The NFL announced that it will be pulling back the curtain and allowing football fans to view the “All-22” game film, previously reserved for team-only film sessions and select members of the media.
Not only do these tell-all tapes (called "All-22" because you can see all 22 players) allow football fans to dive deeper into their team’s playbook, but also give NFL bettors a new way to handicap that week’s games. Bettors can breakdown matchups, looking to see which linemen are getting trampled, which corners are being burned and where quarterbacks like to toss on third-and-long.
“I think this would definitely be beneficial from a handicapping perspective,” Covers Expert Sean Murphy told Covers. “Not a game-changer by any means, but useful nonetheless. I like the fact that we can watch the film at our own leisure rather than relying on catching bits and pieces on the playbook show. Should be interesting.”
Grantland contributor Bill Barnwell tackled the subject of the “All-22” films in a recent column, tagging the comprehensive footage as “The Holy Grail of football information”. He says the previously-guarded game film was finally released despite league concerns that it would open up players to far more criticism and scrutiny from fans.
The “All-22” film does have its foibles – besides its $70 price tag. Viewers won’t know the actual names of the plays, but will be able to decipher offensive and defensive situational tendencies. Viewers will also be unable to pick up adjustments at the line of scrimmage or audibles. And chances are, whatever weakness you’ve spotted has already been corrected by the team coordinators before the ball is snapped.
Some handicappers think it may be a bit of overkill, when thrown into the mix with the game broadcasts, post-game coverage and week-long media blitz surrounding each and every NFL team.
“I wasn't planning on purchasing that package,” Covers Expert Ted Sevransky told Covers. “Sometimes, too much information hurts every bit as much as too little info.”
Most Las Vegas oddsmakers we talked to about the release of the “All-22” film didn’t know of the NFL’s decision or wasn’t aware what the film was. However, once informed, all agreed there are some benefits and some problems with using the product for handicapping purposes.
“I’m not sure if it gives the books or the bettors an advantage,” Chris Andrews, assistant sportsbook director at Cal-Neva, told Covers. “Handicappers will think it’s worth the money, being able to dedicate Monday and Tuesday to watching film. I think the first leg up will go to the cappers.”
Oddsmakers don’t expect to see the “All-22” film transition to the other side of the window and become a weekly tool in the line making process. Todd Fuhrman, sportsbook analyst at Caesars Palace, believes that the same information overload handicappers are worried about can impact oddsmaking.
“I think if you watch it religiously, you’ll find a couple nuggets. But it runs the risk of paralysis by analysis,” Fuhrman to Covers. “From a bookmaking standpoint, I don’t think we’ll use it… you can sometimes create value for the bettor by overacting and trying to protect your assets.”