Burke: Reading up on the refs

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

January 27, 2022 10:46 AM

A lot has been made this week of the referee crews that will be doing the AFC and NFC Championship Games. It will be Bill Vinovich’s crew for Bengals vs. Chiefs and Carl Cheffers’s crew for 49ers vs. Rams. Vinovich has gotten discussed a lot on social media thus far because his crew called the fewest penalties of any in the NFL, including a low number of defensive pass interference and defensive holding penalties.

Per our own Wes Reynolds, Vinovich did not call a single roughing the passer penalty during the regular season. Cheffers called 10 of them. Sorry, Joe Burrow.

(edit: As reader Brian C. correctly pointed out, the crews are not the exact same as the regular season, though my belief is that the head ref still has a lot of influence over how the game is called)

Maybe it’s just because of the instantaneous nature of social media, but referees have certainly grabbed more of the spotlight of late. The NFL does have an officiating problem. So does baseball on the umpire side. I have a close friend who handicaps umpires extensively to make totals bets in MLB. The men in stripes (or chest protectors) can absolutely have a major impact on the game.

Fortunately, we’ve got some tools that can help you with zoning in on the zebras.


Our referee stats database looks at over/under records, the total points scored in those games for the head ref, records for the home team and favorites and the profit for all of those categories. It is also worth noting that our NFL Trends database includes trends on the refs as well.


We’ve got the same results in an easy-to-consume table for the NBA as well. For example, did you know that games involving Curtis Blair are 24-12 to the Under and games with Rodney Mott are 17-8 to the Over this season?


Hopefully we get a full baseball season, but umpire stats are available as well for the guys behind the plate calling the balls and strikes. Those include an Over/Under record, along with the number of strikeouts per game, walks per game and things that could help you make some pitcher player prop wagers. You obviously don’t need this now, but you might down the line, so it’s good to plant those seeds.

We really do have some fine resources here at VSiN.com to help our readers and listeners cash tickets, don’t we?

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