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Unlucky losers tendto keep stumbling

Oct 29, 2002 3:36 AM

   It seems that looking at the stats after NFL games, quite often the wrong team wins.

   In football, it is commonplace to see a team out-gained in yards by a significant amount still come out victorious. Likewise a team may have an edge in first downs, turnovers, time of possession or any number of key statistics but still fall to the “statistically inferior” side.

   More important to us is what effects, if any, such a game may have on a team’s chances the following week.

   The data (see adjacent chart) represents the past 10 years of NFL action, for games played in Week 3 and beyond. The “Wrong Team Won” column represents the next game results against the spread for the team that should have lost but actually won.  The “Wrong Team Lost” column represents the next game results for the team that should have won, but actually lost.

   Here are some of the significant findings:

   Teams having a large time of possession advantage (58 percent or 34:48 of 60 minutes) but lost, have been lousy in their next appearance (just 33 percent wins).

   Teams losing despite an 8+ first down advantage are 61 percent go-against plays.

   Teams losing despite outgaining opponents by 150+ yards passing have a 61 percent chance of falling the next week.

   Teams winning despite a +2 deficit in turnovers are a strong bet next time as an away dog: 28-12 (70 percent).

   The best avenue for locating a few good bets is to pour over the boxes, look for teams that can’t get it done even when key stats (time of possession, turnovers, passing yards) are in their favor — and then take a stand against them!

   features innovative statistical coverage of the NFL.