NFL Handicapping – Inside the Numbers Week 6

Handicapping and Analyzing Stats – NFL Inside the Numbers Week 6

Throughout the NFL season, I go inside the numbers and 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 numbersstatistical guidelines and situations to better assist me in sports investing and providing point spread winners.

You can read my weekly Fairway’s Football Forecast NFL article on this site, but a losing week included a 1-2 ATS on our underdog plays with one outright ‘Dog winner on the Steelers. Two terrible plays last week on the Titans (+3) and Browns (pk), who went from an underdog to favorite on game day. Through 6 weeks, Fairway’s Football Forecast NFL ‘Dog log is now 12-9 ATS.

Last year we posted a 16-8 ATS record while providing underdog plays on these pages.

My NFL history as a point spread prognosticator has been a winning one, and I no longer sell selections for other companies and turn down many offers. Too much garbage, misdirection, false claims and corruption. Instead, I provide other insight, analysis and picks to better inform, educate and assist others. From 2003 through 2010 I went 371-277 ATS (57.3%) and won 8 consecutive regular seasons as documented at the Sports Monitor with two top of the leaderboard finishes in 2010 (44-22 ATS) and 2003 (52-28). I’ve participated in the Las Vegas SuperContest, and posted back-to-back 60% ATS seasons.  My start in 2015 included 16-3-1 ATS after four weeks and 29-10-1 after 8 weeks on our way to another top-6% finish out of more than 1,700 entries.

So each week I provide various insights into NFL handicapping, and the weekly Inside the Numbers article will analyze stats and ways to utilize them and how rushing guidelines and handicapping point-of-attack play can put the percentages in your favor when wagering.

Here are some Week 6 stats of note.

Week 6 NFL favorites went 10-5 SU and 5-9-1 ATS rating the Vikings (-10) as a push and the Browns as a favorite. Note too that the look ahead lines from the Westgate Superbook have some teams a favorite and become an underdog by the following week when current week lines are released, and visa versa.

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 plus (+3) or more in the turnover column in a game are a long-term 93% winning ATS situation. Teams with a plus-3 or greater turnover margin in a game are now 15-1 SU and 14-2 ATS this season after the Panthers (3-0) turnover troubles in a loss at Washington last week and the 49ers (3-0) turnover issues in a last second loss but cover at Green Bay. Teams with exactly a plus-2 turnover margin went 3-0 last week and are 13-0 SU and 12-1 ATS this season, so you can see the importance of winning the turnover battle by at least 2 per game.

Teams that had a meaningful rushing advantage over their opponent (at least 30 yards) went 7-4 ATS in Week 6 and are now 49-18 (73%) ATS this season and historically a 75% ATS profile with no season below 70% since 2000. Surprisingly, he Rams did not cover despite a complete domination in rushing and carries with 270 yards on 39 carries to 60 rushing yards on 17 attempts for Denver. The Broncos got a last minute back door touchdown for the cover in a 23-20 defeat. I’ll discuss our rushing guidelines throughout the season, but if you can correctly handicap this situation and advantage in a weekly NFL match-up and it plays out accordingly, you’re well on your way to cashing more tickets and point spread winners.

Week 6 rushing leaders included the Rams (270 rush yards / 39 carries), Chargers (246/36), Cowboys (206/42), Vikings (195/32), 49ers (174/30), Patriots (173/38) and Seahawks (155/47). The Dolphins beat the Bears in overtime, and both teams rushed for more than 160 yards and each had 31 rushing attempts.

The Rams (153 rushing yards per game) and Cowboys (147) now lead the league in rushing and each averages 5.1 yards per rush, tied for 2nd in the NFL. The Rams and Seahawks are the only two teams averaging at least 30 rushing attempts per game.

The power of running the ball can perhaps be best illustrated this way. Thus far through 6 weeks, teams that rush the ball at least 30 times in a game when their opponent does not are 45-5-1 SU and 37-12-2 ATS.  That includes 9-1 SU and 7-2-1 ATS in Week 6 with only the 49ers failing to win after blowing the game late at Green Bay. Remember that when the media members or talking heads tell you how important passing the ball is, and remember to run your way to profits and the cashiers window. At least 30 rushes a game is pure profit, while less than 23 rushing attempts per game is a proven loser.

The top rushers in victory Week 6 were the Rams Todd Gurley (208/28/2 TDs), the Vikings Latavius Murray (155/24/1 TD) and Chargers Melvin Gordon (132/18/3 TDs).

Poor rushing teams that ran the ball less than 23 times in a game produced a 1-11 SU and 3-9 ATS result in Week 3, 0-10 SU and 3-7 ATS in Week 4, 0-10 SU and 1-9 ATS in Week 5 and 1-9 SU, 2-7-1 ATS with two games having both teams fail to run the ball at least 23 times.

The quarterback play is clearly most important in the NFL, and QB ratings from starter to backup can impact a betting line at by at least 6 points (see link and chart).

As you become better at understanding and recognizing point of attack play and which teams will have success rushing the football and/or stopping the run, you’ll become more proficient and the point spread winners will follow. Many other factors come into play in evaluating games and match-ups, including the quarterback play. But the ability to understand situations and make adjustments to changes, personnel, match-ups, injuries, weather and put all the stat profiles together will allow you to become better at handicapping and forecasting the games.

Teams that struggled to get their ground game going in Week 6 included the Titans (55 rushing yards/14 attempts), Broncos (60/17), Cardinals (61/20), Bengals (62/13), Jaguars (65/18), Raiders (79/19). These teams went 1-5 SU and 1-4-1 ATS.

Teams that had strong offensive showings and efficient yards per play (yppl) in victory were the Dolphins (541 yards/7.2 yppl), Packers (521/7.4), Patriots (500/6.7), Steelers (481/7.2), Chargers (339/7.7), Falcons (416/6.5), Rams (444/6.2), Vikings (411/5.9) and Seahawks (369/6.0).

 Inefficient offensive teams included the Titans (106/2.7), Raiders (185/3.3), Bills (229/3.9) and Jaguars (204/4.3). The Texans (216/3.8) in victory over the Bills was one of the worst displays of offense combined in a game this season.

The league average is nearly 5.7 yards-per-play; up from past 5.4 yards per play.

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. You can bet on it.

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