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PB: What a Bettor Better Know - NFL Wild Cards

PB: What a Bettor Better Know - NFL Wild Cards
ProDog
Joined: 01/24/2016
Posts: 141
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on 'cuse'hokies

the home team in syracuse conference games +11 +15 +15  the home team in vatch home conf games +15 + 26 +14 with syracuse on road off a home win and vatech home off a road loss,and knowing college teams tendency to flip flop results ( especially in early conference play) just waiting on the seth allen concussion clearing.

guitarajs22
Joined: 01/01/2013
Posts: 73
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Good Afternoon Dave,

After watching last nights game, I found myself comparing last night to what the GB/DAL game could look like.  With Alabama rolling in the first half with the run game (and i believe the loss of Bo Scarbrough was when the game changed), could this be a similar way Dallas runs the ball on Green Bay?  The Packers' defense isn't great in addition to the slow pace Dallas plays at, will there be a chance for Rodgers to get into a momentum? If Scarbrough doesn't leave the game does Alabama get away from running the ball in the second half?

Another question I have is how good is Deshaun Watson?  If we compare him to Dak Prescott, who has also played the Saban defense in college and played exceptionally well for a rookie, how high is the ceiling for Watson?

Thanks!

Sharp Sider
Joined: 12/26/2014
Posts: 696
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I know this isn't timely from a betting perspective, but hope it's useful in terms of the post-mortem to carry forward. To me, the difference in last night's game was Alabama's inability to capitalize on two turnovers. And not just two turnovers, but two fumble recoveries that gave the offense outstanding field position.

In both cases, the Tide rolled back 5 yards due to a false start penalty before getting off a snap. And in total, they only scored 3 points. It looked like a case of excellent Clemson defense and poor Alabama execution more than anything else. And Renfrow may have caught the game-winning TD with a second left, but his tackle to save a fumble-6 stands out to me as his best play of the night.

I'm also struggling to see how conservative play-calling is to blame for Alabama losing. No need to beat a dead horse, but aside from one play to O.J. Howard it didn't look as if Hurts could hit an open man downfield to save his life. I saw plenty of attempts to make something happen, and WRs got open, but he threw one of the most consistently inaccurate deep balls I can recall seeing. If Bo Scarbrough doesn't get hurt, there's a great chance Alabama wins, and nobody's pointing a finger at Sarkisian or Saban.

Clemson simply kept fighting and came through when it mattered most. More than Alabama lost, especially with any regard to play-calling, the Tigers simply went out and won. I tend not to have any problem assessing blame where it's due, but don't find anything egregious when it comes to last night's game, and that's refreshing. We saw a 12-round heavyweight fight between the best two teams in the country, and somebody had to lose.

David Malinsky
Joined: 08/11/2014
Posts: 11501
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guitarajs22

Good Afternoon Dave,

After watching last nights game, I found myself comparing last night to what the GB/DAL game could look like.  With Alabama rolling in the first half with the run game (and i believe the loss of Bo Scarbrough was when the game changed), could this be a similar way Dallas runs the ball on Green Bay?  The Packers' defense isn't great in addition to the slow pace Dallas plays at, will there be a chance for Rodgers to get into a momentum? If Scarbrough doesn't leave the game does Alabama get away from running the ball in the second half?

Another question I have is how good is Deshaun Watson?  If we compare him to Dak Prescott, who has also played the Saban defense in college and played exceptionally well for a rookie, how high is the ceiling for Watson?

In the first meeting this season the Cowboys controlled the Packers defensive front like they were blocking sleds, and I don't see anything that has changed in that matchup. Their best defense can be playing keep away, something they have been very good at this season, and something the Packers are vulnerable against.

It will be interesting to see how Watson does at the combines, but there is one significant difference between him and Prescott in one important aspect - 17 pounds according to their latest listed weight. The toughness of Prescott is an asset because there is lesser fear of using him as a runner, which will become an integral part of the Dallas offense over time - he won't run a lot, but the threat will always be there. The question for Watson will be whether he can maintain his quickness while putting on a few more pounds, so that his ability to run remains a part of the package at the next level.

