Statsational Week 4 Recap and Week 5 Selections

By | October 3, 2012

Not too bad a week for us.  7-5-1 or 8-4 if you got +2.5 on the Giant game.  31-20-3 overall 60.8%.  That is right about where we were after 200 games last season.  So 250 games in and still hitting about 60% is very good.  60% winners in a week doesn’t get people too excited.  The 9-2 weeks are the ones everyone loves but its the weeks like the last that keep the lights on.  When we pop a 9-2 week that’s gravy.

So far the NFL has been unpredictable as usual.  If you logically look at these games I am not sure how you could handicap them well.  New Orleans has looked terrible.  Green Bay is coming off a robbery. Somehow the Saints almost beat the Pack in Green Bay.  Arizona goes into New England and wins they are 3-0.  Miami has not looked good outside of 1 game against a bad Oakland team.  Miami goes into Arizona and probably should have won.  The list goes on and on. 

In the last 2 seasons if I have been able to get any point across I hope it is that conventional thinking does not work.  Unless you have some information that everyone else does not then your information is not any good.  We all know the Saints have a bad defense, we all know Revis is hurt for the Jets, we all know how good Houston is and so on and so on.  I field emails weekly with similar type information.  “Stats do you think Cleveland can stay with Baltimore?  Cleveland isn’t very good”  Well I know they are not very good, you know they are not very good, and the oddsmakers certainly know the same.  They are making them a 12 point underdog in the game so they are willing to take the inevitable onslaught of Baltimore bets at -12 and take their chances.  When they put a line on a game it moves the probability of you picking a winner to close to 50%.  That means both sides have just as good a chance of winning with the points as the other.  Over time the sharps have made a living betting more underdogs than favorites.  Underdogs win about 52% of the time ATS. 

I wanted to do a write up on injuries and their affect on games.  And right before I did Chad Milliman wrote a great article on just that in his ESPN Insider column last week.  In the article he shows how much individual players can move a line if they are not playing.  As you would imagine the top guys like Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers can move a line up to 10 points.  But what I found most interesting, and what I was going to talk about, was just how few players can move a line very much at all.  Most player injuries do not move lines.  And the reason being is they usually do not matter.  That sounds crazy but it is true.  Sure sometimes when a middle linebacker is out for a certain team it really hurts them.  But often times when the same position player on another team goes out they do not miss a beat.  Trying to figure out every injury and how it will change the games are impossible and when studied have not been a factor in the outcome of games ATS.  So when a capper starts to analyze a game in a logical way they look at injuries as a key component and it is useless in most cases.  So for instance if Tom Brady was out this week Denver would be a 3 point favorite.  Everyone would look at the game like its a no brainer.  The Patriots can not win without Tom Brady.  Well when he was out in 2008 Matt Cassel came in and was extremely successful. 

You will see guys who are not very good handicappers give you the same old information everyone knows and tell you why they like a certain team.  So last week that may have been the 49ers.  No Revis, the Jets offense is struggling, SF is coming off a loss, SF has the best defense in the league etc etc.  And then when SF shuts out the Jets 34-0 it justifies all the logic put in to the selection.  But when that same logic loses the Green Bay game there is usually an excuse or it is viewed as an outlier as opposed to the norm.  I want you to start thinking that when a game that looks easy wins that is the outlier, not the norm.

NFL Week 5 Picks

1. Seattle +3…………………77%
2. Kansas City +5.5………..74%
3. Washington +3………….73%
4. Minnesota -5.5………….68%
5. San Francisco -9.5…….67%
6. Philadelphia +3.5………63%
7. Green Bay -7…………….58%
8. Denver +7………………..57%
9. Miami +4………………….55%
10. Cleveland +9.5…………55%
11. Jacksonville +5.5………54%
12. St. Louis +1.5……………53%

I will send the power rankings out later on.  I wanted to get the games to you while I had the time.

BOL
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