Each week, Eddie Utah (“EU”) tries to predict the Vegas lines for each NFL game upcoming that week. It’s an honor system—I make my predictions before looking at the official lines. One of my favorite columnists, Bill Simmons (“BS”), does the same thing (and yes, in fact, I borrowed the idea from him). Bill even goes so far as to make a podcast about the lines with his friend Cousin Sal ("CS," who recently won an Emmy for his part in helping Sarah Silverman write that special song for ex-boyfriend Jimmy Kimmel). Bill and Sal have a contest on the podcast each week to see whose line predictions come closer to the actual Vegas line for each game. In week 2 of the 2008 NFL season, I decided to give it a try and find out if I could do any better than Bill and Cousin Sal.
So far, the answer is a definitive no. Here are the season standings after week 5: CS 30, BS 28, EU 15. On to week 6…
St. Louis at Washington
Is this the let-down game for the ‘skins? Nooooo…..
CS: WAS -13, BS: WAS -15, EU: WAS -11.5, Actual: WAS -13.5
Score: CS 1, BS 0, EU 0
Chicago at Atlanta
After Atlanta’s big win last week, this becomes a good game all of a sudden.
CS: Chi -3, BS: ATL -2.5, EU: ATL -3, Actual: chi -1
Score: CS 2, BS 0, EU 0
Cincinnati at N.Y. Jets
Do the Bengals go back to playing awful against a mediocre Jets team?
CS: JETS -6, BS: JETS -8.5, EU: JETS -6, Actual: JETS -6.5
Score: CS 3, BS 0, EU 1
Oakland at New Orleans
And the Saints have the formula to beat most teams (including the Raiders)—i.e., don’t turn the ball over five times.
CS: NO -9, BS: NO -7.5, EU: NO -9, Actual: NO -7.5
Score: CS 3, BS 1, EU 1
Detroit at Minnesota
After Monday night, Minnesota has the perfect formula for beating Detroit—just wait for them to turn the ball over five times.
CS: MIN -10, BS: MIN -9.5, EU: MIN -8.5, Actual: MIN -13.5
Score: CS 4, BS 1, EU 1
Baltimore at Indianapolis
The Colts won’t be so lucky this week.
CS: IND -7, BS: IND -3.5, EU: bal -2, Actual: IND -4.5
Score: CS 4, BS 2, EU 1
Carolina at Tampa Bay
Flip a coin (or a penalty flag) for this one. I see it coming down to one play or one call, sort of like the Ravens-Titans game last week.
CS: TB -1.5, BS: car -1, EU: TB -1, Actual: TB -1
Score: CS 4, BS 2, EU 2
Miami at Houston
Will the Texans be ready for the Wildcat? Miami has beat the two participants of last year’s AFC championship…but can they beat the 0-4 Texans?
CS: HOU -3.5, BS: pick, EU: HOU -3, Actual: HOU -3
Score: CS 4, BS 2, EU 3
Jacksonville at Denver
I think Jacksonville is close to putting it all together for a full game. Can they do it in Denver?
CS: ?, BS: DEN -3.5, EU: DEN -4.5, Actual: DEN -3.5
Score: CS 4, BS 3, EU 3
Philadelphia at San Francisco
Three Zone Bunk alert! It didn’t stop the Patriots from beating the 49ers. Will it stop the Eagles?
CS: phi -3, BS: phi -4, EU: SF -3, Actual: phi -6
Score: CS 4, BS 4, EU 3
Dallas at Arizona
Over/under on percentage of Cowboys fans = 40. Over/under on points scored = 50. (Actual over/under is 50. Look at me.)
CS: dal -7, BS: dal -4.5 , EU: dal -3, Actual: dal -5
Score: CS 4, BS 5, EU 3
Green Bay at Seattle
Hey Seahawks: In case you’re wondering, yes the preseason’s over.
CS: SEA -4.5, BS: SEA -1.5 , EU: gb -3, Actual: SEA -3
Score: CS 5, BS 6, EU 3
New England at San Diego
The Patriots are spending the week on the West Coast. Apparently they didn’t pay attention to what happened to the Cardinals two weeks ago. Six touchdown passes for Philip Rivers?
CS: SD -5, BS: SD -3, EU: SD -3, Actual: SD -5
Score: CS 6, BS 6, EU 3
N.Y. Giants at Cleveland
I agree with Sal—it stinks that Eli Manning is good.
CS: gia -8, BS: gia -7.5, EU: gia -7.5, Actual: gia -9
Score: CS 7, BS 6, EU 3
Season Standings: CS 37, BS 34, EU 18
Eddie Utah Superpicks (home team in CAPS): ATL +1 over chi, det +13.5 over MIN, and bal +4.5 over IND (11-3-1 on the season)