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2010 NFL Gambling Odds Week 3: Home of the Home Dogs?

To say the least Niners Nation, the us three gamblers failed the Week 2 test. Anyway you spin it Fooch, Danny and myself are all down money. Important to disclaim: Week 3 isn't any easier to predict, and I'm slowly trying to phase out 2009's stats. Smileyman didn't seem to have any issues, profiting $91 as a particpant in the comments. No word yet on when smileyman will be replacing all three of us in this weekly feature. I have a feeling Danny's super computer isn't quite ready to give up, nor is Fooch's gut (word is he's been bribing it this week with sweets and BBQ ribs). As for me, I'm not quite able to let go of 2009's stats - or that's the excuse I'm going with this week. Just a side note, this week I'll try explain my formula better in the PIT @ TB Match-Up. Next week, you'll get to digest information from Fooch's stomach. Afterwards, Florida Danny will allow your mind to explode with his magical numbers and impossible computers.

A quick breakdown of everyone's bankroll:

  • Andrew Davidson $989.20 (1-0 ML, 3-3 ATS, 0-1 Parlay, $100 risked)
  • Florida Danny $943.84 (1-2 ML, way too smart to parlay, a victory in itself, $168.30 risked)
  • Fooch $932.62 (0-2 ML, 2-2-1 ATS, 0-2 Parlay, $275 risked)

Fooch proved you can't make an omelete without breaking some eggs, and got a few shells mixed in. Danny suffered a bad beat when Washington blew a 27-10 lead only to miss hilariously on a FG attempt in OT after the first successful attempt was iced (well played, Kubiak). I put too much on the Lions not being able to beat the spread at home, completely forgetting that Jahvid Best is pronounced Jahvid Beast. All signs say take the Lions to cover on the road in Week 3. I say ignore the signs. Onto my main game breakdowns and betcards after the jump...

Pittsburgh -2.5 @ Tampa Bay: On Monday Night, I handicapped this game TB -2, so I'm actually quite pleased with the +2.5 the Bucs received. From the common 2009 data that lines up with Tampa's 2010 trends (compared to similar data from the Steelers), it appeared to me that Tampa would be a favorite. What I'm looking at is a line that says "Pick Pittsburgh, because its Pittsburgh". I thought the Bucanneers deserved a bit more credit from the oddsmakers, but at the same time, I love home dogs. In this scenario, I have feel the home team ML is the best bet to make.

The Bucs have been playing solid Third Down Defense this season while the Steelers have not been playing great offense on Third Downs (banking on Batch to fix that?). Also condsider that Pittsburgh has yet to score inside the red zone this season. Tampa proved last week it can beat a team that can't capitalize in the red zone (see: Carolina). The results of Weeks 1 and 2 aren't rock solid, but I noticed red zone efficiency and third down efficiency for both teams similar to 2009's results. With a lesser QB at the helm for the Steelers, the variable is in the home team's favor.

Right now, 91% of money is on Pittsburgh to cover the spread, and just 32% of the Money Line bets are in Tampa's direction. Sometimes it's just wise to side with Vegas, a -2.5 PIT line is just begging to be taken by unsuspecting bettors. When the books pocket 91% of the rake from ATS, and 68% from the ML, won't you be glad you took Tampa?

How I came up with Tampa Bay as my pick:

  • Team efficiency rating* match-up: Tampa Bay 61.6 TERM* Edge
  • ATS Forecast: TB -2, Vegas Line: PIT -3, Difference: TB +5
  • Betting trends: 91% Pittsburgh ATS, 68% Pittsburgh ML, -125 Tampa Bay ATS PO, +120 Tampa Bay ML PO.

