Handicapping NFL Turnovers

Handicapping Turnovers
by Predictem.com Staff

How many times have you been watching an NFL football game, everything is going your way, a cover looks imminent, then all of a sudden, your QB throws a ten yard out pass that is intercepted and run back for a touchdown by the other team? (aka: Pick 6)

It happens more than we care to admit! We’ve all been there and suffered through the excruciating pain that comes along with such an event.

How many times have you been watching a game and the QB hands the ball off to the RB and miraculously the ball bounces off his six pack for a fumble and rolls around only to be picked up by a speedy defensive back and run back for 80 yards? There is nothing that puts a pit in your gut quicker than such a play. It happens, and more than we care to admit.

What we’re getting at here is that handicapping football games isn’t all about envisioning the QB raring back and throwing 50 yard bombs to paydirt. It’s not about a stud running back juking his way through the line and into the secondary performing ankle breaking moves that get him into the endzone.

Na, football is much more than that. It’s about the weird shaped ball getting dropped and bouncing around in unpredictable directions and teams losing possession. It’s about a throw that goes errant because a 6’8″ beat of a lineman slapped the QB’s arm as it was moving forward and another beastly lineman has it land in his breadbasket and stumbles down the field in a retarded fashion to score the only TD of his career.

Folks, meet the turnover. The big, the bad the ugly. The almighty unforeseen circumstance that has brought even the mightiest of men to their knees. The unthinkable that has you rearranging finances and reversing the count of dollars that you had thought you won and already had spent on a new John Deere.

We can’t believe how many football bettors go into battle without knowing that a guy like Dante Culpepper has been a fumbling machine in his career. Not only until they actually see it with their own eyes with their own money at risk do we blurt out “Shit! I should have checked that stat out before I bet this game!” Don’t worry, your not alone, we’ve all been there.

The average NFL team has around 12-13 drives during a game. It’s been said that turnovers happen in around 15% of those drives. Folks, this means that we’re almost absolutely positively going to witness two turnovers made by each team during the game. Luckily, only around 10% of those picks/fumble recoveries get sent back the other way for a pick 6 (touchdown.) I can’t explain the formula, because frankly I’m not bright enough, but a mathematician told us that a turnover is equal to around one and a half points.

With that being said, it makes one think that it’s no real big deal and doesn’t play too much into the final outcome of a game. Especially if both teams turn the ball over equally.

Our point is here, that this isn’t something that is going to matter in every game. It’s going to matter in games where a stingy team that doesn’t turn the ball over much plays a team that doesn’t take care of the ball. A situation where the ration of turnovers may be 2-1 or even worse. These situations won’t rear their heads often, but when they do, it’s time to pounce on the game as if you’ve witnessed a fumble yourself.

Lastly, this is all assuming that the point spread is reasonable and your not looking at what is already a huge spread. Remember, we’re looking for an edge to create an overlay (getting the odds in our favor.)

Here’s another great article covering this topic: Handicapping Football Turnovers