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NFL stats foretell improvement, decline

By Steve Makinen  () 

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With the NFL draft approaching next week, bettors are ramping up their preparation to take on all the offseason futures wagering options available in the market. Within the last week, win totals for all teams were released by books such as William Hill and BetMGM. Oddsmakers appeared to make no obvious misses, which would have been immediately attacked hard and then modified. One of the best ways to gain an advantage over the house on these options is to use stats from the previous season that have historically been very reliable for predicting which teams are due to improve or decline. Last week I analyzed the impact of tight or blowout wins and losses on a team’s prospects the next season. This is the second half of the series on changeover systems.

Last week I reminded readers how powerful this type of analysis can be. As proof, I predicted Tampa Bay would be a potential breakout team at this point last year. The NFL is unlike any other league in that teams can make quick turnarounds from year to year, positively or negatively. And unlike the NBA or NHL, more than half the teams that qualify for the playoffs one season are often different from the previous campaign. I believe this parity contributes to the league’s popularity. Furthermore, I reasoned last week on VSiN’s “The Lombardi Line” that three C’s can factor into this sudden change. The first is coaching, either from a change to a new guy or from improvement by the incumbent. The second is confidence, which can quickly transform after a solid offseason or first couple of good regular-season games. The third is cohesiveness, which can be affected quickly with the addition or departure of certain personnel.

Of course, certain statistical indicators a team exhibits in one season can illustrate how close it is to changing the status of those three C’s and, eventually, its fortunes the next season. Read through these findings, combine them with what we learned a week ago, add free-agent transactions and draft results — and then head to the betting window. 

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