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By Joe Gavazzi, Winning Sports Advice

Tuesday, October 4, 2016



Last week, I published an Article entitled “2016 CFB Double Rushers and the 200 Club.”  In the Article, I noted the continued importance of using a balanced offense (the 200 Club) and dominance at the point of attack (the Double Rushers), as they pertain to pointspread success in college football.  Each of the two situations have produced 75% winners this millennium.  In today’s Article, I switch gears and show you that dominating the line of scrimmage in the NFL is every bit as important as College Football.  In fact, as you will see, it has evolved into over 80% winning situations.


To the uninformed, it would appear that NFL offense has changed dramatically in the last 30 years.  No longer are teams relying on “off-tackle” and “trap” plays for success at the line of scrimmage.  The West Coast offense has become an integral part of the NFL and NFL QBs (now more than ever) are throwing the ball down field for gains of 20 or more yards.  The positive for the NFL fan is that scoring is up several points to an average of greater than 45 PPG, as compared to a stodgy low in recent seasons of 42 PPG.  As I will show you below, however, the key to pointspread success is running the football consistently and with proficiency.  Below, I point out 3 ways to use the running numbers of today’s NFL games to your advantage.  And, you will not want to miss a pair of “Bonus” angles at the end of this report, which have gone 93% and 100% this season.


1.  30+ Yards Run Differential … through a brief period of trial and error, some 20 years ago, I noted the success of teams, who were outrushing their opponents.  Over time, I determined the magic number to be a 30 yard per game differential.  In fact, THIS MILLENNIUM, TEAMS WHO OUTRUSHED THEIR OPPONENTS BY 30 OR MORE YARDS IN NFL GAMES HAVE COVERED THE POINTSPREAD 74% OF THE TIME.!  Through 4 weeks of play in the 2016 NFL season, the record is 33-9 ATS (79%).


2.  Offensive Rush Attempts are a Key … whether a team is successfully establishing their ground game in the first half, or using that rushing attack for ball and clock control to maintain their lead in the 4thquarter, there is little doubt that this situation is a major money maker.  NFL teams run the ball approximately 26 times per game on average.  WHEN ONE NFL TEAM RUNS THE BALL 30 OR MORE TIMES IN A GAME (AND THEIR OPPONENT DOES NOT), THEY HAVE BEATEN THE SPREAD 86% OF THE TIME IN THE LAST 5 YEARS.  This 2016 NFL season, through 4 weeks of play, the record is 29-5 ATS (85%).


3.  Defensive Rush Attempts are also a Key … the corollary of No. 2 above is equally valuable in isolating NFL pointspread winners. Whether it is a team being unable to establish their ground game early on, or being forced to pass the ball in the 4th quarter (2 out of 3 results are bad), there is no doubt that teams who fail to control the line of scrimmage with their running game are a poor pointspread proposition.  Follow this tenet to extraordinary pointspread success:  PLAY AGAINST ANY NFL TEAM, WHO RUNS THE BALL 22 OR LESS TIMES IN A GAME, IF OUR TEAM DOES NOT.  The 5 year record for this situation is 85% pointspread winners, including a record of 39-4 ATS (89%) after 4 weeks of the 2016 NFL season.


Naysayers of the hypotheses will point out that they are purely back-fitted results.  There is no argument from this bureau about that fact!   Rather, the point is that if you are able to determine through statistical analysis or via fundamental matchups, which team will dominate in running yards and running attempts, you will significantly increase your ATS performance in the NFL.


If you are excited about putting the above running statistics to use in your own handicapping, wait till you hear the 2 Bonus statistics that I am about to provide you!


IN ANY NFL GAME, IN WHICH THE LINE IS 6 OR LESS POINTS, THE TEAM WHO WINS THE GAME STRAIGHTUP, COVERS THE POINTSPREAD 90% OF THE TIME.  After 4 weeks of play this 2016 NFL season, that situation is 42-3 ATS (93%).  If 93% is not good enough for you, consider a 2016 situation which is a perfect 100%.


PLAY ANY NFL TEAM, WHO IN A GIVEN GAME HAS A +3 OR BETTER TURNOVER MARGIN IN THE GAME.  This situation has produced 93% winners over the course of time and this season is a perfect 12-0 ATS (100%).


Much like the above running numbers, these Bonus stats are clearly back-fitted.  Regarding turnovers, it is a statistical fact that TO margins in any given year tend to regress to the mean.  Isolating the outliers in any given week and playing this return to the average can be an important indicator in ATS outcome and handicapping success.  And, while I strongly advocate shopping for every ½ point available in the NFl, there is little doubt that you should focus more of your efforts, in competitively priced games, on the outright winner.  Until next time, good luck! 



