FIWK The NFL - Week 4 Picks

Nailed the SF -3.0 pick on Thurs night.  Now running through the weekend's games...

Baltimore at BUFFALO -3.0
I would actually stay away from this game.  I don't know what to think.  Aaron do you think it's too early to start paying attention to DVOA stats?  3 games is a pretty small sample still.  Regardless, these two teams are rated fairly evenly in VOA at this point in the season, and yet Buffalo is getting 3 points and is at home.  On the other hand I have a hard time believing Baltimore is as mediocre as they have played so far; that is just an emotional play on my part.

Cincinnati at CLEVELAND -4.0
Woah!  To quote Luke Wilson from Anchorman, I did NOT see that coming!  Cleveland's big win last week was the most surprising performance of the year so far.  I made the cardinal sin in NFL betting - never go against Brian Hoyer.  Rookie move by me.  But seriously I have zero faith that Cleveland is actually good, so I'm treating that like a fluke and taking Cincy here.  They also have a wayyy higher VOA rating so far.

Chicago at DETROIT +3.0
This should be a fun game.  Don't really know what will happen, but I'm excited to see how it plays out.  Two mercurial QBs with exciting WRs and questionable ground games, two stout defenses that have nonetheless been hit or miss this season.  As far as the pick, Chicago has a much higher VOA than Detroit at the moment, so I'll take the points even though they're on the road.

KANSAS CITY vs. NY Giants -4.0
Holy underrated line!  As far as I can tell the Chiefs have been playing really well and the Giants have sucked.  What am I missing?  How's this for a VOA disparity - KC is currently sporting a positive 34.6%, while NYG is currently at -59.8%.  That's lopsided.  I'm ecstatic to take the Chiefs only giving 4 points, and have no idea why this line is so close.  (Note: every game I've been super confident about this year has been wrong.)

MINNESOTA vs. Pittsburgh +3.0
Another shocker!  Minnesota is playing as well as Pitt, is at home, and is GETTING three points?!  I like it.  I like it alot.  This line moved from +1.0 to +3.0 this week, but I have not researched why that is.  Has to be something, right?  Anyway seems like the Vikings are suffering from perception after getting beat by Brian Hoyer.  Which, admittedly, is bad.  But both teams are about even in VOA, so I'll take the points at home.

TAMPA BAY vs. Arizona -2.5
It seems like Tampa Bay is playing really terribly - Josh Freeman was just benched, in a related story - yet I was surprised to see they have a decent VOA of -7.3%.  Arizona's, by contrast, is -31.3%.  Since I don't trust Arizona anyway, this is enough to make me take TB.  Remind me of this when the Freeman replaces throws 3 picks in the first half.

Indianapolis at JACKSONVILLE -8.0
Yikes.  This is very nearly a demasiados puntos situation.  But Jacksonville still managed to lose to their 20 point spread last week in convincing fashion.  This team just sucks big time.  And Indy managed to beat SF last week.  So despite the spread I'll go with Indy, who could be putting together a really sincere playoff run.  Right now their VOA of 22.7% is 4th best in the league .... and Jax is dead last at -91%.  Ouch.

Seattle at HOUSTON -2.5
Seems like too few points for Seattle to be giving up, even though they're away.  This is a really good team.  Also I believe Andre Johnson is hurt for Houston, which seems to really change their attack.  Foster is a little slower than last year, but because Ben Tate has been good that doesn't seem to be an issue.  They have a mediocre VOA of -6.6%, while Seattle has a crazy dominant VOA of 69.2%.  So there's that.

NY Jets at TENNESSEE +3.5
I'm not going to lie.  I don't trust either team here, no matter how competent Geno Smith may appear.   I was surprised to see NYJ have a decent VOA of 12.7%.  And despite Jake Locker's Titans absolutely tearing my heart out last week, they didn't particularly blow me away with their performance.  I'll take the half point over a field goal, but I think I'll avoid betting it.

DENVER vs. Philadelphia -10.5
That's a lot of points.  But Denver is super good.  I'm torn.  Picks aside, I'll enjoy watching this game just because both teams have been interesting.  Denver has a super duper fun offense to watch; Peyton is still a total magician.  Also Welker is exactly who you'd want him to be for this team... basically who he was for Tom Brady too.  And despite the roadbumps Philly has been an interesting experiment all year.  Their VOA of 6.3% is decent, but Denver is a crazy strong 68.8%.

