NFL 2006 Weekly Predictions

Yeah, I know. :frowning:

At least you could have let me enjoy the regular season first.

I agree entirely. Still, for as much as Marty sucks, it’s nothing compared to how much Herm sucks. You can’t place those two in the same class. Marty has some coaching ability, I’ll give him that, he is just a giant flaming pussy and will squander opportunities every chance he gets. Edwards however it just a complete and utter disaster, how is it that every single couch potato with a XBox and Madden Football can figure out how to manage the clock and timeouts but Herm Edwards can’t? He even assigned a second coach to specifically handle that and he fucked it up.

Sounds good to me, but I’m afraid to promise to do it every Wednesday since I know I will be late probably half the time. Between my job, which calls of a lot of impromptu stuff evenings, and my general talent for procrastination I’m sure any “deadline” would be purely superficial.

I agree that the USA Today format eats dick, but so does every other site I’ve ever found. That damn thing takes long enough as it is and I spend a solid 20 minutes each week fixing the formatting and layout alone. In looking at the Post, it’s awful. They use a image file that you can’t even c/p, so that won’t help speed things up for me. This is like the third season in a row I’ve searched in vain for a simple betting line on the web which didn’t require a ton of editing to use here.

Week 2 Picks

1:00pm…**EAGLES…3…Giants…34½…**G-Men bounce back; over.
1:00pm…**COLTS…13…Texans…46…**Mario Williams won’t help. Colts and the under.
1:00pm…**RAVENS…11½…Raiders…35½…**Can’t touch Oakland, so Ravens and under I guess.
1:00pm…**BENGALS…10½…Browns…41…**Bengals should cover. Over.
1:00pm…**DOLPHINS…7…Bills…34½…**Billies and the over.
1:00pm…**BEARS…8½…Lions…46…**Lions keep it close. Way under.
1:00pm…**Panthers…2½…VIKINGS…45…**Home dog Vikings and the under.
1:00pm…**FALCONS…5½…Bucs…39½…**Falcons look good so far. Under.
1:00pm…**Saints…2…PACKERS…37½…**Ugh. Saints I guess, and an ill-advised over.

4:05pm…**Rams…3…49ERS…36½…**Rams should cover easily. Way way over.
4:05pm…**SEAHAWKS…7…Cardinals…35…**Cards keep it close, and could win outright. Way over.
4:15pm…**Patriots…6…JETS…37…**J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS! Over, pretty easily.
4:15pm…**CHARGERS…11½…Titans…42½…**Chargers all the way here. Under on a hunch.
4:15pm…**BRONCOS…10½…Chiefs…48…**Broncos should cover. 48?! Way under.

8:15pm…**COWBOYS…5½…Redskins…35…**Cowboys as Bledsoe rebounds. Over.
8:30pm…**JAGUARS…Pk…Steelers…43…**Jags look tough so far. Under.

Spread Picker Picks
2 Browns
2 Bucs
2 Dolphins
2 Giants
2 Packers
2 Panthers
2 Patriots
2 Raiders
2 Texans
2 Titans

Hmmm, not in love with these spread picker picks. Luckily, it doesn’t even have any best bets, and this week is positively screaming for teases anyway, so I can mostly ignore the spread picker. One thing to keep in mind is that week 2 is traditionaly a bookie week, meaning all those great spreads that look like they can’t lose probably will. Now watch as I promptly ignore my own warning.

Early Games
Risk 55 to win 50 on a 3 team tease: Ravens giving 3½, Bengals giving 2½ and Bears giving ½

Late Games
Risk 55 to win 50 on a 3 team tease: Cards getting 15, Chargers giving 3½ and Rams getting 5
Risk 30 to win 60 on both NFC West Overs

Sunday Night
Risk 30 to win 60 on the Cowboys & the Over

Monday Night
Risk 30 to win 60 on the Jags & the Under

Ellis Dee, I love NFL football, but I don’t do fantasy football, nor do I gamble; could you (or someone) explain what these numbers mean? For example:

Why is one team capitalized? What’s the first number? What’s the second number? What does “over/under” mean? Also, is there any importance to which team is named first? Etc.; I know there’s a lot of information conveyed in a succinct way here, and I’d like to understand it.