By: Joe Gavazzi, Winning Sports Advice

October 6th, 2015


If you have been following along since early August, I have written numerous articles regarding the importance of the running game, as a statistical indicator, to isolate ATS success.  The 2 major areas that we focused on were the disparity in the opponents’ rushing yardage in a specific game, as well as the number of rushing attempts.  In addition, we reviewed numbers regarding TO margin and the way in which those numbers impact the pointspread.


From a historical perspective, I noted that teams who outrush their opponent by 30 or more yards in any given game had a 75% chance to beat the pointspread this millennium.  That statistic has held true in the previous 4 seasons, leading up to 2015 with a record of 515-171 ATS (75.1%).  In a similar way, recent history has shown us that any team, who runs the ball for 30 or more times in a game, while their opponent does not, has been an 81% pointspread winner in recent seasons.  At the other end of the spectrum, we find that playing AGAINST any NFL team who runs the ball 22 or less times in a game, if their opponent does not, has been an 84% ATS winner. 


With that historical background, let’s take a look at how these indicators have held up at the Quarter Poll of the NFL Season, in which most teams have played 4 games.


·         32-11 ATS (74.4%) … the record for any NFL team who outrushes their opponent by 30 or more yards in a given game.

·         31-5 ATS (86.1%) … the record for any NFL team who runs the football 30 or more times, if their opponent does not.

·         27-7 ATS (79.4%) … the record to play AGAINST any NFL team who runs the ball 22 or fewer times, if their opponent does not.


These rushing statistics, as you can see, are very similar to the long-term records indicating that teams who control the line of scrimmage, present a positive correlation between a successful running game and ATS success.  Though these statistics are back fit to the results, it points out the importance of focusing on teams who control the line of scrimmage, when handicapping football games.


Any NFL handicapping model will never be successful, if it is forced to overcome multiple TOs in a game.  The long-term record of NFL teams with a +3 net TO margin or better is approximately 92%.  In the previous 4 seasons, this record was 177-16 ATS (91.7%).  Now, let’s take a look at how that record has played out this season.  Plus, I will add an additional record of NFL teams with a (+2) net TO margin and a (+1) net TO margin.


·         13-0 ATS (100%) … any NFL team who has a (+3) or more net TO margin for a game.

·         6-3 ATS (67%) … any NFL team who has a (+2) or more net TO margin for a game (this will most likely approach 80% by year end).

·         24-6 ATS (80%) … any NFL team who is exactly (+1) net TO margin for a game (this statistic will most likely regress to the 70% range at the conclusion of the year).

·         43-9 ATS (82.7%) … the 4 week record this NFL season of any NFL team who has a positive net TO margin in a game.


The TO pointspread records above are mind-boggling, considering how hard most of us work to get on the right side of an NFL contest.  When your well-analyzed NFL winner goes up in flames, the first place to look is the net TO differential.


In late August, I also quoted a statistic to you regarding how important it is to “just pick a winner” in competitively priced NFL games.  From a historical perspective, in any game where the opening pointspread number is 6 or fewer points, there is a 90% chance that the team who wins the game SU, will also cover the pointspread.  In the most recent 4 seaosns, that record has played to form with a log of 562-59 ATS for a record of ( 90.5%).  Let’s take a look at how this is holding up through the first 4 weeks of the season.


·         50-3 ATS (94.4%) … the ATS record of any NFL team who wins the game SU, if the opening line is 6 or less points.


In regard to this final mind-blowing statistic, I am NOT advocating that you stop shopping for lines when you are making your NFL wagers.  Rather, I am suggesting that you focus your attention on competitively priced NFL games with the SU winner, rather than agonizing over the pointspread when making your selection.  In short, “just pick a winner” in competitively priced NFL games and you will do just fine with the ATS outcome.





By:  Joe Gavazzi, Winning Sports Advice

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015


Last week, I authored an article entitled “Rehearsal Reversal.”  It was based on the fact that Week 3 in the NFL Preseason is a “dress rehearsal” for many teams.  As such, the theory is that, much like in the regular season, winning and losing streaks are hard to come by for most teams.  History has shown us that teams who are 0-2 SU tended to bounce back with a victory in Week 3.  Conversely, teams who were 3-0 SU tended to rest on their laurels in Week 3.  Such was not the case in NFL-Ex Week 3 games from Friday, August 28th to Sunday, August 30th

4-2 ATS … teams who were 0-2 SU going into Week 3

2-6 ATS … playing AGAINST teams who were 2-0 SU into Week 3

This combined record of 6-8 ATS is further proof that any small sample of previously successful trends can easily be reversed over a short period of time.  It is why it is essential that for complete handicapping analysis to be successful in the long term, that it must be a blend of fundamental (statistical), situational, as well as technical handicapping.  The other indicators which we have followed in NFL-Ex season were largely successful.  To a high degree, they reflect the findings that have worked consistently over the years in the NFL.  These statistical indicators are less clear than situational and technical numbers which reflect raw data from a historical sample.  In our world of statistical NFL handicapping, we are required to dig deep and do projections about what the results will be.  The better we do our job in that regard, the more successful we will be.

