An avid gambler and sports handicapper wages war on Vegas with betting strategy, analysis, and of course free picks.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

NFL: Betting Strategy for 2nd games between Division Foes

There are 256 NFL games per season, and 96 of those are Divisional games. Since each team in the division plays the other three twice, there are 48 2nd divisional games. Today, I'm going to explore a betting strategy for these second encounters.

First the facts.

During the '05 Season the team that one the first encounter won 67% of the time on the second meeting (32 of 48 games), and the loser won the second game 33% of the time (16 of 48) for a split. Against the spread, the situation is more evenly distributed with the first encounter winner winning only 25 of 48 games and losing 23 of 48. Also, the home team wins 26 of 48 (54%). This just means the line is damn solid and tough to handicap.

Looking at the Over/Unders however, I've been able to spot an opportunity.

Scoring in the second meeting tends to go up (44.0 vs. 39.5, +4.5 pts) but the O/U line actually goes down (41.1 to 40.2, down 0.9 pts) thereby creating an opportunity to "go over" on the second game. During the '05 Season the Over hit 60% on the second game (27 of 45 games....3 had no lines posted).

Looking further it turns out that in the majority of these games (20) there was a backup QB playing for at least one of the two teams. Turns out that the books tend to over estimate the negative impact of backup QBs, creating a situation where they can exceed expectations. More on betting strategies for backup QBs in a future post.....

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