Each and every season all sports should be a learning
experience in sports betting. We always reflect and critique ourselves,
evaluate what changes have been made by the oddsmakers and how the alterations
in the sports landscape affect handicapping.
High on the list of strategy refinements this football
season was the realization that I found a football handicapping Holy Grail
about a quarter of a century ago yet let it slip through my fingertips.
In the pre-Internet days, one of my top sources for data was
the Sports and Gaming Newswire, one of Jim Feist’s companies. I believe that
was the first time I encountered the yards per point statistic.
On offense it is calculated by yards gained divided by
points scored. On defense, it’s yards allowed divided
by points given up. The theory is it measures efficiency on both sides of the
A low number on offense is good, meaning a team does not
waste yardage or “leave points on the field” so to speak.
A high number on defense is good, meaning a lot of successful
defensive stands. However, conventional
thinking (handicapping’s ultimate oxymoron) would say bet on the efficient
teams and against the inefficient.
The stat proved not only worthless, but if anything one
would be better off fading the stat. Little did I know how true the latter was
and how consistent it has been with so many other improvements and refinements
I’ve made in my handicapping over the decades.
We’ve written many articles on how we measure the accuracy
and validity of a team’s performance. We don’t have the time and space to go
over every detail but in short, we use net yardage record (a team that gets
more yards “wins”) where others use straight up won-loss record. We use net
yards per game comparisons where the squares employ points per game.
Others “rank” teams by total yards per game in passing,
rushing and overall both offensively and defensively. In lieu of that, we use
the more reliable yards per rush, yards per pass and yards per play relative to
the cumulative average of their opponents to date.
For elaboration, visit the archived sports betting
strategy articles at OffshoreInsiders.com,
but our supposition is that these stats demonstrate which teams outplay or
underplay their stats and hence, which teams have the biggest upside and which
have the biggest downside. Insert the terms overvalued and undervalued.
Remember, a team’s Vegas/offshore value is most affected
by their performance. But the teams that have the best, yes we said best yards
per point stats are teams that are going to be overvalued and teams with the
Why? The most efficient teams can only improve by
maintaining the high bar they have set for themselves while increasing actual
The squads that, for example, waste offensive yardage by
not converting them into points (bad yards per point rating) have demonstrated
they are capable of more than their bottom line production has shown.
There is little debate that poor efficiency is more correctable
than poor production. Remember, it’s not like one can retroactively bet stats.
The more efficient teams will have the best spread records to date for the most
part. As gamblers, we want to know beforehand which teams will have a reversal
This past season, we beta tested (tracked but did not bet)
the theory. Voila. Yes, the teams that were wasting yards did have the biggest
upside and the least wasteful teams did have the bigger downside. Essentially,
it proved to be a great a great way to “buy low and sell high” and apply it to
Best of all, the more the previously referenced stats: net
yardage, yards per rush/pass/play and yards per point theories corroborated
each other, not surprisingly, the stronger the play. If the data contradicted, of
course it meant there was no statistical angle to exploit.
The beta testing is done. We are greatly looking forward
to next football season.
No need to wait until next football season to bet on
sports. The author, Joe Duffy makes his picks on GodsTips, anchor of OffshoreInsiders.com. With March Madness betting around the corner,
note that Duffy’s prowess and work ethic has earned him the monikers of Mr.
March and the Lord of the Dance.