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Will the Green Bay Packers win OVER/UNDER 9 games? By University Stats Prof!
Matt LaFleur’s first season as Green Bay’s head coach has to be considered a success. He led the team to a 13-3 record, which secured the NFC North title. The Packers held off the Seahawks to a 28-23 home win in the first round of the playoffs, but were ousted by the Niners in a brutal 37-20 thumping (a game in which the Packers dugged themselves into an early 27-0 hole).
2. Offensive Position-by-Position Breakdown
2.1 Quarterbacks (QBs) Aaron Rodgers will be entering his 16th NFL season. He had another excellent year with a 26-to-4 TD-to-INT ratio and over 4,000 passing yards. He finished as the 7th-best QB in the league according to PFF ratings. At 36 years old, he is likely to have a few good years left. After all, Drew Brees and Tom Brady posted nice statistics in their late thirties. Rodgers has been very durable throughout his career, but he’s not invincible either. Tim Boyle was the backup plan last year, and the team needed to upgrade the position while starting to think about the post-Rodgers era. Still, drafting Jordan Love was the most questionable and talked-about pick in this year’s draft. People expected the Packers to go with a veteran backup QB. Rodgers has mentioned several times he wants to play in his forties; he can still offer a good five years of solid play in the frozen tundra. Love has possesses great size, throws with velocity and he’s very mobile. The main knock on him is the decision-making and inconsistency. As a sophomore, he threw 32 TD passes versus 6 interceptions. He regressed a lot last year by posting a mediocre 20:17 TD:INT mark. Granted, his surrounding cast was very weak and he had to go through a coaching change. Love can throw from many different arm angles; he reminds people of Patrick Mahomes in this regard. He can throw a fastball or a soft touch pass. Quick note: he almost quit football when he was 14 years old after his dad committed suicide. However, he knew his dad would want him to keep playing, so he did just that. 2.2 Running Backs (RBs) Aaron Jones is a top running back in this league. Along with Jamaal Williams, they form a lethal duo. Including the playoffs, Jones ended up scoring 23 touchdowns in 18 games. His 19 regular season scores were the second most in Packers history. His numbers have increased in each of his first three years as a pro. He is also excellent as a pass catcher. Despite playing in the shadow of Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams still finished as the 17th-best RB based on PFF rankings. He does not seem like a lead back, but he’s a perfect change-of-pace guy. Much like Jones, he can do some damage as a receiver as well. Williams has been a steady performer thus far in his career. He has rushed for 450-550 yards in each of his three seasons, while catching a minimum of 25 balls. He has 15 total TDs over this three-year span. If you thought GM Brian Gutekunst made a strange move by drafting QB Jordan Love in the first round, he doubled down with another head scratcher in the 2nd round when he took A.J. Dillon. Message to Mr. Gutekunst: Aaron Rodgers needed pass catchers, not a third running back! I really don’t get this pick either. I’m not saying Dillon won’t be good in the NFL; only time will tell. However, it clearly wasn’t a position of need for the Packers. Dillon is a power back who rarely breaks off huge runs. He racked up big numbers in three seasons in Boston College. He’s unlikely to become a three-down starter, especially since he’s not a good pass catcher. He will likely be used sporadically as a rookie. 2.3 Wide Receivers (WRs) Davante Adams is one of the best at his position. He had a streak of three straight seasons with at least 10 TD receptions snapped last year, but he still caught 83 passes for 997 yards in 12 games (he missed four games because of a toe injury). Outside of Adams, all pass catchers appeared lost on the field. None of them developed a good chemistry with Rodgers. Marquez Valdes-Scantling was a huge disappointment last year. He showed promise as a rookie with over 500 receiving yards. Here’s a jaw-dropping statistic: after Week #7, MVS did not get more than 19 receiving yards in any meeting. That’s awful. One of the guys benefiting from Valdes-Scantling’s poor play was Jake Kumerow. He got more playing time than expected, but still only caught 12 passes. He is closing in on 30 years of age and is limited as an athlete, so he’s not a long-term answer for sure. Allen Lazard was also thrown into action far more than expected. He finished second in terms of receiving yards for Green Bay, but let’s face the reality: the undrafted guy remains more of a #3 or #4 WR for any team. Geronimo Allison was another bust last year. His top performance over the last 12 games (including the playoffs) was a meager 33 receiving yards. He left for another NFC North team, the Detroit Lions. In other words, the #2 role is wide open. The team hopes newly acquired Devin Funchess can step into that role. The former second rounder had his best season in 2017 with the Panthers with a 63-840-8 stat line. He signed with the Colts last year, but played just one game before breaking a collarbone. He will be 26 years old this season and provides an interesting prospect for the Packers. 2.4 Tight Ends (TEs) We’re not done talking about 2019 busts. Jimmy Graham was one of them. He clearly looks washed. He received the lowest grades of his 10-year career, and deservedly so. The Packers released him and he signed a few days later with the Bears (a horrible mind-boggling two-year, $16 million contract). Marcedes Lewis received surprisingly good marks from PFF. If you look into the numbers, the good grade occurred mainly because of efficient run and pass blocking. He’s not much of a pass catcher and he will be 36 years old when the season begins. Robert Tonyan will also be in the mix, but the guy that has the best chance to break out as a receiver in 2020 only caught three passes last year (all in the playoffs): Jace Sternberger. Taken in the third round of the 2019 draft, Sternberger was a threat at Texas A&M in college. He missed most of the regular season because of injuries, but the door is wide open with Graham’s departure. We might also see third-round rookie Josiah Deguara. He has a great motor and plays extremely hard. He’s undersized as a tight end, though. 2.5 Offensive Line (OL) The Packers had a pretty solid offensive line in 2019. All five starters managed to play at least 84% of the offensive snaps. And they all finished above-average according to PFF ratings! The bad news, however, is the Bryan Bulaga left for the Chargers. Despite turning over 30 years old, he still played at a high level. The Packers decided to replace him by signing Rick Wagner, formerly of the Lions. Wagner’s PFF grades from 2016 to 2018 were as follows: 74.0, 75.2 and 71.4. Last year, his play deteriorated a lot and he was tagged with a 59.0 grade. He finished as the #61 tackle among 81 guys. I like the fact that the team is returning four out of five guys, but replacing Bulaga with Wagner has to be viewed as a downgrade. 2020 VS 2019 OFFENSE The Packers offense finished in the middle of the pack in points scored per game. Barring major injuries, I expect about the same production in 2020. The QB and RB situations remain the same. Adding Funchess is not a huge move, but it won’t hurt. The team clearly needs someone to step up opposite of Davante Adams. At tight end, losing Jimmy Graham means close to nothing since he was so ineffective. Sternberger might bring a nice contribution, but we can hardly expect him to be a game-breaker. Finally, the OL will take a dip with the loss of Bulaga. I don’t believe Rick Wagner can do better than him. All in all, I view the additions/departures as a slight negative for Green Bay, but having so many starters returning to the lineup for a second straight season is always a good thing in the NFL. For these reasons, I expect a similar output as 2019 from this unit. Final call (2020 vs 2019): Stable
3. Defensive Position-by-Position Breakdown
3.1 Defensive Linemen (DLs) Kenny Clark had a fantastic season! He is one of the best interior rushers in the NFL. He recorded six sacks for the second straight year, and PFF ranked him as the 13th-best interior linemen out of 114 qualifiers. The same nice comments cannot be made about Dean Lowry. He had the worst season of his four-year career as a pro. He did not post a single sack and wasn’t great against the run either. Reserve Tyler Lancaster is only there to provide some depth. He isn’t particularly good in any aspect of the game. The team did not make any move regarding this position during the offseason. 3.2 Defensive Ends (DEs) / Edge Rushers (ED) During the last offseason, the Packers acquired two Smiths: Za’Darius and Preston. They burst onto the scene and got 13.5 and 12 sacks, respectively. Obviously, both received high marks for their pass rushing abilities, but Preston finished as an average linebacker overall because of mediocre run defense and poor coverage. Kyler Fackrell was a huge disappointment in 2019. After racking up 10.5 sacks in 2018, he only got one in 2019! He signed a one-year deal with the Giants. First-round pick Rashan Gary wasn’t necessarily impressive during his rookie season. He played 23% of the snaps, while obtaining two sacks but very pedestrian marks from PFF (an overall 55.8 grade, which is near the bottom among edge defenders). 3.3 Linebackers (LBs) Green Bay lost its leader in tackles from the past three years, Blake Martinez. After starting 61 of the last 64 Packers games, Martinez decided to join the New York Giants. He had the second-most tackles in the league last year, but don’t be misled by that number. Martinez still finished slight below-average (52nd out of 89 LBs) because of poor play against the run. The Packers also lost some depth at the position when B.J. Goodson left for Cleveland. Green Bay picked up a linebacker from the Browns roster: Christian Kirksey. He was picked in the 3rd round of the 2014 before being involved in all 16 games from his first four seasons in the NFL. However, he has been plagued with injuries over the most recent two years; he played 7 games in 2018 and only 2 games in 2019. He is also capable of racking up tackles, as shown by his 2016 and 2017 seasons where he obtained 146 and 138. His PFF grades during his first four seasons varied between 61.9 and 69.3. Just to give you a rough idea, a 65.0 rating would have been good for 29th place out of 89 LBs. 3.4 Cornerbacks (CBs) Jaire Alexander has done the job as the #1 corner. He has obtained 72.4 and 71.2 marks from PFF during his first two seasons, which is well-above average. He’s so-so defending the run, but his coverage skills are very good. The number two corner, Kevin King had five interceptions last year after getting just one over his first two years as a pro. He did show some improvement after two rocky years. He finished 2019 as a middle-of-the-pack corner. Tramon Williams played 74% of the snaps and had a surprisingly good season despite his age. He will be 37 when the 2020 season begins. He is currently a free agent and it remains to be seen if the Packers bring him back or not. In summary, Alexander and King are both pretty young and could still be improving, but Tramon Williams provided quality play and it’s uncertain if someone else can pick up the slack. 3.5 Safeties (S) Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage were the top two guys here. Along with Za’Darius and Preston Smith, the Adrian Amos was another excellent signing by the Packers during the 2019 offseason. Amos had been a reliable guy in Chicago for four seasons, and he continued to excel in the frozen tundra. After being selected as the #21 overall pick in the 2019 draft, Darnell Savage did show some flashes as a rookie last year. He finished as the #47 safety among 87 qualifiers, which is very satisfying for a rookie. He earned nice marks in coverage (77.4), but horrible ones against the run (37.7). Will Redmond will be back as the number three safety. He’s not starter material for sure. 2020 VS 2019 DEFENSE Most of the starters are returning in 2020. That’s the good news. The team lost their leader in tackles, Blake Martinez, as well as pass rusher Kyler Fackrell and CB Tramon Williams. The only acquisition worth of note is Christian Kirksey. Him not having played very much during the last two seasons brings some question marks. The Packers defense struggled against the run last year, and there’s no reason to believe that will change in 2020. Green Bay still finished 9th in points allowed, which was a very acceptable result. Unfortunately, a decrease in effectiveness is expected and I predict this unit will end 2020 as a middle-of-pack defense (12th – 19th in points allowed). Final call (2020 vs 2019): Small downgrade
4. Regular Season Wins
According to sportsbooks, the Green Bay Packers are expected to win 9 games this season. Should we bet the “over” or the “under”? Here is the methodology I used in order to answer this vital question:
Use BetOnline.ag’s point spreads on all 256 regular season games.
Convert those point spreads into win probabilities.
Simulate each of the 256 games, according to those win probabilities, via the R statistical software.
Repeat the previous step one million times (you get 1M simulated seasons).
Count the proportion of seasons where the Packers won more or less than 9 games.
Here are the results (excluding the simulated years where the Pack won exactly 9 games, since in those cases your bet would have tied):
OVER 9 WINS
UNDER 9 WINS
Tip: Bet OVER 9 wins Return On Investment (ROI): +10.5% Rank: 25th-highest ROI out of 32 teams Minimum odds required to bet (i.e. ROI = 0%): -106 Here are BetOnline’s point spreads for the Packers’ 16 regular season games: HOME: -6 vs ATL, -10 vs CAR, -4.5 vs CHI, -6.5 vs DET, -11.5 vs JAX, -3 vs MIN, -2.5 vs PHI, -3.5 vs TEN. ROAD: 0 @ CHI, -2 @ DET, 0 @ HOU, +2.5 @ IND, +3 @ MIN, +5.5 @ NO, +6.5 @ SF, +2.5 @ TB. Note: The “Best odds” from the table above were obtained after looking at 13 well-known online sportsbooks on May 18th, 2020. TOMORROW: I'll talk about the team whose ROI is the 24th-highest in the league, the Pittsburgh Steelers! Did you like this write-up? If so, comment below! I'd like to know YOUR opinion on what to expect from the Packers' 2020 season! Professor MJ
Will the Los Angeles Chargers win OVER/UNDER 8 games? By University Stats Prof!