I have a sort of vague guess as to how all this works, but I’d like to be clear on it so I can understand what folks are talking about in this thread.

And by the way, while I’ve got the attention of football lovers, here is a blog, usually updated daily, with fascinating (to me) statistical analyses of NFL football from new and interesting perspectives. If the first post you see doesn’t grab you, read a few more; something will probably pique your interest.

The capitalized team is the home team. So the game is Tampa Bay at Atlanta. The first team is the favorite. The number in the middle is the spread–how many points the bookies think the favored team will win by. You can bet on the favored team covering the spread (in this case, on the Falcons winning by 6 points or more) or on the underdog beating the spread (in this case, the Buccaneers either winning or losing by 5 points or less.) However, I should state that’s a bit of an oversimplification, as they adjust the spread to get as much action (but more importantly, equal action) on both teams. The number at the end is the over/under. Again, the oddsmakers say that to get equal action on the over/under, 39.5 points will be scored. Half a point, of course, is impossible, and it’s kinda like the bookies hedging their own bets. So the over in this game would be if the combined score of both teams is 40 points or higher, and the under is if the score is 39 points or lower.

So, Ellis Dee (if he’s actually betting, but I think he does it with play money these days) would take the Falcons to cover the spread and for 39 points or less being scored in the game. For a better explanation of all this, check out The Wizard of Odds.

Thanks, asterion. That makes sense.

I would hazard a guess, though, that the half-points are not for the bookies to hedge bets, but rather so that there are no ties?

That’s correct. A half point doesn’t hedge anything.

So last week I managed to pull together a solid showing for the first week of the season. It’s usually a total crap shoot for gamblers and fans alike. Against the Spread I managed a 10-5 mark and split the Over/Under with a 7-7-1 mark. The OMNI picks came in at passable 3-2.

This week is a strange one with some huge spreads and lots of big home faves. Lets take a look see.

Sunday, Sept 17th
EAGLES 3 Giants 34½
I wish I’d have watched more of the Manning Bowl, sadly I was otherwise indisposed. I did however watch the Eagles game and they looked every bit as good as I thought they might. Considering I staked a fair portion of my fantasy team’s fate on that fact it’s a relief. I was shocked to see how quickly Donte Stallworth was integrated into the system, but I guess it makes sense since his speed and height make him a fair poor-mans TO. Playing a piss-poor Texans D didn’t hurt either. I’m a little surprised the Eagles are favored here, thought perhaps it’d be a pick ‘em, but it is a pretty solid homefield advantage. The loss of Lito Sheppard cannot be overstated here. His match against Plaxico could have been the deciding factor in this game and without him I’m thinking Eli will be able to work his offense with a little more freedom. The balance that the Tiki-Jacobs assult will provide should keep that Eagles defense on it’s hells. I like the Over here, but I’m going to side with the G’ints getting 3.

The Pick: Giants, Over

COLTS 13 Texans 46
A little strange that these two teams are playing the same week as the Eagles and Giants, their respective opponents last week. Makes the whole prediction thing pretty easy, in a round about way. Considering I’m on the fence about that NFC East tilt, it’s pretty logical that I’ll be taking the Colts here. It all boils down to those 13 points and with the Colts at home, you know they’ll be going after it. This works as a nice tune up for the Colts to work out their running game issues. I’m wagering they are successful there and
Rhodes puts up nice numbers and Freeney gets to Carr about 4 times.

The Pick: Colts, Under

RAVENS 11½ Raiders 35½
It’s a bit of a mystery why this one’s a smaller spread than the Colts tilt. The Ravens looked downright scary last week against a pretty solid team and they are facing one of the most screwed up teams the league has seen in years. McNair is settling right into that offense and he’s facing a guy who was sacked more times than passes completed. And are we supposed to think the Ravens D won’t eat that up at home? Um, yeah.

