What the Data Saw: NFL Week Six

What the Data Saw- NFL Week Six

The Model’s Day

The model went 7-5 against the spread this week and eeked out a fractional amount of profit. It took costly beats on two totals but called the Jaguars. It still has the Bills tonight -5.5. 

The gauges below break down the model’s performance to date. After a hot start to the season, the model has come back down. Currently, it is 63.49% and has a return on investment (ROI) of 22.44%. 

Admittedly, my approach to sports betting is not sexy. I have never had, nor seen a lock in my life. I take a steady approach, stay disciplined, and never chase a loss. It works for me. For these reasons, I never get too up or too down. We deal in probabilities, and I measure success, not in single games but in batches of weeks, and season-long results. 

I am going to begin posting the model’s plays initial plays earlier in the week. I believe this will increase the number of bets I can suggest to you – I can get the plays posted before the line moves. For example, this week, my favorite play was a two-team teaser, Minnesota +7.5 and Cardinals +8.5. I bet the teaser but was not able to suggest it to you all (nor is it included in the above results) because the lines had moved. 

Speaking of Teasers: 

I explained the math last time. This time I am just going to give you the system so that you can use it anytime you see the opportunity. Here are step-by-step instructions:

  1. Count every team in a week with a spread between +1.5 and +2.5. Also, count every team with a spread between -8.5 and -7.5. That is your teaser pool. 
  1. If there is only one team, you cannot tease this way as you need at least two teams. If you have two teams, place them in a six-point teaser. Do not pay more than -120. If there are more than two teams, you will place them all in a round-robin two-team teaser bet. 
  1. A round-robin combines every possible combination of bets with the available teams. Never do more than two teams per teaser. For example, if you have five teams that qualify, you will have 10 bets of two-team teasers. Note, you can always count the number of bets by taking the total number of available teams, subtracting one, then adding each number until you get to one. Here is how that works assuming there are 5 teams available, 5 minus one is 4. So 4+3+2+1 = 10. There are ten total bets. 
  1. If you want to be more selective and improve your win percentage, only tease the teams with the lowest totals in their game. Teasing a team from -8.5 to -2.5, in a game with a total of 40, is far more valuable than teasing a team from -8.5 to -2.5 in a game with a total of 53. Lower totals are better. 
  1. Finally, it is slightly more profitable to tease down from -8.5 or -7.5, than it is to tease up from either +1.5 to +2.5. 

Follow this automatically, every opportunity. You will be successful. Not every single time, but overall. 

Some Basics of Reading a Spread: Black Sunday 

There was a ton of interesting line moves today. Reading a line is a long, and complicated science/art. However, something interesting happened today that is useful for everyone that bets on sports to understand.

Prior to kickoff in the Jaguars game, the line moved toward the Dolphins. This line opened at Jags +3.5. It closed Jags +2. You may say, that is only a point and a half. Well, it was a massive move. The move was also a massive red flag for anyone betting on the Dolphins. Here is what you need to know.

Books never want to move across a key number such as 3 or 7. There are a number of reasons, but Black Sunday is one. The Vegas Sportsbooks dubbed Super Bowl XIII Black Sunday. (The name actually makes no sense, it should be Red Sunday. The term “black” in economics means positive returns, For example, Black Friday is the day most retailers show their first profits of the year). The game was played between the Steelers and Cowboys. The line opened Pittsburgh -2.5. Almost everyone bet the Steelers. The line then crossed 3. Almost everyone continued to bet on the Steelers. Once it crossed 4, everyone started to bet the Cowboys. The game ended with a 4 point Pittsburgh victory, and the books got whacked. That is why you almost never see a line move completely across a key number.  Interestingly, a similar situation happened in 2018, when the NFL moved the Rams v Chiefs game from Mexico City.   

It does happen from time to time, but it is exceedingly rare. It happened today in the Jags game. For the books to move the number like that it means, almost unequivocally, that a professional betting syndicate came in heavy (think, millions) on the Jags at +3. In this case, it was two different syndicates. So, at the very least, that should let you know that exceptionally sharp, professional bettors overwhelmingly backed the Jags at +3. Now syndicates are wrong too. Great ones win in the mid 60 percent range. And, if you liked the Dolphins in this spot and got them -2 or better, at least you got the best of it. Still, it can never be comfortable being on the opposite side of the smartest sports bettors on the planet. 

I will point out that The Professor, The Bartender, and I all backed the Jaguars earlier in the week at +3.5. All three of us also had the Jaguars winning the game outright, as they did.

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