Championship Tidbits

No surprise, LOTS of mis-information circulating in mainstream media and on Twitter, so let’s mention a few tidbits of myth vs reality for Sunday’s games:

Myth: The “hottest” team in the playoffs typically wins.

Reality:  Teams riding 8 game win streaks in the playoffs are 6-10 SU and 3-13 ATS since 2004.  Teams riding 6+ game win streaks in the playoffs since 2004 who are dogs or are NOT favored by more 1 point are just 2-7 SU, 5-4 ATS.

Myth:  Many teams have gone on the road in every playoff round and made the Super Bowl.

Reality: Since 2002, 8 teams have won road games in the Wild Card round and in the Divisional round.  Only 3 ( of the 8 ) won on the road in the Championship round.  And only one of these teams had been on the road week 17 as well.  That team (Carolina) went to Seattle (same as SF will this week) as a +4 point dog and was down 20-7 at half and lost 34-14.

Myth:  For a team as good as the 49ers, they should be able to win a 4th straight game on the road.

Reality:  They would become just the 2nd team in NFL history to win 4 straight road games.  It was done once previously, in 1966.  In addition, teams playing the 3rd straight road game between the Divisional round and the Championship round are 0-4 SU/ATS as dogs since 2008.

Myth:  These teams are all great and have performed against the best this year.

Reality:  These teams each have had fortuitous trips this year.  Do you realize that in terms of strength of schedule, 3 of these defenses faced the 4th, 5th and 9th EASIEST schedules of opposing offenses (NE, Sea and SF respectively).  And Denver faced the 2nd EASIEST schedule of opposing defenses.

Perhaps had New Orleans played an easier schedule (played 5th toughest defenses, 6th toughest offenses) they would have hosted Seattle instead of visited them this week. Schedule plays a huge role in why these teams are here.  The Chiefs offense played the 3rd easiest schedule, a big reason why their achievement ended early.  The Steelers played the easiest opposing offenses, or they wouldn’t have been close to making the playoffs.  The Bears played the 22nd hardest defenses and 25th hardest offenses, or their record would have been below .500.

The bottom line is, these teams are all very good, and any given day either could beat their opponent, but don’t think they all played “tough roads” to get here.

Myth:  The Patriots have been a solid ground and pound team to close the playoffs and should continue to see success using that same exact blueprint Sunday.

Reality:  When have you ever seen Belichick be predictable?  In addition, they go up against the Broncos whose “up the gut” run defense is the #1 most efficient in the NFL.  That’s the exact way Blount has attacked the last 3 weeks, as he’s averaging 130 yds/game “up the gut”, so that matchup is strength on strength.

Myth:  The Broncos have moved away from hurry up offense and will try to slow it down against the Patriots yet again this week.

Reality:  Like the Patriots, Manning and the Broncos will attack weakness and they came out with a specific game plan to attack and defeat the Chargers.  A slow down style they haven’t used at all this year.  If they use it again on Sunday in the first quarter and the first half, I’d be surprised.  Obviously if they have the lead late they’ll slow it down, but I find it hard to believe that they will run “slow down” the entire first half.

Myth: Brady is 7-0 against Jack Del Rio, crushing him often, and posting 17 TDs and 0 Interceptions.

Reality:  The above is not a lie, but the way the media is spinning it is out of control.  16 QBs posted 95+ rating and have a TOTAL of 69 TDs and 12 Ints vs the Jaguars while Del Rio coached.  These QBs averaged 68% completions against the Jaguars when Del Rio was in charge (03-11).   Brady was, ON AVERAGE, a 8 point favorite in these games.  ALL of them were played LATE in the season, when the Jags defense was even worse.  Brady certainly has been impressive in the past vs the Jaguars, but if you look at this year’s Broncos, their defense does get passed on, typically because they are up early and teams come back.  So I don’t care what Brady did to Del Rio in Jacksonville.  It’s completely irrelevant.  And I do expect him to have a good game against the Broncos, why?  Not because of Jacksonville and Del Rio.  Because most QBs do put up stats vs the Broncos.  That still does not mean they win the game, which ultimately is the only thing that matters.

I have 2 plays already released for Sunday and plan on releasing at least one more.  Get on board, I’m hit 6-2 week last week and am 42-22 (66%) since Thanksgiving.

 

2013 NFL Season Win Total Results

In 2012, for the first time, I wrote up and distributed NFL Season Win Totals.  In 8 plays, I went 6-2 (75%).

Obviously with such a strong record, I repeated the process in 2013.  This time, the writeups were even MORE in-depth.  This year, again there were 8 plays.

On these 8 plays in 2013, I went 6-2 (75%), just like in 2012.  The results were:

  • Atlanta Falcons Under 10 – WIN (4 Wins)

  • Chicago Bears Under 8.5 Wins – WIN (8 Wins)

  • Philadelphia Eagles Under 7.5 Wins – LOSS (10 Wins)

  • Minnesota Vikings Under 7.5 – WIN (5 Wins)

  • New York Jets Under 6.5 Wins – LOSS (8 Wins)

  • Oakland Raiders Under 5.5 Wins – WIN (4 Wins)

  • Kansas City Chiefs Over 7.5 Wins – WIN (11 Wins)

  • Carolina Panthers Over 7 Wins – WIN (12 Wins)

Certainly I will continue these in 2014.  After all, I don’t handicap ANYTHING other than football.  It’s my specialty, and is the reason my results year in and year out are positive and consistently good.  After 8 seasons sharing my plays, I’m 11-0, never having a losing season in the NFL (8 years) or College (3 years).