During the month of August, I authored numerous articles in which I pointed out the success that you can have against the spread by projecting the running numbers for an NFL game.  We do this through YTD statistical numbers, which include running attempts and running attempts allowed, as well as rushing yardage and yards per rush for and against.  When these matchup positively in a specific game, we anticipate that history will reflect the future.  These numbers again showed strong in Week 3.  Consider the following results:

8-0 ATS … teams who run the ball for 30+ yards in a game, if their opponent does not (13-0 ATS L2W)

7-1 ATS … play AGAINST any NFL team who runs the ball 22 or less times a game, if their opponent does not (13-1 ATS L2W)

7-3 ATS … play any NFL team who outrushes their opponent by 30 or more yards in a game (15-5 ATS L2W)

Admittedly, this is a very small sample.  Yet, even in NFL-Ex play, these numbers are highly representative of the results discussed in previously authored articles.

There are other interesting indicators we follow in Preseason football.  Many of which have been successful, both this year and in the past.  

13-2 ATS L3W… play any than greater .500 team from last year, who did not make the playoffs (KC, Buffalo, Philadelphia, San Diego, Houston)

16-11 ATS L3W …play any non-playoff team from last year AGAINST a playoff team from last year.    

These results reflect preseason thinking that teams who did not make the playoffs last year have more to prove the following August and that there is value in the betting line as a result of their substandard performance the previous year.  As you can see, this line of thinking was again solid this 2015 Exhibition season.  

Finally, it must be noted that our concept of “pick a winner” in competitively priced games has again held true this 2015 NFL-Ex season.  Consider the following results which accurately reflect the 90% pointspread accuracy of this situation over the course of time.

42-5-1 ATS … in games where the opening line is 6 or less, the ATS record of teams who win the game straight up.

There you have it, a Rewind of Week 3 from a statistical and technical perspective based on the final scores!  It is a strong endorsement of the fact that we focus our NFL handicapping on the fundamental and statistical analysis we do, allowing situational and technical trends to fill in the gaps.  Week 4 is clearly the hardest week of NFL-Ex to handicap, since the focus of virtually all teams is to prevent any more injuries as they prepare for the regular season the following week.  Fortunately for us, there are 40 CFB games to offer plenty of pointspread winners this week.



By:  Joe Gavazzi, Winning Sports Advice

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015


In early August 2015, I penned numerous articles about NFL handicapping.  Included were a series of topics in which I pointed out the importance of handicapping the running game, when focusing on NFL pointspread winners.  Week 2 of NFL-Ex play normally sees starters play into the 2nd quarter.  It is our first look at where teams may be headed in the upcoming season.  For that reason, it is an important exercise to check our NFL ATS indicators against the results.  

There is very positive news!  The patient is alive and well, functioning just as anticipated.  This article will review the success of our indicators that will give hope for their efficiency once again this 2015 FB season.  

The 16-game, Week 2 card, was completed with Tampa Bay’s total domination of Cincinnati in a 25-11 victory.  That put a positive conclusion on a week that was most rewarding for our indicators.  Consider the following:  

In the first of a series of NFL articles, I began by relating the fact that NFL TEAMS WHO OUTRUSH THEIR OPPONENT BY 30 OR MORE YARDS ARE A 75% ATS WINNING POINTSPREAD PLAY THIS MILLENIUM.  In Week 2 of NFL-Ex, 10 teams outrushed their opposition by 30 or more yards.  The record was 8-2 ATS (80%).  

Next in line, came an article on rushing attempts.  The thinking was that if you were able to control the ball overland against your opponent, it would result in pointspread success.  The thinking went like this: PLAY ANY NFL TEAM WHO RUNS THE BALL 30 OR MORE TIMES PER GAME, IF THEIR OPPONENT DOES NOT.  The record for Week 2 of NFL-Ex was 5-0 ATS with winners on Washington, Chicago, New England, San Francisco and Tampa Bay.

The corollary to the above angle was to PLAY AGAINST ANY NFL TEAM WHO RUNS THE BALL 22 OR LESS TIMES PER GAME, IF THEIR OPPONENT DOES NOT.  The Week 2 record for this situation was 6-0 ATS with winners coming by PLAYING AGAINST Detroit, NY Jets, New Orleans, Green Bay, Dallas and Cincinnati.     


