Move aside Pats, make room for Rams at top of NFL power ratings

By Jeff Fogle  ( 

September 26, 2018 09:38 PM

Looks like the Los Angeles Rams are the consensus “best team in the NFL” based on futures prices and this point spreads.

The undefeated Rams have become Super Bowl favorites with New England dropping two of its first three games (and looking very shaky in the process).

Los Angeles is laying 7 points for a Thursday night home game against the Minnesota Vikings. Those NFC powers entered the season roughly even in market perceptions.

VSiN likes to construct a weekly estimate of “market” Power Ratings that attempts to capture how the most important influences see the league at any given moment. It’s only an estimate. But Jonathan Von Tobel and I are able to put our heads together to make a pretty good representation each week.

To build a full scale, we start with 80-81 as the rough baseline for “playoff contender,” and 85 as an approximation for “serious championship contender.” We take the point spreads from each game on the schedule to arrange teams on that scale. Our standard value for home-field advantage is 3 points.


For example, at Los Angeles -7 over Minnesota, that would be -4 on a neutral field. So we go with a 4-point difference. The final assessment after studying all 16 of this week’s point spreads looks like this:


VSiN’s Estimated “Market” Power Ratings

88: LA Rams

86: Kansas City, Philadelphia

85: New Orleans

84: Minnesota

83: New England, Atlanta, Pittsburgh

82: Jacksonville, Baltimore, LA Chargers, Green Bay

80: Cincinnati, Houston, Carolina

79: Miami, Tennessee, Indy, Chicago, Tampa Bay

78: Cleveland, Denver, Washington, Dallas, NY Giants, Detroit, Seattle

77: NY Jets, Oakland

75: Buffalo, San Francisco (with Beathard)

71: Arizona


There’s enough fluidity from week to week that New England could soon be back at 85 or higher with strong performances. (Pats are only -7 at home vs. Miami this week…should we consider lifting Miami to 80 and NE to 84?) Some of the teams at 79-80 may soon drop if more weaknesses are exposed. For now…a fair snapshot of a fluid market.

I want to emphasize that this isn’t necessarily how Jonathan and I would rate the teams on our own. This is our interpretation of how “the market” is currently rating teams. If you accept that a liquid, well-informed betting market represents “the sum of all models,” then a good-faith market estimate should give you a better read than online computer ratings or network punditry.


We strongly recommend that new bettors try building a scale on their own each week. It’s a great exercise because it forces you to get out of your own head and focus on what’s happening in the market. Hopefully you’ll develop the skill to spot misreads before they correct. Last season’s market had too much faith in Cleveland during the regular season, too little in Philadelphia “with Foles” in the playoffs.


Does it have too much faith in the LA Rams in 2018? Something to think about Thursday night as you enjoy the telecast on FOX.

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