Sorry to jump the gun, Tex.
My week 1 point spreads this year are partly based on the first down differentials between starting quarterbacks, and partly based on last year’s margins of victory all the way back to week 1 of 2011. I add in factors for short weeks, for bye weeks, for teams that have shown serious home field advantages in the recent past. I wrote my own time-weighted forecasting software for this job, and I keep trying to improve it.
Weeks 1 and 2 were weak spots for me in past years. My coverage of first downs in preseason will hopefully fill in this weak spot. I have hopes of being the best point spread forecaster anywhere, whether free or pay-through-the-nose.
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dal nyg 3.6 4 -0.4 Let's translate this line: I’m forecasting that the Giants will win by 3.6 points at home. A point spread site, in this case footballlocks.com, forecasts a 4 point spread on the game. There’s not much of a difference between my call and the Las Vegas line in this particular case.
stl det 18.9 8.5 10.4 Now here’s a call! The Rams have been nothing but a sorry excuse for a team all preseason, and all last year also. I have Detroit running away with this game so badly that Detroit crushes the point spread like an aluminum can on the highway.
ne ten -5.3 -6.5 1.2 My numbers don’t quite see New England beating the point spread. Tennessee is a pretty good home team. However, with New England I don’t trust my preseason numbers. I have to factor in Vollmer’s return, Mankins’s getting back to normal and Wes Welker's appearance, plus the Patriots have a number of young starters that are all getting better week by week.
mia hou 6.4 10.5 -4.1 Miami actually looked pretty good against Atlanta in preseason. Houston’s first stringers actually looked pretty bad at New Orleans. This game could be a good reason why you should avoid taking huge overdogs.
buf nyj 9.2 3 6.2 Fitzpatrick has looked ugly overall in preseason, as if Buffalo’s current 1-8 streak is not going to be a fluke. New York may not have a quarterback but they have a defense.
atl kc 7.9 -2.5 10.4 Kansas City’s first stringers were going out and beating people this preseason. Atlanta’s first stringers weren’t performing. Big difference!
jac min 5.4 4.5 0.9 Meh!
phi cle 6.1 -8 14.1 Everything I just said about the Kansas City and Atlanta tilt, double it! Philadelphia has been lousy this preseason even with Vick playing. Maybe Philly will stay true to form with their slow regular season start and fast finish.
ind chi 9.5 9.5 0.0 Absolutely no opinion here!
was no 15.2 9.5 5.7 New Orleans to roll at home, where they are tough, against a perennial weakling that showed little in preseason.
car tb -3.2 -2.5 -0.7
sea az 0.6 -2.5 3.1 I prefer to avoid calls on games with less than a 4 point difference in point spreads. I also prefer to not favor Arizona in all of September because of their truly horrid preseason games.
sf gb 15.4 5.5 9.9 San Francisco has my #1 NFL home field rating over the past three years. The flip side is that they are weak on the road, especially after a long flight east. Green Bay is 2000 miles or so. Green Bay also has a big home field rating.
pit den 4.2 1 3.2 Peyton has got it going, at least for now. Long range, maybe his neck will keep working, maybe not. It should work fine this week. Small point spread difference.
cin bal 10.1 6 4.1 This barely cracks my interest level. Baltimore to beat the spread.
sd oak 2.3 -1 3.3 Not above the legal limit. Throw it back.
My game of the week is for Philly with Vick to dismay its fans in Cleveland. I don’t usually see such a screamer.
Other great picks:
Kansas City to put Atlanta in its place
Detroit to have too much fun with St. Louis
Green Bay to roll over San Francisco, a good team
Miami to beat the points, although they probably won’t win.
Jets over Buffalo
New Orleans over Washington
Baltimore over Cincinnati plus the points.
It may seem strange to say, but even knowing what I do, I don’t gamble on football, ever. Gambling is for people who don’t understand mathematics. It’s an addictive habit. Groups such as Gamblers Anonymous have to straighten some smart people out.