Texas A&M at Arkansas – At 7:53am Eastern time this morning, Circa bookmaker Matthew Metcalf tweeted about the lack of sharp action on this game. This prevented him from moving up his limit on Friday night.
Circa is considered a sharp sports book. As of release of this newsletter, Circa Colorado has Texas A&M -5.5 at Arkansas, an increase from -5 half an hour earlier.
Key Injuries – Unless noted otherwise, these injuries were double checked with ESPN’s NFL injuries page.
- Indianapolis QB Carson Wentz – didn’t practice Thursday because of injuries to both ankles, but returned Friday to practice and is listed as a game time decision
- Miami QB Tua Tagovailoa – out with a fractured rib
- New Orleans CB Marshon Lattimore – reported had surgery on his right hand but is expected to play against New England
- Tampa Bay DE Jason Pierre-Paul – out with hand and shoulder injuries
- Cincinnati WR Tee Higgins – doubtful with a shoulder injury
- Tampa Bay WR Antonio Brown – won’t play against the Los Angeles Rams as he is on the reserve/COVID-19 list
Handicapping the Saints – For another week, the New Orleans Saints will have had to practice, prepare and play away from home because of Hurricane Ida. The team has also been without several coaches because of COVID-19 protocols.
After a blowout loss to Carolina in Week 2, it’s possible the market has moved based upon all of these setbacks. At last check, the Saints are three-point underdogs per FanDuel Sportsbook and The Power Rank’s NFL Rankings have the Saints 19th, compared with the Patriots’ 11th ranking.
The Power Rank predicts New England to win by 3.1 points, which is consistent with the markets.
When to Adjust for Opponents – Some teams have it easier than others after two weeks. However, given the competitive balance of the NFL, how much does strength of schedule really matter at this point?
Of the seven undefeated teams, the Rams, Raiders, Cardinals, Buccaneers and Panthers have played at least one team with a preseason projected win total of greater than 8.5 (meaning they’re projected to have a winning record). However, none of them have faced two teams projected to have winning records. From this perspective, it’s possible those not on this list, the Broncos and 49ers, should be seen more skeptically.
Parity, Finally? – College football has a much stronger case for opponent-adjusted statistics and rankings, but through three weeks, per cfb-graphs.com, the SEC and Big Ten have new leaders atop their EPA60 Margin rankings: Georgia and Michigan, respectively.
The Bulldogs have a win over Clemson while the Wolverines have won every game by at least three touchdowns. The leaders of their respective conferences lost a lot of talent from last season, suggesting a larger possibility of new playoff representatives.
The Power Rank would make Michigan a 5.8 point underdog at Wisconsin next week, but this will change after the results of Week 4.
USC QB situation. Kedon Slovis came into the season as the starter and potential NFL draft pick. However, he gets hurt early against Washington State.
Jaxson Dart comes in and lights it up for 391 passing yards on 8.5 yards per attempt. USC destroys Washington State 45-14 in their first game after the firing of Clay Helton, and now there’s a QB controversy.
However, Dart hurts his knee in the game against Washington State and is out indefinitely due to surgery. Slovis is fine and will start against Oregon State.
How to Think – Data visualization is arguably the biggest way to translate data into useful information. But media literacy is important to pointing out when a presentation is misleading, as an article from Nightingale explains.
Even if you do not care about data visualization or media literacy, there are important lessons here about the importance of communicating context professionally and even personally.
Data driven betting information
These nuggets were part of The Power Rank’s email newsletter. This is a free service that strives to be:
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