Anthony Lynn’s first two seasons as the Chargers head coach were successful with 9-7 and 12-4 records. However, last year was a clear disappointment as the team finished dead last in their division with a 5-11 record. That included losing six of the final seven matchups. Obviously, the team is entering a new era with a big QB change. They hope the 10-year drought without a division title is going to get snapped sooner than later.
2. Offensive Position-by-Position Breakdown
2.1 Quarterbacks (QBs) After spending 16 seasons with the Chargers, Philip Rivers signed with the Colts. His 23-to-20 TD-to-INT ratio last year was the worst of his whole career. He still racked up 4,615 passing yards, though, but his arm looked weaker than ever. He also struggled as soon as he felt the rush coming. Before the draft, head coach Anthony Lynn kept repeating that Tyrod Taylor was in the driver’s seat to get the starting nod under center. Does that still hold true after drafting Justin Herbert with the No. 6 overall pick? I doubt it. Herbert is one of the most polarizing prospects. Some experts believe he’ll have a great career, while others see bust written all over him. He is physically gifted with good size, an elite arm strength and mobility that allows him to elude the rush and pick up first downs with his legs. He is also known for being able to make all types of throws. The knocks on him are as follows. First, some people question his leadership ability because he’s an introvert. Also, his decision-making isn’t always the best, he fumbles way too many times and a 64% college career completion rate isn’t all that impressive. Tyrod Taylor might still have a shot to start under center, but his chances have clearly diminished with Herbert on the team. He has 54 career TD passes versus 20 interceptions, while adding 16 rushing TDs to his resume. Taylor’s best years were with the Bills from 2015 to 2017. Over that time span, he completed 774-of-1236 passes (62.6%) with 51 TD passes and 16 picks. He helped Buffalo reach the playoffs for the first time in 18 years. He tends to get blamed for being too conservative. He does limit the turnovers, but throwing 51 touchdown passes in 44 games in Buffalo was far from breathtaking. After a bad experience in Cleveland in 2018 and not playing in 2019, can Taylor revive his career? It seems pretty doubtful. He makes for a great backup QB, though. 2.2 Running Backs (RBs) Melvin Gordon left for Denver, which leaves the door wide open for Austin Ekeler to take over as the clear-cut #1 back. Ekeler was excellent in both facets of the game: as a runner and as a receiver. For the second straight year, he rushed for about 550 yards with 3 TDs on the ground. However, he did a lot more damage through the air by catching a jaw-dropping 92 balls out of 108 targets, which included 8 receiving TDs and an extremely good 10.8 yards-per-catch average. The undrafted runner from Western State has averaged 4.8 yards per carry thus far in his three years in the big league. This figure is likely to go down now that he’ll be the workhorse back, but he’s expected to get a lot more rushing attempts. Gordon’s departure inserts Justin Jackson into the #2 RB role. He was picked in the 7th round of the 2018 draft and his main problem has been staying healthy. He missed three games in his rookie season and nine more the following year. In both cases, he rushed for close to 200 yards. It’s unclear what Jackson can bring to the table due to his limited time on the field. Based on his draft status it’s hard to expect great things, but the jury is still out about his future. 2.3 Wide Receivers (WRs) This position was dominated by two players: Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. All other guys caught less than 10 passes. You can’t say enough about Keenan Allen. He’s just a super reliable target. He was often the victim of the injury bug in the past, but he’s now played all 16 games in each of the last three years. During this time period, he has been extremely consistent by averaging 101 receptions for 1,263 yards and 6 TDs. He will be entering his age-28 campaign, so he still has plenty of gas left in the tank. Mike Williams was the #7 overall selection in the 2017 draft out of Clemson. His numbers have increased each year, except the TD output which inexplicably dropped from 10 to 2 last year. Williams had a whopping 20.4 yards-per-catch average, second-best in the league behind Mecole Hardman. He battled through knee injuries throughout the year. The depth at the position is worrisome. The team drafted a couple of guys in later rounds: Joe Reed from Virginia and K.J. Hill from Ohio State. 2.4 Tight Ends (TEs) Hunter Henry is one of the top tight ends in the league when healthy. The problem has been just that: staying healthy. He tore his ACL during OTAs in 2018, which caused him to miss the entire regular season. Last year, he missed four additional games due to a knee injury but he still set career-highs in receptions (55) and receiving yards (652). He has scored 17 TDs in 41 career games, which amounts to 6.6 per 16 games. Virgil Green is the projected backup TE. He couldn’t get anything going even during Henry’s absence last year. It does not bode well for him. The former seventh-rounder has never caught more than 22 passes since joining the league nine years ago. 2.5 Offensive Line (OL) Mike Pouncey’s first five years in the league were pretty good after being selected in the 1st round by the Dolphins nine years ago. Then, his PFF grades started to decline steadily. Things got worse last year when he suffered a career-threatening neck injury. He is on track to return in 2020, but his play has been below-average of late. Right tackle Bryan Bulaga is now on the wrong side of 30, but that didn’t scare the Chargers off. They signed him to a three-year deal worth $30 million. He will solidify the line without a doubt. He played very well last year in Green Bay; he secured the #15 spot out of 81 tackles based on PFF rankings. With Michael Schofield about to hit the free agent market, the Chargers acquired Trai Turner from the Panthers. Both received very identical PFF marks, but Turner is three years younger. He’s set to play left guard. Dan Feeney won the preseason battle for the left guard position during preseason, and he ended up starting all 16 games for the second year in a row. However, once again the quality of his play left a lot to be desired. He rated as the 64th-best guard out of 81 qualifiers. The Trent Scott experiment on Philip Rivers’ blind side was a huge failure last year. He was atrocious. Can Trey Pipkins be the answer at left tackle? The third-round pick from last year didn’t play many snaps last year, so it’s hard to evaluate. Or will it be Sam Tevi taking over at this key position? He did play left tackle as a junior with the Utah Utes. The 6th rounder has never received a PFF grade above 60 in his three-year career, so it’s hard to get excited about him. 2020 VS 2019 OFFENSE Despite all the criticism around Philip Rivers, he still threw for more than 4,600 yards. Can Justin Herbert and/or Tyrod Taylor do better? I doubt it. Also, am I the only one worrying about the depth at many positions on offense? Instead of having a nice Gordon-Ekeler duo at running back, the team must now rely on unproven Justin Jackson as the backup runner. At wide receiver, what happens if either Keenan Allen or Mike Williams gets hurt? If Hunter Henry misses time at tight end, the team must turn to Virgil Green. We’re talking about HUGE talent dropoff between the starters and the backups at those positions. At least the team upgraded its offensive line, but not that much. I like the additions of Bulaga and Turner, but Okung and Schofield left. To me, that represents a small net gain for the team. Overall, I believe this unit suffers a small downgrade over 2019. Final call (2020 vs 2019): Small downgrade
3. Defensive Position-by-Position Breakdown
3.1 Defensive Linemen (DLs) All four guys receiving the most playing time on the interior of the line last year received poor PFF grades. Justin Jones finished 93rd, Brandon Mebane 112th, Damion Square 73rd and Jerry Tillery 114th out of 114 qualifiers. That’s awful. Two of those players are now off the team: Mebane (who turned 35) and Square. Neither of those losses represent a blow to the defense. Justin Jones improved slightly from his rookie to his sophomore year, but he’ll need to take a bigger leap in his third year. The former third-round pick out of N.C. State has not been very impressive thus far. As for Tillery, he was the #28 overall pick from the 2019 draft. It’s too early to call him a bust, but ranking dead last among all DLs can hardly be viewed as a successful season. He posted two sacks, but was awful against the run. The Chargers hope to boost the position with the acquisition of Linval Joseph. The 10-year veteran received high marks from 2015 to 2017, but his play deteriorated a little bit in the past two years. Granted, he still ranked as the 42nd-best interior defenders out of 114 guys last year. He’ll be playing his age-32 campaign, so hopefully his play won’t drop even further. 3.2 Defensive Ends (DEs) / Edge Rushers (ED) Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram are the team’s clear-cut sack leaders. They recorded 11.5 and 7 sacks respectively last year, while the third-best turned out to be just 2.5 by Desmond King. Ouch. Bosa is a beast. Plain and simple. Bosa had 10.5, 12.5, 5.5 and 11.5 sacks during his first four years in the NFL. The 5.5 sacks picked up in 2018 were obtained in seven games; if you project those numbers into a full 16-game season, that equates to 12.5. As can be seen, he’s been very consistent. Ingram’s sack output has decreased a little bit recently. After posting 10.5, 8.0 and 10.5 from 2015 to 2017, he got exactly 7 sacks in each of the last two years. He remains clearly an above-average edge rusher and likely has a gas left in the tank at 31 years old. Uchenna Nwosu will continue to be a rotational player in this defense. He played 37% of the snaps and the former second-rounder has 5.5 sacks in two years. 3.3 Linebackers (LBs) Thomas Davis provided quality play, especially coming from a 36-year-old linebacker. The team still decided to cut ties with him in order to create cap space and to get younger at the position. The team has three guys who all played between 37% and 39% of the snaps last year: Drue Tranquill, Kyzir White and Denzel Perryman. Tranquill was picked in the 4th round of last year’s draft and he enjoyed a very respectable rookie season. He ended up as the #25 LB out of 89 players, based on PFF marks. He is a good candidate to improve his game since he converted from safety to linebacker just three years ago. White is another former fourth-rounder, but he was taken a year earlier. He has earned 65.6 and 66.6 PFF grades in his first two seasons. His 2019 grade is actually identical to Tranquill’s. Perryman is unlikely to become a full-time starter in the NFL. He has yet to establish himself as a true starter in five years, so all signs point towards the former second-rounder to end up no more than a reserve player. The Chargers have added two pieces to the group: free agent Nick Vigil and Kenneth Murray via the draft. Vigil is no better than what the Chargers already had. As a matter of fact, he has earned weaker marks. He will still get a shot at the starting lineup considering his experience. With the 23rd overall selection, the Chargers drafted Kenneth Murray out of Oklahoma. The kid plays with great passion and he started at middle linebacker with the Sooners at 17 years old, which is quite impressive! Murray can literally fly on the field; he’s a playmakers who’s willing to take some risks. His style leads to many tackles for a loss. He needs to get better at reading plays and shedding blockers, however. 3.4 Cornerbacks (CBs) Casey Hayward is among the league’s top cover corners. He graded as the third-best CB in the NFL last season, according to PFF rankings. He has 22 interceptions in eight years and figures to have another productive season in 2020. He hasn’t missed a single game in six years! Desmond King is most effective in the middle of the field as a slot corner. Strangely enough, the Chargers signed Chris Harris, formerly of the Broncos, who also butters his bread in that position. It remains to be seen how to team juggles with these two guys. Both received above-average grades despite subpar years compared to previous seasons. How does Michael Davis fit in the mix? He could be the odd man out. He did pick up his first two interceptions of his young career after signing as an undrafted free agent in 2017, but he wasn’t particularly good. 3.5 Safeties (S) Derwin James missed the first 11 games last season. His presence was sorely missed on the field. The #17 overall pick from the 2018 draft enjoyed a spectacular rookie season with 105 tackles, 3 interceptions and 3.5 sacks. Now with a clean bill of health, James projects to play a big role in 2020. The other starting safety is Rayshawn Jenkins. He’s not nearly as good as his fellow teammate. He racked up the first three picks of his career last year, but he only managed to obtain the 60th spot among 87 safeties, according to PFF grades. He has yet to have a big impact, and he’s unlikely to do. The team lost some nice depth when Adrian Phillips left for New England. The #3 safety will likely be either Roderic Teamer or sixth-round pick Alohi Gilman. You don’t want either of them to start, so the Chargers must cross their fingers that neither James nor Jenkins gets hurt. 2020 VS 2019 DEFENSE How will the 2020 Chargers defense fare compared to the 2019’s group? The team upgraded the interior of the line a little bit with the addition of Linval Joseph. Tackle leader Thomas Davis is gone, while the organization acquired Nick Vigil and drafted Kenneth Murray. Vigil isn’t a solid linebacker, so Chargers fans must hope for Murray to develop quickly, or perhaps see Drue Tranquill elevate his game. Getting Chris Harris at corner is another good, albeit not spectacular, addition to the team. However, losing Adrian Phillips will put the Chargers in trouble if one of their two starting safeties get hurt. Los Angeles allowed the 14th fewest points in the league last year. I expect them to remain around this spot in 2020. Final call (2020 vs 2019): Stable
4. Regular Season Wins
According to sportsbooks, the Los Angeles Chargers are expected to win 8 games this season. Should we bet the “over” or the “under”? Here is the methodology I used in order to answer this vital question:
Use BetOnline.ag’s point spreads on all 256 regular season games.
