Football picksOctober 19, 2012

A Perfect System? – With Your Morning Coffee

A Perfect System?

What’s going on this NFL season?

The NFL is a sport in which any team can win on any given Sunday. That’s never been more true than this season. Through six weeks , we have 11 of 32 teams sitting at 3-3 on the season. Five more teams sit at 2-3 that have already had their bye week. Those teams could potentially get to 3-3, which is half of the league.

The NFC has been dominating the AFC at 19-9 straight-up, including 7-0 ATS as a dog. Speaking of dogs, this is where the numbers defy any logic whatsoever thus far.

As an underdog, NFC teams are a mind blowing 34-4 ATS in all games this season. That equates to a winning percentage of 89.5%.

What is even more noticeable is the fact that they are 25-13 straight-up, so here we have dogs that are winners 66% of the time.

If those numbers aren’t crazy enough, then look at these. The record this season for NFC dogs of +5 or less is:25-1 ATS for a win rate of 96.2%. Want more? These teams are an amazing 21-5 straight-up as underdogs to an average line of +3!

To take this to perfection all you have to do is make sure the total in the game is less than 51. In that situation, NFC dogs have gone 24-0 ATS for 100% winners.

The moneyline in this NFC underdog situation is 20-4 straight-up, covering 83.3% on the moneyline.

This all started in week 14 last year, going 9-4 ATS from week 14 out, and 8-6 straight-up.

What to do going forward? You have three choices:

A) Play the hot hand
B) Fade it
C) Ignore it

A) Play It

Some love playing the hot hand, and might choose to ride this until it losses. If you do that, you probably won’t get too hurt because you will suffer just one week of losses and then move on, and you may win prior to that. The problem here is when does it stop? How far does it go? Does it stop with a 0-7 crash, or stop with a 3-4 crash? Unfortunately, there is no way to answer that.

B) Fade It
Others will look at this and say that regression to the mean is in order. That sentiment is possibly true, but beware of that regression in terms of profits and losses. While it is at an unsustainable pace, the regression may take a very, very long time to happen. Just because this has gone 24-0 thus far doesn’t mean it will go 0-24 to follow. It could take thousands of plays before it regresses towards 50%.

C) Ignore It
While the situation appears so sexy and alluring, the fact is there is no logical basis for its occurrence, and is just an example of variance at its very extreme end. I would venture a guess that going forward the results from here on out will be somewhere between 45%-55%, and be pretty confident that it will fall in that range.

If you flip enough coins enough times, you’ll get some crazy streaks (even 24-0 streaks). Does that mean that anything other than 50% should be expected moving forward? No.

This gives the player an opportunity to start tracking this situation themselves. At intervals throughout the NFL season I will include the results, going forward from week seven on. Then we will get the true measure of something that looks good. But since it has no basis for continuation, it is red flagged as an “ignore” play!

I wanted to make a newsletter on this so you can follow this situation, and understand the difference between meaningful situations vs. one that likely has no merits to cling to going forward. When you see one of these in the future, you’ll know it is a PASS not PLAY.

The San Francisco Giants are 45-13 in their last 58 games vs. a pitcher with a WHIP of greater than 1.30.

A note about systems: Systems presented in Morning Coffee are intended as one input to bolster your handicapping. Please remember that plays derived from any of these systems are not my official picks. I dont necessarily recommend playing any system picks blindly and I may in fact go on the opposite side of some of these once all factors are considered and games are fully handicapped.