You always hear that football is a game of inches. Al Pacino just finished telling me so himself. You hear less often that picking football games is also a game of inches, but it’s just as true. This past weekend was a perfect example. Luigi and Yoshi 2 both had Atlanta as 6 to 7 point favorites over Tampa. The line was Atlanta -6, so they both would pass since they’re so close to the line. Bill Simmons’ line was -6.5, which so happens to split Luigi and Yoshi 2. But there’s no passing on Simmons’ picks; when Atlanta got the blow-out, Luigi gets a W and Yoshi 2 gets a L. The Saints beat the Vikings by 11 when the line is 10.5. The Browns miss two field goals in a game they could have won, and it ends up a push. At least for me; Simmons had it at 1.5 instead of 2. My wife can tell you about the discussion we had when the Broncos went for 2 at the end of their game. Fail, and a Broncos win against the spread is virtually guaranteed. Succeed and the Seahawks have a chance to go down the field in overtime and score a touchdown to cover. What happened? And when the margin between making winning picks and losing picks is so small, those little differences add up. Let’s see who was on the right side this week.
Speaking of Simmons, he came in with a 17-15 record. He went 8-8 for the second week in a row and so is now at 25-23. Luigi was 9-7 to make up a game and stands at 24-24. Yoshi 1 had a bad week at 6-10 and Yoshi 2 was average at 8-8. That puts Yoshi 1 at 20-28 and Yoshi 2 at 22-26.
Using spreads from online books and ignoring close calls, Luigi was 7-5-1 (there’s the Cleveland game) for a total of 15-11-1. Yoshi 1 went only 4-9-1 for a two-week record of 12-14-1, and Yoshi 2 went 6-6-1 for a total of 14-12-1. Yoshi 2’s record is just good enough to be slightly in the black. The models found 8 games to agree on again this week, and went 3-4-1 for a total of 8-7-1.
Thanks to the noise that comes from these little differences (and picking games in general), Yoshi 1 has the best SuperContest record of the three models despite having the worst overall pick record. That evens out a bit this week. Luigi was right about Oakland and Detroit (just missing on the Vikings) to go 2-3 for a total record of 7-8. Yoshi 1 was right about Oakland, Arizona, and Washington to go 3-2 and stand at 10-5. And Yoshi 2 swapped Arizona in for Houston compared to Luigi, which puts him on the plus side at 3-2 and an overall record of 9-6. Luigi has some work to do, but maybe those future inches will go his way.