South Point Joins Cantor with Season Win Totals – Compare and SAVE!

Geographically, linemakers have been working their way NORTH up South Las Vegas Blvd, posting NFL season win totals.  Cantor Gaming (CG Tech) started the journey on March 7th by posting theirs.  South Point joined the mix on 3/16.  Now, we have current numbers to view and compare from both key linemaking groups.

Likely not a coincidence, South Point is currently dealing -105 lines (!!) on the Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament so the release of these NFL win totals is timed perfectly.  Why lay -110 or higher when you can save a ton at South Point by laying only -105?

Below is an “Action & Value” analysis, followed by a visual look at the opening AND CURRENT numbers.  The South Point numbers are current as of Friday, 3/28, aka yesterday (courtesy of our friends at the Linemakers and David Purdum). The CG Tech current numbers are current as of Thursday, 3/27 (courtesy of Joe Fortenbaugh).

There are several things to note.  Early action and value:

Early Action

At South Point, they moved a half-win on the Chiefs, Vikings, Patriots, Jets, Raiders, Eagles and Rams, every one toward the over.

The Patriots over didn’t just move a half win from 10 to 10.5, they also moved the juice on the over from +100 to -120.  The Jets moved a half win from 6.5 to 7 and saw over juice increased from -110 to -125.  The Eagles moved a half win from 8.5 to 9 and saw over juice increased from -110 to -120.  And the Rams moved a half win from 6.5 to 7 and saw over juice increased from -120 to -130.

While the Raiders moved from 4.5 to 5 wins, juice went from over 4.5 -120 to over 5 +120 (under 5 is now -140).

Other movement:

  • 20 cent moves toward:  Cardinals Over, Bengals Under
  • 15 cent moves toward: Panthers Over, Bears Over, Texans Under, Colts Over, Giants Over

Over at CG, their biggest mover was the Rams, which moved from over 6.5 -120 to over 7 -145.  They had several other teams which moved 1/2 point including:

  • Patriots from over 10 -125 to over 10.5 -130
  • Cardinals from over 7 -120 to over 7.5 -125
  • Vikings from over 6.5 -110 to over 7 -110
  • Colts from over 9 -115 to over 9.5 -110
  • Eagles from over 8.5 -125 to over 9 -115
  • Buccaneers from over 6.5 -130 to over 7 -110
  • Texans from under 8.5 -110 to under 8 -115
  • Steelers from under 9 -110 to under 8.5 +100

Value

The two neighboring books are off by a half-win on 9 teams:

  • Atlanta Falcons: CG = over 8 -130, SP = over 8.5 +105
  • Chicago Bears: CG = over 8.5 +105, SP = over 8 -125
  • Cincinnati Bengals: CG = over 9 -110, SP = over 9.5 +110
  • Houston Texans: CG = over 8 -105, SP = over 8.5 +105
  • Indianapolis Colts: CG = over 9.5 -110, SP = over 9 -125
  • Kansas City Chiefs: CG = over 8 -140, SP = over 8.5 -110
  • New York Jets: CG = over 6.5 -155, SP = over 7 -125
  • San Diego Chargers: CG = over 8 -125, SP = over 8.5 -110
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CG = over 7 -110, SP = over 6.5 -130

Save money and head over to South Point if you want to grab overs on the:

  • Panthers (5 cents savings vs CG)
  • Cowboys (15 cents)
  • Lions (15 cents)
  • Packers (10 cents)
  • Jaguars (20 cents)
  • Dolphins (25 cents)
  • Patriots (10 cents)
  • Saints (15 cents)
  • Giants (15 cents)
  • Raiders (25 cents)
  • Rams (15 cents)

Save money and head to South Point and like any of these teams under:

  • Cardinals (5 cents savings vs CG)
  • Ravens (10 cents)
  • Browns (15 cents)
  • Broncos (25 cents)
  • Eagles (5 cents)
  • 49ers (25 cents)
  • Seahawks (10 cents)
  • Titans (5 cents)

With all that outlined, time for the best visual in season win totals.  This is an interactive graphic, feel free to click around and if you want to “deselect” anything, just click again. On the graphic on the left, “hover” over any point to view juice for both South Point and CG.

Coaches Want Home Primetime Games, But Should They?

