Football

HANDICAPPING AFC EAST WIN TOTALS

Tuesday, 19 August, 2014

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Each day this week I’ll give a breakdown of win totals and where I believe the right side is on the number. Numbers are moving continually and will grow even more before the season begins. This is the fun part of getting into the futures market. Lets just hope no serious injuries occur for those tickets on the over.

Vegas Has it Right On
New England- 10.5
I’ve already written a piece on the AFC East trending upward for 2014. That typically means a downfall for the team that runs the division yearly. With New England their consistency marks an unfathomable reason to suddenly write them off. They’ve improved defensively and have the same nucleus offensively. If it’s not broke don’t fix it. This was one of the easiest totals set by Vegas and it’s spot on.

Beats the Number
New York Jets 7
Initially when looking at the number of seven wins, you’d automatically have a thought of under. On second thought though this team was somewhat impressive last year with a scaled back offense and defense back on the rise. They had some strong wins against the Saints and a few other teams. Normally I’d downgrade a team with a quarterback controversy set to embroil the season. In this case I consider it an upgrade. Geno Smith can’t possibly play worse and Mike Vick is a quarterback you don’t want playing a full 16 games. At some point he’ll probably see the field and a shortened season could be to the Jets benefit. He has been in this role before and understands his situation in New York.

Miami Dolphins 8
Can Ryan Tannehill show true year three quarterback progression? I believe so. He was the main culprit to the demise of many winnable games for the Dolphins a year ago. His confidence began to wane after the Dolphins week four loss on Monday Night football to the Saints. They were ran out of the building with Tannehill having blunder after blunder. After that game the Dolphins play calling was never the same. It was scaled back and hindered the team. This year the play calling will bode to Tannehill’s strengths and we should see a turn around. Don’t be surprised if they get close to a playoff berth or end up with one.

Falls Short
Buffalo 6.5
Being a Syracuse fan I had my questions with the selection of Doug Marrone as head coach. Usually a college coach making the transition to the NFL had a serious strong campaign in college. Marrone did not. Syracuse did develop into a bowl eligible team but getting to a bowl game is not a great achievement anymore. Buffalo seems to have the pieces to string together wins but this does not seem to be the year to do so. The reach in drafting EJ Manuel that stirred controversy will start to rear its head this season.

Podcast: A Preview of Tonight’s Preseason Action and MLB

Friday, 15 August, 2014

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Notjustagame.com’s, Zack Cimini, gives insight on betting on preseason football and today’s games in MLB.

VEGAS TOTALS: TURNOVER RATIO IMPROVEMENT MEANS EXTRA WINS FOR THESE NFL TEAMS

Saturday, 9 August, 2014

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Look no further than Philip Rivers a year ago on how reduction of turnovers can help a team transfer to a higher result of wins. San Diego barely made the playoffs and needed every win they got in 2013 to do so. It was done by the Chargers changing their offense to more of a ball control style, and having Philip make quicker decisions.

Rivers raised his touchdown numbers to 32 from 26 while reducing his interceptions from 15 to 11.

Other quarterbacks that had improvement were Cam Newton and Jay Cutler.

Here are some quarterbacks this season that could propel their team from a near .500 team to playoff bound with improvement in the turnover department.

Ryan Tannehill
Tannehill now in is third year has to alleviate the mistakes from his week to week performances. Miami lost a couple of games because of Tannehill’s ill-advised decisions scrambling that led to a fumble or poor throws. He did improve as a passer last year with 24 touchdowns, but cannot have 17 interceptions this season. Miami expects to have an offense that involves quicker decisions to help Tannehill out.

Matt Ryan
Expectations fell way short in Atlanta a year ago, and hit the team performance wise all over the roster. Ryan threw for a four year low of just 26 touchdowns, while having a career-high in interceptions at 17. It’ll be interesting to see if the Falcons are healthy enough to keep Ryan from having another tailspin season.

Eli Manning
Manning has always had a “Brett Favre” affect on the football field. In 2013 it was an eyesore to watch on a weekly basis. The Giants did not have a running game. It got to the point they had to sign a retired Brandon Jacobs and Peyton Hillis. Manning is not going to change the way he throws the football, but the Giants need to provide him with ample talent to keep him from those mistakes. I doubt we will see 27 interceptions from Manning this season. From a fantasy football standpoint Manning never has been a top twelve starter. He is a suitable backup for occasional use. From a handicapping standpoint, Manning and the Giants could be ready to repeat their magic and get back into the playoffs.

Others: Joe Flacco, Matthew Stafford, and RG3

TRAP SET AGAIN FOR BILLS IN PRESEASON GAME TWO

Friday, 8 August, 2014

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Listening to and viewing picks on tonight’s preseason games, I’ve seen a lot of support on the Buffalo Bills. When same views are in play it can be a vast detraction to true point spread value. Sure the line on this is just -1, but if you’re handicapping this game be leery.

The whole notion that the Bills should come out better is an aberration. Just because they have one preseason game under their belts means nothing. That’s like saying in the regular season a team off consecutive losses should be better prepared for a win. We all know that a poor team will continue to lose.

Watching Buffalo in game one I witnessed a lot of poor technique defensively and a slow moving offense.

Look for that to continue in preseason game two tonight in Carolina. The lean on Buffalo has drawn a tad bit more as well with the news that Cam Newton likely will miss tonight’s game. I wouldn’t draw much into that either as a few series of a four quarter game does not effect the overall result.

Carolina has a range of backups that have played big roles before in the NFL. Former Pro Bowl quarterback, Derek Anderson and ex-Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joe Webb.

