Archive for the ‘Weekly Picks’ Category
We will start picking games just after Labor Day, but the question arises how do you know whose picks are the “Best”? After all it isn’t like there is any way to check, or is there. Well as a matter of fact there is, a group does track how publicly placed (non-subscription) Internet sites pick football games by score and actually tracks the results.
Gerald Shultz has put together the NSPL (National Score Predicting League) which tracks this information for a variety of football prognosticators around the Internet. They track accuracy against winner, spread, and total points for every NFL game through the season and the playoffs. And, for anyone who has not guessed by this point, in 2010 we were the most accurate predictors overall. (We also won their head-to-head playoff competition as well for post season honors as well.)
If you consider their statistics for only those picking every contest over the past three years that we have been responsible for picking here at Football Forecasters the overall numbers are impressive. First picking against the spread and tied for fourth in winners, and sixth in overall accuracy. (Those numbers fall off to third, tied for ninth, and thirteenth respectively against the field if we include those who do not produce results for every game; still pretty good.)
The numbers they keep are a bit different from our numbers as they take the line the day prior to games and we use the line at the time that the picks our made. The difference is normally pretty mild and often doesn’t matter except when we are occasionally forced because our deadline to make a pick when the line still is not available. (At that point we fall back to a preliminary line from the prior Sunday which can be very different from the time the final line appears.)
In any case if you want accuracy this is the place to get it so come back and join us for a new season as we attempt to defend. So, now Kurt, about that raise….
I like the Baltimore Raven defense to dominate KC in their home opener - the Raven’s defense might score more in this contest than the Chiefs offense. Consider that HC Todd Haley has just released OC Chan Gailey, AND QB Matt Cassell has a strained MCL, and likely won’t be the opening day starter; at the very least he won’t be getting valuable timing snaps with the 1st string offense. Look for backup QB Tyler Thigpen to be starter on the road at the Ravens. Thigpen put up some impressive numbers the latter part of the season - but that was AFTER the coaching staff implemented his old college offense - don’t look for Haley to accomodate Thigpen for a short term situation. KC and Haley look to be a throw first pass oriented offense - they do have a strong performing underrated offensive line unit - but they do not have a strong long ball attack that can take advantage of the Raven’s lone vulnerability on defense. In fact, both Matt Cassel and Tyler Thigpen were near the bottom of the rankings in QB “bombs”, or YPA on long passes. The Raven front 7 will T-off on the QB, because they will not have to respect the run. On the other side of the ball the Baltimore offense is run first oriented, with a surprisingly effective pass attack. KC ranked 29th against the rush last year, giving up nearly 160 ypg and 5 ypc - ouch. They simply have not done very much in the off-season to improve their defensive personnel - and look to be vulnerable against the run again this season - against dominating rushing teams look for them to be exploited. The bottom line this is a very bad matchup for the Chiefs on both sides of the ball, and they have an unfortunate QB injury situation in this spot. Look for the Ravens to post 21-28 points, and the Chiefs to post 10-16. We like Baltimore to lay a double digit loss on the visitors, and see them winning by a dominating 13 point span. Currently the number is at just under double digits - at that price we are hitting the Raven’s as a solid A rated play in the opening contest.
We’ll update again before the NFL opener - GL, Kurt
Final week of the regular season, time to be careful, as it’s difficult to assess whom might be resting.
ARIZONA - Our top pick on the board. They have match-ups that can be exploited, and will want to go into the playoffs on a winning note. Seattle may come in without much incentive, as they may have had their “playoff” game in last weeks home finale. Arizona by ten.
HOUSTON - Texans playing at a high level at home this year, and our bet is they come into this one with a high amount of intensity. Houston does have key matchups over the top they should be able to exploit. Texans by seven.
MIAMI - is playing with a lot of enthusiasm, and if they win they’re in the post season. The Jets look like they’ve lost their mojo. This one should be a hell of a game, and there is solid value with NY on the moneyline.
NY Jets - The Buffalo running game struggles against good defenses, and the Jets have one of the stouter run defenses in the league. The Jets can blanket WR Lee Evans with CB Darelle Revis, minimizing the impact of the Bills lone playmaker. NY controls their playoff destiny, they should come to play in this spot. Jets by 10 to 14.
St. Louis (ML) - Both teams have been inconsistent, and are experiencing significant injuries. However, Seahawks coming in banged up on the O-line, and without starting LT Walter Jones. We’ll take the Rams on the ML to pull off the out right upset.
