USA Today Sports

Why bettors should care about the NFL Top 100 players list

CBS Sports’ senior NFL columnist Pete Prisco recently ranked the Top 100 NFL players heading into the 2013 season, and football bettors can’t help but find a correlation between elite talent and winning wagers on Sundays.

The six teams with at least five players ranked in the Top 100 – San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Atlanta, Baltimore and Tampa Bay - posted a collective 55-38-3 ATS (against the spread) count, covering the spread in 59 percent of their games last year.

The Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens were the only ones in that group to finish below .500 ATS in the regular season but went a perfect 4-0 ATS in the postseason – three of those as underdogs.

On the other end of the scale, the six teams with just one player or none ranked among the NFL elite – San Diego, Philadelphia, Tennessee, Oakland, St. Louis and Jacksonville - combined for a dismal 39-56-1 ATS record last season (41 percent ATS success).

The biggest anomaly among that group is the St. Louis Rams, who failed to have one player ranked among Prisco’s 100 best but still managed to finish 11-5 ATS in the regular season.

Prisco gave top honors to Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers but had only one more Cheesehead among the Top 100, No. 18 LB Clay Matthews. Green Bay, which went 9-7 ATS in 2012, is roped in with the likes of the Jets, Browns, Vikings and Colts as franchises with just two players in the Top 100.

Could this be a forerunner for a fall from the Packers this season? Early action on their season win total has sided with the under and has dropped that number from as high as 12 wins to 10.5 at some markets.

The best NFL bet last year, the Seattle Seahawks, boasted six players among the Top 100 – CB Richard Sherman, S Earl Thomas, QB Russell Wilson, T Russell Okung, RB Marshawn Lynch – and finished with an 11-5 ATS mark in the regular season and covered in both postseason appearances.

The team with the most players on Prisco’s list is the San Francisco 49ers, who feature eight Top-100 talents: LB Patrick Willis, LB Aldon Smith, DE Justin Smith, LB NaVorro Bowman, T Joe Staley, G Mike Iupati, QB Colin Kaepernick, WR Michael Crabtree. The Niners finished the regular season with a 9-7 ATS record and went 2-1 ATS in the playoffs.

Among the other teams with the most players ranked are the Denver Broncos (6), Baltimore Ravens (5), and Atlanta Falcons (5). Perhaps the biggest surprise is the five players placed among the Top 100 that play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Bucs, who went a profitable 10-5-1 ATS (7-9 SU) in 2012, have a roster highlighted by DT Gerald McCoy, CB Darrelle Revis (not with team last year), G Carl Nicks, WR Vincent Jackson, LB Lavonte David, who all ranked between No. 30 and No. 98.

Could this surplus of outstanding talent make Tampa Bay the team to watch in 2013? Oddsmakers have the Buccaneers’ season win total set at 6.5 (Over/Under -115) and they’re underdogs in nine of their first 15 games, according to the early NFL pointspreads.

Here’s how the NFL teams ranked in terms of Top-100 talents and their ATS records from the 2012 regular season:

