Browsing Posts published by Matthew Vereb

Regular season win totals have been released for each NFL team. Over the next month, we’ll preview each division and provide a ‘best bet’. Today, we’ll focus on the NFC North division.

It took all 17 weeks to decide, but the Green Bay Packers (12-4) once again reigned supreme atop the NFC North division. Green Bay’s NFC North foes Detroit (11-5),  Minnesota (7-9), and Chicago (5-11) will look to improve in 2015 in hopes of catching Green Bay. As we enter the 2015 season, things have remained ‘status quo’ for Green Bay. Green Bay has retained the majority of its roster from last season that lost a heart-breaker in the NFC Championship. With some extra motivation, Green Bay is one of the Super Bowl favorites this season. Minnesota has Adrian Peterson back in the fold, which should take pressure off Teddy Bridgewater as he enters his second season. Detroit lost some of its key defensive players, but Calvin Johnson is healthy and ready to go after a disappointing 2014 campaign. Chicago is in a state of transition and fans never know what to expect with Jay Cutler in fold. 

According to 5Dimes, season win totals for each of the NFC East teams is presented below:

  • Green Bay: 11 wins (o -140, u +110);
  • Detroit: 8.5 wins (o +120, u -140);
  • Minnesota: 7 wins (o +125, u -145); and
  • Chicago: 7 wins (o +130, u -150).

To me, one bet stand out in this division when you consider making live football bets at www.sportsbook.ag. Minnesota won seven games last without Adrian Peterson and with a rookie quarterback at the helm. Having a motivated Peterson in the fold will help this offense improve. In addition, Minnesota continued to use draft capital on the defensive side of the ball, which should help Mike Zimmer build this defense into one of the best in the NFL. Overall, Minnesota’s non-divisional schedule is not too difficult with its toughest games occurring at Denver and at Arizona. I feel really good about Minnesota this season, so I’ll take the over. 

Best Bet: Minnesota OVER 7 wins

Regular season win totals have been released for each NFL team. Over the next month, we’ll preview each division and provide a ‘best bet’. Today, we’ll focus on the NFC East division.

Last season, the Dallas Cowboys went 12-4 en-route to their first division championship since 2009. Dallas’ NFC East foes Philadelphia (10-6), New York Giants (6-10), and Washington (4-12) all missed the playoffs. As we enter the 2015 season, several key players have switched teams and changed the landscape of the division. Last year’s rushing champion, DeMarco Murray, left Dallas and signed with Philadelphia. Murray will replace LeSean McCoy, a player that Philadelphia jettisoned to the Buffalo Bills. Philadelphia is hoping that rookie wide receiver, Nelson Agholor can replace the production of Jeremy Maclin, who signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. Philadelphia traded last year’s starting quarterback, Nick Foles to St. Louis for the oft-injured, Sam Bradford. New York and Washington have not made moves during the off-season, but Washington head coach, Jay Gruden is clearly on the hot season after last season’s disappointing showing. 

According to 5Dimes, season win totals for each of the NFC East teams is presented below:

  • Dallas: 9.5 wins (o -140, u +120);
  • New York: 8.5 wins (o +120, u -140);
  • Philadelphia: 9.5 wins (o +125, u -145); and
  • Washington: 6.5 wins (o +130, u -150).

Philadelphia has the sixth highest win total on the board, but one thing separates Philadelphia from the other top contenders; quarterback play. While other top contenders have Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Peyton Manning, etc. leading their team, fans aren’t sure who will play quarterback for Philadelphia. Bradford is penciled in as the starting quarterback, but due to numerous injuries, hasn’t played 16 games since 2012 and can’t be trusted. Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow are also on the roster, but neither player could pilot this team to a 10-win season. I don’t think any of these players are what Chip Kelly wants as a quarterback.  Murray was the NFL’s top running back last year, but there are numerous red flags after his 400+ carry campaign. Philadelphia has not replaced DeSean Jackson or Jeremy Maclin yet, either. The personnel turnover plus Kelly’s lackluster 3-10 records against top teams makes Philadelphia an easy fade candidate. There are too many question marks surrounding this team, which makes this an easy decision. 