Also Likes: Dallas
To update the issues with updating the home page: I have received a list of troubleshooting tips from the site host, and will tackle that tomorrow. Last week we back slid, going 1-4 for 25% on the weekend. Which officially puts us in recession mode for the season, having lost 4 of the past 5 weekends. This week we’ve sharpened our pencils, and are going with our traditional 4% of bankroll on B rated picks, and 5% of bankroll on A rated opinions.
Tulsa - Big Al’s top rated opinion of the week. And the scorecasting numbers support his enthusiasm. Golden Hurricane should be able to pass all day on the ECU defense. Tulsa by 24. When ECU falls behind, and has to throw the ball, they’ll be at risk of letting this one get out of hand.
Oklahoma - Too much Sooner defense. Mizzou has struggled against solid defenses, and they have no hope of catching Bob Stoops in a let down situation. Sooners by 24.
Alabama (+)(ML) - This should be a great game to watch. We think it’s decided by a touchdown either way. Tide has awesome front four, and that will keep them in the game.
NY Giants A+ rated pick: Since Philly went into a backslide, culminating with a tie at Cincinnati, we circled our calendars for this contest. NcNabb simply not an accurate enough passer to exploit this secondary - there will be turnovers if he’s sloppy here. Nobody runs on the Giants, not even Westbrook. NY will put up 28-35, while Philly will do well to get into the 17 or 24 range. This may be our last A+ rated pick of the year, after struggling in this category all season, we’d really like to throw you a winner.
Miami (ML): Not totally buying into the Bills resurgance, this shapes up to be a close tightly fought contest, and the fish have a chance to win - giving us solid value as a Money Line pick, at 4% of bankroll.
New England (Sunday morning gameday update) - Seahawks have serious injury issues on the offensive line, and they’re already talking about whether Mora will stay to be the coach next year - Seattle’s already packed it in. Take N.E. by 10, and this coud get ugly.
A reminder that we’re trying to get our situation with reloading the front page straightened out - due to the holiday I’m waiting to hear from our tech guru. So we’ll keep loading the picks through the blog. No A plays this week… B rated picks are 4% of bankroll.
Texas Tech - The blow-out pick of the week. Tech is in their home finale, and still has a shot at the Big 12 title. Baylor defense can be had, and we don’t see them letting up here. Red Raiders by 35.
UCF - The Golden Knights are sound on the defensive side of the ball, they’re in their final home game, and should come to play. UAB has struggled this year, this is their 3rd of 4 on the road, and we get the feeling the Blazers just want it to end. UCF by 14.
Also Likes: Oklahoma, Boston College, Cincinnati
Indianapolis - The Colts are back, while the Browns are wondering if the coach and GM will be. The Colts should be able to move the ball over the top all day. Indy by 10.
New Orleans (+): This should be a great game to watch. The Saints actually have a decent run defense, their vulnerability is over the top, but that’s not Tampa’s strength. Look for this one to be decided by a FG either way.
Also Likes: Atlanta (+), Jax/Houston OVER
Last week we went 3-3 overall for 50%, miss hitting on both A rated plays. The week started out slow uncovering picks - but over the past 24 hours we feel very good about this weeks slate:
Rutgers - Big Al’s POUNDER - Scarlet Knights have been explosive on offensive over the past 3 weeks, and the defense has shown the ability to clamp down. While Army offense has been sporadic at best all season. Cadets have Navy on deck… Rutgers needs the win to become bowl eligible. Our forecasting models forecast Rutgers to post 38-45 points, while Army puts up 13-17. With bowl eligibility on the line we see little chance of a letdown, and will call a 25 point win by the home team.
Maryland (ML)- HC Ralph Friedgren’s teams always seam to play well in big games against good competition - and this one against FSU is that. It ought to be a great one to watch. We’re getting some value on the Money Line, and we’re all about value - we’ll take the Terrapins to eke out a win with a 4% of bankroll play.
Mississippi State (ML)- The Bulldogs like HC Sylvester Croom, and will come to play. Arkansas has LSU on deck, and might be overlooking the scrappy Bulldogs. This is another contest where we’re projecting a tight battle, in the end we think Mississippi State comes out on top - pulling off the outright upset in their final home game.
Also Likes: Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, Virginia (ML)
Baltimore - Philly just doesn’t seem to have a pulse… despite getting manhandled at NY last week, the Ravens are playing inspired ball - and if the Eagles show up with a half hearted effort, they’re going to smacked around by the Ravens.
