2009 NFL Point Spread Picks Week 4

Pick 1: Baltimore +1.5 (-105) incorrect NFL point spread pick -$50
Pick 2: NY Giants -9 (-100) correct NFL point spread pick + $50
Pick 3: Minnesota -3.5 (-105) correct NFL point spread pick + $47.62
Pick 4: Chicago -10 (-105) correct NFL point spread pick + $47.62
Pick 5: Cincinnati -5.5 (-105) incorrect NFL point spread pick -$50

3 visiting teams, 2 home teams, 1 underdog. Putting $45 on each game. Why $45? Kelly's formula suggests using 18% of the bank roll =~ $225, divided by 5 = $45.

In God we trust. All others must bring data. Large amounts of it! I use 15 years of NFL Vegas lines data to come up with data-driven point spread predictions, picks and tallies of the success of this algorithmic betting strategy. So far so good this year, lets hope we keep up the good work here at NFLpickles. Enough said, here is a brief description of the picks followed by our traditional table containing point spread picks, predictions, and THE confidence measure.

Baltimore +1.5 @ New England - Baltimore seems to be getting better every week, while the Patriots are very shaky. With a weak performance against both the Bills and the Jets, the Ravens are yet to be their biggest challenge. Baltimore comfortably wins with big offense coming from 1-2-3 punch Flacco, Rice, and Mcgahee.

NY Giants -9 @ Kansas City - A single digit line on this game? Not under my watch. If Detroit, Tampa Bay, or KC are playing a playoff contender and the line is not in double digits, I'm all over it like a donkey on a waffle.

Green Bay @ Minnesota -3.5 - Favre better than anyone, will read GB defensive plays and capitalize on his knowledge of the Packers' strategy. Big win in SF gives them momentum. Although both teams have had weak schedules so far, I see the Vikings winning by at least 7.

Detroit @ Chicago -10 - Another Bears pick? You might ask. Yes, but I don't feel comfortable. Lets face it, Detroit will lose this game. There is very little chance that they will come out from a 19-game losing streak and win 2 in a row. But will they lose by more than 10? Prediction says 11.5 so its close, but over the 10-point line. I'm not so worried about Forte's injury since he hasn't done much this year and Adrian Peterson could end up being a better RB.

Cincinnati @ Cleveland - 5.5?! Did I not include Cleveland in the list of teams that should get double digit lines? Cleveland is a mess, now Anderson will be starting at QB. The Bengals are working better as a team as seen when they beat Green Bay and Pittsburgh.

San Diego @ Pittsburgh - Staying away from this one until more is known about LT and Shawne Merriman.

GameVegas LineEstimatePrediction-VegasConfidence
SAN DIEGO @ PITTSBURGH-6.5-1.15.458%
GREEN BAY @ MINNESOTA-3.5-6.8-3.358%
DETROIT @ CHICAGO-10-11.6-1.657%
NY JETS @ NEW ORLEANS-7-3.33.752%
BUFFALO @ MIAMI2-3.9-5.950%
OAKLAND @ HOUSTON-9-6.92.150%
DALLAS @ DENVER34.51.547%
ST LOUIS @ SAN FRANCISCO-9.5-14.7-5.242%

2009 NFL Point Spread Picks Week 3

Just took out KC because it has been taken off the lines in most places, replaced with Pittsburgh to win by more than 4 on the road.

Pick 1: San Francisco +6.5 correct NFL point spread pick +$45.45
Pick 2: New Orleans -6 correct NFL point spread pick +$45.45
Pick 3: Chicago -2.5 correct NFL point spread pick +$45.45
Pick 4: Kansas City OFF
Pick 4: Pittsburgh -4 incorrect NFL point spread pick -$50

4 visiting teams, putting $50 on each game. Why $50? Kelly's formula suggests using 18% of the bank roll =~ $200, divided by 4 = $50.

