SharpClarke's Week 1 Betting Recap: Wild Finishes & a Tie

Sep 14, 2022
SharpClarke's Week 1 Betting Recap: Wild Finishes & a Tie

Every week this season I will share my thoughts on a specific matchup and recap all my bets to identify things I can learn, from both wins and losses. For context, I watch every snap of every game and grade effectiveness for each team. Although technically on a scale from 0-10, it's virtually impossible to get extreme scores due to my grading system, so ratings typically fall within the 4.5-to-7.5 range. I compare these ratings to final scores to try to identify misleading results. The idea is to identify teams that might be overvalued or undervalued in the betting market. Last year, blindly betting on teams following a performance where they graded much higher in my effectiveness ratings than the final score would indicate and fading teams that were much worse led to a 32-10 record against the closing spread (taking away the matchups with counter-signals). I wouldn't anticipate sustaining that rate of success, but it's a positive signal at least if you can partner it with other angles you like. Let's get to the recap!

Colts (-7) @ Texans, Tie 20-20

Effectiveness Ratings

IND: 6.19

HOU: 5.46

Effective Result: Colts by 8.76 points

I was very happy with this game considering my HOU +8 and HOU TT Over 16.5 bets. The Texans built a lead early on that virtually ensured a cover against the spread and cleared their team total as well. It was 20-3 entering the fourth quarter. Then the Colts launched a dramatic comeback and forced overtime, where neither team could close out the game. Season-long win total under bettors on both sides rejoice. But instead of looking at the game flow and patting myself on the back, I want to objectively identify whether this type of result is predictive or fortunate.

Evaluating this game objectively, the Colts were clearly the better team. A tie does not reflect the true quality of play on the field. Early on, the Colts had an impressive 66-yard drive fail on 4th-and-goal from the 2-yard line (on a questionable play call). Another 53-yard drive ended on an incredible play by Jerry Hughes to turn what should have been a batted pass into a key interception. Receivers dropped some easy catches in extremely high-leverage situations (like in the end zone). Matt Ryan fumbled several snaps, including losing one on the Texans' 40-yard line. In overtime, Rodrigo Blankenship missed a 42-yard field goal (which cost him his job). In total, the Colts had eight drives where they gained at least 33 yards and scored a total of 13 points on those drives. They even gave the Texans a free drive by running into the kicker on a punt. The Colts have themselves to blame for many of these errors, and that has to factor into the handicap. Fumbled snaps, missed field goals, high-leverage penalties, and key drops tend not to be predictive and I would anticipate a step forward from this offense moving forward.

The Texans weren't bad in this game. They showed some real life and heart. Davis Mills proved (again) he can be a starting-caliber NFL quarterback. As they use Dameon Pierce more I expect them to improve as well. But looking at the stats—which don't even factor in things like drops and fumbled snaps—the Colts earned 31 non-penalty first downs to just 16 by the Texans. They averaged 5.7 yards per play to the Texans' 4.4 yards per play. They dominated time of possession but just lost the high-leverage moments. And most importantly, when the game was in the balance, the Texans were terrible. Their opening drive in overtime: Sack, incomplete (with a declined penalty), false start, sack. They put everything they had into the first half but could not finish the game.

Now, should you rush out to bet the Broncos and Colts against the spread next week? Not necessarily. For example, the Jaguars also suffered a misleading result in a six-point loss to the Commanders in which I had them graded as the (marginally) more effective team. So the Colts do not fit the model. As for the Broncos, hopefully, you watched it and can make your own judgments. But it's important to handicap the matchup and market factors to determine whether there is any value and whether the signal carries any weight. For example, if everybody in the betting market watched the Broncos lose a game they arguably should have won, perhaps next week's market price is not impacted. Bottom line: I would likely not be inclined to back the Texans or the Jaguars this week, absent a strong counter-angle.

Get a head start on Week 2 with SharpClarke's Week 2 Betting Tracker!

SharpClarke Week 1 Betting Recap

At one point in the early games, it looked like it would be an absolute monster week, but some unfortunate endings swung some key bets and I finished 6-6 for -3.63 units in Week 1. We also got off to a slow start in the SuperContest, finishing 1-4 with JAC +2.5, PHI -4, LV +3.5, TEN -5.5, and SEA +6.5. As a bettor, the best you can do is put yourself in a position to win more often than not. I believe I did that and I will continue to do that moving forward. Below is a complete breakdown of my bets with some lessons learned.

