October 2012

Football picksOctober 26, 2012

Week 8 – Atlanta Falcons vs Philadelphia Eagles Game Preview & Prediction

The Atlanta Falcons head into Pennsylvania Sunday to battle a good Philly team. The record might not show it, but Philly has a lot of talent on that sideline. With that said, they have struggled thus far and have had some problems within their coaching ranks. The Eagles are coming off of a bye and that should bode well for their chances. Andy Reid has never lost a game off of a bye, so you can expect his bunch to be ready on Sunday.

The Falcons are still undefeated and are coming off of a bye of their own. They have been one of the most surprising teams in football, and they come into this game as a very slight underdog. The Falcons have one thing going for them in this game – a strong passing attack. Philly has had trouble all year stopping teams that can throw the ball. On top of that, Atlanta has the ability to flush the QB. This could be a big deal against Michael Vick, who has made many mistakes thus far.

The Eagles have a very good shot to win this game. They just need to come out and establish the run. Teams like the Panthers have been able to run the ball and move it through the air against Atlanta. If Philly can get McCoy going early, they could pick up some momentum and win this game. The crowd will be a factor, just like it always is when the game is at the Link.

What will be the outcome of this one? You can look for a relatively high scoring game between two talented teams. The Eagles are much more desperate and they are playing at home. Based on those two factors, you might be wise to give them the edge. Atlanta certainly has the goods to go into Philly and win, but it is not the most likely scenario. In the end, the outcome of this game will come down to which team is most motivated. Philly has every reason to come out firing, but we will have to see whether they do it or not.

Posted by Wunderdog’s trusty sidekick ” Wundercat “


Football picksOctober 25, 2012

The Florida Gators have looked great over the last few weeks. They destroyed South Carolina last week on the strength of some big turnovers. Now, they head to Jacksonville to take on a Georgia team that desperately needs to win this game. The team that wins this one will have control over the SEC East. So can Georgia picks itself up after playing poorly against Kentucky last week? That will be a difficult chore against a Florida defense that is getting better each week.

Florida did not move the ball all that well last week, but they did not need to. They scored on defense, played great special teams, and generally controlled the line of scrimmage. Florida was physically dominant over a South Carolina team that had been playing pretty well. Florida ran the ball very well once again, but they did not throw it at an SEC level. If they can keep up their level of play, they should be good to go against Georgia this week.

The Bulldogs looked great until they ran into South Carolina three weeks ago. They got run over in Columbia, as South Carolina scored three early touchdowns to take control of the game. Georgia then took a week off before nearly giving up the game against Kentucky. The fact is that UGA does not look like its old self, and this is a bad time to run into that sort of problem. Florida is almost a touchdown favorite in this game, so at least a few people think Georgia is in for a tough time.

What will happen in this one? It is always a crazy game when these two teams get together in Jacksonville. Florida will have to recover emotionally from a huge win against South Carolina. It can sometimes be difficult to play great for two straight weeks. Florida has a huge advantage in this game on the line of scrimmage. If they are able to get after Aaron Murray in this game, they will control the tempo. If Murray is able to have success in the air, the Bulldogs have a chance to pull a big time upset.

Posted by Wunderdog Super sidekick ” Wundercat “


Football picksOctober 25, 2012

When Michigan State heads into Camp Randall on Saturday, it will be a matchup of two of the most disappointing teams in the Big Ten. MSU came into this season with high hopes and their eyes on a Big Ten title. Wisconsin is coming off of back to back Rose Bowl appearances. Although few expected the Badgers to win a title, a lot of people expected them to be more competitive. The Badgers are tabbed as six point favorites in this game. Can they cover that number? Can Michigan State keep up the momentum from a game well played last week?

Michigan State has struggled on offense, but they still have a good defense. Last week, they went into Michigan Stadium and came very close to knocking off Denard Robinson and company. At the end of the day, they came up just short. The offense looks to be playing a little bit better, especially in the passing game. If they can keep up the firepower this week, they might leave Madison with a good win.

Wisconsin has been up and down this season. They have looked very good in some spots and very bad in others. This would seem to be a decent matchup for Wisconsin. They have the strength up front and in the middle to match up with the Spartans. While Sparty is able to run over a lot of teams with pure power, it is doubtful they will do that here. Wisconsin also gets to play at home – a place where they are very good.

If Wisconsin brings its best game – the one it has brought for two straight weeks – it should be able to handle Sparty in this game. MSU has some decent weapons, though, and they match up pretty well in this one. The Spartans will be looking for some sweet revenge after a couple of bad losses last year. Wisconsin will be looking to protect its home field against a familiar opponent. No one would be surprised if either won in this game.

Posted by Wunderdog’s trusty sidekick ” Wundercat ”



Football picksOctober 22, 2012

The Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears look like they will fight with the Packers for playoff spots in the NFC. The Bears look like the class of the division, but they got rolled by Green Bay earlier this year. They have turned on the heat lately, winning comfortably two straight weeks. Meanwhile, the Lions have been much quieter. They have squeaked by in some games. They have also struggled to put up the big offensive numbers that we have come to expect out of them. So what can we expect in this Monday night clash?

The Bears are tough at home, and they are tough on Monday night. Under Lovie Smith, the Bears simply dominate people with the extra day of preparation. A couple of weeks ago, they dominated Dallas on the road on a Monday night. Now, they get to come home and play a Detroit team that has some major weaknesses. Detroit has not protected the QB well and they have not played much defense. They have just been very average in nearly every facet of the game. If they are going to win this one, they will need to be a lot sharper.

Detroit and Matt Stafford have gone through ups and downs. For a few of the weeks, Calvin Johnson has looked lost on the field. Can they fix this problem against a Bears team that figures to lock him up on the outside? Or will they go with the running game more in an attempt to control the tempo? That is the big question that you have to ask yourself in this game.

