Intelligence Index Uncovers Mental Mismatches

The Cold, Hard Football Facts Intelligence Index has already proven its merit in just two weeks of NFL play: it's predictably successful against the spread....

Intelligence Index Uncovers "Mental Mismatches," ATS Victories

Cold, Hard Football Facts Insider with Scout.com breaks down every NFL game against the spread through the prism of our cutting-edge Quality Stats. CHFF Insiders have gone .500 or better ATS in 72 percent of NFL weeks since the start of 2009. CHFF Insiders with Scout.com also get access to betting trends, key prop plays, inside interviews with Vegas bookmakers and detailed team stat profiles. Become a CHFF Insider with Scout.com today.  

By Jonathan Comey
Cold, Hard Football Facts Student Body Left President (@colonelcomey)

The Cold, Hard Football Facts Intelligence Index has already proven its merit in just two weeks of NFL play: it's predictably successful against the spread.

The top five teams on the indicator, the "smartest" teams in the NFL, are a perfect 11-0 against the spread in the wake of underdog Kansas City's 26-16 win at Philadelphia Thursday night. Five of the six "dumbest" teams are 0-2 ATS.

The Intelligence Index is our measure of how well teams play in situational football in all phases of the game. Smart teams that do all the little things right on both sides of the ball rank highly on the Intelligence Index. They consistently beat the spread.

Dumb teams that do all the little things wrong rank lowly on the Intelligence Index. They consistently lose against the spread.

Most fans, analysts and oddsmakers look only at a team's physical skills and potential, and value it highly. The Intelligence Index looks also at a team's mental merits, which is undervalued and even ignored.

The two skill sets often conflict, and that chasm provides incredible opportunity for smart football fans.

Here's the Intelligence Index heading into Sunday's Week 3 action. The indicator measures the difference between a team's defensive efficiency, or Bendability (yards allowed/points allowed; or Yards Per Point Allowed); and its offensive efficiency, or Scoreability (yards/points; or Yards Per Point Scored).

 

TEAM

BEND

SCORE

INT. INDEX

vs. Spread

1

Kansas City

27.26

14.07

13.19

3-0

2

Miami

24.63

14.32

10.31

2-0

3

Denver

15.38

10.29

5.09

2-0

4

Tennessee

16.59

11.93

4.66

2-0

5

Dallas

16.48

12.48

4.0

2-0

6

Carolina

22.39

18.37

3.98

0-2

7

Seattle

34.71

30.83

3.88

2-0

8

Tampa Bay

19.85

16.87

2.98

1-1

9

San Diego

15.74

13.15

2.59

2-0

10

Green Bay

16.96

14.62

2.34

1-1

11

Atlanta

17.87

15.83

2.04

1-1

12

Indianapolis

18.78

17.61

1.17

0-2

13

New England

19.48

18.42

1.06

0-2

14

Minnnesota

13.54

12.59

0.95

0-2

15

New Orleans

20.65

20.26

0.39

1-1

16

Chicago

13.53

13.35

0.18

1-1

17

Buffalo

16.07

16.04

0.03

2-0

18

Detroit

13.84

14.38

-0.54

1-1

19

Arizona

14.33

15.06

-0.73

2-0

20

San Francisco

13.75

14.53

-0.78

1-1

21

St. Louis

14.24

15.43

-1.19

0-2

22

Oakland

17.4

19.78

-2.38

2-0

23

Philadelphia

15.3

17.53

-2.5

1-2

24

Washington

14.41

17.11

-2.7

0-2

25

Cincinnati

13.46

16.19

-2.73

1-0-1

26

Baltimore

13.98

16.8

-2.82

1-1

27

Houston

9.83

14.77

-4.94

0-2

28

N.Y. Giants

9.7

15.81

-6.11

0-2

29

N.Y. Jets

16.07

22.21

-6.14

2-0

30

Pittsburgh

14.31

21.67

-7.36

0-2

31

Cleveland

15.43

34.38

-18.95

0-2

32

Jacksonville

13.43

38.73

-25.3

0-2

 

LAST WEEK

Even though it was early, the Intelligence Index made us feel pretty good recommending Cincinnati (-6.5) vs. Pittsburgh, based on Week 1 and also year-to-year trends. And Cincy did the job, winning 20-10.

So we're 1-0 thus far, with a modest goal of 64 percent for year-end based on picking only strong dumb vs. smart matchups.

WEEK 3 MENTAL MISMATCHES

We'll start with Seattle (-19.5) to cover at home vs. Jacksonville. We're still looking into it, but this is believed to be the biggest Week 3 line of the 8-division era that began in 2002.

It tops the 16.5 points New England was giving Buffalo in Week 3 of their amazing 2007 start, and that was revolutionary at the time.

New England won that game 38-7, and we expect a similar result in Seattle. However, keep in mind that even those mighty 2007 Patriots, who posted the greatest scoring differential in NFL history (+315), were not always a sure thing.

They inspired some of the biggest lines ever that year, including -22.5 vs. the Dolphins and -24.5 against the Eagles. They failed to cover both games, beating Miami 28-7 and hanging on against Philadelphia, 31-28.

Jaguars-Seahawks should be a different story for a variety of reasons, including Seattle's physical, statistical and homefield advantages. But also because of the "mental mismatch" between the two teams.

Jacksonville's -25.3 number on the Intelligence Index will eventually come back to just normal terrible. But Seattle's 3.88 is likely to go up based on last year's No. 1 finish on the indicator.

Anytime you give 19.5 points to an NFL team, you're going to sweat a little. In fact, CHFF Insider Vegas beat reporter Sean O'Neill reports this week that the mega point spread has the oddsmakers "on edge." But don't expect to sweat too badly this time.

Then there's Carolina (-1.5) to cover at home vs. the New York Giants. You've got two 0-2 teams (also against the spread), and the temptation is to stay away. If you want to sit this one out, it's understandable.

But Carolina has been pretty smart so far (+3.98) and the Giants the opposite (-6.11).

While Carolina was -1.45 last year on the Intelligence Index and the Giants were +4.57, New York had been subpar in 2010 and 2011 on the Index. It could be that the Giants are regressing to the norm this year, and they could end up as one of the teams we focus in on as a good bet-against-em-most-weeks possibility.

ONE MORE TO KEEP AN EYE ON

If you're ready to take a leap of faith, we're going to recommend one more game: Dallas (-3.5) to cover at home vs. St. Louis. The Rams are only -1.19, but they look a little smarter than they are thanks to garbage time numbers vs. Atlanta.

Meanwhile, Dallas is sixth overall at +4.0 even. We're not going to analyze the lines much with this particular system, but 3.5 seems like an extremely small number here.

Dallas has been a better team than St. Louis for a decade, is 2-0 vs. the spread, is at home, and is Dallas. And that only pushes the generic line up a half-point? Cowboys.

Cold, Hard Football Facts Insider with Scout.com breaks down every NFL game against the spread through the prism of our cutting-edge Quality Stats. CHFF Insiders have gone .500 or better ATS in 72 percent of NFL weeks since the start of 2009. CHFF Insiders with Scout.com also get access to betting trends, key prop plays, inside interviews with Vegas bookmakers and detailed team stat profiles. Become a CHFF Insider with Scout.com today.