Game Flowbotics: Week 1 Picks Against the Spread

Sep 09, 2021
Game Flowbotics: Week 1 Picks Against the Spread

The NFL season kicks off tonight, and what better way to enhance the product’s entertainment than with a few bets against the spread. Using my Game Flowbotics spreadsheet, I’ll bring you my favorite bets each week. If you’re already familiar with Flowbotics (“Flow-bah-ticks”) or just under the gun to get picks in before the Week 1 games kick off, feel free to scroll ahead for those best bets. Otherwise, allow me to provide some background on what Game Flowbotics is and how I use it to attack the weekly against the spread and over/under lines.

Game Flowbotics Background

Around 2014, when I was writing for The Fake Football, I became obsessed with trying to predict game flow so I could avoid starting fantasy football players who might get scripted out of touches. Game flow as a concept is much bigger than fantasy football, though. It depends on all phases of the game—offense and defense, passing and rushing, and even special teams—so my need for team-level analysis on those various axes led me away from fantasy analysis to DVOA statistics from Football Outsiders, as well as point spreads and game totals from the betting market.

The purpose of the resulting Game Flowbotics spreadsheets was and is to organize DVOA numbers, betting lines and pace stats to help understand the individual strengths and weaknesses of each team so we can predict holistic outcomes of the matchups on each slate. Eventually, I realized the game script outcomes I was trying to predict could also be leveraged against the same betting lines I was using in the spreadsheets to inform my fantasy decisions.

That realization coincided with the seeds of gambling legalization in the U.S., so I took my Flowbotics-informed picks to the betting accuracy contests at FantasyPros (now BettingPros) for proof of concept. In 2020, I finished sixth among 155 experts in against the spread accuracy, 12th among 74 experts in over/under accuracy and 13th among 62 experts in Moneyline accuracy. Turns out, I was onto something with my Game Flowbotics approach.

With that said, I should emphasize I am not a professional gambler. I came to this through fantasy football, so picking games correctly has always been more about the challenge and the fun than the profits. But if I can have fun making the picks while we all profit from them, that’s the best of both worlds. Let’s hope we get there in the 2021 NFL season.

Week 1 Game Flowbotics (and How to Use It)

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