I crunch the numbers and you get the picks. For those of you unfamiliar with my NFL picks table, it is very simple. Negative numbers are for the home team and positive numbers for the visiting team. A Vegas line of -6.5 on the SF @ MIN game implies the Vikings are favorite by six and a half points. Similarly for the prediction/estimate. For that same game prediction is for SF to win by ~6 points.

The Confidence percentage is a soon to be patented percentage of confidence that a pick is correct. Usually, games with confidence above 58% get special attention. If a game has no major injuries or extraneous situations, picks are made for these games. Can I assume that a Confidence under 50% would be a Confidence Rate of over 50% for the opponent? Yes, but be very careful with these predictions. This is where experience and knowledge should be used to give the green light for the pick. But you don't have to worry, I'll tell you exactly which are NFLpickles NFL picks of the week:

San Francisco @ Minnesota - The battle of the running backs! Minnesota might win, but it will be a close game.
New Orleans @ Buffalo - New Orleans wins by 10 and the way they've been playing, I don't think Buffalo can stop them. I like riding this streak trend. Buffalo is coming off a home win against Tampa Bay, woopdeedeedoo.
Chicago @ Seattle - My first reverse pick of the year. Notice the prediction is for Seattle to win by 7, but the Confidence is at 35%. Hasselbeck is beat up and Seattle may be overrated because of their 28 point win on week 1. Did I mention that was against the Rams? Cutler will finally unveil what he's made off.
Kansas City @ Philadelphia -

Staying away from: Dallas (no Barber), Washington (weaker team, could this be Detroit's week to finally end the 19-game losing streak?), Tampa Bay (another reverse pick, Tampa Bay sucks way to much for me to put money on them, especially on a reverse pick).

Below the complete table of NFL lines, spread picks, and point spread predictions for week 3, great picking!

GameVegas LineEstimatePrediction-VegasConfidence
CAROLINA @ DALLAS-8.5-11.3-2.858%
WASHINGTON @ DETROIT6.520.413.957%
GREEN BAY @ ST LOUIS6.52.54.050%
TENNESSEE @ NY JETS-3-4.7-1.747%
MIAMI @ SAN DIEGO-5.5-1.34.244%
DENVER @ OAKLAND1.57.96.443%
CLEVELAND @ BALTIMORE-13-21.9-8.943%
INDIANAPOLIS @ ARIZONA-2.5-10.7-8.237%
CHICAGO @ SEATTLE2.5-7.4-9.935%
NY GIANTS @ TAMPA BAY6.515.38.829%

NFLpickles on Twitter

Many of my readers never know when I will be posting NFL picks. Now you can find out by following NFLpickles on Twitter. I'll be updating you on the status of the picks and give you the link to the weekly picks. If I find anything interesting regarding NFL point spread picks on the internet, I'll let you know as well.

2009 NFL Spread Picks Week 2

NFL Week 2 spread/line picks:
Pick 1: San Francisco -1.5correct NFL point spread pick +$47.62
Pick 2: Oakland +3 correct NFL point spread pick +$47.62

I'll do the stats you get the picks. You could disagree with me. Post a comment and tell me why? Usually when someone disagrees with me I get a correct pick.

Last week's pick was no good. I live in Chicago, and adviced that I was being biased putting my overly excited emotions about Cutler on the line. Oh boy, but how fast things change. No Urlacher for the rest of the season! Who is going to lead that defense? The Steelers also lost a key player in Polamalu so would you say these cancel each other out?

Look at the table of predictions below, it is predicting PIT by 26! That estimate is carrying heavy weight on the Steelers last few games including last year's playoffs and Super Bowl. Too many variables going on, need more data, stay away. Hopefully the model is wrong and the Bears win their first regular season game.

The one game I am excited and surprised at the spread is the San Francisco game. San Fran is my top pick for the week, although I will suggest one more (even though I shouldn't this early in the season). Playing at home, a young and eager squad will stop stop Hasselbeck, LT, and the rest of the oldies in Seattle. Plus they won by 28 last week, but they played a weak team. Decreasing the amount of the bet from Kelly's formula since we are only on week 2, the wager is again $50(-105).

