Podcast: Week 5 College Football, Week 4 NFL and Best Bets

In our first Sharpest Squares podcast, Andy and Nate discuss what they have learned in college football and the NFL after a month of the season. They also discuss the best college and NFL games this weekend, and each offer a best bet at the end of the show.


NFL Picks: Week 4 Power Ratings and Cheat Sheet

Here is an explanation of how I make my own spread using the power ratings.

I wrote about five games during Week 4, including a pick in the Thursday night contest.

Here are the two charts for this week:

Team After Week 2 After Week 3
Patriots 15.5 13
Falcons 11 11.5
Chiefs 11 11.5
Steelers 12 11
Packers 11 10.5
Cowboys 10.5 10.5
Vikings 10 10
Seahawks 11 9.5
Titans 9 9.5
Eagles 9.5 9
Raiders 9.5 8.5
Redskins 7.5 8.5
Ravens 9.5 8
Broncos 8 8
Panthers 9.5 7.5
Lions 7.5 7.5
Bengals 7 7.5
Giants 7 7.5
Saints 7 7.5
Buccaneers 8 7
Chargers 7 6.5
Texans 5.5 6.5
Jaguars 5 6
Dolphins 6.5 5.5
Cardinals 6 5.5
Bills 5 5.5
Rams 4 5
Bears 4 4.5
49ers 2 2.5
Colts 0.5 1
Browns 1 0
Jets -1 0
Game Lookahead Line Wednesday Line My Line
Bears at Packers Packers -11.5 Packers -7 Packers -9.5
Saints vs Dolphins (London) Dolphins -1 Saints -3 Saints -2
Panthers at Patriots Patriots -9 Patriots -9 Patriots -9
Rams at Cowboys Cowboys -8.5 Cowboys -6 Cowboys -7.5
Lions at Vikings No Line No Line Vikings -5.5
Titans at Texans Titans -2.5 Titans -2 Titans -0.5
Jaguars at Jets Jaguars -4.5 Jaguars -3 Jaguars -4.5
Bengals at Browns Bengals -1.5 Bengals -3 Bengals -5
Steelers at Ravens Pick Steelers -3 Steelers -0.5
Bills at Falcons Falcons -9 Falcons -7.5 Falcons -8.5
Giants at Buccaneers Buccaneers -6 Buccaneers -3 Buccaneers -1.5
Eagles at Chargers Eagles -1 Chargers -1 Eagles -1.5
49ers at Cardinals Cardinals -7 Cardinals -7 Cardinals -5.5
Raiders at Broncos Broncos -1.5 Broncos -2.5 Broncos -2.5
Colts at Seahawks Seahawks -14.5 Seahawks -13 Seahawks -13
Redskins at Chiefs Chiefs -8.5 Chiefs -7 Chiefs -6

NFL Picks: Week 4 Early Thoughts

I’m still working on my power ratings and cheat sheet but there are five games that jump out to me that I wanted write about on Tuesday afternoon.

Bears at Packers -7 (-115)

I’ll start off by saying that I’m a Bears fan and have a strong dislike for the Packers. However, I have no problem picking against my favorite team in any sport if there’s value. In this spot I think there is tremendous line value on Green Bay. My numbers have the Packers six points better than the Bears on a neutral field. Add in home field and I would make this line Packers -9.5. Green Bay was an -11.5-point favorite on the look ahead line before Week 3 so another reason I believe there’s value. The other part of this handicap is the situation and matchup. Thursday night games are always tricky for me but I would give the Packers a significant edge here. Both teams won in overtime last week but Green Bay gets to stay at home. My initial thoughts on the matchups also favor the Packers. The way to beat Green Bay is attacking their secondary and Chicago isn’t equipped to do that. Mike Glennon threw for only 101 yards in Sunday’s win and a Bears wide receiver only caught one pass. There were 12 completions to the running backs and two to the tight ends. I usually don’t pick games this early in the week but I’ll make an official play on Packers -7 (-115).

Rams at Cowboys (-7.5) Continue reading

NFL Picks: Week 3 Power Ratings and Cheat Sheet

Here are my NFL power ratings after Week 2 with my numbers from last week included to show how much I upgraded or downgraded a team.

Team After Week 1 After Week 2
Patriots 15 15.5
Steelers 12 12
Packers 12 11
Seahawks 11.5 11
Falcons 10.5 11
Chiefs 10.5 11
Cowboys 11.5 10.5
Vikings 10 10
Eagles 10 9.5
Panthers 10 9.5
Ravens 9 9.5
Raiders 9 9.5
Titans 8.5 9
Buccaneers 7.5 8
Broncos 7 8
Redskins 7 7.5
Lions 7 7.5
Bengals 8 7
Giants 8 7
Saints 8 7
Chargers 7.5 7
Dolphins 6 6.5
Cardinals 7 6
Texans 5 5.5
Jaguars 5.5 5
Bills 5 5
Bears 5 4
Rams 4.5 4
49ers 1.5 2
Browns 1.5 1
Colts 0 0.5
Jets 0 -1

Here is the cheat sheet for Week 3: Continue reading

NFL Week 2 Picks and Leans

I talked up the Redskins earlier in the week and I will stick with them as an official pick and my best bet in Week 2. I think there has been an overreaction to the Rams performance against the Colts, and a lot of negative sentiment towards the Redskins. My line has Washington as a one-point favorite so we are getting line value too. Unfortunately, the spread has stood pat at +2.5 and I was hoping to get a full field goal with backing the Redskins. If you can buy a half-point to get it there then I would recommend doing that.

