Week 14 Misleading Results

Last week I dove into why it’s important to understand the difference between predictable performance metrics and final score. As an update to the numbers:

  • Teams coming off a deceiving win are now 12-24 ATS in their following game. When that win is very deceiving (Rating difference of 0.3+, which equates to around 3-4 points), teams are 3-13 ATS in their following game.
  • Teams coming off a deceiving loss are now 22-14 ATS in their following game. When that loss is very deceiving, teams are 12-5 ATS in their following game.

So each week I’ll recap which games had the most deceiving result and the signal for betting the following week. This week these signals obviously have to take a back seat due to how much Covid has impacted the slate, but I’ll track it anyway as good practice and for maintaining a good pulse on these teams.

Only two games had a misleading result this week, and both went into overtime so I’m not sure the signal will be particularly strong this week. Most people recognize that both of these games could have gone either way. Still, one falls into the “very misleading” category.

SF 26 (4.77) – CIN 23 (5.10)

Most people caught the end of this game and came away with the impression that the 49ers deserved to win because they missed a 47-yard field goal as time expired, then drove down the field for a touchdown on their first overtime possession. But the 49ers were not good in regulation, before some key Bengals defensive players got hurt. They had 12 drives and the Bengals only had 9. The Bengals muffed two punts, setting up short fields for the 49ers that led to a field goal and a touchdown. They also missed a 46-yard field goal. The 49ers struggled to the run the ball, and they are not a great team when they rely on the pass. Despite all the mistakes, the Bengals showed some real life in the second half in a spirited comeback attempt. The 49ers were very good late but this game would not have even gone to overtime without the special teams gaffes. Those tend not to be predictive, particularly when put in context of their outsized impact on the game. The signal says back the Bengals (+3) against Denver and fade the 49ers (-9.5) against Atlanta.

TB 33 (5.25) – BUF 27 (5.31)

This one barely counts because everybody knows this game could have gone either way. But I include it for completeness and also because the Bills have now suffered two misleading losses in a row, which is a major signal. It’s tough to see value on them laying so many against the Panthers, but it may be the right move. In this game, the Bills held fast despite a slow start and really dominated down the stretch in a tough environment. I don’t like blaming results on calls when there are so many moments that decide a game, but the refs’ decision to swallow the whistle in key moments in the Bucs’ favor, then make an ostensibly bad call in overtime on the Bills to set up the big touchdown play certainly helped. Ultimately my takeaway from this game is that both the Bills and the Bucs are elite NFL teams and capable of winning the Super Bowl. For now, there’s a very small signal to back BUF (-11.5) against the Panthers and fade TB (-11.5) against the Saints. But I also love taking this in a different direction, and backing the Bills to win the AFC (+600) or even the Super Bowl (+1200) in a massive buy-low opportunity.

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