STATS vs. Las Vegas: Finding the Most Value in Week 7

By: STATS LLC | October 19, 2018

The Buffalo Bills and New York Jets aren’t exactly in the top tier of NFL teams, but for the second straight week, STATS believes they’re among the best value picks when comparing its own spreads against those coming out of Las Vegas.

You’re not dreaming. The Bills and Jets — they of a combined 5-7 record — have appeared plenty in this column the last two weeks. We believed both teams presented a lot of value given the Las Vegas spread against last week’s opponents, and we were right. Hopefully that’s the case again.

STATS uses unique metrics, deep-dive analytics and proprietary roster rankings to project NFL spreads for every game, every week. STATS calculates roster quality based on injuries, statistical data and depth at each position, then compares that to an opponent and arrives at a conclusion – the projected spread.

Using those projected spreads, STATS can compare them to spreads from the majority of Las Vegas sportsbooks, find where STATS differs the most, and extract value from those games. This week, the Bills are getting 7.5 points from Vegas against Indianapolis when we see them as only a 2.7-point underdog. That difference from the Vegas spread to STATS’ is the largest gap of any game this week, with the Jets-Vikings matchup not far behind.

We break down why the Bills present the most value this week below, while also looking into a couple other games that caught our attention.

Buffalo at Indianapolis

STATS: Bills +2.7
Vegas: Bills +7.5

No, we still don’t think the Bills are good, but we’re going to keep rolling with them against overrated opponents. As we discussed last week, Buffalo’s offense is absolutely dreadful. It managed just 13 points against Houston, and rookie quarterback Josh Allen got hurt in the process.

The Bills’ defense, on the other hand, was as good or better than advertised last week. The Texans put up 20 points, but let’s look at how those happened. They scored a touchdown after a muffed punt by the Bills, and starting field position was the Bills’ 29-yard line, where expected points sits at three. We’ll charge the defense four points for that score. They gave up a field goal later in the half, and then Houston’s last score came on a Nathan Peterman pick-6. Essentially, the Bills defense gave up 10 points on the road.

The Colts’ offense is better than Houston’s offense, but they can also be turnover-prone, which is an area Buffalo has excelled in (first in forced fumbles and 14th in interceptions). Indianapolis’  offensive line is getting healthier, but it’s still not a strong unit, ranked as the 20th pass-protecting unit in the NFL, per STATS metrics. The Bills’ pass rush has been getting better week-to-week, now ranking as the seventh-best pass rush in the NFL. We project a low-scoring affair with the Colts coming out on top 22-19, but we think Buffalo can muster enough offense with veteran Derek Anderson under center to keep this close — and maybe come away with another surprise victory.

New England at Chicago

STATS: Bears -1
Vegas: Bears +3

This is more STATS betting on the Bears than it is STATS betting against the Patriots. Both teams do everything above average, with the Bears having an edge in pass protection and the Pats gaining an edge in the pass rush. Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers against Bears left tackle Charles Leno will be a great matchup to watch. Home field pushes the Bears over the top for us, and we’ll gladly take the three points. This won’t be Kansas City vs. New England from a points standpoint, but we’re still looking at a high-scoring game where the Bears offense has a chance to show what it can do.

Minnesota at New York Jets

STATS: Jets -0.6
Vegas: Jets +3.5

Like the Bills, we’re all aboard the Jets train — at least when it comes to finding value against the public. In this instance, we’re picking on the Vikings’ offensive line, which has been abysmal this year. It hasn’t protected well and gets no push in the run game, yet Kirk Cousins still makes plays downfield. We think some regression is in order, and the Jets should get enough pressure on Cousins to force a couple of mistakes. Offensively, the Jets can put up some points, and Danielle Hunter being questionable for Minnesota would do wonders for Sam Darnold in the pocket. Give us another home ‘dog.