Undeniable Correlation Between Winning NFL Picks (ATS & SU) and Turnover Differential

Kevin Stott

Wednesday, July 1, 2015 6:21 PM GMT

Not only are we sharing our top NFL pick of the 2015-16 season, but we share insight on the correlation between a positive Turnover margin and winning, both SU and Against the Spread (ATS).

Was There a Correlation Between Turnover Differential, ATS in the NFL in 2014?
All you have to do is look at the top four names in the Turnover Differential rankings last NFL season—the Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, Houston Texans and Seattle Seahawks—to see if there is any correlation between TO +/- Differential and not only winning and making the playoffs in the NFL, but also for covering the point spread and making their betting backers some money, usually as favorites. In the 2014/15 season, the Green Bay Packers (9-6-1 ATS) were the best team in the NFL in Turnover Margin (Total Takeaways: Defensive Fumbles + Interceptions Gained minus Total Giveaways: Offensive Fumbles + Interceptions) with a stellar +14 TO Margin from 27 Takeaways (18 Interceptions + 9 Fumbles =) and 13 Giveaways (6 Interceptions + 7 Fumbles =) in their 16 games in the NFL’s Regular Season. And the Cheeseheads ended up being just a quarter away from making it to the Super Bowl until a miraculous rally by the Seattle Seahawks—ranked No. 4 in the NFL in Turnover Margin (+9) in 2014—prevented them from some potential cheddar-y glory in the Arizona desert.

Let’s take a look at a list compiled ranking the NFL’s 32 teams from last season with overall Regular Season ATS taking precedence, followed by the team’s Turnover +/- numbers as a secondary measuring stick of success. The correlation between a solid positive (+) TO margin and winning in the NFL as well as a negative (-) TO margin to losing in the league is definitely prevalent. Here’s is a list ranking the NFL’s 32 teams from the 2014/15 Regular Season with TO Differential taking precedence with each team’s +/- TO Margin serving as a secondary measuring stick in these rankings. And as you can see, teams listed in the top half (first 16) of this ranking were more apt to have made the NFL Playoffs last season, with the NFL’s perceived six elite teams from last season—the Seattle Seahawks (9-6-1 ATS), Green Bay Packers (9-6-1 ATS) and Dallas Cowboys (10-6 ATS) in the NFC and the New England Patriots (9-7 ATS), Denver Broncos (8-8 ATS) and Indianapolis Colts (11-5 ATS) in the AFC—all finished with winning (or even) records against the number as well as a magnificent 56-38-2 ATS combined (59.6%). Who knew? Oh, that’s right, the Oddsmakers and Bookies knew as they, for the most part, had these six teams as their odds favorites pretty much from March (2014) until February (2015). So, they deserve the tag “elite,” and with future NFL Hall of Fame QBs like Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck, it’s really not that hard to see why.

 

2014 NFL ATS Records Rankings and TO +/- Rankings (Takeaways - Giveaways)
1—Arizona Cardinals (ATS: 11-5, TO Rank: 5, TO Margin: +8 (25T - 17G = +8)

2—Indianapolis Colts (ATS: 11-5 , TO Rank: 22T, TO Margin: -5 (26T - 31G = -5)

3—Dallas Cowboys (ATS: 10-6, TO Rank: #9T, TO Margin: +6 (31T - 25G = +6)

4—Minnesota Vikings (ATS: 10-6, TO Rank: 18, TO Margin: -1 (19T - 20G = +1)

5—Kansas City Chiefs (ATS: 10-6, TO Rank: 21, TO Margin: -4 (13T - 17G = -4)

6—Cleveland Browns (ATS: 9-5-2, TO Rank: 9T, TO Margin: +6 (29T - 23G = +6)

7—Green Bay Packers (ATS: 9-6-1, TO Rank: #1, TO Margin: +14 (27T - 13G = +14)

8—Houston Texans (ATS: 9-6-1, TO Rank: 2T, TO Margin: +12 (34T - 22G = +12)

9—Seattle Seahawks (ATS: 9-6-1, TO Rank: #4, TO Margin: +9 (23T - 14G = +9)

