In college football, you can play momentum. If you play momentum in the NFL, you’ll get killed over the long course.Chris Andrews, director of the South Point sportsbook on my podcast
In college football, you can’t set the right spread for Michigan this season without following momentum and their strong play. Clemson is an example of a team in 2021 in which momentum worked in the opposite direction.
However, this doesn’t work in the NFL.
New England has momentum. Bill Belichick and Mac Jones have won 6 games in a row by an average of 24.7 points. This type of run is unsustainable for even the NFL’s most dominant teams, and New England’s run has been fueled by the good fortune of a +13 turnover margin.
However, there is also signal here. After week 5, New England’s pass offense ranked 28th in my adjusted success rate. Now, New England has risen to 10th. In particular, my metrics like the 52.9% passing success rate against a strong Tennessee defense (4th) last week.
New England’s defense has been good as well, as the Patriots rank 8th in my adjusted success rate.
However, on Monday night, New England travels to Buffalo, a team I consider a primary Super Bowl contender.
Buffalo’s offense hasn’t lived up to the lofty expectations set in 2020. In addition, Josh Allen couldn’t throw the ball into the ocean against Indianapolis. Despite these bumps, Buffalo ranks a respectable 8th in my pass offense rankings.
Buffalo’s defense has covered up for the offense. This unit is tops in the NFL whether you look at my adjusted passing success rate or PFF coverage grades. A season ending injury to CB Tre’Davious White is a huge blow, but the rest of the defense has been stellar.
In the future, we may look back upon today as the end of Buffalo’s 15 month run atop the AFC East. The Bills won the division in 2020 and made it to the AFC championship game while New England struggled to a 7-9 record. But that ended as future Hall of Fame QB Mac Jones played his first game against division rival Buffalo.
However, as of right now, all my metrics favor Buffalo to win by a considerable margin.
- Preseason – Buffalo by 5.7 points.
- Market model that takes closing spreads and adjusts for opponent – Buffalo by 6.3 points.
- Data from the current season (success rate, yards per pass attempt, points) – Buffalo by 4.3 points.
If you shun momentum and follow these metrics, this suggests value in Buffalo -2.5.
Football betting with a PhD edge
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