October 20, 2020 - by Jason Lisk
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers shut down the Green Bay Packers (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)
NFL Week 6 saw some top defensive performances in a year where scoring has been off the charts. Some examples:
In this post, we’ll dig into the data to examine not only how teams performed against the point spread and over/under lines in Week 6, but also review some of the fluky, improbable outcomes that can make ATS records misleading.
This level of analysis often provides clues as to which teams may be setting up well to cover the spread in the future.
(To search for your own NFL betting trends, we invite you to use the beta version of our BetIQ Trend Finder Tool.)
Having Houston +4 against Tennessee was probably the better side of it, but things didn’t work out late for the cover. Houston, already up by 1, scored a touchdown just inside the two-minute warning. But from that point on, everything went wrong.
Interim head coach Romeo Crennel opted to go for two to try to guarantee the victory, in a game where both offenses had already scored 30 points. That decision is justifiable, though not clear cut, and comes down to whether you trust your own offense to score or your defense to stop a two-point attempt (if the Titans scored).
With the average NFL two-point conversion rate right around 50%, and with both offenses doing well, it was certainly understandable.
Unfortunately for Texans backers, it set the stage for a bad beat. Houston, up by 7 after the failed conversion, gave up a last-second TD to Tennessee to tie it. Then, the Titans won the toss, and went down the field and scored again, so that Houston never saw the ball again after that failed conversion. The Texans went from up 7 (and potentially up 8) with less than two minutes to play, to a 6-point loss and the non-cover.
The New York Jets dropped to 0-6 while also maintaining a perfect 0-6 record against the spread. And they did so in style, scoring zero points.
It’s fairly astonishing that Adam Gase is still the Jets head coach, but we may be in a situation where the franchise figures the best way to secure the top overall pick is by keeping him around.
The Jets’ double of going without a win both against the spread and straight up had us wondering, so we had to check. Going back to 1985, there are only six other teams that started 0-6 while not covering the spread in any of the losses. So the Jets’ start is not completely unprecedented:
|Year||Team||W||L||W (ATS)||L (ATS)||T (ATS)|
The teams in the table above averaged 3.2 wins, while covering the spread 57.5% of the time for the rest of the season. So the lines could eventually catch up to the Jets and provide some value later in the season, assuming Gase doesn’t continue to find new ways to make the team worse.
One of the things we are tracking this year is how home teams are performing, with many teams playing in front of no fans to start the year. In Week 6, home teams went 7-7 straight up and 6-8 ATS.
Weekly NFL Home Team Records, 2020 Season To Date
|Week||W||L||T||WIN PCT||ATS W||ATS L||ATS T||ATS PCT|
However, last year, home teams were only 45.0% SU and 38.3% ATS in the first six weeks of the season, performing even worse than this year.
Over the previous five seasons (2015-2019), home teams have won 54.5% SU and 47.3% ATS in the first six weeks. So home teams having a sub-50% ATS record so far in 2020 still doesn’t buck any recent historical trend.
Here’s how some of the more standard spilts look after Week 6:
|TYPE||ATS W||ATS L||ATS T||ATS %|
Scoring continued to regress back a bit in Week 6, though it is still higher than recent past seasons. Ten of 14 games went under the number and games averaged fewer than 50 points scored for the week.
Overs are now 47-43-1 on the season (52.2%). So while scoring is up, the over/under betting market has effectively caught up with that increase, and unders have been profitable for the last two weeks.
Here’s a running tally of how overall NFL scoring so far in 2020 compares to the full season averages of recent seasons, based on average total points scored per game:
In this section each week, we list a summary of drives that ended with turnovers, but not only official turnovers like interceptions and fumbles.
We also tally up other high-leverage events that likely led to either loss of points or great field position for an opponent. Safeties and blocked punts are included in turnovers, and blocked field goals are included in missed field goal attempts.
Week 6 Team ATS Records Based On Turnovers, Missed Field Goals, and Failed 4th Down Attempts
|Team||Turnovers||FG Miss||Downs||TOTAL||ATS Result|
Teams with 4 or more turnovers, missed field goals or failed attempts went 2-6 ATS. The two wins were the Titans, who came back and covered as a favorite when trailing by 7 late, and the Eagles, who had two failed fourth down attempts, a turnover, and a missed field goal and still came within a two-point conversion of tying the Baltimore Ravens.
Teams that had zero drives end in those events went 4-2 ATS, with the two spread losses being the aforementioned Texans and Ravens.
Here’s a summary of the full season so far showing the net number of drives ending in turnovers or miscues for each team.
The top of this list, where teams have created more turnovers or benefited from more miscues, features a lot of teams with winning spread records. On the other end, the Dallas Cowboys are dead last in both turnovers and turnovers forced, which contributes to an 0-6 record ATS.
2020 Season Summary, Drives Ending in Turnovers or Other Failed Plays
Finally, here are updated against the point spread and over/under records so far in 2020. You can check out more trends on our BetIQ NFL betting trends page.
2020 NFL ATS and O/U Records
|Team||W||L||T||Streak ATS||Over||Under||Push||O/U Streak|
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