By Steve Rieder
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"The difference between sharps and squares is that sharps bet numbers and squares bet teams."
Most successful sports handicappers use a quantitative standard for assessing the game. In order to do that, it is imperative to use power ratings, also known as 'power rankings,' to identify the point differential between opposing teams. By comparing two teams’ power ratings and accounting for home-field advantage, the bettor can objectively determine what the point spread should be and take advantage of any difference in the actual line.
NFL WEEK 7 POWER RATINGS
We had another profitable week in both our best bets (5-3 / +1.62 units) and player props (8-4 +2.40 units). Even with our success, I’m still bent about our New England ticket. No matter how much we win, the losses (especially ones we should have won), keep me up at night. That mentality may eventually lead to sleep deprivation and depression, but it also keeps us focused, motivated, and hopefully profitable in the future. With that in mind, on to Week 7…
Heavy is the head that wears the crown. The Bills have looked dominant throughout the season on both sides of the ball. The only contest that was ever in doubt was their week 1 loss to the Steelers. The other four games had a combined point differential of 115 and they won each of those games by at least 18 points. Without experience in close contests, it's not overly surprising that Buffalo wilted Sunday night. It will be interesting to see how they rebound from the heartbreaking loss this week.
There are two other teams that have been really impressive that we haven’t discussed that deserve some attention: Arizona and Dallas. Both are tied for 6th in my Power Ratings, despite being a collective 11-1 straight up and against the spread. Despite being 4.5 better than an average team, am I still not giving them enough respect? I’ve increased both teams 4 points since the beginning of the year, but in hindsight, I’m not sure that’s enough. These may be some of the preseason biases that still have an impact on our perception. With that being said, we have yet to bet on either one of these teams, which is disappointing because of their success in the marketplace. However, at some point, the market will catch up as the public will continue to ride the teams that have won them money, and the line will be inflated. We will be forced to fade these risers like we did last week with Dallas...you know, the game we should have won. I'm not bitter.
HFA Note: Home Field Advantage (HFA) is not the standard 3 points it was once assumed to be. After analyzing the data, I adjusted my HFA coming into the season. However, early returns suggest I didn’t lower them enough. You will notice an adjustment for most teams from last week to this week. Also of note, I have added a half point HFA for the Thursday night game.
Week 7 value based on our Power Ratings:
- WAS @ GB -9.5 (2.5 points of value)
- ATL @ MIA +2.5 (2.5 points of value)
- PHI @ LV -3 (2 points of value)
- NO @ SEA -5 (2 points of value)
- KC @ TEN +4.5 (2 points of value)