Finding Value With The “AFP” As Contrary Indicator

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Finding Value With The “AFP” As Contrary Indicator

One of the most valuable tools for isolating value on each week's card is the "AFP".  This "Away From the Point Spread" number is the margin of point spread victory or defeat by a particular team in a game or group of games.  It is a major factor used by the line maker in adjusting the power rating of a team for their following game or games.  How can we best use this information to our advantage?

The first thing to do is to determine whether the "AFP" is an accurate number for a given game.  The easiest way to do this is to see whether "the difference in yards equates to the difference in points".  For example, Team A defeats Team B 35-17 as a 9 point favorite.  Team A gains 500 yards while Team B gains 250 yards.  A quick review indicates that both the yards and points were of a 2 to 1 nature, turnovers were even, and there were no big plays on special teams.  From the above, it can be surmised that the final score was accurate based on the specific details of the game.  Since Team A beat the point spread by 9 points, the line maker would accurately increase the power rating for Team A by 1 or 2 points and decrease the power rating of Team B by 1 or 2 points.  Here you have no advantage.  Let's take a look at the second example which shows quite the opposite story.  Once again Team A, a 9 point favorite defeats Team B 35-17.  But in this box score, Team B actually out gained Team A 400-300 yards, yet was -4 in the turnover column, and allowed Team A to score on a 100 yard kick return.  Clearly in rescoring the game, you may determine that Team B should actually have won the game by 7 to 10 points.  Yet the line maker, who uses mostly the final score for his power rating adjustment, would actually make his adjustment favoring Team A.  He does this because he understands that most people are handicapping the games based on final score.  Yet you know that the true adjustment should be the opposite way.  Here you have a built in advantage of 2 to 4 points from the line maker's adjustment.

How to Use These Advantages on A Year Over Year Basis

Let's take a blatant example from the 2009 season.  The defending National Champion Florida Gators were 13-1 SU and 12-1 ATS.  In those net +11 ATS victories, they beat the line by a combined 155 points or approximately 14 PPG.  They just kept improving as indicated by their +119 AFP from game 7 on.  It was aided by the fact that Florida was a whopping +22 in net TO's for the season (a figure surpassed only by Oklahoma's +23).  In the course of that ATS blitz in 2008, it ran Florida coach Urban Meyer's record to 16-3 ATS as favorite L2Y.  With the Gators being a nearly unanimous #1 selection to begin 2009, is there any doubt the line maker will be forced to overprice this team in the early going?  The #1 Gators are just one example among many that you can find by ferreting out the AFP records of the 120 teams online for the upcoming season.

 How to Use These Advantages in the Current Season

 By game 5, most teams have played heir non-con schedule and are ready to enter conference play.  It is an excellent time to begin to take advantage of a team's AFP that has been skewed by their non-con results.  Remember, some coaches like to play "cupcake" September schedules and run up confidence building wins for their team.  Others prefer to play it closer to the vest using these September games to evaluate talent and prepare the team for conference play.  Let's use this type of team as our example.

From game 5 on, consider looking for AFP value with any team who is not under .500 SU, but who is 2 to 4 games below .500 in the ATS column.  Conversely, their foe should be greater than or equal to .500 ATS.  Common sense dictates that we are looking at a value situation here with the value increasing depending on the divergent cumulative AFP values of the respective teams.  Home or away you can find some great spot plays through the middle of November using this situation.  Here are some criteria to consider that have historically proven to make this situation even stronger.

1.     This is a conference game

2.     Our "play on team" is not on a winning or losing streak of 2 or more games

3.     Our "play on team" is not undefeated

4.     Our "play on team" is not off a double digit ATS win

5.     Neither of these teams is off an upset win

By following the above parameters and using a dash of common sense, you will be able to use team's cumulative AFP numbers in the above described situation once game 5 begins to roll around.

A second way to use the AFP factor as contrary indicator is shown in this example from the 2010 season.  Consider using this as early as it occurs thru Game #6. 

Simply stated the concept is:  "play on any college football team who has a (-50) or more net AFP indicator when combined with their opponent's AFP".  Please allow me to expand the concept in the form of an example.  Team A has a cumulative AFP of -30.  That is, their net difference from the point spread in all games combined is -30.  Team B has a +30 cumulative AFP.  This makes the net of -60 AFP (which is 50 or more) qualifying Team A as a play under our theory.  On Saturday, October 2nd the situation went 9-3 (75%).  That was matched on Saturday, October 9th with an identical 9-3 ATS making the cumulative two week record 18-6 (75%).