Football Sunday ….sitting at 57th of 1900 in the Hilton NFL SuperContest!!!

3:40 Update

Looks like I dodged a bullet with Cleveland coming back with a miracle cover making me 3-2 for this weekends picks in the Hilton Super Contest. That should be a small pickup from 57th place. Maybe closer to the top 50. My one play this weekend in the NFL was an easy winner with Miami +7.5 winning the game outright! Thats 3 big dogs this weekend in football and all three winning outright. Just like the old days:)

One game tonight in the NFL:



Betting is 57% on the Home Favorite with the line moving from -3.5+102 to -3-105. Models are split on the game while variables are neutral. Also the public numbers ever so slightly favors Indy but the move off of +3.5 takes that away. This game at +3 is as close to a tossup as I can imagine. A clear cut pass for me on this one.

Good Luck whichever side you take


Yes tied for 57th after week 5. Best position I have been in this early in the contest since I started participating. I have been in the top 10 several times heading into the last few weeks usually do to a monster run that begins around now. If I happen to get that run this season look out:)

Saturday turned out to be a busy day for us going 2-0 in college football, 2-1 in the NBA, 1-1 in MLB and 0-2 in the NHL. The end result was +about .75 units. Both college football games, Mississippis st +14 and Northwestern +6.5 won the games out right! In MLB we won with Cleveland and lost with the dodgers, In the NBA we won with Memphis and the Lakers and lost with Phil. In the NHL we lost with Winnipeg and the Islanders.

Also if you’re keeping track we are now +11.35 Units in MLB this season! I had to throw that in:)

My Super Contest Picks this week in the contest in the order I liked them at the time:

Miami +7.5

Cinci +8.5

Cleveland +7

Rams +3.5

San Fran +7.5

Miami was the only one that was clear to me. All the rest have negatives but the positives outweigh substantially in most cases. San Fran was arrived at by a process of elimination rather than the merits of the game. Rams I got a good line and with little to go on after the first 3 they were an easy choice.

As I look over the games this morning I am comfortable with my picks.Typically there is one that I would change if I had it to do over with the numbers what they are today but these would be the 5 I would come up with today also.

Last week was a 3-2 week with my top pick and one unit play going down and my bottom 2 covered. That happens enough that you begin to realize the difference sometimes between the picks is like splitting hairs!

This leads me to a question I got last night from a subscriber:

“Hi Rick
I was listening to the local sports talk show the other day and their guest was a handicapper.  He was a big supporter this week of the Chiefs. His main argument was Andy Reid coming off of a bye is 13-2-1.

Do trends have any predictive value?  When you handicap a game are there any trends that are variables?

I guess what I’m fishing at is I still don’t know exactly what a variable is.


My Response:

I have written about this in the past probably a few years ago now and today my answer is pretty much the same. Models tend to be the least predictive of what I use. In some sports, I give them more weight than others but overall that is the case. If you have any doubt all you need to do is go to and see how poorly models perform in finding value. You need to spend some time and add up what each model has done over the last 10 years before you draw any conclusions.

Public numbers I use for a screen for finding value. As an example, if 90% of the betting is on say New England there is very little chance there is any value betting New England. That is an extreme example but illustrates the significance of these % numbers. There are threshold numbers where you can draw inferences as to value and they are different for each sport. In addition, the can be different depending on what part of the season the sport is in. And finally, they can be different for home, away, fav and dog. Its a very complex process determining where value is looking at % numbers.

With the influx of “sharp” money into every sport what was a fairly simple process 5 years ago is now much more complex. And it shifts often, it is not a static consideration.

Now we come to variables the crux of your question. A secret that the best handicappers have that is rarely mentioned or talked about is variables. It is not easy to define what they are but I would say that it’s a set of circumstances that exist where at this point and time there is an edge betting on a team.

For instance as an example. Let’s say an NHL team is on the road for its 4th straight game.  That is a set of circumstances. However where the value might be is not intuitive. The public who is sophisticated enough to track this would say aha bet against the road team as they are tired. But this is something that is known to the books and not only that the books will adjust the line accordingly. Typically in these situations, the value is the opposite of what you would expect.

Another example is an injury of a key player in the NBA. I am going to give you this one as it used to be the nuts and now has minor value. The public would say aha bet against the team that is missing its key player. But for years you could not get a higher % play than betting on the 1st game after the injury on the team that is injured. This was so good a variable it was scary. But over the last year or two as a result of the books adjusting the variable is not as good. But still not bad.

So that should give you an understanding of the concept of variables. There is no handicapper that is a winning handicapper that will tell you his basket of variables he uses in handicapping. This is one of the most guarded secrets professional handicappers have. The reason is variables are the most predictive of all that handicappers use in uncovering value and it’s not even close.

One caveat before I get into today’s NFL. You can go on a number of sites and see what is called trends of the day. They can be rather detailed and at first, glance may appear to have value to a bettor. I can tell you that 99% of what you see on these sites have 0 predictive value. And I might be understating it:)

I did not intend to get into this detailed a discussion but I think it’s very instructive to give bettors a perspective they might not have.

Now onto today’s NFL

I am sitting at 16-9 in the Super Contest or 64% going into today. It’s most likely going to take close to a 70% record to win this. With almost 1900 entrants even just using random numbers with no decision making that would be the case.

The Hilton top 5 had a 3=2 week last week bringing its record to a dismal 7-18 or 28%.

This week the Hilton top five picked games are:






I am not with any of these or fading any of these.


% number for today:

New Eng 76

Pitt 75

Phil 65

Houston 57

Jacks 57

GB 56

KC 56

Det 55

Tenn 54

Atl 54

San Fran 52

Balt 51

New Orleans 51

Its unusual to only have 3 games that are over 60%.

It will be an interesting day with two of my games at a much higher % number than I would like. Rams 54% and San Fran at 50%.  Last week it was Tenn as my public play with over 60% on them that won. Let’s see if I can fare as well this week on these two.

This was a longer than usual post but the information regarding models, % and variables is something that is very important. It’s much better to have an overall perspective in the concepts that are behind successful handicapping.

Good Luck Today


RickJ’s Handicapping Picks












Ariz 55


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