Oakland looked well Monday Night. They should have won the game and they know it. The prediction is Oakland wins by 5 and they're underdogs by 3. A wager of $50(-105) for this game as well is entered.

The Tennessee/Houston game is better to stay away for now. Tennessee's defense is yet to be tested, Houston could be a stronger team this season.

GameVegas LineEstimatePrediction-VegasCover Pct
SEATTLE @ SAN FRANCISCO-1.5-5.3-3.866%
HOUSTON @ TENNESSEE-6.5-7.8-1.358%
ST LOUIS @ WASHINGTON-9.5-11.1-1.657%
CLEVELAND @ DENVER-3-9.8-6.854%
CAROLINA @ ATLANTA-6-9.7-3.753%
BALTIMORE @ SAN DIEGO-315.518.550%
NY GIANTS @ DALLAS-3-5.3-2.347%
NEW ENGLAND @ NY JETS3.54.71.246%
TAMPA BAY @ BUFFALO-56.311.339%

Good vibes!

2009 NFL Spread Picks Week 1

Week 1 NFL picks, here we go! Last year I went 0-3 on the first week, but I only relied on historical data. This, of course, is flawed because during the offseason teams make acquisitions that could impact a team so much that historical data might have to be taken with extreme caution. Because of this, stopped making picks on the first 4 weeks.

This year, I made a qualitative analysis on team acquisitions, and determined whether the team was entering the season as a stronger, weaker, or similar strength team. This would hopefully allow me to determine whether my estimate flows in the same direction as the teams. For example, if my prediction says that team A should beat the spread and team A is stronger and team B is weaker or same, then we could possibly make the bet. Lets look at the top 7 games on the table below.

DEN @ CIN - I would not touch this game. Denver is extremely weaker and Cinci looks stronger this year.

MIN @ CLE - Favre needs to put in some numbers before we can say anything about his impact to the Vikings.

PHI @ CAR - Now this is possibly an opportunity. Unfortunately, the spread today is at 2 and 2.5 in some places. The prediction is at 2.7, cutting it to short.

STL @ SEA - New QB for Seattle, lets wait and see how Hasselback performs.

WAS @ NYG - Washington's defense has been significantly improved. This prediction does not consider that, no bet.

DET @ NO - Another team with a new QB. Although a rookie, you never know how they will perform. Especially after last year having two rookie QB perform really well.

CHI @ GB: $50(-105). incorrect point spread pick -$50This is my first pick of the season and only pick for week 1. Bears are strong and looked great in the pre-season. Green Bay has a good team, but nothing major was added. Although the Bears got routed 37-3 last year at Lambeau, I think their defense will hold off better after seeing the offense produce. To win $47.52.

GameVegas LineEstimateDifferenceConfidence
ST LOUIS @ SEATTLE-7.5-9.8-2.358%
WASHINGTON @ NY GIANTS-6.5-8.7-2.258%
DETROIT @ NEW ORLEANS-13-16.4-3.456%
NY JETS @ HOUSTON-4.5-7.0-2.553%
SAN FRANCISCO @ ARIZONA-6.5-11.2-4.753%
MIAMI @ ATLANTA-4-8.5-4.553%
DALLAS @ TAMPA BAY63.8-2.248%
KANSAS CITY @ BALTIMORE-11-21.8-10.844%
BUFFALO @ NEW ENGLAND-13-7.85.243%
SAN DIEGO @ OAKLAND1010.60.642%

Making NFL Spread Picks in 2009

Did you see the game last night? What a way to start the 2009 NFL season! I am sorry I was not able to post picks before Thursday's game, usually you will see my picks by Wednesday afternoon. I was tweaking the program that grabs all the data (I have to every beginning of the season, but now we are on auto-pilot). I am very excited for this year's NFL season for various reasons:

1) Bears have Cutler - Finally a franchise quarterback, hopefully the D is not to old now. Don't worry, my picks for the season will not be Bears biased (except for this week).
2) A new look to the blog - Thanks to the people at WebsiteTemplatesDatabase I was able to revamp the look of the blog, what do you think?
3) For the first time this year, we'll be making money bets with each pick and tracking growth and return of investement.
4) During the offseason, I had a chance to make some slight tweaks to the model and when ran against the last 7 years, the improvement was above .5% overall.

