The margins are as tight as ever on championship weekend with each game lined within a field goal, so can the officials in the game help carve out an edge for either side or total?
The head referee for the AFC title game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs is Ron Torbert. How does he typically officiate games and what is the impact of it on the game? First, here’s the odds for the Sunday night matchup:
Ron Torbert’s referee stats
There was not much of a difference between home team penalties against away team this season when Torbert was officiating games. The home team was called for a little more than 51% of flags on the field across 16 games, which may be a near-even split, but that is more than four percent greater than the average across all the games this season. Typically, home teams get a better whistle, but not with Tolbert.
However, home teams did win more than 62% of the games with Torbert on the field, right in line with the league average.
There’s not a big trend to follow with Torbert, but here is the amount of penalties called on home teams relative to the league average over the last five years.
- 2022: +4.58%
- 2021: -2.15%
- 2020: +.12%
- 2019: -1.67%
- 2018: +3.76%
To me, what’s interesting with Tobert’s tendencies is the amount of penalties his crew is calling relative to the league.
- 2022: -0.34
- 2021: -1.94
- 2020: -0.05
- 2019: +.03
- 2018: -1.06
With less impact from the officials we may see more physical play on the field, which can be an aid to the defense against two of the more explosive teams in football. If the refs are going to “let them play” then we may see some more close calls in regards to holding on the defense on passing plays.
The margin is tight in this game as the Chiefs and Bengals have traded being favorites since the line opened on Sunday, but the total has ticked down a point. The edge may be found in the referees decision to throw a flag or not, and based on historical trends, Tolbert’s crew is a little more gun shy.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.