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 Trifecta system he has followed over years of analytics research as both an entrepreneur and football fan. Read more about Miller and the Trifecta system below.
The Atlanta Falcons gave the Trifecta plenty of reasons to love them early this season. They were a 13-3 NFC title-game contender that beat the market last year (9-6-1 ATS).
They boast loads of offensive talent and could be counted on to score plenty of points. Atlanta has ripped off a brisk 25.8 PPG over the past three seasons.
But it’s a new season and the Falcons have squashed that faith twice in 2013.
In Week 1, the Falcons could not punch it in on the final plays of the game, to both beat and cover against the Saints.
In that same contest, the total score failed to cover the Over for the first time in the last 19 meetings between the Falcons and the Saints at the Superdome.
Then, in Week 2, the Falcons appeared to have the game and cover in the bank with a 24-3 lead over St. Louis, only to let the emerging Rams back in the game with a back door TD inside the final two minutes, leading to a painful push. That’s an 0-2-1 start.
A push is still better than a loss and Week 2 saw a nice rebound for the Trifecta, with the Ravens covering over the hapless, getting-even-worse Browns and the Under never in doubt from the opening kickoff.
As we outline each week, the key to long-term success is a disciplined system. We will stick to the system outlined below and hope to carry the momentum of Week 2 into Week 3.
On to the Picks:
San Diego Chargers +3 at Tennessee Titans
Pick: Chargers + 3 for 100 units
The Chargers have won their last seven games vs. the Titans and their past five games vs. the Titans when the Chargers are coming off a win.
Philip Rivers looks closer to the Stud QB of 2008-2010 and gives the Chargers a clear advantage at quarterback over Jake Locker. Many of San Diego’s problems the past couple of years were related to terrible coaching decisions by the departed Norv Turner.
The Chargers are getting points and, while it is never easy to play on the road in the NFL and the Titans look improved from last season as well, the Chargers should take this one outright.
San Diego Chargers at Tennessee Titans (Over/Under 44)
Pick: Over 44 for 100 units
As referenced above, San Diego’s offense continues to improve and its defense continues to be atrocious, as pointed out by the Cold, Hard Football Facts Quality Stats: The Chargers’ D ranks No. 31 in Defensive Real Passing YPA and Defensive Real QB Rating, No. 31 on the Defensive Hog Index, No. 29 in Defensive Passer Rating and dead last in Total Team Yards Allowed.
The Titans offense has struggled but showed some signs of life last week. This could be the week Chris Johnson revs it up, both running and catching the ball. The last three times these two teams have played, the game has gone over 44; 48 points last season, 58 points in 2010, and 59 points in 2009.
Atlanta Falcons (+2) at Miami Dolphins
Pick: Falcons +2 for 100 units.
The great Ray Charles sang, “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” The Trifecta feels the same way about the Falcons, even as they let us down the first two weeks.
The reality is that they are supposed to be a Super Bowl contender and most likely still are. They just missed last year and here in 201 Matt Ryan is emerging as one of the best arms, with possibly the NFL’s second-best WR in Julius Jones. Those two alone can carry them far.
Last week, the gritty Dolphins upset the pre-Trent Richardson Colts. And playing in Miami is barely a home field advantage. When the Patriots play there it sounds like a New England home game and Atlanta will have plenty of transplant support as well.
This will be a close game. But the Falcons as dogs in the kind of game they must win to keep their lofty Super Bowl expectations alive and well is a strong play.
Week 1 record: 0-3
Week 2 record: 2-0-1
Trifecta Season record: 2-3-1
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.