For those of you who haven't followed me in the past, here is a quick overview of what happens in this NFL point spread picks blog:
  • Different from other handicappers, I don't claim I can predict at 57%-58% or that last week I was 4-0 so you can pay me money. I put myself out there for you. If it works we all win, if it doesn't, I have to go back to the drawing board or throw the towel.
  • In breif, my theory is that you cannot go to a casino and consistently beat the house unless you cheat because they play with odds. With the NFL spread, the "price for the game" is set by people (or a collective group of people) and the price may not be necessesarilly right.
  • My statistical model to predict point spreads takes into account many factors. I provide you each week with the model's point spread prediction, a confidence level, and recommended picks that officially are kept track of in the top right table of this page.
  • In a few situations, we deep dive into a game and analyze their offensive and defensive momentums as well as point spread stats and trends.
Although, I do not officially start making picks until week 5 (to allow the model to take in significant data from this year), I will still provide the output predictions for each week. This way you can start getting familiar with the format, quickly browse results, and make appropriate decisions. I'll post week 1 spread picks later this afternoon. I would love your feedback on the games, comments, stats, etc. If there is something I have completely missed, please post a comment at the end of each blog post. Many thanks.
Lets win!

2009 NFL Teams: Offseason Acquisitions, Injury Updates, and New Strengths

The 2009 NFL season is two days away, but before we start making picks, lets research how teams fare compare to last year. Below, I share with you some key points concerning a team's injuries, draft picks, and trades; and whether this will impact the team positively or negatively.

