NFL Handicapping – Inside the Numbers Week 10

Handicapping and Analyzing Stats – NFL Inside the Numbers Week 10

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, which went 3-1 ATS last week with 3 outright underdog winners for the second straight week, and I provide the weekly Inside the Numbers to better assist us in evaluating teams, stats and performances.

My NFL history as a point spread prognosticator has been a winning one with recent seasons results and from 2003 through 2010 when I went 371-277 ATS (57.3%) and won 8 consecutive regular seasons as a public handicapper with all plays documented at the Sports MonitorSome top of the leaderboard finishes included 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 10 stats of note.

Week 10 NFL favorites went just 8-6 SU and 5-8-1 ATS, and bettors on big favorites and teasers got crushed betting on the Falcons, Patriots and Jets.  If you followed the biggest move on the Week 10 look ahead lines from the Westgate Superbook and FanDuel, you got crushed as the Falcons were -1 on the advance Week 10 look ahead line and closed -6 at Cleveland. We had the Browns on our card and Week 10 Fairway’s Football Forecast of underdog winners, and Cleveland clubbed Atlanta 28-16.

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 26-3 SU and 25-4 ATS. The Buccaneers (6-0) had six turnovers and gained 499 yards and managed just 3 points in a 16-3 home loss to Washington. The Lions (3-0) were also on the wrong end of too many turnovers in a 34-22 loss at Chicago. Teams with exactly a plus-2 turnover went 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS and are now 22-0 SU and 20-2 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 7-1 SU and 8-0 ATS in Week 10, making it 34-1 ATS in the last four weeks and  and are now 83-19 (81%) ATS this season and historically a 75% ATS profile with no season below 70% since 2000. The Bills, Browns, Packers, Saints and Seahawks all rushed for at least 195 yards and went 5-0 ATS with only the Seahawks losing straight-up.

Running the ball often is another key to SU and ATS success, as teams that run the ball at least 30 times went 4-2 SU and 5-0-1 ATS in Week 10 and now 85-14-1 SU and 78-19-3 ATS this season. Teams that run the ball less than 23 times went just 1-7 SU/ATS in Week 10. Handicapping point of attack play and determining which team will have more success running the ball and controlling the ball, clock and chains will get you more point spread winners.

Week 10 rushing leaders included the Seahawks (273 rush yards / 34 carries), Saints (244/47), Bills (212/46), Browns (211/29), Packers (195/25), Cowboys (171/28), Steelers (138/30) and Titans (150/36), who crushed the Patriots at home 34-10 and was another one of our big ‘Dog outright winners .

The power of running the ball can perhaps be best illustrated this way. Thus far through 10 weeks, teams that rush the ball at least 30 times in a game when their opponent does not are 85-14-1 SU and 78-19-3 ATS. So teams that run the ball at least 30 times when their opponent does not have covered the point spread 80% of the time.

Remember that when the media members, talking heads or your fantasy football friends 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.

Teams that rushed the ball less than 23 times went 1-7 SU/ATS in Week 10. For the season, teams that rush the ball less than 23 times in a game are 8-86 SU and 16-78 ATS (17%). Going back those results have been 1-8 SU and 1-7-1 ATS in Week 1, 0-9-1 SU and 1-9 ATS  in Week 2, 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, 1-9 SU, 2-7-1 ATS in Week 6 and 2-6 SU, 1-7 ATS in Week 7, 2-8 SU/ATS in Week 8 and 1-8 SU/ATS in Week 9.

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 had strong offensive showings and efficient yards per play (yppl) in victory were the Saints (509 yards/6.9 yppl), Rams (456/7.1), Bills (451/6.2), Browns (427/8.5), Titans (385/6.1), Packers (377/6.9), Colts (366/7.0). The Bucs moved the ball in defeat (499/7.4) but suffered six turnovers, and the Seahawks (414/6.5) were also efficient and super strong on the ground in defeat to the Rams. Interesting to note that one of the very worst offenses year-to-date, the Buffalo Bills, had Mark Barkley make in impressive debut after just two weeks with the team. That’s the same Barkley that recently fired hopeless Hugh Jackson would not play in Cleveland last year during the Browns winless season, electing instead to start clueless QB DeShone Kizer the entire year to the detriment of the entire team. What a turkey.

 Inefficient offensive teams included the NY Jets (199/3.6), Panthers (242/4.3), Lions (305/4.2).

The league average is above 5.6 yards-per-play; up from past 5.4 yards per play in recent seasons. Here is the best and worst of all teams in offensive yards per play this season. Best – Chiefs (6.9), Chargers (6.9), Rams (6.9). Worst – Bills (4.2), Cardinals (4.2), Jets (4.9).

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