2021 NFL Week 2: Fade L.A. Football Sunday
The Plays: Los Angeles Rams @ Indianapolis Colts +4 and Dallas Cowboys +3.5 @ Los Angeles Chargers
Our power rankings composite says the Los Angeles Rams are less than a field goal better than the Indianapolis Colts on a neutral field for NFL week 2 action. But, using data since 2005, Jimmy Boyd's True Home Field Edge methodology implies a 2.5 point adjustment is due the Colts way to account for Indy playing host. As such, we have Colts +1 as the fair line. Accordingly, we see significant value with Indy in the vicinity of the listed +4, north of the most frequently recurring margin in pro football.
Similarly, we grade the Los Angeles Chargers as 2.5 points better than the Cowboys Sunday, after adjusting our line estimate by 2 because the event is being played at the L.A.'s SoFi Stadium. Thus, we see value with the Boys plus three-and-the-hook. Here too, the quantitative value is amplified, as we are getting more than the critical three points.
But in addition to constructive signals from our gauge of fundamental value, historical / environmental context likewise hints that the present setups are favorable for these highlighted pooches.
Specifically, backing underperforming underdogs early in the season has proven quite profitable from this spot.
In non-conference NFL action conducted over about the first quarter of the regular season, backing underdogs with win rates below their Pythagorean Expectation has delivered a statistically significant 17% long-term return on investment...
Many of the history-based systems we develop attempt to exploit the betting public's recency bias. This one is no exception. We theorize that bettors (erroneously) extrapolate poorer team's early season woes into the indefinite future. A result tends to be inflated lines for favorites, creating opportunity with pooches.
This system supports ATS plays on the Colts, Cowboys and Titans this week.
A related system, again rationalized by bettors' recency bias, offers more support for the Colts' effort Sunday. This angle sides with teams off low-productivity offensive outs early in the season and has produced meaningful long-term gains.
Through the first six weeks of the football year, underdogs that scored no more than 20 points last game have been good for a statistically significant 10% return on investment since 2005...
As further validation for the idea of taking a flyer on Dallas, history suggests the rest since the week 1 Thursday Night Football thriller at the Bucs will leave the Cowboys in a good position to secure the week 2 cover.
Road dogs with the worst records, playing after at least 10 days off have proven exceptional bets, good for a (statistically significant) 23% long-term return on investment...
Here we expect the casual betting public's irrational penchant for backing favorites leads to an underappreciation of the value of extra time between games (for the purposes of recuperation and game-planning).
[The predilection for bettors to back better absolute teams to cover the spread, even though the betting line adjusts for their advantages, has been documented by Humphreys, Paul & Weinbach (2013). Similarly, Shank (2018) observed that as the number of NFL against the spread wagers increased for a particular contest, the percentage of bets on the favorite likewise increased.]