  • All 3 +1000 yds WR (Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston) are back
  • 31st selection in the 2009 NFL Draft Chris Wells, a 6-1, 235-pound adds RB strength on 3rd downs
  • Antonio Smith is gone, expect Warner to get sacked even more
  • Both coordinators, Todd Haley and Clancy Pendergast, are now with the Chiefs.
ATLANTA: Stronger
  • Tony Gonzalez!
  • Rookie Matt Ryan is not a rookie anymore.
  • Tougher schedule
  • Defense looks weak
  • Flacco is not a rookie anymore.
  • Tight end L.J. Smith doesn't add much to the offense
  • Derrick Mason turns 35 this season, his +1000 yds season will not repeat
  • RB Ray Rice is stronger, more experience +1000 yds season
  • A bit older but strong defense: Reed, Ray Lewis, McAlister, and Rolle
  • No kicker decided yet, Stover 41 is out
  • TO! Terrel Owen is in town. If the offensive line can protect their quarterback, he'll have a great year.
  • Weak offensive line
  • Poor sacks numbers, just like last year (24)
  • Delhomme is older (34) and more inconsistent than last year
  • Frank Omiyale and Geoff Hangartner left and make the offensive line a bit weaker
  • Steve Smith is one of the best WR in the league
  • Defense against the run will be a weak point again this season
CHICAGO: Stronger
  • Cutler!
  • Good chemistry between Cutler and Bennett
  • Three additions to the offensive line: Pace, Shaffer, Omiyale
  • Weaker defense, but good against the pass. Urlacher and Briggs lead.
  • Matt Forte gets fuerte.
  • Carson Palmer is back and healthy
  • T.J. Houshmandzadeh left to Seattle
  • Benson might finally post a good season if rookie 6th overall pick Andre Smith opens the lanes for him
  • Keith Rivers is back and Rey Maualuga rookie from USC make a not so bad defense even stronger
  • Same QB problem (Quinn vs. Anderson)
  • Rookie WR Brian Robiskie poses some threat, but Winslow is gone
  • Jamal Lewis has no speed left, downhill
  • No significant upgrades on its struggling defense
DALLAS: Weaker
  • No Owens, no problem. Strong receivers in Roy Williams, Miles Austin, Patrick Crayton, and Jason Witten.
  • Marion Barber will continue to push through his way to the goal.
  • Weaker defense. No replacement for struggling Zach Thomas, Canty left, Greg Ellis (8 sacks) also left.
DENVER: Weaker
  • Kyle Orton is the starting QB when his finger gets healthy. Good luck!
  • Brandon Marshall was arrested and charged with misdemeanor
  • Rookie Knowshon Moreno is a great RB talent
  • Last year's worst defense is as bad this year, no significant additions
DETROIT: Stronger
  • No. 1 overall pick Matt Strafford might be the franchise QB Detroit needs.
  • The offensive line was not strengthened well enough
  • Julian Peterson and Larry Foote should help improve their terrible defense.
  • Packers are packed with WRs: Driver, Jennings, Nelson. Rodgers should improve.
  • Running game is still weak, and no acquisitions on the OL were made.
  • New defensive coordinator will switch things around. Would it be for the best?
HOUSTON: Stronger
  • If QB Matt Shuab stays healthy, the passing game will be their strength.
  • Offensive line has improved over the years.
  • Defense was strengthened with Antonio Smith and 2nd round pick Connor Barwin.
  • A new coaching staff.
  • Marvin Harrison is gone.
  • Manning is backed by last year's strong receivers Wayne and Anthony Gonzalez
  • First round RB Donald Brown will help both the running and passing game.
  • Run defense is still weak. Defensive tackles Fili Moala and Terrance Taylor were 2nd and 4th round pick. Rookies will need more time to develop and strengthen the defense.
  • Offensive line last year's injury problems no more. Vince Manuwai (July) and Maurice Williams are back. Signed William Tra Thomas and drafted 1st and 2nd round picks Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton.
  • Expect Garrad to post numbers similar to his 2007 campaign and Maurice Jones-Drew to accumulate lots of yardage.
  • Defense weakness from last year will repeat this year.
  • Don't expect QB Matt Cassel to post numbers as he did last year with the Patriots.
  • No Tony Gonzalez :(
  • Defense will be as bad as last year's.
MIAMI: Weaker
  • Tougher schedule this year.
  • Injuries (Donald Thomas) affect the offensive line.
  • Jason Taylor (35) is back on D, safeties are strong, but are they strong enough?
  • Favre (40) will not save the team.
  • Wideouts Rice and Harvin will be very effective.
  • Offensive line has improved, Peterson will be deadly.
  • Defense will again be good against the run.
  • Tom Brady is back!
  • Joey Galloway and Greg Lewis were acquired to run with Moss.
  • The Patriots signed Chris Baker which will make Watson a stronger TE.
  • RB problems. Will Maroney and Sammy Morris do the job?
  • Corner Leigh Bodden was signed to strengthen the D.
  • Pierre Thomas will get the ball more and the rest of the #1 offense should be as good as last year.
  • The defense will be slightly improved with draft pick Malcolm Jenkins and corner Jabari Greer. Linebacking is still a problem.
  • Burress is gone.
  • Draft pick 6-1, 212lb. Hakeem Nicks at WR will replace Plaxico.
  • The defense is stronger than ever with Osi Umenyiora back to play.
  • No. 5 Overall pick Mark Sanchez is reporting to camp.
  • WR Coles is gone.
  • Chris Baker, TE, signed with the Patriots.
  • Thomas Jones will continue to bring up the running game.
OAKLAND: Slightly Stronger
  • QB JaMarcus Russell does not look in good shape and lacks good targets.
  • Newly acquired Khalif Barnes will enhance the offensive line.
  • Defense will look better with Richard Seymore
  • Depends on Westbrook's health because rookie RB LeSean McCoy needs time.
  • Eagles got Jason Peters from the Bills. I think he'll dominate.
  • Defense coordinator is on leave of abscense. Still Philadelphia's defensive line is one of the best in the NFL.
  • No major changes, this team should be as strong as last year.
  • Nate Washington left. Backup QB Leftwich left.
SAN DIEGO: Stronger
  • LT has health issues no more and at 29 can comeback to his 2007 numbers.
  • Antonio Gates is healthy.
  • Shawne Merriman will not be 100% and draft pick Larry English will be hit or miss in helping the pass-rush.
  • Pass defense will once again struggle. LB Kevin Burnett was signed from Dallas.
  • Assuming Hill is the starting QB.
  • Newly signed Marvel Smith run blicking should help Frank Gore's running game.
  • Stopping the pass will again be a liability, but stopping the run will again be its strength.
  • Mike Singletary will coach them to victory.
SEATTLE: Stronger
  • Hassellback is supposedly completely healthy.
  • T.J. Houshmandzadeh is in camp.
  • Last year's rookie TE John Carlson will shine once again.
  • Signed RB Edgerrin James
  • Only one upgrade to a terrible defense, and that was corner Ken Lucas.
ST. LOUIS: Slightly Stronger
  • Needed upgrades to offensive line were made including: center Jason Brown and draft pick Jason Smith.
  • Torry Holt is gone, no good targets for Bulger.
  • Improved their run defense Dorell Scott, Orien Harris, and James Laurinaitis.
  • Need to figure out their QB mess in order to take advantage of their WR strength.
  • The defensive line is a huge concern
  • Chris Johnson will be deadly, once again. The OL will help him find the right holes.
  • DT Albert Haynesworth left to the Redskins. Weaker defense.
  • Washington's young offensive crew will develop (Jason Campbell, Devin Thomas, and Malcolm Kelly)
  • The offensive line was upgraded with Derrick Dockery at left guard.
  • Albert Haynesworth, the NFL's most dominant defensive lineman was given $100MM to play in Washington.

