The prevalent topic in the news has been the NFL Draft. The draft was the only event that has taken place for a major sport since March. It was produced in a virtual way where no one was violating social distancing rules and there were no crowds. It set a record for viewership with over 15 million viewers. Based on what I know about the teams, needs, style of play, coaches, and the players; there were many teams that addressed their situations very well. There are always those teams we do not know what it had in mind by selecting the players they did (Green Bay come to mind for this draft) but be incredibly careful judging these drafts. I would suggest an overall caution regarding “us”, the ones who are not in the know but think we are experts. The idea that we know more about the player or the coaches’ abilities to develop players, and what the team saw in the player than the team does is simply wrong. It is not true. Over time we could see if the draft played well or if it did not.
What we should be doing is evaluating how the new talent integrates with the existing players and how will this team project into the upcoming season (setting initial power ratings). Vegas sets a number for total wins on the season for each team. The betting market bets into those numbers effecting or influencing the original win totals either up or down based on the volume of dollars wagered. The market is influenced by injuries, projections, draftees, and free agent signings etc. Keep in mind there is no NFL schedule for 2020 yet, but we do know who the teams will play. This is important as we want to “play out” season based on making lines. The NFL will play 16 games in 2020 but will play 17 in 2021. The NFL will expand the playoff structure from 12 teams to 14 for the 2020 season. These are important to know as they will help us formulate the beginning of opinions on teams.
We are going to establish a point spread above or below average for every team based on the season win totals. This will be the basis of our preliminary power ratings. As we get more information or discover key injuries or suspensions, perhaps even trades, we can tweak these numbers going forward. So, let us learn how this works. We will work with winning percentages, then convert those into a power rated line to an average team. We work with a couple teams to get some comparisons. Let’s start with Arizona. Draft Kings and FanDuel are both set at 7 wins for the season. We will divide 7 by 16 game season at we will get .437 winning percentage. They are anticipated to achieve less than .500 which would be a power rating line of 0, so will be looking at ARI as a dog to an average team. We need to convert .437 into a money line then that money line into a spread. Using .437 as implied probability, the conversion to a money line is +128.83. The calculation looks like this =IF(Probability<50, 100-Proabability)/Probability)*100). The conversion from +128.83 to a spread is +2.5. This means ARI is a 2.5-point underdog to an average team. The Cleveland Browns win total is 8. There really is no conversion necessary here as this team is 0 to an average team. If they played ARI at home, they would be -2.5 plus their home field edge of like 3, so CLE would be -5.5 vs ARI. Dallas Cowboys are 9.5-win total. That win total is .593-win percentage, which converts to -145.7 money line. This converts into -2.5 over an average team. Against ARI at home, DAL would be -2.5 + their home field of 3, plus the ARI 2.5 dog for grand total of 8-point favorites. I have done this for you for all the teams. The following chart will reflect all the teams and their power rank. You can now make a line for every game each team will play thus assume favorites will win most of their games which will allow you to make logical season win total wagers.
Let us look at TB for a minute. Their win total is 9.5. Based on the teams that they play, (HOME GMS: ATL, CAR, GB, KC, LAC, LAR, MIN, NO, AWAY GMS: NYG, ATL CAR, CHI, DEN, DET, NO, LV) TB will be a favorite in every game they play but 2 games (KC home and NO away)! I would suggest that TB OVER the 9.5 is a pretty sound wager!