Best Bet: Philadelphia UNDER 9.5 wins

 

Sportsbooks have begun offering prop bets for numerous NFL categories. Today, we will focus on pass catchers. Last season, Antonio Brown (1,698 yards) led the league in receiving yards. As the catalyst of Pittsburgh’s offense, Brown set career highs in yards, catches (129), and touchdowns (13). Top receivers need strong quarterback play to buoy their totals, so it’s no surprise that Ben Roethlisberger led the league in passing yards last season. We profiled passing yardage leader odds on Sunday and the odds makers think Ben will be among the league leaders again. This bodes well for Brown’s chances of once again leading the league in receiving yards. The list below highlights the current odds among the receivers with the best odds.

  • Brown (+500);
  • Jones (+600);
  • Thomas (+700);
  • Beckham Jr (+750);
  • Johnson (+800);
  • Nelson (+800);
  • Bryant (+800);
  • Green (+1200);
  • Hilton (+1600);
  • Hopkins (+1800).

There’s not a ton of value here, but if I had to pick one, I’d take Calvin Johnson. It may seem surprising to some, but Calvin Johnson has become overlooked. Marred by injuries last season, Johnson saw 128 targets over 13 games and still managed to amass 1,077 yards. His 2014 campaign was arguably his most disappointing since his rookie season in 2008. Johnson’s 2012 and 2013 campaigns were ridiculous and Johnson averaged 180 targets, 104 catches, 1,700 yards, and eight touchdowns. At +800, Johnson offers some value to lead the league in receiving yards. As a second pick, I like Julio Jones due the change in offensive coordinator. New offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan tends to favor his top wide receiver and that tendency should make Jones a strong bet to be among the league leaders in targets. Jones does have some injury concerns, but outside of Roddy White, there isn’t much competition for targets. 

The Picks:

  • Johnson (+800); and
  • Jones (+650).

Sportsbooks have begun offering prop bets for numerous NFL categories. Picking the league leader in rushing yardage is normally a difficult task due to numerous variables associated with the running back position. Last season, DeMarco Murray (1,845 yards) shook off the injury bug to easily led the league in rushing yardage. Murray left Dallas during free agency to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles. The current betting market believes that there will be a lot of competition among the game’s top rushers. Of note, five running backs currently has odds of 6-to-1. The list below highlights the running backs with the best odds to lead the league in rushing. 

  • Murray (+600);
  • Peterson (+600);
  • Foster (+600);
  • Charles (+600);
  • Lynch (+600);
  • Hill (+750);
  • Lacy (+850);
  • McCoy (+1000);
  • Anderson (+1500); and
  • Morris (+1600).

It’s very interesting to see that oddsmakers believe Adrian Peterson, who basically missed last season and is approaching 30-years-old, has the same odds as Murray. It would be wise to grab the odds on Peterson if you believe he’ll return with a vengeance despite his age. While any of the five favorites could lead the league in rushing, I’m going to focus on two players with lessor odds, but equal chances and are younger in age. My bold prediction for the 2015 NFL season is that Jeremy Hill will lead the league in rushing yardage. As a rookie, Hill averaged 5.1 yards per carry on just 221 carries. The Bengals have made it known that they want to run the ball behind their offensive line. Last season, Cincinnati’s offensive line ranked among the Top-1o units and added offensive linemen in the first and second rounds of the NFL Draft. The public loves to pile on Andy Dalton, but armed with skilled players at every position, Dalton has the ability to quietly lead one of the best offenses in football. The other player that warrants consideration is Eddie Lacy. Lacy rushed for 1,139 yards last season and benefits from playing with the best quarterback in football. Alike Hill, Lacy is another young running back (25) and does not have much trend on his tires. When in doubt, favor the younger running backs in good offenses.

The Picks:

  • Hill (+750); and
  • Lacy (+850).

