Once again this season the Winning Stats will try to win you money picking games against the spread. It's been on a roll the last five season, besting the 52.5% you need to win in Vegas in four of the years, including a nice 53.5% mark last season (136-118-2), and that was while struggling down the stretch, going just 21-26-1 in the last 3 weeks. I hope to keep the train going in 2015.
Picking winners also had a pretty good year, going 165-90, or 64.6%, besting 2013 by 3 games and the best season picking games since 2009. While the spread picks may have stumbled down the stretch, picking winners did not, hitting on 32 of 48 games in the final three weeks. The goal this year is to get to 66%, or 2/3 of games correct.
Normally I'm going to aim to have these up on Friday morning for optimum picking, but got a little behind this week. I'm also going to try and have write-ups for the games I pick for the SuperContest, so you get a little more of an explanation why I like them.
Speaking of the Super Contest, I went 45-40 last year, besting my 2013 by one game. I got out to a quick start last year and faded, so want to jump out similarly this year and keep the momentum going. Here's who I like for Week 1:
Packers -7 at Bears
This is my 5th of the five picks, and it was a coin flip between this one and taking the Texans -1 against the Chiefs. I think the Packers enjoy taking the Bears to the woodshed, and I don't think the Bears Defense will have anything for that Offense. Their only chance is for Jay Cutler to go nuts, and I just can't see it happening.
Bills +2.5 vs. Colts
I've mentioned this in previous seasons, and I'll certainly mention it again this year, but the Predictor has a very good track record (>60%) picking games where the home team should lose the game, but Vegas is giving them more points than it should. The Bills fall into this category. I think the Colts win by 1 late, so this would fall into this category. Obviously I would feel really good if this were 3 points, but the situation means I have to play this one.
Panthers -3 at Jaguars
I'm very high on the Panthers this year, even with the injury to Kelvin Benjamin. It starts in Jacksonville Sunday, where I think they'll take care of business with their Defense, which is very good. I think they win by double digits.
Redskins +3.5 vs. Dolphins
Sometimes when you bet the NFL, the lines that look the most ridiculous are the ones that end up working out for you, and this one fits the bill. The Redskins are the definition of dysfunctional, but they're at home, Kirk Cousins won't be looking over his shoulder (at least not yet), and the Dolphins always seem to lose some games they have no business losing. Take the 3.5 and hope they don't implode.
Falcons +3 vs. Eagles
Another team (the Eagles) that everyone is loving in the Preseason, and I'm not sure they deserve to be road favorites against an underachieving team from 2014 that beat some good teams at home last season. Home dog getting too many points (third one this week). Like getting the points here.
Here are the rest of your Week 1 picks: