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Turnovers in the NFL

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  • Turnovers in the NFL

    It's no great insight that a positive takeaway turnover margin helps a team win and a negative turnover margin causes teams to lose. With that in mind, I did an analysis of the team with the best turnover margin (more takeaways than giveaways) and the team with the worse turnover margin (more giveaways than takeaways) in the NFL by season going back to 2005. I analyzed how these teams did the following year (beginning in 2006) for the first eight games of the regular season (I used the first eight games only because I thought, by then, the line would catch up with the team(s)). The analysis here is to bet against the team with the best turnover margin for the previous year and bet on the team with worse turnover margin.

    Let's start with the bottom of the heap on turnovers. If two teams were tied on negative turnover margin, I used them both.

    From 2006 to 2018, a bet on the team(s) in all of the first eight games was 87-44-3 ATS or 66.41% (are you interested now?)

    From 2006 to 2018, a bet against the team(s) with the best turnover margin was 69-56-3 or 55%. This is not as good as betting on the team with the worse turnover margin. So, I took this analysis a bit further (you can accuse me of mining data if you like). There are three teams that brought this percentage down from what it might have been. They are the Chiefs, Patriots, and the Packers in the Aaron Rodgers era. My reasoning is that these teams have good turnover margins almost every year. A bet against these three teams when they had the best turnover margin the previous year was 18-22. By excluding these teams, the record here becomes 51-34-3 ATS or 60% which is pretty good.

    I took the analysis a bit further on the team(s) with a positive turnover margin. See next post.

  • #2
    I wondered for both the positive and negative margin teams how they did in games 1-4 and games 5-8. A bet on the negative turnover team was 46-22 or 67.65% ATS in games 1-4 and 41-22-3 or 65.7% ATS in games 5-8. So, the worse turnover team(s) are about the same in games 1-4 as they are in games 5-8.

    Bets against the best turnover team(s) are 28-35-1 in games 1-4 and 41-21-2 in games 5-8. This is quite a difference. If I remove my three favorite teams (Packers in the Aaron Rodgers era, Chiefs, and Patriots), I end up with a record of 31-11 or 73.81% ATS. My conclusion here is there seems to be some carryover effect for the positive turnover margin team the following year as evidenced in games 1-4. But, it catches up with them in weeks 5-8.

    So, I plan to bet on the worst turnover team(s) from the previous year the first 8 games of the season and bet against the best turnover team(s) in games 5-8 (unless they are the Pats, Chiefs, or Packers).

    Let's look at what happened last year:

    2017 worst turnover team was the Browns (and it wasn't close) at -28. In 2018, a bet on the Browns in game 1-8 went 5-3-0 ATS. The best turnover team was the Ravens in 2017 at +17. A bet against the Ravens in games 5-8 of the 2018 season was 3-1 ATS. Combined, 2018 was 8-4 ATS.

    So, you're asking who are the poster children for 2019 (I thought you'd never ask).

    The negative turnover margin team is the 49ers at -25. I will bet on them each of the first 8 games. Interestingly, they are playing Tampa Bay in game 1 who is the second worst TO team from last year at -17. The line on the game is the 49ers +1. (I'm apparently not the only one paying attention to turnovers based on the line)

    The positive margin turnover team is the Seahawks at +15 (+15 is one of the lower best margin teams from 2005 to 2018 FWIW). I will play against the Seahawks in games 5-8.

    I'll post the results here as we go. Have a good season!


    • Deano
      Deano commented
      Editing a comment
      Good analysis! I will be monitoring the first few weeks but SF with Garoppolo back looks like a solid pick.

    • mcgrath
      mcgrath commented
      Editing a comment
      Excellent work, and a subject dear to my analytical heart.
      A few years back I looked at the performance of the previous years worst t.o. team in game 1 of the current year, but only game 1. I don’t remember the exact number, but the win pct over the previous 20 or so years was very high., like in the 70s.

      I love high performing trends where there’s a logical explanation for the high number. There are two afoot here:

      A). The worst t.o. Team has had 7 months of offseason to hear and think about how terrible they were in this dept and how different things might have been otherwise. Turnovers are #1 in their minds from training camp onward. Each player and coach is committed to turning it around, and they do.

