2011 NFL Preseason Projections Review: Our Division Futures Picks Would Have Doubled Your Bankroll

A few weeks ago we reviewed our preseason college football projections, and found that they would have been quite profitable to bet.

While our NFL preseason picks weren’t quite so profitable, they were still pretty darn good.

We made two core types of preseason predictions: team win total over/unders, and division futures bets. If you had simply followed all our picks, both types of bets would have turned a tidy profit.

Shall we start with the good news, or the better news? We’ll go with ‘good’ first.

2011 NFL Team Win Totals: +31% ROI

We laid out all of our 2011 NFL team win total over-under predictions in a single blog post, which highlighted the projected chance for each team to go over their total, under their total, or push. The post also noted where our projections showed there was value in the offshore sportsbook odds.

Here’s a review of those projections, along with whether each pick was correct, and what the profit would have been for betting exactly one unit on each:

TeamPinnacle O/UTR ProjectionTR Value PickActual WinsResultNet
Arizona Cardinals6.57--8----
Atlanta Falcons10.510.4Over +14510x(1.00)
Baltimore Ravens1110.9Over +18812WIN1.88
Buffalo Bills57.3Over -1646WIN0.61
Carolina Panthers4.56.6Over -1216WIN0.83
Chicago Bears8.57.7--8----
Cincinnati Bengals5.58.4Over -1149WIN0.88
Cleveland Browns6.55.3Under +1174WIN1.17
Dallas Cowboys98--8----
Denver Broncos66.7Over +1258WIN1.25
Detroit Lions7.56.8Under +12710x(1.00)
Green Bay Packers11.510.8--15----
Houston Texans86.9Under +19310x(1.00)
Indianapolis Colts9.58.7Under +1052WIN1.05
Jacksonville Jaguars67.1--5----
Kansas City Chiefs86.7--7----
Miami Dolphins89.6Over +1456x(1.00)
Minnesota Vikings78.2Over -1033x(1.00)
New England Patriots11.510.3Under -10513x(1.00)
New Orleans Saints109.4Under +10513x(1.00)
New York Giants9.59.6Over +1289x(1.00)
New York Jets108.5Under -1308WIN0.77
Oakland Raiders76.2--8----
Philadelphia Eagles10.58.7Under +1438WIN1.43
Pittsburgh Steelers119.9--12----
San Diego Chargers109.3Under +1208WIN1.20
San Francisco 49ers87.6Over +16613WIN1.66
Seattle Seahawks6.56.2Over +1577WIN1.57
St Louis Rams7.55.2Under -1232WIN0.81
Tampa Bay Buccaneers86.2Under -1474WIN0.68
Tennessee Titans6.58.9Over -1309WIN0.77
Washington Redskins6.56.7Over +1775x(1.00)
Total15-9+7.56 (+31%)

Betting one unit on every highlighted pick would have given you a healthy +31% return on your investment (ROI).

That’s not too shabby … unless you compare it to our division futures picks.

2011 NFL Division Futures: +120% ROI

Our division future picks were split across several posts that each highlighted one or two divisions. (Links to all of those can be found in our 2011 AFC West & NFC West preview.)

These picks were not necessarily the teams that we thought were most likely to win their division. Instead, they were the teams who were most underrated by the the odds. For the most part those were longshots or underdogs that we projected with a better chance of winning than they were being given credit for.

Here they all are, sorted from shortest odds to longest odds:

TeamTo WinOddsImplied%TR Pred%ResultNet
New York GiantsNFC East29/1025.6%38.5%WIN+2.9
San Francisco 49ersNFC West29/1025.6%34.5%WIN+2.9
Tennessee TitansAFC South6/114.3%34.7%x-1
Seattle SeahakwsNFC West98/109.3%21.7%x-1
Denver BroncosAFC West11/18.3%19.2%WIN+11
Minnesota VikingsNFC North11/18.3%20.7%x-1
Cincinnati BengalsAFC North22/14.3%17.6%x-1
Buffalo BillsAFC West27/13.6%12.8%x-1
Carolina PanthersNFC South29/13.3%12.2%x-1
Total1.0 correct2.1 correct3 correct+10.8 (+120%)

These picks performed even better than the team win total picks, and would have more than doubled your money, with a +10.8 unit profit on only 9 units bet.

This was the first year we’ve published preseason projections using this method, and while we were confident in our data and models, we weren’t 100% sure everything would pan out as well as we hoped.

But given the results shown in the above tables, we’re going to have to label this project a success, and we look forward to applying these methods again next year.