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.
WEEK 7 RECAP
After going 5-2 on my Best Bets and 7-3 on my player props, we continued our streak of profitability. We have been in the black every single week this year, which is really impressive considering the NFL is the most difficult market to beat. We put our 58% best bet and 66% player prop win percentage on the line for a Week 8 that is ripe with opportunities.
WEEK 8 POWER RATINGS
We had a few big risers and fallers this week in our rankings that deserve some clarification. Kansas City has been a top 3 team universally over the last 3 years. Through 7 weeks, I finally have to start believing the results rather than expectations. Sharing the league worst turnover differential is not a stat to be proud of and certainly goes a long way to the Chiefs demise. Patrick Mahomes seems to be pressing and trying to overcome their defensive ineptitude with every throw, which may be the catalyst for the transgressions. He may be one of my favorite players to watch in the NFL, but Patrick Mahomes and company are currently broken. Whether Andy Reid can fix them in time for a playoff run remains to be seen.
It is time for Cincinnati to get some respect. Opposing players have stated that they are not the same Bengals team of years past. Burrow and his receiving corps have been dominant. With a plethora of options, defensive secondaries simply aren’t deep enough to slow them down. With an above average defense, if Burrow continues to grow, there is reason to believe that the Bengals will continue to be underrated in the marketplace moving forward.
The last two teams that have major changes not related to covid (Packers) are the Panthers and the Jets. Perhaps Darnold is the curse. Or maybe both teams are just bad. The Panthers showed promise earlier in the year, but Darnold’s regression was inevitable. Rhule is quickly realizing that rebuilding in the NFL is a much more difficult task than it is in the NFL. In New York, the Jets just lost their horrible quarterback and currently have an even more horrible replacement. With a new head coach, a void of a quarterback, and no promise for the immediate future, there is no reason to believe the Jets will turn it around this year.
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 8 value based on our Power Ratings:
- SF @ CHI +3.5 (2 points of value)
- NE @ LAC -5.5 (2 points of value)
- WAS @ DEN -3 (2 points of value)
- PHI @ DET +3.5 (1.5 points of value)
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS @ CHICAGO BEARS +3.5
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS @ LAS ANGELES CHARGERS -5.5
I’m grouping both of these games into one write-up because the reason I’m passing them is the same. Both of these plays are significantly more valuable a half point in our direction. SF -3 and NE +6 would both be “take off the rubber band plays”. There is no reason to rush to the window for these plays. Although, I doubt we ever get those numbers, it's worth waiting and risk losing the current number...
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