Sportsbooks have begun offering prop bets for numerous NFL categories. While picking rushing and receiving leaders may be more fun, the NFL is a quarterback driven league and the league leader in passing yards will likely be a playoff participant. Last season, Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger (4,762 yards) led the league in passing. Brees led the league for the third time in the last four years and currently has the third best odds (+750) to once again lead the league in passing. The list below highlights the current odds among the passers with the best odds.

  • Luck (+375);
  • Rodgers (+500);
  • Brees (+750);
  • Peyton (+750);
  • Ryan (+800);
  • Ben (+1000);
  • Stafford (+1000);
  • Eli (+2500);
  • Rivers (+2500); and
  • Brady (+2500).

It’s pretty easy to see why Luck has the best odds to lead the league in passing. Last season, Luck posted career highs in completions (380), completion percentage (61.7%), passing yards (4,761), and passing touchdowns (40). Indianapolis added pieces to help improve the offense around Luck, including stalwart running back, Frank Gore, and wide receiver, Andre Johnson. Despite their age, Gore and Johnson have been top-tier NFL talents for their entire careers. Adding Gore and subtracting Trent Richardson will provide a big boost to the offense, which should make things even easier for Luck. 

While Luck has the best odds to lead the league in passing, Brady and Rivers present the most value. There are rumblings that Brady’s suspension may be completely overturned and angry Tom may take his aggression out on the rest of the league. San Diego’s offense has gotten more dynamic with the additions of Melvin Gordon and Stevie Johnson. Don’t forget that Danny Woodhead will return for injury as well. San Diego may quietly have a Top-7 offense in football, which could vault Rivers among the league leaders in passing yards.

The Picks:

  • Brady (+2500); and
  • Rivers (+2500).

During the 2014 season, football was pretty forgettable for New York teams as the Jets and Giants combined for just ten wins. The Giants opted to keep its coaching staff in place while the Jets relieved Rex Ryan and his staff of its duties.  With Coughlin at the helm, Giants fans will always have Super Bowl aspirations while Jets fans will rely on a new coach to win its second Super Bowl in franchise history. Former Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator, Todd Bowles, will look to take the Jets back to the playoffs during the 2015 season. A first review of 2015 win totals, however, are not encouraging for either team. According to oddsmaker’s early 2015 win totals, the Giants are projected to win eight games while the Jets’ total is set at 6.5 wins. Learn more about NFL Football Odds where the over/under is one of the simplest bets of all.

Despite a pedestrian win total, fans are ready to cheer on a Giants team that has not made the playoffs since its last Super Bowl win (2011). Despite its playoff draught, New York found a new playmaker last season when Odell Beckham Jr. stepped up after Victor Cruz suffered a season-ending injury. Beckham Jr. will lead a talented bunch of playmakers that want to restore New York’s winning tradition. New York has four Super Bowl titles, including two recent Super Bowl wins in 2007 and 2011.

By virtue of a new head coach, general manager, and a strong draft class, the New York Jets look primed to compete in the AFC East. New York also signed several notable free agents, namely Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie. Despite these additions, New York has not had much recent success. New York has not won a Super Bowl since 1968 when Joe Namath guaranteed victory over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. New York has made 13 playoff appearances and won four division titles since its last Super Bowl title. New York is still seeking its first AFC Championship after falling short in 2010 and 2011. The race for the AFC East title should be very competitive this season. Tom Brady has been suspended for four games, which creates some opportunity for his AFC East foes. Even though the Jets won’t play New England during Brady’s suspension, one or two early losses by New England may shape the AFC East race.  

New York is accustomed to cheering on winning teams. The Giants have a strong, winning tradition while the Jets were close to Super Bowl berths during the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Both teams haven’t had success in recent years, but one strong season can turn the tide. Fans will fill MetLife Stadium each week to cheer their teams on as each team looks to return to the playoffs. A lack of star power isn’t an issue for either team. Executing and out-gaming its opponents each Sunday will be the difference between playing football and watching football come January and February.  Despite lackluster win totals, expect strong efforts from both the Jets and Giants during the 2015 NFL season!