The Pick: Ravens, Under

BENGALS 10½ Browns 41
I was trying to talk myself into calling this game for the Brownies just on gut instinct. Something about this one feels like a let-down possibility for the Bengals. Then, after looking for a reason to justify that argument, I was stumped. The Bengals are at home and are facing a team that was pretty well handled by the New Orleans offense. The Bengals have so many weapons; they won’t be contained by that roster filled with holes. I was going to argue that the Browns offense has enough talent to keep this game within 10 points but they lost Jurevicius who’s better than most people realize. The Winslow/Edwards combo may be formidable some day, but for a team that just handled Gonzo and LJ it’s a stretch here. Big picture, I think we’ll see more of last weeks second half Bengal offense than the first half. Even if the Browns make some big plays, they won’t stay within single digits.

The Pick: Bengals, Over

DOLPHINS 7 Bills 34½
What are we to make of Culpepper? So many people thought he’d have a huge year. An equal number were saying he’s a bum and that without Moss he’s hopeless. Last week seemed to lend credibility to the latter argument, but before getting carried away we should remember he played against the Super Bowl champion defense on the road in as hostile an environment as possible. It’s fair to mention he’s still off a major knee injury too, and what he did in Week 1 might be vastly different from Week 5 and Week 14. I was leaning towards thinking he’d have a big season but so many of his mistakes in that game seem self-inflicted and I’m really hedging my bets. This week he’s got a much softer challenge, he gets to play at home (remember he played college ball here too) versus the rival Bills who lake a really powerful defense. In addition the Bills defense is dinged up, most notably Takeo Spikes. They’ve got some questions in the middle and in the secondary. The key factor to me is that the Pats turned the tide last week with the running game, and the Dolphins have a better running attack than the Pats did.

The Pick: Dolphins, Over

BEARS 8½ Lions 46
Man, lots of big favorites at home, huh? I obviously have quite the interest in this game and things got juiced up a little big on Monday when the utterly insane Roy Williams said he thought the Lions were just inches from putting up 40 points (instead of the 6 they actually managed) and guaranteed a win in Soldier Field this week. I’m a little disappointed to report that the Bears basically laughed it off and are paying only a little attention to it. Usually I think the manufactured insults and “disrespect” card are played to often by teams, but the Bears have shown an occasional tendency to get a little too pleased with themselves on defense. They are great and deserve the hype, they should be confident, but they are best when playing with a big chip on their shoulder. The Lions aren’t a slouch either; they’ve got a damn good defense and have for a long time. If the offense weren’t so inept season after season they’d be scary in close games. I expect that to change with Martz and Kitna in control. My primary worry is that the Bears running game will struggle putting a heavy burden on Grossman. Last week he showed he’s up to the challenge, but I doubt a one-dimensional offense will be enough to cover that spread.

The Pick: Lions, Under The Bears still win the game though.

Panthers 2½ VIKINGS 45
OK, last week I got burned by ignoring the impact of Steve Smith’s injury. I assumed he’d play; I’m not making the same mistake this time around. At the same time, I was right about the Vikings defense. This one brings the Vikes back home to the dome which some teams just have all kinds of trouble with. Frankly, I’m putting this game on the shoulders of the Vikings WRs. If they drop as many balls as last week, which was an insane number, they won’t beat a team like the Panthers with or without Smith. I’m confident that they’ve focused on that during practice this week and that the pressure of MNF opening night on the road played a big role. The Falcon defense that dominated the Panthers is better than Minny’s but not by much, could be another rough week for everyone’s Super Bowl sweetheart.

The Pick: Vikings, Under

FALCONS 5½ Bucs 39½
This game could closely reflect each team’s previous matchup. The Falcons defense looked dominant last week and that attacking, aggressive style had the Bucs playing like whipped puppies. The Bucs are similar to the Panthers in that their passing attack has questions and their offensive line is struggling. That a wordy lead in to this: Expect more of the same from both teams.

The Pick: Falcons, Under

Saints 2 PACKERS 37½
Man the Packers suck. It’s like music to my ears. Last season the Pack laid into the Saints with a serious spanking and there’s going to be more than a couple guys in that locker room reminding everyone about it. The Saints went on the road last week against a poor team and won and I see little reason to expect a change. Bush is going to be a little bit better this week and the Browns have a better line-up than the Packers do. The Saints have a formidable pass rush and it will prevent Favre from sitting back and gunning downfield.

