NFL Week 3 Power Ratings
"The difference between sharps and squares is that sharps bet numbers and squares bet teams."
Most successful sports handicappers use a quantitative standard for assessing the game. In order to do that, it is imperative to use power ratings, also known as 'power rankings,' to identify the point differential between opposing teams. By comparing two teams’ power ratings and accounting for home-field advantage, the bettor can objectively determine what the point spread should be and take advantage of any difference in the actual line.
After two weeks of the NFL season, the San Francisco 49ers have assumed the distinction as the best team. All offseason, we posited that it would be the AFC that would be head and shoulders above the NFC. The 49ers were supposed to take a step back as they saw their win total market crash from 11.5 to 10.5. Brock Purdy was supposed to regress to the level you would expect from Mr. Irrelevant. Unfortunately for those prognosticators, none of the aforementioned has come to fruition. The 49ers are 2-0 and have eclipsed the rest of the league…for the time being.
Nipping at their heels, the Kansas City Chiefs’ vaunted offense has not been what we would expect from a Super Bowl Champion, but common wisdom is that they will figure it out. The Bills would be 2-0 if Josh Allen would simply stop his imitation of a baker with all his turnovers. The Eagles haven’t looked crisp on either side of the ball and their Super Bowl hangover seems concerning. However, if their previous play is only 80% of their capability, they should be making another playoff run this postseason.
Perhaps no team has looked as dominant as the Cowboys through the first two weeks. They have outscored their opponents 70-10 and have yet to face any true adversity. How Dak responds to pressure remains to be seen. They're a legit contender this season and I wouldn’t be shocked if they continue to find success even as their opponents become more difficult.
The Miami Dolphins are a team that I have been higher on than the market. Their defense is still a work in progress but should grow considerably as the season progresses. On offense, they might be the most explosive unit in the NFL. The speed they have at the skill position has to be terrifying to opposing defenses. If they can stay healthy, which is asking a lot, they are a contender to win it all in February. However, staying healthy has been their kryptonite. This week alone, Jaylen Waddle found himself in the concussion protocol.
There is still only one team in the NFL that organizationally has their attention focused on the future: the Arizona Cardinals. The Houston Texans have been riddled with injuries which has derailed any opportunity for success. Without a first-round pick next year, there is virtually no chance they will play for the future. Two teams that I thought would eventually participate in a tank-a-palooza, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Los Angeles Rams, have exceeded expectations and are certainly all in on 2023 (Cam Akers notwithstanding).
Despite all of that, we have 3 games with double-digit point spreads this week. I am always leary to lay the lumber this early in the year. We still only have two data points to draw conclusions. Yet the market doesn’t seem to mind.