FIWK the NFL: Week 11

Last week didn't go that well for me. I mean my picks weren't that great, but the real killer was the Chargers losing to the Raiders. I guess our 4th-8th linemen aren't that great. And our 1st-3rd were injured. As for my picks, I think I blindly followed my statistical analysis just a little bit too much. As I pointed out, I actually picked the Bengals to beat the Steelers outright, even though I knew this looked fishy due to their respective strength of schedules. So, this week, I'm relying heavily on the Pythagorean winning percentage compared to the spread historical winning percentage, but in a few cases, I am going to interject just a little bit of common sense.

Nyj (-6) over DENVER: Common sense piece #1. Actually analyze the game before it happens. I got my Nyj pick in before the game...but upon analyzing it this morning, it turns out that this game should have been a 3 or 3.5 point spread, so with the spread at 6, I would have picked the Broncos. And even if Tebow doesn't run in that touchdown late, the game ends 13-10 and Den +3.5 covers. So, analyze the picks before the game happens; check.

CLEVELAND (0) over Jacksonville: More of a home team advantage than anything else. Two kind of bad teams with frisky defenses and just enough weapons to shock you if you don't show up ready to play. I'm going with the HOME TEAM (0) over Visitors.

DETROIT (-7) over Carolina: Common sense piece #2. If the starting quarterback is injured, maybe discount that team's previous performance just a little? But it looks like Stafford's broken finger isn't going to keep him out of the game or hinder him all that much. This game should have a double digit spread. Cam Newton has come back to Earth a bit after such blazingly hot start to his career, so the question arises, is he still the favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year? Newton has 800 more passing yards on a two win team. Andy Dalton now has more touchdowns and fewer interceptions than Newton. And AJ Green is on pace for 1,128 yards and 11 TDs. That's a pretty impressive year for a WR, much less a rookie. But Cam Newton is throwing to Steve Smith, who is on pace for 1691 yards. I say it is still up in the air, and we'll have to see how the Bengals do against the Ravens and Steelers over the remainder of the season.

GREEN BAY (-14) over Tampa Bay: This spread actually isn't big enough. The Packers win 93% of the time, but 14 point favorites only win 80% of the time. It feels weird to say that only giving 14 points may be good value.

Buffalo (+2.5) over MIAMI: This line feels confusing. My gut says the Bills should be favored and my analysis says they win 57% of the time. So the Dolphin's two game winning streak over the Chiefs and Redskins is enough to make them favored? Doesn't feel right.

Oakland (-1) over MINNESOTA: Oakland should be favored by 3. And I'm really cheering hard for Ponder, AD and the Vikings this weekend. The crappy AFC West is the only thing keeping the Chargers playoff hopes alive.

WASHINGTON (+7.5) over Dallas: There is an unusually big jump from 7 to 7.5. 7 point favorites win 72%, which is right where this game should be. 7.5 point favorites win 78%. In fact, the difference between 7.5 point winning percentage and 10 point winning percentage is smaller than the difference between 7 and 7.5. Common sense piece #3, actually pay attention to the differences even small changes can make. Since I'm saying that you take Was +7.5, but Dal -7, that means you stay away from this game. I'm also not considering the Washington QB, because I don't think there is any drop off or improvement going from one to the other.

Cincinnati (+7) over BALTIMORE: Just like last week, my number say take the Bengals ATS. Not straight up, but ATS because this spread should be 3 or 3.5. But the Ravens have gotten a little too schizophrenic (I really like that word) for me. Is this a team that swept the Steelers or the team that lost outright to the Seahawks and Jaguars. If anything, I feel the Ravens will win by 14+ or lose. This is actually a regularly defined strategy when trading options called a straddle, where you buy a call and a put outside the money and if the security trades inside the range, you lose money and if it goes outside the range, either up or down, you make money.

Seattle (+1.5) over St. Louis: At 2-7, St. Louis is actually playing better than their Pythagorean winning %, which says they should be 1.5-7.5. The Seahawks should be favored and win 66% of these game, but we need to go back to common sense piece #2. Who is starting at QB for Seattle this weekend? Checking, ok it looks like their normal starter is probable, so now we feel a little more confident picking the Seahawks.

