Injuries to Lamar Jackson and Jimmy Garoppolo drop the Ravens and 49ers in the weekly power ratings as those teams turn to backup quarterbacks this week. Last week, I had both teams in the second tier behind the Chiefs, Bills and Eagles, but now there's a clear separation between the top six teams and the rest of the pack. You can probably guess that the Cowboys and Bengals are in that top tier after impressive wins in Week 13, but you'll have to check out my full power ratings below to discover the sixth.
The market has taken a big position on the strength of two teams facing each other this week in an NFC North battle. The Vikings were 2.5-point favorites on the lookahead line, but after the Lions throttled the Jaguars, Detroit is now the team that's favored by 2.5 points. So the question becomes this: Did the difference in quality between these two teams change by five points in one week with no major injury developments on either side? Or was the market simply wrong about these teams last week and is making a huge adjustment to compensate?
The truth is likely somewhere in the middle. I moved the Lions a full two points up in my power ratings, which is a larger move than I typically make from one week to the next, but I had only made minor upgrades to them over the last few weeks that probably didn't reflect just how much team this better is now that it's largely healthy. The Vikings were outplayed by the Jets statistically but put together yet another win a close game. I didn't adjust their power rating at all.
What are 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 Browns are the midpoint of the league, their power rating would be a zero. If you think the Chargers are a little bit better, you might make them a +1. The Vikings may be another step above and worth a +2 rating. Going the other way, you may think the Cardinals are a -1 or -2 team (or even worse).
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 Vikings should be favored by two points against the Browns 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 updated the HFA numbers of a few teams in my weekly workbook after six weeks and again after 12 weeks with a better understanding of which teams are good and bad, and which fan bases are likely to be more engaged than previously anticipated.
I've dived into each Week 14 game and evaluated my Week 14 power ratings to see what needed to be adjusted. I've also shared analysis of the most extreme differences between my projected lines and the market, as well as done the math to project the spread of every game based on my power ratings.
Which lines are several points off their power rating projections for Week 14? And which teams are being undervalued by the market? ... Join SportsLine right now to see Week 14 power ratings from the expert who's 445-378-24 on ATS picks from 2017-21, returning $2,542 to $100 players!
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