There’s already a whole bunch of markets out there on a few of the major sites which may be of interest if you need to get some NFL bets on. Obviously this far out there’s a lot that can happen, one torn ACL in camp, a big performance from a rookie, a starting QB not being able to throw a ball, all these things can change the complexion of games in 4 months time, so there’s always a risk in taken bets this early.
Personally I probably won’t take any season win totals until I can put them in multiples to make the returns a little more worthwhile. I don’t like locking my £20 up for 9 months to make £16 quid profit. HOWEVER I do appreciate value is value and this early in the off-season it is there to be found. If you are the type to wager a lot on these kinds of things then there’s always an edge to be found. – I actually don’t think there’s a lot that jumps out (I’ll get to that in a minute)
I’m planning on/trying to keep track of odds on certain things over the pre-season so I’ll hopefully keep up to date with them all on this spread sheet – Odds Tracking – Hopefully I’ll get around to checking and updating them each Sunday over the summer to see if there’s any move in prices. The final thing to do would be to check vs American odds as obviously there’s a lot more money placed over there on the NFL than here over the summer, so I’ll try and get around to that at some point as well.
I also want to say I’m writing biasedly for The bearded twits as their Bengals guy – https://www.beardedtwits.com/blog-1/state-of-the-franchise-cincinnati-bengals – They’ve got a writer for each team in what seems like it’s going to be a good website to keep an eye on this season!
There’s a few teams who have improved greatly over the summer and my personal big odds favourite for the Superbowl is the Chargers at 33/1 on 365. Admittedly they are my second team and I love how they play, but they were very close to winning double digit games last year, if they’d had a reliable kicker in the first few weeks they would have done. They’ve improved their offensive line, have the best pass rush duo in the league at the moment, solid offensive weapons and a reliable QB. On paper they’ve got the weapons it’s just keeping them all fit for the whole season. – I think I’m more tempted to take them EW to win the AFC at 16/1, again on 365.
It’s stupid to say it, but I think this could be the year that the Patriots don’t make it. Steelers are obviously the main favourites to take advantage of that, but with Tomlin there you can’t trust them. The Texans could be worth a look depending on how Watson returns, I personally don’t think he’ll be as effective as the small amounts of play he got last season. There’s more tape on him and it was a huge injury for a mobile QB to return from. But they’re decent odds and I think the Jags will fall back a little within their division.
I like the Vikings in the NFC. They nearly got there last season and I think they’re stronger than last year. They’ve got a better QB, a potentially top-tier RB returning in Dalvin Cook, they kept their defense together and are very well coached. I think they’ve got a good chance of making it to the big dance. They’re at 14/1 so not huge odds, but they’ve got a good chance.
The Rams are going all-in this year to take advantage of their superbowl window, the signing of Suh, Peters and Talib on defense make them scary there and with McVay coaching them they’re formidable on offense as well. They’re also 14/1 for the Superbowl and worth a look. I think they’re also a more public team than the Vikings so I wouldn’t be surprised to see that number fall.
Season win totals
As alluded to above, there’s not a whole lot that jumps out to me at the moment, I think they’ve got the lines generally right and until I can put them in multiples (REALLY hoping Paddypower allow that again this year!) I probably won’t have a bet.
I’m finding it pretty tough to pull the trigger on anything at the moment as most teams had a very good draft and the few I do like the look of have a rough schedule which puts me off.
I have a few leans… of course, it’d be rude not to.
Bengals o6.5 – I’m a fan of them, I can’t help it, I think they’re horribly under-rated in the eyes of the media and by the look of it the bookies. They had a horrible year last year and still won 7 games, so for them to be less than that seems weird. BUT… The whole division has got better, the Ravens have probably won the off-season with their FA moves and their draft. The Browns have definitely strengthened and it’s only a matter of time before they get shit sorted out, and while the Steelers haven’t done a whole lot the Bengals turn to shit when facing them. Add to that games against the 2 best divisions in football, the AFC West and the NFC South and it’s a very tough schedule. So while I think they’re better than a 6 win team. Removing my rose-tinted glasses and looking properly it’s not a bet for me.
Bills u6.5 – They scraped their way to breaking one of the longest playoff droughts in the league (Thanks mainly to the Bengals beating the Ravens in week 17) BUT they won a whole host of close games, they had a very decent turnover differential which was aided largely by Tyrod keeping the ball safe. He’s gone. It’s AJ McCarron, Nathan (5 INT in one game) Peterson or rookie Josh Allen at QB. There’s some serious regression going to happen at QB. Someone on twitter mentioned about the turnover differential being something key to wins, and I have to agree, for there to be this much change and one of the reasons they made the playoffs last year I think there’s merit in taking the unders. Unfortunately everyone else does and it’s 1.67 for the unders. This is one of those situations where getting on immediately would have probably been beneficial.
