Browns-Bengals and Halfway Point Power Rankings

Tonight’s game has already started, so I won’t belabor the preview.  The Bengals are favored by about a touchdown, which seems right given the pedigrees and expectations for the two teams.  That being said, the Browns have been fairly solid so far this year, albeit against a pretty easy schedule.  The models all have the Bengals as the favorite, but by more like a field goal.  Instead let’s take a look at the power rankings about halfway through the season. Continue reading

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NFL Week 9 Results

It was another iffy week for the models.  Let’s tear through this and I’ll spend more energy on something useful. Continue reading

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NFL Week 9 – When Everyone Took a Break

After a steady stream of only missing one or maybe two games due to byes, this week there are only 13 games out of a possible 16.  It even includes the Lions, which will maybe give them a chance to get healthy.  Despite the relatively small number of games, there are some interesting lines as there are four teams favored by double digits (or nearly so, depending on where you look) and five home underdogs (one of which already lost and failed to cover: the Panthers on Thursday).  At least in the recent past, home and big underdogs have been good for covers, so let’s see if that pans out this week. Continue reading

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Panthers-Saints and the Power Rankings

Do you remember how people kept complaining about the Thursday night games last year?  Or was that this year?  Or is it every year?  Anyway, tomorrow night we get a rare bird:  two sub-.500 teams playing for first place in their division.  The Saints and Panthers are decent teams and historically have had some good games, so I’m optimistic that the game will be better than that description gives them credit for, but let’s take a quick look. Continue reading

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NFL Week 8 Results

After a bizarre game in London (but a win is a win!), the Lions have played two games in a row where they won yet failed to cover.  That’s more impressive when you consider they were favored in those games by 2 and 3.5.  This week it was a small help to the models, as they all had Atlanta covering thanks to the Falcons being listed as the home team.  How about the other games?  Let’s find out how the picks did. Continue reading

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NFL Week 8 Picks

With Detroit and Atlanta kicking off at 9:30 in the morning, it’s extra important to get the picks up today.  With a relatively strong contingent of home underdogs this week, including the Falcons assuming they were actually playing at home, maybe the models will have a good week.  It has yet to happen, and they lost the Thursday night game again, but you never know.  Weirder things have happened. Continue reading

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Bill Simmons Just Found out About Point Differential

Bill Simmons had some time off due to his suspension from ESPN, but returned with his picks for tomorrow’s games (which I’ll have in my usual picks post later).  But aside from golfing, apparently Simmons spent some time thinking about if you could maybe use something better than a team’s record as a measure of how good they are.  He gives an example:

For instance, Arizona battled back in Week 1 to beat San Diego 18-17 on Monday night — the Cardinals got the “win” and San Diego got the “loss,” but really, that was an “either/or” game, right? For gambling purposes, there had to be a better way to capture that.

And so what Bill does is re-categorize each game for each team as a convincing win, a convincing loss, or in between.  And he titles this an ‘epiphany’.  What Bill has actually finally done is take a step towards using point differential instead of win/loss outcome. Continue reading

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