Chicago is a six point favorite coming into this one. The bookmakers think that Chicago is clearly the better team. The betting public seems to have responded, pegging Chicago with a huge public percentage going into this one. If you think that Jay Cutler can lead the Bears to another big game on offense, then you have to like Chicago here. If you lean with Stafford, then maybe you think that Detroit has a good chance to make this game more competitive than thee experts think it will be.

Posted by Wunderdog’s trusty sidekick ” Wundercat ”



Football picksOctober 19, 2012

A Perfect System?

What’s going on this NFL season?

The NFL is a sport in which any team can win on any given Sunday. That’s never been more true than this season. Through six weeks , we have 11 of 32 teams sitting at 3-3 on the season. Five more teams sit at 2-3 that have already had their bye week. Those teams could potentially get to 3-3, which is half of the league.

The NFC has been dominating the AFC at 19-9 straight-up, including 7-0 ATS as a dog. Speaking of dogs, this is where the numbers defy any logic whatsoever thus far.

As an underdog, NFC teams are a mind blowing 34-4 ATS in all games this season. That equates to a winning percentage of 89.5%.

What is even more noticeable is the fact that they are 25-13 straight-up, so here we have dogs that are winners 66% of the time.

If those numbers aren’t crazy enough, then look at these. The record this season for NFC dogs of +5 or less is:25-1 ATS for a win rate of 96.2%. Want more? These teams are an amazing 21-5 straight-up as underdogs to an average line of +3!

To take this to perfection all you have to do is make sure the total in the game is less than 51. In that situation, NFC dogs have gone 24-0 ATS for 100% winners.

The moneyline in this NFC underdog situation is 20-4 straight-up, covering 83.3% on the moneyline.

This all started in week 14 last year, going 9-4 ATS from week 14 out, and 8-6 straight-up.

What to do going forward? You have three choices:

A) Play the hot hand
B) Fade it
C) Ignore it

A) Play It

Some love playing the hot hand, and might choose to ride this until it losses. If you do that, you probably won’t get too hurt because you will suffer just one week of losses and then move on, and you may win prior to that. The problem here is when does it stop? How far does it go? Does it stop with a 0-7 crash, or stop with a 3-4 crash? Unfortunately, there is no way to answer that.

B) Fade It
Others will look at this and say that regression to the mean is in order. That sentiment is possibly true, but beware of that regression in terms of profits and losses. While it is at an unsustainable pace, the regression may take a very, very long time to happen. Just because this has gone 24-0 thus far doesn’t mean it will go 0-24 to follow. It could take thousands of plays before it regresses towards 50%.

C) Ignore It
While the situation appears so sexy and alluring, the fact is there is no logical basis for its occurrence, and is just an example of variance at its very extreme end. I would venture a guess that going forward the results from here on out will be somewhere between 45%-55%, and be pretty confident that it will fall in that range.

If you flip enough coins enough times, you’ll get some crazy streaks (even 24-0 streaks). Does that mean that anything other than 50% should be expected moving forward? No.

This gives the player an opportunity to start tracking this situation themselves. At intervals throughout the NFL season I will include the results, going forward from week seven on. Then we will get the true measure of something that looks good. But since it has no basis for continuation, it is red flagged as an “ignore” play!

I wanted to make a newsletter on this so you can follow this situation, and understand the difference between meaningful situations vs. one that likely has no merits to cling to going forward. When you see one of these in the future, you’ll know it is a PASS not PLAY.

The San Francisco Giants are 45-13 in their last 58 games vs. a pitcher with a WHIP of greater than 1.30.

A note about systems: Systems presented in Morning Coffee are intended as one input to bolster your handicapping. Please remember that plays derived from any of these systems are not my official picks. I dont necessarily recommend playing any system picks blindly and I may in fact go on the opposite side of some of these once all factors are considered and games are fully handicapped.


Football picksOctober 19, 2012

Who would have thought a few weeks ago that the Michigan State Spartans and the Michigan Wolverines would have been this far apart. Michigan comes into this game with a huge advantage. In fact, they are a ten point favorite in this game. A few weeks ago, Michigan State was favored by more than a field goal against a good Notre Dame team. But much has changed, and the Spartans have been exposed to some extent. At the same time, Michigan is playing some of its best football of the season. What should we make of this?

Michigan State has been exposed as a team with no passing game. The QB play has been suspect and the weapons are nonexistent. They are missing the Keyshawn Martin, B.J. Cunningham, and Kirk Cousins connection. Now, they just have a good tight end and a strong running game. Unfortunately for Sparty, that has not been enough to this point. Instead of shining, they have faltered against poor competition. State nearly lost to Eastern Michigan before dropping a game to Ohio State. They then struggled mightily with Indiana, nearly losing that game. Now they have to go on the road to face a hated rival.

The story has been different for Michigan. After losing early to Alabama and Notre Dame, the Wolverines have picked things up. They started a couple of weeks ago by thumping Purdue. Last week, Michigan took care of Illinois in impressive fashion. They appear to be putting their offense together and the defense has forced turnovers. Will the Wolverines be able to keep it going? Evidence suggests that Michigan State might be able to shut down Denard Robinson. Michigan still has enough firepower to win this game, though.

The Wolverines are ten point favorites for a reason. They are probably the better team at this point in the season. You should be very careful writing off the Spartans, though. Sparty ran to the Big Ten championship game last year. They came into this year with a lot of support from pundits. There is a good team lurking underneath, and the Spartans still have a very good coach. They might just put it together at some point in the season. If you are a Michigan fan, or a Michigan backer, you hope that this is not the week the Spartans finally clean up the mess.

Posted by Wunderdog’s trusty sidekick ” Wundercat “


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