2019 NFL Week 8: A Spot to Back Two Bad Teams ATS
Both the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 2-4 SU/ATS after suffering consecutive losses in weeks 5 and 6. Both teams are also taking points on the road this week, after enjoying BYEs in week 7.
History suggests the present is a solid spot to back these lowly away teams, as rested underdogs taking to the road after winning and covering no more than two of their last five have been solid plays since 2005.
From 2005 up to the point where we uncovered this system in week 8 of last season, teams in this position are 30-18 ATS (63%). Since that point, teams in this spot are 5-2-1 ATS, bringing the cumulative record for this system up to an impressive 35-20-1 ATS (albeit on a small sample).
Of note though, our power rankings framework has not given the nod to either of these dogs. In fact, our primary approach actually endorses the Patriots -12.5 over the Browns. However the strength of the trend in favor of bad road dogs off BYEs suggests that a play on TB12 et al might be swimming against the tide (to this point the Pats are 4-6 ATS in the Brady-era giving points to teams off a week's rest, including a 1-3 ATS stint from this spot at home. As to avoid this conflict, we pass on this game.
We are inclined, nonetheless, to roll the dice with Tampa Bay, as in addition to the present representing a solid spot for teams off BYEs, the high level of public support behind the Bucs likewise bodes well for the prospect of the road cover.
In weeks 7-12 of the regular NFL season consensus' ability to forecast ATS outcomes rounds into form (temporarily, anyway). It has paid to roll with the public during the middle third of the football year...tailing consensus during the "belly" of the season will be a recurring theme in our work over the coming month.
Thus, despite the uncertainty conveyed by our power rankings framework, the combination of the history of bad, but rested, road dogs beating the number, plus the broad-based support for the away team, at a time when the public is generally adept at sniffing out ATS winners, leaves us sufficiently comfortable with the idea of the Bucs cover to take the flyer on Jameis Winston and crew.
(As of the time of this writing, 66% of spread wagers by volume and 74% of dollars bet ATS are backing Tampa; in contrast, only 29% of wagers by volume and 37% of ATS dollars committed are down on the Browns.)