RossCode Picks - NFL Style

posted on 2005-09-07 at 01:17:11 by Joel Ross

Welcome to the 2nd Annual RossCode Picks! For the past two years, I've posted my NFL picks every week (although, not necessarily on this blog - this one isn't two years old yet!), and this year won't be any different.

Since this is an introduction, I should probably go over how I've done in the past. Please note as the season goes on,?these picks are purely speculation and I've never actually put any money on these picks. And honestly, I don't think I ever would. If you do, and you lose your house, well, I warned you. On the other hand, if you do, and you can buy a house afterwards, I'll take "thank you" tips!

Anyway, I got a little cocky after my first season. I was 135-122 (52.5%) against the spread, and 176-91 (65.9%)?just picking winners. 52.5% is better than house odds on most games in Vegas, and much better than player odds on any game in Vegas. Using?a base bet of $10.00 per game, I would have netted $130.00 for the season (again - no money!).

Then came last season. I finished 127-130 (49.4%) against the spread, and 162-105 (60.7%) picking winners. That would have been a net loss of $30.00 for the season. Those are more like Vegas odds!

So this year will be a?deciding year for me. After the first year, I thought "this is too easy" and after last year, I thought "this is hard!" And it ultimately is!

Picks will be posted usually Thursday or Friday. Thursday for sure if there's a Thursday night game.?Here's what a pick will look like:

  • Detroit* vs. Green Bay (-4): Some blurb about both teams goes here.

So what does this mean. It means Detroit is playing at Green Bay. Green Bay is favored by 4 points, and my pick is Detroit to cover the spread. The * indicates that I think Detroit will cover but not win. By the way, those are the hardest to pick right. How can you predict that (for example) Detroit will come within 4 points, but still lose? That's pretty good if you can do it.

Results are posted Monday (late) or Tuesday, depending on whether I stay up for the MNF game.

  • Detroit* 27, Green Bay 31 (-4): Some blurb about the game.

I put the score in, and my pick. The bold team is who?I picked, as well as still signifying that I chose Detroit to lose, but cover. I haven't come up with a good way to signify right or wrong, so you'll just have to take the spread and figure it out - or I'll usually state it in the description. That reminds me. Let's talk about the definition of the spread and how that works. I'll do it by example.?If?Green Bay?is -4, it means that Green Bay is giving up 4 points to Detroit. To cover, they have to win by more than 4 points. If Detroit either wins or loses by less than 4 points, they are said to cover. I'm pretty sure that in Vegas, if the game ended up with Green Bay winning 31-27, then neither team covers, and bettors on both sides lose. But I'm going to toss those out mainly because I don't know for sure how it should be handled. For definition completeness, the over/under is the expected number of points that will be scored between the two teams. So if the O/U is 43, and you bet over, you'd be betting that the total of two team's scores will be over 43, which is correct in this example. I don't do anything with the O/U. It's tough too!

Lastly, there's something called the money line that you can bet on. I've just started looking at this, but here's what I see. It involves picking the winner straight up - no spread. It's based on a $100 bet, and the favorite will have a negative number, such as -200. This means you have to put $200 down to get $100 back. Or, if you only put $100 down, your return will only be $50. The dog will have a positive number, such as +170. This means that if you put down $100, you'll get back $170 if they pull off the upset. This is a way to bet on winners regardless of spread - but obviously, the spread is taken into account when the money lines are set. I didn't take into account money lines last year, but I think I will this year when I look at how I did picking winners. Even though I don't use real money, I usually base my numbers off of a $10.00 bet per game.

Now, lastly, how do the lines get set? The first line is called the opening line, and the way it's set is pretty complicated. Each oddsmaker will make a list of the league's power rankings. The odds are based on the power rankings, taking into account injuries, recent games, recent games against that opponent, and how local papers report each team's mindset going into the next game. They also take into account public opinion, since their goal is to have even betting on each side of the line. For example, if the oddsmaker determined the line above to be -3.5, and everyone seems to be betting on Green Bay in past weeks, then they may adjust the line to -4. Then, each oddsmaker does a gut check, and they get together and decide the opening line, giving oddsmakers with a better reputation more weight.?With the complicated process to make the lines, you'd think that would be it, but they vary as the game gets closer. It follows the laws of supply and demand. If you set the line at -3, and everyone is betting on Green Bay, the line will adjust to -3.5 or -4 to even out the bets. Also, weather or late injuries could affect the lines. Though they vary, for my picks, I take a snapshot in time and use those lines, unless one is unavailable, which happens when a team has a star player who is questionable - the line usually won't get set until some sort of decision is made. In that case, I'll post my picks, and later update the rest?once lines become available.

So, it turned into a longer post, but that's a description of what the RossCode Picks are, and how the spread works. I still have a few rules that I follow when I make picks, but we'll get to those as they come up. But for now, let's play some football!

Categories: Football