Convert those point spreads into win probabilities.
Simulate each of the 256 games, according to those win probabilities, via the R statistical software.
Repeat the previous step one million times (you get 1M simulated seasons).
Count the proportion of seasons where the Chargers won more or less than 8 games.
Here are the results:
OVER 8 WINS
UNDER 8 WINS
Tip: Bet UNDER 8 wins Return On Investment (ROI): +12.1% Rank: 23rd-highest ROI out of 32 teams Minimum odds required to bet (i.e. ROI = 0%): -135 Here are BetOnline’s point spreads for the Chargers’ 16 regular season games:
HOME: -2.5 vs ATL, -6.5 vs CAR, -5 vs DEN, -7 vs JAX, +7 vs KC, +4.5 vs LV, 0 vs NE, -4 vs NYJ.
Will the Detroit Lions win OVER/UNDER 6.5 games? By University Stats Prof!
Will the Detroit Lions win OVEUNDER 6.5 games? By University Stats Prof! 1. Introduction After firing Jim Caldwell following a 9-7 record in 2017, the Lions posted a 6-10 in Matt Patricia’s first year as a head coach. Things got even worse last season with a 3-12-1 record. This is a critical year for Patricia. The team has talent for sure. If he does not right the ship, he may be gone sooner rather than later. 2. Regular Season Wins According to sportsbooks, the Detroit Lions are expected to win 6.5 games this season. Should we bet the “over” or the “under”? Here is the methodology I used in order to answer this vital question:
Use BetOnline.ag’s point spreads on all 256 regular season games.
Convert those point spreads into win probabilities.
Simulate each of the 256 games, according to those win probabilities, via the R statistical software.
Repeat the previous step one million times (you get 1M simulated seasons).
Count the proportion of seasons where the Lions won more or less than 6.5 games.
Here are the results:
OVER 6.5 wins
UNDER 6.5 wins
Tip: Bet UNDER 6.5 wins Return On Investment (ROI): +1.4% Rank: 31st-highest ROI out of 32 teams Minimum odds required to bet (i.e. ROI = 0%): +127 Here are BetOnline’s point spreads for the Lions’ 16 regular season games: HOME: -1.5 vs CHI, +2 vs GB, -1 vs HOU, +1.5 vs IND, +2 vs MIN, +5.5 vs NO, +2.5 vs TB, -6 vs WAS. ROAD: +3 @ ARI, +4 @ ATL, +1 @ CAR, +5 @ CHI, +6.5 @ GB, -1.5 @ JAX, +7 @ MIN, +6 @ TEN. Note: The “Best odds” from the table above were obtained after looking at 13 well-known online sportsbooks on May 18th, 2020. 3. Offensive Position-by-Position Breakdown 3.1 QUARTERBACKS (QB) I feel bad for Matthew Stafford. He has to be one of the best quarterbacks to have never won a playoff game. He’s 0-3 in the postseason and has played for many terrible teams in Detroit during his 11-year career. He had yet another good season in 2019. He finished as the 8th-best QB in the league based on PFF rankings. He missed half the season because of injuries, but still threw 19 TD passes versus 5 picks. Prior to last year, he had not missed a single start over eight seasons, which is unbelievable! He’s a durable and tough guy. David Blough and Jeff Driskel didn’t do very well in Stafford’s absence. That’s a big reason why the team led Driskel go, while acquiring backup Chase Daniel from the Bears. I was stunned to realize that after spending 10 years in the NFL, Daniel has only thrown 7 TDs and 5 interceptions (most of them in 2018 and 2019 with Chicago). He received decent grades from PFF and he looks to be a definitive improvement over Blough and Driskel. 3.2 RUNNING BACKS (RB) I like what I’ve been from Kerryon Johnson over his first two seasons in the NFL. In each of those years, the former running back from Auburn was on pace to be close to a 1,000 rushing yard season, but his pro career has been marred by injuries thus far. Beyond the stats, I thought he passed the eye test. Upon seeing him play several games, he looked like a good back. In his third year, the main goal will be to prove he can make it through a full season. Johnson received a 66.7 grade from PFF last year, which put him in the #37 spot out of 58 RBs. I believe he can make a nice jump in 2020. Bo Scarbrough finally saw some action last season. He did “okay”, but his main limitation is in the passing game. He’s not much of a receiver. He’s still a decent weapon to have when running between the tackles because of his big frame. J.D. McKissic was the opposte of Scarbrough; he is undersized, but a good pass catcher. He still managed to post a lofty 5.4 yard per carry average, while catching 34 balls. However, he left for Washington. Considering Detroit’s backfield was already crowded, drafting D’Andre Swift in the 2nd round was a puzzling move. It probably means the Lions will go with a committee approach with Johnson and Swift being the RB 1A and 1B. Swift is a smart RB who has good vision and runs with patience; he understands and evaluates block timing very well. He is also pretty good out of the backfield; he caught many passes in college and was tagged with just three drops across 73 receptions. 3.3 WIDE RECEIVERS (WR) Can you believe Kenny Golladay’s salary was under one million last year? What an astonishing bargain for the Lions! Golladay solidified his position as one of the top wideouts in the league by posting a second consecutive 1,000-yard season. He also doubled his TD production by catching 11 last year versus 5 the year before. He has a great combination of size and athleticism, which allows him to stretch the field and make contested catches in traffic. His numbers have the potential to increase even more if Stafford can stay healthy for the whole season, and considering Golladay is only 26 years old. Marvin Jones posted a very nice 62-779-9 stat line despite missing three games. He has been a steady producer in this league, both with the Bengals and now with the Lions. A very reliable guy. Danny Amendola has never been a top wideout: his career best is 689 receiving yards back in 2010. However, having him as your #3 receiver is a nice luxury. The main concern pertains to his age, as he is now 34. His level of play has not deteriorated yet, but we should keep an eye on this situation. The team added even more depth by signing a younger guy: Geronimo Allison. The former Packer showed flashes during an injury-shortened 2018 season, but he really fell flat last year by catching just 34 balls despite a wide open #2 WR spot in Green Bay. He received poor grades from PFF and finished as the #111 receiver out of 122 qualifiers. 3.4 TIGHT ENDS (TE) Was T.J. Hockenson’s rookie season a success? The jury is still out on that one. Everyone got overly excited about his first career game, where he caught 6 passes for 131 yards and 1 TD. However, he surpassed 50 yards just once in his final 11 games (an ankle injury put him on injured reserve for the last four contests). He was the #8 overall pick in the 2019 draft, so the expectations were high for the former Hawkeye. The adaptation to the NFL-level is not always easy for rookie tight ends, so let’s cut him some slack. He is a candidate to improve his numbers greatly in his second season, especially with Stafford back under center. Both Logan Thomas and Jesse James caught 16 passes last year. Thomas left for Washington, which leaves James as the clear-cut #2 TE. He is an adequate backup for Detroit. 3.5 OFFENSIVE LINE (OL) Right tackle Rick Wagner provided respectable protection to his quarterbacks during his first six seasons, but his play tailed off dramatically last year. The team released him and signed Halapoulivaati Vaitai to replace him. Vaitai has only started 20 games in four seasons, but he played pretty well in spots with the Eagles last year and that earned him a jaw-dropping five-year, $50 million contract. That seems like a high price for a career backup, but he did grade as the 22nd-best tackle among 81 qualifiers in 2019. We’ll see if the Lions made a wise investment or not. The other four starters all received good marks from PFF: Taylor Decker (19th out of 81 tackles), Frank Ragnow (6th out of 37 centers), Graham Glasgow (12th out of 81 guards) and Joe Dahl (27th out of 81 guards). Yet, the team finished below-average in terms of sacks allowed (19th out of 32 teams). The bad news is Detroit also lost Graham Glasgow via free agency. He signed with the Denver Broncos. He has obtained grades above 70 by PFF in each of its past three seasons. His replacement is unlikely to match that performance. One potential replacement is third round selection Jonah Jackson. He needs to improve as a run blocker since he tends to struggle sustaining blocks. On the other hand, he’s more comfortable in passing situations, while also excelling at processing blitzes. 2020 VS 2019 OFFENSE The Lions scored the 18th most points in the NFL last season. That output is much more likely to go up than down. Except on the offensive line, we notice a potential upgrade over the 2019 season at all positions. At quarterback, having Stafford back is obviously a big boost. Also, Chase Daniel is a better back than the Blough-Driskel duo. At running back, Kerryon Johnson missed half the season. He also has two years of experience under his belt and is ready to explode. Rookie D’Andre Swift offers an additional potential deadly weapon. Adding Geronimo Allison to an already talent WR group won’t hurt. Golladay-Jones-Amendola will provide good targets for Stafford. Hockenson is now more familiar with the NFL speed and it was reported he played through some pain before landing on injured reserve. Again, an improvement seems a more likely scenario than a regression here. As mentioned above, the OL play will be a source of concern, though. Replacing Wagner with Vaitai could be a plus. However, Glasgow’s loss will be difficult to compensate. Still, overall I can see the Lions jumping to the 7th-12th rank on offense in 2020. You read this right; the Lions could have the number 7 offense in the NFL. They have a very talented and underrated group (with nice depth at all positions!). Final call (2020 vs 2019): Moderate upgrade 4. Defensive Position-by-Position Breakdown 4.1 DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (DL) The interior of the line has been completely revamped. That may not be a bad thing. Both Damon Harrison and A’Shawn Robinson are gone after a subpar year. They both graded as below-average last year, which was a big surprise in the case of Harrison. He obtained a grade above 90 as a run defender in each of its past four seasons, but cratered to 63.2 last year. What the heck happened? The newcomers are Danny Shelton, formerly of the Patriots, and Nick Williams, coming over from the Bears. Shelton has done very well in all five of his seasons in the league and is entering his prime. He’s a solid addition and he’s good a plugging up running lanes. I’m not so high on the Williams acquisition, though. He didn’t get good grades throughout his career until last year where he finally got some starts and posted six sacks. He could be a one-year wonder. He had been a journeyman thus far and is a former 7th-round pick. Mike Daniels is also off the team. The former didn’t do much in his lone season in Motor City. 4.2 DEFENSIVE ENDS (DE) / EDGE (ED) Both Trey Flowers and Devon Kennard recorded seven sacks last season. Kennard left for Arizona; his leadership as team captain will also be missed. Flowers is a vital piece of this defense. He will enter his age-27 campaign and he has racked up between 6.5 and 7.5 sacks every year since 2016. Who will step up in Kennard’s absence? Romeo Okwara will need to come back to his 2018 form, where he posted 7.5 sacks. Only getting 1.5 last year was a big disappointment. Another alternative may come from Romeo’s younger brother, Julian, who was taken in the 3rd round of this year’s draft. Considering Julian’s speed and strength (the bull rush remains his favorite move), you would have expected him to produce more in college. He still needs to learn good techniques to beat experienced offensive linemen. 4.3 LINEBACKERS (LB) Jarrad Davis, Christian Jones and Jahlani Tavai all played a bit above 50% of the defensive snaps last year. They ranked as the #84, #82 and #44 linebackers out of 89 guys. That’s bad. The position will get a lift with the acquisition of Jamie Collins. He led the Patriots with seven sacks last season, which was a career-high for him. I don’t mean to be disrespectful for him, but I believe he’s overrated. He enjoyed great 2014 and 2015 seasons in New England, but his played tailed off big time in his time away from the Patriots in 2016, 2017 and 2018. He came back with a pretty good season when reuniting with Belichick’s squad last year, but will he revert back to mediocre play in Detroit? Super Bowl champion Reggie Ragland also joins Matt Patricia’s team. He adds depth to the team and may play behind Jarrad Davis. 4.4 CORNERBACKS (CB) Last year, the trio made of Darius Slay, Rashaan Melvin and Justin Coleman saw the field pretty often. Slay and Melvin are gone to other teams. Slay had a very bad year as opposed to his previous five, but that may have been an outlier. He’s 29 years old and he’s likely to rebound in Philly. He asked to be traded after fights over contract negotiations. Unlike Slay, Melvin won’t be missed too much. He was an undrafted guy who is more of a rotational corner. In order to alleviate Slay’s loss, the Lions signed Desmond Trufant, formerly of the Falcons. His best days are behind him, but he has never received a grade below 69.5 by PFF over his seven-year career, which is remarkable. Last year’s 70.3 grade put him as the 32nd-best corner out of 112 qualifiers. The team’s instant #1 corner is rookie Jefffrey Okudah, who was taken with the third overall selection of this year’s draft. He’s a true lockdown corner who is likely to perform at a high level right away. Over the last two seasons at Ohio State, he held every wideout he faced to fewer than 50 receiving yards. He also surrendered just two touchdowns during that time frame. Those are outstanding numbers! Okudah is a blue chip prospect whose mental makeup and physical traits are elite. 4.5 SAFETIES (S) Safeties Tracy Walker and Tavon Wilson led the team in tackles last year. They both played close to 75% of the snaps and obtained similar marks from PFF. They finished 22nd and 26th out of 87 safeties in the league. As of now, Wilson has yet to sign with a NFL team. He is open to re-signing with Detroit, but that has yet to happen. The team decided to upgrade the position by acquiring Duron Harmon, yet another ex-Patriot. He can play safety or as a corner; he is likely to be on the field often. He may not be the best against the run, but his skills in coverage are way above average. 2020 VS 2019 DEFENSE There’s been a lot of shuffling with this unit during the offseason. The biggest acquisitions are Danny Shelton, Nick Williams, Jamie Collins, Desmond Trufant, Duron Harmon, as well as #3 overall pick Jeffrey Okudah. The biggest losses are Damon Harrison, A’Shawn Robinson, Devon Kennard, Darius Slay and Rashaan Melvin. My own assessment of those moves is a moderate upgrade. However, I value continuity as a key factor in the NFL. Knowing how your teammates are going to react in game-time situations is important in such a fast sport like the NFL. Considering the impact of COVID-19 on offseason preparation, having numerous new faces will likely penalize offenses/defenses even more. Detroit’s defense finished 26th in points allowed last year. They will remain the team’s Achilles heel, but a significant improvement is doable. Final call (2020 vs 2019): Moderate upgrade MOST LIKELY RECORD: 7-9 (based on the one-million simulated seasons using BetOnline’s 2020 point spreads) Tomorrow, I'll discuss the team whose ROI is 30th in the league; the New Orleans Saints! Thanks for reading, I hope you found it insightful! Professor MJ
Anyone know of a good site for horse racing insight or a a reliable handicapper online for horse racing? With not much sports goin on I’ve been betting on Churchill Downs races via TwinSpires but it’s hasn’t been going great. Any and all help will make my down time that much better!