Some sports books have released MLB win totals. Over the next few days, we’ll analyze the win totals by division and comments where we see some value. Today, we’ll focus on the National League Central:

The odds-makers are expecting St. Louis’s division dominance to continue. St. Louis traded for Jason Heyward to bolster its outfield. Adam Wainwright may miss Opening Day, but St. Louis has the talent and depth behind him. Many are expecting Chicago to take a big step forward this season, so Chicago is the team to watch in this division.

St. Louis

There’s not much to say about the Cardinals. They’ve been to the NLCS in three straight seasons. They got younger by adding Heyward to an already stocked line-up. Lance Lynn, John Lackey, and Michael Wacha will need to step-up if Wainwright misses significant time. 

Pittsburgh

The Pirates didn’t make many moves, but lost Russell Martin to the Toronto Blue Jays. The odds-makers are projecting a slight win reduction. Despite some recent success, Pittsburgh hasn’t been able to get over the hump in the playoffs. Fans are hoping Starling Marte can take another step forward in 2015.

Chicago

Chicago signed Jon Lester and added Joe Maddon to manage the team. Are these additions worth 10+ wins? 

Milwaukee

Milwaukee is an interesting team. Adam Lind was added to give the line-up more left-handed power. Milwaukee opted to trade away Yovani Gallardo a year before his free agency. Milwaukee also collapsed during September as St. Louis and Pittsburgh passed them.

Cincinnati

Joey Votto  will return and will be the key to Cincinnati’s offense. When healthy, Votto is an MVP candidate. Ace Johnny Cueto will need to have another big season to keep Cincinnati in playoff contention.

Observations:

  • I’m not buying the optimism for Chicago. Chicago has some really good young bats, but will Lester replace (and surpass) the production posted by Sarmardijza? I think Chicago is a year away and don’t expect him to challenge St. Louis, Pittsburgh, or even Milwaukee

Best Bet:

  • Cubs Under 82.5 Wins

Some sports books have released MLB win totals. Over the next few days, we’ll analyze the win totals by division and comments where we see some value. Today, we’ll focus on the National League East:

The odds-makers believe that Washington will run away with the National League East title. After adding Max Scherzer to an already loaded rotation, it’s hard not to envision Washington not only winning the NL East, but winning the National League itself. 

Washington

As mentioned above, Washington is easily the best team in the National League. Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg can match-up against any team. Washington’s offense, which is led by Ian Desmond and Bryce Harper, is very solid. The rest of the NL East isn’t in Washington’s class.

New York

Hopes are very high for the Mets. Matt Harvey will return, Michael Cuddyer was signed to provide veteran leadership, and David Wright is 100% healthy after a pesky shoulder injury limited him last season. It’s been a very long-time since the Yankees and Mets were projected to win the same amount of games. The Mets have a golden opportunity to be the toast of the town.

Miami

Miami made Giancarlo Stanton its $325 million man, but its other moves have gone surprisingly unnoticed. Miami traded for Martin Prado and Mat Latos while inking Michael Morse in free agency. Its ace, Jose Fernandez, will be out until mid-June. 

Atlanta

With the exception of Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta lost nearly all of its talented players. Justin Upton and Jason Heyward were traded away while Aaron Harang and Ervin Santana, who threw nearly 400 innings, left via free agency. Julio Teheran and Alex Wood will be expected to lead this rotation.

Philadelphia

The Phillies are years away from competing. The Phillies may trade away Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee,  which would push Philadelphia deeper into its rebuilding process.

Observations:

  • Despite adding Scherzer, the odds-makers are projecting Washington to win fewer games. The odds-makers are still bullish on Miami even without the presence of Fernandez. None of these lines offer a lot of value, but I would bet on our hometown, New York Mets. The Mets may not make the playoffs, but winning 82-85 games would be a huge improvement and a building block for next season.

