Week 6 NFL Pick’em Strategy: Don’t Bail On The Jets

posted in NFL, NFL Pick'ems

Last week proved to be the worst in memory for our point pread based office pool picks, and all three strategies took a hit. The good news is our game winner picks had another solid week, and two of our three spread strategies are still in the top ten percent nationally.

Where We Stand After Week 5

Here is where our game winner pick’em strategies currently stand on ESPN (not confidence points based) heading into Week 6. Our game winner picks enjoyed an excellent week 5, as both the Conservative and Aggressive strategies rose in the standings while the Very Aggressive stayed at the top. All three strategies remain very strong, highlighted by the continued success of our Very Aggressive strategy:

  • Conservative: 92.4th percentile (+1.6 from last week)
  • Aggressive: 95.6th percentile (+4.8)
  • Very Aggressive: 99.9th percentile (no change)

In stark contrast to our game winner picks, our against the spread picks suffered by far their worst week of the season. All three strategies dropped in the national standings, especially the abysmal Conservative picks, which only got three games right. (Luckily for those in confidence point pools, they were at least 3 of the top 5 confidence picks.)

Despite the down week, though, both our Aggressive and Very Aggressive strategies still held on to a top 6% position nationally. Those in bigger pools using the riskier strategies should still be in good shape after 5 weeks.

Here is where we stand on ESPN with our point spread pick’em strategies:

  • Conservative: 62nd percentile (-28.1 from last week)
  • Aggressive: 94.1st percentile (-4.5)
  • Very Aggressive: 94.3rd percentile (-4.5)

(Keep in mind that we occasionally “flip” picks if the point spread listed on ESPN is significantly different than the point spread listed on our site.)

Overall, five of these six pick sets are in the top 10% of ESPN, four are in the top 6%, and one is in the top 1%. Except for the Conservative ATS strategy, following any of these strategies in your pool should have you in good position heading into Week 6.

Our Week 6 NFL Office Pool Picks

Just a friendly reminder; here’s where you can find our computer generated picks for NFL office pools:

Also, if you haven’t read our NFL pick’em strategy series, do yourself a favor and check it out. It’ll ensure our choices here make a lot more sense.

OK, time for our handy Game Winner table, which summarizes a few teams that look like they could be smart picks for people that need to take some risks. It’s based on our detailed pick’em analysis page.

Week 6 Value Pick Highlights: Game Winners

TeamOpponentAdj Win OddsPublic %ValueSpreadValue Indicator
New York JetsIndianapolis64.8%~40%24.8%-3.5Odds-On Contrarian
Clevelandvs Cincinnati47.6%~25%22.6%+1.0Low Risk Upset
Dallasat Baltimore38.0%~10%28.0%+3.5High Risk Upset
Seattlevs New England37.5%~15%22.5%+3.5High Risk Upset
Oaklandat Atlanta23.5%<5%~20%+9.5Long Shot Upset
Tennesseevs Pittsburgh30.3%~5%25.3%+6.0Long Shot Upset

There is significant value in picking the New York Jets to beat Indy this week. The Jets are favored by 3.5 and we give them about a 65% to win outright. A majority of the public, however, has picked the Colts to pull the upset, as only about 40% favor the Jets to rebound this week from a tough Monday night loss. Despite their tumultuous start, New York still ranks #13 in our Overall Power Ratings, and should be worth some high confidence points in pools that use them.

If you’re looking for an underdog this week, Cleveland looks like a solid pick without too much risk. We see this game as a relative tossup, as the Bengals are only favored by 1, and we give the Browns almost even odds to win. Conversely, the picking public sees this as a mismatch and only about one-quarter nationally are siding with the Browns. Picking Cleveland means you’re taking a coin flip’s chance at gaining some ground on three quarters of your pool.

For a much bigger risk, Seattle and Dallas have some value as well. It appears the public has undervalued both teams, each of whom we give better than a one in three shot to win. For very large pools or for players who have significant ground to make up, both the Seahawks and the Cowboys present good upset picks.

It seems almost no one is picking Oakland or Tennessee this week, and while we certainly see an imbalance there, we wouldn’t recommend taking a shot with either. There are four other chances to go against the public this week without injecting such a significant risk.

Week 6 Against The Spread Pick’em Strategy

A lot of point spread based pick’em contests publish the games and associated point spreads at the beginning of the week, but give you until the end of the week (or close to it) to submit your picks. This means a great strategy is to look for a game where the official spread in your contest is different from the current spread offered at most sports books, and take the “free points.”

In general, the edge you get from those free points is going to be stronger than any lean you have on who is favored to cover, especially if the difference is more than one point.

Below are the biggest line movements from earlier in the week. Highlights can also be found on on the right side of our NFL odds page.

Point Spread Movement Highlights

TeamOpponentOpening LineCurrent LineMovement
Detroit LionsPhiladelphia Eagles+5.5+41.5

(Yes, it feels a little silly showing you a table for one game, but we wanted to keep the format the same, week to week.)

The other major source of value in ATS pick’ems is finding teams that a huge majority of your opponents are picking, and then taking the other side. Most Vegas point spreads are pretty efficient, so if 85% of your opponents are picking a certain team to beat the spread, that team is probably incredibly overvalued. And that means you’ve got roughly a 50/50 shot of pulling ahead of a huge chunk of your opponents by picking against them, no matter what your personal opinion is of that game.

