Week 9: Picking Winners, Thinking Outside the Box

I want winners!

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 wants winners and is glad to field questions on Twitter or through email.


What Have We Learned?

Over the first few of weeks in the NFL we saw an offensive explosion with the majority of the games sailing over the forcasted totats and several quarterbacks racking up huge passing yard totals. Tom Brady and Cam Newton both threw for over 400 yards in their first two games. In his last two games, Tom Brady has thrown for 289 yards and 198 yards respectively. Cam Newton has thrown for 256 yards and 290 yards in his last two.

Three weeks into the regular season, five quarterbacks were on a pace to break Dan Marino's single-season passing yards mark. Today three are on pace: Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. As the weather gets colder and defenses continue to come up with better schemes to shut these offenses down, I would be surprised if anyone broke this record.

Early in the year there were a lot of blown pass coverages, this was primarily a product of the lockout. Over the last several week, pass defenses have finally begun to catch up with offenses. We will continue to see this trend of defenses out performing offenses going forward.


Interesting Stats

Teams off of byes went 5-1 SU (straight up) and 4-2 ATS (against the spread) last week. For the year, teams off of byes are 8-10 SU and 8-9-1 ATS. The Bears, Packers, Jets, Falcons, Buccaneers, and Raiders had byes last week.

Cincinnati won on the West Coast for the first time in eight years. San Francisco, already 3-0 in the Eastern time zone, plays two of its next four in Eastern time.

Philadelphia rushed for 239 yards against a Dallas defense that entered the game with a league-best 70 rushing yards allowed per game.

For people that play in pick-the-winner pools, home teams are 72-44 SU, home favorites 56-18 SU, and home dogs 16-26 SU.

A couple of against-the-spread (ATS) numbers: unders went 9-4 in week 6. YTD overs are 61.54 (53.04%). Favorites are against-the-spread 57-53-6(51.82%), with 36 of those underdogs who covered, being outright winners. Double digit dogs are 11-5-1 ATS (68.75%).


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. 

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