David Malinsky
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Sharp Sider

I tend not to have any problem assessing blame where it's due, but don't find anything egregious when it comes to last night's game, and that's refreshing. We saw a 12-round heavyweight fight between the best two teams in the country, and somebody had to lose.

That is profound from a betting perspective, and I will bring aspects of it into the lead in the Wednesday edition - it is something I should do a little more often when major events take place, because the post-mortems across the Sports Mediaverse, and also the handicapping community, bring a lot of fingernails on chalkboard stuff following major events. There tends to be such a desire to bring dramatic conclusions into play on such days, something that does not happen to anywhere near that degree over the course of the regular sports seasons, and as such can lead to falling into bad habits. Folks do watch the championship games more closely, largely because they are not distracted by other events going on at the same time, but in the end it is still just a single game being played, and the usual cautions of over-analyzing are often forgotten.
Jeffw11
Joined: 01/10/2017
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Hi Dave - After hearing RJ a few times as a guest on Colin Cowherd, I thought some of the trends and handicapping methods were really interesting and started listening to a few different Pregame podcasts (CFB dream, NFL dream, and the Monday first preview). A lot of times you guys bring up the "handicapping 101" principles and what not, and I was wondering if there were any good books that you could recommend that lay out these core fundamentals of how Vegas sports betting works (football in particular) and of how handicapping (football in particular) works in general. Thanks in advance.

JBone_Texas
Joined: 10/01/2014
Posts: 2461
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Dave, loved the column today.

A few thoughts, start with the Seahawks.

RE: Seahawks

I think this week we need to try and get ahead of pack in regard to injuries and the matchups are so much harder than the WC round that these injury affects will be amplified.  This Sea/Atl matchup is a mixed bag and making sure the assumptions are correct could sway to an edge either way.

Not sure we can get much out of the current state of the Seattle defense out of the Detroit matchup.  I don't think Stafford was not 100% with the finger and Det's anemic running game hurt even worse with Zach Zenner as the featured back didn't provide much of a test.  If you go back to the GB and Arz games you see some troubling data though.  It was 9.5 ypa just 1 sack at 3.8% rate vs Rodgers in GB and it was 10.4 ypa and just 1 sack at 3.6% rate vs Palmer at home vs. Arz.  Seattle is one of only 2 other teams still in the playoffs that sport a negative DVOA % contributed by the offense.  So a big part of the strength of this team is dependent upon that positive contribution the 7.0% DVOA season long defense numbers provide and if that isn't there you are going to get an exponential effect from the negative offense.

How much has that been downgraded especially when it goes up against what is currently the most efficient offense in the league?  If we cut it in half then it moves the needle to Atlanta possibly being 6.6 pts better on a neutral and a lot of line value to backing Atlanta.

I went back through the Detroit game and I came away with a slightly different narrative then yours regarding the Seattle offense turning a corner.  If you look at the 1st half stats you will see a testing of offense/defensive matchups and what emerged from that.  I think the DET gameplan was to deny the Hawks the passing game and they did a pretty good job of it in the 1H.  Wilson was just 6 of 10 for 45 yards and was sacked twice, or a 16.7% rate.  Those 2 sacks came back to back on 2nd and 2 and then 3rd and 8 killing a drive.  The next drive it was 8 straight runs and just 3 pass attempts total in a 14 play drive.  The first drive of the 3Q was more of the same, 1 sack in 6 dropbacks or 16.7% rate not only stalling out a promising looking drive but the 3rd down sack pushed them out of FG range.  

This years Seattle team looks great when looking at the yards/attempt category (6th at 7.8) but it also seemed to be a lot of feast or famine.  Det was able to mostly eliminate these big pass plays, with just 3 big chunk plays of 42, 27, and 19 yards.  That 42 yarder to Baldwin came at around the 12 min mark in the 4Q.  If we look at the other 32 drop backs it was 22 of 29 for 168 net yards and 3 sacks, or a 5.25 ypa.  I think it is especially troubling that even with a successful run game we saw no improvement in the sack rate.

