So for the off-season I’ve decided to teach myself a bit of Execl. Try to get some models together and see if they’re predictive going into the season. I’ve got a nice little experiment going on a few of the more niche markets available on Bet365 specifically and usually at decent odds, and I’m going to hopefully see going into the season whether there’s any correlation.
But as part of this Excel learning I’ve been trying to find ways of auto-updating my Odds spreadsheet for the season. It’s something that I usually put together at the start of the summer then run out of time/enthusiasm to update it week by week, so it usually stagnates, but hopefully I’ll get it a little more automated by the middle of the summer, one of the joys of a 7 month off-season in the NFL.
So far I’ve got Superbowl Odds, AFC, NFC, Fixtures, Win Totals, ANNNND Strength of schedule for teams next season based on 888sport.com Win Totals (I believe Ladbrokes has them up as well, but 888 were the first place I checked so went with them)
I won’t go a whole lot into this so early in the off-season, but obviously the main favourites are rightly the Chiefs. They’ve probably got some cap issues to figure out over the summer, Chris Jones looks likely to be tagged, Mahomes could get a bumper deal, they need to re-negotiate Sammy Watkins, but they’ve got the best QB in the game and I honestly believe last year could have been the start of a dynasty.
At this early point I think the Ravens might get figured out slightly, the Pats nah, the Steelers are actually the 4th favourite for the AFC at the moment, they won 8 games essentially without an offense last year so I can see why people think they’ll do OK. I’m not sure a 400lb Big Ben is going to be very good, but he’ll still be an upgrade over Duck and Helmethead, and to be honest I’d probably take them over the Pats at the moment.
The NFC isn’t as good at the very top imo, but there’s more competition up there to be the representative. The 49ers have a lot of contracts to sort out and I’m still not entirely convinced by Jimmy G or their faith in him, but they’ve got a young roster and a brilliant coach so they’ll probably be around again, though I think they’ll regress on 13 wins.
The Packers had a lot of luck this year, they’ll probably regress, the Saints have Brees returning, he’ll have a high completion rate throwing 10 yards down the field to Michael Thomas again, both they and the Packers need a lot of help at WR. The Eagles had a TON of injuries this year and because of that they’re at 3rd fave for the NFC. I can see that. The Seahawks did well last year before losing their RBs before the playoffs, with Wilson they’ll always get >=9 wins. Rams and Vikings have the talent there and with better luck than last year they’ll go close as well.
The Cowboys… statistically they were a top 3 team in the league last year, but coaching hurt them. Garrett has gone but Mike (not Mick) McCarthy coming in doesn’t enthuse me too much. They’ve got the cap space to pay Dak and Cooper and apparently LVE is back to 100%, he was a big loss on defense last year. If they have a 10% increase in coaching then in theory they could make waves in the NFC.
Leans this early in the process to Chiefs and Cowboys (unfortunately)
The main reason for my writing this post at all was a quick look at win totals. Something to mention before going any further – US Sites tend to shade the win totals to the under. The openers I got from an american site had 260.5 total games baked into their win totals, obviously there’s only 256 games in the regular season so unders is usually slightly better to take, BUT 888 where I’ve got the UK odds from add up to 256 so there’s no shading either way.
Again it’s a very early look without knowing how the teams are really going to shape up next year with it being before Free Agency and the Draft, but I wanted to have an early look and see where my head was at with teams.
So, what I’ve done here – To work out Strength of schedule I’ve got a full fixture sheet for teams, obviously we don’t know dates yet, but home/road is all on there with the win totals for each team at the end of the columns/road. As far as I know there’s not a fixture sheet like this out there, so you’re welcome. It took fucking ages.
From that I’ve added all the win totals for each teams oppositions, divided by 16 and that’s given their strength of schedule number. They all float around 8 which is good for a league which prides itself on parity. I believe this is the correct way to calculate them, but if I’m wrong… let me know so I can fix it!
The Falcons and the Jets have the hardest schedules, the Colts and the Steelers the toughest predicted schedule.
Now I’m not one to blindly follow numbers, as you can see by the leans on certain teams, but I think it could be useful for aiding you in handicapping a team for the coming year.
Now, the big news was something that I found yesterday and the reason I used the 888sport prices. YOU CAN MULTIPLE WIN-TOTALS ON THERE! I know it’s not the pro-move but if you’ve got a couple you like it’s nice to get near 3/1 on two teams rather than the 10/11 on just one of them. Well, for me anyway. I’m not betting £500 per bet, so prefer to try and bulk up my bets a little if possible.
