Each week I will post my NFL picks on this blog. For those of you wondering about methodology, I am actually writing an NFL handicapping book, so be on the lookout for that. But the short answer is that early season all of these picks are based pretty much solely on Madden ratings, then in mid to late season I start weighting DVOA and some other stats more heavily. For totals, in addition to Madden and weather, there are some other common stats I use such as pass percentage and seconds per play, both of these adjusted for the context in which the play took place. Also, I am assuming +2.0 points per game extra on the totals due to the weird rule changes, based on preseason scoring. We will monitor this as the season goes on.
As for why anyone should bet money on something totally ridiculous like Madden ratings, I'm not sure I can answer that question well other than to say that Madden ratings would have crushed the market early-season in past years, so maybe they will win again this year. What won't win is anything using last season's stats at all - every model I have tested that included Madden ratings had no use for past stats, suggesting the ratings are pretty good.
There aren't many games in the NFL each week and the lines are usually pretty sharp so we could easily get crushed but here are the picks for Week 1. All of these are posted on Pickmonitor as well. The number in parenthesis is the worst number I would take on the game.
CLE +4.5 (+3.5)
IND / CIN o47.5 (o49)
NE - 6 (-7)
CAR / DAL o42 (o44.5)
DEN / SEA o42.5 (o46)
DET / NYJ o45 (o46)
OAK +4 (+3)
Although all four totals picks are overs, I liked the under in the PHI game tonight and had a small wager on that, and may consider the OAK and LAC unders depending on wind conditions as well, so I think the adjustment I have made is more or less in line with the market.
Also, below are my season wins projections. Note that these are based on week 1 rosters only, so for some teams like PHI/TB who should get their quarterback back later in the season, as well as teams who play PHI/TB twice, they will change a little. Although I have wagered on a few of these, I would not recommend doing so as you would be taking the worst of the number on most of the teams I like given I moved the line already with some of these moving further after I bet. They are provided for educational purposes only. In any case, sloppy seconds are never a good thing in sports betting, or in life.