 selections, but New York could be resting players and Tampa Bay needs to beat the Panthers to keep their ridiculously thin hopes alive for a playoff berth.  Baltimore (17) is motivated only to get to 9-7 as they were eliminated last week, but the Dolphins (17) are pushing to try and get the fifth seed instead of the sixth and avoid the Steelers next week.  Seattle (16) is our highest home team as they host San Francisco in a game that could be meaningful for a bye, while the Packers (16) are favored at Detroit in what could be an elimination game.  The Eagles (15) and Jets (15) are home underdogs this week against the Cowboys and Bills respectively, but those two road teams do not have much motivation to pick up a win this week as Dallas has secured the top NFC spot and Buffalo gets a better draft pick with a loss.  Three home teams come in with 14 picks (Pittsburgh, Denver, Atlanta) with just the Falcons motivated for a possible bye.  The Steelers will be resting players, but the Browns are still not very good.  Denver will look to rally behind Paxton Lynch and put a damper on Oakland's divisional hopes.  Arizona (13), Indianapolis (12) and Chicago (12) round out the slight majority picks as teams wrap up the regular season.   Week 17 looks to be one of the most challenging of the year, so it will be quite interesting to see how it all plays out.

ODDS AND ENDS

We are getting close to the midpoint of the season, 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 that it might seem.

Good luck this weekend!

Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to pasquino@footballguys.com.