Ahhh, my first post of a new season, the first since the Super Bowl in fact, I won’t dither too long on that game other than to say that it could have gone either way, the Bengals really should have won it, they needed one score in that second half but the weakness that everyone knew would hinder the team ultimately did for them and Aaron Donald get the sack on that play and that was that. It was a season of over-achievement for my team, I’ve had a while to get over it now and it’s onwards and, hopefully, upwards, but it’s a rough schedule for them.
I’ve had a little bit of time and had a nose around the schedule, so I’ve got a few bits and bobs together on here. I’m not one to rely on numbers, but they can help form an opinion on teams, so there’s a few bits on this post.
As always I’ll be giving a UK-centric view on the betting markets. I’ll give my view on the strength of schedule, much like Warren Sharp does, he bases his on opposing win totals, which I prefer to the opponent wins from last season, but the numbers I came up with (an average from Skybet, Hills, PP/Betfair, Redzone and Pokerstars) offer slightly differing strength of schedule numbers to what he comes up with.
So, in the image below you can see (I believe) Home SoS, Road, Overall, and the difference in SoS from 2021 as well as the average win total across the books and highest/lowest available. There’s still not many places listing the Browns with the worries of Watson (I personally believe he’ll get at least 6 games, but who knows) and the Bears are off the board at PokerStars for some random reason. At the bottom I’ve totaled the games. It’s usually above the number played so going under on totals is always the first look.
Skybet listing 274 games in a 272 game season, throw in a few draws and you can see that Unders are favorable from the outset. Weirdly though Will Hill are at 271, so they’re probably offering fairer lines.
There’s a few with a game difference for those of you who like to hedge, either side of 6 for the Seahawks seems a decent offering.
So, the Chiefs have the toughest schedule according to me. Obviously, the West is pretty tough with the Broncos and Chargers both on 10.5 wins and the Raiders up at 8.5 so it skews their strength quite considerably the rest of the West are up there with the Chargers ranked 12th and the Raiders ranked 3rd while the Broncos get away with it with their 4th place schedule with the 16th toughest schedule.
Unsurprisingly the easiest schedule comes from the NFC East with the Giants having the easiest on paper, the recently strengthened Eagles sitting pretty in 2nd, Cowboys 11th and Commies 8th easiest.
The Bears and Lions have had the biggest positive shift in strength of schedule from last season, which is positive for one of them. I couldn’t possibly take an over on the Bears despite that fact, they have done so little to help their young QB barring getting him a new HC. The Lions on the other hand, I’m a little high on them at the moment. They lost a lot of close games last year, love their coach and strengthened well over the summer. With the Packers still having no WRs, the Vikings changing HC and being the Vikings, I don’t even mind a little nibble on the Lions “doing a Bengals” and taking that division this year at the prices. Over 6.5 for them seems good and 4/1 for them to make the playoffs in a poor NFC looks good.
For the record and in interest of clarity, I personally don’t bet on Win Totals, as singles. I don’t bet enough to make it worth tying up money for 9 months to just win a 8/11, 10/11 type shot, but you can request combinations on Skybet if you want to do that, I may cobble a few together and see what kind of odds I can get on a treble/four-fold.
My first thoughts regarding win totals were Under 7.5 on the Giants and under 10.5 on the Broncos. After seeing the schedule, I like the over 8.5 on the Eagles, although 8/13 isn’t the best it will rise to 9 or 9.5 as most other books have at the moment.
I think the Ravens win the AFC North so I’d have to take over on their total but the division odds are better at 2/1, especially with the Browns at a similar price for that division despite the unknowns over Watson.
Personally, I have been loading up on Super Bowl bets with freebies from Scratch of the day on William Hill who often give Bet and Get (Bet £10, get a free fiver) offers, so I’ve now got 34 open bets on various teams to win the Lombardi – The Bills being my heaviest bet so far, may as well load up on the fave with some free bets.
After the schedule release we are able to have a look at how teams will be playing their season, I’m not entirely sure there’s a whole lot of relevance, but I had a look at how they far either side of their bye week, as well as how many they’re favored for on the season as a whole. Superboook based in Vegas recently put out some lines for every game of the season, so I’ve had a look into those as well.
The Texans aren’t favored for a single game according to the lines put up by Superbook this week while on the other side of the ball neither the Buccs or Bills have a single game as an underdog for the season.
After listening to the Deep Dive pod, I had a little look at the schedule and how it plays out both pre and post-bye week, as well as something to demonstrate the toughest parts of each teams schedule.
It gets even worse for Texans fans as they aren’t just underdogs in all their games, they’re at least 3 points underdogs in all bar one (hosting the Jaguars) while the Bills are heavy faves in most with 13 of their games expected to be won by at least 3 points.
Something that the Andy and Drew on deep dive wanted to look into was load management, the idea that teams will have vanilla playbooks when they’re expecting to win easily, so look to fade them those weeks, their example obviously the Bills losing to the Jags in a 9-6 snoozer. It wasn’t a game the Bills really needed and maybe they went easy in it with 16 other games in a long season with one bye week.
The Raiders and Bengals look like they’ll be involved in a lot of coin toss games, with 10 and 9 respectively currently having spreads between -2.5 and +2.5, if you simply compare these spreads to win totals you might be able to figure some edges out for yourself.
This next image may look a little convoluted, but that’s average point spreads over 4 game periods, week 1-4 onwards, until the end of the season, obviously looking at the above you can see that the Bengals have a rough post-bye schedule and that plays out in the table below as the toughest area of their schedule, while the likes of the Chiefs and Titans will be expecting to make the post-season and finish with the softer parts of their respective schedules.
Could be something to keep an eye on as the season progresses if you’re looking to build your Super Bowl book.
The Broncos and Eagles open with the better part of their schedules, although the -11 against the Texans does skew the Broncos as little – Seattle, Houston, SF, and Vegas as their first 4 while the Eagles have Lions, Vikings, Commies and Jaguars, in fact the Eagles could feasibly be going into the bye week at 6-0 with the Hopkins-less Cardinals and Cowboys finish off their first 6 games.