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2023 NFL Week 3 Betting Picks Guide—Back Underachieving Underdogs

Updated: Oct 8, 2023

NFL Betting Pick: Tennessee Titans +3 at Cleveland Browns

The Pythagorean Expectation, or Pythagorean Projection, represents a forecast of the percent of games a team should win in a season, based on points scored and points allowed. This metric was devised by famed writer / historian / statistician, Bill James, and was originally applied to the MLB. It has since been adapted for other sports. The formula for predicting the expected win rate for an NFL team is as follows:

Points Scored ^ 2.37 ÷ (Points Scored + Points Allowed) ^ 2.37

Heading into week 3, the Titans' Pythagorean Projection is a 53% win rate, which compares negatively to their actual 50% win rate (Tennessee fell at New Orleans in week 1 but bounced back with a home win over the Chargers last week). This is to say that Tennessee is underperforming relative to its Pythagorean Projection. History though suggests the Titans are likely to collect the cover taking points on the road in week three. We are betting accordingly.

NFL betting angle predicated on exploiting cognitive biases in the marketplace says back underperforming dogs early in the regular seasonin the season

The angle indicated in the above graphic has proven good for a statistically significant 24% long-term return on investment, and has submitted only three losing seasons over the 18-year examination period.

Like so many of the systems on our radar, we believe bettors' recency bias rationalizes the consistent success of this betting guide. Given a lack of relevant performance data early in the new season, we hypothesize that the market extrapolates recent subpar outcomes into the future, and underestimates the likelihood of normalization. This cognitive propensity might be particularly pronounced with underdogs, given casual bettors' general predilection toward siding with favorites against the spread, and particularly misguided versus lower-quality teams (i.e. squads that did not make the prior postseason), who are less equipped to exploit temporary weakness.

But whatever the reason, underachieving pooches have demonstrated an exploitable ATS edge through the first quarter of the year, so we are including the Titans plus thhe field goal among our NFL betting picks for week 3.

Happy betting!!


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