Well, that was ugly.
What are the odds, too? Right after I led last week’s article with praising the league and how consistently profitable it had been, we go out and deliver one of the worst weeks on record. It’s almost too coincidental.
Because it is too coincidental.
I write about the popular teams almost every week. I state how unlikely it is for any one entity to be profitable nearly 100 percent of the time. The reality is, this is true of all money-making endeavors, and my own picks are not immune to it. In fact, I specifically mentioned this toward the end of my podcast episode about the popular teams. It’s a natural regression that is unavoidable. Because, believe me, if we all could avoid it, we would.
It is, therefore, not a coincidence at all that the moment the success reached an unsustainable level, it was no longer sustained. But, there are two major takeaways from this outcome, and they both play well into our favor.
The first result of the losing week is the overall record, which remains well above the profitable line. As an added bonus, it is no longer too far above to continue bearing fruit, and we can consider last week a ‘pullback’ for the next leg of success.
The bigger conclusion to draw from last week is something I mention whenever we suffer widespread losses. That is, we are not alone in this dip. I only look into these numbers after a losing week – it wouldn’t make sense beforehand since they aren’t accurate until the results are in – but the industry, as a whole, suffered its largest losing week of the season.
And the industry does not lose over the longterm.
Remember that, when we have these crushing weeks that coincide with the industry suffering, not only do we get better bargains in the near future, but there is also a growing amount of false overconfidence from those who were on the winning side of this anomaly. The numbers then become even more appealing for us, as they can comfortably move in our favor. When that happens, the tide will also turn back in our direction.
Listen to Episode 6 of our free podcast here:
Below are predictions for each game against the spread. Spreads have been taken from various websites and are subject to change. The spread in parenthesis denotes the selected team. An asterisk denotes a confidence pick.
*Confidence Picks – 2018 Season: 34-22-3 (Last Week: 2-4)
(2017 Season: 53-48-4) (2016 Season: 53-67-3) (2015 Season: 69-45-2) (2014 Season: 61-46-2) (4-Year Total: 236-206-11)
All Picks Against Spread – 2018 Season: 69-57-8 (Last Week: 3-10)
(2017 Season: 137-119-11) (2016 Season: 123-136-8) (2015 Season: 143-117-7) (2014 Season: 149-114-4) (4-Year Total: 552-486-30)
Arizona Cardinals at Kansas City Chiefs
It’s simply a matter of the number.
The Kansas City Chiefs are too overvalued. The Arizona Cardinals are too undervalued. The spread is too large.
Remember a few weeks ago when I released an episode of my podcast that specifically talked about popular teams eventually costing people money? If you didn’t hear it, I did some math about the Chiefs and the dangerous against-the-spread record they had accumulated. At the time, some websites had them listed as 7-0 and, if they were to finish at the extremely high – nearly impossible – watermark of 12-4 against-the-spread in the regular season, they would have to go 5-4 in that span. They promptly failed to cover their next spread.
Now, with only seven games remaining, the Chiefs would have to go 4-3 against-the-spread to reach this milestone. In order to do so, they will have to compete against a high-priced premium that is now placed on their heads.
A 17-point spread is massive. Period. It is reserved for the best of the best playing against the worst of the worst and a clear path for such a blowout to take place. This does not mean in terms of matchup or talent levels – as we frequently see mismatched teams – but the force that would push it into effect. For the Chiefs, in this non-conference game, no such force exists. If anything, with a visit to Mexico City and a head-to-head meeting with Los Angeles Rams upon arrival, this week has more of a potential for a ‘letdown’ than a ‘statement.’
The spread is simply too large for a Chiefs team with more reason to look ahead than live in the moment, and the high price tag plays right into the expected regression against-the-spread. Kansas City still cruises to a victory, but only by thirteen points as the Cardinals beat the spread.
Prediction: Arizona Cardinals (+17)
Washington Redskins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Not with the Washington Redskins, because we know that answer. We knew that, of the few games on which we were right, last week, the over-extended Redskins were in position to lose to the Falcons.
What happened that has made them underdogs in their next game? It isn’t an injury to quarterback Alex Smith. Or the emergence of a superstar from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The only logical explanation for the spread is that, while we expected Washington to lose its last game, it came as a surprise to the football-watching world. Which means the team will now be asked to pay for its mistake by sacrificing points against-the-spread.
The Redskins are in the ideal position to knock off the Buccaneers on Sunday. The matchup, itself, favors Washington, as Tampa Bay has allowed the most points-per-game in the league, and only held an opponent to fewer than 30 points twice in eight games. Whatever woes the Redskins have on offense will certainly be cured on Sunday.
Washington is also about to complete its four-game set with the NFC South after now losing two games in convincing fashion. In fact, the last time the Redskins lost to an NFC South opponent, they were being dismantled by the Saints to the tune of a 43-19 defeat. The following week, Washington beat the Carolina Panthers. A few games later, the Redskins lost by 24 points to the Atlanta Falcons. And now they seek revenge against the Buccaneers on Sunday.
Looking at the spread, it opened at a mere one point before rising to a field goal at the time of this writing. Again, without news pushing the number higher, it appears to be driven more by perception than anything else. And the perception that a 5-3 team is about to lose against one of the most inconsistent squads in the sport is dangerous.
Washington wins by four points and beats the spread.
Confidence Pick: Washington Redskins (+3)
Click here to sign up for Sporfolio to see the rest of Mario Mergola’s NFL picks against the point spread. Mergola finished with the highest total of correct NFL picks against the spread for 2015 and 2016 – tracked by NFLPickwatch, and finished 2015 with an accuracy of 60.53% for his confidence picks. His 4-year record for all NFL games against the spread is 552-486-30!
Photo Credit: Keith Allison/Flickr C.C 2.0