Koerner’s AAF Power Ratings: A Few Week 2 Spreads Are Way Off

Feb 17, 2019 09:52 AM EST

Courtesy of @TheAAF/Twitter. Pictured: Arizona Hotshots RB Jhurell Pressley

  • Sean Koerner's AAF Power Ratings reveal major discrepancies in opening spreads and over/unders for Week 2.
  • He runs through all four games and explains how to exploit these lines while betting on this new league.

The inaugural week of the Alliance of American Football league is in the books, which means we’ve seen how all eight teams play and have at least a small sample size of data to work with.

What I want to tackle here is identifying any potential “value” in the opening spread/totals for Week 2. In order to do so, I created our first set of power ratings for all eight AAF teams, which we can use to estimate a line for each matchup.

Here’s what they are as of writing on Wednesday:

Before diving into each matchup, I want to look at three league-wide factors we learned in Week 1.

Line Movement

To no surprise, we saw some massive line movement in the Week 1 games from their opening to closing lines. I expect it to be a few more weeks until the market comes to enough of a consensus that books can be more confident with their opening numbers.

Week 2 will likely have some severe line moves as well, so it’s important to identify where the lines could move to in order to get the best number early.

Home-Field Advantage

One thing we aren’t too sure of yet is just how much home-field advantage should be worth.

I’m going with a value of 2 to start. Before we have enough data, all we can do is estimate here, and my reasoning behind 2 is that the AAF likely won’t have the crowd sizes to make it worth around 3 (like it’s worth in the NFL) or up to 4-5 (like it’s worth for certain college teams). But there still is the aspect of travel and the slight biases referees might have for a home team.

We saw home teams outscore away teams 119-34 in Week 1. It’s also worth pointing out that all four home teams were favorites. I would say this has more to do with the four home teams likely being the top four teams in the league with a lot of it chalked up to randomness of a sample size of four games.

It’s going to cause people to overweight home-field advantage and overrate the four “favorites” that won heading into Week 2. Given that three of the four teams are on the road this week, we’ll start to learn just how much home-field advantage should be worth. I’m sticking with a value of 2 for now.


The third factor we need to quickly learn is the average score of an AAF game.

The 35-second play clock, mandatory two-point conversation attempts after every touchdown and even rules preventing blitzing led most to think that the league would be fairly high scoring. But we might’ve underestimated the fact that there are no kickoffs and that every drive starts on a team’s own 25-yard line.

It takes away the randomness of a long kickoff return or even a turnover that would give a team great field position. Instead, these offenses are required to drive down the entire field after every score.

We witnessed the market inflate both totals to 54 for this past Saturday’s opening two-game slate. Only three total points being scored in the first quarter of both games and each going under the total impacted Sunday’s games, dropping both to 46.5 and 49.

The “over” went 1-3 on opening weekend with an average total score of 38.25. We’re sure to see the market adjust accordingly and I currently have the average total rating for each team being 46.

We’re only going to see these offenses improve going forward, so I’m expecting a much higher scoring Week 2.


Salt Lake Stallions at Birmingham Iron

  • Spread: Birmingham -8
  • Over/Under: 44.5
  • Time: 2 p.m. ET on Saturday
  • TV: TNT

This opening spread appears to be an overreaction in both directions.

The Iron went into the season as the biggest longshot to win the AAF championship (12-1) and had the lowest regular season win total at 3.5. The Stallions, on the other hand, were pegged as being more of a .500 team heading in.

Now, just after one game, we see the Iron as -7.5 favorites!

I think we need to be careful here.

The Iron beat what could arguably be the worst team in the league, the Express, 26-0. The Stallions were defeated by what many consider to be the best team in the league, the Hotshots, 22-38.

We can learn from Week 1 that the Iron are much better than we expected, especially their defense, so I have them all the way up to No. 3 in my ranks. But this line should be much closer to -5. I think sanity will prevail here and the market will move the line toward that number, so it’s key to get in now.

As for the total, I was expecting it to be around 44.

The Iron will likely be involved in lower-scoring games as they’ll lean heavily on former NFL first-round pick Trent Richardson to shorten the game a bit and on what appears to be their stout defense to keep the opposing offense in check. It remains to be seen how much of their Week 1 shutout was due to their defense against an inept Memphis offense.

PICK: Salt Lake +8

Arizona Hotshots at Memphis Express