Here are five teams where the lines for the Yahoo! ATS pick’em are the within half a point of those found at Pinnacle sports book on Wednesday afternoon (or better), yet under about 25% of the public is selecting them to cover:

Point Spread Pick Imbalance Highlights

TeamOpponentPublic Pick%TR Cover OddsCurrent Line Spread
Tennesseevs Pittsburgh~20%50%+6.0
Dallasat Baltimore~25%52%+3.5
Seattlevs New England~25%51%+3.5
Oaklandat Atlanta~25%56%+9.5
Kansas Cityat Tampa Bay~25%49%+4.0

If the lines in your pick’em contest are the same or better as those shown above, and if you think your competitors will be picking teams in roughly the same manner as the general public (e.g., in line with the Yahoo! contest picking trends), we’d recommend playing all five of these teams, four of which are at home this week.

For advice on other games in your spread-based pick’em pool this week, check out our NFL office pool spread picks page, or our NFL ATS picks page.

As always, please feel free to ask questions in the comment section below. We’ll do our best to answer as many as possible, and we look forward to a fun and interactive college football weekly pick’em advice column this season.

  • TheTinDoor

    Thanks for the tips guys. I don’t follow any of your pick sets exactly, but the Point Spread Imbalance and Movement highlights are great insights. My ATS pick set is #13 OVERALL in the entire ESPN pool. I suppose i just wanted to brag a bit, but this column is a big reason why I’m having a great year so far.

  • TheTinDoor

    Thanks for the tips guys. I don’t follow any of your pick sets exactly, but the Point Spread Imbalance and Movement highlights are great insights. My ATS pick set is #13 OVERALL in the entire ESPN pool. I suppose i just wanted to brag a bit, but this column is a big reason why I’m having a great year so far.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    That is awesome! Here’s hoping you finish even higher…

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    That is awesome! Here’s hoping you finish even higher…

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    I assume you’re talking about Survivor. Official pick will be posted today, as usual.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dennis.natale.9 Dennis Natale

    Had a good week with the aggressive strategy.A little redemption for myself and you guys as well after last week.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    Good to hear!

  • http://www.facebook.com/dennis.natale.9 Dennis Natale

    Well I made it up to 19th place from being in the bottom of the league in one week.So I thank you guys for the help.This week a couple of your Very aggressive picks scare me lol. The Rams and Pats are the two that kind of give me pause.The aggressive strategy seems more to my liking this week but I keep thinking I still need to go full throttle on these picks with the very aggressive.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    Well, if you’re in 19th, it sounds like you’re doing OK. How big is your pool, and how many points out of first are you? If you’re only a couple points behind, the Aggressive (or even Conservative, depending on pool size) is probably fine.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dennis.natale.9 Dennis Natale

    Pool is 60 people and I am 85 points out of first place.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    Hmm. I would stick with Aggressive for the next week or two, and if you haven’t made up any ground switch to Very Aggressive.

    Oh, another question — do any other spots pay out besides first?

  • http://www.facebook.com/dennis.natale.9 Dennis Natale

    It is not a money league just for fun.It is for a trophy and some perks around the office for the year.Only the top spot gets anything.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    Oh. In that case, do you care more about trying to get first place (but possibly completely crashing out towards the bottom if the risks go poorly) or about just finishing near the top with a high point total?

    If your only concern is to try to get first, go Aggressive or Very Aggressive. If you would like to put in a good showing and make sure you don’t fall down to the bottom, go Conservative.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dennis.natale.9 Dennis Natale

    Well I would like to gain more ground but number one is not a must.I definitely do not want to fall backwards if I can help it.

    So you think switching to conservative is my best bet at my goal?

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    Yep.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dennis.natale.9 Dennis Natale

    Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dennis.natale.9 Dennis Natale

    You know as I look over things it seems the more aggressive the strategy the better the points.Total points earned for 6 weeks has reverse order being the best IE: V Agg then Agg then Conserv.

    In fact the Conserv strategy has only yielded better points once this season in week 4.

    Is this what you would call more of a anomaly within your system?

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    Yes.

    The Very Aggressive strategy is designed to be very “boom or bust” … with a bit of luck it could destroy your opponents, but it could also go terribly, terribly wrong. This year, because there have been an unusually large number of upsets, Very Aggressive has gone through a “boom” period. If the rest of the year is just as crazy, Very Aggressive may continue to do well, but there’s really not much reason to expect that.

    Conservative takes less risks, and tends to pick favorites. So the long-term average score for Conservative should be higher than the other strategies. But it will generally be more similar to what your opponents are picking, meaning it’s tougher to pick up ground … but also tougher to lose ground.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dennis.natale.9 Dennis Natale

    So would not the aggressive be the middle ground in that equation?Conservative tries to keep you on pace in your current position while very aggressive tries to catch you up but with risk to falling even further back.

    Then aggressive of course is still a little more risky then conservative but you still have a chance to gain some ground versus the average pickers?

    I guess what I am asking is in reference to my original question.I want to move forward in the standings but lose little to no ground in doing so if at all possible.You suggested conservative to do that but it would seem aggressive would be more suitable.

    Sorry for all the questions.I am still new here and I just want to get the general philosophies down.Right now my current weeks picks are set up for conservative.So I guess I am fishing for another confirmation that your original suggestion for this still stands.

    Thank you.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    Conservative = playing it safe. Less movement up and down.

    Very Aggressive = many risky picks. Lots of movement, more often down than up.

    Aggressive = mix of the two above.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dennis.natale.9 Dennis Natale

    Even if Detroit does not cover I had a great week.Thank you TR.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    Good to hear!