NFL WEEK 17 RESTING TEAMS COULD OFFSET NFL SEASON TOTALS

Thursday, 7 August, 2014

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The NBA has been known for teams tanking to have a better shot at the number one pick. It has worked in some cases and others it hasn’t. In the NFL, it doesn’t seem to be as big of a deal for the teams at the bottom of the league. Some of those teams end up finishing the season better than we thought and toppling their low over/under win total set by Vegas.

From the average handicapper to the esteemed, many are set to turn in their official regular season win total bets. In all likelihood if you’re putting in a serious strong wager you’re going to wait until the day before the regular season. This gives you the time to rethink a total if a serious injury occurs in the preseason.

Surely people are tracking the schedules of teams they plan to wager a win total on. But are you looking at the possibility of a team resting their starters week 17? It happens all the time and it’s no longer just teams that have secured a bye week.

Years ago bye week teams were stronger than they are now, in terms of record. Therefore records of 14-2 and even 13-3 are fewer and fewer. That means stronger wild card teams who sometimes are in position to rest week 17 to make way for a strong playoff run.

If you’re planning on taking the under on teams, you better put together some hypothetical scenarios in week 17. Just like in a straight wager, you’ll be surprised how dead on totals can be.

In Vegas right now teams that are projected to win double digit games are the Denver Broncos (11), Seattle Seahawks (11), Green Bay Packers (10), San Francisco (10.5), and New England (10.5).

Lets play hypothetical for all these teams and assume that they get in position to rest their starters week 17.

Denver would face Oakland at home
Oakland’s season win total is five games. Juice is -150 on the under and +150 on the over. Playing in a division with the Chiefs, Chargers, and Broncos makes the Raiders one of the toughest teams to bet a season total on the over. They also have the NFC West as their non-conference opponents. Unless the Chargers and Chiefs take a huge step back, getting to four or five wins by week 17 is going to be tough.

Seattle would face St. Louis at home
This is a bit more interesting. Seattle may still be in position for a bye week but might be in a neck and neck race with the 49ers for the division. We’re assuming they have the division clinched and rest against the Rams. St. Louis was one of the better young teams with promise last season. Their butt whippings of the Bears and Colts showcased that. Their total is set at 7.5. Vegas is making it awfully tough to bet on any totals in the NFC West. This Rams team should definitely see a bit of a rise but going .500 is the only way you cash.

San Francisco would face Arizona at home
This was the matchup last season to end 2013. If Arizona would have pulled out the win they would have finished with the same record as the 49ers at 11-5. Not many people are discussing that this Cardinals team went 10-6 and still missed out on the playoffs last year. But they’ve also taking some hits on the defensive side of the football which was their strength. Arizona’s win total is also 7.5 and may be too high considering Carson Palmer’s prior injury history. He went last year unscathed but can he duplicate that against the ferocious defense’s of the 49ers, Seahawks, and Rams?

Green Bay would face Detroit at home
Out of all the teams projected for double digit win totals the Packers may be in the best position. They’re a veteran team that should finally be healthy. They’re also in a division that heralds the Vikings, Lions, and Bears. The Bears and Lions have the talent but year in and year out fall into the category of teams that are inconsistent. Green Bay also gets the AFC East for their non conference division. Buffalo, New York, Miami, and the Patriots at home. Detroit’s win total is set at 8. I could see the Lions being one of those 8-7 week 17 teams but eliminated from playoff contention. Either way I think the Packers are resting week 17, which makes the play on the over for Detroit more appealing.

New England would face Buffalo at home
Buffalo’s season win total is 6.5. We’ve seen rookies before have success such as EJ Manuel and then have a disastrous second year. I’m not sold on Manuel yet, and I think his injuries in and out of the lineup actually helped the Bills. Teams were not able to get a consistent feel for Manuel’s abilities and Manuel didn’t have the built up pressure mentally on a weekly basis. Doug Marrone’s coaching abilities remain up in the air as well on the NFL level. Their schedule is favorable though, with winnable games against the Raiders, Browns, Vikings, and Houston scheduled. Assuming they can go 3-1 in those games they may be in position week 17 to pad their season total against a resting Patriots.

MONITOR THURSDAY’S NFL PRESEASON GAMES FOR FUTURE VALUE

Thursday, 7 August, 2014

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I’m still going to stay with my advice on week one and even week two of preseason football. Stay away. There is no reason to lay solid money on a side this early in the preseason. If you want a solid play keep dialed in to baseball.

That doesn’t mean there is not solid value in the first few weeks of preseason. There will be opportunities for fantasy football owners to seek out hidden gems. From a handicapping standpoint you need to know the depth on the field. Starters still will only play a half or an extended series or two into the third quarter.

Covering the spread will still depend on the reserves on the field.

One theme to pick up from the Giants versus the Bills is young talent with a chip on their shoulder. As I mentioned in my write up of that game, Ryan Nassib, was facing his old college coach in Doug Marrone. There was speculation that Nassib would be the Bills pick in the first round. The Bills passed and Nassib slipped all the way to the fourth round.

His preseason play was not stellar last year and the Giants need to see what he is capable of. Nassib’s bomb in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference.

Seek out young talent on rosters that need to step up. Quarterbacks should rank the highest in your research, but don’t be afraid to seek defensive specialists, wide receivers, and running backs. Who can forget New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz a few preseasons ago?

In 2010 he scored four touchdowns in the preseason. Though he didn’t do much in the regular season, the Giants downgraded their former starters and went with the likes of Cruz in 2011. There are all types of candidates that are ready to shine over these weeks of August.

During the regular season the NFL game is a complete reversal of what you’ll see now. Now, a player or two can dominate. You have basic schemes being run defensively and a scaled down talent level.

Monitor this first week and pounce on value as it develops over the course of the preseason.