The Lions are in a tight spot in terms of making the playoffs, as I walked through last week. So the atmosphere was a little tense Sunday afternoon as the Lions were busy blowing their lead against the Vikings and Carolina was doing the same against the Falcons. Unfortunately the Panthers couldn’t hold on, throwing two interceptions and missing a field goal in the second half of a game they were winning by 16. The Lions did fend off the Vikings, winning on the final play of the game by forcing a fumble (and getting away with a facemask penalty) when the Vikings were on the 1 and down by 6. The Lions were ahead the whole game, by as much as 21, so the game was closer than it needed to be.
Perhaps Tim Tebow was watching the Lions the same way he watches the Broncos’ defense and special teams, sending the power of winning into their bodies. The third team in the NFC wild card race is the Bears, who held a 10-0 lead with only a few minutes left in Denver. My wife said that Denver needed to be losing for Tebow to win and she was right; I even mistakenly thought that Denver would win the overtime coin flip. That would be too easy. Denver had to score 10 points in 4 minutes, including a 59 yard field goal, and then force a fumble when Chicago was in field goal range before they could win. So two of the games I was most interested ended up going the right way thanks to the power of Tebow. Maybe he can watch the Thursday night game and get the Falcons to choke away their game against the Jaguars?
Here’s how Luigi did this weekend. The over/under, as is usual, was a bust at 6-9-1 (the Cardinals and 49ers hit 40 on the nose). The season record is 89-97-5. Picking winners was much better at 12-4 for a season record of 119-73. When you combine those with the moneyline, Luigi was 5-5, which is a positive thanks to the underdog payoffs. The season record is 48-73.
Against all of Bodog’s lines Luigi was 10-6, but it would have skipped the Saints’ and Giants’ victories, so it was 9-5 in pickable games. On the season then Luigi is 80-67-7 in those games and 96-88-8 in all games. The SuperContest picks were the Colts, Browns, Texans, Chiefs, and Bears, so I went 4-1 there. The season record is 38-28-4 for 40 points. The Millman blog at ESPN says that the usual money-making cutoff is 51 points on the season against the Hilton spreads. Given that those spreads seem a little easier than Bodog’s (as I’ve mentioned a few times over the weeks), I might be at 42 or 43 if I were actually playing. Either way I need about 11 points in the remaining three weeks to be solid, which means 3 or 4 wins each week. We’ll see if I get there.
How do I know I do better against other lines? Thanks to my ‘contest’ with Bill Simmons. I went 12-4 against his lines, for a season record of 111-89-8 (compare to the 96-88-8 against Bodog). Bill went 7-9 for a season record of 104-96-8. The record on his posts has been a little bit off from what I have. It’s possible I’m wrong since I do the count by hand each week, or maybe he counts his record as what he picked at a different time from what he posted (maybe his picks are against Thursday or Friday’s lines but he counts his record as against final lines, for example). But either way I’ve opened up a solid lead with three weeks to go. It’s a little early to declare victory, but I’m feeling pretty good.