Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 9:00 AM
Last week I talked here in our College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping about all the NFL teams who were emphasizing PACE in their preseason discussions with the media. You certainly saw the effects of that with so many high scoring games Thursday through Sunday. From the first kick-off of the week to the last…there were points aplenty from pass-happy offenses who were working on tempo even when backups were on the field.
Look at the scoring:
Games in the 60’s: 60, 64
Games in the 50’s: 53
Games in the 40’s: 40, 41, 41, 43, 43, 44, 46
Games in the 30’s: 30, 30, 31, 36
Games Below 30: 16, 17
Las Vegas oddsmakers had most of their totals last week in the mid 30’s. You can see that well over half of the 16 games played landed in the 40’s or higher. I don’t mean to suggest that betting Overs yielded a 100% record. It yielded something approaching 67% depending on when you placed your bets…which is clearly something worth paying attention to. Market expectations from oddsmakers and the most prominent bettors were far off from reality.
Will this continue? Or, was that just a one-week fluke because so many teams are emphasizing offense from the first day of practice this year while nobody wastes peak defensive effort in early action?
I’ve been thinking this through myself, and talking to many sharp bettors I respect out here in Las Vegas. Here’s what I believe to be the most likely scenario:
*Pace and scoring will generally continue in the second full week of action as well. That doesn’t mean Overs are a lock to run roughshod again. Oddsmakers have knocked their base-line up a few points, and first team defenses will be on the field longer. But…we’ll see a few more games fly past the mid 40’s on the way to big totals. Offensive coordinators are still focused on getting pace and timing down…and they all want to do that with both their first team and second team offenses. Defenses will make more big plays in Week Two than they did in Week One. This just isn’t the time yet to ask your defense to breathe fire for more than a couple of series. You’d better have GREAT reasons to bet an Under this week, because you’ll still be swimming against the tide.
*The dress rehearsals in Week Three will likely be high scoring, just like they were last year. Those games were 9-7 to the Over in August of 2012 even though oddsmakers lifted their totals because starting quarterbacks were going to be on the field for at least a half. All offenses want to find the end zone at least once in their tune-up. Most will be at regular season pace through three quarters. Some defenses will bring more complicated blitz packages (this is why you should be paying attention to coaching indicators from season to season). That will prevent it from being a touchdown free-for-all. Still, you should expect decent scoring. It’s mostly going to be aggressive offenses against mostly vanilla defensive schematics. Do the math!
*Week Four will be quiet. Most starting quarterbacks won’t even see action. Most head coaches will want to get the games over with quickly so nobody who matters amongst the backups gets injured. A year ago, oddsmakers posted fairly conservative totals in the Preseason finales, and results went 7-8-1 to the Under anyway.
*Then, in Week One of the regular season…we’ll start to see the differences between the have’s and the have not’s at the quarterback position. Opposing defenses will be trying…and they won’t hold anything back. Star quarterbacks won’t be phased by this, and will put points on the board like they always have. Mediocre quarterbacks, and any rookies who will be starting, will find that the party has ended…and they’ll have big trouble finding the end zone once the games matter. Your homework on PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS from our summer coursework will pay off in a few talent mismatches.
This should make for some very entertaining football the next two weeks if you’re a fan. If you’re a budding Advanced Sports Bettor, take what you learned from this first Preseason weekend and apply it along with today’s discussion to your remaining August challenges. If you need assistance, you can purchase my top daily plays or seasonal packages here at the website with your credit card.
Oddsmakers aren’t at all confident about their opening numbers this week. This is an opening smart bettors need to take advantage of!