NFL Playoff Picking Game: Rules and Guidelines

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Your favorite team missed the playoffs. The fantasy season is over. You really don't feel like going to Home Depot and dealing with whatever project your lovely bride has suggested you work on. It is time for a gimmick, or as you will tell your significant other, an investment.

Even if your beloved squad qualified for the postseason, you need an excuse to watch the other games, and gambling is fun. Call one or more of your friends, decide on a prize, and start handicapping.

Real men do not pick games without the point spread. There are 11 playoff match-ups and you want action on all of them. But how smart and savvy are you?

On each of the 11 games you will pick the team that you think will cover the spread. You will assign point values to each game ranging from one to 11 with each value to be assigned a single time. Your 11-point game is the contest you feel the most confident in and is worth just under 17-percent of the maximum number of 66 points you can earn in the game. The one-point game accounts for less than two-percent of your total points.

So if this weekend you love Washington as a home favorite, put a 10 or 11 point value on the game and go for broke early. Or if you think Atlanta is a vulnerable home favorite next week, save your highest value play and bet against the Falcons. Perhaps you think the NFC is just better than the AFC and you want to hold your biggest play for the Super Bowl. Or maybe you want to role with the Colts and you spend an eight pointer on them this week holding your nine, 10, and 11 point picks for Indy the next three weeks.

It can be helpful to project next week's spreads too. If you assume all of the favorites will win this week, how many points will the Packers be getting in San Francisco? Do you like Seattle plus points at Atlanta? Are the Patriots or Broncos so much better than Houston and Baltimore that you can sit back and wait for those games?

The name of the game is fun, camaraderie, watching football and not doing whatever it is she wants you to do. This fills all of the criteria.