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Why 10+ Point Favorites are a Crapshoot

Posted by mrformula on October 25, 2008

Ok, so this is our theory as to why we don’t bet favorites of more then 10. Well first off, the data shows that it is not a good idea. But we think there is a good (ok, reasonable) explanation for this:

In thinking about the TB push and the Giants near push last week, it gives me a theory as to why you don’t bet favorites of more then 10. Basically, if you think of this from the underdog or favorites point of view, it should still make sense. If the underdog has the ball late, going for a score, the only way the defense is going to relax and not worry as much about a garbage TD is if it’s a 3 score game. In a 2 score game, I don’t think defenses would be lettting up at the end of games with the obvious implication that they are just one lucky bounce on an onside kick away from having a chance to tie the game. Hence, the lead would have to be 17 or more (16 would still be 2 scores), so if they do give up a garbage time score they’d still be winning by at least 10. This is exactly what happened in the TB game last week. If that lead had been 16 instead of 17, I don’t think you would have seen the same relaxed approach on defense that TB took.

If the favorite has the ball late, they will be pushing to make it a 2 score game. This was evident in the Giants game, where they played conservatively for the FG knowing it would put them up 2 scores and basically seal the game, with a 10 point lead. While we got lucky that JT O’Sullivan kicked the ball out of his own end zone for the cover, the idea still holds. So basically, we think that the winning team plays late in the 4th quarter to maintain at least a 2 score lead, which more often then not translates to a 10 point lead. This is why it’s risky and can’t really be predicted when the line is more then 10. Because often times the team that has more then a 10 point spread might play ‘more then 10 points better then the other team’, but their strategy late in games is to maintain at least a two-score lead. Thus betting on these games is a crapshoot because it often comes down to who scores in garbage time.

On another note, we are going to start posting every bet we make before the games on Sundays, so that people can see what lines we were able to get games. Last week alone, two lines moved into our range on late Saturday night-Early Sunday morning, that we grabbed and I’m not sure if we had time to post. But from now on we will make this post every Sunday, with our record to date included. If a Monday night game could possibly move into our range but hasn’t yet as of Sunday, we will update that post if it does and we bet it.

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One Response to “Why 10+ Point Favorites are a Crapshoot”

  1. […] I am mad at myself, Mr. Formula, and the Wizard for making me waste three minutes typing this out. Obviously the formula thinks this is such a blowout that you could never have a feasible spread. But since it’s outside of our 10 point range, which you can read about here. […]

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