Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Week 17 Picks

3-2 last week (2-2 on Big Plays). Going into the last weekend our Big Plays are 64.7% YTD and Other Plays are 55.2%. 5 games on tap this week, with the usual considerations -- injuries, weather and matchups are not factored in. Lines are from Covers.com as of 15 minutes ago.

Big Plays (22-12 YTD)

None this week.

Other Plays (37-30-2 YTD)

Dal (+3) at NYG [MP= -0.4]
SF (-10.5) at STL [MP= -13.5]
Den (-3) vs KC [MP= -5.9]
Chi (pick) at Min [MP= -2.9]
SD (+3) at Oak [MP= +0.4]

We're scratching two games because of final weekend oddities. The Packers-Lions and Texas-Titans both match teams with nothing to gain against teams with a lot on the line. The market lines are completely disconnected from any kind of power rankings.

The Steelers-Browns game is currently off the board because of Roethlisberger's unknown status. We show that as a 9-point game if Roethlisberger is fully active.

One large, interesting line move so far this week: Saints opened -7 against Carolina, but have since moved to -9. We have them at -10.3.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Week 16 Pick Notes

So, we're going to scratch the PIT pick, since Roethlisberger is out with an injury.  Charlie Batch in for Roethlisberger.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Week 16 Picks

2-2 last week. The usual protocol this week re injuries, weather, lines, etc. And as always, "Big Plays" are games with a 4+ point edge, and "Other Plays" are games with 2-4 point edges.

Getting to be a tough time of year for a system that doesn't account for injuries -- be sure to see the notes below.

Big Plays (20-10 YTD)

Hou (-5.5) at Ind [MP= -11.1]
Oak (+1.0) at KC [MP= -3.9]
Jac (+7.5) at Ten [MP= +3.0]
Chi (+13.5) at GB [MP= +9.3]

Other Plays (36-30-2 YTD)

Pit (-16) vs. STL [MP= -19.0]
Buf (+3.0) vs Den [MP= +0.3]

A number of these picks deserve caution. We continue to like the Texans & Bears better than the market, at least partly because our system doesn't know they're playing with a different QBs than they started the season with. Their offensive stats have taken a dive since their injuries. Even though we weigh recent games more heavily, we use the whole season, which means our numbers will lag these kinds of discrete changes. To some extent this may also be true of the Steelers with a gimpy Roethlisberger. And of course we do not account for coaching changes -- will be interesting to see if KC's performance last week is truly a regime change.

We calculated the Jets-Giants as a neutral site game, figuring the true homefield advantage to the Jets was likely closer to 0 than our usual 2.44. On a neutral field we'd favor the Jets by 3.8, which is close to the market (3.0).

We liked Miami at +10.5 at New England (we have them at +7.6), but the line has already moved to 9.5, taking our edge below 2 points.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Week 15 Picks

5-4 last week (1-0 on the only "big play" after -- unfortunately -- scratching the Seattle pick). Usual setup -- no consideration of injuries, weather or matchup. Lines are from covers.com as of 15 minutes ago. "Big Plays" are games with edge>4 points, "Other Plays" are games with edge=2-4 points.

Short slate and no big plays this week -- our lines are right on top of the market's (6 games are within 0.6 points).

Big Plays (20-10 YTD)

None this week.

Other Plays (34-28-2 YTD)

Hou (-6.5) vs Car [MP= -10.2]
NYJ (+3) at Phi [MP= +0.4]
Cin (-6) at STL [MP= -8.5]
NO (-7) at Min [MP= -9.0]

Monday, December 12, 2011

Week 14 Picks (Addendum)

We're scratching the Seattle pick (-5 on Wed, now -10) vs. St. Louis Monday night, since Bradford is out for the game. To stay consistent with our policy of scratching games the week after a team loses its starting QB.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Week 14 Picks

One of our only bad weeks of the season last week: 2-4 (1-1 on big plays). Look to rebound this week with a huge slate - picks on 10 games. As usual, these don't consider injuries, weather, matchups, etc. Lines from Covers.com as of 15 minutes ago. 

Big Plays

*Hou (+3) at Cin [MP= -4.3]
Sea (-5) vs STL [MP= -10.3]

Other Plays
Jac (+1) vs TB [MP= -2.8]
Det (-7) vs Min [MP= -10.7]
Chi (+3.5) at Den [MP= -0.1]
NO (-3.5) at Ten [MP= -7.1]
NYJ (-9) vs KC [MP= -12.3]
Buf (+7) at SD [MP= 4.3]
SF (-3.5) at Ari [MP= -5.7]
Dal (-3) vs NYG [MP= -5.2]

*Clearly the reason we disagree so much with the market on Hou/Cin is because of the Texans' QB situation.As discussed in previous weeks, we scratch games only the first week after a team loses its QB. So we have Houston on the board as an official pick, but we can't say we like it much. Same for the Chicago pick, due to the Cutler injury.

Fewer lines moves this week, and they're more balanced for/against us. A line move on the Dallas game cost us a pick last week, but is giving us one this week, as the 1/2-point shift toward the Giants was needed to get this pick over the 2-point threshold. Are the Giants one of the only teams out there with as much sentiment in the spread as the Cowboys?

The biggest line move has been on the Baltimore-Indy game. We have it 16.8. The market opened at 15 but has since moved to 16.5. I'm entertained by the move to almost our exact line, but also the absurdity of the (shared!) precision on a game that should be such a blowout. "88% chance of winning is not quite right, let's make it 90%."

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Week 13 Picks

3-2 last week (again!). Missed on the only big bet. See the "Performance" tabs for much more detail.

Onto the picks. Usual setup - we do not consider matchups, weather or injuries (one QB exception noted below). Lines are from Covers.com as of 15 minutes ago.

Big Plays [18-9 YTD]:

Chi (-7.0) vs. KC (MP= -12.1)
SF (-13) vs. STL (MP= -17.7)

Other Plays [29-21-2 YTD]:

Jac (+3.0) vs. SD (MP= -0.3)
Det (+9.0) at NO (MP= +6.1)
Car (+3.0) at TB (MP= +0.4)
Buf (-1.5) vs. Ten (MP= -4.0)

We're scratching Houston-Atlanta since Houston lost their starting QB last week (for the second week in a row). We're also not thrilled with the Chicago pick since we have only one week of data since Cutler's been out. But as we discussed in last week's blog, our policy is to scratch only the first week following a QB injury.

Earlier this week we thought we'd have a pick on Arizona (vs. Dallas). We have that line at 3.2. It opened at 6 but has since moved to 4.5. As we've said before, it's frustrating to lose those picks but a good sign overall when lines move toward you.  OTOH, the Chicago line moved big against us this week, taking it from "Other Plays" into "Big Plays". If we're lucky the market's over-valuing the Cutler injury.

A bit more on line moves. Just looked at the other 8 games we're NOT picking this week (because the edge is too small). In 5 of those games the line has moved since it opened, and in all 5 cases it moved toward us. Definitely what you want to see. Off-season we'll do a more systematic analysis.