NFL Inside The Numbers Week 16

Handicapping and Analyzing Stats – NFL Inside the Numbers Week 16

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 16 stats of note.

Week 16 NFL favorites went 9-7 SU and 6-10 ATS and are now 159-80 SU and 117-124 ATS this season.  Totals went 7-9 O/U.  I graded the Panthers a win as favorite despite the line moving to -6 on game day in a 4-point win.  Widely available to Saturday at -3.5 and then 4.   Thursday, Sunday and Monday night prime time games went 1-2 O/U and those Thursday, Sunday and Monday night prime time games are now 33-15 over/under this season.  We missed our top total play this week but went 5-0 on side plays including a Top Play 20* Big Bertha winner on the Steelers over the Chiefs.   Members enjoyed another winning week going 5-2 on rated plays and over the past five weeks Members have enjoyed a 24-7 run.   Join other members for more December winners and get registered for free and inquire about the playoffs.

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 41-1 SU and 39-3 ATS.  The Saints ( 4-0 ) and Rams ( 3-0 ) suffered turnover troubles and New Orleans is eliminated from the playoff race.  Teams that had a meaningful rushing advantage over their opponent (at least 30 yards) went 8-3 ATS in Week 16 and are now 122-47 ( 72% this season – just below 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 16 again with a 5-0 side sweep.  Week 17 can be tricky when handicapping, as clearly stats are less meaningful due to the year-end situations and playoffs.  Be sure you know all the playoff scenarios  and review as much information as possible regarding projected starters, playing time, injury and weather reports.

Week 16 big ground gainers in rushing included the 49ers ( 355 rush yards, 40 carries – lost! ),  Seahawks ( 267/44 ), Panthers ( 209/45 ), Bengals ( 207/37 ), Jaguars ( 177/25 ), Raiders ( 140/36 ) and Cowboys ( 127/40 ).  Week 16 teams that struggled to get their running game going were the Colts ( 1/10 – wow! ), Bills ( 13/13 – wow! ), Buccaneers ( 16/14 – wow! ), Cardinals ( 29/15 ), Ravens ( 33/16 ), Chiefs ( 39/14 ), Saints ( 57/18 ),  Bears ( 64/22 ) and Eagles ( 75/21 ).

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 16 victories were the Seahawks ( 596/8.9 – wow! ), NY Giants ( 514/7.7 ), Dolphins ( 493/6.4 ), Chargers ( 446/5.6 ), Packers ( 431/6.0 ), Falcons ( 403/6.5 ) and Cowboys ( 377/6.1 ).   Inefficient offensive teams included the Buccaneers ( 109/2.3 – wow! ), Ravens ( 211/3.1 ), Patriots ( 221/3.7 ), 49ers ( 245/4.3 ), Jaguars ( 248/3.6 ), Bears ( 234/3.7 ), Colts ( 229/4.1 ) and Cardinals ( 216/3.4 ).   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 17 match-ups, we see that the following teams could have success against their opponents at the point-of-attack and in the running game: ( Note teams sitting starters for part of the game, teams with nothing to play for or clinched playoff spot, and any change in personnel ).

Texans over Jaguars, Ravens over Browns, NY Jets over Dolphins, Panthers over Falcons, Chiefs over Chargers, Eagles over NY Giants, Seahawks over Rams, 49ers over Cardinals and Broncos over Raiders.

Last week our rushing projections were correct as 5 of the 6 teams listed out-rushed their opponent, and had you bet those six teams you would have gone 5-1 ATS.

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