The Gambler’s NFL Power Rankings – Week 3

 

Smartphones, tablets, and laptops all stream NFL games to the palm of our hands. Want a bigger screen? There’s NFL Sunday Ticket, Fire Sticks, HDMI cables and numerous types of random adapters, which will stream video from your laptop to your TV. For the social types, there’s sports bars, restaurants, or the actual games themselves…  My point is, technology is crazy, and the access we have to sporting events is ridiculous. Even with the virtually unlimited access, and constant upgrades making the ability to catch games even more accessible, there’s one thing that will never change… It’s nearly impossible to watch all 16 NFL games, every week.

Now, there’s always that guy (or gal), the avid fan, “weekend warrior” type. 4 TVs in their living room, 2 laptops, phone, 3 tablets all tuned in to different games, who claims to be able to watch every game… If that’s you, congratulations! Most of us don’t have the time (or desire) to watch every single game, every single week. As a result, we watch highlights, read articles, and listen to podcasts/sports radio to get our information. Problem is, highlights only provide a snapshot of the excitement, and sports radio tends to be biased based on your local team. There is, however, one tool which is very useful in determining where teams stand – Power Rankings.

For sports bettors, the problem with power rankings is that they ignore one key piece of information; a team’s record against the spread. Win-Loss records are useful, but it never fails, there’s always a terrible team which always seems to cover the spread. Public perception is an important factor when handicapping, and bad teams tend to be undervalued as a result. Yes, the bad teams also tend to lose – but they still have NFL talent – and if you’ve ever bet, you know there’s only one thing that matters… Covering the spread. But, what if there was a power ranking system that combined actual, and against the spread performance?

Ahhhhh, now we’re on to something… A gambler’s power rankings system. Each week we’ll take a look at a team’s win-loss record, statistical performance, schedule strength, and various other factors in addition to their record against the spread, to help you identify the good bets, bad bets, and provide a more complete picture of all 32 teams. Bet accordingly.

1. New England Patriots
Record: 3-0
Record ATS: 3-0

If gambling were legal nationwide in the United States, betting against the Patriots would be considered a tax write off; as a charitable donation. 3rd string QB, no problem. No team does it better than the Patriots, and they always find ways to expose their opponents weaknesses. Never bet against Belichick.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers
Record: 2-0
Record ATS: 2-0

Running the ball effectively, and stopping the run, are two important factors to look at when evaluating a team. Of the players yet to play in Week 3, DeAngelo Williams leads the league in rushing (he also dons a Steelers uni), and teams are only running the ball on 23.6% of their offensive plays vs. Pittsburgh. That’s a recipe for success.

3. Denver Broncos
Record: 2-0
Record ATS: 2-0

Running the ball effectively, and stopping the… Wait, I just said that. C.J. Anderson handles the running, and we’re all well aware of what the Broncos bring on the defensive side of the ball. Siemian needs to take better care of the football, but they really don’t need him to do much.

4. Arizona Cardinals
Record: 1-1
Record ATS: 1-1

Favored by 9.5, in Foxborough, is a tough cover for even the best of teams. However, the Cardinals bounced back in Week 2, and showed us all why many believe they’ll represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Another important factor in winning games, and covering spreads – turnover ratio. The Cards have 0 giveaways thus far.

5. Carolina Panthers
Record: 1-1
Record ATS: 1-1

The Panthers secondary is young, but they still posses one of the better defenses in the league. They have the rare combination of explosive offense, and great defense. As a result, they tend to control the game (5th in time of possession).

6. Minnesota Vikings
Record: 2-0
Record ATS: 2-0

The loss of Adrian Peterson is a major blow, but this defense is special. If Bradford can continue to manage the game (as he did in Week 2), and Asiata/McKinnon can provide any semblance of a run game, they’ll find themselves in most games (and should rarely be a heavy favorite).

7. Houston Texans
Record: 2-1
Record ATS: 2-1

All hail Bill Belichick! Tough loss on Thursday, special teams mistakes being the main reason in my eyes. However, I’m not worried about the Texans. Even after that 27-0 embarrassment, they’ve give up the 10th least points per game.

8. Baltimore Ravens
Record: 2-0
Record ATS: 2-0

The Ravens defense has been surprisingly good. Granted, they played the Bills, and the Browns. Their secondary has been vulnerable at times, and the offense hasn’t quite looked in sync, but 2-0 is 2-0.

9. Philadelphia Eagles
Record: 2-0
Record ATS: 2-0

Carson Wentz looks like he’s been here before (best rookie QB in my opinion). After facing the Browns and the Bears, the Eagles will face their 1st real test; as the Steelers come into town this week. As of now, they look impressive, but we’ll see how they hold up against one of the top teams in the league.

10. Cincinnati Bengals
Record: 1-1
Record ATS: 1-1

The Bengals have 7 straight Wild Card losses… The last time they made the Division round, the Raiders were in Los Angeles. But, they always perform well in the regular season, and that shouldn’t change this season. Oh, and they’ve yet to allow a rushing TD.

11. New York Jets
Record: 1-1
Record ATS: 1-1

This is the best Jets offense I’ve seen in my lifetime, easy (no disrespect to Vinny Testaverde, Curtis Martin, Keyshawn Johnson, or Wayne Chrebet). The addition of Matt Forte was one of the most undervalued moves of the offseason, and they can score with anyone… But, can they stop the pass?

12. Green Bay Packers
Record: 1-1
Record ATS: 1-1

It’s almost been a year since Aaron Rodgers has thrown for 300 yards (11/15/15 vs. Detroit), and their defense just made Sam Bradford look good. Don’t write them off just yet, but there’s reason for concern. Remember the aforementioned public perception? Perfect example.

