The National Football League is state-sanctioned chaos. It's a weekly ritual of violence and speed featuring carbon-fiber-clad sociopaths with hyperactive pituitary glands mauling and maiming one another. It's a bizarre sport and senseless entertainment that has become a pillar of our national consciousness and economy.
Chaos reigns in this great nation. And if the mutants that make up the NFL show a stunning lack of self-preservation then what does it say about We, The Gamblers, who willingly risk our cash and sanity each week trying to predict these savage games? We must be fools to bet on football. Yet here we are, again, waging our personal wars with Fate and Reason in an attempt to produce that beautiful profit.
Free $60 in Member NFL Picks No Obligation Click Here
Gambling isn't magic, it's math. So while football may be a monocracy, the immutable laws of mathematics govern it and several foundational statistics hold the key to beating it. I'm here to share one of these crucial stats and explain how wielding it can be the difference between harnessing the chaos and being swallowed whole by it.
Offensive Yards Per Point is a fundamental and critical stat for NFL bettors. To calculate OYPP you simply take the number of total yards a team gained and divide it by the number of points they scored. So if a team gained 432 total yards and scored 27 points then they have a Yards Per Point of 16.0.
Yards Per Point is ruthlessly blunt and shockingly efficient, like the power run Pete Carroll should have called in the Super Bowls final seconds. YPP's brilliance is that it accounts for the randomness and volatility of a football game by completely ignoring it. Defensive scores, missed field goals, special teams touchdowns, crippling red zone turnovers and failed fourth-down attempts can be game-changing events. But they are unpredictable outliers, unscripted glitches in The Game Plan. And their impact outweighs their frequency. YPP factors in these deviant plays. But it does so in a broader, reductive context.
Consider the Green Bay-Buffalo game in Week 15 last December. The playoff-bound Packers, 3.5-point road favorites, outgained the Bills by 80 yards (333-253) but lost 21-13. How? Because Buffalo blocked a field goal, scored a safety, grabbed two interceptions and returned a punt 75 yards for a touchdown. Buffalo was not the better team. But they won (and covered the spread) due to a confluence of random incidents that couldn't be predicted and wouldn't be replicated.
No one could forecast Green Bay's misadventures in Orchard Park. But you could see that their 25.6 YPP was nearly double their season average (12.9) and confidently predict Green Bay's play would regress back to its mean the following week. It did. They beat Tampa Bay by 17 points and covered the spread easily.
Buffalo, on the other hand, went to Oakland the next Sunday as a seven-point favorite. But they forgot to pack their B.S. Big Play Bonanza and 12.0 OYPP and lost outright, 26-24.
That is one small example of how Yards Per Point can be a useful tool in the handicapping arsenal. But here are three specific systems where you can use it to generate a long-term profit:
1. The Quintessential Bounce Back
An OYPP of 30.0 or higher is a massive statistical outlier - roughly double the NFL average. We've all seen those games: a team is marching up and down the field between the 20s at will. But for some reason keep sabotaging themselves and just can't put the ball in the end zone. It's maddening and seemingly nonsensical.
Teams with an OYPP of 30.0 or more overwhelmingly lose the game both straight up and ATS. But, like we saw with Green Bay, it also sets them up for a bounce-back effort the following week. Couple basic statistical regression with the fact that sportsbooks will likely over- or under-adjust the team's spread the next week based on their poor performance and it is the perfect storm for a gambling gambit.
So here is our first YPP system: bet on any team against the spread after a game in which they post an OYPP of 30.0 or higher.
Over the last four seasons teams have gone 94-62 against the spread (60.3 percent) the week following an OYPP of 30.0 or higher. Further, 40 of the 62 teams that didn't cover the spread in the outing immediately following their game of 30.0 OYPP or higher beat the spread their next game. That is an 85 percent ATS success rate and a simple two-game progressive chase system can be used to produce a hearty profit.
Several other filters and qualifiers can be added to this system to increase its effectiveness. But I can't give all of my best tricks away!
2. The 'Under'-whelming Effort
An OYPP of 30.0 signifies that a team could move the ball well but just couldn't generate points. The opposite is when a team posts an OYPP in the single digits. Those are the games where one team benefits from a cornucopia of fortuitous bounces and fluke plays to score a lot more points than they deserve.
Let's look at the Bills again. In Week 8 against the Jets they won 43-23 despite gaining just 280 yards (which should've translated into 17-20 points). Buffalo took advantage of a whopping six Jets turnovers to post a ridiculous 6.5 OYPP in a massive blowout. The 66 combined points obliterated the "over/under" of 40.0.
