As we have for weeks, Las Vegas odds are infused with offense vs. defense averages to give us a baseline set of statistics to base our individual projections on.
Our Las Vegas factor informs us which teams are expected to perform above or below average based on the Las Vegas odds. This week there are two teams well above average and two teams well below average.
Dallas is expected to perform 17% better than average. I haven’t adjusted for matchups yet, but the Las Vegas bumps give Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant some of the best totals of the week. It’s surprising because they face the No. 7 defense in the league according to Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average. Nobody is better against the run and only seven teams are better against the pass, according to DVOA.
Pittsburgh is expected to be 12% above average. The Ravens are fifth-best against the run according to DVOA. They are middle-of-the-road against the pass. With Le’Veon Bell less than 100% or potentially out, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger could air it out in the opening round.
The two teams well below average are the Cardinals and Ravens at -26% and -14% respectively.
Arizona is reeling thanks to quarterback injuries which have left them hoping for Ryan Lindley or Drew Stanton to come through. After throwing only one interception over the first two months of the season, the Cardinals have tossed 11 in November and December. They’ll likely be one and done. Meanwhile their opponents, Carolina, have 14 sacks, five interceptions, four fumble recoveries and two return touchdowns in December alone.
Baltimore’s LVf was a bit surprising to me. It feels like the Ravens are one of the teams most likely to notch an upset this week. Pittsburgh’s defense has been great in December, but they are still 27th in overall DVOA and 30th against the pass. I guess, maybe, Las Vegas doesn’t have much faith in Joe Flacco.
Here are the rest of the Las Vegas-adjusted offense vs. defense averages for the first round of the 2014-15 NFL playoffs: