Teams that do not turn the ball over are far more likely to win straight up. In fact, the team that wins the turnover battle wins the game 78.7% of the time. In comparison, teams that are winning at halftime only win 77.2% of the time. Identifying teams that are susceptible to turning the ball over can go a long way to picking winners. When handicapping teams, it is also prudent to determine how much turnover differential factors into their success or failures on the field.
When analyzing turnover differential, it is extremely important to note how impactful it is to the outcome of the games. For instance, when a team has 3 turnovers in a single game, their chance of winning straight up is 10%. That number climbs to 11% when factoring against the spread win percentage. Teams with a negative 3 turnover margin lose by an average of 13 points straight up. The more turnovers, the less likely you win straight up and against the spread.
Kyler Murray and the Cardinals have exceeded expectations this year. However, a case could be made that it is not a true assessment of their skillset. Despite having a +4 turnover margin, the Cardinals are -63 in point differential. The Dallas Cowboys are mired in the opposite situation of their once divisional foes. The Cowboys are +77 point differential and -2 in turnover differential. Considering most turnovers are luck, the teams that can overcome the turnovers to have a positive point differential may provide more value moving forward.