Top 4 NFL Betting Trends: Week 7
Sometimes football is unpredictable. I mean, here's to hoping Harbaugh didn't cause anybody to lose a mortgage by declining that penalty last night.
But if you had listened to numberFire, you'd be celebrating. numberFire's premium service had the Seahawks (+7.5) as a one-star selection, so big thanks to Harbaugh for making numberFire look accurate, like always. There are eight different three-star selections or above for the rest of the weekend, but you'll need to get a numberFire premium account for those. And I think you'll want to see them; we're putting up a ridiculous 18.1% ROI through the first six weeks of the season.
But as a peek into our stats-riddled minds, we'll give you a few of the numbers we're looking at for different games this weekend. This is the numberFire Week 7 betting preview.
Washington Redskins at New York Giants: Total 50
We've recently given a lot of information about what happens when two teams in the top ten of numberFire's opponent-adjusted defensive rankings, but what about two teams in the top ten opponent-adjusted offenses? Two of those teams face off on Sunday when the Giants (#3) take on the Redskins (#5), and if you look at the results, you'll find... very little.
|Week 1||DAL/NYG||Under 45.5|
|Week 1||GB/SF||Over 46.5|
|Week 1||NO/WAS||Over 50|
|Week 2||ATL/DEN||Under 50.5|
|Week 3||BAL/NE||Over 48.5|
|Week 4||GB/NO||Over 54|
|Week 5||ATL/WAS||Under 51|
|Week 5||DEN/NE||Over 51|
|Week 6||BAL/DAL||Over 45.5|
|Week 6||NYG/SF||Under 47|
So what have we learned today, class? It's that Vegas has a much better hold on top offenses than top defenses. Unlike pounding the under with top defensive teams (which has now won seven out of nine times with the Seahawks/Niners game last night), pounding the over with top offensive teams has only had a 60% success rate so far this season with a limited sample size. It's not enough for me to consider it a trend, and you shouldn't either.
Dallas Cowboys (-2.5) at Carolina Panthers
Is the Burning Big Tex a large, slightly scary metaphor for the Dallas Cowboys' chances this season? According to numberFire, Dallas now only sits with a 24.4% chance of making the playoffs, the worst odds of any team in the NFC East.
But for this particular game, consider Big Tex a blazing beacon of hope. We've gone back through history to the find the five games this Cowboys-Panthers matchup most resembles over the last twelve years, using the similarities between the teams (a taste of which is found in the bottom right corner of our team pages) as a guide. And in four of the five most similar matchups, the stats say the Cowboys should not only win, but cover the spread as well. In the most similar game, a Jaguars-Titans matchup from 2002, the Cowboys-similar team (Tennessee) won 28-10. And that's not the only one that points to America's Team.
Baltimore Ravens (+235) at Houston Texans
Before last week's shellacking against the Packers, the Houston Texans had been the class of the NFL. Even after Aaron Rodgers Texas-BBQed the Houston secondary, Gary Kubiak's squad still holds numberFire's #2 opponent-adjusted defense and #11 opponent-adjusted offense. They're #3 in our overall power rankings, while the Ravens and their #19 defense are all the way down at #9 overall. This game shouldn't be a contest.
But for the moneyline, it doesn't have to be. With a moneyline of Baltimore (+235), Vegas is only giving the Ravens an estimated 29.9% chance to win this game. And looking at the top three similar teams for this year's Ravens squad - 2004 Seattle, 2006 Denver, and 2008 New York Jets - reveals that the Ravens might have more of a chance than Vegas gives them credit for.
Each one of those related teams to Baltimore finished 9-7 on the season, but each one also . Seattle played three teams in 2004 that finished with at least ten wins; they finished 1-2 in those games, beating the Falcons but losing to the Patriots and Jets. The 2006 Broncos were even better against the top teams, playing five 10-win teams and defeating two, including wins over the eventual 13-win Ravens and 12-win Patriots. But the 2008 Jets were the best, finishing 3-2 against eventual 10-win teams, with splits against the 11-5 Patriots and 11-5 Dolphins and a win against the 13-3 Titans. In total, Baltimore's top three team comparisons went 5-7 against top-flight competition, better odds then they're currently receiving from the Vegas know-it-alls.
Arizona Cardinals (+7.0) at Minnesota Vikings
Just two short weeks after being on top of the world as one of three remaining undefeated teams, the Cardinals are now technically in a tie for third in their division and one game out of the cellar. That's a hard fall of Kevin Kolb and the Boys to take.
The only problem for bettors, though, is that it's no longer Kevin Kolb and the Boys: John Skelton takes back top billing in a battle that I can only assume included love notes to Larry Fitzgerald. Luckily, though, numberFire has the projections for what you can expect from Kolb. His projected 234.06 passing yards are more than Ponder's current numbers, but his projected 1.06 passing TDs and 1.01 interceptions are among the worst in the NFL.
And Skelton's advanced stats aren't much better. Last season, Skelton's -0.09 NEP per pass was the fifth-worst in the NFL among all QBs with at least 150 passes; only Painter, Bradford, Gabbert, and Our Lord and Savior Tebow were worse. Kevin Kolb, meanwhile, posted a very respectable -0.01 NEP per pass. Skelton's 2012 didn't look like improving either: Week 1 against the Seahawks, Skelton lost his team 6.55 Net Expected Points and put up an abysmal -0.15 NEP per pass.