Just because our computer is smarter than us doesn't mean we believe everything it says.
It gives too much weight to some stats, in our opinion, and doesn't apply as much handicapping theory and human rationale.
But over the past three seasons, by the time five weeks of NFL boxscores and betting lines data are in the system, the OddsShark.com scores prediction formula has spit out winning picks at a rapid pace. And it's hard to argue with success at the sportsbook payout window.
We don't even mention this service for Weeks 1-5, but in Week 6 and later, the machine has proved itself to be smarter than men. Although the handicapping analysts don't always agree with its selections, we have grown to respect its predictions.
So before the Steelers face the Titans on Thursday, we present the first lineup of NFL picks, courtesy of the NFL computer. We reveal the computer's predicted score, the result of the spread and total (assuming the computer is correct) and we weigh in with our own human intervention on each game.
Pittsburgh -5 at Tennessee +5, Total 43
Prediction: 26-6 Pitt
Cover: Steelers | Total: UNDER
OddsShark.com Opinion: Not a chance. Steelers are banged up, fail as a road team and bounce expected by Chris Johnson.
Pick: Titans +5.5 | Matchup Report
Indianapolis +3 at NY Jets -3, Total 42.5
Prediction: 19-17 Indy
Cover: Colts | Total: UNDER
OddsShark.com Opinion: Not a chance. Colts lost nine in row on road, letdown hole after big home win over Packers; Jets dominate AFC South and will rebound here.
Pick: Jets -3 | Matchup Report
Oakland +9.5 at Atlanta -9.5, Total 48
Prediction: 35-10 Falcons
Cover: Falcons | Total: UNDER
OddsShark.com Opinion: Sounds about right. Raiders never win after bye week (0-9 ATS), Falcons keen to be 6-0 before their bye. Beware back-door cover, Raiders tough as underdogs.
Pick: Falcons -9.5 | Matchup Report
Detroit +5.5 at Philadelphia -5.5, Total 47.5
Prediction: 21-19 Eagles
Cover: Lions | Total: UNDER
OddsShark.com Opinion: Sound about right, Eagles win by two points and fail to cover spread. Lions 0-6 vs Philly since '95 and 0-7 ATS after a bye week on the road.
Pick: Eagles -5.5 | Matchup Report
Dallas +3.5 at Baltimore -3.5, Total 43.5
Prediction: 29-15 Ravens
Cover: Ravens | Total OVER
OddsShark.com Opinion: Cowboys very good after a bye (11-3 ATS past 14 seasons), Ravens seldom cover at home.
Pick: Cowboys +3.5 | Matchup Report
Kansas City +3 at Tampa Bay -3, Total 40.5
Prediction: 21-13 Tampa Bay
Cover: Bucs | Total: UNDER
OddsShark.com Opinion: Boring-sounding score. Bucs 5-1 ATS in post-bye weeks lately, Chiefs have QB troubles. Like TB to win easily here.
Pick: Bucs -3 | Matchup Report
Cincinnati -1 at Cleveland +1, Total 44
Prediction: 24-17 Bengals
Cover: Cincy | Total: UNDER
OddsShark.com Opinion: Browns lose??!! Stop the presses! Bet down to PK, but still take Cincy (7-1 SU past 8 vs Browns) and Cleveland lost 14 straight SU as underdog.
Pick: Bengals -1 | Matchup Report
St. Louis +3 at Miami -3, Total 37.5
Prediction: 22-20 Miami
Cover: Rams | Total: OVER
OddsShark.com Opinion: Agree on the Rams cover, but we are betting moneyline because we see them win SU. Rams 5-1 ATS past 6 as dog, Dolphins have dominated Rams recent years (8-1), not today.
Pick: Rams +3 | Matchup Report
Buffalo +5 at Arizona -5, Total 43
Prediction: 26-12 Arizona
Cover: Cardinals | Total: UNDER
OddsShark.com Opinion: Agree with the 2-TD margin of victory, but score will be higher. We are betting Cards and OVER the total. OVER trends galore, including 13-2 past 15 Bills games when they are dogs.
Picks: Arizona -5, OVER 43 | Matchup Report
New England -3.5 at Seattle +3.5, Total 44
Prediction: 32-25 Patriots
Cover: Patriots | Total: OVER
OddsShark.com Opinion: Sounds about right, Pats always win as road chalk and 6-0-1 ATS past 7 on road overall; Seawhawks not great team, although great as home dog (12-2-1 ATS).
Pick: Patriots -3.5 | Matchup Report
NY Giants +5 at San Francisco -5, Total 44.5
Prediction: 40-32 San Francisco
Cover: 49ers | Total: OVER
OddsShark.com Opinion: 49ers have looked dominant, but Giants tough road team and tough dog. Agreed on the 49ers cover, disagree on high score.
Pick: 49ers -5 | Matchup Report
Minnesota OFF at Washington OFF
Prediction: 32-23 Vikings
Cover: NA | Total: NA
OddsShark.com Opinion: No news on RGIII keeps line off the board. Still not convinced Vikes are legit, will watch opening spread before commenting, but will take Redskins as small fave if RGIII OK.
Pick: Redskins IF RGIII OK | Matchup Report
Green Bay +5 at Houston -5, Total 47
Prediction: 37-22 Texans
Cover: Houston | Total: OVER
OddsShark.com Opinion: Strongly disagree. Pack are ruthless as underdogs (11-2-1 ATS since 2008) and Texans lost D leader Brian Cushing. Packers win SU.
Pick: Packers +5 | Matchup Report
Denver +1 at San Diego -1, Total 49.5
Prediction: 30-28 Chargers
Cover: San Diego | Total: OVER
OddsShark.com Opinion: Sounds about right. Denver loses as dog, loses on road, loses vs Chargers. Lot of trends stacked vs Manning and Chargers rebound from Saints loss.
Pick: Chargers -1 | Matchup Report