October 27, 2020 - by Jason Lisk
Todd Gurley scored the losing touchdown for Atlanta to keep their streak of losing close games going in 2020 (Photo by David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire)
After Week 7, we are down to just one remaining undefeated team, Pittsburgh, after Seattle and Tennessee both lost for the first time (with Tennessee’s loss coming to the Steelers). Some other highlights of Week 7:
In this post, we’ll examine not only how teams performed against the point spread and over/under lines in Week 7, but also review some of the fluky outcomes that can make ATS records misleading.
This level of analysis sometimes provides hints 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.)
The Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans came into Week 7 undefeated, with those records largely built by winning close contests late. Seattle had won four straight one-score games, including getting some key big plays at the end of several of them. The Titans also had four one-score wins, including big comebacks at Minnesota and against the Texans.
That streak of good fortune, though, ran out for both teams on Sunday. Seattle lost a shootout with Arizona after having a 10-point lead late, and suffered costly turnovers that allowed Arizona to prevail in overtime. Tennessee rallied yet again, but this time it came up short on a field goal attempt to tie the game that missed.
Meanwhile, teams suffering late-game bad luck this season didn’t all redeem themselves, as Atlanta lost yet another game where it was in a prime spot for a victory. The Falcons had already lost a big lead in part due to an onside kick gaffe (vs. Dallas), and lost a big lead to the Bears.
This time, the setup for yet another implosion was RB Todd Gurley realizing he should go down at the 1, but falling on the goal line with a minute left and Atlanta down 2 (and thus up 6 after a two-point conversion). That left just enough time for Detroit to go down the field for the game-winning score with just seconds remaining.
The New Orleans-Carolina game may not stand out as an offensive slugfest, with a final score of 27-24. But it was a game dominated by both offenses, as there were only seven possessions each, if you include the Panthers getting the ball for one play at the end of the first half and the Saints kneeling out the clock to end it.
Carolina’s 283 total yards may seem low, but they averaged 47 yards a drive (throwing out the one play before half). The Saints, meanwhile, averaged 59 yards per drive.
The teams combined to go 18 of 23 on third down, and there was only one punt all game. The last third down for Carolina, though, was the decisive one, as Teddy Bridgewater was sacked and then the Panthers tried and missed a 65-yard field goal on fourth and long to try to tie the game.
The Chiefs put up 43 points on Sunday, but did so with only 286 yards of offense. A pick-six, a kickoff return for a touchdown, and lots of other Denver miscues set Kansas City up with advantageous field position, and the Chiefs were able to win again without a big offensive game.
The glass-half-empty take is that Kansas City’s offense hasn’t been as dominant or consistent as expected, at least so far. The glass-half-full take is that the other facets of the team have also contributed to victories so far in 2020, with two wins coming in games where the offense had less than 20 first downs (also the New England game), and by running the ball all over Buffalo.
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 7, home teams went 6-8 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 43.8% SU and 37.5% ATS through the first seven weeks of the season, performing even worse than this year. When sample sizes of games are small, you can see more extreme trends such as this one.
Over the previous five seasons (2015-2019), home teams have won 54.2% SU and 47.0% ATS in the first seven weeks. So 2020 is a little below the overall season-long home team win rate from the last five years so far, but above the through-Week-7 rate from a year ago.
That makes it hard to say for certain just how much of the reduced home field advantage is a function of fewer or no fans, versus a general downward trend in home field advantage in recent years.
Here’s how some of the more standard spilts look after Week 7:
|TYPE||ATS W||ATS L||ATS T||ATS %|
Overs and Unders were evenly split in Week 7, and Overs are now 53-49-2 on the season (51.9%). While the betting market has mostly caught up with higher scoring in 2020, scoring remains high compared to historical years, and large comebacks and big point swings seem to be becoming more of the norm.
We are now seven weeks into the season, and the current scoring average of total points per game is four points higher than any season average in NFL history (2013, 46.8). We’ll have to see if scoring comes down closer to historical norms over the second half of the 2020 season.
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.
Average Points Scored Per Game, By Season
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 7 Team ATS Records Based On Turnovers, Missed Field Goals, and Failed 4th Down Attempts
|Team||Turnovers||FG Miss||Downs||TOTAL||ATS Result|
Tampa Bay was the only team to have no miscues; Green Bay’s only one was a blocked punt. At the other end of the spectrum, teams with 4 or more miscues ended up 1-4 ATS in Week 7. The only win/cover was Arizona, who got a rare three total interceptions of Russell Wilson to counteract their own mistakes.
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 continue to bring up the bottom of the list and have an 0-7 ATS record.
Teams that are a net +10 or better on miscues so far this season are 21-9-1 ATS; teams that are a net -10 or worse are 7-20 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|
Printed from TeamRankings.com - © 2005-2020 Team Rankings, LLC. All Rights Reserved.