Thursday, September 10, 2009

Testing Football Outsiders Metrics - NFL Week 1 Picks

Here is an incredibly unoriginal idea, pick NFL games against the spread. Everyone does this, so I added a twist by arming myself with the Football Outsiders (FO) picks against the spread (available to premium subscribers only). I am rolling up my sleeves and competing with FO, so we will track these picks over the year, and can even throw in some other 'celebrity' pickers, such as Bill Simmons of

The FO "Picks against the spread" are based on an equation that combines the preseason projection and (except in Week 1) current DVOA (using certain specific splits, not just each team's total) as well as weather and injuries. These picks are listed in order of confidence based on the lines listed. " Last year, FO finished with a 53.8% success rate against the spread during the regular season, and I finished at 53.1% (I have proof) which are both okay, but one needs 55%+ to make money if one were to engage in such an illegal activity as wagering with these picks.

I will now list the FO picks in order of confidence, and then bold a team wherever I differ.
  1. Chicago +3.5 over GREEN BAY - They love Chicago, but I'm shocked this is the FO lock of the week. Even straight-up, Chicago is their #4 pick. Partly to show I'm not fellating FO as I write this, I'm taking GB with the new D.

  2. Detroit +13 over NEW ORLEANS - High spread is driving this pick, that and NO's defense still stinks, but Stafford, child please!

  3. NEW ENGLAND -11 over Buffalo - Easiest pick on the board. Remember when they used to annihilate everyone, well, this could be like 2 years ago. Over/under on disgruntled TO shots, I say 2.5.

  4. Kansas City +13 over BALTIMORE - This line is incredibly high for week 1 in the parity-driven NFL, but KC without Cassel makes this a blowout, and he's probably not playing, and definitely not playing at 100%.

  5. San Diego -9.5 over OAKLAND - 2nd easiest pick on the board.

  6. St. Louis +8.5 over SEATTLE - FO has St. Louis as a big sleeper, at least relative to last year's performance, but I think Housh and Deion Branch (healthy for this game at least) will shred that pathetic secondary.

  7. HOUSTON -4.5 over NY Jets - Houston should be a playoff team is Schaub plays at least close to all 16 games.

  8. Tennessee +6.5 over PITTSBURGH - This line is too high for an obvious defensive struggle.

  9. Jacksonville +7 over INDIANAPOLIS - Jax always plays Indy close.

  10. San Francisco +6.5 over ARIZONA - FO hates Zona', mostly because their metrics think Kurt Warner will get hurt or fall flat on his face because of his age. Too bad their metrics don't account for him being from Krypton and not adhering to their petty metrics.

  11. NY GIANTS -6.5 over Washington - The Orioles will win the World Series bef0re I'll pick against the Redskins.

  12. Minnesota -4 over CLEVELAND - I think this is one of the easier games on the board, but perhaps Favre's adaptation to Minny will slow their O-down a little.

  13. Philadelphia -1.5 over CAROLINA - Can't get over Delhomme's playoff meltdown.

  14. Miami +4 over ATLANTA - Atlanta can't improve much more, but I don't like Miami. That said, the reason a lot of people are down on Miami is their schedule, not their ability.

  15. CINCINNATI -4 over Denver - Ochocinco could have a huge year, but not this week against Champ Bailey.

  16. Dallas -6 over TAMPA BAY - Tampa has a shot and is probably better than most people think, but I want to see 'it' first.
Sports Guy has Cousin Sal, and FO has their metrics, but a wise man once said to me, "All you do is drink beer and pick winners!" Bring it on!

(Image courtesy of

1 comment:

  1. I'm gonna go with the "Tampa is even WORSE than people think" theory.

    Just parlayed the Eagles (-3) and Cowboys (-6), as much as it pains me to root for them. I have a hard time trusting double digit spreads in Week me crazy.


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