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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 24, 2007 4:09 AM. The previous post in this blog was Welches con man -- now in Beaverton?. The next post in this blog is Jail Blazer Hall of Famer. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wouldn't be doggone, I'd be long gone

Another bad weekend for me in the NFL underdog football has come and gone. There were several good picks to be had, and commenters here had them, but I decided to go with the majority view and ride on Tampa Bay, said to be "better on both sides of the ball" than Detroit. Gong!

Sebastian told me "Buff at home," but did I listen? No! Travis had Da Bearss, but he pointed out how it could go wrong, and so did I take them? No! My friend Gordon even e-mailed me Kansas City -- Gordon the Gambler! -- and did I heed his sage advice? No!

How to watch your 20 bucks fly away -- pick football games by committee.

Anyway, we're getting a bit anxious, as there's now someone 17 points ahead of us with only 10 weeks left in the regular season. The pool goes into the playoffs, but it's hard to make up ground there because the spreads are low and the picks are few. If we're going to win one of the two prizes, we're going to need much better skill and luck than before. And quickly -- otherwise, pretty soon we're going to have to start going with long bombs only.

Here are this week's 'dogs, in caps, with six of them playing at home. Pick one for us who's going to win their game outright, and tell us about it in the comments. If you were right last week, point that out as well. This week, the majority isn't necessarily going to rule my pick.

Remember, the 'dog has to win outright for me to get anywhere. Comments that allude to beating the spread aren't helpful. The points are there only to show what I'll get if I pick that underdog and they win:

16 WASHINGTON at New England
11.5 HOUSTON at San Diego
9.5 MIAMI vs. New York Giants
7.5 OAKLAND at Tennessee
6.5 CAROLINA vs. Indianapolis
5 DETROIT at Chicago
4 JACKSONVILLE at Tampa Bay
3.5 CINCINNATI vs. Pittsburgh
3 ST. LOUIS vs. Cleveland
3 BUFFALO at New York Jets
3 GREEN BAY at Denver
2.5 SAN FRANCISCO vs. New Orleans
1 MINNESOTA vs. Philadelphia

If I didn't know I was an idiot in these matters, I'd like Carolina to pull the big upset. They're on a roll, at home, and Indy can't go on forever. St. Louis has not played well, but they're at home against Cleveland -- is Cleveland any good? I'd even think about betting against San Diego given the wildfire situation, but Houston?

Betting against the Bears has been a good play this year, but can the Lions rise to the occasion? Niners at home? Green Bay coming off the bye looks good, and the Denver crowd will be distracted by the World Series, and so maybe there's some hay to be made there.

Let fly with your predictions, folks. And if you fed me six wrong picks last week (you know who you are), please try again, as it may tell me where not to go.

Comments (24)

This probably falls in the totally insane category, but this may be the week to pick against the PATRIOTS. I know. it's crazy, but, without going into a lot of detail, here are the main reasons:

1) historically, it is almost impossible for an NFL team to go undefeated - the Pats may do it, but they will more likely lose an unexpected game at some point.

2) The Redskins are have a pass defense that is either inept or disruptive depending on the game. If you get disruptive, they might actually be able to slow down the Brady attack.

3) Add up all the little factors, and you probably get to a 25% chance the Skins will win (instead of, say, the 1% chance everyone thinks). Still not likely, but with the spread, it gives you an anticipated value of 4 points. There's no way Houston or Miami wins this weekend, so your next best bet is Oakland. To get the same value, you'd have to anticipate that Oakland has a better than 50% chance of winning - which they don't. After that, no one comes close in terms of value.

Food for thought. Thank you.

Washington has a very stingy defense (5th v. run, 8th v pass) but look at who they played...Miami, Phi, Detroit, AZ, Giants, GB. Not exactly marquee teams. At the same time, Washington not only has to shut down NE, it has to score 16 more points than NE, and NE has over twice as many points this year than Wash (279 for NE, 122 for Wash). Other than Detroit, Wash averages just over 16 points per game. So, if Wash manages to hold NE to 14 points, it would have to score 30. So, while anything is "possible" it is highly improbable Wash will cover the spread in this game. The only wildcard in favor of Wash is that NE plays Indy the following week so maybe, just maybe NE waltzes ino the game focused on the following week. I doubt Billy B and Tom Brady are those type of professionals.

Okay, you've called some of us out, Jack. It hurts. RAIDERS is my pick of the week. (I'm trying to get you into the game with 7.5 quick ones.) After that I'd go 49ERS over the Saints. They're at home in front of the boo-birds, that should help.

Green Bay over Denver. 3 pts is better than no points, and that's the best pick out of the lot.

Other picks could be: Buffalo or Jacksonville. Buffalo is the sleeper team of the year and the Jets are just not good. Jacksonville played Indy tough the first half, but it will depend if David Gerrard is coming back or not. No Gerrard, no pick.

And I picked Chicago last week.

Just to clarify here: The underdog just has to win the actual game, not by any particular margin, to win in this game. The point spread is relevant only in moving the gamblers up the pool standings.

And so Travis, Wash is a good pick for me if I think it will win by even 1 point.

