NOTE: Each week of the season FootballNation.com founder and Cold, Hard Football Facts partner Andrew Miller will look at the three games he is personally playing each week, using the disciplined system he has followed over years of analytics research as both an entrepreneur and football fan. Read more about Miller below.
Three more weeks of football to go and wildcard weekend was our second winning week in a row, and a step towards getting within range to salvage the season.
We went 4-1 in the wildcard round, with the Colts as a home dog and all four under totals.
The Colts looked down and out when the Chiefs went up 38-10 in the early third quarter, only to storm back to a 45-44 point victory and a cover ATS.
In the process of their improbable comeback, the Colts and Chiefs put up 89 points, almost doubling the over/under total of 47 points. That proved to be the only under of the day and our only loss.
We covered all three other bets as the Chargers-Bengals, 49ers-Packers, and Saints-Eagles games all stayed under the total.
The under streak continued a first-round trend that included all four wildcard games in 2012 going under.
The divisional playoffs are on the complete opposite streak, as 11 of the last 12 games have been over the total.
As we have reiterated the past two columns, the Trifecta is not in playing with the house money at this point so there will be no unit increase to try to make up ground. The smart bettor knows that sometimes, the goal is to limit losses and get them next time. The NFL season is winding down and without changing the unit size of our bets it will be challenging to end the season up.
On to the Picks:
Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots (Over/Under 51.5)
Pick: Under 51.5 for 100 Units
The final game of the regular season on December 29 brought monsoon conditions to Foxboro as the Patriots hosted the Bills. Tom Brady called it the wettest game he had ever played in.
Based on the weather, we picked the under and we got smoked. The Patriots ran wild and the ball squirted loose often in a 34-20 Patriots win.
Well folks, Pete Bouchard, the great weather forecaster for Boston’s WHDH Channel 7, wrote in his blog Friday night:
“The real rain will hit in the late afternoon and evening as the cool front approaches. As you might imagine, the Pats game will be filled with rain...and gusty winds. I'm thinking a Buffalo Bills game repeat (weather wise) here.”
Divisional games, as noted above, usually are over the total, the Pats have played five straight overs vs. AFC South teams, and the Colts 6 straight overs vs. AFC East teams.
Last weekend, the Trifecta went under due to the weather in the 49’ers vs. Packers game and this week, we’re going against a lot of signs that favor the over and picking the under in the Pats vs. Colts.
Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots (-7)
Pick: Patriots -7 for 100 Units
The Patriots have had their share of playoff troubles at home the past few years. They were upset by the Jets, blown out by the Ravens, lost again to the Ravens, and barely beat the Raven’s when Billy Cundiff missed the chip shot field goal.
New England is just 2-6 ATS in its last eight playoff games. But when they have won, they have won large and that has been over inferior teams such as the Tim Tebow-led Broncos and Texans.
The Colts come in less experienced with one stud in Robert Mathis but an otherwise porous defense. While this won’t be the case for long, the Patriots have the QB advantage and they have a massive Grand Canyon-sized coaching advantage.
The Colts are a dome team and have no ground game. The Patriots have a powerful multi-RB ground game and just played vs. the Bills at home two weeks ago in the same torrential rain. They racked up 267 yards on the ground and on 189 on kick returns in that one.
The “dry” run in the rain two weeks ago should help in this game. The Pats are 6-2 ATS at home this season. If this game were being played on a dry, average January night then we would stay away. But instead go with the Pats in the monsoon revisited.
New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks (-7.5)
Pick: Seahawks -7.5 for 100 Units
The Saints had the league’s worst road record ATS (1-7) and was the NFL’s worst team when it came to covering the over on the road in 2013, boasting a 1-7 over/under away record. I
t is always hard to underestimate Drew Brees. But when you look in depth at the Saints’ season, they struggled to score on the road, with 20, 17, 7, 16, and 13 points in their last five road games in 2013.
They were blown out in Seattle on December 2, mustering little offense in the 34-7 loss. The Seahawks were the best team in the NFL this season and should at least get to the championship game next weekend.
As of Saturday, we are picking three games and all are on Saturday. The San Diego-Denver over/under on Sunday is 55. Both meetings between these teams in the regular season were under 50. The Broncos should win this one easily. Check back Sunday before kick off in case we add picks for Sunday’s games.
Trifecta wildcard record: 4-1
Trifecta 2013 season record: 25-28-3
As we outline each week, the key to long-term success is a disciplined system. The later in the season, the data and information on teams makes it easier to pinpoint mismatches. We will stick to the system outlined below, but will need a really strong stretch run to make you money.
Here is the Trifecta system:
We will refer to units bet for each game. A unit can differ for each of you but the key is to stick to the system. You will notice this system is very consistent: we play the same amount of units per each of the three games, avoiding the temptation of stepping it up until playing with house money.
If we step it up and end up back at point zero, we will start the system all over again. It is essential to stick to your system: so many people get on a losing streak and try to make it all up in one game, only to dig deeper in a hole.
Deep holes are, of course, tough to come out of. Be smart. Be sensible. Have fun. Why three picks? Betting on football is hard. For those who are very good, we have just a slight edge and margin over Vegas. The most successful football bettors play one or three games each week.
My system of three: you need to bat 66 percent (2/3) to win, where with one pick you need to bat 100 percent to win; with four picks, 75 percent.
Yes, the math gets more favorable the more games you play, so if you play all 16 games in a 16-game week, and you go 9-7, you will have only needed to succeed at 57 percent which is easier than 66 percent. However, there are never or rarely nine clear-cut advantages to identify out there every week. So while the percentage you need to win is higher, the odds of doing so with more or every game decreases.
The picks in this Trifecta column are not necessarily the same as those of the official CHFF "Real and Spectacular" Picks based upon our Quality Stats. Our goal is to provide you as much information as possible to make educated picks based upon a variety of stats, methods and strategies.
Andrew Miller is the founder of Football Nation.com and an entrepreneur focusing on analytics-driven online businesses. The Wall Street veteran worked for Michael Milken’s Drexel Burnham, and was a senior vice president at Bear Stearns and Smith Barney. Miller then founded CreditCards.com and InsuranceQuotes.com, both sites that used analytics to drive leads in the respective industries. Both businesses were successfully sold within 3 years of their inception. Miller gathered a team of experts who live and breathe football, including Cold, Hard Football Facts, and in 2011 they founded FootballNation.com. He is now all football, all the time: playing high stakes fantasy football and betting on games, using deep analysis through CHFF Insider, trends research, and years of intuition.