NFL Inside The Numbers Week 14

Handicapping and Analyzing Stats – NFL Inside the Numbers Week 14

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 numbersstatistical guidelines and situations to better assist me in sports investing and providing point spread winners.  Each week we analyze the information and try to position our plays for success based on match-up advantages.  The running game and/or ability to stop the run is another way to isolate NFL point spread winners.

Here are some Week 14 stats of note.

Week 14 NFL favorites went 10-6 SU and 7-9 ATS and are now 138-69 SU and 103-106 ATS this season.  Totals went 6-10 O/U with the Thursday, Sunday and Monday night prime time games going 2-1 O/U and those Thursday, Sunday and Monday night prime time games are now 31-11 over/under this season.  We cashed our three totals Thursday and Sunday ( 2 ) plus another opinion to Members Monday in the Packers 43-37 shootout win over the Falcons.  Members enjoyed a 5-0 Sunday led by our  Top Play winner on the Steelers ( +3 ) in their 42-21 rout of the Bengals plus two other one-sided wins on the Ravens and NY Giants.  Join other members for more December winners.

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.  This season, teams that are +3 or greater in the turnover column in a game are 38-1 SU and 36-3 ATS.  No teams suffered such negative turnover margins in Week 14, but note that teams that were exactly +2 in the turnover column went 8-1 SU and 9-0 ATS.  Leave it to the dysfunctional NY Jets and their incompetent and incapable QBs to blow a +5 cover in their 30-24 OT loss at Minnesota despite yet another week of rushing dominance, 168-114 – a 75% ATS winning indicator.

Teams that had a meaningful rushing advantage over their opponent (at least 30 yards) went 9-3 ATS in Week 14 and are now 109-39 ( 74% this season – right at the historical average ). We’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. For over a decade, teams that out-rush their opponent by at least 30 yards in a NFL game cover the point spread approx. 75% of the time. There has not been a season since 2000 when this has been below 70% on average.

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, QB play, weather and more.   As the season progresses with more data to digest, our handicapping and match-up analysis usually becomes stronger as we project more point spread winners.  That was the case in Week 14 again as we had another winning week including with Pittsburgh, Baltimore and the NY Giants all enjoying big rushing days and advantages over their opponents .

Week 14 big ground gainers in rushing included the Panthers ( 271 rush yards, 40 carries ), Cowboys ( 194/35 ), Steelers ( 193/31 ), Ravens ( 183/31 ), Packers ( 179/30 ), Seahawks ( 188/46 ), Texans ( 173/42 ), NY Giants ( 142/30 ) and Cardinals ( 141/33 ).  Note these teams went 8-0 SU and 7-1 ATS with the Packers blowing a big lead and Falcons scoring late for the back door cover.  All these teams rushed the football at least 30 times while controlling the line of scrimmage and the ball, clock and chains – a key indicator to success.  Week 14 teams that struggled to get their running game going were the Buccaneers ( 26/14 ), Redskins ( 27/12 ), Bears ( 35/15, again ), Chargers ( 53/17 ), Eagles ( 57/22 ),  Titans ( 62/14 ) and Dolphins ( 63/16 ).  Those teams went a combined 0-7 SU/ATS.

Handicapping point-of-attack play is not as easy as you might think.  Clearly statistical and match-up analysis is part of the projection, but you can learn much more by following or listening to film study experts, dig deeper into statistical analysis and sites like Pro Football Focus, and review beat writer reports and blogs and of course injury reports.

Teams that had strong offensive showings and efficient yards per play (yppl) in Week 14 victories were the Steelers ( 543/7.8 – wow! ), Packers ( 502/7.5 ), Panthers ( 497/6.8 ), Ravens ( 447/6.9 ), Seahawks ( 440/5.2 ), Lions ( 407/5.9 ) and Cowboys ( 397/6.4 ).  The Vikings had 411 yards at 7.1 YPPL thanks to a 87 yards pitch-and-catch TD in overtime.   Inefficient offensive teams included the Eagles ( 139/3.1 – wow! ), Redskins ( 206/3.7 ), Titans ( 207 /3.6 ), Chargers ( 216/4.0 ), Buccaneers ( 233/3.9 ), Jaguars ( 262/4.0 ), Browns (248/3.9 ), 49ers ( 248/4.4 ) and Dolphins ( 249/4.5 ).  The league average is approximately 5.5 yards-per-play.

Here is team list of rushing attempts per game,  and when we combine this with recent form in running the football along with rushing defense stats to project point-of-attack advantages in Week 15 match-ups, we see that the following teams could have success against their opponents at the point-of-attack and in the running game:

Week 15:  Rams over Cardinals, Ravens over Jaguars, Steelers over Falcons, Texans over Colts, Patriots over Dolphins, Redskins over NY Giants, NY Jets over Titans, Broncos over Chargers and Seahawks over 49ers.  The Panthers would have been included on this list but the car accident and back injury to QB Cam Newton makes it a tougher projection against the Bucs as Newton is not likely to play.

Last week our seven projections and teams all out-rushed their opponent my margin and went 7-0 SU and 4-3 ATS.  The NY Jets 6-point OT loss as +5.5 and bet down along with back door covers by the Bills vs. Broncos and Falcons vs. Packers were the ATS losers.  Note Green Bay and Denver were both double-digit favorites.

Point-of-attack play is paramount, and quality QB play clearly makes a difference.  We must also note teams in playoff contention and those that have nothing to play for in evaluating who might run and/or pass the ball efficiently in the final weeks contests.

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.

Stay on Course…


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