Monday, September 16, 2013

Continued Education: When to Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Last week our Classroom Conversation focused on a measure created by Dan Gordon, handicapper and self-published author of Beat the Sports Books, called The Spread Range. As Gordon describes in a Chapter titled Pro Bettors Tool Kit for Games 1-4, The Spread Range is a measure he developed to track teams' early season performance against the spread in an attempt to keep up with the how the oddsmakers are perceiving and presenting those teams to the public.

Depending on how well an underdog or a favorite does against the spread, they are assigned a positive or a negative number for that week. For example, after Weeks 1 & 2, the teams performing the best against the spread are:

Team           Spread Range Score (SRS)
Broncos               11
Dolphins                8
Jets                       7
Titans                    6
Seahawks              6

The teams who have fared the worst on the other hand are:

Team          SRS
Jaguars         -8
Redskins      -8
Giants          -7
Patriots        -6
Browns        -6

Some interesting teams, right? No surprise in the Broncos or the Jags, but how about the Patriots and the Jets? Now this early in the season, it's rare for The Spread Range to come into play. However, Gordon's advice is when two teams facing each other have a SRS differential of more than 10 and the team with the lower score is the underdog, bet on that dog.

Well, guess what, as rare as it might be - we have a winner. Don't laugh too hard, because you might choke on whatever you're drinking or eating, but Week 3's Dear God I Hope They Don't Televise That Game match-up between the Seattle Seahawks (+6) and the Jacksonville Jaguars (-8) features The Spread Range Differential (14) we've been talking about. No, it won't be a Friday Five confidence, and it might come as no surprise to anyone considering the start we've had this year, but Marco and I are using the system to take:

Jacksonville Jaguars (+Whatever the # inflates to by kick-off) over the SEATTLE SEAHAWKS.

" sure you wanna do that, Vinny?"

And that concludes this week's episode of You Gotta Be F-ing Kidding Me. But we're not.


This week's classroom conversation focuses on three Myths and Maybes to consider when looking for underdogs to back during Weeks 1-4.

1. The Myth of the Prime Time Dog

Dan Gordon's research and experience says you should always look to back a home dog on a Sunday, Monday, or Thursday Night football game. With a new season comes new hope, and teams play hard and with pride - especially when they feel disrespected by the oddsmakers. Seems like a good bet and we've already seen an example of this when the San Diego Chargers covered the spread as home dogs against the Houston Texans in Week 1. However, a closer look at the stats reveals that although home dogs are 68-62 on MNF since 1985, it appears the oddsmakers have caught on (as they do) because those numbers have plummeted to 21-31 ATS for the home dogs in the past decade and 12-18 ATS in the past five years. Be cautious about global myths like this one. Don't bank on the Steelers next week against the Bears. 

2. Home Dog After a Home Loss as a Favorite

When teams are favored the public expects them to win. When they lose, they tend to come back both undervalued by oddsmakers and with the added motivation of shame and humiliation. There have been no such examples this week.

3. Monday Night Division Rivalry Winners

When a team wins a Monday Night Football game against a divisional opponent and plays a non-divisional opponent the next week - bet against them. Monday Night Football is widely viewed by the betting public, so teams who do well they get more action the next week. The oddsmakers then adjust the line, making the non-divisional foe even more attractive to bet on than they might have been otherwise. Take that action. This week, that means the Green Bay Packers (-1) over the Cincinnati Bengals. 

There, I'm done - and not one single Michael Vick joke. I'm proud of myself.

And it's already Tuesday,


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