13. New York Giants
Record: 2-0
Record ATS: 1-1

Although their defense is vastly improved, luck has been on their side. Odell Beckham, Victor Cruz, and Sterling Shepard make up one of the better receiving corps, but they’re all kind of the same guy. The lack of a big red zone threat may end up being their downfall, and their running game has been missing for years. No reason to think they can comfortably win games.

14. San Diego Chargers
Record: 1-1
Record: 2-0 ATS

Another year, another injury(ies) for the Chargers. This team might just be cursed, but they do one thing well…  cover spreads. Can’t quite figure out if their defense is good or not, but Philip Rivers always seems to find a way to keep them in games (in both good and bad ways).

15. Kansas City Chiefs
Record: 1-1
Record ATS: 0-2

Another injury plagued team, Kansas City hasn’t even looked like a shell of themselves. They play one of the tougher schedules, and are without Jamaal Charles, so this ranking may merely be the result of a lack of options.

16. Seattle Seahawks
Record: 1-1
Record ATS: 0-2

Remember that public perception thing? Here’s another example. The Rams (who lost 28-0 to SF in Week 1), just beat them 9-3, and they’ve scored a total of 15 points in their 1st two games. It’s still entirely too early to give up on the Hawks, but remember, you were warned.

17. Dallas Cowboys
Record: 1-1
Record ATS: 1-1

The Cowboys may be undervalued here. They kind of got the push in Week 1, and then “upset” Washington in Week 2. Their offensive line, which has been heralded as one of the best ever, has given Prescott plenty of time to throw, but Elliott hasn’t found much room to run. We’ll see if the youth movement for real.

18. Tennessee Titans
Record: 1-1
Record ATS: 1-1

Remember the whole, “running the ball effectively, and stopping the run…” thing? The Titans have yet to allow a rushing TD, and have allowed the 12th fewest rushing yards. The addition of DeMarco Murray was supposed to boost their offense, but the return on investment hasn’t been there thus far.

19. Oakland Raiders
Record: 1-1
Record ATS: 1-1

Maybe this is a “We missed out on L.A.” hangover, but the team many expected the Raiders to be this season, just hasn’t shown up. They have the worst passing defense in the league, and have allowed the 3rd most points per game.

20. New Orleans Saints
Record: 0-2
Record ATS: 1-1

Much like the Raiders, the Saints defense hasn’t been good. Much like the Raiders, the Saints like to throw the ball. Much like the Raiders, the Saints haven’t lived up to expectations…. Are the Saints, and Raiders, the same team?

21. Atlanta Falcons
Record: 1-1
Record ATS: 1-1

Matt Ryan continues to put up numbers, and not get any recognition (2nd in yards, 2nd in passing TDs, 1st in Passer Rating). Problem is, their defense isn’t stopping anyone… Take the over.

22. Miami Dolphins
Record: 0-2
Record ATS: 1-1

On paper, they should be contenders, but in reality… They aren’t. They have the ability to be an explosive offense, and plenty of talent on defense. Don’t be surprised to see them move up in the next few weeks.

23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Record: 1-1
Record ATS: 1-1

Jameis Winston leads the league in INTs, their defense hasn’t been good at all (32 ppg), and to make matters worse, Doug Martin is expected to miss a few weeks… The Bucs are in for a long season.

24. Indianapolis Colts
Record: 0-2
Record ATS: 0-2

Luckily for the Colts, they play in the AFC South. Unluckily for the Colts, they’ve allowed the most points per game, 3rd most yards per game, and 2nd most sacks per game. Luckily for the Colts, they have Andrew Luck. Hopefully, his golden arm can lead them to some Ws.

25. Los Angeles Rams
Record: 1-1
Record ATS: 1-1

I really wish they’d go with the royal/yellow “throwback” jerseys on the regular. They’re no longer in St. Louis, so why do we have to be stuck with the same St. Louis nonsense? It’s already bad enough they suck. They’ve yet to score a TD, but have an amazing defense; which always keeps them in games (kind of).

26. San Francisco 49ers
Record: 1-1
Record ATS: 1-1

Remember how the Eagles looked when Chip Kelly took over? Remember how the Eagles looked when defenses adjusted?  If not, don’t buy into the hype.

27. Detroit Lions
Record: 1-1
Record ATS: 1-1

The Lions could be 2-0. The Lions could be 0-2. The Lions have a good offense. The Lions have a bad defense. The Lions are the Lions… I like lions, but not these Lions. Are there lions in Detroit?

28. Washington Redskins
Record: 0-2
Record ATS: 0-2

The defending NFC East champs were blown out by Pittsburgh, and lost to Dallas. They have no running game to speak of, and the addition of Josh Norman doesn’t seem to matter… Don’t waste your hard earned money.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars
Record: 0-2
Record ATS: 0-2

If Chris Ivory ever returns, the Jags offense will be vastly improved. However, even with Ivory, they’re about 2 years from being relevant. The defense is showing signs of improvement, and they have a talented, young offense. The results just aren’t there yet.

30. Buffalo Bills
Record: 0-2
Record ATS: 0-2

So much for challenging New England for the AFC East crown. The Bills defense has been terrible, and there offense has been… Not good. It’s only a matter of time before there’s no longer any active Ryan coaches in the league.

31. Chicago Bears
Record: 0-2
Record ATS: 0-2

The Bears made some improvements on defense, but it’s still the Bad News Bears. Turnovers, injuries, and ineptitude continue to plague this team… Can the Cubs break the curse?

32. Cleveland Browns
Record: 0-2
Record ATS: 0-2

Why draft Carson Wentz, when you have Robert Griffin III? Why worry about Josh McCown, when you have Cody Kessler? The Browns continue to draft poorly, continue to have horrible uniforms, and continue to suck at football. Maybe LeBron could suit up?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *