Use the Sportsbooks' NFL Season Win Totals Numbers Against Them
In martial arts, the term "kuzushi" refers to the act of defeating an opponent by using your their momentum against them to put them in a compromising position.
The sportsbooks are the mortal enemy of bettors. And NFL futures betting, specifically Las Vegas season win totals, offers the perfect opportunity to use the books' own skill and momentum against them.
Every year Las Vegas and offshore sportsbooks release NFL season win total over/under numbers for each team. These initial numbers usually come out in April, they get tweaked after the draft and during the summer, and then solidify in once the preseason games begin.
These NFL season win total numbers rely on equal parts statistics and perception. Oddsmakers are surgically skillful at turning misperceptions about players and teams against the general public. The books have a great grasp on the underlying statistics that dictate NFL performance while also possessing a deft understanding of how the public wagers. Not only do they excel at directing action, but they also put out really strong numbers.
Over the last 15 years, the average team comes within 2.5 wins of its Vegas season win total. The season win total numbers pretty closely follow normal distribution with a standard deviation around 2.1 wins. Without getting too far into the weeds of sophomore algebra, that means nearly 70 percent of all NFL teams fall within a couple of wins of their season win total and around 95 percent of all teams finish the season within four wins of their Las Vegas number.
So if a team has a Vegas season win total of 7.0 that means they have a 70 percent chance of finishing with between 5-9 victories and about 95 percent of the time they will finish the season with between 3-11 wins.
When you think about it, eight games is a pretty big cushion! Las Vegas doesn't miss very big very often when it comes to projecting these NFL season win totals. Most teams finish within that eight-game margin. But what about the teams that finish that finish outside of it? What about those outliers on the bell curve? Can we glean and information from these teams that we can then use that to our advantage the following season?
The answer is yes. And this is where we can use the books' momentum against them.
The idea is simple: we focus on the teams that are the biggest outliers against their Vegas season win totals. Then, using some simple regression analysis, we bet on or against these teams versus their Vegas season win total the following year.
Since the start of the 2004 season there have been 95 teams that have finished four or more games over or under their Las Vegas season win totals. In the last 10 years there have been 60 such teams. This group represents our statistical "overachievers" and "underachievers".
Over the last 15 years 45 teams beat their Vegas season win total by four or more games. These overachievers went just 16-29 (35.6 percent) against their season win total the following season. Over the last 10 years overachieving teams have gone 12-17 against their season win total the following year. If you had bet $1,200 to win $1,000 on the 'under' for all of these teams, which assumes an average juice of -120, then you would've hit 64.4 percent of your wagers and won roughly $10,000.
An example of this concept in action is the 2015-2016 Carolina Panthers. In 2015 the Panthers went 15-1 and obliterated their 8.5 Vegas season win total by 6.5 games en route to winning the NFC championship. Naturally, heading into the 2016 season the books jacked up Carolina's season win total to 10.5. They flopped, going 6-10 and easily cashing for the 'under'.
Since 2004, there have been 49 teams that have finished four or more games below their Vegas season win total. This group of underachievers has gone 32-17 against their Vegas season win total the next year. Over the past 10 years, our underachievers have gone 19-12 against their Vegas season win total the following season. For all 49 teams, someone betting 'over' would've cashed 65.3 percent of their wagers while banking nearly $12,000.
An example of these underachievers rebounding is Indianapolis in 2017 and 2018. In 2017 the Colts dealt with a slew of injuries and bumbled their way to a 4-12 season, coming up 4.5 games short of their 8.5 Vegas season win total. Last year the books lowered their preseason expectations, posting a 7.5 season win total. The Colts bounced back with a 10-6 campaign and easily surged 'over' the total.
I know this all seems very basic. And it is. But this system is not only rooted in common sense, it also has some pretty sound intuitive aspects behind it. Teams that "come out of nowhere" and have a big year that no one - not even Las Vegas bookmakers - saw coming usually have a positive confluence of events. They avoid injuries, they benefit from turnovers, maybe they have an easy schedule, and they generally get some lucky bounces and fluke calls that help them win close games. Usually these overachievers make the playoffs. The following offseason the public overvalues these teams, the books shade the numbers higher, and the following year basic statistical regression takes hold to help drag these clubs back to earth.
The flip side is also true and NFL organizations have shown a tremendous ability to bounce back from horrendous seasons. The public looks at teams that win just three or four games and usually ignores the contributing factors and extenuating circumstances. It is easier to just assume these teams suck! The result is lowered expectations the following season and thus a ripe betting opportunity.
The numbers speak for themselves. Someone following my system - betting the 'under' against teams that beat their Vegas win total by 4.0 or more the previous season and betting 'over' on teams that short their Vegas season win total by 4.0 or more the previous year -would've banked somewhere in the neighborhood of $22,000 while hitting 63 percent of their bets over a 15-year period. That profit represents a tremendous 20.4 percent return on investment.
So who are the teams that we should be focused in on this year?
Last year's biggest overachiever was the Chicago Bears. They went 12-4 against a Vegas season win total of 7.5, meaning they beat their mark by 4.5 games. The Bears enter the 2019 season with a Vegas season win total of 9.0. They aren't going to sneak up on anyone this year, though. And this organization has only won 10 or more games in back-to-back seasons one time in the past 25 years (2005-06).
There are several significant underachievers from last year that could be primed for big bounce back seasons in 2019. Oakland (-4.5), San Francisco (-4.5), Green Bay (-4.0) and Jacksonville (-4.0) all fit our criteria and are squads that we should be looking to bet 'over' their season win totals.
Naturally, all four head into this fall with Vegas season win total numbers that are lower than what they were up against last season. Last May the Raiders opened at 9.5 and were down to 7.5 by Week 1. This year their number is just 6.0. Jacksonville, fresh off an AFC Championship Game appearance, entered last year with a 9.0 season win total. This year, with new quarterback Nick Foles, they are at 8.0. Green Bay, despite a new coach and revitalized roster, heads into 2019 with a 9.0 Vegas season win total after starting last year at 10.0.
Finally, last year San Francisco was everyone's preseason sleeper team and entered August with a win total set at 8.5. This season they have about 200 percent less fan fare and hype and their season win total has dropped to 8.0.
Futures odds are set based on a blend of statistics and public opinion. The public is usually ill informed, unsophisticated and reactionary. We can use that to our advantage. Conversely, sportsbooks are analytical and ruthlessly efficient. And we can use that against them by focusing on their failures and using that as a road map to future success.
Another Japanese martial arts term is "budo". This means a way of life with a focus of self-improvement, personal growth and fulfillment. Well, by following my simple, effective system for betting NFL futures you can show improvement with your wagers, personally grow your bankroll, and achieve fulfillment by knowing that are beating the sportsbooks with their own help.
Carpe diem, my friend. And good luck.
Robert Ferringo has been the top football handicapper in the country the past nine years, earning nearly $40,000 in total football profit (average profit: +$4,400). He has also posted 7 of 9 winning seasons (including three straight winning years) and produced an amazing 50 of 76 winning football months over the past 12 years. Robert has eight of 10 winning NFL preseasons and he is at nearly 60 percent winners over his last 1,000 totals picks. Also, Robert's proprietary KING College Football Betting System has posted three of five winning seasons. Robert is looking for a fourth straight winning football year and wants more profit this fall. SIGN UP HERE TODAY AND TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OUR 3-FOR-1 FOOTBALL SPECIALS!
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