Best Bet:

  • Mets Over 81.5 Wins

Some sports books have released MLB win totals. Over the next few days, we’ll analyze the win totals by division and comments where we see some value. Today, we’ll focus on the American League West:

The odds-makers believe that Los Angeles will repeat as AL West champions, but Seattle is not far behind. Oakland traded away five of its seven All-Stars and lost the American League Wildcard game. Texas was completely derailed by injuries last season while Houston is building towards the future. 

Los Angeles

Los Angeles won 97 games last season, so the odds-makers are expecting a nine-win reduction. That win reduction can be attributed to its starting rotation. Jered Weaver struggled last season while CJ Wilson had the worst season of his career. Matt Shoemaker had a great rookie season, but can he repeat it as a 28-year-old, second-year player? Add in the Josh Hamilton drama and there are a lot of question marks surrounding this team.

Seattle

Seattle won 87 games last season, so the odds-makers are expecting a similar result. Robinson Cano was a welcomed addition and Felix Hernandez had the best season of his career. The key to getting to the next level will be the maturation of James Paxton and Taijuan Walker. 

Oakland

Oakland always finds a way to compete, so some way see some value after winning 88 games last season. Still, Oakland is betting on Brett Lawrie to replace the production of Josh Donaldson. Jon Lester and Jeff Sarmardizja are also gone. Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar are experienced players that should help keep Oakland competitive.

Texas

Odds-makers are expecting a big bounce back campaign by Texas. Texas won just 67 games last season, so an 11-win jump seems lofty. Texas is hoping to get full seasons from Prince Fielder, Shin Soo Choo, Mitch Moreland, and Yu Darvish. Texas also traded for Yovani Gallardo to bolster its rotation.

Houston

Houston traded for Evan Gattis to bolster its line-up, but lacks the starting pitching to compete. 

Observations:

The odds-makers are expecting a lot of change in this division. Texas and Houston are projected to win 11 and 5 more games, respectively while Los Angeles and Oakland are expected to regress.

Best Bets:

  • Angels Under 88.5 Wins
  • Astros Under 75.5 Wins

Some sports books have released MLB win totals. Over the next few days, we’ll analyze the win totals by division and comments where we see some value. Today, we’ll focus on the American League Central:

The odds-makers believe that the Cleveland Indians and the Detroit Tigers will compete for the AL Central Crown. These two teams, however, have starkly different compositions. Detroit features three top pitchers atop its rotation while Cleveland has the reigning Cy Young award winner, Cory Kluber.

Detroit

Fans are hoping that Justin Verlander is healthy after two injuries derailed his 2015 campaign. David Price and Anibal Sanchez will help take some of the pressure off Verlander, but as the staff ace, Detroit needs Verlander to return to his dominant ways. Detroit also got younger by trading for Yoenis Cespedes to replace Torii Hunter.

Cleveland

Terry Francona has restored order to the Indians. Kluber is arguably the best pitcher in the American League while outfielder Michael Brantley broke out last season. Cleveland does not have much depth behind Kluber, but its offense is stocked with power bats.

Chicago

Chicago re-tooled its roster by trading for Jeff Samardjiza and signing David Robertson, Adam LaRoche, and Melky Cabrera in free agency. Sale was injured last week and is expected to miss the first few weeks, so Samaradjiza and Jose Quintana will be expected to carry the rotation. 

Kansas City

Despite winning the American League last season, the odds-makers are not expecting much from Kansas City. James Shields left for San Diego and Kansas City’s offense does not present many great hitters. 

Minnesota

Minnesota has one of the best minor league systems, but that system isn’t expected to produce any players in 2015. 

Observations:

  • I think there are a few plays here. I was pretty bullish on the White Sox, but the injury to Sale is concerning. Plus, this team has been very inconsistent under manager, Robin Ventura. I don’t think Kansas City will be nearly as good after losing Shields. Detroit is still the class of this division and I don’t think Cleveland has the horses to stick with Detroit. I’m not a believer in Brantley, either.

Best Bets:

  • Tigers Over 84.5 Wins
  • Royals Under 81.5 Wins