Wouldn't you love to have a roundtable discussion -- kind of like the famed Tuesday Group of wiseguys in Las Vegas -- to help with your handicapping of the NFL card each weekend?
Well, this new feature is intended to do just that as we give readers many different points of view in trying to predict what will happen in this weekend's NFL games.
We'll look at what the public (we'll try to resist calling them "squares") is thinking with a Public Consensus Pick derived from data accumulated from sports books. The percentage and pick provides insight as to what side the public is taking. We'll also list score projections as well as the consensus plays of the record 745 entrants in the prestigious LVH SuperContest in Las Vegas.
I'll then give the public and wiseguys' point of view on why they're on the side they like, and then give my "take" on the game. I've covered the Las Vegas sports book beat since 1998. I'm a journalist by trade and not a professional bettor, but I certainly approach the games like one. Even though I respect the wiseguys -- and often land on the same side as them, especially when they're taking the contrarian side from the public -- I'm not afraid to go against them, and I certainly believe the axiom (which I believe I created) that the wiseguys don't always win and the public doesn't always lose.
Whether you're betting the games, playing in contests or office pools, or just have an interest in predicting the future, hopefully this helps us all in landing on the right side of games (I'll be using this exercise as well in narrowing down my five weekly plays in the SuperContest).
Note: Consensus Pick percentages as of late Thursday night.
Current spread: Giants -7
Public consensus pick: 57.0 percent picked Giants
SuperContestants: 144-81 in favor of Bucs
Public perception: The Giants, as defending champs, are a public team, and that hasn't changed with an opening-night loss to Dallas. The Buccaneers are still under the public's radar despite a win over Panthers.
Wiseguys' view: The sharps snapped up all the Bucs +7.5 earlier in the week. The Giants, long considered a stronger road team (and neutral field in Super Bowls), were 3-4-1 against the spread as home favorites last year. The Giants are prime candidates to tease to under a field goal.
Tuley's take: This is definitely one of those games in which, if you're betting or playing in a contest (such as the SuperContest, where the line is 7.5) or an office pool, I would take the Bucs plus the hook (the extra half-point), while the Giants would be the play at anything less. Pick: Bucs at +7.5. Giants or pass at 7.