We're now three weeks into the NFL season and with each passing game, we have a bigger and bigger sample size of statistics and metrics to use to evaluate teams.
My favorite stat to use to starting my handicapping process on a weekly basis is Net Yards per Play, which takes the average yards gained per play on offense and subtracts the average yards given up per play on defense. The number you're left with is Net Yards per Play.
If you want my picks for every Week 4 game, check out the latest edition of the "Road to 272 Bets" here!
It's worth noting that Net Yards per Play doesn't take into consideration other important factors like turnovers, red zone efficiency, and strength of schedule, but it does give a good overall view at how effective a team is at moving the ball down the field and preventing the other team from doing so.
Let's take a look at where each team ranks in this stat heading into Week 4.
Net Yards per Play Standings Week 4
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Cardinals are Better than We Thought
The Arizona Cardinals had the lowest win total projection in the NFL when the season kicked off at just 3.5.
Now, they're still only 1-2, but they've been in all three games they've played in and are coming off an upset against the Dallas Cowboys as 12.5-point underdogs. More importantly, the metrics show that their solid play hasn't been just a fluke.
Through Week 3, the Cardinals are eighth in the NFL in Net Yards per Play at +0.5. That's better than teams like the Bills (+0.3), Cowboys (+0.2), and Eagles (+0.1).
Should we be taking this team more seriously than we are? Oddsmakers seem to still not be convinced. They're 14-point underdogs in Week 4 to the San Francisco 49ers.
Bears are the Worst Team in Football
Unfortunately, the same thing can't be said about the Chicago Bears. Things truly are as bad as they seem at Soldier Field.
Not only are they 0-3 both straight up and against the spread, but their metrics are showing their every bit as bad as the box scores have shown. They're dead last in the NFL in Net Yards per Play through the first three weeks at -1.6.
But, if there's any week they can win, it's this one because they'll take on the 31st ranked team in Net Yards per Play, the Denver Broncos. It's a true toilet bowl game against two of the worst teams in the NFL.
Still, even with them playing the Broncos, Chicago is a 3.5-point home underdog. Yikes.
Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
You can check out all of Iain's bets here!