Naturally, Buffalo didn't cover the spread in their next game, a 17-13 loss to the Chiefs, as their OYPP ballooned to 28.0. But more interesting was what happened to the total. The Bills easily went under a total of 42.0 against Kansas City in a game that never threatened the number.
So for our next trick: bet under in any game featuring a team that posted an OYPP of 9.9 or lower in the previous outing. Again, this makes sense. If a team plays a high-scoring game in which they benefit from special teams and defensive touchdowns or a freakishly-efficient offense then they should come back down to earth their next time out.
This system has gone 111-95 over the last four years, a barely-profitable 53.9 percent. However, prior to a weak 20-26 showing last year this system had posted three consecutive winning years while going 91-69 (56.9 percent). Again, that is unfiltered. Last year's poor effort should set up this system for a big bounce back in 2015.
Further, two very simple filters boost this to a 62.3 percent system (86-52). First, don't bet under if the indicator team is four games or more below .500. Second, don't bet under if Tom Brady, Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers is quarterbacking the indicator team. Those guys are just that good!
3. See Into The Futures Play
Offensive Yards Per Point isn't just a great stat for finding hidden gem situations within the season. The long-term, macro impact of OYPP can be taken advantage of as well. Single game OYPP numbers can vary wildly. But the full-season average of a team's OYPP is more static and paints a clearer picture of a team's overall efficiency and performance.
For our third system I recommend betting over on the Las Vegas season win total of the two NFL teams with the worst OYPP in the league. Once again, this makes sense on an intuitive level as well as a statistical one since "unlucky" events like turnovers and injuries have shown a weak statistical correlation from year to year.
Over the last five years this system has posted a healthy 7-3 record against Las Vegas win totals. Adding a simple filter - the teams' OYPP needs to be 19.1 or higher - and suddenly you have an 87.5 percent system (7-1) over a five-year period!
The 2013 Chiefs and Eagles are perfect examples of this in action. In 2012 Kansas City went 2-14 and posted a 24.2 OYPP. The Eagles were 4-12 with a 20.2 OYPP. They were prime bounce-back candidates in 2013, and bounce back they did. The Chiefs won their first nine games and went 11-5 while the Eagles went to the playoffs on the strength of a 10-6 record. Both easily beat their Vegas Win Totals of 7.5.
Last year the Titans and Redskins shared the worst OYPP in the NFL at 19.1, barely clearing our filter. But as unlikely as it seems at least one, if not both, are primed to beat their Vegas Season Win Total in 2015. Tennessee's number is currently 5.5 wins while the Redskins are at 6.0.
Beating the NFL betting market is never easy. But with these tools, statistic and a healthy long-term focus I think that you can find a way to churn out a little extra cash this fall while finding order among the chaos.
Carpe diem. And good luck.
Robert Ferringo has been the top football handicapper in the country the past two years, earning nearly $13,000 in total football profit with back-to-back winning seasons. Robert has tallied over $23,000 in football profit the last four years and in 2013 he hit 62.1 percent for the entire NFL season (95-58). Robert has produced an incredible 13 of 17 winning football months. Going back further he has churned out 36 of 52 winning football months and four of five winning overall seasons while hitting nearly 60 percent winners over his last 600 football picks. Also, Robert's proprietary KING College Football Betting System has posted two of three winning seasons and is 104-73 over the last three years (58.8 percent).
Robert's KING System plays went 3-0, +$1,000 last weekend and he is coming back with a 7-Unit College Football Play on Saturday and a 7-Unit NFL Play this week. We are offering new clients $60 in free college football picks for Robert's picks or any Advisory Board handicapper of your choosing. Get your free college football picks now!
Read more articles by Robert Ferringo
Most Recent NFL Handicapping Articles
- Jon Gruden Replacement for Monday Night Football Predictions and Betting Odds
- NFL Expert Picks Against the Spread: Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers
- NFL Playoffs Expert Betting Advice: Divisional Round Trends
- NFL Expert Picks Against the Spread: Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles
- NFL Divisional Round Playoffs Wagering Advice: Distractions to Avoid
- Betting Odds and Predictions for Jon Gruden Monday Night Football Replacement
- NFL Divisional Round Betting Trends: Bye Teams Last Five Years
- NFL Playoffs Betting and Wagering: Avoid These Distractions
- NFL Playoffs Expert Betting Advice: Ranking Postseason Teams
- NFL Expert Picks Against the Spread: Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars