Before dabbling in the NFL odds, read this article. I explain when to Bet On and when to Bet Against teams, depending on how many times they ran the ball. My success is undeniable.
In an earlier companion article written in August 2015, I proved to you that you can isolate 76% NFL winners by analyzing total rushing yards in a game. I showed that in the face of increased scoring, as a result of Rule Changes in the NFL that greatly benefited the passing game, that it is still rushing yardage that is the most reliable way to isolate profit in the NFL. The conclusions from that article were that since the turn of the millennium: Any NFL team who outrushes their opponent by 30 or more yards has covered the point spread at a 76% rate since the year 2000.. As I pointed out, the reasons were clear: teams who establish the running game open the airways for the passing game. In addition, the best way for an NFL team to protect the lead is to control the ball on the ground in the 4th quarter, thus eating up clock and preventing the offense of their opponent from taking the field.
But, who would be satisfied with only 75% ATS winners in the NFL????
At the start of 2012, in my quest for additional NFL ATS winners, I set out to find a correlation between running attempts and pointspread success. After honing my efforts, with the beginning point that NFL teams run the ball approximately 26 times per game, I used a deviation from that norm to isolate pointspread success. My results were even better than I had anticipated. Like the 75% winners in the theory above regarding total rushing yards, I admit that these are back-fit numbers. But, they are an excellent place to start when doing your statistical and fundamental analysis in an NFL game. As many of my pointspread theories, this one shows success at both the upper range and lower range. First of all, understand that this data has a 3-year sample with a base of approximately 450 events (150 per year) for each, the upper and lower end of the spectrum.
Here are the results:
86% ATS WINNERS: BET AGAINST any NFL team who runs the ball 22 or less times per game, if their opponent does not.
And its corollary which provides:
83% ATS WINNERS: BET ON any NFL team who runs the ball 30 or more times per game, if their opponent does not.
Yes, there are times in this NFL age of passing when a Class A quarterback can get hot and “pass ‘em silly.” But, that is far from the norm. Even those teams, normally dominant favorites, need a strong running game when they are looking to protect the lead and close the ATS back door in the 4th quarter. The more common scenario is that a team is able to establish a running game in the early going, develop a lead based on their dominance at the point of attack, then protect that lead in the 4th quarter, as they extend their rushing dominance and number of carries. This, in turn, prevents the other team, who is trailing, from having numerous possessions. And since they are playing from behind with limited time, they are forced to abandon their own running game and put the ball in the air.
There is no doubt in my mind that isolating running success is the surest way to isolate NFL ATS winners. As we have come to learn, if you put the ball in the air, 3 things can happen and 2 of them aren’t good! It’s better to rely on the ball control and consistency of an established running game. Just ask the Seattle Seahawks, a team who achieved consecutive Super Bowl appearances on the basis of a strong ground game only to abandon that philosophy for the single most important play of their season, resulting in last year’s Super Bowl defeat.