2009 NFL Spread Pick Season

This experiment/blog is now going for its 3rd year live, 5th year since I started tinkering with NFL spread data on my laptop. I have thought of just doing it on my computer without sharing my picks(mainly to save time), but there are a few of you that write to me and look forward to my picks. So I'm back this year!

Over the years, I have succeeded and I have failed, but in total I have a 56% prediction rate that I hope to improve. Using your suggestions and some statistical knowledge of my own, I have come up with a model, a method to choose games with higher likelihood of a correct pick. This model uses historical data dating back to 1997. At the team level, the model uses offense, defense, scores, team rankings/strength, W-L records, and NFL week(categorized into 4, beginning, middle, end, and playoffs) among other factors.

Leave Your Comments
Your comments are very valuable to me. If the method predicts a team, I would love to hear your arguments for or against the pick. Along with each pick, I write about offense/defense trends, injuries, consensus estimates, and point spread moves, anything of value that one should consider before making the pick. If you have any new information that you think should be considered for a pick that I did not talk about please place a comment.

New This Year
On the top right hand corner of the page, I keep my post week 4 record. We wait until after week 4 to generate enough data for the model to pick up trends. This year we are keeping track of a bankroll.

A successful betting strategy is not just about making the correct picks, its about managing your money. Kelly's formula determines optimal betting sizes. The gambler's ruin problem tells us that if we run out of money before the season is over, that's it game over, regardless of whether you had a perfect record on the playoffs. So this year, I will keep track of a bankroll as well. $1,000 in the bank! The betting size will be determined each week and the appropriate changes to it according to the NFL picks.

I look forward to your input, Favre's deterioration, Cutler's MVP, Vick's benchwarming, and Monday nights.