How wiseguys read schedule strength 

August, 17, 2010

A couple of weeks ago, on this podcast with Teddy Covers, we were talking about NFL season win total bets. Teddy explained that his formula for figuring out strength of schedule -- one of the key factors in deciding whether or not a team will exceed expectations -- is dramatically different than how established outlets like ESPN calculate it.

The MSM takes the cumulative wins of a team's opponents, converts it to a winning percentage and then ranks the records 1-32. For example, according to, the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans have the most difficult schedules in the NFL this season. Their opponents won 140 combined games last season and had a cumulative win percentage of .547. The Arizona Cardinals have the easiest schedule.

But that's simple math -- and as useful when making predictions as a crystal ball (unless the Mayans made it). That formula does not account for any improvements (draft, free agency, coaching changes) or decreases (lost free agents, coaching changes) in quality. It's ludicrous making decisions based on the widely accepted NFL strength of schedule.

If you're going to make your living gambling, you need more complex formulas that help you sleep at night.