2017 Week 8 NFL Picks, Week 7 Recap

Author’s note: Being that this is my first post as a writer for The GridFe, I’d like to take a moment to thank Bryan and the guys for having me aboard. I’ve been a fan of this site since its inception (I believe in 2015) because the writing that Bryan, Adam and more recently Ben, put forth is top notch: honest, insightful, fair and always interesting. I suspect that my contributions will be on the “lighter” side, but will be fun and interesting nonetheless. So, thanks guys!

Some history is needed before we jump in to my post below. In 2012, I started playing ESPN’s Pigskin Pick’Em with office buddies at work. The game is simple: you pick the winner of games against the Vegas spread every week, the player with the most correct picks at the end of the season wins. This simple game literally spawned a whole new hobby for me, the effects of which you’re seeing now: an obsession with being able to predict the outcomes of games using stats (sometimes called “computer predictions“). The simple spreadsheet I started with – which only kept track of points scored and points allowed – has grown into a 50-column monster that I now call The Machine (details here), of which you’ll see numerous references to below. 

The post below is a continuation of posts I ran at my own, soon-to-be-phased-out blog; The GridFe will be the new home of my weekly picks. Thanks all.

What a week…what a very bad week for me. I went 5-9, easily my worst effort for the year. If you’re familiar with picking winners against the spread, you know that it’s just as hard to do poorly as it is to do well since the spread is, theoretically, set up so that every game is a coin flip. I’ve watched most of the games, and there were a few that I “could have” won, like the Kansas City-Oakland thriller, but for the most part, me and The Machine were just on the wrong side of everything. Even my Super Hot Sizzling picks took another hit, going 0-3. I’ve had a busy week, not much time to write, so I’ll quickly recap where I’m at and then jump into the picks.

Bankroll Update
(Note: I started the year with a virtual bankroll of $1,000 and I’m betting $11 every game)

All Picks: 59-46, 56.2%
ESPN Leaderboard Rank: 3596, 98%
Super Hot Sizzling Picks: 9-9 (50.0%)
Bankroll: $1,084 (+$84 total)

So I’m still in the black, but I’ll be in the red real soon if I keep picking like I did this week.

Moving on….

2017 Week 8 Picks

DayDateAwayHomeMy
Spread
Vegas
Spread
ATS
Pick
Pred
Score
Thu10/26/17MIABAL-6-3.5BAL17-23
Sun10/29/17MINCLE+11+9.5CLE23-15
Sun10/29/17ATLNYJ+9+4.5ATL25-16
Sun10/29/17OAKBUF-3-2.5BUF23-26
Sun10/29/17CHINOR-9-8.5NOR18-27
Sun10/29/17INDCIN-12-10.5CIN12-24
Sun10/29/17SDGNWE-12-7.5NWE19-31
Sun10/29/17SFOPHI-13-12.5PHI20-33
Sun10/29/17CARTAM-3-2.5TAM20-23
Sun10/29/17HOUSEA-2-5.5HOU16-18
Sun10/29/17DALWAS-1+2.5WAS23-24
Sun10/29/17PITDET+1+3.5DET21-20
Mon10/30/17DENKAN-7-7.5DEN14-21

(Yes I’m aware that I’m still using “SDG” for the LA Chargers. Too lazy to change that in my database)

Wow. This doesn’t look too good. We’ve got 6 spreads over a touchdown and I’m taking 5 of them, including the big ones: Minnesota -9.5 over Cleveland, Cincinnati -10.5 over Indianapolis and Philadelphia -12.5 over San Francisco.  I’m alright with the spreads being that high, I think the matchups warrant it. But these games aren’t played on paper, and if I wasn’t following the demands of my spreadsheet, I’d take the underdogs in probably all three of those games. Stranger things have happened, but I’m not anticipating a good week…breaking even would be good.

SUPER HOT SIZZLING PICKS OF THE WEEK

Well, here they are: my Super Hot Dried Up Turds On the Sidewalk Picks of the Week.

Atlanta at New York Jets, Falcons by 4.5
My ATS pick: Atlanta

The Machine still thinks Atlanta is one of the best teams in the league; the way they’ve been playing as of late, they probably aren’t. But who knows, maybe they’ll remember how to have an unstoppable offense again: Atlanta 25, New York 16.

Los Angeles Chargers at New England, Patriots by 7.5
My ATS pick: Patriots

I keep hearing about the Patriots defensive woes (which I suppose they’ve somewhat fixed), but I haven’t heard much talk about their offense which is solid. I think they win easily at home: New England 31, Los Angeles 19.

Houston at Seattle, Seahawks by 5.5
My ATS pick: Houston

Deshaun Watson has yet to face a legendary defense (OK, the Legion of Boom isn’t what they were a few years back, but they’re still very, very good) in a stadium known for ear-bleeding crowd noise (CenturyLink), so I’m thinking he’ll have problems. But of course, The Machine doesn’t know anything about any of that, it’s telling me to take Houston to cover, so that’s what I’m doing: Seattle 18, Houston 16.

That’s it for this week, have a great weekend.

  • Adam

    Welcome aboard, Tom!

    If you’re in the 98th percentile of ESPN’s pick-em contest, The Machine must be doing something right 😉

    How far above 50% do you need to be in order to clear the vig?

    Why does The Machine like New England so much more than Vegas does? FWIW, I agree with you that the Pats should be heavy favorites against the Chargers.

    • Tom

      Adam – thanks my man! This is something I should know off the top of my head, but I think generally you need to be at 52% to break even.

      Here’s what’s happening with The Machine (hilarious that you agree to call it that, it’s so goofy, but that’s the only name I can think for it…it’s a mess) and the Patriots: there is still a lot of 2016 in the numbers, and their offense is, by my numbers, the best in the league. They don’t have a single defense/special teams return TD, which in my system is a *good* thing. Those scores are fluky, even if we can’t say entitely that they have no predictive value. The Patriots can score the ball with their offense when they need to…they are *reliable*. Hell, anything can happen, but that’s why I have them ranked so high. The Rams isnan example of a team that has a good offense , but not quite as good as some would think…they’ve got 30 points on return TD’s which kind of inflates our impression of their offense.

      • Adam

        Makes sense. My feeling on the Pats is that their offense will overpower just about anyone, and their defense isn’t really as bad as it looked over the first month of the season.

  • Adam

    My subjective picks that I pulled out of my ass:

    MIA 17, BAL 16 (hahaha)
    MIN 27, CLE 10
    NYJ 27, ATL 24
    BUF 28, OAK 24
    NO 30, CHI 13
    CIN 20, IND 10
    NE 35, SD 21
    PHI 34, SF 16
    CAR 24, TB 23
    SEA 24, HOU 17
    DAL 31, WAS 28
    PIT 20, DET 14
    KC 27, DEN 12

    • Tom

      I think I’m pretty much with you on this, but dude, your Jets pick is gutsy. I know the Falcons have been sketchy, but I think they’ll get it together for this game….then again, a late FG and the Jets can cover.

      • Adam

        My gut tells me that the Falcons are on the verge of imploding and finishing 6-10. They don’t seem to have any spirit this year, and their defense is still among the worst in the league. Of course now that I say this, Atlanta will win today 45-0.

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