Using The AFP as Contrary Indicator in Sports Betting

Joe Gavazzi

Thursday, September 18, 2014 8:55 PM GMT

The AFP can be a powerful handicapping tool after several weeks of results are considered.  It is one of the best ways to seek value at this time of year and often provides hidden gem winners, using contrary thinking.

Everyone agrees that finding value is the key to a long-term winning percentage as a sports handicapper.  It is easy for the public to follow early season momentum in college football.  It is easy because it is obvious.  Obvious tends to be a long-term loser in football handicapping.  If you are serious about seeking value, you will consider using the AFP as a profitable contrary indicator.

AFP is an abbreviation for “away from the pointspread.”  It is the number that a team wins or loses vs. the pointspread in any given game.  For example, if a 7 point favorite wins the game by 17 points, they have a +10 AFP in that contest.  The AFP can be used for individual games as a cumulative measure for any period of time, or season to date; or, as a home/road indicator using only those games.  It is an easy to use way to determine a true measure of how successful a team has been vs. the pointspread in a given period of time.  It is also one of the ways the linemaker uses to adjust the power ratings of teams.       

Those who make the betting odds are well aware that the public knee-jerks to these early season performances.  He is quick to adjust, and makes his largest adjustments of the season in the early weeks.  As a result, by game 4, it is not unusual for a line to be 10 to 14 points from where it was the beginning of September.   But, if you reflect on Week 1, you will see just how good the linemaker’s original opinion really is.  Thus, it makes good sense to rely on that opinion of the online sportsbooks when seeking value in games 3, 4, or 5 of the season.  For these teams often return to the form that was originally predicted. 

Raise your hand if you liked the obvious play of Texas A&M to STEAMROLL Rice last week!   I certainly did, as it was our STEAMROLLER OF THE WEEK on these pages.  It was also one of only two losing Best Bets on these pages this season.  Yet, in that analysis, I made it clear that we were following momentum and not laying a value price.   Rice had failed miserably in their opener at Notre Dame.  A&M covered both their first 2 contests by a combined 58 points.  As a result, the line was 14 points higher than where it would have been opening week.  Result:  a lack luster, non-covering performance by A&M in a 28 point win, no cover, in which we got valued out.  My bad!

As you start to set up your college football picks for the Week 4 card, you will note numerous opportunities to make obvious momentum plays.  Before you pull the trigger on these, check a reliable power rating from the opening week of action to note how much value has been lost.  Then, think long and hard to determine if value still remains!   Here are some of the following criteria I use when seeking value using the contrary AFP theory.