In our first article of the season, we examined teams with new head coaches to determine how they performed historically against the spread. The analysis indicated that these teams played well in September games and dropped off as the season progressed. We concluded that new coaches bring new schemes that initially give them an advantage while opponents aren't sure what to expect. But as the rest of the league becomes familiar, future opponents get a handle on new coaches and learn how to prepare.
While scanning through NFL Week 8 matchups, I noticed that five of the 13 games are between teams in the same division. Similar to our new coaches piece, I wondered if teams familiar with each other, in this case because they play twice per season, provide an advantage for bettors. For example, do defenses have the upper hand because they know the systems the offenses are going to run, offering value to underdogs? Or is the opposite scenario true with offenses having an advantage because they know the opponents' defensive personnel, and more scoring provides an edge to favorites?
To answer these questions, I fired up our Bet Labs' data analysis software to see where the value lies when divisional opponents go head-to-head. Within minutes, I uncovered a betting system with an ATS win rate of more than 57 percent, from a sample size of almost 250 games, that can be implemented going forward.