The Titans are my other official pick so far and I explained why I like them in this Facebook post.

I’m very tempted to make the Eagles a pick this week and will probably do it if I can get +6 with Philadelphia against the Kansas City Chiefs. I made this game Chiefs -3 so I think there is value but I have a few worries with backing the Eagles. One worry is that Andy Reid is facing his former team so he will have a great game plan especially with a few extra days to prepare. My other concern is the Eagles just beat a division rival in the Redskins and have another NFC East foe in the Giants next week so this scheduling spot isn’t ideal. If I end up picking the Eagles I will tweet out an official pick so stay tuned. Continue reading

NFL Picks: Week 2 Power Ratings and Cheat Sheet

Here are my NFL power ratings after Week 1. I will update them every Wednesday during the season.

Team Power Rating
Patriots 15
Steelers 12
Packers 12
Seahawks 11.5
Cowboys 11.5
Falcons 10.5
Chiefs 10.5
Eagles 10
Vikings 10
Panthers 10
Ravens 9
Raiders 9
Titans 8.5
Bengals 8
Giants 8
Saints 8
Buccaneers 7.5
Chargers 7.5
Cardinals 7
Redskins 7
Lions 7
Broncos 7
Dolphins 6
Jaguars 5.5
Texans 5
Bills 5
Bears 5
Rams 4.5
Browns 1.5
49ers 1.5
Jets 0
Colts 0

Below is a cheat sheet of three different lines for Week 2 games. The first line is the look ahead line provided by the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas. It was released before the Week 1 results and I think is the best starting point if you want to handicap games but don’t have your own power ratings.

Continue reading

How I Handicap NFL Games Each Week

Over the last few years I have developed a system of how to handicap NFL games each week. I find it very fascinating and enjoy doing the research as much as I like watching a full slate of games on a Sunday. There’s something really rewarding to handicap a game and being right so I want to share some of the steps I take each week during the NFL regular season.

Before the season starts I create power ratings for all 32 NFL teams. I use a few different numbers from sharp bettors and combine those numbers with my opinion on each team. Each week (hopefully on Tuesday) I’ll release my updated power ratings during the NFL season on Facebook and Twitter. I hope my numbers can be a starting point or guide for people who plan on picking games against the spread.

I already have completed my Week 1 NFL work, which is mostly based on win total opinions I have on each team. So the schedule I will go through is what I’ll start doing late afternoon after the first wave of Week 1 games are complete.

Sunday and Monday: Since it’s impossible to watch every game, I’ll read box scores and see if the final score matches with the stats. I’ll look at yards and first downs but I’ll pay closer attention to yards per play and turnovers. For the most part turnovers are random especially fumbles so this is usually the best stat to find outlier performances.

I’ll begin conservatively updating my power ratings as games go final up until late on Monday night. I don’t want to drastically change my ratings so I don’t fall into the trap of overreacting to one game.

Tuesday: I’ll finalize my power ratings and start creating my own point spreads for the next week’s games. I’ll go into more details about how I create my spreads when the season begins.

Along with creating a point spread, I’ll look at what line was when they were released in April and any other lookahead lines. I’ll compare those numbers to the actual line and try to find line value opportunities.

After that I will look at different scheduling factors that could impact the odds and utilize several theories I have learned through the years. Again, I’ll explain more about that when the season begins.

Wednesday-Friday: Hopefully by Wednesday I’m able to isolate a couple games that I like. Whether I like five games or none, I’ll spend these days paying attention to information and keeping track of injuries. I’ll read or listen to people I respect and try to get as many opinions as possible on each NFL game. This can help me feel better about a team I like or sway me off a side completely.

Saturday: Saturday’s are for college football in the fall and the NFL market doesn’t move much. Take the day off and come back refreshed for Sunday morning.

Sunday: This is the day to get up early to look and see where lines moves. It’s fun to watch how much a point spread or over/under can move hours before kickoff. I don’t want to start second guessing my work from earlier in the week but I think it’s vital to see where the lines are moving and where they close. People say sports betting is like the stock market and it’s evident on Sunday mornings in the fall when the trading really ramps up.

These are the basic steps I have used the last three years in the NFL. I will share my process and give the basic information you need during the season to handicap games on your own.