We tend to only focus on NFL referees after a controversial decision or bad no-call. Yet each head NFL referee and his respective crew interprets the game differently.
Gaining insight into the way a game will be officiated can have immense value in the betting market.
A referee who calls more penalties for defensive holding and roughing the passer has a far different impact on game flow than a ref who focuses more on offensive holding and false starts.
Referee style one week may hide a team’s weakness (defensive backs) whereas the following week, a different official who leans heavily on calling pass interference will compound that weakness. Same team. Different outcomes.
Throughout this 2022 NFL season, we’ll help to identify important trends and tendencies by different NFL referees to help you gain an edge when placing a bet.
Read more about our Week 12 featured games and how officiating may impact the betting market:
NFL Referee Assignments for Week 12
|Bills at Lions||Clete Blakeman|
|Giants at Cowboys||Scott Novak|
|Patriots at Vikings||Alex Kemp|
|Broncos at Panthers||Clay Martin|
|Buccaneers at Browns||Tra Blake|
|Ravens at Jaguars||Land Clark|
|Texans at Dolphins||Jerome Boger|
|Bears at Jets||John Hussey|
|Bengals at Titans||Carl Cheffers|
|Falcons at Commanders||Brad Rogers|
|Chargers at Cardinals||Ron Torbert|
|Raiders at Seahawks||Brad Allen|
|Rams at Chiefs||Adrian Hill|
|Saints at 49ers||Shawn Hochuli|
|Packers at Eagles||Shawn Smith|
|Steelers at Colts||Bill Vinovich|
Clete Blakeman’s Impact on Lions vs Bills
Clete Blakeman is the head referee for the Lions vs Bills Week 12 game. Let’s break down how Blakeman may impact this game and betting markets.
How does Clete Blakeman Impact this Game?
The Lions and Bills kick off Thanksgiving Day in what shapes up as one of the more entertaining games this weekend. Clete Blakeman ranks highly in certain defensive penalties that may assist both offenses in this game.
Defensive Pass Interference/Defensive Holding/Illegal Contact
- The Lions average the fourth-most defensive pass interference calls per game.
- The Lions lead the NFL in illegal contact penalties.
- Clete Blakeman calls the third-most penalties per game in both these key categories.
- The Bills struggle with defensive holding penalties. Buffalo was the most penalized team in this category in 2021. In 2022 they are currently the third-most penalized for defensive holding.
- Clete Blakeman led the NFL in defensive holding penalties in 2021 and is currently calling the third-most per game in 2022 in this category.
The Bottom Line:
- Clete Blakeman leads the NFL in penalties per game, averaging 15 for 117 yards.
- Blakeman is a below .500 referee on totals. The one area he is above .500 on totals is in non-conference games like Lions vs Bills.
- Since 2016 Blakeman is 14-11 to Over (57%) in non-conference matchups.
This Thanksgiving game has the right ingredients to be a high-scoring contest. The Lions at home have consistently put up points in 2022. The Bills, in their home away from home, at Ford Field get perfect playing conditions and face a shaky defensive unit.
Both teams commit penalties in key defensive categories with a referee who will call them at a higher rate than most crews would.
The play is the Lions vs Bills over 54 points.
Ron Torbert’s Impact on Cardinals vs Chargers
Ron Torbert is the head referee for the Cardinals vs Chargers Week 12 game. Let’s break down how Torbert may impact this game and betting markets.
How does Ron Torbert Impact this Game?
The Cardinals return home to Arizona following their 28-point loss on Monday Night Football as the official “home team” in Mexico City. As detailed last week, that game was officiated by Craig Wrolstad, a referee with whom home underdogs have struggled. Ron Torbert brings in an even more daunting record in this situation for the home underdog Cardinals.
Overall Penalties/False Start
- The Arizona Cardinals are averaging the second-most penalties per game in 2022.
- The Cardinals commit the third-most false starts per game, with 65% of them occurring in home games.
- Ron Torbert has called 66% of false start penalties on the home team in 2022.
- The Chargers are ranked 29th in penalties per game. Additionally, just 37% of the Chargers’ penalties have been committed in road games this season, the best road vs home split of any team.
The Bottom Line:
- Home underdogs with Ron Torbert officiating are an NFL worst 11-27 ATS (29%) since 2016
From an overall penalty standpoint, this is a mismatch. The Chargers are one of the most disciplined teams in the NFL. The Cardinals are the total opposite of that. Torbert does the home team no favors, as evidenced by his ATS record with home underdogs.
