We had positive performance across all NFL sportfolio strategies this week, with our highest conviction plays (Titans, Colts, Vikings, and Bills) serving as strong drivers of that return. Core, our most important and flagship strategy, went 5-0 and returned 5%; Conservative went 2-1 and returned 1.1%; and Aggressive went 13-2 and returned 13.8%. Listen to our initial reactions to Week 1 action and a preview of Week 2 spreads here.
While we are excited that the time, effort, energy, and due diligence over the summer produced strong performance in Week 1, we recognize the season is long and would caution subscribers that such stellar returns should not be expected on a week-in/week-out basis. Performance can be bumpy, but we will do our best to provide a smooth ride – which we do believe is one of our core value propositions and is an explicit mandate of the Conservative and Core sportfolio strategies. In fact, what we are most proud of this week is the limited amount of risk that we took to achieve these returns – a metric that we believe truly demonstrates manager skill and is one that not many (if any?) sell-side touts disclose to the public. Indeed, average risk taken per bet across all risk-profiles was between 1.1% and 1.4%.
Lastly, while we aim to provide positive net performance over the long-term (i.e. full season), our primary goal is provide positive relative performance (i.e., higher performance than the benchmark, which is a reflection of broad market consensus – in other words, the performance you can reasonably expect if you did not follow/subscribe to our sportfolios and went with a market alternative). The difference between broad market performance and our sportfolios’ performance is what is called “active return” – perhaps the most important metric that demonstrates the competitiveness and potency (or lack thereof) of our strategies. If we cannot provide positive active return over the long-term, this would mean it is not worth your time or money to subscribe to our product. However, we are confident this will not be the case, and in Week 1 our Conservative and Core Strategies beat their benchmarks by 2.3% and 4.2% respectively (since the Aggressive and Multi-Sport Total Return Strategies take much more risk, they do not have benchmarks and can instead be judged purely on total net performance irrespective of broad market performance).
We understand bettors have a lot of options when it comes to selecting an advice provider, and recognize that it takes time, trust, transparency, and strong performance to earn your hard earned dollars. As such, every week, we will also showcase how our flagship NFL Core strategy performed v.s. who we believe to be relevant competitors in the marketplace – this ‘relative return’ performance metric demonstrates the efficacy of our strategy against some of the next best alternatives.
This week, our primary benchmark, the SuperContest Consensus Top 5 picks, went 3-2, winning Ravens, Colts, Texans, and losing Bucs and Broncos. Usually anytime a pick is above 30% it’s an exceptionally high conviction position (2-0), and the Top 3 overall picks went 3-0.
Breakdown of NFL Core, Conservative, and Aggressive Sportfolios
Positive Drivers of Performance:
- Colts +7 (we bought a 1/2 point) was our no. 1 position of the week, as it was allocated across all risk-profiles. We believed Charger injuries would be impactful, and that the drop from Luck to Brissett would be meaningful over the course of the season, but not necessarily in this game. In fact, we are not nearly as bearish as the market is on the Colts post-Luck retirement, as our season win total projection was a full 1.5 games higher than futures pricing implied. The Colts left 7 points on the board (two FGs and an XP missed by the usually rock-solid Adam Vinatieri) and gifted the Chargers an extra 4 points after a roughing the kicker penalty. Sure, the Colts also stole a TD from the Chargers after an incredible INT by Malik Hooker – but the Colts should have won this game outright.
- Titans, Vikings, and Bills were allocated across 2/3 strategies, with the Titans and Vikings easily cashing and the Bills pulling a 4th quarter comeback to get the outright win. We didn’t expect the Titans to dominate to the extent they did, but we did expect the Browns to struggle and to be the primary catalyst for a Titans cover or SU win. If you listened to our Browns preview podcast, you’d learn that we are bullish on the team and bet the season win total over 9 wins, but explained that we expected the chemistry to take at least a few games to develop and that, in the meantime, the team could struggle and look out-of-sorts. That predication came to fruition with authority. But make no mistake, the Titans may have been better than the Browns in Week 1, but the inverse will be very apparent by Week 17.
- We really liked the Redskins and Bengals, believing that both teams were getting way too many points, and wouldn’t have been surprised if either team won SU. Zach got even more bullish on the Redskins on the morning of gameday, and we even flirted with a moneyline position, but didn’t want to get too cute. If you read our preseason market preview, you wouldn’t have been surprised that we expressed some Bengals love in the Aggressive sportfolio, as our model projected at least a full 1-2 more wins than the futures market had priced in.
Negative Drivers of Performance:
- We expected the Rams/Panthers game to start slow, betting the 1H under 24.5 points, and this easily cashed as the halftime score was 13-3. We knew both teams would get more in rhythm in the 2H, but an extra late score by the Panthers after the game was essentially settled pushed our full game under positions out-of-the-money.
As you can see, the Aggressive Strategy leverages live in-game wagering and dynamic hedging opportunities to boost overall performance – these bets are posted in real-time exclusively to subscribers in our Discord chat. Please be on the lookout for trades throughout the week and on gamedays.
Learn more about the overall approach to the NFL sportfolio strategies here, and remember to follow our ultra aggressive Multi-Sport Total Return Fund Strategy exclusively on Twitter by following Brett Matthew and Zach James at @nonrandomalpha and @zjalpha for free pregame and in-game bets throughout the week (this is a separate strategy that makes trades across all sports both college and pro over the course of a calendar year).