NFL Handicapping – Inside the Numbers Week 13

Handicapping and Analyzing Stats – NFL Inside the Numbers Week 13

Throughout the NFL season, I review weekly box scores, stats, game recaps and more after watching many of the NFL games. For over a decade, I have kept a proprietary database of statistical information and utilized relevant rushing numbers, statistical guidelines and situations to better assist me in sports investing and providing point spread winners.

Week 13 was a losing one for us despite splitting our Top Plays with a winner on the Steelers in a 45-10 rout of the Colts. Following a strong 10 weeks of NFL point spread prognosis, I’ve fumbled the ball and thrown too many interceptions in recent weeks with some bad reads.  This week I like the card and will have some solid plays that I expect to get us back making birdies and not bogey’s.

Here are some Week 13 stats of note.

Favorites went 13-3 SU and 11-5 ATS while totals finished 9-7 over/under. The surprising ATS results included home underdogs going 0-8 SU and 1-7 ATS with only the New Orleans Saints able to cover as a big home ‘Dog against still undefeated Carolina. Home underdogs are now 34-34 ATS this season. Some eye-opening stats of note showed the Steelers pile up over 520 yards offense for the second straight week. The Vikings were No. 2 in the league in rushing until they were embarrassed at home by Seattle 38-7 going without an offensive TD and managing just 9 first downs, 31 rushing yards and 125 total yards.

Beating the NFL over the long-term involves an understanding of the match-ups, situations and stats, and how to apply them for success. Good fortune in the turnover column helps too. After all, teams that are +3 or more in the turnover column in a game are a long-term 93% winning ATS situation. Surprisingly, no teams suffered a 3-turnover differential in week 13, and teams that are plus-3 or more in the turnover column in a game are 31-1 SU and ATS this season.

Seahawks undrafted rookie RB Thomas Rawls has rushed for nearly 400 yards & 3 TDs the last 3 games & Seattle now leads the league in rushing at 146 YPG

Seahawks undrafted rookie RB Thomas Rawls has rushed for nearly 400 yards & 3 TDs the last 3 games & Seattle now leads the league in rushing at 146 YPG

Clients have paid me for over a decade for my expertise and ability to proficiently project point spread winners because I not only understand point of attack play and rushing guidelines used for success, but because it’s also important to understand situations and make adjustments to changes, personnel, match-ups, injuries, weather and more.

Week 13 big ground gainers in rushing included the Titans (210/35 with a 90 yard TD run by QB Mariota), Bills (187 rush yards/36 attempts), Cardinals (175/36), Panthers (175/34), Seahawks (173/36), Buccaneers (166/37), Steelers (158/32), Bengals (144/33) and Broncos (134/39).  Those teams went 9-0 SU and 8-1 ATS with the Titans -2.5 and 7-1-1 ATS at -3 in their 42-29 win.

The Vikings (31/16), Colts (54/18), Falcons (64/18) and Rams (66/15) all struggled to get their running game going in defeat.

But the point of all this is that rushing stats and point of attack play often trumps passing prowess a majority of the time. When you have a few top-tier quarterbacks that can overcome a poor ground game or use it as a short passing attack (Brady), sometimes a lack of a running game can work. A dominant defense helps. But regardless of all the talking heads telling you that teams must have a passing game to succeed in the NFL, I’ll point you to my weekly articles and stats that suggest otherwise and that perception is not reality in the pass/run success argument of the NFL. We have the adjust to the rules and changes in the game allowing for more passing game success and now more scoring in recent seasons, but the game is still about blocking, tackling, running and catching and the team that controls the line of scrimmage, establishes a running game (or more attempts) and minimizes turnovers is often the team that comes out on top.

Teams that had strong offensive showings and efficient yards per play (yppl) in week 13 victories were the Steelers (522 yards/7.4 yards per play), Cardinals (524/6.6), Panthers (497/6.5), Titans (467/6.9), NY Jets (463/6.0), Seahawks (433/6.6) and Buccaneers (388/6.0). Inefficient offensive teams included the Vikings (125/2.6 whoa!), Rams (212/4.2), Colts (240/4.2), Redskins (266/4.4) and Browns (273/4.6). Surprisingly the following teams won despite poor offensive showings by the Dolphins (219/4.8), Chiefs (232/4.8), Eagles (248/4.3), 49ers (291/4.9) and Broncos (292/4.4). The league average is approximately 5.4 yards-per-play.

Last week’s rushing projections were quite accurate in this space with seven of the nine teams out-rushing their opponents and five of them by margin with those five going 4-1 ATS. Week 14 early projections suggest the following teams may have an advantage at the point of attack and out-rush their opponents by a potential margin: Bills, Chiefs, Buccaneers, Jaguars, Broncos, Packers, Seahawks and Panthers (not good spot for Carolina).

We’ll review more NFL stats and information each week as we continue to evaluate the results, match-ups and work to become even more proficient in point spread prognosis.

Author: FairwayJay

FairwayJay is a leading national sports analyst and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful handicappers and professionals. Follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay