Like the legendary Jonathan Bales, I find weather quite interesting. It plays a big role in both baseball and football, and bettors and DFS players can capitalize on certain trends.
Even though most of my time has been spent on how weather impacts baseball games, I wanted to take a look at some simple trends in the NFL DFS world to see what I could find. Some of my findings aren’t exactly groundbreaking, but others are pretty interesting. Take a look at how both wind speeds and temperatures have impacted expected performance and consistency on DraftKings…
- <10 miles per hour: +0.11 Plus/Minus, 47.5% Consistency
- 10-plus miles per hour: -1.24 Plus/Minus, 40.8% Consistency
- 15-plus miles per hour: -1.89 Plus/Minus, 50% Consistency
Evidently, it’s harder to throw an air-filled object when it is windy out … shocker! These numbers did not come off as all that surprising. There are plenty of instances in which QBs have performed exceptionally regardless of the conditions, but you’d be better off fading them more often than not if you see the anemometer reading double-digit wind speeds.
- ≤30 degrees: -2.22 Plus/Minus, 33.0% Consistency
- 31-79 degrees: +0.16 Plus/Minus, 47.9% Consistency
- 80-plus degrees: -0.27 Plus/Minus, 46.2% Consistency
I was a bit surprised to see the quarterbacks do that poorly in cold weather, especially considering overs have reigned supreme in straight-up sports betting situations. My gut tells me it’s because their precious little fingers get cold and numb and it’s tougher to get a feel for the ball. On the other hand, the balls should naturally deflate a bit due to the laws of physics, and, as we all know, it’s a bit easier to throw a ball that isn’t ready to burst. Just ask Tom Brady.
- <10 mph: +0.06 Plus/Minus, 40.9% Consistency
- 10-plus mph: -0.61 Plus/Minus, 36.7% Consistency
- 15-plus mph: +2.02 Plus/Minus, 50.0% Consistency
This was one of my more interesting findings. Running backs really excel in very windy situations but have been quite inconsistent and underwhelming in moderately windy games. My theory is that teams are still trying to throw the ball as often as they normally would in the games with winds right above 10 mph. This leads to the offense doing poorly as a whole, resulting in shorter drives and fewer scoring opportunities. When the wind is really whipping, the coaches realize they can’t throw the ball and switch to a ground-and-pound style, which is why we see running backs’ numbers really jump at the 15-plus mph level.
- ≤30 degrees: +0.38 Plus/Minus, 41.0% Consistency
- 31-79 degrees: +0.05 Plus/Minus, 40.9% Consistency
- 80-plus degrees: -0.74 Plus/Minus, 37.2% Consistency
Even though quarterbacks have really struggled in cold games, running backs have done well. This makes some sense, as dainty QBs would rather hand the ball off than throw it themselves. The backs have really struggled in the heat, though. Nobody likes running around in full pads in the hot sun, so I can’t blame them on that one.
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- <10 mph: +0.04 Plus/Minus, 40.7% Consistency
- 10-plus mph: -0.48 Plus/Minus, 38.6% Consistency
- 15-plus mph: -0.71 Plus/Minus, 32.6% Consistency
Ho hum. Just bringing the facts to the table for you, and sometimes the stats aren’t that exciting. The relationship here between wide receivers and wind speed is as expected.
- ≤30 degrees: -0.75 Plus/Minus, 35.6% Consistency
- 31-79 degrees: +0.04 Plus/Minus, 40.8% Consistency
- 80-plus degrees: +0.05 Plus/Minus, 40.9% Consistency
I was a little surprised to see the hot category with a positive Plus/Minus since quarterbacks underperformed, but I suppose someone has to pick up the slack from the running backs. Like QBs, wideouts have mightily struggled in the cold. Is it the quarterbacks’ faults for crappy passes or are the wide receivers’ hands turning to stone? Who’s to blame? A bit of a chicken-and-the-egg thing going on here.
- <10 mph: +0.06 Plus/Minus, 40.9% Consistency
- 10-plus mph: -0.43 Plus/Minus, 35.3% Consistency
- 15-plus mph: +0.05 Plus/Minus, 37.2% Consistency (Gronk 44.9%)
I smell a fluke… Gronk be thy name. There are just 46 tight end instances in the 15-plus MPH category and Gronk accounts for two of them. He put up 44.9 and 28.5 points in those two games and has really skewed the numbers as a result. Take him out of the sample and the numbers drop to -0.96 Plus/Minus with a 34.1% Consistency. That’s more like it.
- ≤30 degrees: -1.19 Plus/Minus, 31.5% Consistency
- 31-79 degrees: +0.06 Plus/Minus, 39.2% Consistency
- 80-plus degrees: +0.08 Plus/Minus, 40.4% Consistency
I thought that perhaps tight ends would do a bit better in the cold, with them being burlier and manlier than the wide receivers and whatnot. I was wrong, though. Often times I am. Much like the wideouts, tight ends have played as similarly in hot weather as they have in normal temperatures.
- <10 mph: -0.05 Plus/Minus, 42.4% Consistency
- 10-plus mph: +0.56 Plus/Minus, 45.9% Consistency
- 15-plus mph: -0.34 Plus/Minus, 38.5% Consistency
All right, onto the other end of the ball. I was definitely a bit surprised to see the defenses struggle in the extremely windy games, but I think it’s a fluke, too, to be honest. The sample size is quite small, and there are a couple of big Patriots games from a few years back that are bringing the average way down. I would expect this to line up and eventually eclipse the numbers we see in the 10-plus mph group as the sample gets larger.
- ≤30 degrees: +1.05 Plus/Minus, 51.4% Consistency
- 31-79 degrees: -0.10 Plus/Minus, 42.0% Consistency
- 80-plus degrees: +0.45 Plus/Minus, 44.7% Consistency
When quarterbacks struggle, defenses thrive. Earlier in the season, the defenses in those hot games should be targeted. When Thanksgiving comes a knockin’ and the temps drop as December looms, you’ll definitely want to stick with defenses in cold games rather than the ones in which the weather is still a bit balmy.