The Pick: Saints, Over

Rams 3 49ERS 36½
Upset city. So far I’ve basically gone chalk and I only picked two road teams and have predicted most of the teams that won week one to go back-to-back in week two. I’m going to break stride with this one. The Rams played well last week against a overrated Broncos team. They also did so at home, but let’s not forget that they won a game by kicking 6 FGs. You simply aren’t going to win regularly in this league without turning 3 points into 7 about half the time. The Niners on the otherhand made a gutsy comeback against a team loaded with talent at home. The running tandem of Gore and Hocks were better than advertised and Alex Smith showed some flashes in connecting with Antonio Bryant. Take the Rams out of that dome and give the Niner fans reason for optimism and you’re looking at a upset. I don’t expect the Niners to commit 5 turnovers and I don’t expect Wilkins to go for 18.

The Picks: 49ers, Under

SEAHAWKS 7 Cardinals 35
So which game was the aberration? So far I’ve given props to the Lions, essentially giving the Seahawks a pass on that stinker, and I’ve given props to the Niners which implies that the Cards victory was especially impressive. If they are both right it makes this game a hell of a lot closer than the 7 point spread. I don’t think Deion Branch is going to have that much impact. One thing is for sure, you’d better take the over. The Cards rush defense is weak compared to the Lions so Alexander is apt to have a big day. The Cards offense is no joke and Warner is no Kitna. Edge isn’t going to be held 35 yards this week. Honestly I think the Seahawks will win this match up, they are at home and have too much pride to start the season 0-2. Still, this game is going to be close fought and I’m taking the points.

The Pick: Cards, Over

Patriots 6 JETS 37
Well, The Chad made a fool of me last week; I’m certainly not the only one though. He looked pretty good throwing the ball and he goes against another secondary that has some holes. The Pats on the otherhand really struggled in the passing game and allowed the Bills to move the ball on them. They are certainly the better team, and the whole teacher/mentor vibe on the sidelines tilts in their favor, but I’m not sure a OT win over the Bills warrants making them a 6 point fave on the road. The silver lining was the running of Dillon and Maroney who will be dominating games before too long. I really don’t want to put too much stock in a Jets victory over the awful Titans team, but the Pats look exceedingly beatable and 6 points is just too much. I have a hunch the Pats will find a way to win this game, but I’ll take the points again.

The Pick: Jets, Over

CHARGERS 11½ Titans 42½
Let me put it this way, the Titans are almost as bad as the Radiers. The Chargers slaughtered them and they get to play this game at home. Check please.

The Pick: Chargers, Under

BRONCOS 10½ Chiefs 48
What a difference a QB makes. The Broncos laid a serious turd last week and they are still a double digit fave over a team with arguably the best RB in the game. Curious don’t you think? I guess in the debate over a really iffy Jake Plummer versus a inexperienced, which is an understatement, Damon Huard the gamblers will take the Snake every time. I see the logic and I’m forced to recall the start of last season where the Broncos shit themselves on the road against the Dolphins and proceeded to follow that by winning 13 of the next 15 games. I really think the Broncos have issues this season, but the gamblers cardinal rule is to never wager on a shaky/rookie QB on the road. Especially in Mile High.

The Pick: Broncos, Under

COWBOYS 5½ Redskins 35
It seems that most experts are quitting on the Redskins at this point. They’ve looked shaky all preseason and didn’t improve much in week 1. Still, Drew Bledsoe looked terrible and the Cowboy defense wasn’t exactly that dominant force they are supposed to be. I think Clinton Portis will be much better this week, but at the same time I think TO and Glenn will shred the Skins secondary. The Redskins are going to put pressure on the Cowboys passing attack and Bledsoe just can’t get away from that nor can the Cowboys O-line stop it. Put simply, I think there’s going to be some serious drama in Dallas after this one. The Redskins aren’t turning it around here, but I think the Cowboys are just a little more flawed and the match-ups favor them.

The Pick: Redskins, Over

Monday, Sept. 18th
JAGUARS Pk Steelers 43
Normally I’d be all over the Jags here but the loss of their stud pass rush end and with Big Ben likely to play it feels like a bad play. Still, that Jags D is fierce and I like Leftwich with 3 very good targets. The Jags run defense will be much better than the Dolphins was and I suspect Willie Parker will struggle mightily, but with Ben Running the offense they could still squeeze just enough points out to win here. The Steelers D is great and they’ve got a really good scheme to limit the ball control passing system the Jags use. The Jags WR are a huge mismatch from a size standpoint for the Pittsburgh DBs. If the Jags are going to make a leap this year they’ll have to start right here, on Monday night against the champs in their own house. It’s a close one, and I’m not confident in it, but since it was a week ago I was honking the Jags I can’t quit on them now.