Seahawks u8.5 – The Seahawks are a big under team for me, they have lost a few key guys on the defense, they haven’t strengthened their main area of weakness, the Offensive line, well… not in personnel anyway, they have replaced Tom Cable who was their O-Line coach so that could improve it somewhat. BUT the Rams and the 49ers are a lot better so that’s 4 easy wins which are now debatable. They drafted Rashaad Penny (second RB off the board at 33/1 for us…) at RB but with a poor OL I’m not sure it’ll make a whole lot of difference and it may well all rest on Russell Wilsons shoulders again this year.
Broncos o7.5 – This is a very interesting one due to the odds, they’re leaning heavily towards the unders… They have a good defense still, and Bradley Chubb opposite Von Miller is potentially a devastating pass rush. They have the advantage of mile high which always helps, and they have a solid QB. I personally don’t rate either of their established WRs though and the Devontae Booker at RB doesn’t inspire confidence either. BUT the QB was the main issue for them last year, so 8 wins, to me, isn’t completely out or reach. The main negative and a reason why I can’t back it yet is the division being one of the most competitive in football. The Chiefs own the division and the Chargers are a lot better, the Raiders… well… I may talk about them in a minute.
Oakland u8.5 – I would be very surprised if this Raiders team made it to 9 wins this season. I don’t like anything they’ve done over the summer so far, Gruden seems to have been playing Madden 2015 and it looks like he’s just picked up players who were good in it. They are a public team, they always are, so the lines are kept high. But for the reasons above (Broncos, Chiefs and Chargers are all better than the Raiders) I don’t think they’ll make it to 9 wins. In fact this may be the only one I’d take as a single over the off season.
Cowboys u8.5 – I don’t like the Cowboys, I don’t rate them, I don’t particularly rate Dak. They’re in a division with the Superbowl champions who have kept most of their roster together, the Giants who drafted potentially the best RB in years, and welcome back one of the best WRs in the league in Mr. Beckham Jnr, and the Redskins, who are the other team in the division… They have lost around 70% of their targets from last year if Terrance Williams gets cut after his driving mis-hap. They do however have Zeke back, he’s rather good and their fall in performance last year was linked to him being suspended. You can get 1.91 (10/11) on the unders for them at the moment.
These jumped out at me the most and probably deserved a little more inspection. I have leans on most of the others but nothing too much.
Today I noticed that Skybet and Bet365 have put up some numbers on leading passer, rusher, receiver.
First look is as expected, Brady is the favourite, the baby-making-machine Philip Rivers is right at the top of the betting as well, he was a nice each-way winner for us last season at 25s, he’s probably not a bet at 6s!
One that caught my eye on the leading passer was… (I know full well I’ll get shit for this if anyone reads this far) Marcus Mariota… currently at 66/1 on Skybet and 80/1 on Bet365, he has had a change of head coach, he’s got a solid running game to fall back on, BUT I think they’ll be more pass heavy this year. They’ve got Corey Davis coming into his second year with a decent amount of experience, I am stupidly high on Davis from his college record and the fact he under-performed last year. He has one of the best pass catching tight ends in the league and Deon Lewis is fantastic catching from the backfield, he’ll probably add 500 yards to Mariota’s stats in the passing game. They’re a team who let me down last year, but I’m going to stay in the flames on Mariota at least, especially at the odds. I SHOULD PROBABLY SAY I WILL BE WAITING FOR SOMEONE TO OFFER EW ODDS ON THIS. Betfred and Ladbrokes/Coral offered EW on these markets last year and at these odds I’d be happy with a top 4 finish.
Top rusher I’m leaning towards David Johnson at 28/1. He’s a forgotten man after spending most of the year on IR last season. He’s had around 9 months to recover from his injury and the videos I’ve seen suggest he’s doing well in the process. He’s all that the Cardinals have in the backfield so he’ll be a workhorse. There’s not a whole lot of them in the league, Bell, Zeke, Fournette, Gurley, (Probably Barkley). So to me, that narrows down the options. It’s also a position that seems to have a lot of injuries so you can consider that a negative, or a positive as one of the top guys will invariably be injured for a little of the season at least. I actually can’t say much negative on most of the guys ahead of him, they’ve all got the opportunity, but I think it’s being forgotten quite how good DJ was a couple of years ago.
