NFL Picks: Week 15

Written by Football, Sports

Fucking hell.  I need to keep reminding myself that in the long run this program has actually still made money for me.  But another weekend like the last one and that won’t be true anymore.  Gamblor went 7-9 and dropped $90, missing its biggest bet on Oakland and suffering its fifth losing week in a row.  It’s not the worst stretch in the computer’s history, but it certainly is disheartening.  I was in Vegas last weekend, so I put down a $10 “disaster parlay” against three of my biggest bets last week (Oakland, Seattle, and Kansas City) and it obviously paid off, so ultimately my losses for the week were actually only $30 – though the parlay won’t be reflected in the summary table below.  But that trend of small bleeding is guaranteed to change in a big way this week, as Gamblor finally is ready to put a 95% bet on the line.

It’s been a rough year second half of the year for Gamblor.  Just five weeks ago, back when Gamblor was still in the black for the year, I did a countdown of the five biggest upsets it had predicted so far.  Since then, the computer has had a weighted win percentage of just 39.2% and has lost a total of $361.  So this week, in hopes of reversing this trend, I thought I’d do the opposite and take a look at its five biggest mistakes so far this year – in hopes that it doesn’t make a bigger one this week.

(To watch this video, right-click and hit play)

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5. Tennessee Titans 31, Jacksonville Jaguars 13. In Week 8 the Titans returned to action after a bye having lost seven games in a row.  Nobody was interested in betting on them as favorites, least of all Gamblor, who thought the three point spread was right where it should have been and took the Jaguars as a large hedge bet.  But Vince Young was practically perfect in his return to the starting role, connecting on 15 of 18 passes and Chris Johnson ran wild on the Jaguars defense, racking up 228 yards and scoring a pair of touchdowns as the winless Titans delivered an unexpected blowout.

4. New Orleans Saints 48, New York Giants 27. In Week 6 the Saints were being recognized as a fierce offensive threat and had pummeled everyone they had faced so far during the young season – they had won by margins of 22, 26, 20, and 14 points in their first four games. Fresh off a bye, they were facing the similarly undefeated New York Giants, who were already a game ahead of them at 5-0. Gamblor liked the spread of 3 points – this seemed like it would be a tough contest, with New Orleans having a slight advantage for being the host, but otherwise a coin flip in terms of team strength. 204 of the 360 models chose the Giants. But New Orleans put this game away early, racing off to a 20-3 lead shortly after the end of the first quarter and a 34-17 lead at halftime. The loss precipitated a four game skid by the Giants, who have had a record of just 2-5 since being humiliated by their supposed equals.

3.  New York Jets 38, Oakland Raiders 0. In Week 6 the Raiders had shocked the world – as 14 point underdogs at home they actually won against the Philadelphia Eagles.  The following week, hosting the Jets, the spread has shrunk to only 6 points.  Most bettors weren’t tricked, but Gamblor had built up quite a bit of trust in the Raiders at that point in the season.  The Jets ended up demolishing the Raiders, gaining 316 yards on the ground and taking advantage of four turnovers (three by Jamarcus Russell) to shut them out at home.

2.  Jacksonville Jaguars 18, Buffalo Bills 15. The Bills had just fired their head coach Dick Jauron and appointed defensive coordinator Perry Fewell to manage the team.  Gamblor saw a spread that was much larger than it should have been (-8.5) and thought that Vegas was trying to scare money away from the Jaguars.  Everyone expected the Bills to show up to Jacksonville Municipal Stadium in complete disarray and be easily beaten by the relatively competent Jaguars.  Fewell responded by putting together a game plan with a defensive scheme that shut down Maurice Jones-Drew and an offense that featured a heavy dose of Terrell Owens, who caught 9 passes for 197 yards, including a 98 yard touchdown.  The Jaguars managed to score a late touchdown to win the game, but it wasn’t enough to cover the spread.

1.  Green Bay 17, Dallas Cowboys 7. This was Gamblor’s biggest bet of the year (so far) and it seemed like a great spot for the Cowboys.  Green Bay had just suffered a pair of demoralizing defeats – including a loss to the previously winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and injuries had decimated their offensive line.  Dallas, at 6-2, was expected to walk into Green Bay and easily walk away with a victory.  But the Packers defense really stepped up, sacking Tony Romo five times and forcing three turnovers.  A pair of scores in the fourth quarter was enough to secure the victory for them, and push Gamblor off the edge of its recent downslope.

As I’ve mentioned above, Gamblor has finally seen a few models crack the 95% barrier, and is going to make a huge bet on the Pittsburgh Steelers.  In fact, pretty much the entire bankroll is on the line this week.  The oddsmakers have decided to stop fucking around with their boring hedge spreads and are finally pushing the lines around a bit – which means that Gamblor is investing in a pair of favorites this week (finally!).

