In the last 24 hours I ran the Warrior Dash, ran another 5 miles, and saw Looper (which is why all the writing, but not the picks, is getting up late). So my brain is a little low on sugar and a little full with time travel scenarios. For the curious, Looper was good but much more of a ‘serious’ movie than an action movie. Prepare to feel some emotions if you go to see it.
Let’s get the over/under out of the way. Baltimore and Cleveland combined for 39 points on Thursday, so technically all the models were wrong. They also all had it pretty close to the number of 44, so hard to make a call there. As always, take with a grain of salt.
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There are a couple of big favorites this week in terms of the winner. Baltimore was one of them, going off at -615/+510. Houston is another, and Atlanta, Denver, and Green Bay are there to lesser extents. The thing you need to ask yourself with these big favorites are, can a NFL team really be predicted to win that often against another team? Baltimore obviously came through, but they were sweating a bit at the end, and that was against the Browns! The Pats losing to the Cardinals the other week is an example where it went wrong. While Luigi will occasionally pick a team as an 80%+ favorite, it’s rare and the Yoshis haven’t gotten that high until this week. When you consider that most teams are relatively evenly matched, underdogs can look appealing. Obviously they aren’t always though, and that’s where having some kind of reasonable system comes in handy.
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A couple of potentially odd lines this week. The Lions are 4 point favorites over the Vikings despite being 1-2 while the Vikes are 2-1 and just beat the 49ers. I’m catching up on the DVR right now, and that line looks particularly silly given that the Vikes returned the opening kick-off. Of course, if you knew that was going to happen, you’d have a different line. Another one I think is a little odd is the Packers -7.5 over the Saints. The Packers at least have a win and have played a couple of tougher teams, but they haven’t looked great. The Saints have an overtime loss and losses to apparent offensive juggernaut Washington and feisty Carolina. Maybe you expect Green Bay to win, but more than a touchdown seems a little high to me. I personally also find it odd that the Eagles are favored over the Giants, but I suppose Vick can’t turn the ball over three times a game all the time.
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Here are Bill Simmons’ picks. He already missed on the Ravens; let’s hope it keeps going poorly for him. Particularly with the Vikings pick.
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