Your weekly dose of sports betting tips and news, every Saturday morning at 10am Eastern.
NFL preseason – Last week, we discussed the predictive value of NFL preseason. This research used points scored and allowed during preseason games.
To add to this analysis, I’ve taken point differential in preseason games and adjusted for opponent with my ranking algorithm. Despite the parity of the NFL, these schedule adjustments should matter with only three games.
These results show rank, team name, preseason record and preseason rating.
1. Las Vegas, (4-0), 9.23
2. Chicago, (3-0), 8.38
3. Baltimore, (3-0), 7.79
4. Kansas City, (2-1), 7.21
5. Houston, (3-0), 6.68
6. Miami, (2-1), 6.53
7. New York Jets, (3-0), 4.75
8. Carolina, (2-1), 3.39
9. Washington, (0-3), 2.48
10. New York Giants, (2-1), 2.41
11. Cleveland, (1-2), 2.37
12. Arizona, (1-2), 1.84
13. Green Bay, (1-2), 1.79
14. New England, (1-2), 1.42
15. San Francisco, (2-1), 1.38
16. Atlanta, (2-1), 0.76
17. Tennessee, (2-1), 0.49
18. New Orleans, (1-2), -0.01
19. Pittsburgh, (3-0), -0.47
20. Indianapolis, (1-2), -1.01
21. Buffalo, (2-1), -2.12
22. Cincinnati, (1-2), -2.31
23. Philadelphia, (1-2), -2.64
24. Minnesota, (0-3), -3.23
25. Los Angeles Rams, (1-2), -3.34
26. Detroit, (1-2), -3.88
27. Tampa Bay, (0-3), -4.45
28. Denver, (2-1), -5.36
29. Jacksonville, (0-4), -7.38
30. Seattle, (0-3), -7.85
31. Dallas, (2-1), -9.37
32. Los Angeles Chargers, (0-3), -16.10
While many are high on the Los Angeles Chargers, they were the worst NFL preseason team by a large margin. QB Justin Herbert didn’t play, but neither did QB Derek Carr for Las Vegas, a team rated highest this preseason.
Las Vegas at Los Angeles Chargers – Speaking of the Chargers, Dr. Eric Eager of PFF came on The Football Analytics Show podcast to preview the upcoming NFL season. When asked about a bet, he said that he likes Las Vegas +3.5 at the Los Angeles Chargers.
One reason that Eric gave for liking the Raiders is injuries. Las Vegas has weaknesses on the offensive line and secondary, but at least these units head into the opening game with full health. In contrast, Chargers CB J.C. Jackson, a critical offseason signing from New England, has an ankle injury and is a game time decision.
Eric also analyzed Pittsburgh and whether Mike Tomlin is a good coach, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay in a must listen episode of The Football Analytics Show.
Injuries – Unless otherwise noted, these come from USA Today for college football and ESPN for NFL.
- Dallas QB Dak Prescott had an ankle injury this week, but he is no longer on the injury report and should play against Tampa Bay.
- New York Jets QB Zach Wilson will not return from a knee injury until week 4. Joe Flacco most likely starts until then.
- Wake Forest QB Sam Hartman was cleared to play against Vanderbilt after dealing with a blood clot issue.
- Southern Miss QB Ty Keyes is questionable against Miami (FL).
- Texas Tech QB Tyler Shough left the previous game with a shoulder injury and is questionable against Houston.
Cleveland at Carolina – Pro NFL bettor Rob Pizzola likes Cleveland moneyline at -110 in this game, as he gives the Browns a 53.7% chance to win. While this number is available at DraftKings, sharp sports book Circa has Cleveland -2.5 as of Saturday morning.
While we can’t ignore the QB position, Rob thinks Cleveland has match up advantages at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Carolina QB Baker Mayfield should be under duress, and Cleveland’s run game will take pressure off QB Jacoby Brissett.
Rob also launched The Hammer, a new sports betting media company, this week.
NFL defensive player of the year – In a solo episode of The Football Analytics Show, I explained how an edge rusher’s pressure rate is more predictive from season to season than sack rate. Pressures are the sum of sacks, hits and hurries, and this larger set of events provides a better assessment of player performance.
Last season, Las Vegas’s Maxx Crosby had 11 sacks, an unimpressive total. However, Crosby had a 17.3% pressure rate, second best among edge rushers. This rate is significantly higher than the NFL average of 10.3%.
These metrics suggest value in Maxx Crosby to win AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year at 30-1 at FanDuel (thanks to @Clevta for this tip).
Duke at Northwestern – After winning the Big Ten West in 2020, Pat Fitzgerald’s Northwestern team cratered last season. Long time defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz retired, and the Wildcats couldn’t do anything on either side of the ball.
In 2022, not much was expected from Northwestern. However, they beat Nebraska as a double digit underdog in their first game. Now Duke comes to town, and Northwestern has a rest advantage (they didn’t play last week while Duke did, worth 0.9 points according to my research).
The Power Rank’s member numbers like Northwestern by 12.2 points. The markets have moved from Northwestern -9.5 on Tuesday to -10 on Saturday morning.
The girlfriend who didn’t exist – If I say Manti Te’o, you will immediately think of his imaginary girlfriend. You might laugh at a man in a romantic relationship with a female he has never met.
A two hour Netflix documentary tells this story of the star Notre Dame linebacker, and you’ll have your hands behind your head, Edvard Munch, The Scream style, most of the time while watching it. But by the end, you might find an ounce of empathy for Te’o.
Football betting with a PhD edge
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