There are just two weeks remaining in the regular season and teams are either fighting for a playoff berth, fighting for a better draft position, battling for home field advantage in the playoffs, or just playing out the string. Despite what the league says, you can be sure that not all teams are going to be going all out the final two weeks to get victories, but you have to look at each team on a case-by-case basis and sometimes read between the lines.
A new coach like Tampa Bay’s Lovie Smith is most likely safe for a few more years despite his team’s disappointing season. But if you’re Smith, would you rather go into next season with Josh McCown or Marcus Mariota as your quarterback?
A coach like Rex Ryan probably doesn’t care who leads the Jets at quarterback next season, as even two wins in the final two games may not be enough to save his job, but you can be relatively certain that he’ll do everything he can to win out. Whether his players do is another story, as many of them are most likely thinking where to vacation in January, not to mention the fact that Ryan isn’t exactly highly regarded by many of his players, who may not mind seeing a new coaching staff brought in.
The majority of bettors are going to wager on teams that need to win to make the playoffs or at least to improve their positioning in the playoffs, especially if they are playing a team that is out of it. It isn’t often that an NFL team will have at least 80% of the wagers in a game, but as of Wednesday morning there were five teams which had 80% or more of the wagers in their games; Philadelphia, Green Bay, New England Baltimore and Buffalo. There is definitely a common denominator among those teams.
The teams receiving 20% or less of the wagers also have a common theme, as you can see; Washington, Tampa Bay, N. Y. Jets, Houston and Oakland. Houston is 7-7, while the other four teams have combined to post the same number of victories as the Indianapolis Colts.
Detroit had 79% of the wagers in its game at Chicago as of Wednesday morning and this one could also exceed the 80% figure by kick-off and again, you have a team battling for its division title against the team which looks to be the most dysfunctional in the league at the moment.
Dating back to 2005, Week No. 16 favorites haven’t fared too well, posting a 62-74-5 (45.6%) ATS record. Surprisingly, favorites of a touchdown or more have fared a bit better, going 30-27-1 (52.6%), while smaller favorites are just 29-44-4 (39.7%). The record is even worse for small favorites on the road, as they are just 7-14-2, but now you begin to reduce the sample size to the point where it loses its predictive value.
Home favorites were 44-52-2 (45.8%) in Week 16, while totals showed little of significance, going 50-47-1 (51.5%). Home underdogs were 22-18-3 (55.0%).
Author: Rob Holiday
My background is in business, consulting, finance and entrepreneurship