HOW TO READ NFL FOOTBALL TEAM STATS
Most football fans enjoy playing the “armchair quarterback” and offering up their own analysis of players, teams, and games. Bettors looking to improve their performance and increase their bankrolls should understand how to read both individual and team stats. In this section, we take a look at team stats. Bettors that understand team stats and how to read them can significantly impact their overall betting.
Bettors can start their analysis looking at team stats as they can offer a “bigger picture” for the bettor. There are a number of factors to take into account when looking at team stats. For the most part, there are four main factors used to determine rankings in a team’s respective league. These factors are points scored, total yards, passing yards, and rushing yards.
Points represents the number of points scored throughout an entire season. A team’s points scored per game average is representative of how well the offense is performing. On the other end, points allowed per game is a good measure of overall defensive prowess.
Total yards includes the number of passing and rushing yards combined. It is a good tool for measuring the offense of a team. Those with higher total yards per game averages are those that are the best offenses in the league. Teams that gain a lot of yards usually score more points, oftentimes possess the ball longer than their opponents, and in general are among the best teams in the league.
Likewise, teams that allow fewer total yards per game are considered among the best defensive teams in the league. Being among the best defenses normally leads to success as well.
Teams that are successful throwing the football throw for more passing yards. This is usually an indication of a good quarterback and good pass receivers. Defenses that allow fewer passing yards are usually considered among the best defenses in the league. Teams that give up a lot of passing yards usually are not very good defensively.
The number of rushing yards per game is usually an indicator of success. Teams that run for more yards are usually the more successful teams in the league. Higher numbers of rushing yards are usually an indicator of strong offensive line performance. Teams that are able to run the ball usually possess it more keeping it away from the opponent’s offense.
Other Team Stats
There are several other team stats that can give bettors an idea of how well a team is performing. Some of these include number of first downs achieved, third down conversion rate, sacks, time of possession, and turnover ratio.
Total First Downs
At first glance, the number of first downs may not seem important. Gaining first downs tells a bettor that a team can move the ball effectively up and down the field. On rare occasions, a team may make several big plays and not attain a high number of first downs. For the most part though, teams that generate a lot of first downs are the ones that score a lot of points and win games.
Third Down Conversions
If an offense cannot achieve a first down on a third down play, it ends up turning the ball over to the opponent’s offense via a punt on fourth down. That means a team’s offense is generally not effective and does not score as many points. Teams with low third down conversion rates are normally not playoff-caliber teams.
The number of sacks a defense generates is usually a strong indicator as to the overall effectiveness of a defense. On sure passing situations, teams that generate a large number of sacks are able to put pressure on an offense and generate more sacks or even mistakes like a turnover. Sacks can be added to the number of interceptions and fumbles a defense attains to give a measure of an effective defense.
NFL kickers are almost automatic at the PAT and many routinely make field goals from inside 40 yards. Kickers that have high field goal ratios can give a bettor an idea of how to bet when a close game is predicted. Teams with strong kickers tend to better in those close games.
Time of Possession
In a 60-minute game – four quarters of 15 minutes each – the team that holds the time of possession advantage is usually the winner. The team with the time advantage is able to set the pace of the game and has a great opportunity to score since they are in possession of the ball more often.
Sometimes, this measure can be misconstrued. Some teams are simply good at scoring very quickly. In those cases, low time of possession numbers do not necessarily mean the opponent is controlling the game. This is why bettors cannot simply cherry-pick stats. It is wise to take several statistics into account before making a sound betting decision.
Teams that score more touchdowns compared to others usually win more games. High-scoring teams have greater odds of winning future matches. Again, look at other statistics as some teams may not score as much as others, but they may be very good on defense and don’t need to score as often to win games.
Teams that have a higher plus-minus rating or turnover ratio are generally more successful. They get more fumbles and more interceptions which leads to more possessions, opportunities to score, and ultimately touchdowns.