NFL Luck Rankings: Which Teams Enter Week 5 as This Season’s Luckiest?
Action Network's Predictive Analytics team has been hard at work crunching the numbers from the 2022 NFL season, and we're proud to unveil our inaugural NFL Luck Rankings.
We designed these rankings to help you identify which teams' results have been luckier — or unluckier — than their on-field performance indicates.
We start by creating an "expected score" for each game. Note, this is different from the actual score. We're using in-game data to model what the score should havebeen based off each play that took place.
From there, we can translate that into an expected win-loss record.
By comparing this to a team's actual win-loss record, we can determine which teams have been the luckiest so far.
This is important because public perception may be skewed by a team's actual result. If the market is over-adjusting for luck, that presents betting opportunities.
We've tested these results on Weeks 3 and 4. So far, teams with a luck rating 10 or more places worse than their opponent have gone 13-4 against the spread (ATS) using closing lines.
While this is a relatively small sample, the early returns are promising. There are nine games between teams with a luck difference of at least 10 in Week 5, so there will be plenty more data pouring in.
Additionally, we've created several metrics that we can test and track going forward. We'll add them in the coming weeks as we see fit.
But for now, we'll start simple with our Week 5 NFL Luck Rankings.
NFL Luck Rankings – Week 5
Luck Rnk – a team's luck rating, with 1 being the luckiest team and 32 the unluckiest
Luck Diff – the difference in luck rating between opposing teams. A positive luck difference means the team has been unluckier than their opponent, and may present a good betting opportunity.
WOE – Wins Over Expectation. How many more wins a team has than their expected wins. A negative number means a team has won less than expected.
NFL Luck Rankings – Week 5 Notable Situations
Nick Giffen: The biggest luck discrepancy of Week 5 belongs to the Las Vegas Raiders, who have been the second most unlucky team of 2022 coming in at 1.22 wins below expected. That's in no small part thanks to their 0-3 record in one-possession games.
This week, Las Vegas faces a Kansas City team that has scored 17.3 points more than expected thanks in part to a 99-yard interception return for a touchdown in Week 2.
The public is siding with Kansas City against the Raiders, as 79% of the bets and 81% of the money are on the Chiefs.
This is a prime spot to go against public opinion and back the Raiders to keep the game close on Monday Night Football.
Cincinnati also matches up well against Baltimore. Joe Burrow is an elite passer against the blitz. Meanwhile, the Ravens blitzed at the sixth-highest rate in 2021 and have recorded the fourth-most blitzes in 2022.
By backing the Bengals, we are on a team that our luck rankings favor and who benefit from a great matchup.
We get this all while fading the publicly backed lucky team, as 83% of the money is on Baltimore.
Nick Giffen: Speaking of the Rams, I'm looking at them as another team that the public may have soured on thanks to recency bias.
The Rams failed spectacularly against the 49ers, but there was an element of bad luck. If Deebo Samuel doesn't break that long run for the 49ers' second touchdown, combined with San Francisco's late pick-six, the score ends up much closer.
That's why the Rams were actually the unluckiest team of Week 5.
The Week 5 bad luck also contributes to their overall luck rating of 24th.
Los Angeles faces a Dallas Cowboys team that has been the sixth-luckiest team of 2022 and the third luckiest team last week.
The Rams have moved from being favored by 4.5-5 points. I'm not worried about that since the line still falls in the dead zone between key numbers.
Sean Koerner: The Saints are coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Vikings in a game they probably should have won. On the flip side, Seattle's Week 4 win came in a game our expected score shows should have been a virtual coin flip.
The Seahawks have a 2-0 record in games decided by a field goal or less. Those are their only two wins of the season.
So, while these are separated by 10 places in the luck rankings, there may be a bit of recency bias that has crept into the market.
We're experimenting with something called weighted luck, which takes into account this recency effect as well. The weighted luck difference between these two teams would be 13.6 places.
Washington opened as a 3-point underdog, but sharp money quickly moved that line to 2.5. With 89% of the money on Tennessee, it's possible that line moves back to the key number of 3. If so, I'd pounce.