2015 Week 5 NFL ATS Picks
Week 4 Review (Week 4-1, Season 11-9, All Time 157-134-2)
After Week 3, I felt that while my picks deserved to lose on aggregate, they were better than their 0-5 record. After going 4-1 ATS in Week 4, I feel just about the same. While on aggregate I was right about more games than not, two of the four wins really could have gone either way. Weeks 3 and 4 sum up the variability of the NFL nicely. The standard deviation of weekly DVOA performances for individual teams is really quite astonishing. Parity in the NFL doesn't over the course of a season, but in a league where the worst team's best is measurably better than the best team's worst, parity most certainly exists on a single game basis. The moral of the story? Don't put too much weight into weekly ATS win loss records. The second moral to the story? Unexpected performances in one week, equal real value in the next.
Week 5 Picks
Washington +7 @ Atlanta
If ever there was a game where the final score didn't tell the whole story, it was the Falcon's thumping of the Texans. While I did expect the Falcon's to win pretty easily, they benefited tremendously from multiple first half turnovers on defense and long third down conversions on offense. The Falcon's did run the ball very well, but in many ways didn't look great when throwing. This dynamic should find trouble against a stout Washington run defense. I like Washington in a close game.
Jacksonville +3 (115) @ Tampa Bay
In another deceptive box score, the Jaguars lost on the road despite having two makable field goals for the win in the 4th quarter and overtime. A road win, even against a Luck-less Colts team, would have been a huge victory for the Jaguars, but instead, we are supposed to treat the incredibly unlikely outcome of a professional kicker missing two field goals as proof positive that the Jaguars are still really bad. The Jaguars, aren't good, but they've shown plenty of competence over the first four weeks of the season and that's more than anyone can say about the Buccaneers. I like the Jaguars to win as a live dog.
Buffalo PK @ Tennessee
Through a combination of the Bills' Week 4 performance and a growing support for the Titans, this line has fallen 4 points to PK. While the Bills did look bad in their loss to the Giants, they are still multiples better than a Tennessee team that only looked competent against two 1-3 teams. For what its worth, the team the Titans didn't look competent against is also 1-3. I like the Bills to outperform the Titans in every phase of this game.
Denver -4 @ Oakland
Neither of these teams are particularly difficult to figure out. Oakland is a young team with enough talent to flash against good teams, but overall, isn't really that great yet. The Broncos on the other hand are a team with the best defense in the league (not close) and an offense that is still below average, but consistently improving each week. I fully expect the Broncos to continue their improvement on offense and for the defense to completely dominate.
Arizona -3 (120) @ Detroit
While I am not ready to admit that the Cardinals are actually really good, that doesn't mean I won't pick them if the value is right. This game line is a classic one week overcorrection. Arizona unexpectedly lost to an undervalued Rams team and is therefore not as good as we thought. The Lions unexpectedly almost won against an overrated Seahawks team and are therefore not as bad as we thought. Right? As I said in the Week 4 recap, variability in the NFL is a given, but by definition, there is no reason to think it will repeat in the same way one week after another. I like Arizona to win on the road.