Kansas City (ML) - Buffalo is known for it’s ball control offense and tenacious defense, but we expect they’re may be some fireworks on the scoreboard here. KC is starting two rookies at CB, expect Buffalo to take advantage. But KC seems to have found a rhythm with their spread offense, and Buffalo has struggled on both sides of the ball. Very good value with the Chiefs on the money line.
Indianapolis (ML) - Colts offensive line has stabilized; the defense has shored up in the secondary. While Chargers still struggling on defense. We like Indy to win outright, with a 4% of bankroll Money Line play.
Also Likes: Minnesota (ML), Denver
It has been two brutal weekends in a row for us, winning just 3 picks out of 12 straight up with our top rated opinions in that span. With that said we still have a positive bankroll on the season - and are not deviating from our money management strategy going into week 11.
Marshall - The UCF defense has been MIA this season, and is going up against a good defense at Marshall. We don’t see that situation changing this week. The Thundering Herd NEEDS this win to stay bowl eligible, and they have the emotional inspiration to get the deed done. Stout Herd defense gets the nod here - we’ll call a 17 point victory by the motivated home team.
N.C. State (ML)(+) - Scorecasting projections indicate this contest is going to be decided by a FG either way… and the Wolfpack is getting the hook… a very good value play on the ML at +135. Wake Forest has been solid this year, but this situation, and fundamental matchups do not favor them in this spot. We’re hitting the Wolfpack with a 4% of bankroll play to win outright.
Colorado State (ML)(+) - New Mexico on the road shouldn’t be favored over anybody. Scorecasting models predict the Rams should outright win a tightly fought game… by 1 point. Situation favors Colorado, so we’re rolling with value with a 4% of bankroll play staight up.
Also Likes: Notre Dame, UConn, North Carolina, Lu. Tech, Oklahoma St., Purdue (+), UTEP
Miami A+ rated pick - Oakland is coming to town. The Raider pass defense will be able to take away either Ginn or Camarillo, but not both. The Raiders defense is actually pretty decent, but also undisciplined - which will hurt when the Fish use the Wildcat formation. This is a nice situation: Consider the Raiders have Denver on deck, traveling West to East, and have played uninspired ball this year. And are playing a team on the rise, who believe they can make the playoffs. This one will be absolutely ugly - Miami by 17.
KC (+)(ML) - The Chiefs have found a QB. And WR Mark Bradley is an underrated talent. KC should be able to go toe to toe with the Saints, so we’ll take the points, and won’t be surprised if they pull off the upset.
Cleveland (+) - The Browns do have a very good interior rush defense, and that should keep them in the contest against the struggling Bills ground game. Bills don’t have enough over the top to take strong advantage of Cleveland’s major weakness - the secondary. Take the points.
Also Likes: NY Giants, Cincinnati (+), San Francisco
Ughh - Last weeks 33% showing hurt the pocket book. But because of sound money management discipline we are still able to play the game. Here’s the picks for this week:
Tennessee - Vols are hungry for a win, and they will not let up on the over matched Cowboys. Wyoming has had troubles of their own offensively… they may have trouble reaching double digits. Tennessee by 32.
Boise State - Bronco’s have high powered offense that doesn’t know how to slow down. Way too much fire power for the perennially struggling Aggies.
Colorado State (+): This one should be a dogfight to the bitter end. Air Force may come out on top, so take the points.
Also Likes: Fresno St. (ML), SJSU, New Mexico St. (ML), Penn St.
As I’m updating our top rated NFL picks Saturday morning, the Volunteers are losing by 13 to the woeful Cowboys… Wow.
Houston - The surest play on the board. Baltimore is on the tail end of back to back road trips, coming off a key division win - which sets up a nice let down situation. Back-up QB Sage Rosenfels is a better signal caller than at least 10 of the current starting QBs out there. After his “windmill” fumble last month expect him to come out sharp. Houston can take Baltimore over the top. Texans by a TD.
New Orleans (ML) - Yes, Matt Ryan looks to be the real deal, but he’s no Brees. Saints have had the bye week to prepare, and Sean Payton is one of the few HCs who can take advantage of the extra time off. Our call is the Saints will out right win… by a TD or more.
Chicago (ML)(+) - The Bears match-up very well here, despite not having Orton, they should be able to do some damage over the top, as well as on the ground. On the other side Chicago’s weakness is the secondary, but Kerry Collins and Tennessee don’t look to be the team to take advantage of that. I like the Bears to win straight-up by 3.
Also Likes: Arizona, KC(+), St.Louis (+)