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.
With our 2-1 record in this column last week, we have put together our first back-to-back winning weeks and streak of the season. As we turn the corner at the halfway pole, we expect to carry that momentum into the second half of the season, the playoffs, and the Super Bowl.
A winning week is a good week and while Meat Loaf sang two out of three ain’t bad, we are still looking for our first 3-0 week of the season.
In Week 8, the Patriots looked dreadful in the first half at Foxboro, but as they often do, adjusted at halftime and outscored the Dolphins 24-0 in the second half to cover easily and keep their hot October ATS record intact.
The Saints, angry still from the last-second loss against the Patriots, and rested coming off their bye, coasted to a SU and ATS victory over the badly banged up Bills.
The Falcons, for the fourth time this short season, rewarded my conviction with an absolute stinker at Arizona, officially labeling them the NFL’s most disappointing team of 2013 and placing coach Mike Smith on the hot seat right alongside Houston’s Gary Kubiak and Tampa’s Greg Schiano, both potential in-season firings waiting to happen.
The Falcons have had some brutal injuries, including losing their two stud wide receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White, but this is the NFL and injuries happen and coaches need to win anyway.
The Patriots may not win the Super Bowl without Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, Sebastian Vollmer and other key players, but they are still 6-2 at the halfway point. Atlanta has gone from a pre-season Super Bowl contender to getting blown out by the Arizona Cardinals.
With the arrival of Week 9, the Cowboys still boast a surprising NFL-best seven wins ATS, followed by the 49ers with 6 wins ATS and the Saints and Chiefs with 5 ATS tallies.
This is a huge week for teams that are on the bubble between dropping out of contention and getting right back in their division hunt and we expect some of the tougher, well coached, experienced teams to win and do that this week.
As we outline each week, the key to long-term success is a disciplined system. We will stick to the system outlined below and work our way back. The Trifecta will be poised to make money from Week 10 through the playoffs, when the data and information on teams makes it easier to pinpoint mismatches.
On to the Picks:
Baltimore Ravens -2.5 at Cleveland Browns
Pick: Ravens -2.5 for 100 Units
The Browns have been playing hardnosed football and boast a tough defense, much to the surprise of many experts who believed they were tanking the season when they traded Trent Richardson.
Meanwhile, the defending Super Bowl champs have struggled adjusting to life after Ray. Highly paid QB Joe Flacco has not done anything to warrant his league-high price tag, and the Ravens are a struggling 3-5, with a 1-3 ATS on the road this season.
With a win this week, the Ravens are back in the division race and play the Bengals next week. The division appears wide open: the AFC North leading Bengals lost Thursday and their best defensive player Geno Atkins went down and is out for the year with an ACL tear.
Baltimore is an incredible 10-1 coming off a bye week in their last 11 games, a testament to the preparedness of coach Harbaugh. Expect the Ravens to win and cover this game, which is a must win for them if they want to have a shot at the AFC playoffs.
Philadelphia Eagles -2.5 at Oakland Raiders
Pick: Eagles -2.5 for 100 Units
This game is almost the identical storyline and situation as the Ravens vs. Browns. Just as the Browns have been better than expected, so have the Raiders, covering last week in a tough win over the Steelers.
Similar to the Ravens situation this week, the Eagles, despite their 3-4 record, are only one game off the Cowboys in the weak NFC East and find themselves in a must-win game. It is slightly concerning that the Eagles are 1-5 ATS vs. the Raiders since 1986 but the Eagles are also strong ATS on the road this season, boasting a 3-1 record.
The Eagles need to take care of business at Oakland, especially with a likely loss on the horizon at Green Bay next week. Nick Foles is due back at QB, and we expect big games from LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson. The Eagles should simply outscore the Raiders by more than 2.5.
Dallas Cowboys -10 vs. Minnesota Vikings
Pick: Cowboys -10 for 100 Units
The Cowboys are going to score often in this game, and the way they are putting up points they should score at least 30 against a struggling Vikings team that is playing musical QBs and looks defeated before the game begins.
Dallas is a league best 7-1 ATS and a perfect 4-0 at home ATS. They have struggled badly against the Vikings in recent history (1-7 ATS) but that will not be a factor this week. Coming off a heartbreaking last second loss to the Lions and a week of Dez Bryant/Tony Romo controversy being aired out on national TV, the Cowboys and Dez will score often enough to cover the always daunting double digit line.
Trifecta Week 8 record: 2-1
Trifecta Season record: 8-14-12
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.