192 games into this NFL season and there is plenty of information for us to digest. Remember when I warned you not to fall for the spread storyline? Well here is an update of how often Vegas has gotten it right this year.
For those who missed that article, I explored how often the point spread Vegas sets is within 7, 4, 3, and 1 point of the final score.
|# of Games||% of Games|
Check the original article to see historical results, but the 2018 numbers have been right near the 5-year average. This is the type of accuracy (or lack thereof) we have come to expect from Vegas.
There is one team that breaks the mold, however. One team that Vegas experts seem to consistently nail more than any other. One whose point spreads have been scary accurate. A contrarian’s nightmare but a teaser bettor’s dream – da Bears.
2018 Chicago Bears Breakdown
2. That is the number of Bears’ games this season in which the Vegas point spread has been more than one touchdown off. The league average of games within 7 points of the spread is 53.1% this year.
Vegas has been within 7 points in 10 of the 12 Bears games, or 83.3%. The oddsmakers are 30.2% more accurate when Chicago is playing than they are for any other team.
Here is a breakdown of the Bears’ 12 games.
|Week||Opponent||CHI Line||Result, Score||ATS Result||ATS Margin*|
|1||@ GB||+7||L, 24-23||W||6|
|2||vs SEA||-4.5||W, 24-17||W||2.5|
|3||@ ARI||-5.5||W, 16-14||L||3.5|
|4||vs TB||-3||W, 48-10||W||35|
|6||@ MIA||-4||L, 31-28||L||7|
|7||vs NE||+1.5||L, 38-31||L||5.5|
|8||vs NYJ||-9.5||W, 24-10||W||4.5|
|9||@ BUF||-10||W, 41-9||W||22|
|10||vs DET||-7||W, 34-22||W||5|
|11||vs MIN||-2.5||W, 25-20||W||2.5|
|12||@ DET||-3.5||W, 23-16||W||3.5|
|13||@ NYG||-3.5||L, 30-27||L||6.5|
* the absolute value of the ATS margin
A couple of things to explain about this table. The first is that I used the absolute value of ATS margin and not true ATS margin. If you do not remember from your days in math class, absolute value is the distance from 0. The absolute value of 6 is 6. The absolute value of -6 is also 6, because both are 6 away from 0.
The reason I had to use absolute value was so that the average margin was an accurate reflection of Vegas’ predictive abilities.
Imagine 2 games in which the Bears are 10-point favorites. In the first, Chicago blows out their opponent by 40. The ATS margin for this contest would be +30.
In the second, Chicago slips up and loses by 20. The ATS margin for this contest would be -30. If you took the average of these 2 margins, it would be 0. This indicates Vegas is spot on, which is not true at all since they were way off with both spreads.
If I use the absolute value, however, I get that the average margin was 30, which correctly indicates how wrong Vegas was.
One other interesting note about the table is that the Bears’ average ATS margin this year is 8.6, which is actually NOT the lowest in the NFL. The Giants lead that category with an average margin a tick under 7.
The Bears lead the NFL in games within 7-points of the spread, which is significant because most teasers are either 6, 6.5, or 7 points. The 2 times Vegas was off with Chicago spreads, they were way way off: 22 and 35 points respectively. Those games obviously inflated the average a bit.
Allow Yourself to be Duped
If you think Chicago has a favorable matchup, bet them to cover. It’s that simple. Vegas is not overvaluing them this year. The Bears are actually being undervalued in many cases.
Remember my “4 units” approach that said to err on the side with greatest potential. Well, the two times that Vegas was terribly wrong about the spread was when Chicago blew it away and won by 3+ touchdowns.
The beauty of Vegas being so accurate with Chicago games is that we CAN (and even should) fall for the spread storyline. If Vegas says the Bears will win by 5, there are excellent odds the score will be in that ballpark.
So are the Bears in cahoots with Vegas? Are they intentionally keeping the score close to the Vegas spread? I doubt it. I was kidding.
We are witnessing a special season, however. The last time an NFL team finished the year with 2 or fewer games finishing more than 7 points outside the spread was the 2011 Browns.
Kreighton loves sports, math, writing, and winning — he combines all of them as a writer for WagerBop. His favorite sports to review and bet are MLB, NFL, NBA, NCAAF, and NCAABB.