Last week I felt comfortable about most of my NFL picks, especially Carolina and San Francisco (both ATS losers). Except for last week, after I make my picks, I check how popular these picks are. I look at Yahoo's Spread Pick'em League as well as the NFL Consensus Picks at wagerline.com. Doing this for the past 2 years has given me the mental evidence that popular picks do not do well. I do not have the statistical evidence to back this up, but if I do have some time and need to prove it I will.
Last week the two most popular picks were: SF (67%) and CAR (65%), my two favorite picks for week 8, both did not cover. On week 7, Indianapolis (74%) and the NYJ (73%) were the two most popular, neither covered. Although in week 6, both the Eagles (68%) and the Saints (69%) were the heavily favorites and they did cover. As my previous blog on sample size says, we would need many more games to come to any conclusion on this. My hypothesis is that "popular" games are either 50-50 or slightly below 50%. If a game is so popular wouldn't it be more likely to be wrong? I think this for two reasons: 1) Vegas may be guiding bettors one way for more profits and 2) if many are selecting the game then there is no hidden treasure in finding that there is bias on the spread. This is the goal of a good handicapper, and in my case the purpose of using an advanced mathematical model; to find bias in pricing the spread for a game but if everyone is finding it, it is no secret and there is no need for mathematics.
Whatever the case may be, 2 of my 4 picks this week are the most popular ones, the other two are quite unpopular, I'll let you find out (if you care) which is which. I will stick to the model and disregard whether they are popular or not. If consider popularity, I am tramping with the model and we will never see how good it really is. Enough talk, now the NFL Spread Picks of the Week:
Pick 1: VISITING FAVORITES Philadelphia -7
Pick 2: VISITING FAVORITES Atlanta -3
I can't decide between two picks the model detects as opportunities, KC and MIN. The HOME DOGS KC +9 showed some signs of hope last week, but it was against the over-rated Jets. You can expect them to score about 10 points in this game against the #2 defense in the league. Tampa has struggled on the road losing to the Saints, Broncos, and Cowboys and barely beating the Bears. They might struggle again, probably win, but will the offense produce enough on the road?
The Texans face their easiest challenge on the road after losing the first 3 weeks to a very tough schedule. Now they have 3 wins in a row, of which 2 were against the 2 worst teams in the NFL. Minnesota on the other hand find themselves at having a shot at the division, if they can beat someone in it. By securing a win this week, they might have a chance at it. I do not like the fact that they have no passing game. Even with great WR Berrian and Wade, Mr. Frerotte cannot seem to find them so easily. This makes it hard for them to pull away on a game and win decisively.
I should probably not choose either, what do you think? But instead, I am choosing both and once again distributing wealth evenly to protect my portfolio.
Pick 3: HOME UNDERDOGS Kansas City +9
Pick 4: HOME FAVORITES Minnesota -4.5
Pick 5: Monday Night Football (PIT @ WAS) this pick will be posted on the next blog post...
Read more to see the table with the raw outputs for each game's point spread prediction and confidence measure.
NY JETS @ BUFFALO
HOUSTON @ MINNESOTA
DALLAS @ NY GIANTS
MIAMI @ DENVER
NEW ENGLAND @ INDIANAPOLIS
PITTSBURGH @ WASHINGTON
JACKSONVILLE @ CINCINNATI
DETROIT @ CHICAGO
GREEN BAY @ TENNESSEE
PHILADELPHIA @ SEATTLE
TAMPA BAY @ KANSAS CITY
ATLANTA @ OAKLAND
ARIZONA @ ST LOUIS
BALTIMORE @ CLEVELAND