This "Tuley's Take" experiment has started off better than I could have dreamed.
When I accepted this assignment two weeks ago, I was coming off a 2-3 record against the spread (ATS) in Week 1 in the LVH SuperContest and on my ViewFromVegas.com website, so I just wanted to give some insider knowledge from Las Vegas -- and hopefully not crash and burn with my picks.
However, I went 9-4 ATS two weeks ago and followed that up last week with an 8-1 ATS record. Specifically, I went 7-0 with the underdogs I picked (Buccaneers, Vikings, Chiefs, Jaguars, Cardinals, Patriots, Seahawks), and 1-1 with two favorites (win on the Texans, loss on the Steelers) -- and that doesn't include a lean I had on the Bears, which I said had value at minus-7 against the Rams.
I want to make it clear this isn't to be expected every week. No one can keep up that type of winning percentage, so lower your expectations if you think you've found the greatest thing since sliced bread. I'm first and foremost a journalist, but try to approach handicapping and betting like the professionals. In three of the past five years, I was around 60 percent or higher. But last year I was below .500, so that keeps me humble.
Last week: 8-1 ATS | Year-to-date: 17-5 ATS
Note: Consensus Pick percentages as of late Thursday night.
Current spread: Patriots minus-4
Public consensus pick: 65 percent picked Patriots
Supercontestants: 278-88 in favor of Patriots
Public perception: I've seen betting percentages at individual offshore books in the 80 percent range, so the public consensus pick actually looks low. The public can't imagine the Patriots losing three in a row. The Bills winning two in a row isn't enough to get the public on their bandwagon yet.
Wiseguys' view: The pros know that you don't bet against Bill Belichick coming off back-to-back losses, as he's led the Patriots to four straight wins and covers -- and is 9-6 ATS in his career -- in this spot. The uncertainty of Buffalo running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller are also keeping bettors away.
Tuley's take: I'm also not going to go against Belichick following back-to-back losses. Pick: Patriots (disclaimer: though I'm taking this as a pick and grading accordingly because I think that's where the value lies, I usually only bet my top underdog plays every week.)