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TheStreet Open House

Against the Spread: 2011 NFL Picks: Week 11

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- After 10 weeks in this NFL season, you're be smarter to pick against me than with me.

At the halfway point of the season, my record now stands at 16-27 with two ties, good for a miserable winning percentage of 35.5% in the 45 games I've picked so far. If you picked against me, you're sitting with a lovely 60% winning record. I suppose it's a good thing I'm not a portfolio manager, although I still might be doing better with my NFL picks than some hedge fund managers are doing this year.

Speaking of picking stocks and picking NFL games, one of my weekly NFL picks sources made the interesting point of comparing Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow to K-cup maker Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR), a company targeted by hedge fund manager David Einhorn as a short opportunity. Comparing an embattled speculative name to another embattled speculative name isn't hard to do, even if we're talking about quarterbacks and coffee makers.

"How can you evaluate Tebow one way and others evaluate him another?" asks Paul Bessire, the general manager and creator of the Web site PredictionMachine.com. His Prediction Machine is a quantitative way to break down NFL games as it simulates each contest 50,000 times to come up with a pick against the spread.

"That is a type of product that never existed ever and how efficient it is," Bessire says of the Keurig maker. "But can they consistently produce results and it fades away? I think there are a lot of correlations there. It's identical to the Tebow situation right now. Will it work next year? Will people move on? It's been successful but it doesn't make sense to why it has been successful. You have to take it one game at a time."

Bessire's point in comparing the two is to show how picking NFL games is not about speculation and noise -- it's about focusing on the matchups between two teams and coming to a conclusion that way. That has been difficult for some to deal with, even seasoned professionals in the Vegas sports gambling world.

"It's been a very strange year," says Bryan Leonard, a professional sports handicapper with Pregame.com who is also part of the Tuesday Group, a collection of professional bettors in Las Vegas who get together to handicap the games each week.

"It used to be, if you took the better quarterback or better defense, you were pretty safe to cover," he says. "But in many instances, picking the better quarterback hasn't lived up to expectations." Leonard also brings up Tebow, who managed to lead his team to victory in Week 10 despite completing only two passes all game. "The team has rallied around the idea of playing a different type of ball," he says.

With that, let's get on to the picks for Week 11 of the NFL season. As I'll remind you through the entire season, these are for entertainment purposes only. Once again, I have enlisted the help of PredictionMachine.com's Paul Bessire, who offers analysis of the data his model provides for the games I've picked this week.

I have also collected commentary from Bryan Leonard, whose analysis focuses on the spread movement by Vegas oddsmakers to determine where the public and professional money is moving on each game. These trends prove to be critical for bettors who are on the hunt for inefficiencies and value.

Read on for the first game pick, where the New York Jets travel to play Tebow's Denver Broncos tonight. And as always, I encourage you to leave comments below with your favorite picks against the spread this week. I'm always looking to share ideas. Besides, what's more fun than talking about football betting?

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