As I preach every week, the name of the game among pro sports handicappers and so-called “Sharps” is to sniff out mismatches where the betting public leans heavily one way (typically on a favorite or an Over, but not always) thus creating additional value on the other side of a bet.
So how do we sniff out these “mismatches”?
One of the most reliable tools is using a Power Rating where all 32 teams are ranked in order from best to worst with a key number attached to each team. The lower the number, the stronger the team. By taking the key number of each team in a matchup then adding or deducting three points (occasionally 3.5 pts) for home field advantage we get a key number of what the spread “should be” based on each team’s ACTUAL strength. When this number differs greatly, say by 3 or more points, to the point spread then we have successfully sniffed out “value” and a potential mismatch to exploit.
In effect, we set our own line then compare it to the oddsmakers in Vegas for weaknesses (to find a “crease” in the line).
This coming week, we find four mismatches that fit our criteria. Two road pups and two home favorites. Detroit is installed as a +5 dog at New Orleans yet our number has this matchup around a “pick ‘em.” Our next dog is N.Y. Giants who fell to 0-5 and lost Odell Beckham for the season as insult injury. No surprise that the public have bailed off this sinking ship by now. G-men are +12 point pups at Denver. Our line is -8.5 Similarly, Oakland should be a -6 home favorite to the Chargers, but Raiders backers only have to lay a FG. The second favorite given line value is a huge surprise in that it is a play on our only unbeaten team Kansas City. But the public and oddsmakers seem convinced that Steelers debacle last week was a fluke and that they are much stronger in the ranking. KC is a “cheap” fave at -4.5, our number puts them at -7.5.
So best line value on LIONS, GIANTS, RAIDERS and CHIEFS in week 6.
Remember, it is the savvy bettor’s job to look past the spin and crunch the numbers, then go the other way for value. It is not just about current record and who won or lost last week, it is equally or more “how” and “what” transpired that determine each weekly “tweak” to these PR numbers.
Betting value is, of course, no guarantee to win, and often involves courageous backing of teams off a loss (or multiple losses), or fading a popular and overinflated favorite off an impressive outing, but in the long run you will end up in the plus column when shopping for value. Of course, many other factors are in play, but this simple starting approach has netted me tens of thousands in profits over three decades.
I will post an updated Power Rating every week during the season, and continue to chart the outcome of these mismatches Use my Power Ranking or create your own, but do your homework if you want to win consistently.
POWER RATING (OFF WEEK 5):
Rank (Last) +/- Team PR
1 (1) 0 KC -6.5
Handled tough Houston team easily. 5-0 now. Tough schedule with Pittsburgh, Oakland, Denver and Dallas on deck before bye.
2 (2) 0 NE -6
Gritty road win at TB. 3-2, and slowly hitting their stride. Jets in look-ahead divisional road matchup before hosting Atlanta.
3 (3) 0 GB -5
Beat Dallas in entertaining barn burner in Jerry’s house. Rodgers getting seriously hot now. Minnesota and New Orleans on deck.
4 (4) 0 ATL -4
Off bye week. Three straight AFC East foes on deck vs Miami, New England and the N.Y. Jets. Even two out of three will be good.
5 (9) +4 SEA -3
Gritty road win at the Rams. Defense is clicking. Bye week next.
6 (5) -1 DAL -2.5
Lost to GB in Jerry’s house. No longer invincible at home.
7 (7) 0 DET -2.5
Lost a close one to rejuvenated Carolina. Stafford is on point.
8 (8) 0 DEN -2.5
Off bye week, facing 0-5 G-men next. Defense is top-ranked.
9 (12) +3 CAR -2
Great road win at Detroit. Newton is finding his magic now.
10 (6) -4 PIT -2
Embarrassed by great Jags defense at home. 5-0 K.C. on deck.
11 (13) +2 PHI -1.5
Unexpected NFC East leaders at 4-1. TNF test at Carolina next.
12 (16) +4 BAL -1
Beat Oakland in gritty win on the road. Hosting Chicago next.
13 (11) -2 HOU -1
Fell to K.C and lost J.J. Watt to injury. Hosting Browns next.
14 (14) 0 TB -0.5
Played Pats tough but lost. Arizona and Buffalo on the road.
15 (10) -5 OAK -0.5
Lost third straight to Ravens. Division foe Chargers on deck.
16 (17) +1 CIN 0
Outlasted feisty Bills bunch, now 2-3. Bye week next.
17 (15) -2 WAS 0
Off bye week, now 2-2. Hosting SF in a “look-ahead” game before back-to-back division gamees vs Philly and Dallas.
18 (20) +2 NO 1
Off bye week. Struggling on D. Hosting tough Detroit next.
19 (17) -2 TEN 1
Lost a stinker to Miami. Facing Indy on MNF. Still an enigma.
20 (25) +5 JAX 1.5
Five picks against Big Ben, two for pick-6’s. Awesome Defense.
21 (21) 0 LAR 2
Lost to Seattle, yet still overachieving and 3-2. At Jags next.
22 (23) +1 BUF 2
Lost a heartbreaker at Cincy. Still a big surprise. Bye week next.
23 (22) -1 ARI 2.5
Got embarrassed by Philly. Major problems. Palmer may be done.
24 (24) 0 MIN 2.5
Bradford stunk, Keenum promising. Barely survived Bears on MNF.
25 (26) +1 LAC 2.5
Barely beat 0-5 G-men, now 1-4. Visiting rival Oakland next.
26 (18) -8 NYG 3
Lost Beckham for season, plus 3 more WR. Facing Denver, Seattle and L.A. Rams next. May go into SF game at 0-9…oh, the humanity!
27 (27) 0 MIA 3.5
Beat Titans at home for 1st win. Double-digit dogs at Atlanta next.
28 (29) +1 NYJ 3.5
Beat Browns 17-14 in Stupor Bowl. Patriots on deck. Ouch!
29 (30) +1 IND 4.5
Needed OT to conquer lowly SF. Andrew Luck is 50/50 to return.
30 (28) -2 CHI 5
Defense is decimated, but Trubisky looked promising in MNF debute.
31 (31) 0 CLE 6.5
Winless at 0-5 and find new ways to lose games every week.
32 (32) 0 SF 7
Lost another one in OT. Still winless, still worst team in the league.