And John, 3 points is just like no points in determining whether I think Green Bay will win for me in the pool.

I had the odds screwed up anyway...I wrote it too early in the morning. The 16 point spread means NE would have to beat Wash by 16, not Wash beating NE by 16.

So...your pick actually has to win? Then the Wash pick is even worse than I thought!

Kind of a wierd week. Miami/N.Y. in London. San Diego game may get switched to Houston, which would definitely impact the real point spread(I'm assuming yours are fixed). N.E. and Indy(coming off a Monday night game) would both be logically at risk of an upset. But Washington has a horrific third down conversion rate(a good barometer of how solid a team really is) and Carolina gets to pick between Carr or Testaverde at QB. I like Buffalo(played good ball the last three games, putting aside the last few minutes of the Dallas fiasco). I also like Oakland.

Detroit looks like the best of the lot. The lions are much improved this year. The bears defense has been shown to be weak at times. The bears "O" is downright sh***y on a good day.

I have heard others pick Wash to beat the patriots and if you are way behind why not go for broke. The other pick would be Houston over the chargers. Lots of disruptions down in soCal could help. If I was in your shoes I would go with the BIG upset and pick Wash. God forbid a boston team goes undefeated.

Take it from a D.C. guy who gets stuck with their games every week - Skins suck and will not even come close to beating the Patriots.

I like the Pack at Denver.

So if you make a wrong pick then how are you penalized in the pool? Just curious.

My pick for the week in Jacksonville.

No penalty for a wrong pick.

I should know.

"If I didn't know I was an idiot in these matters ..." That made me laugh out loud.

This week is hard. I - who have nothing to lose - would take Houston. Detroit is too risky a pick for the smaller payout.

I think the Rams get their first win this week.

St. Louis is at home with Stephen Jackson returning from injury. This will be the first time they've had Bulger, Jackson, Holt and Bruce on the field at the same time since week 3 (back when they were losing close games).

The Browns are arguably the weakest defense in the NFL.

Too bad its only worth 3 points.

If you are judging this from risk/reward, the first poster made an excellent point about the value of taking Washington. The Pat's may be favored in every game they play for the rest of the season, but they will lose eventually. Washington is as likely to do it as anyone else and that's a lot of points for the gamble.

Only 2.5 but the Niners have their QB back from injury and are playing at home.

So how many picks do you get each week, and are you forced to use all of them?

There are not good picks this week.

Lions v. Bears: People need to get off the Bear's O sucks. It sucked when Grossman was QB but the team averages over 23 points a game with Griese at the helm. It is a totally different offense now. The problem is the Bear's defense. It is ranked as 23 v the run and 26 v pass. But remember that those stats include when Grossman was QB and could not keep the offense on the field. When the offense does not play, the defense gets tired and allows more plays. I think the defense is improving now that Griese allows the defense a real break during the game. So while the Lions won the last meeting, don't expect a repeat as the Lions' defense is ranked 30 v the pass. Further, the Lion's offense has zero RB. Neither RB has over 200 yards the entire season! Kitna can only pass and his yards the last two games were both less than 200. Can the Lions win? Sure. But I would not pick them to win in Chicago until the Lions can cover Griese's passing efficiency.

Bills v. Jets: The Bills will start Edwards as their QB, who has 1 TD and 4 Ints. Although, the only TD so far is against the Jets which is the only game Edwards threw for over 200 yards. Total points score to date for Buffalo is 84, and at Dallas the offense didn't score a TD! It was the defense and special teams so subtract 21 points from 84. Only two other teams have score fewer total points. For the Jets, there is Chad Pennington who can lead the team to over 20 points easily but is completely inconsistent. These teams are even and Bills won the last slug fest, barely. I'm picking the Jets.

Beangles v. Steelers: Pit is ranked 3rd in defense. Beangles, ranked 30th. 'nuff said.

So, the best of the lot I think is Jacksonville over TB. TB has struggled the last three weeks getting in to the endzone. In only one game in the last three has TB scored at least 2 TD. Jacksonville has only allowed 87 points the entire year, second best in NFL, even after allowing 29 points by Indy. When picking a tough defense against a cold offense, I have to think the Jags can pull it off.

I agree that STL seems primed to get a win at home. The CLEV defense is non-existent. I think the Rams win 90-83.

For a little higher risk, you could look past CAR (who can't keep up in a shootout with David Carr or Uncle Vinny at the helm) and give OAK some serious consideration. Their D is good, TENN's Vince Young could be rusty coming back...I could see a game winning FG. Good value pick given the pts on the line.

Any JAX pick should come with the full knowledge that 'Quinn Gray' (possibly an alias) is starting QB. On the road.

So how many picks do you get each week, and are you forced to use all of them?

We pick only one game a week.

O.K. I get it. So the point spread comes into play if a guy/gal correctly picks a dog with a larger spread vs. someone who correctly picks a dog with a lower spread.

No, no. Everyone who picks a winning dog earns points for that week equal to the spread for that game. At the end of the season, the one with the most points wins.

The whole thing is explained here.

Chargers playing at home on Sunday, as per the schedule. I'd personally avoid picking HOU, if it's not too late.


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