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Creating Your Own NFL Power Ratings for Handicapping

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Now that we’ve hit the dog days of summer betting with both the NHL and NBA deciding their championship, it’s time to start the process of working on the NFL. One of the most important tools for me each year is my NFL power ratings. If you want to improve as an NFL bettor, it’s imperative that you move past the hunch phase of betting and into the mathematical side. Creating your own set of ratings can take a while, but it is the easiest way to quantify your personal opinions or bias versus the greater market.

The most rudimentary way to create your own NFL power ratings is to simply rate a team in four simple categories: Coaching, Quarterback, Offense, and Defense, and then apply weighting to each category. If you want to get more granular and, to be frank, more accurate, then I would suggest going by position grouping. This allows you to weight positions like defensive line more than linebacker on defense and wide receivers heavier than running backs on offense.

 

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I just completed my first set of off-season ratings and a great way to cross-reference your numbers is to look at win totals. Now, ratings should not have strength of schedule built in while win totals will, but it’s still a good barometer for where the market sees each team. I recommend looking at both DraftKings and Circa’s win total numbers to get a good idea of season-long expectations with each $0.10 worth 0.1 win. For example, the Jets have a 9.5 win total on Draftkings with the over at -150. When you take into account the $0.40 of juice to the over, that win total is actually 9.9. Once you have an order of the teams, you can then see where you are furthest off the win total. Here are the projected win totals by team at current price;

Rank Team Proj. Wins Rank Team Proj. Wins
1 Chiefs 11.5 17 Browns 8.75
2 49ers 11.35 18 Jaguars 8.5
3 Bengals 10.8 19 Colts 8.35
4 Ravens 10.75 20 Bucs 8.25
5 Lions 10.6 21 Steelers 8
6 Eagles 10.35 22 Seahawks 7.65
7 Cowboys 10.3 23 Saints 7.6
8 Bills 10.05 24 Cardinals 6.9
9 Jets 9.9 25 Vikings 6.85
10 Texans 9.8 26 Raiders 6.7
11 Packers 9.75 27 Commanders 6.6
12 Falcons 9.75 28 Titans 6.25
13 Dolphins 9.75 29 Giants 6.2
14 Bears 9 30 Broncos 5.75
15 Chargers 8.95 31 Panthers 5.55
16 Rams 8.8 32 Patriots 5

Right off the bat, the team that jumped out to me was the Bengals. They are projected to have the third highest wins, second in the AFC and first in the AFC North based on Win Total, yet they are priced behind the Ravens to win the division, win the AFC, win the Superbowl and in the Most Wins market. They are also NOT in my top 5 in NFL power ratings, I am more inline with the futures odds, however, so I am still confident in my number.

I will make five to six more adjustments to my NFL power ratings before the season starts, but taking a quick look at win totals now compared to my number when adjusting for schedule allows me to know which team I need to take a second look at and make sure I trust in my number.

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