Leans to the Over
The Arizona Cardinals were in a few of my bets when I got on, obviously the strength of schedule isn’t enticing with the 49ers, Rams and Seahawks in their division it’s instantly a tough season for them, but they impressed me this year, a year of experience for Kliff and Kyler will help and it looks like they’ll add more offensive talent in the draft as well as signing Kenyan Drake. – Panthers, Giants, Jets, Redskins, Lions, Dolphins, Bills – It’s not the worst out of division schedule and 5.5 is a low line.
The Miami Dolphins we all know they planned on being the first pick this year to get Tua, but that didn’t play out as Brian Flores did a cracking job and Fitzmagic showed how good he can be with a good season. I think they’ll still get Tua and they’ve got a couple more first round picks as well as a ton of cap space so they could make some moves. Even with the poor roster last year they managed 5 wins, with the expected improvement I like over 5.5 again.
My Bengals have the first pick this year, it looks highly likely that will be Joe Burrow, I’m still a little wary knowing that they liked Herbert coming into the year, they coached him at the Senior Bowl and he smashed the Combine, and the Bengals do some weird shit to confound their fan-base but I think that’s just my natural pessimism coming through. They should welcome back last years 1st round pick and they’ve said AJ Green will be returning, so with a couple of guys back from injury, a new QB, a year of experience for the coaching staff they’ll be better. I’d be very surprised if they hit 8-8, but I think they’ll manage at least 5 wins and get a push as a minimum.
As above the Steelers had practically no offense last year but got to 8 wins, bringing Bloated Ben back will help them on offense, their win total is only 1 above their record last year (set at 9), got to lean over. The Buccs are always a dangerous team with their offense, in a division with the Panthers regressing and a Falcons team possibly in transition they should get at least a 0.500 record (set at 7.5) – The Lions started well last year with Stafford healthy, then fell off without him, they’ll improve on D this year and hopefully keep Kerryon healthy – If they keep Stafford then over 6 probably isn’t the worst look.
Lean to the Unders
At this early time in the off-season it’s tough, but it looks like the Carolina Panthers may be planning a year or two ahead, they’ve got Moore, McCaffrey and Samuel as key pieces on offense, but we don’t know the QB situation and losing Olsen and Kuechly takes a lot of leadership out of the locker room, a new coach straight out of college could go either way. Their number is low at 5.5 which slows me on the under, but it’s the only way I’d be looking
The Jacksonville Jaguars were a mess last year, I’m not entirely convinced that Minshew is a franchise QB, their defense gave up, they’ll be losing a few of the key men on that side of the ball, the home crowd will be pissed they’re losing two games to London. They’re playing two games in London. They’ve got no cap space. Fournette isn’t even that good. There’s not a lot of positives for me on this team so I’m leaning under 5.5. wins on them.
The Packers and 49ers are obvious regression candidates as the top two seeds last season. The Pack won a lot of one-score games, Aaron Jones had a standout year but his numbers will likely regress, Aaron Rodgers isn’t that great, Davante Adams is the only guy he throws the ball to. But they’ve got a young roster which should improves and I’d imagine they’ll be taking WR with at least their first pick, it’s a deep WR draft this year. I still think they’ll do well to hit 10 wins this year. The 49ers – This is a less logical one for me, basing it mainly on regressing to the mean a little. They had a very good year, brilliantly coached but I’ve got issues with the QB and they’ve got a few players they need to sign/release. Probably my weakest lean but 11 is a very high line, not many teams consistently hit double figures.
The Los Angeles Chargers could be a horrible mess this year. They let their QB go, could be a good thing as he wasn’t great last year) but don’t really have a replacement. They’ve got the 6th pick and mocks seem to have Herbert being there for them, so they’ll likely get him. Gordon and Ekeler are both out of contract. They’re going to essentially be playing 16 (or 17) road games this year as they move into the new LA stadium which seats 70,000. The Chargers don’t have any fans. They’ll have 10,000 max? It could be toxic. I’ve got to go under 7 wins for them.
The Buffalo Bills I actually don’t have a lean on them, it’s a slight sway, as if being blown by a 5mph wind to the unders but I’ve re-thought and I wouldn’t want to be putting money on it.