You might think its a huge advantage hosting a primetime NFL football game as compared to, say, a 1pm or 4pm standard Sunday game.  The crowd is more “lubed up” as Tom Brady would say, there is more energy in the atmosphere, and thus theoretically the home field edge should be larger.

But actually, its not.  It turns out, across the league, home teams win more games on Sunday in the daytime than any other primetime game on any day other than Thursday.  Thursday is a unique animal because the road team has to travel on a short week.  Which is why the home team wins 60% of the time, and blindly betting the home team on Thursday games won’t actually lose you money (although at 52.6% cover rate, you won’t win anything either).

As it turns out, there are a fair number of teams, like the Falcons, Steelers, Vikings and Redskins, who perform much better SU and ATS when hosting a regular Sunday afternoon game than any other the other (non-Thursday) primetime games.  Here is a sampling of records to illustrate this concept by some of the worst offenders over the last 5 seasons:

  • Atlanta is 23-7 SU and 16-13 ATS in home Sunday day games, but 4-4 SU and ATS in home primetime games.
  • Minnesota is 24-11 SU and 22-13 ATS in home Sunday day games, but 1-3 SU and ATS in home primetime games.
  • Washington is 12-18 SU and 14-14-2 ATS in home Sunday day games, but 2-9 SU and 2-8-1 ATS in home primetime games.
  • Pittsburgh is 22-8 SU and 18-12 ATS in home Sunday day games, but 5-4 SU and 4-4-1 ATS in home primetime games.

The bottom line looking at all NFL teams since division re-alignment in 2002:

  • Home teams have won Sunday day games 58% of the time, by an average of 2.8 ppg (as an avg -2.6 point favorite).
  • Home teams have won primetime games on any day 55% of the time, by an average of 1.9 ppg (as an avg -2.2 point favorite).

To break down the primetime games further:

  • Home teams have won Thursday night games 60.0% of the time, by an average of 2.0 ppg (as an avg -1.7 point favorite).
  • Home teams have won Sunday night games 56.6% of the time, by an average of 2.3 ppg (as an avg -2.8 point favorite).
  • Home teams have won Monday night games 55.7% of the time, by an average of 2.3 ppg (as an avg -2.1 point favorite).
  • Home teams have won Saturday night games 33.3% of the time, by an average of -2.8 ppg (as an avg +1.8 point underdog).
  • Home teams have won primetime games on other days 0% of the time, by an average of -11 ppg (as an avg -4.7 point favorite).

Not all teams are as poor in the evening as other teams and as the league average.  The last 5 seasons:

  • The Saints are 21-8 SU and 17-11 ATS in home Sunday day games, but are 11-1 SU and 10-2 ATS in home primetime games.
  • The Patriots are 30-6 SU and 21-15 ATS in home Sunday day games, but are 8-1 SU and 4-5 ATS in home primetime games.
  • The Packers are 23-8 SU and 17-14 ATS in home Sunday day games, but are 8-1 SU and 7-2 ATS in home primetime games.
  • The Seahawks are 23-11 SU and 22-12 ATS in home Sunday day games, but are 4-0 SU and ATS in home primetime games

These teams certainly swing the average, so without them, the league average would be even more slanted but the fact is, these are all EXCEPTIONAL home teams and they parlay that into an even larger edge in primetime.  Clearly most of the league is not similar in this regard.

The surprising bottom line is while hosting any home game provides an edge and helps a team to win more often than lose, hosting the game in primetime actually hurts these edges as opposed to helping them, provided the time of the game does not also include travel edges (as we see on Thursday).

In fact, combining all other primetime (non-Thursday) games together, since 2002 we have seen the home teams win 53.7% of the time as opposed to Sunday day game hosts winning 58% of the time.  That is a 4.3% difference, and is significant.

I know your first thought might be the same as mine:  “But they are likely playing a more difficult opponent in their primetime game, afterall, the NFL won’t get many viewers if the Packers hosted the Browns instead of the Saints.”  The fact is, however, the quality of opponent is reflected in the line, and the average line for the Sunday day games is very similar to the average line for all other primetime (non-Thursday) games, thereby dismissing that objection.