Yet another article showed the importance of turnovers in the NFL.  It showed us that regardless of how the other facets of the game played out, it was very hard to overcome a TO margin of 3 or more.  I summed up the situation by telling you that ANY TEAM WITH A +3 OR MORE NET TO MARGIN IN AN NFL GAME HAS A 92% CHANCE TO COVER THE POINTSPREAD.  Teams with a +3 net TO margin in Week 2 went a perfect 3-0 ATS with winners on the NY Jets, San Francisco and Tampa Bay.  

Furthermore, we noted that in NFL action, where the line is 6 or less points, we can have great success, if we just pick the SU winner.  The angle read IN ANY NFL GAME, WHERE THE OPENING LINE IS 6 OR LESS POINTS, THE SU WINNER OF THE GAME HAS A 90% ATS PROFICIENCY.  In Week 2 of NFL-Ex, every game had an opening line of 6 or less points.  The SU winner of the game was 14-2 ATS with the lone exception being Kansas City and, a contest in which there is a flip of the favorite between Carolina and Miami.  

Finally, here are some other notes of interest from 2015 NFL-Ex season to date.  

·         8-2 SU ATS PLAY ON any greater than .500 team from the previous season who did NOT make the playoffs last year (KC, Buffalo, Philly, San Diego and Houston).

·         11-6 SU ATS PLAY ANY NON PLAYOFF TEAM from last year against a playoff team from last year.  This situation was 7-2 SU ATS in Week 2.

·         40.6 … the average O/U number for Week 2.

·         38.8 … the average score per game for Week 2, resulting in 7 OVERS and 9 UNDERS.

From the stat review above, I would say our indicators are on the right track for the upcoming 2015 FB season.  I will continue to track these and other results in the FB season, as I have each week for the last 36 years.  Stay tuned for more enlightening results!



By, Joe Gavazzi

Winning Sports Advice

August 5, 2015


Following an article of a similar ilk on 2015 CFB teams, this article, and its companion article on OVERRATED teams, deals with subjective projections of the upcoming NFL season.  

One major caveat for this article; this regards the regular season of NFL, and as such its intent is NOT to be used for preseason football in the next month.  For, that is an animal unto itself.  Neither does this article include the many changes that could happen during preseason, including injuries of key players.  With that rejoinder, let’s take a look at 5 teams, in alphabetical order, that I believe may be UNDERRATED by the linemaker as we enter the 2015 season. Criterion for the list includes:

·         Personnel, including coaching changes made in the offseason.  

·         The results from last season compared to previous years.

·         The season-ending momentum of the team, good or bad, and how it may impact this year’s team.

With the above as a background, I present a thumbnail sketch of 5 teams, who I believe will outperform expectations in 2015.  

Atlanta Falcons - HC Dan Quinn (1st year)

Following a 14-4 SU, 11-7 ATS 2012 season, the Falcons nosedived under former HC Smith.  The last 2 seasons Atlanta was a combined 10-22 SU, 14-18 ATS.  When they lost the embarrassing finale to rival Carolina (34-3), it was the final straw for the Atlanta coaching career of HC Smith.  Main culprit could be considered a defense that in the last 2 seasons allowed 27 PPG and 389 YPG.  Enter former Seattle DC Dan Quinn to reverse the carnage.  It helps that the Falcons will face one of the easiest schedules in the NFL this season and that the hire of new OC Kyle Shanahan will blend with returning QB Ryan to maintain the offensive excellence.  Never easy to back a 1st year HC for improvement, but the work done by Quinn in Seattle speaks for itself.  Fade the Falcon at your own risk!

Buffalo Bills – HC Rex Ryan (1st year)

Gone is the Buffalo experiment that was hiring former Syracuse HC, Doug Marrone, to pilot an NFL team.  Despite a 9-7 SU ATS record, the Bills failed to reach the playoffs, following 3 consecutive seasons of 6-10 SU.  That’s now 16 years since suffering Buffalo fans have had a playoff party.  New ownership in the form of Terry Pegula vows to return the Bills to the promised playoff land.  With that comes the hire of former NY Jets HC, Rex Ryan.  After 6 seasons with the Fly Boys (the 1st 2 of which resulted in conference championship appearances), Ryan’s Jets failed to crack the .500 mark in his final 4 seasons, culminating with a 4-12 SU, 6-10 ATS log last season.  But, we all know that Ryan has a strong defensive pedigree (Jets never allowed more than 335 YPG L4Y) and that he brings intensity, passion and experience to the fray.  That leaves the offensive side of the ball, where the Bills had stagnated with 21 PPG and no more than 343 YPG each of the last 3 years.  Expect that to change with the addition in the offseason of skilled position players, such as QB Cassel, WR Harvin and RB McCoy.  With the rest of the team buoyed by a December finish that included 2-1 SU, 3-0 ATS against the likes of Denver, Green Bay and New England, there is plenty to like about the Buffalo Bills this season, including the opportunity for a September home victory over perennial leader New England (without QB Brady). 

