NFL Season Moving Along Quickly
By David A. Lane of Predictem.com
Different sports really do vary a lot in how their specific seasons tend to run. Baseball really tends to lag during the dog days of summer. NBA basketball goes on forever beginning around Halloween and ending sometime just before the Fourth of July. NHL Hockey goes on even longer than basketball but doesn’t get enough exposure to wear on anyone. Something about NFL football that has always made it special- seems like it is here and then it’s gone before you know it every year- is that it never seems to lag or hit low spots during the season, and, believe it or not, this one’s already one third done which means there are some solid trends for the bettor to pick through.
One place to start from is that of the 88 NFL games played thus far (based on games played BEFORE last weekend 10-19-08), favorites are 61-27 straight up- a whopping 69.7% record. Home favorites are even better SU, winning 71% (44-18) of the time while on the road the number for away favorites drops to a still respectable 65.38%. This means that conversely, home dogs are only 9-17 SU (34.62%). One can only surmise that this makes a good case for taking the favorite in money line wagers.
When looking through the numbers on an against the spread basis, road teams have covered 52.33% (45-41-2) of the time. Favorites ATS have brought home the money 54.65% of the time (47-39-2). Strikingly, the strongest number ATS are road favorites who are 16 of 26 making them a 61.54% performer. So much for the idea that strictly choosing the home dogs give the bettor any sort of an advantage (10-16 or 38.46%ATS) thus far this season. Certainly, one can devise that by money lining home favorites and taking road favorites ATS, this year a player would be cashing plenty of winning tickets.
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On a team by team basis, there are a lot of teams that are good at one thing be it offense or defense, but not one team that is good at all things. The defending champion New York Giants (4-1) most looked the part in the NFC until last Monday night’s loss and in the AFC the Tennessee Titans (5-0) have started strongly- the Giants are 3-2 ATS and have an 11.4 point margin of victory while the Titans are 5-0 ATS and have an 11.8 point margin of victory- which also happens to make these two the leaders in margin of victory in the entire league. Of the top seven teams ATS- Tennessee (5-0, 100%), Tampa Bay Buc’s (5-1, 83.3%), Arizona Cardinals (4-2, 66.7%), Atlanta Falcons (4-2, 66.7%), Washington Redskins (4-2, 66.7), New Orleans Saints (4-2, 66.7%), and Philadelphia Eagles (4-2, 66.7%) - the Redskins have the lowest winning margin at 1.5 followed by the Falcons at 2.
Also noteworthy is the margin of loss which signifies how good a team is to bet against. The St. Louis Rams (1-4 ATS) happen to be the lowliest of the lowly (could you have guessed?) losing by a gigantic average margin of 20.4 or the equivalent of a fraternity football team playing the game while being on its fourth keg of beer. Next in line at the bottom feeders table is the Detroit Lions (1-4 ATS) who have only managed to lose by an average of 16.6 points. The Kansas City Chiefs (2-3 ATS) complete the Missouri migraine by stinkin’ it up to the tune of 13.2- a figure and a sound Branson, M.O. can’t be proud of. Great teams to pick against are at least as good if not better than picking winners if you can identify them and these three take the cake in my book.
Back to the point of there being no dominant offense or defense, only one of the top five teams in each category makes the top five ATS and that again is the Titans who are fourth in the league in defense. That means that a total of ten different teams make up the top five in offense and top five in defense- once again not one is good at both- but only one of them cracks the top five ATS. One might think there would be more than one of these ten in the top five but it is so.
Although with the bye week format only four teams in the NFC have enjoyed their week off while all but four teams in the AFC have already had theirs, the figures used are all based on average numbers per game. With the season already one third gone, the stats are sure to change with time- that’s one thing you can count on. Another is that, sadly enough, it won’t be long now before we’re left with only basketball and hockey!