Welcome to the Summer Transfer Megathread 2020! Here you can discuss rumours, confirmed transfers and also which player you personally would want to sign and how you would like to integrate them into the squad. Of course transfer rumours can still be posted as their own separate posts but you are free to post them in here as well. I will keep this updated as new rumours come in, but only those sources that mention us directly. If you believe a rumour should be added, just PM me or post them down in the comments. If you want to know how reliable a source is, just take a look at our Transfer Tier Guide.
M21 / Jumpstart HOT TAKES + State of The Art of Cube Podcast Announcement
STATE OF THE PODCAST For those of you who listen to The Art of Cube podcast, you may have noticed that I haven’t posted anything in 6+ weeks. This is because I’ve been devoting all my spare time and energy to my start up idea that I started working on in early May. I was actually planning on recording this episode, but it’s really hard for me to block 2-3 consecutive hours at night to record, since that’s prime programming hours for me because that’s when things are most quiet. With an article, I can at least block out 30 minutes at a time to write little by little until I have a finished product. I definitely want to continue the podcast, but the start up is my priority for now, so I’ll be on an indefinite hiatus for a bit. Anyways, let's talk about cards! WHITE Angelic Ascension White Beast Within that trades a cheaper cost for less targets and gifting your creature a 4/4 flyer instead of a vanilla 3/3. While I’m not the biggest fan of Beast Within in cube, it’s actually in a color that lacks removal and while Angelic Ascension is in a color that has all the removal in the world. Not a fan of this card in 1v1, but can be a useful political tool for multiplayer cubes I guess? Basri Ket Revamped Ajani, Caller of the Pride. Ajani starts with more loyalty, but Basri’s +1 grants indestructible until end of turn. Basri can snowball harder than Ajani if you have 3 non-token creatures by turn 3 and then use the -2 ability to double that number on attack step. Unfortunately, Basri suffers the same fate as Ajani in where their value is entirely dependent on you having creatures. The competition is fierce at 3-cmc white, and there are better options for aggro that are also better role players in other archetypes. Basri’s Lieutenant Basri’s Lieutenant is a hybrid of Luminous Broodmoth / Hero of Bladehold. It’s not as great as a midrange engine as Luminous Broodmoth, and not as offensive as Hero of Bladehold, but it’s definitely no slouch in either of those departments, especially since it’s a Persist combo enabler. Basri’s Lieutenant’s floor is essentially a ⅘ vigilance with protection from multicolored that does a mini Thragtusk impression when it dies: that’s pretty impressive for 3W. Stonecoil Serpent has shown me that protection from multicolored means protection from a decent amount of removal spells (in my cube at least), which is a really nice combination with its ability to recur itself. While there’s an insane amount of competition at the 4-cmc slot, as far as creatures goes, I think this competes well with anything not named Palace Jailer / Restoration Angel, and rubs shoulders very well against Hero of Bladehold / Luminous Broodmoth. Seems like a shoe-in if you need more Persist combo / +1+1 matters counters support, but even then Basri’s Lieutenant seems plenty strong on its own. Emiel, the Blessed 4-cmc Eldrazi Displacer that can grant counters. While Emiel doesn’t come with the colorless baggage that Eldrazi Displacer does, it’s important to note that Emiel can only target your own creatures. While Emiel may not seem too hot on its own in higher powered cubes, it’s important to note that it can generate infinite mana with Palinchron type creature. Also seems like a good fit for lower powered cubes that support both blink and +1/+1 counters matters. Daybreak Charger This is a pretty aggressive Blade of the Sixth Pride variant for a common. Reminds me a lot of Viashino Pyromancer. I don’t know too much about Pauper, but I’m assuming this is a decent inclusion if you support aggro in Pauper. Nine Lives I’m THAT guy who plays these types of cards in EDH, although every deck packing Cyclonic Rift makes this a poor choice for EDH / multiplayer in general. However, 1v1 cubes typically don’t have mass sweepers that can remove enchantments. The only commonly played cube cards that I can think of that can even remove Nine Lives at will are Council’s Judgment / Upheaval / Ugin, the Spirit Dragon / some random planeswalker ultimate, maybe. I’d only consider this for cube if you’re playing Solemnity for Persist combos or you’re just THAT guy. Pack Leader Turn all your dogs into pseudo Adanto Vanguards on offense! Unfortunately, there aren’t too many cubeable dogs at the moment, but the attack trigger at least protects itself. What makes Adanto Vanguard annoying is that it gets around most removal spells, which Pack Leader doesn’t, and it also lacks 3rd power. Not a card I’d cube today, but it’s something to keep an eye on. Let me be the first to say that I for one welcome our new dog overlords! Seasoned Hallowblade Speaking of Adanto Vanguards, this is probably its closest imitation? At a baseline, this is a Blade of the Sixth Pride with two relevant creature types in Human and Warrior, is a discard outlet, and can pitch a card to go indestructible when needed. I see this mostly as an aggro card though since decks that want discard outlets will probably have access to better ones, plus white is the least likely color to be played in a graveyard centric deck (in my cube at least). That being said, this has potential to be the second best Blade of the Sixth Pride variant after Adanto Vanguard, rubbing shoulders with Accorder Paladin / Glory-Bound Initiate. BLUE Barrin, Tolarian Archmage Legendary Man-o’-War that with a non-mandatory bounce that hits planeswalkers and can also randomly draw you cards. While being costing 1UU is less desirable than 2U (except for Devotion), the tradeoff is well worth it. Barrin is especially annoying with Karakas since it both has one of the best ETB triggers for a 3-cmc legendary creature and Karakas can trigger Barrin’s draw ability. I have no doubt in my mind that Barrin will be the most cubed card from M21. Ghostly Pilferer A weird Glint-Sleeve Siphoner / Heir of Falkenrath hybrid that randomly draws you a card whenever an opponent casts a spell via flashback / cascade / aftermath / adventure / suspend / cast off top of library effects / etc effects. I’m not the biggest fan of this for tempo decks since the evasion requires you to discard a card and tempo decks typically aren’t big on using the graveyard as a resource, but this is a decent discard outlet for Reanimator / Recurring Nightmare decks. The first draw effect seems to be a poor man’s imitation of a poor man imitating Dark Confidant, which reminds me of a band that’s ripping off a band that rips off Simple Plan since other Dark Confidant effects don’t require mana to draw the extra card. That being said, the second draw ability requires no mana payment on your part, but is entirely dependent on your opponent. This creature is a weird package of a lot of different things. My instincts tell me that its best niche will be in Recurring Nightmare / Reanimator decks, but those decks aren’t exactly hurting for discard outlets. I don’t explicitly support tempo decks, and even if I did this seems to be lower-hanging fruit at first glance. I definitely can be wrong about this card as it does seem like it can be a bit of a sleeper, but even then I don’t think it’ll be GREAT, just merely useful. Definitely cubeable, but I don’t think it’s needed too much in the decks that would even want it. See the Truth Sorcery speed Anticipate that can randomly be an Ancestral Recall via things like Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy / Snapcaster Mage / Chandra, Torch of Defiance / Yawgmoth’s Will / etc. Even with those synergies, I’d rather just play other 2-cmc blue cantrips in most scenarios like Impluse / Chart a Course. Putting the cards into your hands instead of drawing the cards to get around Leovold / Narset is cool when it matters. I’d only really consider this for a cube if you’re running storm since it can make the most use out of it, but even then it’s a bit hard to justify the slot in blue assuming you’re powered AND supporting storm. Shacklegeist I like 2/2 flyers with minimal drawbacks since a 1/1 flyer can’t trade with it on its own. If you support blue tempo, this might be one of the better evasive blue 2-drops since it has an extra toughness and can tap down other creatures. I don’t explicitly support blue tempo, meaning the 1-2 cmc aggressive creatures in a UX tempo deck are derived from other colors, so this isn’t for me, but this is a good option if you do explicitly support blue tempo. Stormwing Entity A 3/3 with flying / prowess / ETB scry 2 for 3UU is whatever, but any 1-cmc instant / sorcery can be used as a Dark Ritual for this (and Gitaxian Probe serves as a Black Lotus!) That being said, busting this out on turn 3 isn’t even that great. Seems like a bad Mulldrifter most of the time with less control of the mana cost for less value. Sublime Epiphany Cryptic Command 3.0 that according to Mark Rosewater, has 31 different combinations of options. In terms of options, it essentially has 3 out of 4 Cryptic Command’s modes: counterspell / draw / bounce (although this can only bounce non-land permanents) with Stifle / Clone (only for your creatures) attached to it. This will often be at least a 3-ish for 1 with counter / bounce / draw. The clone effect is really the x-factor for this card, where the sky's the limit in terms of how much value you can achieve. Sublime Epiphany works especially well with Torrential Gearhulk, since it’s both a big instant the Gearhulk can target and it can also clone the Gearhulk, giving you another at flashbacking an instant from your graveyard. Coincidentally, Torrential Gearhulk is probably its biggest competition since they’re both 6 mana instant speed value spells. Personally I like Gearhulk more, but I consider every 6-cmc blue spell not named Upheaval to be interchangeable with each other. In terms of creatures, I don’t like this more than Consecrated Sphinx / Torrential Gearhulk, but I think it competes well with things like AEtherling / Will Kenrith, and I do like it more than Commence the End Game / Frost Titan. Teferi, Master of Time The face of the set, although I’m not too particularly impressed by this Teferi.. On his own, he’s essentially a 4-mana Dack Fayden that can’t steal artifacts. Dack is attractive because he’s an engine that can ramp / Control Magic for just 3 mana. Being able to tick up 2 loyalty every turn cycle is cool, but that -3 costs a lot for very little. I don’t think it stacks well against other 4-cmc cube spells, especially in blue. In terms of decks that want Teferi, he’s too slow in combo decks, doesn’t generate any real value in a control decks, and grindy midrange decks that incorporate graveyard shenanigans have cheaper options. I’d much rather play something like Teferi is definitely cubeable, but unless your cube is huge or you’re really into Rielele, the Everwise shenanigans, I’d rather play other 4-cmc blue value spells like Drawn from Dreams / Deep Analysis. Teferi’s Tutelage Seems decent if you support mill decks. Replacing itself with a cantrip and milling off that cantrip is really nice, and I’m glad they’re designing more marginal cards with cantrips built in. Waker of Waves A decent cantrip that can be its own self-binning reanimator target / late game finisher. This type of creature isn’t new, and compares a lot to Eternal Dragon / Titanoth Rex, and I think it’s important to go over their strengths and weaknesses when talking about these types of creatures. Waker of Waves PROS
Has the best overall cantrip effect
Is in the color that pairs best with Reanimation effects
Giving your opponent’s creatures -1/-0 is a decent crowd control effect
Lacks evasion, making it a poor finisher
Eternal Dragon PROS
Has good evasion
Plainscycling is especially valuable early game to make sure you curve properly
Plainscycling is the least useful cycling ability later in the game
White is arguably the worst color to pair with Reanimator decks since it has access to the least / worst discard outlets
Titanoth Rex PROS
Large body + trample makes it a good finisher
Is a more playable threat in cheat decks compared to the other two
Ability to give a trample counter to a creature is pretty nice
Is the most expensive to hard cast
Arguably the worst cantrip effect of the three
