Key Stat For NFL Bettors

One interesting statistic that isn't usually found among the pages and piles of football numbers is referred to as "defensive points per 100 yards." This is a number, reached after a quick calculation, that can give a football handicapper an idea of just how difficult it is to put up points against a particular team.

It's figured like this: take the total number of yards a team's defense has allowed, and divide that number by 100. Then take that value and divide into the total number of points that team has allowed. This produces a singe-digit value, rounded off to a couple of decimal points, that provides comparative insight into a team's ability to keep its' opponents from scoring.

For example: In 2005, the Pittsburgh Steelers (who went on to win the Super Bowl) limited opponents to 4,544 yards of total offense during the regular season, and 258 points. Take 4,544, divide it by 100, and you get 45.44. Now take the 258 points allowed, divide that by the 45.44, and you get 5.68. This is the Steelers' defensive points allowed per 100 yards ratio. Pittsburgh opponents, on average in 2005, scored just less than a touchdown every 100 yards they gained.

But this value can be said to measure a little more than just the toughness of a team's defense. It can also give a reading as to how many mistakes (turnovers, penalties, etc.) a team is liable to commit, the severity of those miscues, the propensity to give up big plays, and how effective a team is at winning the battle of field position. All of these tendencies, of course, are crucial in determining who wins (and who covers the spread) in most football games.

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Most teams will fall into a range between 6.0 to 7.0. Good teams have a DPA/100 Y ratio below 6.0, and bad teams are above 7.0. It's not a large range of difference, but it has been shown to come in handy when placing a wager.

For example, those Steelers and their 5.68 DPA/100 Y ratio ran into the Cincinnati Bengals and their 6.46 ratio in the first round of the AFC playoffs last year. Well, as we all know, Pittsburgh beat the Bengals (for the second time in three games last year) in Cincinnati, and went on to defeat the Colts in Indianapolis and the Broncos in Denver on their way to the Super Bowl.

Other values from last season include, near the top, the Chicago Bears at 4.48, the Colts at 5.03, Denver at 5.15, NFC Champion Seattle at 5.35, Carolina at 5.73 and New England at 6.40. All of those teams made the playoffs, and together they went 55-36-5 against the spread during the regular season.

Near the bottom, the New Orleans Saints came in at 7.97, Houston at 7.40, Green Bay at 7.33, Oakland at 7.24, the Jets at 7.19, and San Francisco at 6.84. None of these teams made the playoffs, and together they went 36-57-3 vs. the number.