San Francisco 49ers (8) – 9-7 ATS
Denver Broncos (6) – 10-6 ATS
Seattle Seahawks (6) – 11-5 ATS
Baltimore Ravens (5) – 6-9-1 ATS
Atlanta Falcons (5) – 9-6-1 ATS
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5) – 10-5-1 ATS
Houston Texans (4) – 9-7 ATS
New England Patriots (4) – 9-7 ATS
Dallas Cowboys (4) – 6-10 ATS
Arizona Cardinals (4) – 7-8-1 ATS
Chicago Bears (4) – 7-9 ATS
Kansas City Chiefs (4) – 5-11 ATS
Detroit Lions (3) – 6-10 ATS
Cincinnati Bengals (3) -9-6-1 ATS
New Orleans Saints (3) – 8-8 ATS
Miami Dolphins (3) – 8-8 ATS
New York Giants (3) – 7-8-1 ATS
Pittsburgh Steelers (3) – 6-9-1 ATS
Washington Redskins (3) – 11-5 ATS
Carolina Panthers (3) – 9-7 ATS
Buffalo Bills (3) – 7-9 ATS
Green Bay Packers (2) – 9-7 ATS
Minnesota Vikings (2) – 8-7-1 ATS
Cleveland Browns (2) – 8-7-1 ATS
New York Jets (2) – 7-9 ATS
Indianapolis Colts (2) – 11-5 ATS
San Diego Chargers (1) – 7-9 ATS
Philadelphia Eagles (1) – 3-12-1 ATS
Tennessee Titans (1) – 6-10 ATS
Oakland Raiders (1) – 5-11 ATS
Jacksonville Jaguars (0) – 7-9 ATS
St. Louis Rams (0) – 11-5 ATS

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Posted by toddwins
1 year ago

on the Seattle six, you forgot Percy Harvin, who came in at #97
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Posted by veronica27
1 year ago

is a good reference no doubt .. good work . important note >> those figures of what teams did ats will always be skewed if you got the better line and hit .. that is too much to breakdown yes ... lol
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Posted by vegaswise
1 year ago

I know it is the hardest time of the year to write a football betting article. If anyone will uses this as a standard to bet the NFL next season, take their action. Doing a power rating before the start of the NFL teams is hard enough. Four weeks into the season, most of the power rating, industry wide, are worthless and need to be drastically adjusted. If you want to go By Prosco's rating, your better off picking the team with the best looking cheerleaders every Sunday. Rating the players after the season is DONE and going back to look at their ATS record, would make anyone the NEXT Billy Walters (after the games have been played) I'm sure Andrew Luck ( replacing Manning), Russell Wilson RG3 and of course Colin Kaepernick were on his list this time last year. This year they are rated 80,82,81,83 without any respect.I f they stay healthy, we will be enjoying one of the best QB classes of all-time. Four weeks into the season, most of the power rating, industry wide, are worthless and need to be drastically adjusted. Prosco Has Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots ranked 19th in the NFL? Is he even the best tight end in the game? Adrian Peterson, almost broke the rushing record with a mediocre young quarterback, no other offensive stars for defensive coordinators to key on, is ranked 6th? Put Peterson on an offense with a star quarterback and a couple of All-Pro linemen. They probably would be double-digit favorites throughout the season and chances are would not have a winning record against the spread. I am in fantasy leagues with some current Sportsbooks directors and past oddsmakers in Las Vegas. I will pass this by them and hope I don't get kicked out of the leagues. Not to get struck by lightning, God could not help anyone betting this way.
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Posted by theclaw
1 year ago

Interesting that you'd want to take Pete Prisco's advice on anything involving the NFL. A web site did breakdown the history of his NFL analyasis AND FOUND IT TO BE ONE OF THE WORST. They actually challenged him to a NFL debate and of coarse he refused. No offense to Pete but god help you if you decide to trust anything from him.
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Posted by DDH420
1 year ago

Huh with the league average over 3.1 I didn't think 5 sounded all that impressive but could be something to watch......thanx And kinda cool to see STL is at the bottom of the league with ZERO yet were in a 4-way tie for the best ATS record in the league last year at 11-5. However all 3 of the other teams they tied with were lead by brilliant rookie campaigns by their Q.B'. And no way they'll be catching teams (and bettors) off guard this year. But damn though,this time last year if anyone had said INDY,SEA and WASH would be a combined 33-15 ATS,thenm add STL for 44-20 ATS. And they'd be laughed off the thread and into a loonie bin.
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Top Response

Posted by vegaswise
1 year ago

" I know it is the hardest time of the year to write a football betting article. If anyone will uses this as a standard to bet the NFL next season, take their action. Doing a power rating before the start of the NFL teams is hard enough. Four wee..."