Now completing my 2nd year distributing these NFL season wins, I’m now 12-4 (75%) and clients have netted solid profit each and every year.  I’m already looking forward to breaking these down next August for 2014 clients.

So next summer, when I sell packages and offer season win totals as well, DO NOT SLEEP on these plays, but almost as good as the 75%, are the highly complex and informational write-ups.

As one example I will share, the Minnesota Vikings were an interesting play for me.  Because I played them OVER 6 wins (@ +110) in 2012, and they won 10 games.  But this year, I played them UNDER 7.5 and we cashed again (they won 5 games).  Here was the write-up I shared with clients this summer:

Minnesota Vikings Under 7.5 Wins

In 2012, Minnesota went 10-6 in the regular season after a 3-13 year in 2011.  I played them Over 6 +110 last year and obviously won.  This year I’m fading them.

Win Improvement:

– Since 2002, 41 teams won at least 10 games last season which was winning 4+ games more than they did 2 years ago.  Only 2 of 41 teams actually won more game the following year.  39 teams (95%) lost more games the following year, by an avg of 4 more losses.
– Of these 41 teams, if they won fewer than 5 games 2 years ago and then massively improved to win 10+ last year, they win an avg of 6 games the following season.

The first example shows a 95% angle indicating the Vikings should lose approx 4 more games in 2013 than they did in 2012.  This would drop them down to 6 wins in 2013.  The second example looks only at the teams who won fewer than 5 games 2 yrs ago (the Vikings won 3) and finds that these teams, on avg, win 6 games the next year, which ends up being the exact same result we see when we look at the first example.  The Vikings winning 6 games in 2013 would definitely go under the 2013 posted total.

Close Wins:

Now lets look at teams that earned a ton of close wins last season.  Since 2000, I looked at teams who, in 1 score games, won over 60% of these games and were at least +3 more wins than losses.

On average, these teams went 6.3-2.1 in games decided by 1 score or less the prior year, which is 75%.  The following year, they went 3.9-3.7, for only 51% wins.  This was a change of 2.4 more losses per season, looking only at these 1 score games.

The Vikings went 5-1 in one score games last season.  One of the reasons I played on them in 2012 was because in 2011 they actually suffered 8 losses by less than 6 points (n other team had more than 5).  Overall in 1 score games in 2011, the Vikings were 2-9.

That is an incredible 11 game turnaround from 2011!  Such a reversal has been seen only twice since 2000 – the 2009 Chargers (went 2-7 in one score games in 2008 to 8-1 in 2009) and the Colts last year.

So now lets look at only the teams who saw a turnaround of 8 games or more from one year to the next.  There are 7 such teams since 2000 who pulled it off and won at least 60% of their close games last season.

These teams went an avg of 6-1.9 (76%) in one score games last year after going an avg of 2-7 (22%) the prior year.  In the 3rd year, they fell back to a 2.9-5.6 (34%) mark, and a decrease of 3.1 fewer wins in these 1 score games from what they recorded the prior year.

But even more definitive was the impact these close wins had on the team’s overall record.  Because winning these tight games makes you feel unbeatable, and when you end up losing them the next year, you feel like its not your year.  This change in morale is huge, and affects more than just your record in that particular game, there is a carry over affect to your season as a whole.

These teams, who went from losing close games one year to crushing in them the next year, with a turnaround of 8+ games from one year to the next saw their average regular season record improve to 11-5.

However, the next season, they declined to a terrible 6-10 on average.  100% of the teams won fewer games the following year.  That’s a swing of 5 games, far more than the 3.1 decrease in just the “close” games.  As I said, it carrys over past just the close games and affects their overall record.

Obviously a swing of 5 games downward for the Vikings in 2013 will put them at 5-11 for 2013 and below their season win total.

General:

According to my model, the Vikings face the 4th toughest schedule this year, after playing the 29th rated schedule last year.  Last year they played the tough NFC West, but were treated to the weak AFC South, Tampa Bay and Washington.

Let’s look at how they put together their 10 wins?  4 of the 10 came in division.  That in itself is somewhat miraculous, as the Vikings were 0-6 in 2011 and 1-5 in 2010 vs. the NFC North.  After last beating the Packers back in 2009, the Vikings actually beat them week 17, setting up a playoff matchup with the Packers won handily.  For the first time since 2009, the Vikings swept the Lions.  And for the first time since 2009, the Vikings beat the Bears in 2012.

So we saw some monumental achievements that hadn’t been done in 3 years, all occur last year for the Vikings.  Next, looking at non-divisional games, the Vikings actually beat (in big upsets) both the Fortyniners and the Texans.  That’s quite an achievement.

The Vikings had a monumental season last year, but like most teams which have such a monumental turnaround, it came with a lot of great luck (close wins) which are typically not repeated the following season.

Despite making the playoffs last year, the Vikings were the the 27th rated team last year in ability to drive the field to score TDs as well as preventing opponents from doing the same.  They scored TDs on 14% of possessions which started at their own 30 or worse.  The allowed TDs from teams starting inside their own 30 or worse on 20% of possessions.  The combination ranked them only ahead of the Rams, Cardinals, Raiders, Titans, Chiefs and Eagles last season.

Lastly, let’s look at this Murderers Row streak of opponents the Vikings face between weeks 4 and 14.  In parenthesis are the opponent’s wins in 2012:

Steelers (8), Panthers (7), Giants (9), Packers (11), Cowboys (8), Redskins (10), Seahawks (11), Packers (11), Bears (10), Ravens (10).  That is 10 straight opponents who are strong contenders in 2013 and who were good teams in 2012.  There is not one break, not one bad team in the bunch.  As I indicated at the top, this schedule is the 4th toughest after facing the 29th rated in 2012.