10—New England Patriots (ATS: 9-7, TO Rank: 2T, TO Margin: +12 (25T - 13G = +12)

11—Buffalo Bills (ATS: 9-7, TO Rank: 6T, TO Margin: +7 (30T - 23G = +7)

12—Pittsburgh Steelers (ATS: 9-7, TO Rank: 16T, TO Margin: Even (21T - 21G = 0)

13—Philadelphia Eagles (ATS: 9-7, TO Rank: 26T, TO Margin: -8 (28T - 36G = -8)

14—Cincinnati Bengals (ATS: 8-7-1, TO Rank: 16T, TO Margin: Even (26T - 26G = 0)

15—Denver Broncos (ATS: 8-8, TO Rank: #11T, TO Margin: +5 (25T - 20G = +5)

16—Carolina Panthers (ATS: 8-8, TO Rank: 13T, TO Margin: +3 (26T - 23G = +3)

17—Oakland Raiders (ATS: 8-8, TO Rank: 32, TO Margin: -15 (14T - 29G = -15)

18—Baltimore Ravens (ATS: 7-8-1, TO Rank: 14T, TO Margin: +2 (22T - 20G = +2)

19—Detroit Lions (ATS: 7-9, TO Rank: 6T, TO Margin: +7 (27T - 20G = +7)

20—Atlanta Falcons (ATS: 7-9, TO Rank: 11T, TO Margin:+5 (28T - 23G = +5)

21—Miami Dolphins (ATS: 7-9, TO Rank: 14T, TO Margin: +2 (25T - 23G = +2)

22—St. Louis Rams (ATS: 7-9, TO Rank: 19, TO Margin: -2 (25T - 27G = -2)

23—New York Giants (ATS: 7-9, TO Rank: 20, TO Margin: -3 (25T - 28G = -3)

24—Chicago Bears (ATS: 7-9, TO Rank: 22T, TO Margin: -5 (24T - 29G = -5)

24—San Diego Chargers (ATS: 7-9, TO Rank: 22T, TO Margin: -5 (18T - 23G = -5)

26—Tampa Bay Buccaneers (ATS: 7-9, TO Rank: 26T , TO Margin: -8 (25T - 33G = -8)

27—San Francisco 49ers (ATS: 6-9-1, TO Rank: 6T, TO Margin: +7 (29T - 22G = +7)

28—Jacksonville Jaguars (ATS: 6-9-1, TO Rank: 25, TO Margin: -6 (20T - 26G = -6)

29—New York Jets (ATS: 6-9-1, TO Rank: 29, TO Margin: -11 (13T - 24G = -11)

30—New Orleans Saints (ATS: 6-10, TO Rank: 31, TO Margin: -13 (17T - 30G = -13)

31—Washington Redskins (ATS: 5-11, TO Rank: 30, TO Margin: -12 (19T - 31G = -12)

32—Tennessee Titans (ATS: 3-12-1, TO Rank: 28, TO Margin: -10 (16T - 26G = -10)

> Rankings compiled with 2014 Regular Season ATS records having precedence, then TO +/-.

 

 

Conclusion
The bottom of this list looks as weak as the top looks strong, so it’s obvious that there is most definitely some correlation between Turnover +/- to both winning as well as covering the points spread (ATS). Ten of the bottom 11 teams on this list—with the exception of the enigmatic San Francisco 49ers, who had a +7 TO margin last season—had a negative TO Margin last season, with none of the 11 making the NFL postseason. so it’s pretty simple: The ball is everything in all sports but hockey and Possession (and time of) really matters in Football (as well as Soccer to a much lesser degree). And teams like the Packers, Seahawks and Patriots who do everything in their power not to lose the ball through TOs, and conversely do everything in their power on Defense to create, and ultimately get TOs, seem to be the type of teams that win money for those who back them with NFL picks, as well as take home the coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy each season. The ball is everything.

Turnover Related NFL Pick:  New England Patriots -3 over Miami Dolphins, Week 8 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, NFL Games of the Year Odds)