Week 6: Picking Winners, Thinking Outside the Box
Tony is a former retail manager turned full-time sports investor. This is a new column at 4for4 designed to help those of you in weekly pickem and survivor pools gain an edge on the competition. Tony is glad to field questions on Twitter or through email.
So far this season, we've been treated to some pretty boring Prime Time matchups. Monday night was just another example of bad football. Chicago and Detroit combined for 12 1st quarter penalties and 28 in total in a Lions 25-14 victory. The NFL is seemingly creating new rules each season to slow the pace of the game and create a higher potential for more commercials.
The week 2 Giants/Rams 28-16 fifteen punt special will not be replayed on ESPN classic anytime soon. The worst of them all though was week 4 Jets/Ravens. The game had 7 turnovers, 15 punts, and one offensive touchdown. Flaco (10/31) and Sanchez (11/35) were awful passing the ball that night.
The Red Zone channel is great because it takes you to the most exciting plays of each game as they are happening. I may be in the minority here, but that is the only way I watch the NFL. The NFL will never admit the real reason why so many people tune in. The majority of people have money invested in the games they watch through fantasy football or a bet on the game.
Philadelphia is 3rd in total offense but 1-4 overall. Dallas is 4th in total defense but 2-2 overall. Both of these teams have the same problems: too many penalties, turnovers, and poor execution.
New England has scored at least 30 points in 13 consecutive games. As a starter in home games, Tom Brady is on a 30-0 streak in the regular season and a 0-2 streak in the postseason.
In their three home games, the Bills have allowed their opponents an average of 479 yards, and won all three. Seattle won a 1 p.m. ET game for the first time in its past 10 tries.
For people that play in pick-the-winner pools, home teams are 45-32 straight up, home favorites 35-13 straight-up, and home dogs 10-19 straight-up.
A couple of against-the-spread (ATS) numbers: overs went 9-4 in week 5. That is now 4 of the first 5 weeks with the majority of the totals going over. YTD overs are 48-28-1 (63.6%). Underdogs and favorites are dead even against-the-spread 37-37-3, with 25 of those underdogs who covered, being outright winners. Double digit dogs are 6-2 ATS (75%).
An ATS trend I got from Beyond The Bets Blog: Since 2008, teams that lost by 21 or more points in one week and were favored the following week went just 21-23 ATS (.477). Teams that lost by 21 or more points and were underdogs in their next game had astounding ATS success, posting a 59-34-2 (.634) record, including 33 outright victories.
Most notably, underdogs of less than a touchdown (like the Bucs this weekend), were 21-11-2 (.656) ATS with 18 outright victories. Even with all of that info I still can’t take Tampa Bay this weekend. They have zero playmakers on offense and Josh Freeman has regressed as a quarterback.
Picking Unpopular Winners
For pick ‘em, against-the-spread type pools (Office Football Pool, Pick 5 formats, etc.), a key to winning is often finding the unpopular public plays and going against the grain. Here are some unpopular plays I like this week that may help you win your pool. My year-to-date record is 8-7.
St Louis +15: This is strictly a trend play. I normally don’t follow trends because the sample size is usually too small and the trend can be manipulated to fit the cappers reasoning for making the bet. St Louis is the worst team in league according to my power rankings. I have Green Bay rated 3rd. This game has blowout written all over it. An ATS stat I saw early this week, teams off a bye that are winless are 23-2 ATS and 11-0 ATS as a double digit dog in this situation. There is no reason anyone in their right mind would take the Rams this week. So that is why I am taking them.