The Open Championship is coming up, but we’re switching gears to the NFL this week.
Given the fact that the field is comprised of so many players who play primarily on the European Tour, I don’t have enough relevant data readily available to create anything resembling a predictive model or spreadsheet.
I suppose if sports betting was my 9-5, 40 hours-a week-job, I could probably aggregate enough data from a number of places to have strong opinions regarding The Open.
But until that day comes, I won’t have much by way of a position for this tournament., even though I'll certainly be waking up bright and early Thursday through Sunday to watch.
I’m even holding outright winner tickets on Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth, Louis Oosthuizen, Joaquin Niemann and Ian Poulter.
As for the NFL, there’s still money to be made in the futures market.
I’ve zeroed in on three more season win totals for the 2021 season.
As I discussed last time I wrote about season win totals, these numbers are historically inefficient. Books tend to be pretty slow when it comes to moving stale numbers. This is because books want action on futures bets so that they can hold and use our money.
Case in point: even with Julio Jones leaving Atlanta for Tennessee, the Falcons season win total is still sitting at 7.5, the same number that was offered before a trade was considered more than a rumor.
We liked Atlanta to win less than 7.5 games, and I still like that bet. When looking at unders for season win totals, the Falcons are a great example of who fits the criteria.
First, I tend to look for something alarming about the roster. Atlanta, for example, only had 20 players rostered at the time of the NFL Draft. During the draft, they neither traded picks for more players nor traded remaining assets for draft capital. This tells me that the coaching staff and front office are not on the same page. And with their best wide receiver gone, it doesn’t look like the personnel are on the same page, either.
Next, I ask myself: can this be fixed? The answer here is, “no.” The Falcons cannot go back in time and trade Jones when his trade value was higher.
Conversely, when selecting overs, I look for teams who had a tough time during the prior season but have a clear, logical path to improvement during the coming season.
Regular Season Wins - Minnesota Vikings
The Vikes had one of the most inexperienced defenses in the NFL last season. That spells trouble coming off an offseason that was wiped away by the COVID-19 pandemic. With a full season, plus a real offseason now its belt, I like Minnesota and the second-year players to take a big step forward in 2021.
Pick: 0ver 8.5 wins
Regular Season Wins - Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens were ravaged by injuries during the 2020 season. There were games when they had practice squad players filling critical roles in the secondary, a disaster for a blitz-heavy defense that puts its defensive backs and safeties on islands. They still went 11-5, which cashes their projected number for 2021 even though the 2020 season had one less game on the schedule.
Pick: Over 10.5 wins
Regular Season Wins - Detroit Lions
I’m sure Jared Goff is a really nice guy, but he isn’t a quarterback a team tends to rally behind. A lot of it has to do with his now-famous, deer-in-the-headlights look when things start to go sideways. And that was during his years playing under Sean McVay, an offensive-minded head coach whose primary concern was masking Goff’s flaws so that he could succeed. Now he heads to Detroit, where things seem less than ideal. First-year head coach Dan Campbell is good for a hilarious quote, but it’s yet to be seen if he and offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn can scheme up a system that fits Goff. The Las Vegas Westgate has the Lions as underdogs in 16 of their 17 games, and I tend to agree with those projections.
Pick: Under 5.5 wins