TNF WEEK EIGHT
ATLANTA FALCONS (1-6) @ CAROLINA PANTHERS (3-4) - 1 52 [U]
Handicapping NFL games has been my hobby for the last ten years.
I’ve tried to create a dependable system using key data culled from NFL legends like Gil Brant; I subscribe to a couple dependable sites that allow the handicapper to pose virtually any question, and receive an answer, hoping to get valid info to base my Picks on.
For example, in a divisional game on Thursdays, the usual approach is to take the Under because divisional teams know each other, and divisional games tend to be closer, lower scoring affairs.
Conventional wisdom says, besides the Under, the home team has more of an advantage than usual. Problem is I just got done reading one article suggesting home field advantage, (HFA), “isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.” Another article reminds the bettor that home teams win 57% of their games.
My first thought was, well, why doesn’t everybody just take the home team straight up, (SU), and stick it to Vegas? Because those are SU numbers. The return on a straight up bet still has to give the bookies their juice. More importantly, those are very long term trends that typically don’t hold week-to-week or season-to-season. In other words to make money, you would need to bet the Home Teams to win for fifty years.
Finally, the win % numbers and HFA numbers are not independent of the level of talent any given team has or will acquire.
In short, the Arrowheads won 57.1% of their games as home team from 2003 to ’17—a statistically average HFA.
ATS K.C covered at 47.4 rate.
Since Mahomes, Hunt, and the most recently drafted offensive juggernaut the Chiefs are winning at home at a 71.9 clip—however they drop to 60.1 ATS.
Talent makes a huge difference.
Talent, expectations, consistency, coaching, psychology—are just some of the intangibles that can only be seen in rear view mirrors. They must be accounted for amid the jambalaya of statistics and trends unique to any given NFL team.
I’ve heard trying to process it all has driven some degenerate gamblers out of their minds—ahem….
Let’s apply some of the analysis above to tonight’s matchup:
Carolina is the one of the NFL’s youngest teams with a developing franchise QB in Teddy Bridgewater…
That means they are inconsistent, they make mistakes on both sides of the ball…They do have the talent—when Bridgewater is performing at peak and Christian McCaffery is healthy-to beat anybody. Their collective arrow is trending up…
Atlanta is one of the NFL’s oldest teams led by former league MVP, Matt Ryan who should be a Super Bowl winner…
Problem is, after Ryan, and Julio Jones--who seemingly deals with a nagging injury every week—the Falcons are starving for talent. They are last or almost last in every significant defensive category. They enter this game last in yards allowed and 31st with a -1.5 deficit in the important Net YPP category—and the Atlanta defense allows a smidgen under 30 points a game.
Four of Atlanta’s six losses have been by 4 points or less…
That can cut two ways—the Falcons have learned how to lose—or they are on the verge of showing their true colors.
The conclusion is, this one will be close and will turn on one or two crucial plays. When your resident ‘Capper comes to that all familiar bridge, he often just guesses.
This week, though, in doing my research and attempting to share with my readers what little insight I have in this endeavor, I came across an amazing stat…
· Since 2003, the Black Cats are second only to Darth Belichick and the Cheaters in ATS winning pct. against divisional rivals.
We’re going with Carolina to Cover the Chalk—we’ll go against consensus and play the Under.
Panthers 31 Falcons 17