Overall, Waker of Waves is more of a decent cantrip that just so happens to have a creature mode attached to it. In terms of 2-cmc blue cantrips, I don’t like this more than Impulse / Chart a Course, but it’s a decent pick for the #3 slot due to it being modal. I like Eternal Dragon more than most and cubed with it until Modern Horizons power creeped it out, but cards like these are still pretty decent. Not a 360 staple by any stretch, but this whale seems like a decent option for larger cubes. Ormos, Archive Keeper A weird Laboratory Maniac type payoff card that doesn’t even win you the game when you have no library. It at least has decent stats and can win the game on its own, but 6 mana that’s a french vanilla Baneslayer out of the box is pretty underwhelming. Untapping with it is a different story though. Assuming you can discard three cards with different names, this can potentially draw you 10 cards when you untap with it. That being said, you’re technically only up +2 cards for each activation. This is really embarrassing in comparison to Consecrated Sphinx, which draws 2 cards on curve (assuming your opponent doesn’t have instant speed removal), and can really punish your opponent trying to draw more cards. While this may have a niche in Laboratory Maniac type shells, it’s by far the clunkiest piece. It’s not a good sign to me when a card is stuck to a niche, but even then it’s not even particularly good within that niche. Scholar of the Lost Trove More expensive Torrential Gearhulk that can recur instants / sorceries / artifacts. Lacking Torrential Gearhulk’s flash means this can’t be used as a counterspell without something like Sneak Attack / Through the Breach, but being able to hit sorceries and artifacts is a nice upside. My issue with this card is its cost: 7 mana is a lot for most decks and puts this into cheaty face territory. Unfortunately, its ETB trigger isn’t too hot until the late game, which makes this a poor choice for cheaty face type strategies. I won’t be surprised if I see a random Oath of Druids deck in vintage rocking this. It’s definitely a cool card with a powerful ETB trigger, but its cost will probably keep it out of most cubes. BLACK Demonic Embrace On the surface, this is a black Grafted Wargear. Granting flying is huge, and being able to jump start it from the graveyard makes this one of the better combat oriented auras for cube. Pairs well with recursive black creatures to make them even more threatening. If you’re looking for Grafted Wargear #3 (with Heirloom Blade being #2), this is a decent option that puts a nice twist to the effect. Seriously, granting flying is huge. Eliminate For those of you who hang out with me on Discord, you probably knew that I actually called this out way back as a custom designed Smother 2.0 that was sorely needed after last year’s power creep, therefore I’m taking all the credit for this card’s existence ;) Jokes aside, this hits a lot of threatening things, especially if you’re not holding back on planeswalkers / Rabblemasters. While this has much more misses than your typical Terror effect, threats are very diversified these days in the form of creatures / tokens / planeswalkers / manlands / etc, and I think it’s important to diversify your removal as well. I’ve always said that Abrupt Decay’s stock has gone up a lot in value over the past year. While Abrupt Decay can hit artifacts / enchantments, it can’t hit manlands where Eliminate can. I’m not saying to replace your premium Terror effects like Go for the Throat / Heartless Act for this, but I do like this more than something like Fatal Push. Liliana, Waker of the Dead Another year without a good black 4-cmc walker :( Replace the -3 with 0: Make a 2/2 zombie or something, then we’d be talking. Otherwise, I can only see being interested in this if you support The Rack type effects or something. Liliana’s Devotee Seems decent if you support Zombies tribal I guess? Can’t say I like this more than Xathrid Necromancer / Grim Haruspex. Liliana’s Standard Bearer see Liliana’s Devotee Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose Probably one of the better support cards if you support BW lifegain matters since it’s a cheaper Sanguine Blood attached to a creature. Very passable if you’re not supporting lifegain matters. RED Bolt Hound Goblin Chariot with battlecry ain’t bad for an uncommon, but overall it pales in comparison to other Rabblemasters / Phoenix of Ash. Chandra, Heart of Fire Shock every turn is a bit meh for 3RR. If your opponent doesn’t have a removal spell right away, you essentially paid 5 mana for a Staggershock. Her +1 is pretty strong late game if you’re hellbent-ish anyways, but I don't like this Chandra variant compared to other 5-cmc red spells. Chandra’s Incinerator The ultimate Magic Christmasland card. Unlike Stormwing Entity, you’re able to stack the cost reduction by chaining spells / effects. Lightning Bolt / Chain Lightning become Dark Rituals, Incinerate Variants become Pyretic Ritual, Fireblast means you can bust this out on turn 2 (in Legacy / Vintage you can cast two of these on turn 2!). A 6/6 trampler is a good threat, and being able to get double the value out of your noncombat damage sources that could hit your opponent is pretty big game. While this has a lot more value in non-singleton formats since it can just go all out on Rift Bolts / Seal of Fire effects, it doesn’t seem too unreasonable to get this out by turn 4, especially if you do run Rift Bolt / Seal of Fire / Fireblast / Sulfuric Vortex / etc. I’m not too interested in this card, but I think it does have potential if you’re looking for some spicy Magic Christmasland scenarios. Conspicuous Snoop Not great on its own, but it’s the cheapest way to go infinite with Kiki-Jiki, especially with Worldly / Vampiric Tutor. That being said, I don’t think it’s worth running just based on that merit since there’s plenty of 2-3 cmc options and this doesn’t work with Splinter Twin. Heartfire Immolator This is a nice take on Goblin Cratermaker. While it’s not as disruptive since it can’t hit mana rocks, prowess makes it more aggressive and can potentially take out creatures with bigger butts, not to mention its ability can target planeswalkers. There’s a lot of competition in the 2-cmc red creature slot, and while I don’t think this is any better than things like Young Pyromancer / Kari Zev / Earthshaker Khenra / Goblin Cratermaker, I do think it competes well with Robber of the Rich and is better than things like Dire Fleet Daredevil / Abbot of Keral Keep / etc. Soul Sear Decent red removal option to take out bigger creatures / planeswalkers, but seems worse overall than other versatile options like Purphoros’s Intervention / Collective Defiance. Not being able to hit face is always a big downside for red removal. Subira, Tulzidi Caravanner Another better Goblin Chariot with a key 3rd toughness so it doesn’t trade with bears / lions / pikers. Her first ability is cheap and provides a good amount of reach for aggressive decks. Her second ability is a bit narrow, but can refill your hand later in the game. Subira is a pretty good creature with a decent baseline, but I think she compares poorly to any Rabblemaster variant since those snowball pretty hard on their own where Subira does not. Terror of the Peaks Purphoros, God of the Forge + Thunderbreak Regent = Terror of the Peaks? While this card would’ve been awesome 10 years ago, it’s a Baneslayer without haste in a color / slot full of Baneslayers with haste. I’m glad that they’re designing more Baneslayers with a punisher effect for targeting it, hopefully they do that with more cards in the future. If you’re looking for another Purphoros effect, this does that effect very well and is a decent threat on its own, but generally speaking I don’t think this compares to other 5-mana stat monsters like Thundermaw Hellkite variants / Ilharg, the Raze-Boar. Transmogrify Red Polymorph that exiles. With recent printings like Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast, Reality Scramble, etc, there’s a good amount of critical mass for a legitimate Polymorph archetype where the only creature cards in your deck are giant fatties and tokens made through spells / planeswalkers. Wtwlf123 has a pretty detailed thread about this archetype’s potential: https://www.mtgsalvation.com/forums/the-game/the-cube-forum/cube-card-and-archetype/817737-the-polymorph-deck. Oath of Druids fits well in the deck also. Personally I think this takes up too many slots / spreads super fatties too thin in smaller cubes that support traditional reanimator / cheaty face type decks, but seems like an interesting option for larger cubes looking for more cheaty face type shenanigans. Lightning Phoenix Poor man’s Phoenix of Ash. This is the first Phoenix we’ve seen that costs 2R instead of 1RR, which is nice. The big issue with this card is that it recurs during the end step, which makes the haste irrelevant when recurring it. Even then, this doesn’t hold a candle to Phoenix of Ash, not to mention the Rabblemaster / Hanweir Garrison variants. Zurzoth, Chaos Rider Speaking of Hanweir Garrison variants, this little devil does a neat impression. Being a 2/3 is always nice so that it doesn’t trade with other 2 powered creatures, as is creating a token with a death trigger that can ping anything for 1 damage. The downfall of this card is a combination of three things: it can only generate one token on attack, the token doesn’t ETB attacking, and the only other commonly cubeable devils are Rakdos Cackler / Hellrider / Mutavault. Zurzoth is essentially a worse Najeela, the Blade Blossom. While Zurzoth creates the better tokens and arguably has better stats, there’s a good amount of cubeable warriors, Najeela can generate more than one token a turn, and her tokens ETB attacking. I wish this card was a bit better, the design with the draw / random discard makes for interesting scenarios. Sethron, Hurloon General Mono red Regisaur Alpha, but with worse stats and a focus on an ever worse tribe (seriously, the only good minotaur I can think of is Gnarled Scarhide). That being said, you can do much worse than 6 power spread over 2 bodies for 3RR. The activated ability ain’t bad either since you’d need 4 creatures to block both minotaurs. Can’t say I’m a big fan of this card today, but the fact that Sethron triggers off any nontoken minotaur means it might have its day in the sun once minotaurs rule all of cube. Immolating Gyre A spells matters one-sided sweeper that hits creatures AND planeswalkers has potential for some serious blowouts. This is very reminiscent of cards with Overload such as Mizzium Mortars / Cyclonic Rift / Winds of Abandon. Not being modal and requiring a critical mass of spells is a bit of a strike to it, but it’s not unreasonable. This can be stronger than Wildfire in the late game, but Wildfire’s power comes in its land destruction and the fact that you can fire it off as soon as you hit 6 mana. Ramping up to Immolating Gyre doesn’t do too much since if you were ramping that fast, you probably weren’t playing too many instants / sorceries at the same time. I feel like Chandra, Awakened Inferno does pretty much everything this wants to do and not being able to fire this off fast makes this less attractive to Wildfire for me. GREEN Elder Gargaroth A new green Baneslayer variant. Vigilance, reach, and trample on a 6/6 is great for both offense and defense. Getting a modal trigger on both attack and defense makes this one of the better true Baneslayer Angels at 5 mana, IMO. As pushed as this card is, it sadly still suffers the same problem as every other Baneslayer in that it fails the Vindicate test, plus it has to compete with other value options / planeswalkers at the same mana cost. While Baneslayers get a lot of flack for “dies to Doom Blade”, they are still inherently cubeable based on their raw power. However, they’re an all or nothing bet where their best case scenarios are still below that of their Mulldrifter rivals. Diversifying your threats / resources is important. To me, there’s no point in putting all your eggs in a single creature when the best possible scenario isn’t even better than a lower risk bet, especially when the worst case scenario is your opponent being able to steal all those eggs in one swoop. While not a true Baneslayer, I’m not even sure this is any better than Verdurous Gearhulk, which gains pseudo-haste by being able to distribute its power to other creatures. Garruk’s Harbinger A beefy Ophidian type creature. Hexproof from black is nice, but I like my Ophidian type creatures to have evasion. Being able to trigger off damage off a creature or a planeswalker is really good design space to explore for these types of effects, hopefully we’ll get more of these in the future. Garruk Unleashed The most aggressive 4-cmc Garruk variant. His pump ability is very reminiscent of Elspeth, Knight-Errant’s pump. Flying is better overall, but trample can be better in situations where your opponent has flying blockers to chump with. The first activation of his -2 ability will leave you with 2-3 loyalty depending on the scenario, which at minimum is exactly what you’d get out of OG Garruk Wildspeaker’s -1. Being able to swing for 6 with your 3/3 beasts that you generate or just turning your mana dorks into 4/4 tramplers is pretty big game for a 4 mana planeswalker. It’s nice that all the 4-cmc Garruk’s bring different things to the table: Wildspeaker ramps, Relentless is removal / can tutor for creatures, and Unleashed is just focused on smashing face. While I don’t like Garruk Unleashed more than Wildspeaker / Relentless, it’s still a very potent cube card, especially if you support green aggro. Probably better than most 4-cmc green creatures, and I do like this Garruk much more than Vivien, Arkbow Ranger since his abilities aren’t entirely dependent on having a board state. This is also a really nice option if you support a 4-power or more theme since most creatures it can boost will at least be a 4/4. Llanowar Visionary Llanowar Elves + Elvish Visionary = we’ve come a long way since Phyrexian Rager. This seems like a decent value card. Card draw + ramp is a match made in heaven, and this is the cheapest form of it (besides Explore, assuming you have additional lands). Let’s see how this compares to other similar green value cards. Llanowar Visionary PROS
Draws a card right out of the box
Easiest to gain incremental value through blink / recursion
Drawing a card is much better later in the game than finding lands
Creature based ramp is easier to disrupt than land / artifact based ramp
Kodama’s Reach / Cultivate PROS
The best on curve in most situations
Fixes your mana
Deadweight late game
Not a creature
Yavimaya Elder PROS
Can give you the most value in one shot
Needs to jump through additional hoops for value, which can mess up how you curve out
Doesn’t actually ramp
Nissa, Vastwood Seer PROS
Strong topdeck late game
Helps you curve out more reliably than Llanowar Visionary since lands are harder to remove than creatures
Creature half doesn’t actually ramp
Sometimes you just want to draw a card instead of searching for a forest, which can make casting / recurring this awkward in the midgame compared to Llanowar Visionary.
