Should Historical Turnover Stats Impact NFL Picks?

Joe Gavazzi

Friday, September 26, 2014 8:40 PM UTC

Friday, Sep. 26, 2014 8:40 PM UTC

We track historical NFL turnovers and analyze team net turnover margins in relation to the NFL odds & point spread outcomes.  The results ATS are surprising. Find out how these turnover stats should your future NFL picks.

If you are reading this article about NFL turnovers, you will be shocked at the conclusion that the fate of your hard-earned money is definitively linked to the turnover margin in any NFL game.  The numbers I am about to quote you below have held true for decades.  They confirm the fact that a team’s net TO margin is directly linked with the point spread outcome of the game. 

The regrettable part about the numbers below is that it is virtually impossible to predict when TOs are going to occur.  Fumbles appear to be totally random.  Interceptions often occur when a team is trailing late in the game and forced to gamble on low percentage downfield throws.  Using that as part of your handicap assumes you will know which team is trailing and by how many points as the game winds down.  Predictability is largely a futile search.

This year, as you will see from the research below, I will be using historical results in an effort to correctly predict the outcome of the current game.  I will keep you updated on this research as the season progresses. 

The contrary nature of the thinking behind this research is not only theory.  It is factually based.  At least in the regard of what a typical week of practice might look like at an NFL facility, following a game or group of games, in which a team committed numerous TOs.  Influenced by the media reports of their inability to maintain control of the football, and the fact that NFL coaches fully understand the link of TO margin to success, it comes as no surprise that a week following a game with multiple TOs that dictated the outcome will be filled with drills that emphasize the protection of the pigskin.  Running backs and receivers are drilled on the art of wrapping up the football upon receiving it, paying special attention to its protection at the point when they are being tackled.  Quarterbacks are involved in lengthy verbal discussions about the importance of accurate passes as well as the proper side of the receiver on which they should err in miss-throwing the pass.  It is no wonder that we often see NFL teams play error free games and ending up on the plus side of the TO margin, following a game or group of games in which they have handed the ball, and the game, to the opposition.   

Before we delve into the results of this week’s research, let’s take a look at the recent results of the impact that net TO margin has on an NFL game.  These results mirror those of the decades in which the NFL has operated. 

Below are the records for the last 4 years, previous season, and this year for any team who has a +3 or more net TO margin in an NFL contest. 

177-16 ATS (91.7%) – previous 4 years

37-2 ATS (94.9%) – in 2013

10-0 ATS (100%) – this 2014 season

Believing that teams work hard to correct recent TO deficiencies and that opponents with a net positive TO margin often become complacent in handling the football, I approached the research for this 2014 season with the following theory: “play on any team in an NFL game who enters the contest with a negative net TO differential for the season, against any opponent who has a positive net TO margin for the season.”  The following is a list of the “fields” I am tracking in an effort to isolate the optimum situation for predicting the TO turnaround.  For now, as you will see below, the results have been quite impressive.


Fields To Be Tracked
Team with SU and ATS Record

Foe with SU and ATS Record

AFP (YTD away from the point spread results) for each team

Current winning or losing streak for each team

The line in today’s contest

The score of today’s contest

The site (home or away) of today’s contest

The ATS result of today’s contest (for the negative net TO team)

Last week’s net TO differential for each team

The YTD net TO differential for each team

The combined net TO differential for each team

As you will see from the record below, the current YTD record of the basic premise is outstanding.  In the weeks to come, I will look to tighten that result using the above fields.  For now, know that the overall record of the “Turnover Turnaround” theory is 10-3 ATS (77%) YTD.

For those of you who are interested, there is one dominant TO Turnaround play that should be included in your NFL picks this week.  It comes in the Monday night game that finds the Kansas City Chiefs with a -5 net TO diff for the season vs. New England Patriots with a +6 net TO diff for the season.  

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