This was against Detroit, who sports the #26 rated DL, a slightly below average sack rate of 5.4%, and the #32 rated weighted defensive efficiency.  Now their isn't a step change in defensive toughness against Atlanta this week but did Detroit not just layout a pretty successful game plan for the defense?

On the flip side we have the Atlanta offense going against the Seattle team without Earl Thomas who gave up about 10.0 ypa to GB and Arz.  Some will look back to the game at Seattle dominated by them in the 1H.  But not only did they have Thomas in that one but Atlanta mounted an impressive 2H comeback still managing 6.7 net ypa in the game but the Hawks caught them with a serious scheduling disadvantage.  It was the 4th road trip in 5 games for them, having gone to Oakland, then to New Orleans, home for a tough game against Carolina, then back on the road to Denver.  Having won the other three road games as well as the home division game vs Car you can't help but wonder if it was less than 100% effort in this one.

I give a high weighting in the playoffs to defense, especially DL and sack rate %.  Seattle has the advantage over Atl in both of these but I've already adjusted them down slightly in both and I honestly think it is not enough.  If I'm correct here and we see a 3.5 to 4% sack rate and +10.0 ypa (what they did in the GB and Arz games against good offenses without Thomas) vs the 8.7% sack rate and 6.7 ypa they gave in the first game then this line looks about 2.5 to 4.5 pts short.

Love some feedback on this one.

benjy
Joined: 03/07/2015
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Hey Dave,

Money has come in on Indiana, where they are now favored by 2 on the road vs. Maryland tonight.  This will only be the Hoosiers second game outside of the state of Indiana and its second road game of the season.  For many key Indiana contributors, this will be their first major road test of the season in a hostile environment.  The Terps were able to bounce back from the debacle against Nebraska by grabbing their first true road win of the season at Michigan.  Getting points with the home team in this spot seems attractive.  What do you see in this matchup?

JBone_Texas
Joined: 10/01/2014
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I will throw one other thought out there on Seattle/Atlanta.  Both teams are excellent 1H teams, with 11-5 overall 1H SU records.  But as is known about their MO, they just aren't the same when you get them out of Seattle.  They are just 4-4 on the road with a lot of volatility.  They average just 9.6 pts in the 1H on the road, going over 14 just once (at NE).  At home thy average 15.9 pts in the 1H.

Atlanta actually has a slightly worse record at home in the 1H (5-3 at home vs 6-2 on the road) but man do they score some points, averaging 21.5 in the 1st half at home vs 15.5 on the road.

David Malinsky
Joined: 08/11/2014
Posts: 11501
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Jeffw11

Hi Dave - After hearing RJ a few times as a guest on Colin Cowherd, I thought some of the trends and handicapping methods were really interesting and started listening to a few different Pregame podcasts (CFB dream, NFL dream, and the Monday first preview). A lot of times you guys bring up the "handicapping 101" principles and what not, and I was wondering if there were any good books that you could recommend that lay out these core fundamentals of how Vegas sports betting works (football in particular) and of how handicapping (football in particular) works in general. Thanks in advance.

I wish there were some tools to make the workday easier, but here is a problem on that front - 1. The really best stuff would obviously never get published, so that edges can be maintained; and 2. Because the marketplace is constantly shifting in terms of behavior, notions that work well for any short period of time will tend to be copied, end up showing at the betting windows to influence pricing, and then bottom out.

That is why I don't mind doing something like Point Blank each day, so that we can try to discuss items that are fresh and timely, but if someone offered me a substantial check to write a book about sports betting tomorrow I would turn it down, the fear of the information in the book simply growing stale over time. There are many fundamentals that I was using 20 years ago that are not a part of my daily work at all in 2017. So I will be on the lookout for such items, and will post here when I find them, but that particular search has not produced much over the years.

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