The Pick: Jags, Under

OMNI Picks: Chargers, Falcons, Colts, Ravens, 49ers

asterion answered all your explicit questions. A couple of other random tidbits:

I do not gamble on sports anymore. I used to back in the mid nineties, but it was too expensive because you can’t win betting on the NFL. In these threads I play by the rules I actually played by back in the nineties, so I’m not using the most favorable odds in my bets. Also, I was young and poor at the time, so a buddy and I split all our action evenly. We decided that a $200 loss limit ($100 each) was the most we could handle in any given week, so I play here with a max $200 loss limit here in these threads. Thankfully it is all pretend money here. Last season I think I was down five or six hundred on the season.

Bookies/casinos, hereafter called the “house”, stay in business by booking the same amount of action on both sides of a game. The spread has nothing to do with predicting how the game will actually play out. It has one and only one purpose: to make the action even on both sides. As long as that happens, the house is virtually guaranteed to make 5% profit on the total action wagered.

A “push” is when the favored team wins by the exact spread, so neither side loses. It is worth noting that there is no such thing as a push on an over/under, for the simple reason that (for example) 46 is neither over nor under 46. The house just loves it when an over/under hits exactly, because all O/U wagers lose. A “pickem” (signified by a spread of “PK”) means that neither team is favored; whomever wins outright wins.

I would point out that when I bet, there was never a single over/under number. It was always given as something like “over 43, under 41.” Also, because there is no push on an over/under, it is actually in the house’s best interest to not use fractional over/unders. The range of numbers that lose both sides of an O/U is the sweet spot for the house. That sweet spot is zero for a fractional value.

The vigorish, or vig, is the 10% fee charged to losing bets, and is what keeps the house in business. A $50 straight bet (just picking a team to cover the spread) will pay $50 if you win, but if you lose you have to pay $55: your bet plus 10%. Thus “risk 55 to win 50.” A push is no-action; there is no vig collected on a push, and thus the house hates them.

A parlay is a combination bet for dopes with a lottery mentality. You pick multiple teams or over/unders, and if they all win you win your bet. If any of them lose, you lose your entire bet. If any of them push, the bet gets converted down to a parlay or straight bet on the remaining teams. Parlays don’t normally have a vig, but late in my run back in the day we switched guys and the new guy charged a vig on parlays, so I include them. A two-team parlay pays 12:5, and a three team parlay pays 5:1. Thus, “risk 55 to win 120.”

A tease involves picking multiple teams like a parlay but only pays 1:1 like a straight bet. The reason to do them is they give you points to adjust the spreads in your favor. A two team tease adjusts all spreads by 5 points in your favor, and a three team tease gives you 8 points on all spreads. You cannot tease an over/under.

The basic unit of betting is $50. However, that vig-happy new guy I mentioned earlier used a basic increment of $25, so you could make a $25 bet if you were secure enough in your manhood. The downside was that a $25 bet carried a full $5 vig. Thus “risk 30 to win 25” for a straight bet and “risk 30 to win 60” on a two team parlay.

The spread picker was a system my buddy devised. It is based on the (incorrect) idea that the house wants all teams to be close to even against the spread over the course of a season. (The house doesn’t give a rat’s ass.) So the more a team beats the spreads, the more likely they are to lose next week, and vice versa. Each game above or below .500 against the spread is 1 point, and you add in both teams’ records against the spread to see what should happen next week.

For example, the Giants failed to cover last week, so they’re 0-1 against the spread (ATS), so they should win next week to pull even. Since they’re one game below, let’s call them +1. They play the Eagles, who covered last week, so the Eagles should lose next week; let’s call them -1. That makes the Giants a combined +2 pick in the spread picker system. Despite being based on flawed logic, the spread picker does remarkably well. As mentioned, it was 10 games above .500 (amazingly good) last season through the 10 weeks I calculated it.

