Totally Covered – Week 11 NFL Picks

This week’s Over/Under betting feature has exclusive insight to our ‘Nose’ system which has been hitting over 70-percent the past four seasons

The progression of scoring in the NFL from the past few years is due to several contributing factors including automatic reviews of scoring plays and turnovers along with a crackdown on offenders for hits on a defenseless quarterback or receiver. Some of the most tried, tested and true formulas for handicapping totals have been left by the wayside as bettors and bookmakers race to stay ahead of the curve. It’s a new era in sports betting and things are constantly changing.


At Pick Sixty Sports, we spend a lot of time crunching numbers and running systems through the SDQL Sports Database that take sound principles into account while adapting to the fresh environment and one of the methods we’ve developed is “live” Sunday for the first time this season.


This system originated in 2010 when we noticed a trend of the highest scoring games consistently finishing over the total. During the second-half of that season there was eight games with a posted total greater than 49 and six of eight (75-percent) finished on the high side. Click on this SDQL link for a list of those games.


In 2011, the rate of high-total games going over dropped to 61-percent which is nothing to shake a stick at but the volume of games with a total greater than 49 skyrocketed to 38 and “Over” bettors went 23-15. The generic record in 2012-13 fell to 49-percent on 92 games; books had caught on. But home faves with high totals in the latter half of the regular season were still showing a combined 35-26 O/U record (57-percent) from 2010 to 2013, seen here.


In all games charted from 2010-13, the home team outscored its opponent 33.2-21.3 and the half-time averages were 16.5 to 10.6. After studying the games, we didn’t see any remarkable first quarter trends for side or total but in the first-half it looks like there was value playing the game over, the home fave’s team total (TT) over and laying points on the home fave (HF) in the first-half, (better than laying points in the full game, for sure).


Here is the code for games where our HF led by 4-plus points at half-time (37 of 61 games = 61-percent). The scoring averages at half-time for these games were 20.3 to 7.1 and all ATS lines were pretty good (SDQL Text: HF and total >= 48 and season >= 2010 and 11 <= week <= 17 and M2 > 3.5).


My theory is that no matter what the line, there is a 60-plus-percent chance our HF will be leading by four or more points at half-time. That’s already better than the 58-percent ATS and O/U hit rates in the general trends. With average ATS lines of 6.5, the average TTs in these games is going to be 28-31 for the HF and 21.5-24 for the road teams. In the case of this week’s Sunday Night Football game between the Patriots and Colts where the total is 57.5 and the spread is only -3, the road team’s first-half TT is 27 but keep in mind, that is the highest total we’ve seen since the New England – Denver playoff game in January (O/U 56.5).


In the 37 games where the HF led by 4-plus points at the half, eight finished with TTs UN 28, four had between 28-31 points and 27 scored more than 31 points (73-percent). The first-half TTs for these teams were posted around 14 points and of the 37 teams who led by 4-plus at the half, 33 had more than 13 points (89-percent).


Of the 24 teams who did not lead by more than four at the half, six still had more than 14 points scored and six others had exactly 14. Based on these stats, I’m seeing a 74-percent chance that plays on the first-half TTs OV 14 points will win or at worst case push (if a 14 is available).


The three games to consider this week for first-half TTs over are Philadelphia at Green Bay (OV 15.5), Cincinnati at New Orleans (OV 14.5 -120) and New England at Indianapolis (OV 15.5). You’ll note that all three of those totals are greater than 14 but as they do, the oddsmaker is catching on. By posting these totals at ‘14’ he couldn’t charge enough juice to offset the influx of money on the “Over” so instead, they try to move off a key number and hope it balances the action.


In this case, laying the extra half-point is a much better option from an expected win percentage basis and let’s be honest, we’re not making these plays hoping for a push. Each of our teams is doing a good job in first-half scoring this year with the Packers (19.8 PPG) leading the league and Indy (17 PPG) ranking third. The Saints (13 PPG) are better at home than away but if we look back over a broader span of games, the scoring relativity for our teams at home gets even better.


Scoring relativity compares first-half points for/against by teams in different situations such as home/away. We can also add parameters at that account for key elements like the post-Manning, pre-Luck season in Indy (2011) or the Sean Payton suspension season in New Orleans (2012). Factoring these variables into play, our ‘active stats’ show Indy (13.8 to 12.3), Green Bay (17.2 to 14.3) and New Orleans (16.8 to 14.9) all having stronger first-half scoring tendencies at home than second-half.


TC picks for this week are on the Packers (OV 15.5), Saints (OV 14.5) and Colts (OV 15.5) each going “Over” their posted team total in the first-half


Other handicapping factors such as weather, injuries and opposing defenses were also taken into account with these picks. For more predictions and to discuss these games please visit the Pick Sixty Sports Facebook page or drop us a line on Twitter @PickSixtySports. Good luck this weekend!