We’re just a few weeks past the NFL draft and just days from OTA offseason workouts, which means the 2019 football season is just around the corner!
We know it’s a little early to be getting too excited, but with the NBA & NHL seasons wrapping up, what better way to keep momentum, and profits flowing, than gearing up for the upcoming year in the National Football League?
Since everyone loves week-to-week wagering, I recommend offering clients season-long props during the offseason as a way to ease them into the 2019 campaign. You’ll need to keep enough money in their bankroll so they can still bet weekly, but there’s no reason to wait until the regular season kickoff to start making money moves and better your chances to end up on top.
Below are a number of examples of the types of wagers you should be promoting to your clients, and why.
Season win total bet – New England Patriots o11.5 (even) / u11.5 (-130)
Every year, the Patriots are one of the most popular teams for season-win total bets, and for good reason. The boys from Foxboro are perennial contenders and have been for over a decade under Bill Belichick, with Tom Brady under center.
A big market team that wins will always tempt players, especially homers, to feel confident about the NFL’s finest. The Pats have averaged 12.4 wins per season over the last 5 years and have gone over their win total 4 of those 5 years; one being a push in last year’s Super Bowl-winning campaign. So, the question becomes, will this New England squad win 1 game less than their average over the last 5 years?
I think with the loss of Brady’s safety blanket in Gronkowski, a mediocre receiving core and an aging leader, the Pats can expect a dip in offensive production. I predict the reigning champs don’t break 11 wins but still make a run at the Super Bowl for a 2nd straight title.
NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year – Kyler Murray +150
Kyler Murray will struggle mightily with such a trash offensive line and his dynamic scrambling ability will be tested in his first season in the league. Nobody can deny Murray’s arm and athleticism but his size and footwork create a real boom or bust situation in Arizona. At just 5-10, 190-lbs, he becomes the smallest QB in the league since Doug Flutie and will be under steady pressure throughout his rookie campaign.
This makes for a good sell because of the attractive price, and the reality in which a number of rookies are in better positions to succeed as a rookie. Just look at the history of the ROY award.
Historically this race has been dominated by running backs (64.5%) and wide receivers (21%) since 1957. Quarterbacks make up just 12.9% of winners, with just 8 in the past 62 years. I see David Montgomery (+1400) and the Josh Jacobs (+750) as stronger value bets to take home the hardware in 2019.
Montgomery finds himself on a Bears squad down 1000 rushing yards with the departure of Jordan Howard and could flirt with 180 touches in 2019. He’s a reasonable longshot to take advantage of a plus situation. Jacobs has a strong advantage due to his status as a day 1 starting RB in the NFL. Jon Gruden will heavily rely on him to be a workhorse, and with just 251 carries in his 3 seasons at Alabama, his low mileage will be a huge asset. Least we forget the last time coach Gruden drafted a RB in the 1st round (Cadillac Williams), he took home the Offensive Rookie Of The Year honors in 2005.
Cleveland Browns to win Super Bowl LIV +1200
File this under ‘things you don’t normally hear’ because the Browns find themselves inside the top-10 of Super Bowl 54 odds; let that sink in a second. This team has not won more than 10 games since Clinton was puffing on cigars in the Oval Office and is a member of the elite 0 win club, going o-fer in 2017. Perhaps we’re all living in some alternate timeline from the post-snap Marvel Universe but while we’re here, let’s get used to the Browns being viewed as contenders in 2019.
And for the brave, it might look like a good deal on paper. Take the best young QB in the league, a top-3 wideout and add 2 RBs who would be the best player on a number of NFL offenses.
But, look a little closer and you’ll see why the Browns might be overvalued and overhyped heading into the season. First off, young QBs & RBs, no matter how talented, have growing pains in the early years of their careers. While Mayfield and Chubb will continue to be above average players, that alone will not win you a super bowl in this era. Additionally, OBJ has had a history of being a difficult personality in the locker room and sideline, with a young team that can be a toxic addition. And finally Hunt, as talented as he is, will be sidelined for the first 8 games of the year and I question his overall mental state after his scandal broke.
The team is undoubtedly on the upswing and should truly be a threat in the coming years, just not this season. I believe there will be a lot of action with people looking to cash in on a trendy dark horse and recommend keeping your money on the other side of this one.
NFL Offensive Most Valuable Player – Patrick Mahomes (+375)
Let me be clear when I say that Patrick Mahomes to win the MVP belongs on a ‘fade’ list. He deserves to be the favorite and this is his award to lose. Having said that, I believe the sharp money will make or break this one if you play your cards right.
First off, the NFL has only ever seen 2 players win back-to-back MVP awards, Brett Favre (‘95-96) & Peyton Manning (08’-09), the epitome of legends. The league has also seen six separate quarterbacks win the last 6 MVP trophies, a testament to the talent on display under center. The point being that while Mahomes is a worthy favorite, there is harsh competition at significant underdog odds which need to be strongly considered.
Drew Brees (+1600) & Andrew Luck (+700) are both legitimate contenders to sit atop the mountain come season’s end. Brees at age 40 isn’t getting any younger, but you wouldn’t know that by watching his game. He stepped up in his 18th season and took the Saints to a 13-3 record en route to a 2nd place finish behind Mahomes for the MVP. At 16/1 odds he is a true threat with borderline dark horse odds. Luck, on the other hand, could easily top the odds as a favorite to win it all after a career year in 2018 which saw him ascend to elite status in a number of critical categories. He finished the year with the 2nd highest passer rating on 3rd down, third-best in the red zone and 5th in total passing yards. At his age, with his ceiling and the team around him, it’s easy to see why Luck might be the rightful favorite to lead all offensive players.
The NFL offseason is a great time to get creative in the way that you push your clients toward profitable wagers, so dig into the stats and futures, take the above examples, and run with them.
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