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NFL Picks: Handicapping turnovers in NFL Week 7

by Alexander Banks on Thursday, October 18th, 2007

NFL Picks: Handicapping turnovers in NFL Week 7Most sports bettors are familiar with the phrase, “You can’t handicap turnovers .” 

It’s one of the usual comments often heard in conversation some time between the late games and the Sunday nighter, and it’s used to help ease the burden of a loss from earlier in the weekend. Similar to faulting a coach’s play calling , the turnover excuse can be a painless way of shrugging off the blame for a losing bet. It’s much more sophisticated than simply pointing a finger at the ref, too, and it goes exceptionally well with wings and beer. 

Predicting how the funny shaped ball is going to bounce on any given Sunday is a difficult task indeed, but in the end, forecasting the future is essentially what betting sports is all about. So once the gamebook is closed on the Sunday card and John Madden has stuck a face on the horse trailer, what can be gained from realizing a team is having problems holding onto the football. 

The first important lesson is to remember the team, remember who was responsible for the interceptions/fumbles, and don’t kid yourself into thinking that everything will be all better seven days later. 

Teams used to shrug off big turnover days and move on. Most would even come up with a solid outing the following week and look really loose doing it, but something changed over the last few years. 

The past 13 teams that have turned the ball over five times in a game are 3-10 straight-up in games played one week later , covering the spread at a miserable 1-10-2 ATS rate. 

Hate to blame the coaches, but it is possible that the ever-increasing rate of personnel “turnover” on the sidelines is affecting the way teams deal with severely poor performances. Put it this way, the heat under the microscope gets more intense with each loss in the NFL and it’s easy to spot the team that can’t hold onto the football. So what do coaches do the week after enough giveaways to make Robin Hood look cheap? They scale back the gameplan and play it cautiously, hoping for a break. 

In this league, caution does not win many football games unless the team playing it safe has already got a 20-point lead, just look at prevent defense. So while these coaches are out trying to save their jobs with child-safe play calling, all they end up accomplishing is extending their losing streaks. 

So what happens next? Most NFL teams are hell-bent on adjustments and although some take longer than others, skulls only get so thick. Or maybe we just found one of the reasons why there has been 17 new head coaches introduced to the league in the past two years. 

So what does happen after a team turns the ball over a ridiculous number of times? 

- Out of the past six teams that followed a five turnover performance with a straight up loss, not one of them have come back to win their next game (the second game after the big turnover outing), going 0-6 SU and 1-5 ATS. 

The reason there are only six teams accounted for is that one of the 5-TO teams, the `06 Raiders, followed their giveaway game with a Week 17 loss, thus, ending the misery that was their season and Art Shell’s career for good. 

Also, three of the 5-TO stars have only played once since the giveaway game, which gives us something to watch for this week. 

- Tennessee had five turnovers in Week 5 vs. Atlanta and responded with a 13-10 loss at Tampa Bay. The Titans also lost their QB in the process, but Vince Young had an MRI done Monday and is listed as day-to-day. Note that the Titans are in Houston this week and Young grew up just a few miles from the stadium. In Week 14 last year Young burned the team that passed him up in the draft with an OT victory, much to the delight of the hometown fans. Do you think he’ll be ready to go this week? Yeah, so do we. 

- Dallas had six turnovers in Week 5 on Monday Night at Buffalo and responded with a 48-27 loss to New England. The `Pokes stay home and get a Vikings team playing its second consecutive road game but Dallas is currently listed as a -9.5 favorite at SPORTSBETTING.COM. That line is based on Viking RB Adrian Peterson’s outstanding performance in Chicago, but Dallas is a fan favorite and could attract enough attention to boost that line to double-digits. Keep in mind that double-digit favorites the past two years in the 2-and-2 situation are only 1-5 ATS. It’s also worth pointing out that home teams vs. non-divisional opponents that are coming off a divisional game are 3-0 ATS this season. 

Green Bay was the other 5-TO team but the Pack won last week and besides, Favre and his crew are off this week with a bye, probably shooting ducks or whatever else it is people in Wisconsin do at this time of year.

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