Carolina Panthers – HC Ron Rivera (5th year)

It is not often that a sub .500 team makes it to the NFL playoffs.  But, the NFC South was so weak last year that the Panthers got their invitation to the post-season party by default.  Not that they weren’t’ worthy, at least based on their strong finish.  After a late November loss to Minnesota, the Panthers stood 3-8-1 SU with no victory since early October against Chicago.  But, the Panthers roared down the stretch, winning 4 consecutive December games to claim the division crown.  They then whipped Arizona in a home playoff game prior to losing at Seattle the following week.  That is certainly positive momentum on which they can build for this 2015 NFL season.  Fifth year HC Rivera has fielded solid defenses in the last 3 seasons with his Panthers never allowing more than 333 YPG.  But what I really like about this group is their dominance at the point of attack, which has seen them outrush their opposition 124-89 (2 years ago) and 131-107 (LY).  With QB Newton maturing as an NFL signal caller, I see continued upside for the Panthers, who face a very manageable schedule.

New Orleans Saints – HC Sean Payton (9th year)

The peripatetic New Orleans Saints have records of 14-4 SU, 7-9 SU, 12-6 SU, and 7-9 SU in each of the last 4 seasons.  Time for the bounce in 2015!  Issues from last season revolved around a defense that went from allowing 19/301 in 2013 to one allowing 26/384 last season.  Other issues were the sudden demise of the once strong New Orleans’ Super Dome home.  When the Saints trounced Green Bay (44-23) on October 26th, it ended a run of 19-0 SU, 17-2 ATS since the beginning of 2011 with current HC Payton at the helm (excluding 2012 with interim HC Vitt).  When the Saints finished their home season on a 0-5 SU ATS slide, it certainly had to be the biggest turnaround in NFL history.  Priority number 1 will be returning that home field dominance, when New Orleans plays a very manageable home schedule beginning with Tampa Bay, September 20th.  A big reason for last year’s decline was multiple injuries on the defensive side of the ball.  With many of those players returning and a draft day that focused on that side of the ball, look for DC Ryan to return this group to its dominance of 2013.  The offensive pieces have changed a bit with the loss of receivers, Graham and Stills.  But, there is still the offensive mastermind that is HC Payton and the excellence and experience that QB Brees brings to the table.  Look for the bounce back by New Orleans this season, fueled by a far healthier defense and a return of their home field dominance.

NY Jets – HC Todd Bowles (1st year)

This is a risky call, considering the Jets went 4-12 SU, 6-10 ATS last season and let go of respected HC Ryan at its conclusion.  Enter 1st year HC Todd Bowles and an entirely new coaching staff.  That includes OC Chan Gailey, who must work with QBs, Geno Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick, to improve an offense that has averaged 18 PPG 3 consecutive seasons.  But, any offense who outrushes their opponents 142/4.5 to 93/3.8 deserves far better than 4-12 SU.  Along with defensive improvement that is anticipated with big name off-season acquisitions and a solid defensive draft, these NY Jets will not surprise if they are one of the biggest turnaround teams in the NFL this season.  



By, Joe Gavazzi

Winning Sports Advice

August 5, 2015


This is the companion article to the one I previously authored on 2015 NFL UNDERRATED teams.  It follows an articleof a similar ilk on 2015 CFB OVERRATED and UNDERRATED teams.


One major caveat for this article; this regards the regular season of NFL, and as such its intent is NOT to be used for preseason football in the next month.  For, that is an animal unto itself.  Neither does this article include the many changes that could happen during preseason, including injuries of key players.  With that rejoinder, let’s take a look at 5 teams, in alphabetical order, that I believe may be OVERRATED by the linemaker as we enter the 2015 season.  Criterion for the list includes:


·         Personnel, including coaching changes made in the offseason.  

·         The results from last season compared to previous years.

·         The season-ending momentum of the team, good or bad, and how it may impact this year’s team.


With the above as a background, I present a thumbnail sketch of 5 teams, who I believe will underperform expectations in 2015.  


