Which teams are having relatively good years? Which teams are having relatively poor seasons? By comparing each team to their Over/Under lines before the start of games this fall, we get a cleaner and clearer understanding of over and underperformance.
The strength of schedule of the NY Giants is easier in the second half of the season than it was in the first half. But they still play a lot of teams that now rate to be favored over them (SF, CHI) that were previously penciled in as Wins before the 2018 campaign began. Thus, assuming each team’s strength of schedule in its remaining games is equal to what it faced in the first ~half, we take that projection and then subtract the preseason Las Vegas win total to arrive at an objective net that encapsulates over or underperformance so far this year. As a sample calculation, the Giants have 16 games, only played 8, so would be expected to win 2 total if they replicate the 1-7 record amassed thus far. Their O/U line was 7.25, because the betting line was adjusted down via the skew one needed to lay in order to bet Under 7.5. So 2 minus 7.25 equals -5.25 wins. Let’s sort by Performance. The results are helpful in seeing with clarity who is having a relatively better or worse year than expected.
The NY Giants and the Oakland Raiders are bringing up the rear. It’s more revealing to look at this in order to see that teams like CLE and BUF are not a significant downside surprise. Any team +/- 2.4 wins is within 1 standard deviation of normal. That makes a great deal of sense too from the perspective that 1 win or loss would throw the result by ~2 games, hence the error in this mid season evaluation.
From this lense of a hurdle of +/- 2.4 net performance, the Giants are beyond that measure. Whether the Giants were 1-7 or 2-6, they would still be having a bad season, as defined by this preseason objective criteria. Additionally, with the Giants tied with the Raiders for dead last, it shows how disappointing the team has been versus expectations. It objectively quantifies the underachievement of Gettleman and Shurmur in putting together a product that they believed could win now.