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
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JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Gamblor’s Pick: Jacksonville (-3)
Bet Amount: None (Flip)
WHY IT’S WRONG: It’s a bad idea to pick against the Colts – they’re 9-4 against the spread this year.  But there’s no guarantee that they’ll put much effort into this game.  They’ve locked up the division, they’ve locked up a bye, and they’ve locked up home field advantage throughout the playoffs.  They have never been shy about sitting their star players prior to the playoffs, but since it’s never worked in the past, that all might change this year.  And even if the starters sit, the Colts roster is filled with players that are desperate to show off their skills – they won’t want to be responsible for the Colts losing their first game of the season, so they’ll put in 100% effort.  As far as the Jaguars go, they hate the Colts with a passion, but they’re really not in the same class – even against the second-stringers.
DALLAS COWBOYS
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NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Gamblor’s Pick: Dallas (+7)
Bet Amount: $4.79 (Hedge)
WHY IT’S WRONG: I hate playing to trends, but Dallas’ woes in December have been incredibly consistent, and Wade Phillips is too stupid to figure out any way to keep up with the Saints.  Sean Payton will have the Cowboys defenders spinning around in circles, and even though Dallas has some offensive threats, they won’t be able to utilize them properly against New Orleans’ overachieving defense.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
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BUFFALO BILLS
Gamblor’s Pick: Buffalo (+7)
Bet Amount: $30.31 (Hedge)
WHY I AGREE: I was originally picking in New England in this game, but their problems have grown too numerous to ignore.  Tom Brady isn’t healthy and Randy Moss is starting to revert to his childish tantrums, so their offense won’t be firing on all cylinders.  And ever since their loss to Indianapolis, the defense doesn’t feel like their coach believes in them.  I don’t believe Buffalo will be able to defeat the Patriots, even at home, but this game will turn out to be close enough that seven points should be enough.
ARIZONA CARDINALS
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DETROIT LIONS
Gamblor’s Pick: Detroit (+12)
Bet Amount: $15.35 (Hedge)
WHY I AGREE: Arizona doesn’t have much to play for here.  Although they’ll be feeling a little bit of pressure from San Francisco, they’ll be in the playoffs either way.  And they’ve got an easy victory lined up at home against St. Louis next week, so they won’t overexert themselves to defeat Detroit.  It’s likely that Detroit will be able to keep this reasonably close, and the potential for a backdoor cover is wide open.
MIAMI DOLPHINS
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TENNESSEE TITANS
Gamblor’s Pick: Miami (+3)
Bet Amount: $9.57 (Hedge)
WHY I AGREE: Miami has been looking pretty tough lately, and Vince Young won’t be 100%, if he plays at all.  There are five teams ahead of Tennessee in the playoff hunt, but the loss against Indianapolis two weeks ago will have taken away a lot of the steam they’ve built up.
CLEVELAND BROWNS
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KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Gamblor’s Pick: Cleveland (+1.5)
Bet Amount: $10.77 (Hedge)
WHY I AGREE: Kansas City is beyond terrible.  Cleveland has been playing with heart recently, and although Brady Quinn doesn’t really bring much to the team, he’s got a lot more going on than Matt Cassel.  And Cleveland’s recently rediscovered ground game should be able to pound holes in the Chiefs’ defense, while it’s hard to imagine Kansas City will manage the same against Cleveland’s proud defenders.
HOUSTON TEXANS
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SAINT LOUIS RAMS
Gamblor’s Pick: Houston (-6)
Bet Amount: None (Flip)
WHY IT’S WRONG: There’s no way I could possibly believe in St. Louis.  The one asset – Steven Jackson – is hurting, and they have no offense otherwise.  This line seems a bit short to me (and Gamblor agrees) so I’m worried that something is up with this one, but it falls into the gray area between hedge and flip bets and I’m glad – I wouldn’t be comfortable having money on either side in this game.
ATLANTA FALCONS
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NEW YORK JETS
Gamblor’s Pick: Atlanta (+6)
Bet Amount: $3.99 (Hedge)
WHY IT’S WRONG: Atlanta has got some serious problems.  Normally a single running back doesn’t make that much of a difference (the offensive line is more important), but the lack of Michael Turner has really hurt the Falcons.  And without Matt Ryan, the Falcons will be completely shut down on offense.  Their defense is weak, and the Jets should be able to control the ball very well in this game.  I think they should be able to cover without too much trouble, though a backdoor cover is definitely something I’d be concerned about.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
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PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Gamblor’s Pick: San Francisco (+8)
Bet Amount: $15.75 (Hedge)
