The 2019 NFL Season is just around the corner & we have some early predictions to pad your pockets.
NFL season is just around the corner as we get deeper into the dog days of summer and one question comes to mind among sports fans around the world: Who is ready for some football?
Sadly, we are forced to wait patiently for the start of the 2019-2020 NFL campaign in September given that the Alliance of American Football (AAF) declared bankruptcy in April, thus leaving us deprived of a football filled summer; also, with the XFL’s 2nd first season will not kick off until next year.
Nonetheless, we have not just been sitting here twiddling thumbs; no no, we’ve been planning our attack on the year.
I wanted to share some of the offseason predictions our crew of prognosticators has come up with in this NFL way too early preview.
NFL Season Win Totals
This is the time when the majority of sports gamblers begin to pound the futures market, especially team win totals. These numbers were released earlier in the year and now with the draft and free agency over we have a much better idea of the value certain teams bring to the table.
Let’s start at the top with the reigning Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots. For the third year in a row and the sixth time in the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era, the Patriots won it all. Coming off an 11-win regular season in 2018, they are predicted to again win 11 games this upcoming year. Generally speaking, it’s not a good value to bet on to favorites when wagering on futures, especially when it comes to the Patriots. The under for the reigning champs comes in at a very healthy +130, a great bet for them to win 11 or less games in 2019.
Next up we swing the pendulum toward the opposite end of things and will look at a team who drastically underperformed last season. Yet I have high hopes for them 2019. The Jacksonville Jaguars are looking to rebound after a highly disappointing effort in 2018. In a bold move after that letdown, they have brought in Nick Foles to man the ship and give their defense a chance stay off the field a bit more. There is little doubt that Foles will make the Jags a stronger team as they look to better their 4th place finish in the AFC South after going 5-11. He has shown to be unshakable after being tossed into 2 Super Bowls while serving as a backup QB, 1 title and an MVP trophy later and he will finally get a chance to start again in the NFL. I think he has a lot to prove, the talent to excel and an offense full of weapons. Their win total is set at 8 right now, and surprisingly the under is favored at –130 with the over 8 +110. I love this line, these odds and this team. I’ll be betting the over with confidence, and so should you.
Will the Patriots Win The Super Bowl….Again?
The New England Patriots have been the favorite to win the Super Bowl since odds earlier this year. Shocking development I know. Quite frankly that opening sentence could be included in just about any NFL article written in the last 10 years or so. But just because they are always a popular favorite, does that make them the right pick? As touched upon above, betting top favorites on any futures market is generally not a good value. In this case you would be much better off to invest in any of the other 3 favorites to win, especially the Chiefs.
Kansas City (+950) actually has the best chance to win Super Bowl LIV at 15.6% according to ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI). Conversely the Patriots (+750) have ‘just’ a 12.4% chance of winning it all. In fact, even the New Orleans Saints (+1000) have a better projected chance to win SB LIV at 15.0%, with the Rams (+1250) rounding out our quartet of top contenders at 11.8%.
Other value teams further down the odds list include the Chicago Bears (+1200), Cleveland Browns (+1200) Los Angeles Chargers (+1600) and my personal favorite dark horse the Indianapolis Colts (+1400)
Taking into account the schedule, roster and historical numbers I feel good about recommending the Chiefs, Saints or Rams over New England for the upcoming season. Frankly, you could bet all three and still turn a profit if one of them comes through in February.
Will any Team Make Their 1st Super Bowl Appearance
This season more than any in recent history has the strong possibility of seeing a team make it to the big show that has never played a game in February before. While there are twelve teams who have failed to win a Super Bowl, only four fall under the special kind of bad category with zero appearances between them. The Lions, Browns, Jaguars and Texans. But which, if any, has the best shot at playing in Super Bowl LIV?
The Jacksonville Jaguars (+3000) are looking to finally make some waves in the NFL with an All-Star caliber quarterback to pair with their top ranked defense. They have lost 3 gut-wrenching AFC Championship games (1996,1999 and 2017) and have been a franchise for 23 years. They are probably the closest on this list to finding their way to the Super Bowl, just so long as their defense remains in the top-3 of the league and Nick Foles plays the way we all know he can.
Perhaps no team’s predicted success is more surprising than the Cleveland Browns (+3000). They have been historically bad, making just one lone appearance in the playoffs with a loss to the Steelers in a Wild Card game back in 2003. In fact, the Browns have just two winning seasons since 1999, going a putrid 99-225-1 (29.7%) over that span, barf. But things are looking up in Cleveland as we head into the 2019-2020 NFL Season. With Baker Mayfield under center the Browns quite possibly have the best QB they’ve ever had. Add to this the signing of Odell Beckham Jr and Kareem Hunt to play alongside of Jarvis Landry and Nicks Chubb and the Browns actually have a pretty scary team. So many things can go wrong, but if just a few go right the Browns could make NFL history.
The Houston Texans (+3000), winners of the AFC South last year might be the most logical choice on this list. Deshaun Watson has proven himself a highly talented quarterback, a proven passer who is no stranger to carrying an offence. The Texans biggest challenge is keeping him off his ass. They have yielded sacks on a shocking 10.5% of dropbacks, 32nd ranked in the NFL. This works out to 3.8 sacks per game, which is not championship material. In fact, since 2000 not a single team has played in the big game that has allowed more than 3.0 sacks per game. This is not the easiest problem to fix short term with the Texans needing to find the right personal, both coaches and players, along with optimizing their game plan. It’s unlikely all the bugs will be worked out by the beginning of the season so be cautious when looking to wager on the Texans.
The Detroit Lions, last and also least, are +10000 to win the Super Bowl in 2019. Since 1970 the Lions have been the best of the worst the NFL has to offer, making even the Browns look good in comparison. They have made it to the NFC Championship once, in 1991 and got rocked by the Redskins 41-10 at RFK Stadium. As if that wasn’t bad enough, they actually took a noticeable step back in 2018, the first season under new Head Coach Matt Patricia. Long story short, the Lions aren’t close to winning a playoff game let alone the Super Bowl, avoid them at all costs.
With a few months to go before we kick off the 2019-2020 NFL season, now is the time to start prepping. Get you research all out of the way before the year starts and you will be well ahead of the curve when surprises start popping up. Bookies and Gamblers alike should be doing all they can to gain that extra edge.
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