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Midseason Stats Review

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Editor's Note: Andy Iskoe's expert pro football selections can be purchased weekly on VegasInsider.com. Also, don't miss out on his detailed spreadsheet and power rankings as well!

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Each year I publish a pair of reports that look at what characteristics are exhibited by teams having success against the pointspread (College & Pro Football Statistical Pattern Reports).

Not surprisingly, these factors are similar to those that lead to success in winning games straight up on the playing field.

Several of these strong factors are not surprising, but will enable you to see that many of the phases of the game emphasized by coaches and observers are every bit as important as we are led to believe.

Here is a look at some of those factors in both college and pro football and how they have pointed to pointspread success thus far in 2010 and how they have fared historically over the 22 seasons between 1988 and 2009 ('pushes' have been ignored):

PRO FOOTBALL
Category 2010 Pct. 1988-2009 %
Better than 2-1 Rushing edge 33-10 76.7% 80.0%
Rush for over 150, Allow under 100 22-4 84.6% 81.7%
Rush for over 100, Allow under 100 49-16 75.4% 74.8%
Allow under 100 rushing yards 66-33 66.7% 66.8%
Commit fewer turnovers 73-21 77.7% 77.4%
Commit at least 3 fewer turnovers 28-3 90.3% 89.9%
More Rushing Attempts 84-24 77.8% 75.2%
Higher Yards per Rush Attempt 65-47 58.0% 51.3 %

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Category 2010 Pct. 1988-2009 %
Better than 2-1 Rushing edge 177-87 67.0% 73.6%
Rush for over 150, Allow under 100 137-57 70.6% 75.0 %
Rush for over 100, Allow under 100 170-84 66.9% 71.4%
Allow under 100 rushing yards 197-111 66.0% 68.0%
Commit fewer turnovers 280-113 71.2% 70.9%
Commit at least 3 fewer turnovers 83-21 79.8% 83.1%
More Rushing Attempts 307-199 60.7% 64.9%
Higher Yards per Rush Attempt 317-203 61.0% 62.9%

As you can see, it is hard to overstate the importance of a strong running game, a solid rushing defense and the ability to create a positive turnover margin or, more to the point, avoiding turnovers.

While the above statistics represent what has happened when teams accomplish these things in games, it can help us in our handicapping by looking for matchups between teams that have exhibited these characteristics in past games when facing teams that have allowed these things to happen to them. Keep these fundamentals in mind when you handicap on your own and you'll focus in on the important factors that lead to pointspread success.

  
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