2017 WEEK 12 PICKS

After four weeks of mediocrity, I finally had a good week: 10 correct picks and I hit 2 of my 3 Super Hot Sizzling Picks. What does this mean moving forward? Nothing really. I could have easily lost a few games, most notably, the Browns/Jaguars game. I took Jacksonville, favored by 7.5, and it didn’t look good towards the end – the Browns had the ball with 1:24 left, down by 6 on their own 20. What should have happened is maybe a stalled drive or an interception on a long pass and that’s it, game over, I lose. Instead, Jaguars LB Yannick Ngakoue knocks the ball out of QB DeShone Kizer’s hand as he’s looking for a receiver and LB Telvin Smith somehow lands on it in the end zone, giving me the back door cover. Totally ridiculous, but I feel I’m owed this: in Week 4 I lost my Washington pick when the Chiefs had a similar score at the end of the game.

Moving on, here’s where I’m at:

All Picks: 89-71, 55.6%
ESPN Leaderboard Rank: 2762, 98%
Super Hot Sizzling Picks: 16-14, 53.3%
Bankroll: +$109 (betting $11 on every game)

Not too bad. Per thepredictiontracker.com, which tracks computer rating systems, I’d be in 5th place (sorry for the bad pic):

Let’s see if we can keep this momentum going (even if you don’t believe in momentum)…



Well, look at that! The Patriots are favored by 16.5 against the Dolphins! Even for The Greatest NFL Team in the History of the Universe, this is a big spread; in fact it’s the 4th biggest Patriots spread in the Belichick/Brady era, just behind the home game against the Jets last year, in which they were 17-point favorites (they covered). Interested in how New England does when they’re favored by this much? Me too. When favored by 14 or more points, they’re 3-5 (37.5%); when favored by 10 or more, they’re 13-11 (54.2%). Doesn’t look like there’s any kind of trend there (which I don’t follow anyway). All that being said, the Patriots are the best team in the league and Miami is at least the 2nd or 3rd worst, so the spread is fitting and I’m taking the Pats.

If you’ve been following along, you know that last week, for the first time this season, I picked the Rams (+2.5) and faded Washington (+7.5). I said it was “guaranteed now that the Rams won’t cover and the Redskins will” and that’s exactly what happened. The Machine must have found that hilarious, because now it’s back to fading the Rams (-2.5 against New Orleans) and taking Washington (-7.5 against the Giants). So we’ll see.


My Super Hot picks aren’t based on any kind of insight or “gut feeling”; they’re simply the games in which the spreads from The Machine and Vegas are most disparate. Here are those games:

New Orleans at Los Angeles Rams, Rams by 2.5
My ATS pick: Saints

Green Bay at Pittsburgh, Steelers by 13.5
My ATS pick: Packers

Denver at Oakland, Raiders by 5.5
My ATS pick: Broncos

Yep, all dogs. I usually write a little something about each game; this week, I’ll write a bit about the Thanksgiving games:

Minnesota at Detroit, Vikings by 2.5
My ATS pick: Lions

The Vikings are the better team, and this spread makes sense. This is one of those games where The Machine tells me a team will win by a fraction of a point (in this case, Vikings by 0.1), so, being the slave that I am to the spreadsheet, I have to take the underdog. I’m in the position where I’m picking the Vikings to win the game but not cover the spread…frankly, that’s ridiculous, because if they win a close one, it will most likely be by 3, not 1 or 2. So be it: Vikings 24, Lions 23.

Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas, Cowboys by 0.5
My ATS pick: Cowboys

I think Dallas is the (slightly) better team; my ratings have them at +1.8 and the Chargers at +0.3. Not a big difference, so the home field gives Dallas the edge. Football Outsiders gives the Cowboys a weighted team efficiency rank of 14 and the Chargers 13, so I’m comfortable thinking these two teams are at least in the same tier (I’ve got them both as Tier 5 teams). My picks are all point-based, but looking at some X’s and O’s here, Dallas is really going to need LT Tyron Smith to be at full strength, given the Chargers probably have the best QB-sacking duo in the league in defensive ends Melvin Ingram (8.5 sacks) and Joey Bosa (10.5 sacks). In any event, I’m thinking Dallas has a shot: Cowboys 24, Chargers 20

New York Giants at Washington, Redskins by -7.5
My ATS pick: Redskins

This is a funky one. We just saw the Giants beat the Chiefs, who are good, and we just saw the Redskins almost beat the Saints, who are really good. So, now we’ve got two teams, one of which has a chance (albeit, very small) at the playoffs, maybe the other team (the Giants) playing for pride? Jobs? I’ve got the Redskins being about 10 points better than the Giants at FedExField; the fact that they’re somewhat banged up and it’s a division game, brings my spread down a few points, but not lower than 7.5. For some reason this “feels” to me like a Giants upset, but I’m sticking with The Machine: Redskins 26, Giants 17.

Have a great Thanksgiving all.