OAKLAND vs. Washington +3.0
Both of these teams have been playing miserably (equally bad VOA) so I'll take the points at home with Oakland.  But I think the line reflects an expectation that Washington was supposed to good, and could potentially turn their season around.  What do you think the odds of that are?  They have looked bad.

SAN DIEGO vs. Dallas +2.0
I'll take the points at home.  Dallas has a slightly better VOA but it doesn't scare me.  What scares me is that DeMarco Murray has been playing well and I don't know who's going to cover Dez Bryant.  This could seriously wreck San Diego's defense.  On the other hand the offense has been pretty solid and I'm enjoying something of a Rivers bounceback season.  If they're going to win this game, I think it comes down to Rivers playing well.

New England at ATLANTA +2.0
This should be a really fun game.  This is one of the ones I had the toughest time picking.  Ultimately I'm taking the points and going against Atlanta's injury woes.... with Steven Jackson and Roddy White hobbled, I worry that they're going to become one-dimensional.  Both teams have roughly equivalent VOAs, and I won't bet this, but I'm going to enjoy watching it.  Who's your pick here?

Miami at NEW ORLEANS +6.5
Classic demasiados puntos situation.  New Orleans has a slightly better VOA than Miami and is at home, but Miami is doing surprisingly well and I think they're under the radar.  I will happily take the points in this one.

Any lines make you do a double-take this week?


  1. PS - I went an entire post without saying a single funny thing. I suck.

  2. I'm going to go $30 on Cincy -4.0, $50 on KC -4.0, $30 on Minn +3.0, $30 on Indy -8.0, and $50 on Seattle -2.5.

    Already had a correct pick of $50 on SF on Thursday.

  3. 1) VOA is not yet adjusted for opponents, so SF looks pretty bad having lost to the best team.
    2) Minnesota is the home team in London. Not much advantage. And Ponder may not be playing.
    3) "Never bet against Brian Hoyer" was funny.

  4. So you're saying I had one funny comment this week! I'm so proud.

    When do they start doing VOA adjustments for opponent? My guess is that's when VOA actually starts to matter. What else would you look out for relative performance so far?

    Given that Minnesota is in London I take back my shock. But I still think they should be even if anything... I'll take the points. Any idea why this line moved from +1 to +3 this week?

  5. So nobody else is making picks this week or what? Aaron you COMMENTED but didn't make any freaking picks, you yokel.

  6. $44 on KC -4 (I don't get it either, which means I will regret this.)

    $44 on Chicago + 3, Cincinnati -4.

    $33 on Seattle -2.5

    $22 on Minnesota +3

  7. It appears we were right on KC. I remain confused by that line. We also both super duper lucked out with Seattle's furious comeback to win/cover (thank you half point!).

    I also hit on Minnesota and Indy, and missed on Cincy.

    Jacksonville and Gabbert are truly astonishing. No matter how low we set the bar, they manage to limbo under it. And the immortal Brian Hoyer is somehow doing the opposite... do I have to take him seriously now? Is this really happening?

  8. I did not think we were right on with the Chiefs when it was 10-7 at halftime and the Giants led most of the first half. I went 3-2, but was overweighted on the 2. I have no idea who is going to win the AFC North. Does that division have a single good team? The AFC wild cards are coming from the South and the West.

  9. Dood. I need to stop missing my picks. As such, I'll pick tonight's game again (which I would've stayed away from normally), and go with $11 on Saints -6.5.

    My brother is setup to root for a middle tonight. Teased Broncos (to -3.5), Chargers (to +8), & Saints (to -1). Now he's taken Dolphins +7. Here's to the middle he says!

  10. I also completely forgot that Miami is 3-0. Lots of season left.

  11. Gosh - I should "forget" all my weekend picks, get frustrated cause I "missed picking winners", only get "stupidly" pick the MNF game. However, I should bet way more $$ on those MNF picks...

  12. You don't think your strategy of $11 on just the MNF game is going to yield big results? Haha