Arizona Cardinals – HC Bruce Arians (3rd year)

Whoa!  Talk about overheated.  In 2 years under HC Arians, the Cards have gone 21-12 SU, 22-11 ATS.  This includes a 2015 season when they went 11-6 SA despite being outgained 369-305 per contest and being outrushed 113/4.4 to 78/3.2.  Scoring was even with the opposition at 19 PPG.  Combined with the fact that the Cardinals might be wearing a bit of a target on their back, this team is due for a tumble.  Either that or Arians is the greatest coach in the NFL?!  Remember, last year, he led his team to a playoff berth while using a 3rd string QB.  And that comes in a division that features Seattle and San Francisco!  Even with No. 1 QB Palmer now healthy, must feel that Arizona will certainly be overrated.  It does not hurt our cause that Arizona is playing one of the hardest schedules in the NFL and enters the season with QB Palmer just 15-28 ATS as home chalk.


Cincinnati Bengals – HC Marvin Lewis (12th year)

Injuries to QB Andy Dalton, along with multiple injuries to the receiving corps, limited the Bengals’ offense to just 22 PPG on 343 YPG LY.  However, that was meaningfully less than the 22/366 that the Bengals allowed.  With such a lack of statistical dominance, it is a bit head-scratching that the Bengals had a 10-6-1 SU record and playoff berth.  Again this season, at the bequest of OC Hue Jackson, the Bengals should ground and pound.  A now healthy Dalton and receiving corps should have players running to the betting window to back this team.  But 4 consecutive winning seasons (all of which resulted in playoff invitations), but not a single playoff victory, provides a definite SELL sign on a team who should be getting a lot of love from the public and linemaker.  Back the Bengals with caution, with the realization they may well be playing the NFL’s toughest schedule!


Dallas Cowboys – HC Jason Garrett (5th year)

Everyone will be in love with America’s team since they broke their 8-8 SU mold (no playoff tickets) with a 13-5 SU, 10-8 ATS season of last.  That resulted in their first playoff victory in over a decade (24-20 over Detroit) before losing at Green Bay (26-21).  No doubt, there is plenty of pop in an offense, who behind QB Romo (No. 1 in passing ratings LY), scored 28 PPG on 375 YPG, while outrushing their foes 143/4.6 to 103/4.2.  And then there’s the defense who improved markedly from last season by 5 points and 54 yards.  Plus, they have shored up a once weak LB corps with numerous offseason acquisitions.  No wonder this team will quickly become a fan favorite, translating to extra points in the betting line!  That over-ration is only enhanced by the fact the Cowboys will play one of the weaker schedules in the NFL this season.  With such being the case, must figure the Cowboys will be favored in the majority of their games.  If they are indeed OVERRATED, and that is the fact, consider the record of HC Garrett which shows him 15-27 ATS as chalk, as well as QB Romo who is 22-36 ATS as home chalk.  Cowboy backers beware!


Detroit Lions – HC Jim Caldwell (2nd year)

After 2012 and 2013 seasons, in which the Lions went 11-21 SU ATS, the big Cats responded with an 11-6 SU season of 2014.  It culminated with a playoff invitation (only their 2nd in the last 10 years) and a (24-20) post-season loss at Dallas.  Winning teams normally draw support the following season.  But, a closer inspection of the fundamentals behind Detroit’s successful defensive season, in which they allowed just 18 PPG, 302 YPG and 70/3.2 overland, give clues for the concern.  For, it was that defense that led the charge with Suh and Fairley making it virtually impossible for other teams to run the ball.   BUT THOSE TWO DEFENSIVE GEMS HAVE DEPARTED FOR BIGGER BUCKS, leaving the Cats vulnerable at a position that was once a strength.  As a result, if their pop-gun offense that averaged just 20 PPG does not evolve behind QB Stafford, it could be back to sub .500 seasons for the Lions once again.  And, Stafford is clearly not to be trusted with your money, considering his 31-45 ATS record as NFL starter.


Seattle Seahawks – Pete Carroll (6th year)

Can one play change a franchise?  Maybe so, if it is a HC who calls a pass (that was intercepted) with the Super Bowl on the line, when you have a RB which was the odds-on choice to score from the 1 yard line.  That mistaken call by Carroll handed New England the Super Bowl and prevented the Seahawks from consecutive titles.  To reach the pinnacle once again for a 3rd season would be highly improbable.  That is especially true with the realization that what goes up, must come down in the NFL.  In the last 3 seasons (which include 8 playoff games), the Seahawks are a mind-boggling 42-14 SU, 37-19 ATS.  Expect greatly inflated lines on the Seahawks this season with little to show for it.  Throw in the fact that the Seahawks will be playing one of the toughest schedules in the NFL this season, with no fewer than 6 road games at least 2 time zones east, and you have the makings of a potential disaster for a team who’s psyche must be a bit questionable to begin with.



By Joe Gavazzi

Winning Sports Advice

August 10th, 2015


Claims of 60% winners … 70% winners … and 80% winners dot the landscape of sports service advertising for winning selections!  But, how would you like to hear about a situation that has produced 90% ATS winners in NFL action, the last 30+ years with an average of 150 plays per year?  If so, read on!  