SAN FRANCISCO (-9.5) over Arizona: Still thinking about the Seahawks. They have singled handedly ruined many survivor pools by defeating the Giants and the Ravens. Looking ahead, with the combination of the 49ers possibly clinching the #2 seed and playing in Seattle, I wonder what kind of line I could get on the Week 16 SF @ Sea game? I only mention this because it is much more interesting that talking about the AZ @ SF game.

Tennessee (+6) over ATLANTA: These teams are really, really close and home field advantage should be making the only difference. They have identical records and nearly identical Pythagorean %, so why the six points? I don't know, but I'll take it.

San Diego (+3.5) over CHICAGO: Homer, homer, homer, homer, homer, homer, homer, homer, homer, homer, homer, homer, homer, homer, homer homer. My wife tells me all the time "At least I know when I'm being irrational. It would be a lot worse for me to be irrational and think I was being rational."

NYG (-4.5) over Philadelphia: Vince Young.

NEW ENGLAND (-14.5) over Kansas City: Tyler Palko.


  1. I'm going to put $30 on Ten +6, Cle 0, Det -7, GB -14, Buf +2.5, SF -9.5, Oak -1.

  2. Here I go with some randoms this week:

    $30 on Packers -14 (this will mean Rodgers gets hurt half way through the game and I lose every fantasy weekend from here on out).

    $30 on Niners -9.5 (this feels too much like the Niners-Browns game from Week 8 - same thoughts hold for me here).

    $20 on Bills +2.5 (for the same reasons as Aaron).

    $50 on Raiders -1 (I had them at -4.5; it bothers me to think that the McFadden-less Raiders will make the playoffs on the shoulders of Carson Palmer).

    $100 on Giants -4.5 (there is no line on the majority of the books out there given Vick's uncertain status; if he doesn't play, I think this line opens up at Giants -10).

  3. I would need to get 27.5 points in order to bet on KC in that game, so I am putting $100 on NE -14.5.

    Also, $50 on NYG -4.5 because, as you say, "Vince Young", and $50 on Buffalo +2.5.

    I want to dwell on the Buffalo line. Aaron, can you give me some stats on, when a team is favored to win straight up 57% of the time, and then they ALSO get +2.5 points in the spread, how frequently they beat that spread? That seems like it would be a strong percentage.

  4. Bonus EPL lines!

    $50 on Manchester United -1 over SWANSEA CITY (seriously?? ONE measly goal is all they're favored by??)... this line makes no sense to me unless Nani recently kidnapped Rooney and their current whereabouts are unknown.

    $50 on over 2.5 goals in the Chelsea-Liverpool tilt... I'd be VERY surprised if that was low scoring. Neither defense seems particularly stout.

  5. Aaron, no love for DeMarco Murray in the ROY race? He might surpass 1k rushing yards in less than a full season of games and has been a catalyst for his team turning it around.

  6. DeMarco Murray might be able to beat out Cam Newton for fantasy ROY, but not starting until Week 7 and needing an injury to get that starting spot doesn't bode well for his chances with the voters. You're right, I should have mentioned him, but he probably just started too late. He'll have to settle for being a second round draft pick next year.

  7. Royce, would you take NE -24? I'll bet you $50 of FIWK dollars on KC +24.

  8. But why would I take that when I can already take NE -14? And my point was more about what I would need to get to consider taking KC; in between -14 and -24 it would be a stay away.

  9. So, that happened. Who knew my NE -24 line was still 7 points too low.

    On the week I went up $50, bringing me to $850 on the season.

    My only moneymakers continue to be my EPL lines... I was even on NFL picks after NE won, and needed to get the over 2.5 goals from Chels-Liver to win $50 (plus a push from Man U -1... really Man U? couldn't score 2 against Swansea?? ugh.).

    I vow to beat MP by the end of the season, his French proverbs be damned.

  10. Wow - this week sucked. Started with $1,050 and did the following:

    Lost $30 on Packers -14 (they only won by 9).

    Won $30 on Niners -9.5 (they won 16).

    Lost $20 on Bills +2.5 (they lost by a littttle more than 2.5).

    Won $50 on Raiders -1 (they won by 6 but got scary there in the 4th quarter).

    $100 on Giants -4.5 (Eli with another Eli game).

    I'm now on-par with the rest of you shmucks and losing to MP @ $980.

  11. I went 4-2-1, gaining $60. Up to $850.