2008 Week 11 NFL Picks: Thurday Night Game

I have 3 picks for you this week. The first pick is Thursday night's game. The other two picks will be posted Friday. This is a pick I believe you will not like. I have my doubts too, I couldn't believe it. But take those opinions and emotions and throw them in the garbage and listen.

The New England Patriots and the New York Jets are considered to be of equal rank by Vegas. Some sites have the Patriots favorites by -3 and some by -3.5. They are tied at the top of the AFC East and both have a 5-4 ATS record this year. Offensively, New York and New England are not as far apart as one would think. Besides points, which the Jets are averaging 28 and the Patriots 20, they are pretty much even in every other category. Defensively, the Patriots have problems stopping the run and the Jets the pass and it all it evens out to both teams allowing around 300yds/game.

The Jets have won 3 in a row and 5 of their last 6, although of those 5 wins, 3 include STL, KC, and CIN. Both teams have defeated Buffalo (by more than 9pts.) and lost against San Diego (by more than 19pts.). This two teams seem to be in fact even, so a spread of 3.5 seems quite right, right? Not for me.

This spread is brought down from what it should be -5 or -6 for the Patriots. This is due to the Jets' games against St. Louis and Arizona where they beat them by 44 and 21 points respectively. See, some guys in Vegas are running similar models I am and some are using a pool of opinions and bets, I assume, to come up with the point spread. The problem lies in weighing this 44 and 21 point spread the same as the other games. My model does not suffer from "fat point spreads", it recognizes abnormal scores like 47-3 and minimizes its impact. Isn't that cool?

When a game is predicted to be between 2 and 4 points in favor of the home team when the spread is near 3, the model is correct 60% of the time in the past 10 years, hence my first pick of the week.

Pick 1: New England -3.5 incorrect point spread pick

One big concern is last game's injury to linebacker Adalius Thomas. He is probably out for the season. This is a guy that averages 7 sacks per season and already has one on Favre. For this reason, I will save a bit more of my weekly money pot for the other two games.