Llanowar Visionary having the magical phrase of “enters the battlefield, draw a card” is something you’ll always be happy to have at any point of the game. If you’re looking for a new 3-cmc green creature, this is definitely a good option. Track Down Once Upon a Time, Pauper edition. While I don’t know if this is actually good in Pauper, I think Once Upon a Time is good, but not great in traditional powered / unpowered cubes. While Once Upon a Time digs deeper, is an instant, and is occasionally free, Track Down having Scry 3 means you have more control in what some of your future draws will be. That being said, Once Upon A Time is still the much better card. Allosaurus Shepherd This is essentially a 1/1 with a late game elf tribal pump ability. While being uncounterable / making your other green spells uncounterable, to me it’s never a reason to cube a card. Being uncounterable is more of an icing to a cake. Adding “This spell can’t be countered / your other spells can’t be countered” to a card you’re already on the fence on really won’t push it over the fence for me, where adding hexproof / trample / haste / etc to something can really push its cube viability. This seems neat for Legacy which is littered with blue decks sporting all the free counter magic in the world, but I’m not a fan of this for cube. Neyith of the Dire Hunt This is a neat creature that can force your opponent into awkward combat scenarios and can really punish your opponent for chump blocking. While this isn’t the most powerful green 4 drop, the fact that it can potentially draw you a card that turn you play it means it has some legs to stand on. Its pump ability goes well with its draw ability, since it forces your opponent to block the creature if able, not to mention it can just deal a ton of damage when your opponent CAN”T block. This would’ve been an interesting choice for green if this was printed 2 years ago, but I can see this being an option for lower powered cubes, especially if they support human and / or warriors matters cards. Towering Titan Uhh, why is this a mythic? OTHER Conclave Mentor Winding Constrictor’s Selesnya cousin. More Hardened Scales effects are always nice if you support a +1/+1 counter theme, and gaining at least 2 life when Conclave Mentor dies makes it a decent roadblock vs aggro. Good option if you’re running Hardened Scales, but passable if not. Radha, Heart of Keld More aggressive Courser of Kruphix for Gruul. Being able to play lands from the top of your library is always nice, especially with Fastbond. Speaking of which, I’m not that big of a fan of this card without Fastbond support, and even then I’m not too high on it. Courser of Kruphix is solid because it’s purely designed to grind with its key 4th toughness / incremental life gain. Radha tries to both, but being more fragile makes her a less viable grinder, and she’s not exactly the greatest on offense. Her pump ability is sweet late game, but lack of trample / evasion is huge and can be easily walled by token generators. I also think she compares poorly to not just other Gruul cards for the same cost like Klothys / Domri, but other mono red / green cards that have more focus on either being aggressive / grindy. I can only really see Radha being an attractive option if you really want to push land / Fastbond themes, otherwise I think she’s average at best. Having something like trample or menace over first strike would’ve gone a long way. Mazemind Tome An alternative to Scroll Rack / Treasure Map. Scroll Rack has a very good niche in Cheaty Face type combo decks where you want Oath / Tinker hits back into your library, plus combos well with Land Tax. That being said, not having to pay mana to activate Mazemind Tome to Scry 1 is very nice, and being able to draw a card for only 2 mana is great. While this loses the ramp potential of Treasure Map, being to Scry and curve out at the same time is pretty big game. Overall I think this is better than Treasure Map, having the choice to either Scry for free / straight up draw a card for just 2 mana is more attractive than Treasure Map’s transformation. I also like this more than Scroll Rack assuming you’re not supporting combo decks / Land Tax. Sparkhunter Masticore Protection from planeswalkers is pretty cool, but discarding a card in addition to its mana cost, not so much. Pithing Needle / Sorcerous Spyglass are more effective at shutting down planeswalkers, although Sparkhunter Masticore can technically gun down any amount of planeswalkers given enough time and mana. Being able to go indestructible is nice, but expensive. I do like what this card tries to do, but I do think it’s pretty clunky. Thriving Lands Cycle Build your own ETB tapped lands is a great design and very reminiscent of vivid lands. What’s nice about this cycle is that unlike the vivid lands, these are Pauper legal! While I dont’ know too much about Peasant / Pauper, I do always hear people complain about the mana fixing and breaking rarity just for lands. I’m assuming these will be a welcome addition to Peasant / Pauper cubes, not to mention a solid option for cube builders on a budget. Hot Takes Tier List Time! Criteria is based on the following:
Amount of cubes I think this will see play, particularly in powered / high powered settings
How long they will last in cubes
Cube sizes I expect the cards to penetrate (example: top tier is mainly reserved for cards I think that can penetrate 360 powered cubes)
The order of the cards within tiers doesn’t matter as much as which half of the list they’re on
Barrin, Tolarian Archmage
Teferi, Master of Time
Radha, Heir of Keld
Waker of Waves
Emiel the Blessed
Subira, Tulzidi Carvaneer
Terror of the Peaks
Neviyth of the Dire Hunt
Zuroth, Chaos Rider
Chandra, Heart of Fire
Liliana’s Standard Bearer
Sethron, Hurloon General
See the Truth
Scholar of the Lost Trove
Liliana, Waker of the Dead
Ormos, Archive Keeper
Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose
It seems that WOTC finally realized that maybe they should tone down the power creep a bit after setting it to 10 with War of the Spark and cranking it up to 11 with Ikoria.
While M21 lacks some threatening bombs for cube, it does contain a lot of good planeswalker interactions which were notably absent from the two sets with the most dominant planeswalkers, War of the Spark and Throne of Eldraine. I feel like the past year’s ratio of threats / answers leaned very heavily towards the threat side, so I’m happy that my favorite takeaways from this set interact well against planeswalkers.
Jumpstart has good reprints, but seems a bit disappointing for cube. Personally I have no interest in adding any Jumpstart card to my cube.
Let me know if there’s a card that I missed and I’ll respond back with the hottest of takes! Also, feel free to join the Online Cube Drafts Discord Group to discuss all things Cube plus use Xmage to host tournaments to draft / play with our own cubes! https://discord.gg/wRVzHQR
Cineplex (TSX: $CGX) CINEPLEX INC (TSX: $CGX ) STOCK OPPORTUNITY Another great medium risk but high potential return stock. The stock has taken a beating because of Covid19 & movie theater closures. Investors think Cineworld's C$34/share buyout offer will be cancelled, yet Reuter's reported, "Cineworld Says No Change In Co's Position On Cineplex Takeover Since March" on April 7. That's double your money at C$11.69 (at post) if it goes through. Investors also think Cineplex will cancel their monthly $0.15 per share dividend in their next ER that they delayed until June 29, 2020. Investors are discounting Cineplex's possible rise of online movie rentals to offset their onsite losses. The odds don't get better than this but do your Due Diligence before investing. --------------------------------------------- The Motley Fool described Cineplex as having a "virtual monopoly" over the cinema market in Canada. #StockPick $CGX -- #ShakingTheTree with #Shorts hitting all the #Bulls #StopLoss down. Easy double or triple opportunity here. Do your #DueDiligence. Good luck to all. #StockPick#CGX $CGX $CGX.TO ---------------------------------------------
MY DUE DILIGENCE:
--------------------------------------------- 52 Week Range: Low: C$6.30 (Coronavirus Crash) High: C$34.39 (Buyout Offer) CGX Stock Performance --------------------------------------------- Cineplex Inc., formerly known as Cineplex Galaxy Income Fund and Galaxy Entertainment Inc. is a Canadian entertainment company headquartered in Toronto, Ontario. Through its operating subsidiary Cineplex Entertainment LP, Cineplex operates 165 theatres across Canada. The company operates theatres under numerous brands, including Cineplex Cinemas, Cineplex Odeon, SilverCity, Galaxy Cinemas, Cinema City, Famous Players, Scotiabank Theatres and Cineplex VIP Cinemas. Divisions:
Cineplex VIP Cinemas
Cineplex Entertainment LP
Player One Amusement Group Inc.
Famous Players LP
Galaxy Entertainment Inc.
Cineplex Digital Media Inc.
Canadian Digital Cinema Partnership (78.2%)
Topgolf-Cineplex Canada LP (75%)
SCENE LP (50%)
Cineplex Entertainment Corporation
World Gaming Network Inc. (80%)
2019-present: Proposed acquisition by Cineworld On December 16, 2019, Cineplex announced a definitive agreement to be acquired by the British cinema operator Cineworld Group, the second-largest film exhibitor worldwide, pending shareholder and regulatory approval. Cineworld would be paying $34 per-share—a 42% premium over Cineplex's share price prior to the announcement, valuing the company at CDN$2.8 billion. Cineworld planned to pay US$1.65 billion, and to fund the remainder by taking on debt. The sale was approved by Cineplex shareholders in February 2020. Activist shareholder Bluebell Capital Partners called for the Canadian government to block the sale, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. which in turn led to the temporary closure(s) of all Cineplex movie theatres across Canada since March 16, 2020, and up until further notice. https://www.cineplex.com https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cineplex_Entertainment --------------------------------------------- Cineplex Store Browse from over 8500 HD movies including the latest releases and earn SCENE points every time you rent or buy. Watch online or look for the Cineplex Store. https://store.cineplex.com --------------------------------------------- ESPORTS:WorldGaming Network (WGN), formerly Virgin Gaming (now owned by Cineplex), is an online video gaming platform that hosts head to head matches, tournaments and ladders for consoles and PC gamers. WorldGaming has had over 3 million gamers register for its platform worldwide which makes it one of the most robust and dynamic global eSports communities. There have been over 6.7 million matches played over 20,000 tournaments held on WorldGaming.com since 2010. Newzoo: Global esports will top $1 billion in 2020, with China as the top market (Feb 25, 2020): Global esports revenues will surpass $1 billion in 2020 for the first time — without counting broadcasting platform revenues, according to market researcher Newzoo. Globally, the total esports audience will grow to 495.0 million people in 2020, Newzoo said. Esports Enthusiasts (people who watch more than once a month) make up 222.9 million of this number. In 2020, $822.4 million in revenues—or three-quarters of the total market—will come from media rights and sponsorship. “As the esports market matures, new monetization methods will be implemented and improved upon,” said Remer Rietkerk, head of esports at Newzoo, in the report. “Likewise, the number of local events, leagues, and media rights deals will increase; therefore, we anticipate the average revenue per fan to grow to $5.27 by 2023.” https://venturebeat.com/2020/02/25/newzoo-global-esports-will-top-1-billion-in-2020-with-china-as-the-top-market --------------------------------------------- VIRTUAL REALITY On September 13, 2018, Cineplex announced that it would acquire a stake in VRStudios—a Seattle-based provider of virtual reality installations, and utilize its equipment for as many as 40 VR centers across the country. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cineplex_Entertainment --------------------------------------------- PLAYDIUM Playdium is a family entertainment centre chain owned by Cineplex Entertainment through its subsidiary Player One Amusement Group. The flagship location in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada launched as Sega City @ Playdium near Square One Shopping Centre on September 7, 1996. The 11 acres (480,000 sq ft) centre cost CA$17 million to build and included an arcade, batting cages, go-karts and mini-golf. A partnership with Sega GameWorks, it featured many arcade games from that company such as Daytona USA, and eight-player racing setups for Indy 500 (as Virtua Indy) and Manx TT Super Bike. Indy 500 remains available today. In 1999, the centre was renamed to Playdium. The company opened up two more locations in Brampton and Whitby in late 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Player_One_Amusement_Group#Playdium --------------------------------------------- The Rec Room The Rec Room is a Canadian chain of entertainment restaurants owned by Cineplex Entertainment. First opening in Edmonton in 2016, its locations feature entertainment and recreational attractions such as an arcade, driving simulators, recreational games, and virtual reality, as well as restaurants and bars, and an auditorium with a cinema-style screen, which can be used for concerts and other live events. The Toronto location features The Void virtual reality attraction. In July 2018, Cineplex announced that it would become the exclusive Canadian franchisee of The Void and add additional locations (such as the Mississauga and West Edmonton Mall locations). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rec_Room --------------------------------------------- SCENE (loyalty program) SCENE is a Canadian loyalty program established in 2007 by Cineplex Entertainment and Scotiabank. The main reward is a free movie ticket, starting at 1,250 points for a regular or 3D ticket. Over the years, the program has expanded to include a greater variety of rewards, including restaurants and sporting goods. https://www.scene.ca --------------------------------------------- FOOD & BEVERAGES Cineplex has an Outtakes (French: Restoplex) restaurant in 94 theatres, some which replace previous restaurant partners (Burger King, KFC and New York Fries) and others which introduce restaurants at locations which did not previously feature one. VIP Cinemas and some Xscape locations feature a licensed lounge with more premium offerings compared to Outtakes. Poptopia is a flavoured popcorn restaurant offered in a full-service format at 22 locations. Other Cineplex theatres may feature Poptopia at the concession stand, but only in the caramel corn and/or kettle corn flavours. Ice cream at Cineplex locations debuted with Baskin-Robbins and TCBY. Beginning in December 2007, Yogen Früz became the preferred partner. On January 1, 2014, Cineplex acquired a 50% stake in Yoyo's Yogurt Café. As of January 2017, 77 Cineplex theatres feature Yoyo's restaurants, while Yogen Fruz is still available in 23 Cineplex theatres while TCBY is available in 16 locations. Cineplex also manages Melt Sweet Creations, an in-house dessert bouqtiue brand targeted at women ages 19-35 debuted in December 2017 at Cineplex Cinemas Queensway and VIP. Melt is available at 13 locations. Beverages are available in both cold and hot formats. Cold beverages include the Coca-Cola lineup, which replaced the Pepsi lineup used at locations formerly owned by Famous Players. 12 locations feature Coca-Cola Freestyle. Hot beverages include Starbucks as the incumbent provider with 105 locations, all which offer Pike Place Roast coffee (regular or decaf) and Tazo tea. Select locations also offer premium drinks such as caffè mocha or caramel macchiato. Tim Hortons is available as a full-service restaurant in five locations, with Brossard being the only location to offer both Tim Hortons and Starbucks. In most theatres, Cineplex offers sale of alcohol to 19+ guests in Ontario (18+ in Alberta) similar to the VIP theatres albeit from a selection of beer or cider beverages. If Aurora Cannabis (ACB) & Cineplex (CGX) partnered up to offer CBD & THC infused Cannabis 2.0 edibles in movie theaters, especially the IMAX & 3D ones, it should do very well. Canadian Cannabis Industry stocks should also do well as I posted earlier Cannabis Stocks Opportunity. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cineplex_Entertainment ---------------------------------------------
Why Amazon’s Rumored Buyout of AMC Entertainment Makes Sense (May 12, 2020): If Amazon can buy AMC, they can most certainly by CGX & dominate & control most of North America's movie theaters. Amazon would then control Hollywood! Why stop there, they should buy Cineworld too. https://investorplace.com/2020/05/why-amazons-rumored-buyout-of-amc-entertainment-makes-sense --------------------------------------------- AMC Entertainment Surges 56% on Report of Talks With Amazon (May 11, 2020): https://finance.yahoo.com/news/amc-entertainment-surges-56-report-133822697.html --------------------------------------------- Alert: Cineplex (TSX:CGX) Could Be Acquired by This Incredibly Unlikely Source (May 12, 2020): Despite Cineworld maintaining its commitment to buy Cineplex, the market has a different opinion. Remember, Cineplex agreed to be acquired at $34 per share. As I type this, the stock trades at $14.44. There’s no way the spread would be that wide, unless investors were writing off the acquisition completely. Fortunately for beleaguered Cineplex shareholders, a new suitor could very well come along — one virtually nobody sees coming. Although I think there’s potential for a private equity group or some other deep-pocketed investor taking a run at Cineplex’s cheap assets, there’s a much more interesting suitor on the horizon. That acquirer is Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN). https://www.fool.ca/2020/05/12/alert-cineplex-tsxcgx-could-be-acquired-by-this-incredibly-unlikely-source --------------------------------------------- AMC says it will no longer play Universal Studios films (Apr 28, 2020): “AMC believes that with this proposed action to go to the home and theaters simultaneously, Universal is breaking the business model and dealings between our two companies,” AMC Chief Executive Officer Adam Aron said in a letter addressed to Universal Studios Chairman Donna Langley. Universal added that the company looked forward to having “additional private conversations” with AMC but was “disappointed by this seemingly coordinated attempt ... to confuse our position and our actions.” https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/28/amc-says-it-will-no-longer-play-universal-studios-films.html --------------------------------------------- Cineworld joins AMC in banning films from Universal Studios (April 29, 2020): Cineworld, the world’s second largest cinema chain, has followed its rival AMC in banning Universal Studios films from its cinemas when they reopen, after the Hollywood film-maker released Trolls On Tour direct to streaming platforms. “There is a certain system of windows which are a custom in the market and this sets the time difference between the theatrical market and other ancillary markets, among them streaming. Any movie that will not respect this window will not be shown in Cineworld group,” Mooky Greidinger, Cineworld’s chief executive, said on Wednesday. https://www.ft.com/content/3cc70161-e157-4ff1-bfbd-a886dd6d9af5 --------------------------------------------- Odeon bans all Universal Pictures films as studio skips cinema releases (Apr 29, 2020): https://www.theguardian.com/film/2020/ap29/odeon-bans-all-universal-pictures-films-as-studio-skips-cinema-releases --------------------------------------------- AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. AMC Theatres (originally an abbreviation for American Multi-Cinema; often referred to simply as AMC and known in some countries as AMC Cinemas or AMC Multi-Cinemas) is an American movie theater chain headquartered in Leawood, Kansas, and is the largest movie theater chain in the world. Founded in 1920, AMC has the largest share of the U.S. theater market ahead of Cineworld and Cinemark Theatres. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMC_Theatres --------------------------------------------- Cineworld Group PLC Cineworld is the world’s second largest cinema chain, with 9,518 screens across 790 sites in 11 countries: the UK, the US, Canada, Ireland, Poland, Romania, Israel, Hungary, Czechia, Bulgaria and Slovakia. The group’s primary brands are Regal (in the US), Cineworld and Picturehouse (in the UK & Ireland), Cinema City (throughout Europe) and Yes Planet (in Israel). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cineworld --------------------------------------------- And Action! All the Movies We Can't Wait to See in Summer 2020 and Beyond (May 22, 2020): Fingers crossed that it’ll be safe to step into a theater this summer. If they open, there will be plenty to watch. “Summer hits are the popcorn movies,” says film historian, author and podcast host Leonard Maltin. “They can be the biggest box-office hits of the whole year.” Rest of 2020:
To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar - VIP (Jun 1)
Unhinged (Jul 1)
Tenet (Jul 17)
Mulan (Jul 24)
Summerland (Jul 31)
Random Acts Of Violence (Jul 31)
The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run (Aug 7)
Sound of Metal (Aug 14)
Wonder Woman 1984 (Aug 14)
Fatima (Aug 14)
The One And Only Ivan (Aug 14)
The New Mutants (Aug 20)
Bill & Ted Face the Music (Aug 21)
Antebellum (Aug 21)
Monster Hunter (Sep 4)
A Quiet Place Part II (Sep 4)
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (Sep 11)
The King's Man (Sep 18)
Candyman (Sep 25)
Tom Clancy's Without Remorse (Oct 2)
BIOS (Oct 2)
Death On The Nile (Oct 9)
The Witches (Oct 9)
The French Dispatch (Oct 16)
Halloween Kills (Oct 16)
Snake Eyes (Oct 23)
Lord And Miller Connected (Oct 23)
Everybody's Talking About Jamie (Oct 23)
Come Play (Oct 30)
Black Widow (Nov 6)
Clifford The Big Red Dog (Nov 13)
Deep Water (Nov 13)
Godzilla Vs. Kong (Nov 20)
Soul (Nov 20)
Happiest Season (Nov 20)
James Bond ‘No Time To Die’ (Nov 25)
Free Guy (Dec 11)
Dune (Dec 18)
Untitled Coming To America Sequel (Dec 18)
West Side Story (Dec 18)
Top Gun: Maverick (Dec 23)
Untitled Tom & Jerry Film (Dec 23)
The Croods 2 (Dec 23)
News Of The World (Dec 25)
Escape Room 2 (Dec 30)
Mortal Kombat (Jan 15)
Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway (Jan 15)
355 (Jan 15)
Chaos Walking: The Knife of Never Letting Go (Jan 22)
Rumble (Jan 29)
Cinderella (Feb 5)
Nobody (Feb 26)
Ghostbusters: Afterlife (Mar 5)
Raya And The Last Dragon (Mar 12)
Sony/Marvel Morbius (Mar 19)
The Boss Baby 2 (Mar 26)
Reminiscence (Apr 16)
Ron's Gone Wrong (Apr 23)
Shang Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings (May 7)
Spiral: From The Book Of Saw (May 21)
Cruella (May 28)
F9 Fast & Furious (Apr 2)
Bob's Burgers (Apr 9)
Infinite (May 28)
Space Jam 2 (Jul 16)
Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar (Jul 16)
In the Heights (Jun 18)
Minions: The Rise Of Gru (Jul 2)
All This Victory (Aug 7)
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I'm sick of the congested internet & buffering of online movies & services during Covid19. They need to upgrade the internet infrastructure to 5G & Fiber Optics before it can really grow in my opinion -- especially buffering 4K & 8K movies & future tech that will only require more bandwidth going forward. Younger people are not afraid of Covid19 like the older crowd. When theaters open, they will rush in to see their favourite movies. Betting that people won't want to go to movie theaters when they re-open, is like betting the same against live sporting events or music concerts. No home movie theater can match a real movie theater, even the smaller discount ones, unless you're Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos etc. With Cineplex's Canadian Monopoly & diversification into other entertainment arenas like eSports & Virtual Reality, as long as they don't go bankrupt & social distancing restrictions are loosened, the stock should increase 2 to 3 times by end of 2021 in my opinion -- especially if the Cineworld Buyout goes as planned or another company like Amazon buys them out for a strong presence & control in Canada. If a Coronavirus Vaccine is discovered sooner than later, then this stock will rebound accordingly & rapidly -- especially if they don't cancel or even if they do, resume Dividend payments in the future. At current prices, Dividend yield is about 13% per year. --------------------------------------------- Social distance cinema: drive-in theatres boom – in pictures (May 5, 2020): We are all social creatures & want to go to movie theater as a social activity, to see & be seen; otherwise, why would Drive In Movie theaters boom during Covid19? If no one goes out to be seen anymore, then all the Vanity Goods & Services will go under too & we will all dress in sweat pants & T-Shirt -- no need for designer suits & dresses working & staying at home. LOL ;p https://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2020/may/05/social-distance-cinema-drive-in-theatres-boom-coronavirus-in-pictures --------------------------------------------- Internet Bandwidth Requirements: Online streaming remains the biggest source of 4K content, led by Netflix and Amazon’s growing selection of original series. But many consumer broadband connections aren’t fast enough to allow reliable 4K streaming. Home Theater Movie Resolutions:
4K (UHD): 3,840 x 2,160 pixels
1080p (Full HD): 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
720p (HD): 1,280 x 720 pixels
480p (SD): 640 x 480 pixels
8K: 7,680 x 4,320 pixels
For comparison purposes, 70mm film - still considered by many to be the gold standard - is roughly equivalent to a 12K resolution in digital terms, so digital's still got some catching up to do on that score.
Will the Indianapolis Colts win OVER/UNDER 8.5 games? By University Stats Prof!
Franchise QB Andrew Luck stunned the NFL world a few weeks before the 2019 season began by announcing his retirement at age 29. I really felt sorry for Colts fans; that had to be a devastating blow. The timing also prevented the team from drafting accordingly. Indianapolis rolled with Jacoby Brissett and they were right in the thick of the playoff race. They were sitting on a 6-4 record before a four-game losing skid crushed their hopes.
