I continually hope to get my predictions up a little earlier than Sunday morning, but Bodog rarely has numbers up for every game at that point. Why? Injuries. The books like to know who’s playing before they set the line. On the other hand, Luigi views injuries much like the honey badger: it don’t care. With that in mind, here are the predictions for this weekend’s games along with a few notes on potentially meaningful injuries.
Over/under: Injuries to good offensive players could lower the total and injuries to good defensive players could increase the total, but Luigi barely understands the total anyway. Here are the numbers for your perusing pleasure.
Moneyline: In the early games, the Browns have perhaps the worst injury news. Their top two running backs are both out. On the other hand, it isn’t like Hillis has done much this year anyway, right? Either way, Houston is a big favorite already and there’s no moneyline posted for that game. In the afternoon, it looks like New England will have Wes Welker but the Giants won’t have Hakeem Nicks or Ahmad Bradhaw. Perhaps you think the Patriots are better than 67% to win then. But for the Giants to be a break-even bet at 350, they only need to win 22.2% of the time. I think Bradshaw is a bigger loss than Nicks, but I would still give the Giants a one in five shot here. The Patriots are not good against the pass, and the Giants still have good receivers.
Spread: Let’s start with the stay-away games: Saints-Bucs, Texans-Browns, and Raiders-Broncos. Now perhaps with Darren McFadden out, you think the Broncos might be worth a look. However, Michael Bush will be filling in and he’s been pretty good too. Going by Advanced NFL Stats’ numbers, they’re pretty much the same for their careers in terms of WPA and EPA per play, and this year Bush has a better success rate (48% to 41%). One of the games I really had to wait for was Arizona- St. Louis, which presumably took a while to figure out because both starting quarterbacks are nicked up. Luigi already has Arizona as a bigger favorite than the line. If you think losing Kolb is worse than losing Bradford, then maybe you don’t like the Cardinals to cover so much. On the other hand, I’ve watched most of the Rams’ games this year, and they are awful.
Simmons: Bill shamefully hid his picks in a sidebar for a column about Eddie Murphy. All I have to say about that: he should be ashamed, and The Golden Child is underrated. Here are Bill’s lines with both our picks. If I had to guess, I would go with the gambler’s fallacy and pick Bill for a bounce-back week. That might be bad news for me since we disagree on 9 of the 14 games. As a side note, my ‘SuperContest’ picks against the Bodog spreads are the Bills, Seahawks, Cardinals, Giants, and Redskins. The Bengals are close the the Redskins’ mark and I would swap them in if I could, but alas. Luigi always gets the final say.