The play is Chargers -3 vs the Cardinals.
2022 NFL Referees Stats & Their Historical Betting Trends
Comprehensive breakdown for every NFL Referee working games for the 2022 season, plus a deeper look at their penalty-calling trends, statistics and how it may impact betting opportunity plus pace of game play.
- Shawn Hochuli penalty trends
- Bill Vinovich penalty trends
- John Hussey penalty trends
- Brad Allen penalty trends
- Jerome Boger penalty trends
- Adrian Hill penalty trends
- Brad Rogers penalty trends
- Ron Torbert penalty trends
- Shawn Smith penalty trends
- Carl Cheffers penalty trends
- Clay Martin penalty trends
- Scott Novak penalty trends
- Clete Blakeman penalty trends
- Craig Wrolstad penalty trends
Shawn Hochuli: Referee Penalty Trends & Betting Stats
In his 63-game career, Shawn Hochuli is a notoriously smart bet when betting on the Under.
- 35-26-2 to UNDER (57%) for his career
- 11-6 UNDER record (65%) in the 2021 NFL season
- 17-6-1 UNDER (74%) in divisional match-ups for his career
- 5-2 UNDER (73%) in divisional match-ups in 2021
Some might argue that Hochuli likes to be the center of attention at times, as was evident when Hochuli officiated the 2021 Thanksgiving debacle (Raiders vs Cowboys) with a combined 28 penalties for 276 yards.
- Hochuli oversaw the controversial 2021 Week 15 Seahawks vs Rams with the “no pass interference” call that effectively doomed Seattle in a 20-10 loss.
- Hochuli called 3rd most penalties (13.12) per game in 2021 for 118 yards per game.
- Hochuli called the most defensive pass interference calls in 2021, a stat that is skewed by the Dallas vs Las Vegas game where he called that infringement 5 times.
Bill Vinovich: Referee Penalty Trends & Betting Stats
Bill Vinovich is the epitome of a “let ’em play” NFL referee. This means that Vinovich’s officiating crews typically don’t favor team offenses — and therefore you may find opportunity when betting the Under.
Last season in 2021, Vinovich and his crew called the fewest penalties per NFL game:
- average of 9.06 penalties per game
- average of 75 yards penalized per game
- called the fewest (zero!) roughing the passer penalties in 2021
- fewest defensive holding penalties per game
- the 2nd fewest pass interference penalties
Over the past six seasons, Vinovich’s lack of penalty calling has resulted in a:
- 61-36-2 UNDER record (63%) for his career
- 25-14-2 UNDER (65%) in Divisional match-ups for his career
- 10-6 UNDER (63%) in the 2021 NFL season
Vinovich has been the head referee in the Super Bowl twice: in Super Bowl LIV (Chiefs vs 49ers) & Super Bowl XLIX (Seahawks vs Patriots).
A final point supporting Vinovich’s “let ’em play” philosophy: Every NFL bettor & fan remembers the Rams vs. Saints 2019 NFC Championship game:
Known in New Orleans as the “NOLA NO-CALL” when Saints WR Tommy Lee Lewis was tackled by Rams CB Nickell Robey Coleman at the 13-yard line but no flag was thrown.
It probably cost the Saints a spot in the Super Bowl and highlights again why it’s not just the penalties called we focus on, but which NFL referee is LESS likely to make that big call — which is equally as impactful in many cases.
John Hussey: Referee Penalty Trends & Betting Stats
John Hussey has been the best referee for home teams since the start of the 2016 season.
Hussey’s officiating trends towards a “let ‘em play” style:
- Hussey called the 3rd fewest penalties per game in 2021
- Hussey called near the fewest in NFL in key penalty categories: unnecessary roughness, roughing the passer & defensive holding
- Hussey led the NFL in 2021 in calling the newly implemented “unsportsmanlike conduct” penalty
Over the past 6 seasons, when Hussey is the referee, home teams have been heavy favorites, going:
- 64-33 (66%) against the Moneyline
- 29-11 (73%) against the Moneyline in Divisional match-ups
- 55-39-3 (59%) against-the-spread (ATS)
- 28-10-2 (74%) ATS in Divisional match-ups
- 11-5 ML & ATS in the 2021 NFL season
Brad Allen: Referee Penalty Trends & Betting Stats
Brad Allen is a former ACC referee who is unique in that he transitioned immediately from college football directly to a head NFL referee.
