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Beating the Book: Chris Liss Handicaps the Wild Card Round

Chris Liss

Chris Liss is RotoWire's Managing Editor and Host of RotoWIre Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio.

Another 8-8 week which was apropos, since I finished at .500 on the year. Once again, it was actually slightly better than it looked given I went 4-1 on my best bets and the one I lost was the Cardinals, a game that could have gone either way. Conversely, I was 1-3 on coin flips.

On the year, I was 32-33-4 on the games I liked best and 9-8 on my weekly best bets in the Staff Picks. I actually thought my record on games I liked was going to be better, but that's because I knew I'd been doing well of late. From Weeks 7-17, it turns out my record was 25-13-2 on those games. From Weeks 1-6? 7-20-2.

It's easy to find some silver lining if you cut your record up enough - maybe I crushed it on Thursday night games, or Monday, or everything except the late afternoon games, so I don't want to overemphasize second-half best bets over everything else. Moreover, I picked Week 7 as the starting point because it's the first week I did well. If I picked Week 10, my record wouldn't have been quite as good. All that said, I'm glad I got better on the games about which I felt strongly as the year went on and the sample got bigger. That's at least something to take away from a .500 season, which is the expected return from someone picking the games at random.

This week, I feel pretty good about my picks with the exception of the last one.


Chiefs +2.5 at Colts

The only teams the Chiefs have beaten since November 3rd are the Raiders and Redskins. Moreover, the Colts destroyed them 23-7 at Arrowhead two weeks ago.
For some reason, though, Kansas City is getting only 2.5 despite the game being in Indy. Maybe there's something I'm missing, but I'll take the Colts.

Colts 27 - 20

Saints +2.5 at Eagles

The Saints are 3-5 on the road this year and 8-0 at home. Moreover, while Drew Brees got 9.1 YPA at home, he had only 6.9 YPA on the road. Only 12 of Brees' 29 TDs were on the road, and his 84.8 road QB rating was barely better than the league average of 84.1. Essentially, at home the Saints are better than the Peyton Manning Broncos. On the road, they're essentially the Rams on offense, and that's not even accounting for potentially cold and windy conditions. As such, I have to lay the points. Back Philly.

Eagles 31 - 23


Chargers +7 at Bengals

The Bengals lost five games this year, all of which were on the road. Moreover, their margins of victory at home starting in Week 8 were 40, 21, 14, 28 and 17. The Bengals also went into San Diego and beat the Chargers by seven five weeks ago. The Chargers' offense gives them a chance, but an early game near the east coast in what's likely to be cold weather is a bad setup. Back Cincy.

Bengals 34 - 17

49ers -3 at Packers

This game gave me the most trouble. The Packers getting three at home seem like the value, but I have a lot harder time picturing the 49ers losing in the first round. Usually, when you have value vs. narrative, you should go with value, but then there's the huge disparity in coaching quality on top of it. You have to assume Jim Harbaugh over Mike McCarthy is worth at least couple points in terms of fourth-down decisions and clock management alone. In the end, I'm going to say Green Bay covers, but McCarthy botches something, and the Niners win. Back the Packers.

49ers 24 - 23

Last week we went 8-8 to go 123-123-10 on the regular season. From 1999-2012 we've gone 1,810-1,641 (52.4%), not including ties.