Dennis Arthur asked:
One thing that quickly becomes apparent when digging into NFL game data from the past decade-and-a-half is the fact that underdogs have had a decided edge versus the spread.
Since 1994, there have only been 3 seasons where favourites actually turned a profit overall (1998, 2005 and 2007) while a total of 8 seasons during this same time period saw underdogs top the 52.4% break-even mark.
The public loves to bet on the perennial upper-echelon teams such as the Patriots and Colts, among others, and the overall record of favourites in the past 14 years is a testament to this fact.
Despite the inherent bias towards the popular teams, there are still quite a few profitable situations in the NFL that play on good teams–situations that have produced consistent winning records each year, regardless of whether it’s a season that is leaning towards favourites or underdogs in general.
The situation that is the focus of this article involves teams with a straight-up winning percentage >= .600 and happens to be a nifty 141-45 ATS since ’94 (and 24-6 ATS in 2007 alone), when a few other related conditions are added into the mix.
Over the past 14 years, teams with a SU WP >= .600 have been a losing proposition with a record of 1321-1327 ATS. Things only begin to get interesting when we specify that this team must also have a higher Team Momentum Indicator than their current opponent.
For those not familiar with TMI’s-they are a custom measurement that I have developed to gauge recent team performance on both sides of the ball and they work very well in conjunction with many of my full-season measurements of team skill.
A TMI above 0 is a marker of teams that have been playing well in the past few games, with a balanced rushing and passing attack, while a TMI below 0 indicates the opposite. This indicator normally has a value that falls in the range of -20 to +20.
By adding this condition, we are essentially making sure that this team has been playing better of late, than their current opponent.
Teams with a SU WP > .600 and a higher TMI are 772-687 (52.9%) ATS–good enough for a profit of $1,630.00 with wagers of $110 to win back $100 on each game.
This trend still involves a lot of games and there are 2 other primary conditions that need to be added to whittle things down to something more manageable.
The first is that the opponent of our winning team has a turn-over differential (TOD) of greater than 0.
Teams with a TOD above 0 will sometimes have an inflated won/loss record due to their positive takeaway/giveaway ratio and as a result, they may be perceived more favourably by the betting public than they should be. This can lead to a situation where there is line value in betting against this team.
After adding this 3rd condition, the record of this trend improves greatly to 363-262 (58.1%) ATS since 94, for a tidy profit of $7,480.00.
The last primary condition involves the specification that this team has a season kick-off return average (KRYF) of at least 22 yards, which happens to be the average for this particular stat. The record for this trend jumps to 226-130 (63.5%) ATS once this condition is added.
KRYF is an interesting statistic that crops up in a few of my situational trends. In this case, we are making sure that this winning team also has a strong special teams unit on kick-off returns, which coupled with the other 3 factors, makes for a powerful trend.
Finally, there are a couple of smaller ‘secondary’ conditions that round out this situation. The biggest of these is the exclusion of any team that has a below average offense.
My fundamental ratings of team offense and defense are based on yards-per-play stats that have been adjusted for the strength of opponents faced. As an example: a team that has achieved an average of 6.2 yards-per-pass play versus a group of opponents that normally allow 6.6 yards-per-pass play, will have a POF rating of -0.40 (6.6 – 6.2). In the case of this particular situation, I am eliminating those teams where ROF + POF (total offense) is less than 0. This effectively reduces the record for this trend to176-80 (68.8%) ATS.
The full list of all 7 conditions involved with this situation and its associated stats are listed below.
(Notes: ASMR stands for Average Spread Margin Rating. A positive rating indicates a trend that is stronger than average versus the line, negative–weaker than average. TDIS% is the percentage of teams in the league that have been involved in this situation at one time or another. WT% is the percentage of teams that are .500 or better and SPR is the average spread for teams in this situation. For more details, please consult Page 13 of my 2007 NFL Game Sheets Guide.)
Situational Trend #89 Summary
Primary Conditions (Building Blocks)
1) Straight-up Winning % (SU WP) >= .600.
2) Team Momentum Indicator (TMI) > Opponents TMI.
3) Opponent Turn-Over Differential (TOD) > 0.
4) Kick-Off Return Yardage Average For (KRYF) > 22.
Secondary Conditions (Tighteners)
1) Exclude Below Average Offense (ROF + POF).
2) Exclude Punt Return Yardage Average For (PRYF) > 12.
3) Week < 20. Situation Stats ASMR: +0.0 Home%: 64.8 Dog%: 25.4 TDIS%: 87.5 WT%: 100.0 SPR: -3.90 Top Teams: PIT(22); NE(18); SD(17); DEN(16) Situation Records Overall (Since ’94): 141-45 ATS 2007 Season: 24-6 ATS 2006 Season: 8-3 ATS 2005 Season: 18-7 ATS 2004 Season: 13-6 ATS Last 3 Results. Pick in Brackets. 2007 WK19–NYG 21 DAL 17 (NYG +7) W 2007 WK19–NE 31 JAC 20 (NE -13) L 2007 WK18–SD 17 TEN 6 (SD -10) W Create a video blog