His style gravitates to “let ’em play” although he had one outlier season where he led NFL in penalties.
Brad Allen has been a solid “home field advantage” referee. Since 2016, home favorites have gone:
- 57-38 (60%) against the Moneyline
- 53-40-2 (57%) ATS
Home underdogs are 20-11-1 ATS (65%) since 2016 when Brad Allen has been the referee.
Need more evidence that Allen favors the home team and lets both teams play?
- He called only 44% of penalties on home teams in 2021
- 54-41 Under (57%) in past six seasons
- 23-12 Under (66%) in divisional games
Jerome Boger: Referee Penalty Trends & How it may impact betting
Boger’s officiating style can be considered offense friendly. His approach creates the opportunity for offenses to excel with his combination of very few offensive holding penalties with an above average count in defensive pass interference & defensive holding penalties. As a result Boger has been a solid Over referee in his career.
- 53-41 over (56%) since 2016
- 21-12 over (64%) in Division match-ups since 2016
- 19-12 over (62%) in 2020/2021 NFL seasons
- Called fewest offensive holding penalties in 2021 & 3rd fewest in 2020
- Boger ranks in the mid tier range in calling defensive pass interference & his crew always provides the possibility of a penalty to extend drives.
Jerome Boger was the referee for SB XLVII, a Ravens 34-31 victory vs 49ers. More recently he officiated the 2021 Wild Card matchup Raiders at Bengals which was marred by bad calls including the errant whistle blown on the Joe Burrow TD pass to Tyler Boyd in the Bengals 26-19 win.
Adrian Hill: Referee Penalty Trends & How it may impact betting
Adrian Hill has been a head referee since 2019. Small body of work (47 games) but definitely trending under.
Very even keeled, his home/away splits are similar and Hill is generally around the average mark in most key penalty categories. Hill is what the NFL would probably prefer: a solid ref that to date who hasn’t been involved in controversial calls.
- 30-16-1 Under (66%) in his 47 game career
- 9-4-1 Under (66%) in Division match-ups
Brad Rogers: Referee Penalty Trends & How it may impact betting
Rogers is another new referee but his brief career has resulted in an astounding totals record. Since his debut in 2019 Brad Rogers has gone over the total in 70% of games.
Rogers went 11-1 Over in 2020 but even deducting that season from his overall stats he still has a solid over ratio (62%).
A lot of Rogers penalty metrics don’t necessarily justify games going Over at this rate. It’s a small sample size (43 games) and doesn’t seem sustainable, but is still is somewhat irrelevant. The stats are what they are to this point.
- 30-13 Over (70%) in 43 career games
- 13-3 Over (82%) in Division match-ups
- 11-1 Over in 2020 NFL season
- 10-6 Over (63%) in 2021 NFL season & 4-1 Over (80%) in Division games in 2021
Ron Torbert: Referee Penalty Trends & How it may impact betting
Torbert is a solid referee who officiated the Rams 23-20 victory in SB LVI. Torbert was criticized for calls that assisted the LA Rams in their game winning TD drive in SB LVI.
In the brief Sean McVay era in Los Angeles, Torbert is the referee they have played the most games with and also have the best winning percentage with. The Rams are 7-1 with Ron Torbert in 8 games.
More a “let em play” type referee, Torbert has also morphed into a very good Under referee the past two seasons.
- Since 2016 home teams with Torbert are 56-42 SU (58%) however just 38-59-1 ATS (39%)
- Home underdogs with Torbert since 2016 are just 10-25 ATS (29%) including a 3-5 record in the 2021 NFL season
- In the 2020/2021 NFL seasons games officiated with Ron Torbert are 25-10 Under (71%)
- Torbert called the 2nd fewest penalties in 2021
Shawn Smith: Referee Penalty Trends & How it may impact betting
Shawn Smith is another new referee with only 4 seasons in the NFL. Smith is solid and not intimidated by home crowds as evidenced by his ATS numbers.
Smith’s officiating style also gives the offense a chance to make plays and perhaps get assistance via a pass interference call to extend drives. This has resulted in a solid Over record.
