Betting News & Analysis

Betting 2022: First Quarter Recap, Reflections

Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) runs as Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey (44) defends during the third quarter at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

• With one quarter of the 2022 football betting season in the books, PFF's 291 official bets have gone 145-146.

• Using a standard unit size of $100, PFF is up 17.3 units for a 6.32% ROI.

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Estimated reading time: 2 mins

Win or lose, PFF Betting always will be transparent. Fortunately, in the first quarter of the 2022 NFL and NCAA seasons, PFF also was profitable.

Through Week 5 of College Football and Week 4 of the NFL season, PFF has tracked 291 official bets, with a 145-146 record. Using a standard unit size of $100, PFF is up 17.3 units for a 6.32% ROI.

Suffice to say, some processes and types of bets have been more successful than others.

Among 177 personal picks by the PFF Bet staff, 115 were player props, for a 10.52% ROI. Our 12 single-game parlays returned 198.75% on investments. Conversely, team totals and moneyline bets fared worse, at -61.54% and -37.09%, respectively.

We track bets that rely on PFF tools separately from individual bets. Our 114 tools-based bets are down -2.53 units (-2.18% ROI). Although single-game parlays (35.84% ROI on 11 bets) remained profitable, and moneyline bets weren't far behind (29.72% on 9 bets), game totals and player props (-42.31% on 23 bets and -3.31% on 45, respectively) lost money.

With all of this data in mind and the calendar turned to October, each of our regular betting contributors revisit their processes from the first quarter and share a positive and negative takeaway.

Ben Brown (season record: 42-44, +0.27 units)

• I am up slightly in units won when combining all of my written plays, but it feels like I left a lot on the table. Through four weeks, I am 5-7 on NFL totals  and have only bet two unders — with both winning. So I am 3-7 on written totals going over their number.

• I think I reacted too much to preseason narratives stating scoring would be up, as those things never seem to come to fruition. League-wide scoring environment is definitely down with QB play lagging this year and defenses seemingly having the upper hand against offenses early. I expect offenses to counter, but that could take until the midway point of the season when a majority of teams have worked through issues on their bye week.

Arjun Menon (13-9, +3.09)

• One process that has worked has been utilizing defensive-specific stats that pertains to a certain position I'm targeting. The best example of this was going after the Falcons defense vs TEs as they had given up the fourth-most yards to TEs into the week, and David Njoku cashed his over receiving yards in one drive.

• One thing to refine in the process is taking game script into account better. Taking Najee Harris' under rushing yards when the Steelers were favorites did not correlate well, so while he was inefficient like predicted, the sheer volume ruined the under. 

Judah Fortgang (7-13, +5.21) 

• “Leveraging Tails” is off to a hot start — and the results are encouraging.  Something I’ve liked from the process is that each handicap has been two-sided: we’ve had angles both to buying the teams we’re betting, as well as reasons to fade the team we’re selling.

• Something to work on in betting SGPs is trying to diversify game stories. Always betting on upside angles makes games more compelling to watch, but improving the bottom line might mean incorporating betting on more downside angles. 

Tej Seth (13-16, -4.46)

• One process that has worked for me is using who ranks highly in total rushing yards over expected (RYOE) to give out the over on their rushing prop. After Week 2, Nick Chubb had the highest total RYOE in the NFL and went over his rushing prop. The same story for Lamar Jackson happened in Week 4. Using good rushers' RYOE to bet overs has provided more wins than betting the under on bad rushers.

• While I have gone a combined 7-5 in my player props for rushers and quarterbacks, I have lost a lot on using adjusted score to bet totals and team totals. This will not be used in the future as it used to have an edge last year but the bets haven't worked this year possibly due to the difference of teams being less than what it usually is with more parity and uncertainty.

Martyn Carlisle (7-4, +0.97)

• I think my process is going well. I have been lining Greenline bets up with my own model for the articles to get a secondary confirmation of a good bet. It is important to me to be writing about bets that I believe in, rather than blindly picking out Greenline edges. I think I can do better by including a couple more bets in each article.

Tommy Jurgens (8-8, -0.80) 

• From a process standpoint, I’m very happy with the early-season results. It seems to be an effective strategy to back teams which my model endorses, and the data backs up. A 6-5 record on Best-Bets could be improved upon, but none of the losses were by more than a few points, and I feel good overall in my assessment of the NFL hierarchy. Only a few plays stand between this record, and having gone 8-3. Variance is inherent in betting the NFL, and I hope that I can build upon this initial success.

• I mention the effectiveness in backing plays which my model endorses, but there have been instances where I have been short-sighted in my own assessment of these games. For instance, in Week 3, I cited the issues that both Green Bay and Tampa would have with depleted receiving corps, but I failed to weigh such absences equally. 

• Additionally, there have been a couple bets where the analysis has been lacking, but I still endorsed the wager based on opinion. For instance, backing the Seahawks at home vs. the Falcons in Week 3. 

Richard Janvrin (13-18, +4.81)

• My primary weekly article is anytime TDs. When examining potential plays for this type of piece, I first look at the NFL Greenline matchup tool that previews the projected matchups. Since some teams cover tight ends differently, I then view the Fantasy TE matchup tool to get better insight into who they’re going up against. 

• From there, what’s also worked for me is leveraging our player props tool and seeing the value percentage for props. While we don’t have it for touchdowns, if our tool suggests value on the under for receptions and yards, a touchdown is possible but less likely. 

• It’s not the end-all-be-all, but these three tools work great. Also, if a player hasn’t yet scored or rarely scores, it’s essential to examine their snaps. Suppose players play a lot and don’t score; it’s usually a matter of time. 

Kurt Blakeway (4-7, -2.46)

• One of my more significant successes is our 2-team teasers. Finding the right teams in the right spots is crucial to becoming profitable when betting teasers. For Weeks 3 and 4, I gave out a total of 9 potential teaser options, with 8 of them cashing, and I'm 3-0 on our teaser best bets. 

• Early on, player props have been my kryptonite. PFF has an extraordinary amount of data, and while it is beneficial, it can sometimes be overwhelming. You must brush through it with a fine-tooth comb to find the data and stats that back up your plays. I have to be better with that fine-tooth comb to find stats, analytics and angles that back up my plays more accurately. 






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