2007 NFL Point Spread Results and Trends

Are some teams better than others against the spread (ATS)?

Let us look at the 2007 NFL point spread results and talk a bit about over-reactions in the market across years. Let us look also at the percentage of wins against the spread for the past 5 years and see if there are certain teams generally under/over performing against the spread.

Last year, New England was quite fascinating to watch during the market. At first, the market was not able to keep up and New England started on an 8-1 run. Then it over-reacted, placed the spread over 20 points several times and ended up the year at 53% ATS. Green Bay on the other hand, was playing solid, causing less distractions in the media, and gamblers waiting for them to crumble, but it did not happen until the semi-finals. They kept their cool and finished last year at the top with 77% ATS.

According to a paper published in '03, there is no statistical evidence that the spread is biased either for specific teams or divisions. But let us take a closer look at the percentage of wins ATS in the past 5 seasons and a 5-year average.

In my opinion, the right question to ask yourselves this year is, which teams will be over-and-under estimated? Meaning, which teams will get high spreads when they should not and vice-versa? Which teams are getting a lot of media attention about their playing ability (either good or bad)?

You can make your own conclusions about the numbers above, but I would like to mention a couple of key points:
  • I would not now bet for New England or against Oakland in every game. I would rather evaluate which team is being over or underestimated
  • There seems to be a bit of over-reaction. Meaning teams that do very well one or two years, get underestimated next year, see Tennessee, Chicago, and Seattle with the biggest exception being Oakland.
  • On average, no team seems to be constantly over or under-rated

So who are possible counter-reaction teams for the 2008 season?
  • Denver, underestimated
  • New Orleans, underestimated
  • Cleveland, overestimated
  • Buffalo, overestimated
  • Oakland and Miami, seem to be very over-rated the past few year, but will they have enough this year to surprise the market?