Do the Runners Win? Or do they need Defense?
Many people have stated that "Defense wins championships", but I used to argue that "A running game covers spreads". This is mostly true...but there's more!
Maybe we could look at this way: I think that dominant running teams with a strong defense are VERY hard to beat. Let me show you the facts behind that assumtion:
I want to stick to the statistical AVERAGES, due to the "bye week" issue. Some teams have an extra game, so the "totals" are slightly misleading. Let's look at the Averages to see if being the best team means covering the spread in terms of running the ball. I think there is a definite NEED to focus hard on the running game, especially with dogs. Here is the AFC top 5 in Rushing Yards per game:
Rushing Yards Per Game (AFC)
#1 Oakland (141.0 ypg): They are 40% against the spread, and 1-4 overall. Clearly they don't like to pass when they are down! They just keep running and they just keep losing.
#2 Baltimore (133.2 ypg): 60% against the spread, and 2-3 overall. The crazy thing here is that they have run the ball 180 times this year, and nobody is close to them in attempts! They just keep running, and hit our 60% mark.
#3 Denver (120.3 ypg): They are 25% against the spread! Horrible money burners, but 4-2 none-the-less!
#4 Miami (120): They are 60% against the spread, and 2-3 overall. A nice money maker!
#5 Tennessee (119): The almighty 100% against the spread god-send!!!!!!
That gives us a 14-11-1 record against the spread among the top 5 rushing teams in the AFC.
When we look closer, it appears that Oakland and Denver have VERY bad defenses, so it makes sense that they are money burners.....
Denver is the worst defense in the AFC, so their horrible ATS performance has nothing to do with the running game. The Run is the best part of that train wreck.
Oakland is the 4th worst overall defense in the AFC, so they have a terrible ATS due to numerous reasons, and the run is one of their happier stats.
Toss them out!
If you remove Denver and Oakland from the sample, then you have Tennessee, Baltimore, and Miami. AND THOSE TEAMS HAVE STELLAR DEFENSES!
Looking at Miami, Tennessee, and Baltimore we see a dramatic shift in the ATS numbers. Suddenly we are 11-4 ATS and we are on to something!
Baltimore is the #1 Defense in the NFL, and they are the #2 Rushing team in the AFC in YPG...they are 60% ATS, and their average margin of victory is -1.8 points!
Tennessee is the #4 defense in the NFL, and they are the #5 Rushing team in the AFC. They are 100% ATS, and their average margin of victory is +11.8 points!
Miami is #18 on defense in the NFL, but a strong top 10 player in rush defense. They are the #4 Running attack in the AFC. They are 60% ATS. Their average margin of victory is -0.8!
This is just a simple excercise that can be EXTRAPOLATED outward [( definition: to speculate as to consequences on the basis of (known facts or observations)]. If we have a team that is rated between a -7 and a +7 then the probability of RUSH DOMINANCE may enter the equation, and there should be a DEFENSIVE indicator as well. Can we find the BEST DOGS, or BEST ML plays from this basic study?
I think you can take the basic Dominant Rushing team, and assess the relative strength of their defense, and measure a certain, primitive expectation. That is to say, that in a given matchup, does the team you are backing have the edge in the Running game and do they have the edge in overall defense? IF YOU HAVE A HOME DOG THAT IS SPORTING THIS TENDENCY, THEN YOU SHOULD IMMEDIATELY FOCUS ON THE POSSIBILITY OF WAGERING (after further research, of course).
POWER RUN DOMINANCE + DEFENSIVE DOMINANCE + LOW LINE= VALUE
What I'm saying is that there may be a series of simple, statistical indicators that may help you find solid winners in games that have a low ML, or a low line. Those indicators may be as simple as Yards per Rush combined with defense, or it could be be programmed to include dozens of other variables.
I'm simply working on my FOOTBALL system, and when I see something that is fairly clear I will try to bring it to your attention, this is, by no means, my attempt at forcing an idea on you, but rather a question that I am currently researching, so any, and all comments are welcome, and needed!
Have you seen the same things? Do you already use this paradigm in your handicapping?
Inaugural Dominance Play TCU -135 at BetUS WINNER!
#2 Dominance Play for Saturday Boston College -140 at BetUS