Instead, the most likely reason for the decrease is that while these primetime games are circled by the home team, they also are circled by the visitors.  And despite the fact that heading into the Mercedes Benz Dome, Lambeau or Gillette in primetime is a virtual death wish, most of the time visitors are going to enter this game MORE focused than they would a standard Sunday day time game.  And with the visitor perhaps putting forth a slightly higher percentage effort (even if its ever so slight), hat could translate into the slightly higher win percentage they also achieve, coupled with the slightly lower average underdog they are being made.

In conclusion, EVERY NFL coach wants more home primetime games, but most really have no clue that such a wish, on average, actually will cause them to lose more games.  In fact, I’ll leave you with this:

Excluding the ridiculously strong overall home teams (particularly in prime time) of the Saints, Patriots, Packers and Seahawks, since 2002 the results are staggering:

  • The other 28 teams went 1251-965-3 SU (56.5%) in Sunday day games
  • But they went 178-180 SU (49.7%) in non-Thursday primetime games

The average line changed from -2.1 point favorite to -1.6 point favorite, but that 1/2 point difference is NOT equal to the almost 7 percentage point swing from winning almost 57% of the time to not even cracking the 50% mark!

{Regressing win percentages with lines since 2002, we find they are ridiculously correlated as one might expect (R^2=0.91), such that you can show the win rate = -0.0272 x line + 0.5003.  A -2.1 point favorite should win 55.7% of the time, while a -1.6 point favorite should win 54.4% of the time.  That is a 1.3% difference.  The real numbers in our “Primetime” analysis above show a 6.8% true difference!}

And taking it a step further: unless you’re playing one of those 4 teams, as a visitor you actually have had a slightly BETTER result on the road in primetime than your host actually does!  In other words, by coaches begging for home primetime games, they have actually been more likely to LOSE that game then they have been to WIN it!

Don’t miss other new pieces:

Math on New 2 Point Conversion & Extra Point Rule

The NFL agreed, for the first two preseason games, to place the extra point at the 20 yard line instead of where it previously sat at the 2 yard line.  While 2 point conversions are still going to occur from the 2 yard line, teams will be faced with the decision:

  • Do I kick a 38 yard field goal or
  • Do I attempt to convert a single play from the 2 yard line to reach the end zone

Fortunately, we have plenty of data to weigh in on league averages and thus, “average” decision making.  However, teams success rates vary widely as you will see below, so I would assume each team would be running their own numbers to determine which strategy benefits them the most.  And of course, everything also must be run on their opponent, as certain teams are more easily scored on than others.  That said…

Since 2002, there have been 402 field goal attempts from exactly 38 yards, with 86.6% of them being kicked successfully.  So theoretically the average team with the average kicker will gain an average of 0.866 points per attempt on these new extra point kicks.

Meanwhile, for all 2 point conversion attempts since 2002, there have been 728 league wide with 49.9% of them being converted successfully.  Theoretically the average team with the average conversion offense vs an average conversion defense will gain an average of 0.998 points per attempt on 2 point conversions (49.9% x 2 points).

As you can see, it certainly makes more sense based on league averages to go for the 2 point conversion (0.998 expected points) rather than the extended extra point (0.866 expected points).

The break even point would be a team who, vs a particular defense, is able to convert just 43.3% of its 2 point conversions (6.6% below league average).  Such a team would gain exactly 0.866 expected points on two point conversions (0.433 x 2 points), equivalent to the league average for the new extended extra point.

Again, all of this assumes EVERYTHING is average (kicker, 2 point conversion offense, 2 point conversion defense) and as we know, very few games will feature precisely average kickers, average 2 point conversion offenses and 2 point conversion defenses.  And my sample size goes back to division realignment in 2002, and teams will want to use more reflective projections of their current team despite the inherent risk of capturing too low a sample size.

Of course, game situation is a huge factor as well, and in late and close games, tied or trailing by 1 point, the risk of failure on the 2 point attempt (50.1%) far outweighs the extra expected points, especially when the risk of failure for the extra point is only 13.4%.  Teams will also use a similar thought process to place the game on key numbers of 3, 7 and (now) 8.

This is all conjecture at this point because we don’t know if the NFL will ultimately play regular season games by these rules, but assuming it makes the first 2 weeks of the preseason more interesting, I imagine they will approve it for 2015.

Below is a summary of the 2 point conversion success rates since 2002 for offense and defense by team.

Click to enlarge