      B). It is pretty basic that a negative t.o. ratio robs a team of playing to its true, innate ability in terms of wins and losses. The “true innate ability” of the 49ers in 2018 was probably to win more games than they lost, but they were stuck with losing record instead. Last years record is the primary factor that influences lines early this year. The 49ers are undervalued. If they eliminate a negative TO ratio early, which is likely, they will cover lines early on. They are an excellent bet early in 2019.

  • #3
    Good stuff Capcondo. I'm gonna bump with these prekick SB futs:

    NE..... 7... pin
    KC..... 8... 5d

    NOLA 11.. anywhere
    LAR... 13.. pin
    Phi..... 14.. bwin
    LAC... 16.. intertops

    Cle..... 20.. skybet
    Chi..... 20.. 5d
    Pit...... 20... tops

    GB..... 22... 888sport
    Dal..... 24... pin
    MN..... 28... pin
    Sea.... 30... 5d
    ATL.... 35... pin

    Hou.... 40... 5d
    Balt..... 40... any

    Jx........ 45.. 5d
    SF....... 45.. pin

    Car...... 60.. any
    IND...... 60.. any

    TN........ 80.. 5d
    Jets...... 80.. sky

    TB....... 100.. 5d
    Den..... 100.. sky

    Buf...... 118.. pin
    Gia...... 119.. pin
    Oak..... 124.. pin
    Det...... 130.. 5d

    Cin....... 200.. 5d
    AZ........ 250.. 5d

    Wash.... 250.. 5d
    Mia....... 500.. WR
    Last edited by marcbryanjacob; 09-05-2019, 09:35 AM.


    • capcondo
      capcondo commented
      Editing a comment
      45;1 on the 49ers is starting to look good. We'll see.

  • #4
    Hey capcondo, loved the insightful analysis. After reading, I looked at a few things. Your trio of consistent teams in relation to turnover margins: KC, NE, GB all covered ATS and SU in week one. I focused more on takeaways than T/O margins for the rest. Three teams with very good record of takeaways last two straight years were Rams, Bill's and Saints. So far, Rams and Bill's covered SU and ATS...Saints play tomorrow. Two teams with pattern of low takeaways the past two straight years were Oakland and Minnesota. Minnesota won SU and ATS.. Oakland plays tomorrow. Teams that were high on takeaways last year (one straight year) I figured to bet against. These teams were: Bears, Browns and Texans. Betting against Bears and Browns you would be 2-0. Texans play tomorrow. Betting on teams that were low on takeaways last year (one straight year), you would be 4-4. Those teams were Chargers, Ravens, Jaguars, Bucs, Packers, Lions, Cards, 49ers. Positive takeaways for long term (KC, NE, GB) or for MORE than one consecutive season did well in the microcosm of one week. Looking at it again with next weeks picks.


    • #5
      really good stuff....thanks


      • #6
        Thanks for the compliments all. Grading week 1, The Niners covered defeating Tampa Bay 31-17 to start the season 1-0. I could have gone against the Seahawks as the best turnover margin team and won but I save these picks for games 5-8.

        1-0 after week 1.


        • #7
          Here's a statistical anomaly for you. Yesterday, the Bills turned the ball over 4 times (2 fumbles and 2 ints. including a pick 6) while the Jets had 0 turnovers. And who do you think won the game? Of course, every rule has its exception and this is a glaring example! It also didn't help that NY's Norwegian kicker missed a PAT and a fieldgoal. Just goes to show ya.


          • Bucky
            Bucky commented
            Editing a comment
            Their holding kicker tryouts already lol.

          • capcondo
            capcondo commented
            Editing a comment
            The Bills had to score 14 pts. in the 4th qtr to win it. I wouldn't want to make a habit of turning the ball over like that.


        • #8
          The Niners cover as a 1 point underdog 41-17 making their season-to-date 2-0 ATS and they haven't played a home game yet! The Steelers are in town for the home opener next week.