2. Offensive Position-by-Position Breakdown
2.1 Quarterbacks (QBs) After spending 16 seasons with the Chargers (!!!), Philip Rivers will be wearing a Colts uniform in 2020. That’s going to look weird. Last year, Rivers had his fourth-highest passing yard output with 4,615, but the problem lied with his poor TD-to-INT ratio. Indeed, 20 interceptions represented the second-most of his career, while his 23 TD passes were its lowest in 12 years. Rivers has never been much of a runner. Now in his late thirties, things are looking even worse. He seems to get bottled up easily. Also, he appeared dead armed at numerous times. We’ll see if a change of scenery will rejuvenate his career, but it seems doubtful at this point. Jacoby Brissett has to be one of the top backup QB in the league. With Andrew Luck announcing his surprise retirement a few weeks before the 2019 season began, Brissett took over under center. Brissett didn’t have a great year. Throwing just six interceptions was nice, but racking up just 18 TD passes just won’t cut it in the NFL. Granted, he didn’t have a lot of weapons at his disposal with the Colts lacking a #2 WR and their top wideout T.Y. Hilton missing six games. He still represents a good insurance policy in case the Rivers experiment doesn’t pan out. 2.2 Running Backs (RBs) After missing to hit the 1,000 rushing-yard mark by 92, Marlon Mack accomplished the feat in 2019 with 1,091 rushing yards. He’s not much of a receiver, though; he caught just 14 passes last year. My opinion may not be very popular, but I’m not sold on him. I believe he benefits a lot from the great blocking in front of him. He rarely gets much more than what’s blocked ahead of him. Still, he’ll remain Indy’s top back, while splitting time with a few more guys. Jordan Wilkins added a bit over 300 rushing yards by posting a nice 6.0 yards-per-rush average. The year before, that average turned out to be 5.6. Those are great numbers, but the team seems reluctant to increase his workload. Nyheim Hines is mainly used as a pass catcher. He might take on an Austin Ekeler-type role with Rivers this year. Considering the depth at the position, taking Jonathan Taylor early in the 2nd round of the draft may sound puzzling at first. Perhaps the organization agrees with me about Mack not being as great as he looks. The fact that Mack is set to hit free agency at the end of the year also played a role in the decision as well. Taylor carried the ball 926 times for the Wisconsin Badgers. He rushed for at least 1,975 yards in each of his three college years, which is unreal! He is a great runner with cement hands; he fumbles the ball too often and doesn’t catch very well out of the backfield. 2.3 Wide Receivers (WRs) T.Y. Hilton had missed just four games during his first seven seasons in the NFL; he missed six matchups in 2019 alone. He ended with career-lows in receptions (45) and receiving yards (501). He stormed out of the gate with 30 receptions, 306 yards and 5 TDs over the first five games. During the next five: 15 catches, 195 yards and 0 TD. He had an injury-riddled season. I believe he can revert to his old self. He showed he could still play at a high level early in the season, but injuries got the best of him. We’ll see how his 30-year old body reacts in 2020. The undrafted receiver from Old Dominion, Zach Pascal, showed some flashes last year. He led the team with 45 receptions and 5 TDs. I don’t believe he can do much better, though. It’s difficult to evaluate Parris Campbell’s first year as a pro. He had a sore hamstring, a sports hernia, a broken hand and a broken foot in 2019. It’s hard to show off your skills under such circumstances. The speedy receiver out of Ohio St. will have a chance to prove his worth in the upcoming season. He was selected in the 2nd round of the 2019 draft at the #59 overall spot. Another candidate to start opposite Hilton is second-round rookie Michael Pittman from USC. The word on him is he’s a hard worker with a good mix of size and speed. He also does a great job with contested catches and he has reliable hands, as shown by his five drops out of 254 targets in college. 2.4 Tight Ends (TEs) The Colts had a nice combo of pass catching tight ends with Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron. Both finished with similar above-average marks from PFF, but Ebron packed his bags to head to Pittsburgh. His presence will be missed, even though he’s known for his tendency to drop passes. Doyle’s numbers decreased last year, but they are likely to shoot up following Ebron’s departure. After catching 59 and 80 balls during the 2016 and 2017 seasons, he missed most of the 2018 season before hauling in “just” 43 passes last year. He struggled down the stretch with just 7 receptions in four contests, but the 6’6’’ guy is likely to bounce back. Mo Alie-Cox could see an increased role in 2020. He has only caught 15 passes in two years, but has received great grades as a blocker. 2.5 Offensive Line (OL) This unit has to be one of the strongest in the entire league. They do a great job, both in the running and passing game. After pondering about the possibility of retiring, left tackle Anthony Castonzo opted to sign a two-year deal. He graded as the seventh-best tackle in the league according to PFF, but he turns 32 very soon. Keep that in mind. Pro Bowler Quenton Nelson has been a star at left guard. The number six overall pick from the 2018 draft out of Notre Dame has not disappointed. He was rated the second-best guard in the league, only behind Brandon Brooks from the Eagles. Center Ryan Kelly has been a steady guy during his first four years with the Colts. He’s entering his prime years at age 27. He obtained the #8 spot out of 37 centers based on PFF ratings. Braden Smith was a second-round pick in the 2018 draft. After receiving a very respectable 71.8 grade in his rookie season, he improved upon those numbers to reach a 79.8 mark last year. All signs point towards him being a smart selection. Right guard Mark Glowinski seems to be the weakest link of the fortress. He was claimed off waivers in 2018 after the Seahawks released him. He has been an average player in his two-year stint in Indy. In summary, all five starters are returning which is excellent news for the Colts. Having continuity on the offensive line is critical to success. 2020 VS 2019 OFFENSE The whole QB position received a lift with the addition of Philip Rivers. Whether he’ll be an adequate starter or not remains to be seen, but having Rivers-Brissett has to be viewed as a better alternative than having Brissett-Hoyer, as was the case in 2019. The RB and WR positions remain fairly intact with the exceptions of a few backups who won’t be there anymore. The team definitely has good depth in the backfield; the same cannot be said about the receiving corps. However, the WR position is much more likely to see an improvement with Hilton having a clean bill of health and Parris Campbell getting a chance to show what he can do at the pro level (as well as rookie Michael Pittman). At tight end, losing Ebron represents a deterioration for the team. Finally, how is the 2020 outlook for the offensive line compared to last year? Even though I love the group, you have to expect a downgrade here. These guys played at a high level, and none of them missed a single game last year. Can you really expect them not to miss any game due to injuries in 2020? That seems highly unlikely. Therefore, we have an expected upgrade at QB and WR, but a likely downgrade at TE and on the OL. The team finished 16th out of 32 teams in terms of points scored per game. I expect the production to stay approximately the same. Final call (2020 vs 2019): Stable
3. Defensive Position-by-Position Breakdown
3.1 Defensive Linemen (DLs) The best player on the interior of the defensive line for the Colts has been Denico Autry. After posting 10.5 sacks over his first four seasons with the Raiders, he exploded with 9 sacks with the Colts in 2018, but a disappointing 3.5 last year. Still, his level of play has been adequate as he finished as the 32nd-best DL among 114 qualifiers. He was a respectable player in all aspects of the game. Considering Grover Stewart was a mediocre player, the team reinforced the position by acquiring a couple of 49ers players: DeForest Buckner and Sheldon Day. The Colts sacrificed the #13 overall pick in the 2020 draft in order to get Buckner. That’s a fair price to pay for one of the best interior defenders in the league who is also entering his prime years. He’s been good both against the run and the pass; he has averaged 7.1 sacks per season. What a huge boost for this unit! As for Sheldon Day, he’s not nearly as good as Buckner. He’s more of a rotational presence. His PFF grades have been a bit below-average thus far in his four-year career. 3.2 Defensive Ends (DEs) / Edge Rushers (ED) Justin Houston was clearly the most dangerous pass rusher the Colts had in 2019. In his first season with Indy after spending eight years in Kansas City, he led the team with 11 sacks. Despite missing some games due to injuries during his nine-year career, he has average 9.9 sacks per season. Now on the wrong side of 30, you need to start being concerned about whether his play will tail off or not. Jabaal Sheard was used on more than 50% of the defensive snaps. He regularly gets 4-5 sacks per season, as was the case last year. However, poor tackling has penalized him in his PFF grades, making him the 81st-best edge defender out of 107 players. He has yet to be signed by any team so far. Al-Quadin Muhammad played 47% of the snaps and had mitigated success. It was his best season over his three-year career, but nothing spectacular either. He’s not a great athlete and was a former sixth-round pick; he has limited upside. 3.3 Linebackers (LBs) I don’t think the Colts regret picking Darius Leonard in the second round of the 2018 draft. As a rookie, he led the league in tackles with 163 (19 more than any other player!). Last year, he picked up 121 tackles in 13 games, on pace for 149. He is the total package. He’s efficient in run defense, in coverage and as a pass rusher. As a matter of fact, he has recorded 12 sacks during those two years. That being said, Colts fans have to be concerned about some comments he made last year. He was concussed for three weeks following a big collision with Derrick Henry and he experienced painful headaches for a while. During his absence, he debated his NFL future. If he suffers another concussion, he seems to be thinking already about a potential retirement. Anthony Walker’s job could be in jeopardy. He played many more snaps than rookie Bobby Okereke, but the latter is definitely breathing down his neck. Walker graded as an average linebacker with the number 42 spot out of 89 players. His grade took a huge hit because of poor run defense. Meanwhile, the rookie from Stanford obtained the 9th-highest grade in the league! He was an every-down linebacker in college, and is very likely to get an increase workload in 2020. 3.4 Cornerbacks (CBs) Rock Ya-Sin enjoyed a satisfying rookie season. He is an interesting story. After playing three years at a Divison-2 college, he transferred to Temple for his final year. Despite not being particularly fast, his sheer will helped him earn amazing grades. He yielded a meager 53% completion rate and not a single one went above 20 yards. He finished as an average corner in 2019; with one full year of experience under his belt, he is likely to improve this season. Pierre Desir obtained the second-highest playing time among the team’s cornerbacks. He took a step back after a breakout 2018 campaign and the team decided to release him. The Jets signed him the next day. It remains to be seen which player will benefit the most from Desir’s departure. The Colts acquired T.J. Carrie and Xavier Rhodes, formerly of the Browns and the Vikings, respectively. Both of them are coming off a very disappointing season. Rhodes used to be a pretty solid corner, but his play has deteriorated a lot recently. After receiving 73.8 and 72.4 grades from PFF in 2016 and 2017, he earned a disappointing 58.2 mark in 2018 and a dreadful 47.9 last year. Did injuries slow him down, or is he done? Carrie was pretty ineffective with the Browns last year. After a few fairly good seasons with the Raiders, his play took a dip in each of his two years in Cleveland. I don’t have much faith he can rebound. Don’t count out Kenny Moore though. He was surprisingly good in the slot last year. We’ll see if he can solidify a starting spot in this now crowded secondary. 3.5 Safeties (S) Malik Hooker and Khari Willis finished the 2019 season with an identical PFF grade: 69.5. That mark put them in the number 37 spot out of 87 safeties. Hooker is a former first-round pick out of Ohio State that has picked off at least two passes in each of its first three years as a pro. He has done a fine job and is still very young. The Colts traded up to select Willis in the 4th round of the 2019 draft. His first season exceeded expectations as he shared time with Clayton Geathers, who has yet to sign a contract. 2020 VS 2019 DEFENSE Will the 2020 defense be superior to the 2019 unit? I love the fortification on the interior of the line with the big-time acquisition of DeForest Buckner, and to a lesser level Sheldon Day. The CB position may also see an upgrade with Ya-Sin’s sophomore season coming up and the additions of Rhodes and Carrie (with the hopes that one of them will bounce back after a frustrating 2019 season). At safety, Hooker and Hillis could also elevate their play because of their young age and added experience. However, as a whole I see a downgrade in the edge / linebacking corps. Justin Houston is not getting any younger, and Jabaal Sheard could be missed. The team must also cross its fingers that Darius Leonard won’t suffer another concussion. Overall, I see a small upgrade here. Adding Buckner coupled with young talented guys like Leonard, Ya-Sin and Hooker makes me predict they will finish around the 12th-15th place in terms of points allowed (as opposed to 18th last year). Final call (2020 vs 2019): Small upgrade
4. Regular Season Wins
According to sportsbooks, the Colts are expected to win 8.5 games this season. Should we bet the “over” or the “under”? Here is the methodology I used in order to answer this vital question:
Use BetOnline.ag’s point spreads on all 256 regular season games.
Convert those point spreads into win probabilities.
Simulate each of the 256 games, according to those win probabilities, via the R statistical software.
Repeat the previous step one million times (you get 1M simulated seasons).
Count the proportion of seasons where the Colts won more or less than 8.5 games.
Here are the results:
OVER 8.5 WINS
UNDER 8.5 WINS
Tip: Bet OVER 8.5 wins Return On Investment (ROI): +13.7% Rank: 20th-highest ROI out of 32 teams Minimum odds required to bet (i.e. ROI = 0%): -202 Here are BetOnline’s point spreads for the Colts’ 16 regular season games:
HOME: +2.5 vs BAL, -9 vs CIN, -2.5 vs GB, -4.5 vs HOU, -10.5 vs JAX, -2 vs MIN, -6.5 vs NYJ, -3 vs TEN.
Note: The “Best odds” from the table above were obtained after looking at 13 well-known online sportsbooks on May 18th, 2020. Woohoo! You made it through the whole article, thanks for reading my friend! Tomorrow, we'll talk about the Philadelphia Eagles! Professor MJ
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