Wins

BUF -8.5 (+284) - BUF 31-10. Strong read, great bet. Hopefully, you saw my tweet about not teasing the Rams in this game and avoided a loss many bettors faced. This game should have been even more of a blowout.

BAL -4.5 (-110) - BAL 24-9. Never in doubt. Good closing line value (CLV) on an early offseason bet.

HOU +8 (-109) and HOU Team Total Over 16.5 (-120) - Tie 20-20. See above. Getting over a touchdown was a good play, but the closing line of IND -7 was probably spot-on based on performance.

PIT +7.5 (-110) - PIT 23-20. Another strong play getting over a touchdown. The Steelers played better than people are giving them credit for, but the Bengals should have won this game outright. If you can pressure Joe Burrow, you can cause the Bengals problems.

KC ML (-160) - KC 44-21. Also never in doubt. Patrick Mahomes predictably carved up the Cardinals' blitz-heavy defense.

SEA +5 (-110) and DEN Team Total Under 26.5 (-110) - SEA 17-16. I got a bad number here trying to anticipate a quarterback acquisition in the offseason by Seattle. In hindsight, I should have waited for the +7 on game day. But the read on the game was spot on. I will work on reading the market better and reacting accordingly.

Losses

JAC +4.5 (-110), JAC +4 (-109), JAC ML (+175) - WAS 28-22. This looked like a strong play when the Jags had a 22-14 lead in the fourth quarter. The spread bets felt particularly secure when Washington had 3rd-and-8 down two points on the Jacksonville 24 with under two minutes left. But the Jaguars' defense gave up a touchdown—one of many big plays they gave up—to ruin the cover in heartbreaking fashion. This defense will make some plays, but they will also make errors.

PHI -4 (-110) - PHI 38-35. I bet this anticipating Frank Ragnow would be out, and he was not. The Eagles still dominated this game and took a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter. But this Lions team is so aggressive, and Goff is competent against soft coverage. With a good offensive line, the backdoor is always open.

PHI/DET Under 49 (-110) - PHI 38-35. My worst read of the week, although the score was inflated by a pick-six for Philadelphia. Still, predicting a big lead for Philadelphia should have cautioned me off of the under because the Lions are so aggressive late in games. This was a bad bet (and further evidence I don't do as well on game totals).


Use our Team Totals Odds tool to gain an advantage when betting on sides or totals!


GB ML (-120) - MIN 23-7. As I wrote in my weekly picks article, I wanted no part of this game after David Bhaktiari, Elgton Jenkins, and Allen Lazard were ruled out. Unfortunately, I had this bet from earlier in the summer and could not find a good way to hedge. Another one where playing early cost me. I may have to revisit the volume or size of my summer Week 1 bets next season.

LV +4 (-110) - LAC 24-19. Despite not covering by only one point on a failed 2-point conversion, this was not a bad beat. The Chargers deserved to win and cover the spread. They showed they were in a different class than the Raiders and the hype for this defense is justified.

TEN -6.5 (-105), TEN -5.5 (-112) - NYG 21-20. Another game where my read looked spot on early in the game as the Titans took an easy 13-0 lead into halftime. But they simply could not stop the run and their ineptitude on offense against a bad defense missing two EDGE rushers was really eye-opening. The Giants needed to convert a key fourth down late to avoid a 7-point loss, which led to another heartbreaking ending. The Titans will really miss A.J. Brown and Harold Landry. Meanwhile, Saquon Barkley is absolutely back.

Overall, my outlook on the week was very strong and I am excited to rebound in Week 2, starting with some excellent CLV already in the pocket.

Again, for all my bets and analysis, you can join the 4for4 Discord via a 4for4 betting subscription (10% off with code SharpClarke) and follow @SharpClarkeNFL on Twitter for alerts. This sheet from Dan Rivera tracks all my betting picks (and those from the rest of the betting staff) on the year. Just click on the tab with my name on it for the results.


This article is intended for entertainment purposes and adult users only. Call 1-800-GAMBLER if you have a gambling problem.

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