A happy recap this week, as our official plays went 3-0. We had two big plays on NFC (L)east teams. The first was Dallas (-1.5) on the road against a St. Louis squad starting some guy named Austin Davis. Massey-Peabody is the only rating system I know of that was bullish on the Cowboys going into the season. And while there are limitations to our model (a BIG one is that we don’t specifically account for personnel changes), our optimism was based on some expected regression to the mean for the Cowboy defense combined with a positive outlook on the Romo-led offense. We certainly looked foolish in the first half, when Dallas fell behind 21-0, but we were vindicated (at least in the short term) when the they rallied for a 34-31 win.
While my gut gets a 0% weight in the Massey-Peabody ratings, I really liked our Giants (+2) pick. New York was winless and coming off a game where they dominated Arizona statistically, but lost due to 4 turnovers and a punt return TD. Houston was unbeaten, with two wins against bottom-dwellars Washington and Oakland. A classic overreaction game! The Giants came through for us, with a 30-17 win.
Chicago (+2.5/+3), our lone Other Play, was a bit of a surprise to me. We were short the Bears in Week 1 and long the Jets in Week 2. Yes, the Bears had injury issues, which Massey-Peabody does not account for, but they were largely at the wide receiver position. If you’ve been reading this blog the past few years, you know how we feel about the value of receivers. Maybe the market overreacted to the uncertainty surrounding Marshall and Jeffery? Regardless of why we found value on the Bears, they came through for us, winning by eight.
We did lose our Break-Even or Better recommendation on Tampa Bay (+6/+6.5). And I mean we really lost. If the game were to be played again this week, our line would be eight points higher!
Last week’s closing line value (CLV) report:
- Dallas: picked at -1.5, closed at -1.75, CLV +0.25
- New York Giants: picked at +2, closed at -1, CLV +3.0
- Chicago: picked at +2.75, closed at +1.5, CLV +1.25
- Tampa Bay: picked at +6.25, closed at +6.5, CLV -0.25
This week’s picks are based on consensus lines as of noon Vegas time on Wednesday. As usual, we do not account for matchup factors or injuries (except QB). M-P lines are based on M-P ratings and a standard home field advantage, as well as adjustments for extra rest (byes and Thursday games).
Break-Even or Better selections should cover the spread between 52.5% and 54% on the time, our Other Plays 54%-55%, and our Big Plays should win more than 55% of the time. Our estimate for each game is based on our line for the game, regressed appropriately towards the market number, as well as the value of different points. How much we weight the market’s number is based on the historical predictive power of the closing line relative to our line. This makes our estimates conservative, since we generally expect lines to move in our direction.
Big Plays (6-2 YTD)
- New York Giants +4 at Washington [MP Line: NYG +0.9]
- Chicago +1.5 vs. Green Bay [MP Line: CHI -2.9]
Other Plays (2-1 YTD)
- Atlanta -3 at Minnesota [MP Line: ATL -6.0]
Break-Even or Better (1-4 YTD)
- Buffalo +3 at Houston [MP Line: BUF +1.2]
- Pittsburgh -7.5 vs. Tampa Bay [MP Line: PIT -10.1]
- Kansas City +3.5 vs. New England [MP Line: KC +1.9]
- Dallas +3 vs. New Orleans [MP Line: DAL +0.8]
- Carolina +3.5 at Baltimore [MP Line: CAR +1.5]
Our lines (mean forecast, not median!) on the remaining games:
- Miami -3.9 vs. Oakland (in London)
- Indianapolis -7.0 vs. Tennessee
- Detroit -0.7 at New York Jets
- San Diego -15.0 vs. Jacksonville
- San Francisco -6.4 vs. Philadelphia