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.
Happy Thanksgiving weekend to all. Week 12 was a key week for this column, which was on a roll, having won 10 of the last 15 and all three picks in Week 11. There were no games that gave that confident, warm and fuzzy aura so we went with three over/under total bets.
The Texans vs. Jaguars game was a total flop, never even challenging the over 43, in a 13-6 Jaguars’ upset win. In the other 1 p.m. game, the Bears and the Rams traded scores early and often, scoring a combined 65 points, almost covering the over in the first half.
We were 1-1 heading into the game of the week for the NFL, the Patriots hosting the Broncos, in which we went contrarian and picked the under 53.5.
As we knew it would be, Gillette Stadium was a frozen tundra, a New England winter night with winds that made kicking and passing into it incredibly difficult. The cold did shut down the offense, with Tom Brady being shut out at the end of the first half and Peyton Manning handing the ball to Knowshon Moreno over and over, all key ingredients for an under.
Alas, the cold also can lead to turnovers. In this case, New England’s Stevan Ridley fumbled on the Patriots’ opening drive, and Von Miller scooped it up and ran it into the end zone for a fast Broncos’ TD. On the next two series, Tom Brady and LeGarrette Blount fumbled and Denver converted both into scores.
The comeback in the second half is old news and was exciting. But the under was lost in the turnover-filled first half.
Here in Week 13, The Cowboys and Raiders met on Thanksgiving Day. Dallas won but failed to cover vs. the red-hot against-the-spread Raiders. With the conclusion of their game, the Cowboys and Raiders boast the most wins ATS, each with 8, while the 49ers have the league’s best winning percentage ATS at 7-3-1.
The Broncos and the “you read this right” Rams lead the league with 9-2 over/under records. The Vikings (8-2-1) and Bears (8-3) are not far behind. The Vikings and Bears face off in Week 13, but you can sure that the odds makers know the above stat as well.
As we outline each week, the key to long-term success is a disciplined system. We will stick to the system outlined below, and are now within earshot of a position to make you money from week the rest of the way through the playoffs, when the data and information on teams makes it easier to pinpoint mismatches.
On to the picks:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers (-7)
Pick: Panthers -7 for 100 Units
The public is taking the Panthers with a heavy 77 percent of its bets, a stat that always is concerning.
The Bucs are suddenly winning a bit and the coup d’état against Greg Schiano has lost some momentum. However, the Panthers are a legitimate Super Bowl contender, with Cam Newton emerging as the most real deal of the running/passing QBs and the Carolina defense possibly the NFL’s best.
The Panthers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven divisional games while the Bucs are 1-8 in December divisional games over the past three seasons. Contenders like Carolina win home games against 3-8 teams handily and that is what we are predicting in this one.
Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles (-3)
Pick: Eagles -3 for 100 Units
The Eagles are 9-3 the past 12 seasons following a bye week. Every other single trend for this game screams Cardinals.
The Cards are 3-0 straight up and ATS in their last three games vs. the Eagles. The Eagles are 1-11 ATS in home games over the last two seasons, including a 1-4 record this season.
All of the above trends were largely with Michael Vick at QB and Andy Reid at the helm. The 2013 Nick Foles led version of the American birds are a well-coached, turnover-avoiding and explosive team. It’s a totally new game in Philly.
The Cardinals are also well coached, underrated, and playing strong football. It is tough to fight the massive wave of negative trends, and clearly the Eagles prefer the road where they are 5-1 ATS this season.
Hard to blame them for excelling on the road: there are no fans as negative and difficult as the cheesesteak eating ones in the City of Brotherly Hate. Despite all the numbers saying otherwise, the Eagles are the better football team and will win this win one by more than 3.
St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers (-8)
Pick: 49ers -8 for 100 Units
The Niners are in a dogfight for a wildcard spot, yet could win the Super Bowl if they can get into the dance.
This game is a must win at home for San Francisco. A loss verse the Rams means that Jim Harbaugh’s team will likely be on the beach in January.
The Rams are playing well, have a stout defense, and two incredibly exciting big-play young performers in Zac Stacy and Tavon Austin, all which make -8 a tough number to cover.
San Francisco is 7-3-1 ATS and have shut out the Rams in two of their last four games at home. The best teams play their best football in December and January and the Trifecta is betting that the 49ers are one of those teams.
Trifecta Week 12 record: 1-2
Trifecta Season record: 15-19-2
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.