Every sharp sports bettor shops religiously for every ½ point he can find.  By this time in your sports betting career, you have clearly learned the value of ½ a point.  Sometimes, it is the difference in the outcome of your wager.  Other times, you can use the ½ point in your favor by noting the way in which a sharp “out” is shading the line.  In short, ½ points do make a difference and are meaningful in the world of sports betting.  They do add up over the course of the season.


As most of you know, I track a myriad of statistics during any given football season.  Many years ago, while doing my own research on the margin of victory in a season worth of NFL data, I discovered a very interesting side note.  This is something that has held up year-after-year over the course of time.  It was true prior to the advent of the 2 point, extra-point.  It is true regardless of the total scoring in an NFL game that has ballooned over 46 PPG in recent seasons.  Before I release this hidden gem to you, let me ask you one question:  if you just had to pick the straight-up winner in an NFL game, what percentage of the time would you have the winner?  If you are like the average NFL bettor, you would most likely respond with a winning percentage that is upward of 70%.  How would you like to make that winning percentage soar to 90% season after season? 

Then, get ready for the most amazing NFL statistic that has ever influenced your NFL sports betting.


This statistic seems almost too good to be true!   But go ahead; track it for yourself through any reliable database of your choice, or even last year’s results.  You will find that there are an average of approximately 150 occurrences each season with an ATS win percentage of 90%.   

So while sports handicapping services are searching for the value with ½ points, and your friends are agonizing over whether to play an underdog, only if it is getting more than 3 points, you now must simply concentrate on one factor … “in any NFL game where the opening line is 6 points or less, if you are able to select the SU winner of the game, you will win your wager 90% of the time.”

I began this article by telling you the importance of a ½ point in sports betting.  Those statements are still true.  The point of this article is not to allow you to lose value in the betting line, but rather to aid you in the handicapping process and not allow the pointspread to influence your selection in competitively priced games each NFL Sunday.



By Joe Gavazzi

Winning Sports Advice

August 10th, 2015


Each week in the NFL season, you religiously follow the same pattern.  You begin by analyzing the statistical data for the game, which leads you to fundamental conclusions.  You then query your situational information results to find out which high-percentage situations apply to each game.  From your favorite sports handicapping newsletters, you then assemble a list of technical trends that apply to each contest.  Injury reports are reviewed to find critical players who may not make post for the Sunday game.  Finally, you tune into your favorite NFL shows to get the input from the talking heads. 

Throughout the course of the week, you are gradually honing your selections.  First eliminating 4 games in which you have no interest, then, at last throwing out 7 of your remaining 12 games, using prudent game selection management to leave with you with your final 5 selections for NFL action that week.  Armed with that knowledge, you begin to scan the betting lines, noting where the sharp books have shaded a SIDE and where there is the best value from the OUTS at which you play.  By Sunday morning, you are ready to pull the trigger on these 5 perfectly handicapped selections.  There is little doubt in your mind that these picks, over which you have agonized over the entire week, will go 5-0 ATS.  You visualize walking into work Monday morning, a rich man!  The thought even crosses your mind, “maybe I will quit my job and become a full-time NFL handicapper.  This is so EASY!” 

Sure enough, Sunday rolls around and when the final whistle is blown at the conclusion of the Sunday evening game, you have gone 5-0 ATS.  Most of your games weren’t even close.  Two of your teams dominated at the point of attack, as you had predicted.  One of your teams, an underdog, won a hard fought, low-scoring battle with the underdog points being the reason for your win.   And then, there were your two laughers … blow out victories, keyed by the opposition throwing 4 INTs and your final game, where your team returned both a punt and a fumble for a TD.   Now, you are seriously thinking about quitting your job and can’t wait to get started handicapping the card for next week.

You take off the day from handicapping on Monday and enjoy the MNF game resting on your laurels.  You are buoyed by the fact that your preferred MNF SIDE won easily, keyed by a 14 point swing with a pick 6.  You can’t wait to start your handicapping Tuesday night.   

Flash forward to the next NFL Sunday afternoon.  You have bragged to your friends all week that you went 5-0 ATS last Sunday, have used the same formula this week and are ready for another sweep.  The 6-pack is chilled, the chips are open and the bowl of dip awaits you!  Then, it happens!  Not only does last Sunday’s 5-0 ATS Sunday, turn into this week’s 0-5 ATS disaster, but these 5 games are of the most gut-wrenching variety of losses, you have ever seen.  Every handicapping tendency that you isolated was right on.  But, in game after game, the dreaded TO was the ATS difference!  

