Better thinking through technology

The St. Louis Rams, or why diversified picking matters



For as much of a hoot as it was to watch the Rams beat the Seahawks, and for as much of an annoyance as it was to watch a solid pick in the Hawks flush a dollar down the drain, I think now is a good time to stop and realize that the SEA@STL game was an anomaly. The simple fact is that the Rams, at this point in their rebuild, are finding ways to lose football games, and Jeff Fisher knew this fact before he started trying to roll hard sixes. In fact, it's why we was rolling hard sixes with his play calling.

I'm reminded of the GB@PIT game a few years ago when Mike Tomlin basically decided there was no way in hell his defense could stop Aaron Rodgers and decided to kick onside. The principle is the same: your team is so over-matched that the most risk-laden decision is to stand pat.

From a picking standpoint, there's nothing you can do about the money that you put on the Seahawks. Only a downright moron would bet on the Rams to pull that win off twice.

The Seahawks are of course suffering the normal regression that goes with being the Super Bowl champs. Don't forget that Tom Brady and the Pats managed to go 8-8 and miss the playoffs following a Super Bowl win once. It happens because Super Bowls champs are marked for death in the following season. Crappy teams, like the Rams, throw everything and the kitchen sink at you in order to secure a win.

Jeff Fisher deserves massive credit for the win, but the reality is that the way the Rams won expresses zero faith in his team's ability to hold onto a lead. The Rams are rebuilding and they are improving. They also have the thankless task of playing in a division that includes the Hawks, the 49ers and the Cardinals.


The current models' view of the Rams



The Rams are getting better. In fact, Model 3 says that the Rams have a league-average chance of beating the Chiefs next week on the road. The model also says that both teams are improving.

But there's a simple problem. The Rams will have to play above-average football to have a real chance of winning in KC. What they did against Seattle was not above-average football. It was a fluke. An outlier. An anomaly.

The big thing Rams fans can take away from the Seattle game is that Jeff Fisher lives in the real world. He knows his team's weaknesses, and he will roll the dice in order to overcome them.

Right there might be the problem. The Chiefs right now, with Alex Smith, are playing tight football.


Conclusions



More than anything the SEA@STL game is proof of why you have to diversify your picks. Seattle is and will remain a solid pick on a week-to-week basis, but black swan events occur. You're going to lose money because a coach rolls a hard six and nails it. It's going to happen.

Anyone who tells you to stay out of an NFL bet simply doesn't understand the facts as they are. The diversity of your bets is the only thing that can help you pad your card with enough profit to overcome a loss like this.