The Tigers won their first playoff game, the Wolverines won, the Lions have a bye… it’s a good start to the weekend. Hopefully the models can keep things going with some good results in today’s games. They’re coming off their first correct Thursday night pick, as far as I remember, so that seems like a promising start. A quick reminder: click the NFL model link in the banner if you don’t know who Luigi and the Yoshis are, and even if you do remember that the Yoshis are new guys under evaluation. Luigi has a proven track record.
We’ll start with the over/under. All three models missed on Thursday, which isn’t too surprising since they’re terrible at picking totals. Just consider these placeholders until I figure out how to make it work.
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Now the winner picks. Perhaps the two most unusual picks this week are at the Colts can hang with Green Bay and Denver can stay with the Patriots. Let’s start with the Colts and Packers. As always, the first thing you should do is take a look at their stats. My numbers are slightly different, but I agree with Brian Burke that passing efficiency is very important. The Colts have actually been moving the ball better through the air than the Packers so far this year. The Colts are also at home and have beaten potential Good Team Minnesota so far, if you like that kind of thing. Now, the Packers obviously have some advantages as well; I’m not saying they’re outclassed or anything. Just saying that the Colts might have a better chance than what the odds say.
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So how about Denver-New England? Denver doesn’t have the advantage of playing at home and the Pats pass the ball better than they do. The Broncos have the potential to keep it close because they aren’t terribly outclassed on offense and they have a much better pass defense than the Patriots. Denver has also already had a pretty tough run so far, playing the Steelers, Falcons, and Texans. The classic Brady-Manning match-up that everyone is talking about might turn into a decent game overall.
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One last specific game note. The Buffalo Bills seem to fool the models early in recent years. I’m sure it’s dumb luck, but they manage to put up better stats than their results. Last week they were supposed to hang tough with the Patriots, and they did – for about a half. This week they’re big underdogs to the 49ers. I don’t think Buffalo will win, necessarily, but if I had to pick one of my games to be wary of, this might be it.
Next we get on to Bill Simmons and his picks. As always, he has his own lines and picks every game, so the models do to. No skipping games I think are too close (within a point of the spread). Here are all the picks.
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Finally we have the Hilton SuperContest picks. I track these because I think it’s useful to look at the five potential best picks. No one can expect to beat Vegas picking every game, but the beauty of sports betting is that you don’t have to pick every game. Pick the ones you’re most confident in, and if you have a good system you should come out ahead. This week Luigi would take Indy +7, Denver +6.5, Buffalo +9.5, and San Diego +3.5; then things get pretty tight. There isn’t a lot of difference in the rest of the picks, but the top remaining is Minnesota -5.5. Those two are only half a point over the “stay away” threshold, so the pickings are slim this week. Yoshi 1 goes with Jacksonville +6, Indy +7, Rams +1 (already a winner), Buffalo +9.5, and Cleveland +8.5. Finally, Yoshi 2 goes with Indy +7, Buffalo +9.5, Denver +6.5, Washington +3, and San Diego +3.5.
Enjoy the games!