Smith, like other newer refs, only has a small sample size of available data. However, we can only go on numbers and the numbers don’t lie:
- Home teams 26-36-2 ATS (41%)
- In Division match-ups home teams are 7-17 ATS (28%)
- 35-28-1 Over (56%) in 4 years as head referee
- 19-13-1 Over (60%) in 2020/2021 NFL seasons
- Smith tied for fewest offensive holding penalties in 2021
- Smith called 4th fewest offensive holding penalties in 2020
- In the 2020/2021 Shawn Smith called the 4th & 5th most defensive pass interference penalties
Carl Cheffers: Referee Penalty Trends & how it may impact betting
Carl Cheffers a veteran referee who calls a lot of penalties. Cheffers consistently ranks in the top 5 per season for penalties.
A Cheffers officiated game will exceed NFL average in penalties more often than not. The takeaway from his long term trends are that when the dust has settled the home team wins well above the NFL average.
- Cheffers consistently ranks in the top 5 every season for overall penalties
- Led NFL in 2021 with 14 penalties per game for 124 yds per game
- Home teams 58-39-1 SU (60%) since 2016
- Home teams 48-49-1 ATS since 2016
- 3rd most offensive holding penalties in 2021
- Most unnecessary roughness penalties in 2021
- 2nd most defensive pass interference penalties in 2021
- Led the NFL in calling offensive pass interference in 2021
Clay Martin: Referee Penalty Trends & how they may impact betting
Martin another newer referee with a 4 season sample size (58 games). Limited sample size to this point but based on Clay Martin’s career stats he’s not swayed by home crowds.
- Martin above average calling defensive pass interference & defensive holding in 2021
- Below NFL average calling unnecessary roughness & roughing the passer penalties in 2021
- Home teams are 29-29 SU in Clay Martin’s 58 game career
- Home teams are 23-34-1 ATS (40%)
Scott Novak: Referee Penalty Trends & how they may impact betting
The jury remains out on Novak. In his first two seasons as a head referee Novak was the epitome of a “let em play” referee. He called the fewest penalties per game in his debut 2019 season and the 5th fewest in 2020.
That changed in 2021 when Novak’s penalties increased significantly to #3 overall in the NFL.
A number of games officiated by Novak in 2021 were abysmal. Sloppy officiating and simply over officiating. Way too many ticky-tack penalties.
Our guess? Novak will reverts back to a “let ‘em play” style in 2022 but only time will tell.
Home teams have struggled with Novak officiating in his brief 47 game career
- Novak led the NFL in false start penalties in 2021
- Noval 3rd most offensive holding calls in 2021
- Tied for 2nd most offsides penalties & had 2nd most unnecessary roughness calls in 2021
- Fifth most roughing the passer penalties in 2021
- Totals with Novak in his 47 game career are 23-23-1
- Home teams are 18-28-1 SU (39%) with Scott Novak
- Home teams 17-28-2 (37%) with Novak
Clete Blakeman: Referee Penalty Trends & how they may impact betting
Clete Blakeman is a veteran ref who calls it down the middle. Need proof? Since 2016 home teams with Blakeman officiating are exactly .500.
That said, Blakeman’s crew has had its share of bad calls that generated a lot of criticism, notably the “no-call” on a clear defensive pass interference from Carolina vs New England in a MNF showdown in 2013 as time expired.
Another MNF debacle with Blakeman was Week 6, 2019 where his crew made questionable calls late that greatly benefited Green Bay in a dramatic 23-22 Packers win over the Lions.
- Home teams 49-49 SU with Blakeman the past 6 seasons
- Totals are 48-50 since 2016 with Blakeman
- Blakeman had the most offensive holding calls in 2021 NFL season
- Blakeman was in upper tier of NFL calling roughing the passer & unnecessary roughness penalties in 2021
- Pittsburgh Steelers are 4-10 SU & 4-9-1 ATS in past decade with Blakeman officiating, including 0-2 in 2021
Craig Wrolstad: Referee Penalty Trends & how they may impact betting
Craig Wrolstad from a straight-up and totals standpoint is almost a .500 referee.
Where Wrolstad stands out is the home team ATS and the poor record they have when he officiates. And of the veteran refs, only Ron Torbert has a worse home dog ATS record than Craig Wrolstad.
Wrolstad has traditionally trended in the lower half of overall penalties. He was #2 in roughing the passer penalties in 2021 but that was an aberration from his normal stats.
- Home teams 46-47 SU since 2016
- Home teams 35-58 ATS (40%) with Wrolstad since 2016
- Home underdogs are 13-29 (31%) since 2016
- Wrolstad generally in the lower half of overall penalties per game in NFL