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    Week 1 NFL power ratings: How to value all 32 teams and build your own spread projections before making picks

    Get the edge over the sportsbooks in Week 1 and beyond by developing a power rating system to stay ahead of the lines
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    NFL spreads are the the sharpest market in sports. Each game's spread is the most visible number talked about in media and the place casual bettors tend to gravitate toward when betting the NFL, which is by far the sports with the most action at American books. For many bettors, staying profitable long-term while betting NFL spreads involves devising a system to take advantage of early mispriced spreads before the market corrects, but even when attacking the market after the initial line moves, an NFL spread power ratings system can still help identify where value lies when used correctly.

    Thinking about NFL spreads in terms of power ratings can be even more beneficial early in the season before consensus crystalizes around the strengths of each team. Last year, I used the example of being ahead of the Giants as a stronger team than the market expected to start the season, and they went on the road to Tennessee and won outright as five-point underdogs. Quantifying everything that happens during an offseason into one spread power rating gives you the opportunity to take advantage of lines that are going to look way off in retrospect by midseason when we have a good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each team.

    What are NFL spread power ratings? Well, anyone who has followed football (or really any sport) for any length of time has encountered a power rankings list that projects teams from best to worst. Where power ratings for NFL betting differs is that you're affixing a point total to each team that tells you how much better or worse it is from an average team. For example, if you think the Steelers are the midpoint of the league, their power rating would be a zero. If you think the Chargers are a little bit better, you'd make them a +1. The Ravens may be another step above and worth a +2 rating. Going the other way, you may think the Titans or Patriots are a -1 or -2 team as slightly below average, but if you think the Titans are one of the worst teams in the league and you're right, valuing them at the bottom of your power ratings gives you an edge on the market.

    After you've rated all 32 teams in this fashion, you can take the difference between two teams in a scheduled matchup to determine what the line would be on a neutral field. In our example above, we'd say the Ravens should be favored by one point against the Chargers on a neutral field. Then you add in home field advantage, which for a long time was considered three points as a standard but is actually lower on average in this era of football. I actually determine unique home field advantage totals for each team based on data from the last five years, and you can find my breakdown of this year's home-field advantage ratings here.

    I encourage you to go through this process to build what you think each line should be for Week 1 and see where the market disagrees. Then, digest what we see on the field for that slate of 16 games and adjust accordingly to come up with your projected lines for Week 2. Or, you can read on to see my ratings for every team and where I think the market is off in Week 1. I'm 535-450-30 (+3532) on ATS picks over the last six years and even better with my top five picks each week, going 376-290-24 (56.5%) over the last seven years in the Westgate SuperContest. My power ratings have been a big part of maintaining that success. 

    Which lines are several points off their power rating projections for Week 1? And which teams are being undervalued by the market? ... Join SportsLine right now to see Week 1 power ratings from the expert who's 535-450-30 on ATS picks from 2017-22, returning $3,532 to $100 players!

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    R.J. WhiteSuper Stat Geek

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