Searching for what went wrong in the games; you went back and isolated the net TO margin in each game.  Among the myriad of poor coaching decisions, bad calls by the refs, dropped passes, kick returns, fumble recoveries, interceptions and key penalties, everything turned against you.  In every contest, your team had a net TO margin of -2 or more.

Now, there are no thoughts of quitting your job.  In fact, overtime or a second job is a reality because you increased your wagers in the late games, and then made your biggest wager of the night on the Sunday Night game, which was actually your weakest play.  

If you haven’t’ lived through consecutive weekends like this in the NFL, then, YOU SIMPLY HAVEN’T BEEN WAGERING ON FOOTBALL LONG ENOUGH.  In my 8 part article, “Get Out of Your Head,” you find out you have violated every concept that I warned you about.  You had unrealistic expectations of winning that led to disappointment and a downward spiral of negative emotions that led you to chasing your losers.  

As you have now learned, the proper way to approach each Sunday is with the trust and faith that you have done your handicapping homework and the hope that there will be more winners than losers.  When you experience that 0-5 ATS Sunday, you will understand this to be the case with the realization that ‘TURNOVERS ARE RANDOM AND CANNOT BE PREDICTED.”  As a result, they are a natural part of the betting process known as RANDOM VARIANCE.   To ease your mind, consider the following 3 facts.

1.      Any team with a +3 or more net TO margin in a given game in the NFL will cover over 90% of the time.

2.      Any team with a +2 net TO margin in a given game in the NFL will cover almost 80% of the time.

3.      Any team with a net TO margin of +1 in a given game in the NFL will cover almost 65% of the time.

It’s ok to handicap your heart out prior to the games.  But, you must approach these contests with the reality of the above 3 facts are part of the RANDOM VARIANCE that will inevitably influence your results.



By: Joe Gavazzi, Winning Sports Advice

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

In an earlier companion article written in August 2015, I proved to you that you can isolate 75% NFL winners by analyzing total rushing yards in a game.  I showed that in the face of increased scoring, as a result of rules that greatly benefited the passing game, that it is still rushing yardage that is the most reliable way to isolate profit in the NFL.   The conclusions from that article were that since the turn of the millennium, ANY NFL TEAM WHO OUTRUSHED THEIR OPPONENT BY 30 OR MORE YARDS IN A GIVEN GAME COVERED THE POINTSPREAD 75% OF THE TIME.  As I pointed out, the reasons were clear:  teams who establish the running game open the airways for the passing game. In addition, the best way for an NFL team to protect the lead is to control the ball on the ground in the 4th quarter, thus eating up clock and preventing the offense of their opponent from taking the field.  But, who would be satisfied with only 75% ATS winners in the NFL????  

At the start of 2012, in my quest for additional NFL ATS winners, I set out to find a correlation between running attempts and pointspread success. After honing my efforts, with the beginning point that NFL teams run the ball approximately 26 times per game, I used a deviation from that norm to isolate pointspread success.  My results were even better than I had anticipated.  Like the 75% winners in the theory above regarding total rushing yards, I admit that these are back-fit numbers.  But, they are an excellent place to start when doing your statistical and fundamental analysis in an NFL game.   As many of my pointspread theories, this one shows success at both the upper range and lower range.  First of all, understand that this data has a 3-year sample with a base of approximately 450 events (150 per year) for each, the upper and lower end of the spectrum.  Here are the results:   

86% ATS WINNERS:  BET AGAINST any NFL team who runs the ball 22 or less times per game, if their opponent does not.

And its corollary which provides: 

83% ATS WINNERS:  BET ON any NFL team who runs the ball 30 or more times per game, if their opponent does not.

Yes, there are times in this NFL age of passing when a Class A quarterback can get hot and “pass ‘em silly.”  But, that is far from the norm.  Even those teams, normally dominant favorites, need a strong running game when they are looking to protect the lead and close the ATS back door in the 4th quarter.  The more common scenario is that a team is able to establish a running game in the early going, develop a lead based on their dominance at the point of attack, then protect that lead in the 4th quarter, as they extend their rushing dominance and number of carries.  This, in turn, prevents the other team, who is trailing, from having numerous possessions.  And since they are playing from behind with limited time, they are forced to abandon their own running game and put the ball in the air.

There is no doubt in my mind that isolating running success is the surest way to isolate NFL ATS winners.  As we have come to learn, if you put the ball in the air, 3 things can happen and 2 of them aren’t good!  It’s better to rely on the ball control and consistency of an established running game.  Just ask the Seattle Seahawks, a team who achieved consecutive Super Bowl appearances on the basis of a strong ground game only to abandon that philosophy for the single most important play of their season, resulting in last year’s Super Bowl defeat.



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