Top receiver? I’m on DeAndre Hopkins. Given the shit he had throwing him the ball last year, he was phenomenal. He had a whole host of garbage QBs and still finished the season in the top 5 for receiving yards with nearly 1,400 yards in a horrible losing season for his team. In the games he had with the returning DeShaun Watson he was highly targeted and averaged 96 yards from nearly 10 targets per game with him under centre. He’s not huge odds at 9/1 (only on Skybet at the moment) but he showed me a lot more than I thought he was capable of last year and the hype behind Watson is real. The only worry for me is that with Watson there they’ll be in more games than last season and won’t necessarily have to be throwing the ball all game to keep up. The guys above him in the market, AB as always the favourite, has that little prick Juju taking away from him, Julio is up and down, he can have 300 yard games, he can had 30 yard games and has Calvin Ridley there now who will get targets, Beckham is returning from serious injury and has Shepard and Engram who will catch passes. Nuk doesn’t really have anyone else there, Will Fuller maybe? He was hyper-efficient last year, I doubt he’ll keep up that level of play.
A few available on these, OROY and DROY of course, they’re a bit of a crap shoot, but unsurprisingly the 2nd and 4th overall picks in the draft are leading them at the moment. Barkley at 2.75 and Chubb at 6.5 – Chubb is probably a sensible option opposite Von Miller in that Denver defense, he’ll get a lot of space as teams will probably be double-teaming Miller rather than him. After seeing what happened to my OROY bets last year i’ll be waiting until at least mid-season to see how things play out! It’s a popularity contest at the end of the day and recency-bias is a huge factor at the time of voting.
Leading rookie passer – I’d be siding with Josh Rosen at the Cardinals. Sam Bradford is good, but he’s made of glass, Rosen will be starting sooner rather than later and he’s got a big arm. I think McCarron will start in Buffalo although he probably won’t last long before Allen takes over. McCown will start in NY and allow Darnold to ease in, Tyrod should start in the Cleveland.
Leading rookie rusher? Barkley is a shoe-in for this, and is priced accordingly at just over evens (2.25). He’ll have that backfield to himself and he’s great. Rashaad Penny is probably the only other rookie who will have the majority load in the backfield, he’s at the Seahawks and priced at 5/1. Guice is in a crowded backfield, as is Chubb. Royce Freeman seems destined to take over in the Denver sooner rather than later but even then he’ll likely be sharing the load.
I think that Barkley will probably top 8.5 rushing TDs on the season if he plays the whole year, but the injury risk at RB puts me off taking that as a bet.
Most places have week 1 priced up already, I will admit I’ve had a few quid on a little treble for the first week, I think they’ll all move in the mean time, so as above, value is value.
Bengals +2.5 (at Indy), Ravens -4.5 (Home to bills), Rams -3 (at Oakland)
IF Andrew Luck fails to make it through camp then the Bengals will be favourites in that game, if he does make it through and starts the season then I still favour the Bengals (maybe tinted glass) I just don’t rate the Colts roster at all, defensively they’re a shambles.
The Ravens have greatly improved their roster during the off-season while the Bills have gone the other way, I think this is arguably the best bet of the first week. They had a great defense last year and have added pass catchers all round to help the offence. The Bills have lost Tyrod Taylor so will be starting the season with AJ McCarron, Nate Peterman or rookie Josh Allen. Either way I think that Ravens D will feast.
The Raiders appointed John Gruden as head coach and he has set about picking up every player who was good in 2015. He’s aged the team considerably and while experience could be key to his time there, I don’t think he’s improved the roster to any significant amount. The Rams however were one of the most exciting teams in the league with Sean McVay calling the shots. They’ve improved all over the place and are definitely trying to take advantage of their Superbowl window with the moves they’ve made, particularly on defense.
The Bengals one probably won’t move as frankly people either don’t care about them, or think they’re shit. But the Ravens and Rams would be a nice double and one I may well invest in at some point. I think they’ll both be significantly worse to take come game time.
So at this point in the off-season I don’t have a huge amount of bets on, I’ve got the treble for week one (I was also tempted to add the Texans +6.5 at New England)
I’ve got a stupid 6 fold on Division winners which I’m already regretting as I have the Chiefs in there to win the West.
I won’t be having anything on Superbowl winners, probably at all, but at least until later in the summer once training camps are under way, no doubt the Chargers will lose someone important to some kind of huge injury, they always seem to.
I’ve bitten the bullet on Watson, DJ and Hopkins to top their respective areas, all just £10 a go, but I’ll wait until EW is available and see what odds we get on those markets.
I’m looking forward to the total point markets as we did well on those last season and I’ve got directions that I feel I want to go on a few teams already.
The Win totals I’m hoping that Paddypower will let me parlay them so I’m waiting for them to be released on there before placing anything on those.
That’s about it for a very early little look at the markets available to us in the UK, mostly on Skybet and 365 at the moment, although William Hill have a random selection of win totals for teams, 10bet and Betstar have a few markets too.
Hopefully not too bad a read and it will give a little insight on what i’m up to and back up or go against any feeling you’ve got for the season so far.
Adam. – @TouchdownTips on twitter