When you go to Las Vegas and start placing money on teams, chances are you'll pick a handful of games, and place the same amount on each game. There's certainly nothing wrong with it, and that's how I've operated each and every time I've been there. It's easier to track, remember, and calculate your potential winnings/losses. It also means you need to hit 52.5% of your picks correct to win any money, which is a very difficult task to accomplish over a long period of time. It's why I looked for a different way of betting, and at least for one week, it really helped me out.
Last week the Predictor went a bad-on-the-surface 7-9 against the spread, with one of the wins (Giants) being a game we didn't bet because we agreed with the spread. But an interesting thing happened: I made $33.68 on our initial $500 we have invested because our best three games, the Vikings, Raiders, and Lions, all came home winners. Before we would have been down 3 or 4 units going just 6-9, but we actually made money because we weighted our bets according to how strongly we felt about them. Novel concept, eh? It also means flipping just two games could have made it an extremely profitable week, as long as we can hit those top 3 games. We'll put it to the test again this week.
Picking winners also went really well, going 11-5, and getting wins from underdog Raiders and Lions teams. I'm in a confidence pool with my straight-up picks, and it finished 2nd overall, so I hope at least somebody else put our information to good use.
Google Doc with all picks, percentages, and money wagered
Lifetime Record (since 2008): 1059-960-39 (52.4%) ATS, 1308-752-4 (63.5%) SU
2016 Record: 7-9 ATS (+$33.68), 11-5 SU
This line started as Bills -3 before completely flipping favorites, which I assume is based on the strong performance by the Jets in their loss to the Bengals. The Bills always seem to play well in their home opener, and they struggled mightily on Offense on Sunday against the Ravens, and could be without Sammie Watkins tonight with a lingering foot injury. The line is dead on the Predictor, so no money on tonight's game.
Jets 23, Bills 22 (SU Win%: 52.2%, ATS Win%: 51.3%)
It's really hard to tell how good this 49ers team is, as their game Monday night against the Rams might say much more about the Rams than it does the Niners. The Panthers played well in their loss in Denver, and have four extra days to prepare for their home opener. This is a ton of points, and I'm actually hesitant that it likes the 49ers to cover here, as they had this exact spot last year and lost by four TDs in PIttsburgh. But we'll take the nearly two touchdowns and hope for a non-blowout.
Panthers 26, 49ers 17 (SU Win%: 72.5%, ATS Win%: 59.8%)
Ravens (-6.5) at Browns- Sunday 1:00 pm ET
Another game where the Predictor matches exactly with the market. The Browns looked awful Sunday in Philadelphia, but they get Luke McCown back under center after the season-ending injury to Robert Griffin. The Ravens struggled on Offense, but the best medicine might just be playing the Browns. No money on this one.
Ravens 25, Browns 19 (SU Win%: 66.6%, ATS Win%: 50.0%)
Titans (+6) at Lions - Sunday 1:00 pm ET
I mentioned last week I'm very high on the Lions, and that continues this week against a Titans team that will be completely overmatched. The Lions Defense will also look much better than a week ago, as the Titans are no where near Andrew Luck and the Colts level.
Lions 30, Titans 21 (SU Win%: 72.3%, ATS Win%: 59.9%)
The biggest difference between the market and the Predictor on the weekend. I think this line is an overreaction on both sides from Week 1, so we're going to try and take advantage of that fact. Chiefs win outright after (hopefully) not falling into a 21 point hole.
Chiefs 20, Texans 17 (SU Win%: 58.8%, ATS Win%: 76.2%)
Yet another game we'll avoid with our money, as it agrees almost exactly with the Vegas line. Dolphins always seem to play well in New England, while the Patriots will try to avoid a let-down after their improbable win in Arizona last weekend.
Patriots 27, Dolphins 21 (SU Win%: 65.8%, ATS Win%: 50.0%)
Saints (+4.5) at Giants - Sunday 1:00 pm ET
These two teams scored a combined 14 touchdowns a season ago, so it's no coincidence they're projected to combine for 60 points. I think both teams will be playing close game after close game all season, so I'll take the points no matter where they come from.
Giants 31, Saints 29 (SU Win%: 54.1%, ATS Win%: 64.8%)
Bengals (+3.5) at Steelers - Sunday 1:00 pm ET
The marquee game early Sunday pits a Playoff revenge spot for the Bengals in a place they won a season ago. The Steelers looked very good Monday night in Washington, while the Bengals were lucky to escape with a win on the road last week. Catching the extra half point is very nice, so we're going with the underdog here who knows their opponent quite well.
Steelers 24, Bengals 23 (SU Win%: 51.7%, ATS Win%: 64.3%)
An NFC East game being played in the early slot? Did I imagine this? Anyway, the Cowboys can't do anything without Tony Romo, and the Redskins aren't nearly as bad as they showed on Monday night. I'll take the home team and give less than a field goal.
Redskins 27, Cowboys 23 (SU Win%: 60.7%, ATS Win%: 62.8%)
Cardinals lose at home as touchdown-plus favorites host a team that won on the road in their opener, and are still favored by a TD? There's a reason for it. Give me a pissed-off Cardinals team looking to lay the wood to someone, and the Buccaneers are just the unlucky ones to head to Phoenix.
Cardinals 31, Buccaneers 23 (SU Win%: 71.0%, ATS Win%: 57.9%)
Seahawks (-4.5) at Rams- Sunday 4:05 pm ET
The Seahawks disappointed mightily on Sunday, and the Rams were the worst offense we've seen since Jimmy Clausen led the Bears to an all-punt game against this same Seahawks Defense. Seattle's Offense can't play any worse than they did a week ago, so they'll spoil the first NFL game in Los Angeles in a long time.
Seahawks 28, Rams 15 (SU Win%: 80.1%, ATS Win%: 71.4%)
Colts (+6) at Broncos - Sunday 4:25 pm ET
Full write-up either later today or tomorrow, but the Colts always play the Broncos well, no matter who is on either team. I'll take the points please.
Broncos 24, Colts 22 (SU Win%: 55.2%, ATS Win%: 68.8%)
Falcons (+5) at Raiders - Sunday 4:25 pm ET
This line is pretty close, and the Falcons are going to struggle stopping teams this year, and the Raiders are clearly susceptible to big plays, something the Falcons are good at. I'll take the points in a game that should be right around the Vegas number.
Raiders 26, Falcons 22 (SU Win%: 58.4%, ATS Win%: 53.9%)
The Jaguars played the Packers down to the wire last weekend, and the Chargers blew a 21 point lead in the second half against the Chiefs, so surely we should lay 3 points with San Diego, right? Yes, yes we should. Don't overreact to one week, and take advantage of a nice line.
Chargers 28, Jaguars 22 (SU Win%: 65.0%, ATS Win%: 60.6%)
Packers (-2.5) at Vikings - Sunday 8:30 pm ET
Once again we like an underdog to win straight up, this time the Vikings opening up their new stadium against the hated Packers. The Vikings Defense is legit, and while they can't be trusted to score twice each week, they'll help an Offense trying to find themselves after losing their QB. Vikings straight up to win.
Vikings 22, Packers 21 (SU Win%: 54.3%, ATS Win%: 57.0%)
Eagles (+3.5) at Bears - Monday 8:30 pm ET
The biggest question here is about the Eagles and QB Carson Wentz, as he played exceptional in Week 1, but it was against the Browns. I'm not all that high on the Bears this year, so I'll take the 3.5 in a very close game.
Bears 25, Eagles 24 (SU Win%: 52.2%, ATS Win%: 64.3%)