          • #9
            Cap-This is terrific work based fascinating and solid logic. Thank you so much for sharing. Regression always seem to have value. No?


            • #10
              We're not through week 8 yet. We'll see how it goes. This week with no big ben should be interesting. It looks like the line will be Niners -7 more or less. The Niners price is going up.


              • #11
                Would you have time to run that as fave or as dog following year?
                It's a good trend to use and appreciate all that work--

                But with SF fave this week was wondering--
                If not no big deal--
                Thanks for your continued insight


                • capcondo
                  capcondo commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I went through and compiled the worse turnover team(s) from the previous year. Here's what I found:

                  When favored, the team is 26-18 or 59.09% ATS. When a dog, the team is 59-28 or 67.82%. There are clearly more dogs here than favorites. I'm betting the Niners no matter what the line is.


                • Compass rose
                  Compass rose commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Thanks again for that research Cap--

              • #12
                Niners -6.5 this week. GL. Niners won 24-20 but failed to cover the 6.5. How ironic that they turned the ball over 5 times to the Steelers 2 in an approach based on turnovers! Season-to-date record 2-1. Niners have a bye next week so there will be no play.
                Last edited by capcondo; 09-22-2019, 04:28 PM. Reason: Entering results of the game.


                • #13
                  This week there are two bets. The 49ers are back after a bye. They are playing the Browns (who knows what the Browns will do). The bet is the 49ers who are currently -3.5. The other play is to go against the Seahawks in game 5-8. This week the opponent is the Rams on Thursday night. The Rams are the bet with the line currently at +1.5. The Seahawks were 2-2 ATS in the first four games when we did not bet against them. Both games will be graded against the Vegas Insider closing line. I will update the lines later in the week. Season-to-date record is 2-1. GL

                  Note: To paraphrase McGrath's insightful comment earlier in this thread, the 49ers have had two weeks to think about the 5 turnovers committed in their last game!

                  Rams covered the +1.5 (just barely) on Thursday night bringing the season record to 3-1. Tonight, it looks like the 49ers will be -5. It will be graded against the VI closing odds. GL

                  Both the Rams +1.5 vs. the Seahawks and 49ers -5 vs. the Browns covered this week bringing the season record to 4-1 ATS. The 49ers are 3-1 ATS and going against the Seahawks is 1-0.
                  Last edited by capcondo; 10-08-2019, 06:08 AM. Reason: Updating results


                  • #14
                    Week 6 of the season has us on the 49ers currently +4.5 against the Rams and the Browns going against the Seahawks currently at -2.5. I'll update the lines as we get closer to Sunday. GL. As of Saturday evening, the Browns are now +1 or 3.5 pts. better than if you played the game last week. The 49ers are now + 3 or 1.5 pts. worse than if the game was played last week. I'm on both games. GL.


                    This week the Seahawks beat the Browns at pickem and the 49ers beat the Rams getting 3 points so we were 1-1 bringing the season record to 5-2 ATS. The 49ers are 4-1 ATS and going against the Seahawks is 1-1 ATS.

                    Next week:

                    The 49ers play the Redskins on the road laying 10 pts. (the price of admission is going up) and the Ravens are going against the Seahawks (bet against the Seahawks) getting 4 pts. I'll update the lines later in the week.

                    The line on the Niners is -10 and on the Ravens is +3.

                    Last edited by capcondo; 10-19-2019, 04:54 PM. Reason: Update current lines


                    • #15
                      Week 7: 49ers won 9-0 failing to cover and Ravens beat the Seahawks covering +3 line. Record to date is 4-2 ATS for the 49ers and 2-1 ATS playing against the Seahawks for a 6-3 ATS total season-to-date.

                      Week 8: 49ers face Carolina with the line currently at -5.5 and Atlanta (hold your breath) is the bet against the Seahawks at + 3.5. I'll update lines later in the week. GL

                      Week 8: Current lines are Atlanta + 8.5 against the Seahawks and Niners -5. After this week, there will only be one play left on the Niners next week. GL.
                      Last edited by capcondo; 10-26-2019, 08:03 PM.