In the column that goes with Bill Simmons’ picks this week, he starts by complaining about the NFC West. Basically he thinks it’s really bad this year, and will take a playoff spot away from a more deserving team. The first thing I think is weird is that he doesn’t mention the 2008 Patriots, who went 11-5 but didn’t make the playoffs because the 8-8 Chargers won their division. Seems like a big slip for someone with such a Boston slant. Second, he complains that the NFC West is weak and that their only victories are against each other. Well, that could also happen if the division was really strong, or generally close in talent. The four teams’ six losses have come against Denver, Atlanta, New Orleans and Seattle, and Arizona and Oakland. I won’t try to defend the Rams, but the Seahawks, Cardinals, and 49ers have lost four games against mostly good opponents, with three of them coming on the road. On the other hand, they were convincing losses, except for the 49ers-Saints game, and three of the four teams are below average in my power rankings, so I won’t argue too much. I’m just saying, you never know.
With that out of the way, on to the picks! First, the moneyline:
For some reason there are a lot of games with no moneyline listed, so it’ll be a sparse week. UPDATE! I noticed I had a mistake in my code where if a team was favored to win (e.g. a negative moneyline), it calculated the bet by betting more money than if the team was favored to lose. I fixed that so that it assumes you bet $100 regardless. I also have it set to say ‘no bet’ if neither side (home or away) has a positive expectation, or if there’s no line. One of the benefits to sports betting over, say, blackjack, is that you can avoid the bets you think you’ll lose, and now that shows up in the table.
And, Bill Simmons’ picks: