Game Flowbotics: Week 6 Picks Against the Spread
Monday Night Football delivered a frustrating end to last week’s picks, with the Ravens failing to cover against the Colts. The silver lining is it was the type of bad beat that reinforced my read going into the game. Baltimore clearly had enough firepower to win that game by a touchdown or more, but the circumstances of how the game played out killed my pick of BAL (-6.5). Hello
darkness variance, my old friend.
Now I get to decide what lessons to take away from the loss. How much does it matter that the Ravens start slow seemingly every game? How much does it matter that they have the explosive ability to come back from a 16-point deficit and win by six? Those sorts of “personality traits” for a team provide interesting context when looking at the raw efficiency and pace stats from Football Outsiders in the Game Flowbotics spreadsheet. I say “interesting context” instead of “good context” because separating signal from noise when it comes to team narratives can be risky. In making my weekly over/under and against-the-spread picks in this series, there will continue to be times when I wade into the cloudy waters between fact and narrative, but I will ultimately try to err on the side of data because it’s easier to tease out where its variance comes from.
I went 4-3-1 with my picks last week for a gain of 0.74 units. Year to date, my record is 23-22-1 and I’m down 1.3 units. Slowly but surely, I’m climbing out of the hole I dug for myself in Weeks 2 and 3. As you’ll see below, there are a couple of matchups this week where I’m betting both the point spread and the total. Those sorts of matchups where I have a strong read will hopefully help me get back into the black sooner rather than later. Of course, that assumes my strong reads are also good reads, which isn’t a given, so I could be risking more only to end up deeper in the red. At the moment, though, I like all the angles I’m about to lay out, so fingers crossed I can end up on the better side of variance this time around.
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