The ideal system, then, would be to bet all spread picker picks evenly. But because the minimum bet is $50 per game, that’s too much risk. You can’t do $25 across the board because the 20% vig on those bets is way too high. So the idea is you have to pick and choose your action very carefully.

It is quite fun to bet on NFL games, but honestly I find making pretend wagers to be every bit as fun. Last week while watching the Giants game I was pissed about the Colts final FG because it meant that I couldn’t possibly win my parlay on the Giants & the Under, since any more points would’ve busted the under and the Giants needed more points to cover. All the fun with none of the risk is why I love these threads.

I encourage anyone and everyone to post their picks here and see how they would do. It will almost certainly prove to you that you cannot win by betting on the NFL, but you still get the fun of trying your luck.

Great link, thanks. I love everything about that site; I just recently downloaded the entire player stats database. The guy who runs that site rocks the house.

The first article right now explains a lot about my fantasy success. The Giants were apparently the worst in the league at spreading the ball around to multiple receivers, having the fewest average # of receivers catch balls per game last season. No small wonder then that my heavy reliance on Giants players saw a lot of production from my receiving corps.

Oh, Ellis Dee, I’ve been meaning to ask. When, in the parlay, you say “Ravens giving 3½, Bengals giving 2½ and Bears giving ½” does that convert the spread in those games to 8 each or does it do something else? Similarly, when you say “Cards getting 15, Chargers giving 3½ and Rams getting 5” does that mean the spread in the Cardinals game changes from 7 to 15, the Chargers game changes from 11.5 to 8, and the Rams game changes from 3 to 5?

Those aren’t parlays, those are teases. A 3-team tease converts all three spreads 8 points in your favor. As in, each spread gets its own 8 point modifier.

When a team is favored, they are said to be giving points. An underdog is getting points. The best example is my second (losing) tease this week:

“Risk 55 to win 50 on a 3 team tease: Cards getting 15, Chargers giving 3½ and Rams getting 5”

The Cards are 7 point underdogs, and teasing the Cards adds 8 points to that spread in my favor, so the Cards are now 15 point underdogs.

The Chargers are favored by 11½, and teasing them knocks 8 points off that huge spread, so now the Chargers are only favored by 3½.

Finally, the Rams are favored by 3, and teasing them drops them all the way down to the negative, meaning that they’re now underdogs, so teasing the Rams (bastards!) ends up with the Rams being 5 point underdogs to the lowly 49ers. Sounds like a mortal lock, no? The NFC West burned me bad this week.

Art Shell runs a game like a baby treats a diaper. Oakland is SURPRISINGLY horrible and they have a possible Mandarich in Robert Gallery. I don’t know who’s going to suck more. The Raiders or the Titans.

I’d say the Titans if I had to guess now.

By the way, the Ravens bandwagon for underrated teams leaves the station right now. All aboard!

The Ravens have never, ever been underrated. ESPN would dedicate 3 hours a day to giving them oral if they could. Every year they’re picked to go to the superbowl.

I haven’t noticed anyone picking them this year. What REALLY gets me in a kilter is Chris Berman’s insistence on staying in the year 1995 and picking the Bills and 49ers to win. Earth to Chris: your schtick is sometimes annoyine, made more annoying because you pick some reeeeeeeally weak ass teams sometimes.

Is this a whoosh?

It could be.

OK, heading into the tail end of the Monday Night game I’ve simply been lights out for the second consecutive week. With the final game yet to be decided I’m sitting pretty at 9-6 ATS and insane 11-4 on the O/U, and the 12th winner is looking like a safe bet, and a fantastic 5-0 on the OMNI Picks. Worst case scenario I’m 8 games over .500 ATS and 7 games over the O/U after just two weeks, probably the trickiest two weeks to boot.

If this keeps up I’m going to have to get back into betting real money again. Sadly my fantasy teams seem to be suffering, the football gods will have it no other way.
[sub]Are you seeing this Jags Cheerleader they keep focusing on? Good god man![/sub]

Keep your wallet in your pocket. Have you taken a look at the Week 3 schedule? If you pick .500 next week, then you can start thinking about betting.

If, what do you mean, if?