* - Team Efficiency Rating Match-Up is head to head figures comparing teams' efficiency stats in Third Downs and Red Zone, both offensively and defensively (there's more to it than just this, but I'll save you confusion). Let's say a team allows a large number of Red Zone attempts, but doesn't allow a high percetange of Red Zone scores. That team may be the slight favorite in terms of mathematic efficiency, but because of the large number of opponent attempts it depends how that team matches up against the opponent's Red Zone offensive efficiency. Basically what this formula suggests in this case, is that Tampa Bay has a 61.6% chance of being the more efficient team on Sunday (which unfortunately doesn't always mean victory). In potential FG festivals like this, I feel comfortable believing the numbers this week. (Andrew's Comment: The TERM itself is a work in progess)

Regarding my ATS forecast of TB-2, it  gives me suspicion that oddsmakers are setting a Pittsburgh road trap. My suspicions were increased further with such a poor payout for Tampa Bay to cover at home (-125). For a game with such a spread, I like the home dog to win just as favorably as Vegas thinks they'll cover. In a game that is just 2.5 points, the home team is likely to win instead of lose by 2 (in this scenario), or not cover at all (and in that case, why take bad payout odds?). The huge amount of bettors in Pittsburgh's favor is enough for me to roll with Tampa Bay (based on just two weeks of stat comparison). It's risky, but all signs are pointing me in the direction of The Bucs to win at home over a bigger name opponent. Here's how my bet card looks for this week:

Andrew Davidson's Bet Card

PIT-3 TB   TB   120  $   25.00  $   30.00
DAL HOU-3 HOU-3     EVEN  $   28.20  $   28.20
WAS-4 STL WAS-4     -110  $   15.00  $   13.50
PHI-3 JAX   JAX   125  $   10.00  $   12.50
IND-6 DEN DEN+6     -105  $   10.00  $      9.50
GB-3 CHI   CHI   135  $   10.00  $   13.50
             $   98.20  $ 107.20

DAL @ HOU -3: I over forecasted HOU -6.5, oops. Even payout odds for the home team to cover in an offensive shootout is smart money. Houston is playing good run defense, and the Cowboys have struggled to run the ball. For ATS, bets are 62% in Houston's direction, while the ML is 75% towards Dallas. Looks like a good time to take Houston to cover.

WAS -4 @ STL: My forecast was WAS -3.5, so now it's a matter of can Washington cover? Heavy bet trends indicate Washington will cost oddsmakers money. Washington has 81% of the ML bets, and 98% of the ATS bets. I'm a bit worried of the home dog here, but not much.

PHI -3 @ JAX: Call me crazy, but Jacksonville is another home dog that will win this week. You'll get better payout odds at +125, and since it's a line that's just 3, it's more likely if Jacksonville beats the spread by winning instead of losing by 2. If you want to roll that way.

IND -6 @ DEN: Denver has some injury issues in the secondary which could mean a disaster against Peyton Manning. I thought the payout odds were fair enough to warrant a bet on Denver, since 91% of the ATS bets are in Indy's favor. Sometimes I just go with the oddsmakers, and this is one of those times.

GB -3 @ CHI: Just loving these home dogs this weekend, which could be the death of my bankroll. Tying up $45 in ML upset picks, things might not work out. However, I'm adding the Mike Martz factor to this contest. I'm banking on Martz to run the ball heavily in his annual "See, I know how to call run plays" game. I'm frightened by 44% of bettors agreeing with me, taking Chicago in ML bets.

Florida Danny's Bet Card

ATL NWO   NWO   -200  $   23.60  $   11.80
DAL HOU   HOU   -140  $   37.55  $   26.82
OAK ARI   ARI   -210  $   21.63  $   10.30
NYJ MIA   MIA   -135  $   38.90  $   28.81
*** Parlay ***          
ATL NWO   NWO   -200    
DAL HOU   HOU   -140    
OAK ARI   ARI   -210  $      9.43  $   26.37
             $ 131.11  $ 104.10

