Statsational NFL Wild Card Weekend

By | December 31, 2014

The regular season has come to a close and it was another profitable year for us going 80-63-3. A different year than years past as we didn’t have huge swings. We spent most of the season up or down a game or two each week and sprinkled in a few weeks where we did really well. That type of result hurts parlay bettors and those in office pools but for the straight bettor we made some profit and that is the name of the game.

I entered the LVH Super Contest for the first time this year under the name Serranos Got The Picks(Midnight Run reference). I partnered up with @MWPGT who lives in Las Vegas and is a full time professional handicapper. He was able to put our games in each week and offer some valuable insights and suggestions on which games we would play from my list of games. I suggest following him on twitter if you are not already. We finished tied for 112 with 50 points. There were over 1400 entries this season which was a new record. Unfortunately we missed the money by a couple of games. Maybe next season we get some bounces to go our way and we make a splash.

 

The top Team ATS was Arizona at 11-5 with Tennessee winning a mere 3 games ATS on the bottom.

 

The dogs finished strong after a terrible 2013 with a 130-120 record ATS.

 

Taking the average scoring margin for each team and adding their average spread we can see who the odds makers were off on the most. Positive numbers mean they outperformed.
Dallas 5.214286
New England 5.0625
Kansas City 4.03125
Green Bay 3.71875
Baltimore 3.6875
Buffalo 3.616071
Houston 3.40625
Philadelphia 2.78125
Seattle 2.46875
Minnesota 1.84375
Arizona 1.78125
Pittsburgh 1.616667
Denver 1.533333
St. Louis 1.3125
Indianapolis 0.861905
NY Giants 0.40625
Cincinnati 0.03125
Carolina -0.125
Detroit -0.45089
Atlanta -0.51339
San Diego -0.625
Cleveland -1.35516
Miami -1.43304
NY Jets -1.625
Jacksonville -2.22768
Oakland -3.26786
Tampa Bay -3.9375
San Francisco -4.8125
Washington -5.125
Chicago -5.4375
New Orleans -5.625
Tennessee -7.875

Overs got killed after a great 2013 going 119-135. The amazing part of that is prime time game Overs went 35-17. That means any game not played in prime time was an Under 58% of the time!!

The league scored a bit less than last season. The average points per game were lower by about 2. The panic that the emphasis on defensive holding and illegal contact penalties would lead to higher scoring did not pan out.

Here is a list of penalties by season with the average number called on each team for the year.

Penalty 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
Defensive PI 6.47 7.72 7.91 6.56 6.47 5.94
Defensive Holding 6.84 5.66 4.78 4.03 3.59 3.41
Illegal Contact 3.22 1.19 2.13 2.19 2.34 2.88
Illegal Use of Hands 5.09 2.34 2.53 2.34 1.19 1.22
Offensive Holding 19.56 18.34 20.06 19.03 19.25 17.19
Offensive PI 3.19 2.06 2.47 2.16 2.28 2.44
Roughing the Passer 3.03 2.81 2.81 3.13 2.47 2.16

Defensive PI is back to 2011 levels but we see Defensive Holding and Illegal Contact are way up. So why the drop in scoring? Perhaps the added emphasis on Illegal Use of Hands is a big reason as that is typically called on the offensive lineman. Also note that Offensive PI is up from where it has been. Both of which seem to be countering any additional calls made on the defense.

Biggest home field edge in scoring margin
Green Bay 19.375
New England 16.25
Denver 14.625
Baltimore 11.75
Seattle 10.75

Biggest road edge in scoring margin
Dallas 11.42857
Seattle 6.75
Houston 3.75
New England 3.125
Baltimore 1.75

If you have not read my analysis and picks for the Super Bowl you can read that here. Last season I did not feel it was wide open. I liked Seattle and thought Cincinnati was worth a long shot play. You can not be totally shocked in the NFL if a longshot wins it all but last season I felt confident we wouldn’t see that. This season seems to have a different feel. You can toss out Carolina, Arizona and Detroit imo. I think Cincinnati would also be a bit of a surprise. Of the 8 remaining I would not be surprised if any of them won it all.

I mentioned penalties earlier. How these games are called could determine the winner. Arizona might be the biggest beneficiary of calls all season. I know this because we faded them quite a bit and seemed to be on the wrong side of every close call. Arizona had 90 penalties for 707 yards while benefiting from 130 for 1192. In 4 games against Seattle and San Francisco they had 12 penalties against for 87 yards. They benefited from 37 penalties for 356 yards. Somehow they were able to be less penalized playing their division rivals then they were against the rest of the league while drawing more penalties than average in those same games. It makes you wonder if this is luck or not. Conspiracy theorists have at it.

Here is what we have for this week
NFL Wild Card

1. Baltimore +3………………………..68%
2. Arizona +6.5………………………..59%
3. Detroit +7…………………………….55%
4. Indianapolis -3……………………….55%

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