Picking Apart The Spreads

Told you I’d update more often. I figure I spend most saturday afternoons at home, doing work or whatever, so I can spend a few minutes every Saturday picking apart the NFL spreads, analyzing who I think will cover it. For the purpose of these picks, I’ll be using an average of the five gambling sites Yahoo! Sports odds uses.

A quick analysis of spreads, for those of you who are noobs. When a team is favored by 6, they are listed as “-6”, whereas the underdog would be “+6,” so in the below game, Tamap Bay is projected to beat Carolina by 1.5 points. How is that possible? It’s not, teams can’t score half-points, but spreads are generally set with fractional points so no tie can be argued. (If the spread is -4, and the favorite wins by 4, no one wins or loses money.)

So here they are (all games on Sunday unless otherwise noted):

Carolina + 1.5 @ Tampa Bay, 1:00pm
The Panthers are coming off a week 5 thrashing against the lowly Chiefs (34-0,) while the Bucs lost a heartbreaker at home. Look for the Bucs to catch the Panthers sleeping and win this game. With spreads as low as these, if you win the game, you usually beat the spread. Take the Bucs.

St. Louis +13 @ Washington, 1:00pm
I’m not even going to get into why and how the Rams are so bad, because they’re not. Granted, the Rams are 0-4 while the Redskins are a surprising 4-1, it looks like this game should be a Redskins blowout. But the Rams do still have their pride. With Marc Bulger back at QB and Steven Jackson ready to get back to his old self, look for the Redskins to take the game, but the Rams to keep it close. Take St. Louis.

Cincinnati +9 @ New York J, 1:00pm
The spread opened at something like 5.5, but with news that Ryan Fitzpatrick will be replacing Bengals QB Carson Palmer, it blew up. Look for the Bretts to blow away the Bengals in what will be enjoyable only for fans of the Jets (and Brett Favre fantasy owners.) Take New York.

Oakland +7 @ New Orleans, 1:00pm
Both of these teams are pretty bad, but in a close loss to Minnesota last Monday, the Saints proved their not as bad as people say they are. At least their better than the Raiders, so while this game might not be a Saints blowout, the Raiders are a lot worse than they’ve played this year. Take New Orleans.

Miami +3 @ Houston, 1:00pm
The Texans will avenge their loss to the Colts last week, and be the first team this season to stop the Dolphins wing formation. Take Houston.

Baltimore +4 @ Indianapolis, 1:00pm
I’m not just saying this because I’m a Texans fan, but the Colts are on the decline while the Ravens are rising. Should be a close game, so Take the Ravens.

Jacksonville +3 @ Denver, 4:05pm
The Broncos faced a tough defense last week against Tampa Bay, but look for them to step up their passing game against the Jags secondary. Who needs Scheffler, Young, and Royal? Take Denver.

Philadelphia -4.5 @ San Francisco, 4:15pm
The only reason the spread is so low is because the game is in San Francisco. I know the favourites aren’t going to win every game this week, but in this game, you should definitely take Philadelphia.

Dallas -4.5 @ Arizona, 4:15pm
The Cards have a good passing attack, and Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald will light them up. The problem? The Cowboys have Tony Romo and Terrell Owens. Take Dallas.

Green Bay +1 @ Seattle, 4:15pm
This could go down as the game of the week. Both teams are desperate for a win, but the Packers are more desperate. Take Green Bay.

New England +4.5 @ San Diego, 8:15pm
I don’t really want to pick this game, it seems too close, but I’ll go with the Chargers, who need this game so Denver doesn’t leap too far ahead in the race for the AFC West.

New York G -7.5 @ Cleveland, 8:30pm Monday
The Browns seem to be sinking this year, and could really use this win in the national spotlight against the Super Bowl champs. Look for Cleveland to keep it close.

With my weekly picks, I’m gonna do a new feature called “Mise Picks,” which feature suggestions for those people who by Mise-Au-Jeu lottery tickets. To win a Mise-Au-Jeu, you pick a certain amount of times to cover the spread, and then lay down some money, from $2-$100. If you take three teams (the minimum,) you could win five times your bet. Four teams? Eight times your bet. Five teams? Twelve times your bet. And the maximum six teams? 25 times your bet. unfortunately, if just one of the teams you pick doesn’t cover, you lose everything.

So here are the six teams most likely to cover, for you Mise-Au-Jeu fanatics:

Mise-Au-Jeu Picks
1. New York J -9 over Cincinnati
2. Philadelphia -4.5 over San Francisco
3. Denver -3 over Jacksonville
4. Houston -3 over Miami
5. New Orleans -7 over Oakland
6. St. Louis +13 over Washington


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