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Creating scores best to way to determine picks

Sep 24, 2002 7:06 AM

The most understandable and best way to approach handicapping NFL games is creating a predicted score or line for a game and comparing it to the actual point spread in search of an overlay.

An "overlay" refers to the perceived value between your expectation of what will happen and the betting line on a game.

If you think Team A will win by 10 points and they are only favored to win by three, you have a seven-point overlay. Whether it’s a true overlay depends on your predictions being more accurate than the pointspread.

Now there are many ways to create a line ranging from simply "pegging" a number to using sophisticated computer modeling. For the best results you will likely need to have some novel element in your calculations.

The "oldie but goodie" way of making a line, crafted back in the mid-90s, has been fairly reliable over the years and is not highly technical. It involves using the basic offensive and defensive ranks for teams in rushing yards and passing yards.

The first step for linemaking purposes is to grade each team as being either "good," "average" or "bad" in the categories of rushing offense, passing offense, rushing defense and passing defense. A 1-10 ranking is good, 11-20 is average, 21-over is bad.

Away rush offense vs. home rush D:

"good" (offense) vs. "bad" (defense) award 7 points to the away team.

"good" vs. "average" award 3 points

"average" vs. "bad" award 3 points

"bad" vs. "good" award -3 points

All other combinations count for zero points (i.e. "good" vs. "good")

Away pass offense vs. home pass D:

"good" vs. "bad" award 8 points to the away team.

"good" vs. "average" award 4 points

"average" vs. "bad" award 4 points

"bad" vs. "good" award -4 points

Home rush offense vs. away rush D:

"good" vs. "bad" award 8 points to the Home team.

"good" vs. "average" award 4 points

"average" vs. "bad" award 4 points

"bad" vs. "good" award -4 points

Home passing offense vs. away pass D:

"good" vs. "bad" award 7 points to the Home team.

"good" vs. "average" award 3 points

"average" vs. "bad" award 3 points

"bad" vs. "good" award -3 points

Look for mismatches in skills between two teams. It serves as a good introduction to the art of the overlay. Give it a try!

Note: TwoMinuteWarning.com features innovative statistical coverage of the NFL.