OK, I made a revision to the Big Five Bets. I hope I am not overthinking my picks like the way Bruce Bochy overthought his bullpen decisions for Game 4 (OUCH!). We are switching New Orleans +3 and Dallas +4.5 with Philadelphia -2.5 and Oakland Pick 'Em. Read on to see the analysis (earlier post shown as well).
I have to say I am pleased with how well the GE model has worked. I am doing my best to be humble (especially since I named the model after myself!) but being 60% correct with the Big Five Bets is solid (15 - 10). On the Pig Skin Pick 'Em tournament on ESPN, the GE model is 46 - 31 or nearly 60% and our rank among the 150,000+ participants is 99.2% tile which is great!
What's even more exciting is that the linear regression model we have been using for predicting point differentials has a correlation coefficient of 0.60. That is very nice (as Borat would say!) if you know Stats 101! Previous correlation coefficients have been 0.4 so the tweaks we have made have helped tremendously.
So who do we pick this week to keep this money train going?! Well here are the Big Five Bets for Week 6.
Now, why do we like these teams? Here is our analysis.
Divisional matchups are tough to predict and there hasn't been a clear cut winner in the Eagles - Redskins rivalry during the past few years. Some divisional matchups are easier to figure out than this one based on past results and key players involved (like how Seattle tends to dominate SF). We must go, however, with the current data since these rosters are quite different than the Eagles and Redskins from a few years ago. The GE model has Philadelphia winning by 8.64 points. I think the Eagles will show a bit of regression with their GE ranking given how they destroyed weak teams like Cleveland and Chicago to start the season but they also destroyed a very good Pittsburgh team and came close to beating Detroit on the road last week. Carson Wentz has proven to be a good signal caller and is showing a lot of poise in the pocket. Washington, on the other hand, is a weird team and I don't think they have beaten any respectable teams except for Baltimore and even then, the Ravens had the game won until a late TD was called back. Going back to my Geometry days, one can use the transitive property: Philly beats Pittsburgh badly, Pittsburgh beats Washing badly (on the road), so Philly should beat Washington badly (also on the road). What I think is more important is that a key player from the Redskins is missing: Jordan Reed. The guy is a beast but with a huge offensive weapon like Reed not in the lineup (as of now he hasn't passed the concussion protocol and this is his 5th concussion in his career) I don't think this bodes well for Washington. The Eagles are healthy and have a chance to truly separate themselves from the pack in their division. Giving up 2.5 points when the GE model has them winning by at least a TD is not asking for much. We'll take the Eagles to cover and they should win by at least a field goal.
Baltimore is a better team than the NY Giants. Just that plain and simple. In fact, Baltimore should win by about 5 points according to the GE model. NY might be hosting but they are not playing well and Baltimore is a veteran club that knows how to win on the road. I would even consider taking Baltimore money line as that is very good value and we'll gladly take +3 for the Ravens.
In one of the afternoon games, we like the Falcons. Atlanta has been staying at UW right after they beat Denver. Clearly this is a team that is treating the last 2 weeks like a business trip so you have to appreciate the focus here. The Falcons are also healthy and head coach Dan Quinn knows Seattle's tendencies on defense and offense as he was the defensive coordinator when the Seahawks made back-to-back trips to the Super Bowl during the 2013 & 2014 seasons. Of course Seattle still has many of the core players on its current roster which should enable Dan Quinn to predict what Seattle will do. +6.5 for a team that is arguably the best offensive team in the NFL is really good value. The public simply loves Seattle way too much and there is not enough respect for Atlanta. This could also be a huge statement game for Atlanta if they want to prove that they are a legit Super Bowl contender: win twice in a row on the road in two of the toughest venues and against recent Super Bowl champions. Denver, in some ways, can be a tougher place to play than Seattle given the thin air but the crowd noise in Seattle is nothing to laugh at. If Matt Ryan can put up decent numbers against a tough defense like Denver, he can probably do well in Seattle. The GE model has Atlanta winning by 1.34 points. This game will be close and has the best value of all games this week.
OK, I know better to not bet on the Oakland Raiders but I can't help myself. Going all the way back to my football prognostication days in high school (more than 20 years ago!), I vividly remember having near perfect weeks but only one team would screw me over: the Raiders (they were in LA back then!). They can be quite unpredictable. What I will say is that the men in Silver & Black have shown a lot of grit this season and they have an immensely talented offense (as expected). The Chiefs are coming off a bye and this rivalry is one of the most heated in the NFL (goes all the way back to the 60s). In fact, the Chiefs have often beaten the Raiders to a pulp in Oakland during the dark years for the Raiders (post Jon Gruden years when Tampa Bay smacked the Raiders in the Super Bowl). Well, this is a new season and the GE model has Oakland winning this game by 4.45 points. The fact this game is a pick 'em is shocking and shows no respect for Oakland who is at home and pretty much injury free (except for Latavius Murray but the Raiders have enough depth in the backfield). The Chiefs haven't shown me much this year so the line is respecting the Chiefs a bit too much. If we just need the Raiduhs to win, then I will quote the late and famous (sometime infamous) Al Davis: JUST WIN BABY!
We end with Monday Night Football and we are not going to give up on Arizona yet. In fact, we will give up points for Arizona. The GE model has them winning by 15 points. The Jets are awful and will be playing a night game on the west coast. The start time of 5:30 PM will feel like 8:30 PM for them. That is never good for an east coast team playing on the west coast. This is also the 4th road game in 5 weeks for the Jets. The Cardinals, on the other hand, have had 4 extra days of rest and seem to have shaken off some of the cobwebs after beating the 49ers. Oh, Carson Palmer returns! Arizona should destroy the Jets just how the last three teams the Jets have faced have beaten the Jets by at least 10 points.
Here are the rest of the plays we like for this week.
SD +3 (COVERED! PERFECT FOR THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL SO FAR THIS SEASON!)
Roll with these picks and make some money!