Industry Comment / Schedule October 2021
|WEEK 5 NFL 2021||2021||2020|
|% Fav Wins||75.0%||57.1%|
|Average Pts Scored per Game||50||52|
|Pts Average Win Margin||10.19||12.36|
|Average Spread Fav Covered||7.69||6.86|
|Average Spread Underdog Covered||2.50||5.50|
In Week 5 NFL regular season, the Arizona Cardinals continue their winning start to the year beating the San Francisco 49ers 17-10. In doing so, they finished one point ahead of the 2.5 spread. This week saw results with the tightest outcomes since Week 1 with average spread of 4.94, however, the number of winning favorites came in at 75.0% equalling the season high of Week 2.
As expected, this normalised the season average to date into the five-year regular season range of 63.1% to 69.0%.
Nine of the 12 winning favourites beat the spread with the largest margin of 17.0 achieved by the Tamper Bay Buccaneers in their 45-17 victory over the Miami Dolphins. This was closely followed by a 16.5 margin in the Dallas Cowboys’ 44-20 win over the New York Giants. The only other result to beat the spread by double digits was the Tennessee Titans’ 37-19 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars which 13.5 points ahead. The biggest underdog win of the week went to the Buffalo Bills who beat Superbowl LIV winners the Kansas City Chiefs 38-20 and in doing so beat the 2.5 spread against them by 20.5 points. There are several factors which weight the importance of certain fixtures such as scheduling and the participation of teams popular in the leading sportsbetting states. The most watched NFL games tend to be the late afternoon and evening games on a Sunday. So far this season only 48.0% of favourites have won in these 25 games. There are 11 NFL franchises (including Washington in Virginia / the New York teams in New Jersey as they play at Meadowlands) located in the leading nine sportsbetting states
(accounting for c85% of expected total national sportsbetting 2021 gross win), so far this season these teams have won 45.7% of the 46 games they have been involved in. Both metrics being more favorable to the bookmakers than the headline 63.8% favorite win average to date.
In Week 5 favourites won three of the five Sunday late afternoon / evening games (all of which beat the spread) and four of the nine games involving teams located in a major sportsbetting were won by such a team suggesting the week’s margin might be slightly better than the headline 75.0% favourite win rate might suggest. Now that all states have reported August data, we can see that American Football represented only 5% of handle in August at $156m, compared to 19% in 2019 at $142m – however we note that this is driven primarily through college football rather than the NFL pre-season. The NFL pre-season started at a similar time this year as in 2019 (2020 cannot be used for comparison as the pre-season was so disrupted), however the college football season started a week later this year, with only a handful of matches played in August 2021 compared to a full schedule of matches in August 2019.week 4 of the 2021/22 NFL regular season 10 favorites (62.5%) won with 8 of these covering the spread by an average of 6.88 points. Although this is the highest win rate for favorites this season it was still down when compared to last ear’s Week 4 of favorites winning 73.3%. To date for this season, 60.9% of favorites have won over the 64 games that have been played. In comparison to last year, it was 69.8% of 63 games, with favorites covering the spread at 54% of games.
The largest spread of the week also saw it beaten by the most points as the Buffalo Bills defeated the Houston Texans 40-0, resulting in 21.0 points ahead of the 19- point spread. The only other game which saw the favorite beat the spread by more than 10 points was Monday night’s game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Las Vegas Raiders which saw the former finish 28-14 winners / 11.0 points ahead of the spread.
The best underdog performance of the week was the Arizona Cardinals who beat the Los Angeles Rams by 37-20 after the latter started 3.0-point favorites. Another three games saw the underdogs win with results over ten points better than the spread forecast. These included the New York Giants who, despite the New Orleans Saints being 7.0-point favorites, won 27-21.