I’m still collecting data and creating my statistical models for predicting games SU, ATS, and OU. Of course, this is no big deal in the grand scheme of things because, in the real world, I don’t start betting until midseason anyway. For now, you may have noticed I’ve only bet moneylines during the first 2 weeks. That’s because I’m relying on probably the clearest basic trend I’ve found so far in my historical data. Home favorites with a winning percentage advantage over their opponent win the game 75% of the time. If I would have known that last week, I wouldn’t have made any bets. Oops. "But wait," you say, "last week’s GB vs. BUF game fit the profile!" Well, the problem there was that the price, -650, was waaaaay too high; to the point where GB’s win probability implied by the price (approx 85%) was higher than their 75% win expectation based on the trend I just described. In other words, if I bet – say – $1 in that same exact situation 100 times, I’m expected to lose money over the long run because I’d lose $25 over those 100 bets ($1 x 25 losses), but only win $12.75 ($0.17 x 75 wins). And, whether we’re talking poker or sports wagering, making negative expectation bets is like getting on the express lane to Loserville.
It turns out that the magic number for betting the "home favorite with a winning percentage advantage" trend is a moneyline of -300. Any of these bets at a price -300 or better expects a positive return over the long run; any bet at a price worse than -300 puts you on the slow road to Loserville. So, this week, even though BAL fits the profile, their moneyline price of -550 means I’m staying away from that game. Luckily, there are 4 other games this week that fit the profile and have positive expected value, so those are the ones I’m playing. Oh, and just in case you’re wondering about the 3-team parlay, the probability of me winning all 3 individual bets in the parlay is 75% x 75% x 75% = 42.2%. The payout for that parlay is about 2.6-to-1, which means that I only need to win the bet about 25% of the time for me to make money over the long haul. Therefore, since 42.2% is better than 25%, I’m getting good value. It also helps that I’m a degenerate action junkie, of course.

Fooch's Bet Card

PIT TB   TB   120  $   20.00  $   24.00
SF KC SF-3     105  $   50.00  $   52.50
DAL HOU HOU-3     105  $   20.00  $   21.00
PHI JAX PHI-3     -105  $   20.00  $   19.00
IND DEN IND-6     -105  $   50.00  $   47.50
NYJ MIA MIA-2     -110  $   20.00  $   18.00
*** Parlay ***          
CLE BAL BAL-11   O(37) 270 $20.00  $   54.55
*** Parlay ***          
IND DEN IND-6          
BUF NE   NE        
CLE BAL BAL-11          
DAL HOU HOU-3     740  $   50.00  $ 373.53
             $ 250.00  $ 610.08

SF-KC: I plan on betting the 49ers to win just about all the time (just a matter of how much I'll bet each time) and at while -3 can be a tough bet, I'll take my chances this week.

PIT-TB: I think the Bucs will have a tough time with the Steelers defense, particularly with a young QB like Freeman. But I figure why not roll the dice with a bet that's really not costing a ton but has more return? And besides, I don't like the Steelers and don't like rooting for them. Oh and I've got Josh Freeman as a backup QB in my keeper league so gotta give him the support.

DAL-HOU: The Texans got fairly lucky last week but when a team is starting to roll those kinds of breaks go their way. They get the Cowboys at home and the Cowboys are not exactly impressing folks. I'm riding the Texans until they truly buck me.

PHI-JAX: I think this is more of a bet on the crappiness of the Jaguars than confidence in Michael Vick. Vick has six solid quarters of play in situations that are ripe for running up numbers (playing well behind against the Packers and playing against a not so good Lions team). But I just don't like the Jaguars right now.

IND-DEN: I'm just not one to bet against Peyton Manning right now. There are reasons the Broncos could rally around the flag this weekend, but I'm more comfortable with Peyton.

NYJ-MIA: Apparently no Revis and potentially no Edwards? Yes, please. I wouldn't be surprised to see Rex throw Edwards out there after the first series when the Sanchize looks like crap.

CLE-BAL: I like Flacco to finally emerge from his early season slump against a crappy Browns squad. And to cover I think it'll push this thing over the 37 O/U, so I'm parlaying the two together.

Apparently I didn't learn my lesson last week. We're back for another 4-team parlay with a bit more risk this time. Probably not a smart idea, but we'll see:

IND (-6), NE (M/L), BAL (-11), HOU (-3) - $50: I wanted to bet the Patriots against the Bills but -14.5 is just way too high for me. So, why not parlay that with three other games to bring down those odds?

That's it for this week, we'll see if the three of us can improve upon last week's rather disappointing performance. Let's us know in the comments what you think about this week's games, and just how wrong we might be in our own picks.