WHY I AGREE: I know the trip across the country is a long one, and the time change is a headache, but this entire season, San Francisco has only been beaten by more than seven points just once this season.  That game was against Atlanta – who boasts a similar offensive attack as the Eagles – but I don’t see San Francisco showing up flat to this game.  They’ve got a slim chance at making the playoffs, and they won’t squander the opportunity.
CHICAGO BEARS
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BALTIMORE RAVENS
Gamblor’s Pick: Chicago (+11)
Bet Amount: $4.79 (Flip)
WHY IT’S WRONG: It’s impossible to pick Chicago at this point.  Their season is finished.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
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PITTSBURGH STEELERS
Gamblor’s Pick: Pittsburgh (-2)
Bet Amount: $340.17 (Flip – 95%)
WHY IT’S WRONG: It kills me to pick against Gamblor on a bet of this magnitude – though agreeing didn’t do me much good in the Dallas game earlier this season.  Gamblor sees this spread as absolutely ridiculous – there’s no way Pittsburgh should be favored in this game.  The Steelers have lost five straight – including losses to Kansas City, Oakland, and Cleveland.  The Packers have been on fire lately, winning their last five games.  But they very easily could have lost to Chicago if not for Cutler’s horrible interception in the fourth quarter.  And although the  Packers are 4-2 on the road this season, look at who they’ve beaten:  St. Louis (1-12), Cleveland (2-11), Detroit (2-11), and Chicago (5-8).  But that’s not enough to convince me – without Polamalu, the Steelers have been unable to close out games.  I’m worried that I’m going to lose, and lose huge, with this one.
CINCINNATI BENGALS
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SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
Gamblor’s Pick: Cincinnati (+6.5)
Bet Amount: $33.90 (Hedge)
WHY I AGREE: The Chargers have been hot lately, but they’ve got to take a game off sooner or later.  The Bengals can’t afford to.  They’ll throw everything they’ve got at the Chargers, and their secondary might be the first to actually contain Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates.
OAKLAND RAIDERS
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DENVER BRONCOS
Gamblor’s Pick: Denver (-14)
Bet Amount: $37.49 (Flip Conflict – 90%)
WHY I AGREE: I’d never expect to say that Bruce Gradkowski is the heart and soul of any team, but as soon as I saw Jamarcus Russell’s name appear on the Gamecast last week (I was watching from inside the car), I knew my disaster parlay would be paying off.  The Raiders have no chance to win with him in the game, and they won’t bother to bring any effort to this contest.  They’ll probably sandbag the rest of their games just to ensure they’ve got a shot at getting a new quarterback in the draft.  Denver has a lot to play for here.  They won’t phone this one in.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
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SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
Gamblor’s Pick: Tampa Bay (+6.5)
Bet Amount: $2.79 (Hedge)
WHY IT’S WRONG: Standard procedure in Seattle games – take the favorite.  It’s only failed once so far this season.  I’ll be rounding this one down.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS
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CAROLINA PANTHERS
Gamblor’s Pick: Carolina (+9)
Bet Amount: $6.58 (Hedge Conflict)
WHY I AGREE: The Vikings aren’t going anywhere.  With a two game lead on the Packers and an edge in the tiebreaker, they’ve got the division taken care of.  They won’t be able to catch New Orleans, so there’s really nothing left for them to play for.  Carolina might not even start Jake Delhomme, which should help them control the ball a lot better, though I’m not really sure how they’ll manage to catch Minnesota in this one – but my gut tells me they will.
NEW YORK GIANTS
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WASHINGTON REDSKINS
Gamblor’s Pick: Washington (+3)
Bet Amount: $7.78 (Hedge Conflict)
WHY I AGREE: The Giants seem overrated at this point.  The Redskins would really, really, really love to knock them out of the playoff picture, and might actually have the chops to do it at this point.  Their victory over the Raiders will have given them momentum, while the Giants are still licking their wounds from their loss to Philadelphia.  Don’t be too shocked in the Redskins pull off the upset here.

flashfiller

Week

Zack

Gamblor

Weighted Wins

Weighted Picks

Weighted Win %

Profit

Win

Lose

Push

Win

Lose

Push

1

7

9

9

7

1339

1727

77.5%

$155.71

2

9

7

11

5

970

1292

75.1%

$98.97

3

9

7

6

10

607

1552

39.1%

-$61.75

4

8

6

5

9

288

963

29.9%

-$70.33

5

6

8

6

8

655

1217

53.8%

$15.46

6

7

7

8

6

625

1231

50.8%

-$10.53

7

8

4

1

3

9

1

246

1161

21.2%

-$127.43

8

3

10

9

7

709

1548

45.8%

-$34.43

9

7

6

10

3

1152

1609

71.6%

$119.67

10

7

8

8

7

660

2110

31.3%

-$159.21

11

8

8

8

8

745

1614

46.2%

-$29.81

12

7

8

1

6

9

496

1230

40.3%

-$59.66

13

4

12

7

9

482

1037

46.5%

-$20.55

14

8

8

7

9

581

1573

36.9%

-$92.19

Total

98

108

2

100

106

2

9555

19864

48.1%

-$276.08

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