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NFL Handicapping: Using Regular Season Win Totals to Formulate Strength of Schedule

NFL

Photo Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

With the entire NFL regular season schedule recently released, bettors now have more “ammo” to handicap futures and regular season win totals. One often used method is to create a strength of schedule rating based on more than just opposing teams’ winning percentage from the previous year. As a starting point, we formulated a strength of schedule model based on this year’s regular season win totals from CG Technology. We took each team’s schedule, added up their opponent’s win totals and averaged them out. There are numerous factors in play. For starters, there is a randomness element in terms of division “partners.” The Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos have two of the tougher strength of schedules based not only because there are two teams in the AFC West (KC and LAC) that are lined at double-digit wins but they are also “partnered” with the NFC North which has three teams lined at 9 or more wins. Similar situation for the Houston Texans who have the toughest schedule. They face a first place schedule after winning the AFC South last season and overall have six games vs. teams lined at 9.5 wins or higher. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the New England Patriots who once again play six games against projected sub-.500 AFC East teams. They are also “partnered” with the NFC East which has only one team (Philadelphia) lined above 9 wins. In the end, this model is nothing more than a starting point. In order to really capitalize on futures and win totals, bettors must create their own power ratings. Say from example you feel that Team A and B are lined a full win lower than they should be and Team C plays both teams — perhaps even twice if they happen to be within the division. Team C’s strength of schedule all of sudden looks a lot tougher than where the market has it priced and thus value is created.

Team – Opponent Combined R/S Win Totals (Avg.)

AFC East
New England Patriots – 117.5 (7.34)
New York Jets – 120.5 (7.53)
Buffalo Bills – 124 (7.75)
Miami Dolphins – 130 (8.12)

AFC North
Cleveland Browns – 123.5 (7.71)
Pittsburgh Steelers – 127.5 (7.96)
Baltimore Ravens – 128 (8.00)
Cincinnati Bengals – 128 (8.00)

AFC South
Indianapolis Colts – 130.5 (8.15)
Houston Texans – 138 (8.62)
Tennessee Titans – 133.5 (8.34)
Jacksonville Jaguars – 132.5 (8.28)

AFC West
Kansas City Chiefs – 134.5 (8.40)
Los Angeles Chargers – 130 (8.12)
Denver Broncos – 137 (8.56)
Oakland Raiders – 137 (8.56)

NFC East
Philadelphia Eagles – 121.5 (7.59)
Dallas Cowboys – 127.5 (7.96)
Washington Redskins – 127.5 (7.96)
New York Giants – 122.5 (7.65)

NFC North
Chicago Bears – 134.5 (8.40)
Green Bay Packers – 130.5 (8.15)
Minnesota Vikings – 131.5 (8.21)
Detroit Lions – 129.5 (8.09)

NFC South
New Orleans Saints – 129.5 (8.09)
Atlanta Falcons – 134 (8.37)
Carolina Panthers – 131.5 (8.21)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 133.5 (8.34)

NFC West
Los Angeles Rams – 126.5 (7.90)
Seattle Seahawks – 132 (8.25)
San Francisco 49ers – 128.5 (8.03)
Arizona Cardinals – 132.5 (8.28)

Andrew Lange

With significant market influence, Andrew Lange has produced a decade-long 58% winning rate on over 750 selections in college basketball. Using a low volume, high return approach, Lange's results in the NFL have been equally impressive with a 61% mark and over +49 units of profit on a 1, 1.5, and 2-unit scale since 2012.