Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The FGR's Thanksgiving Day Picks

I spent an inordinate amount of time today trying to come-up with some kind of system that would make me better at this because the educated hunch approach has gone predictably south. My idea was to rank the teams and then develop a formula that would tell me roughly how many points better one team was than another based on a combination of record, point differential and other less scientific factors like whether it was a divisional game or if Mike McCarthy was involved. If I just had such a list, I could then compare any two teams based on their ranking and adjust for home field advantage, player health, etc. I was about an hour into this when it dawned on me that what I was searching for was how the betting lines are set in the first place. Clearly I'm an idiot but we knew that.   

But did that stop me? Of course not. At least having some kind of rudimentary system should prevent my from picking games based on whatever snarky comment pops into my mind the first time I look at the match-up regardless of point spread which would make it impossible to pick the Raiders under any circumstances. Also, I just tested my new methodology on last week's games and it would have yielded a record of 10-3-1 so I'm pretty sure that all five of us are about to get rich. Get ready to be ensconced in velvet because here we go.   

Chicago by 3 at Detroit: The Pick - Bears

The answers are all right 
there on the board. Dork.
So here's how the new system works. Every team gets a number based on a highly proprietary mathematical formula. In this case, the Bears' number is 8.5 and the Lions number is 0.5. The Lions get 3 more points for being the home team which increases their number to 3.5. Based on that, the Bears should be a 5 point favorite so take the Bears. See how easy that was? And we have the added benefit of betting against Matthew Stafford playing the league's 3rd best defense without his starting running back. PASS THE GRAVY!!!  

Dallas by 8 over Washington: The Pick - Redskins

We're barely out of the gate and we already have to abandon the winning formula because it was predicated on a Redskins team led by Alex Smith. Oh but do we? The Redskins number is 6 and the Cowboys are 3 plus their home field 3 which would makes this a pick 'em game. Is Alex Smith worth 8 more points than Colt McCoy? No. No he is not, first and foremost because Alex Smith probably isn't 8 points better than any quarterback not named Kizer, "the" Peterman or any McCown. He was only the 25th highest rated quarterback in the first place averaging barely a touchdown per game. You could replace him with a 2006 Buick LeSabre and it wouldn't make an 8 point difference.  

Not to mention, Colt will be fine. He'll throw a bunch of passes to the tight end, check it down with regularity and generally take care of the ball. The Redskins' have the league's 6th best run defense so they can stop what the Cowboys do best which means Jason Garrett will abandon the game plan in the second quarter and let Dak Prescott throw it forty times. WINNER WINNER TURKEY DINNER!!! 

New Orleans by 13 over Atlanta: The Pick - Saints

This is a huge number for a divisional game but not huge enough. The FGR super computer tells us that the Saints should actually be favored by 16.5 which makes sense because this feels like at least a 35-17 situation. Especially when you consider that the Falcons' defense is ranked 28th overall and 29th against the pass. Sure there's always the threat that Atlanta can score with them except they've only posted more than 20 points in one of their last six games and that was 29 against the Bucs who play defense like their parents are making them do it. And you know what that means right? APPLE PIE A LA MODE BABY BECAUSE WE JUST WENT 3 AND 0!!!!   

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