Latest NFL Super Bowl 50 Betting Odds | latestbettingodds.com

NFL teams most likely to go from worst to first in 2020

We have talked a lot about the draft, biggest remaining needs for every NFL team, some breakout candidates and other stuff, so let’s now get back to more of a big picture and look at some teams from an angle of where could they go next season. In this article, I am analyzing those teams that finished fourth in their division this past year and why they could win it in 2020 or land at the bottom once again, plus an outlook where I actually see them.
Of course much of this is about these eight teams and how much better or worse I feel about them than the general public, but it was heavily dependent on their three division rivals as well. The top half I could certainly see earn a playoff spot and surprise some people if everything goes right. After that a lot of my faith is more built around the lack of great competition and giving some hope to these respective fan bases. As the cliché goes – everybody is 0-0 right now.


https://preview.redd.it/rs90lt6ckf751.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=3ddfc8945862472b52b5ef8c69076acde904c44c

1. Arizona Cardinals


Why they can win the division:
Let’s just start with the main point here – this Cardinals squad has all the ingredients to make a big jump in 2020. I expect Kyler Murray to enter the superstar conversation in year two, after impressing with his arm talent and ability to extend plays in a (somewhat controversial) Offensive Rookie of the Year campaign. Steve Keim managed to unload a bad David Johnson contract and basically acquire an elite receiver in DeAndre Hopkins for a second-round pick. Kenyan Drake now has a full offseason to learn this offense and make himself a major factor once again, following up an outstanding second half of the season once the Cardinals traded for him with Miami. He perfectly fits into this offense with a lot East-West based rushing from shotgun sets and his involvement in the pass game, including those quick throws as an extension of the rushing attack. Arizona’s defense should be a lot better with run-stoppers being added in the draft that fit their 3-4 base front with Utah’s Leki Fotu and LSU’s Rashard Lawrence, since they can stay in those packages against the other teams in their division running a lot of 12 and 21 personnel probably. Add to that a do-it-all player with ridiculous range and overall athleticism in Isaiah Simmons at eight overall, plus all the other guys being in their second year under DC Vance Joseph. I love Budda Baker as a missile from his safety spot and I think some of the other young guys on that unit will take a step forward, like second-year corner Byron Murphy, who I talked about last week. Now let’s get to rest of the West – every other team in that division has some issues. The 49ers are facing the objects of a potential Super Bowl hangover and some limitations with Jimmy G at the helm. The Seahawks have question marks on the edge on either side of the ball with Cedric Ogbuehi and Brandon Shell fighting for the starting gig at right tackle and Jadeveon Clowney still on the open market, with a bunch of draft picks these last couple of years having to step up. And the Rams had one of the worst O-lines in football last season and they lost some pieces on defense. The Cardinals already gave all these teams issues in 2019 and have now added pieces that were clearly missing when last matching up against each other.

Why they could finish last again:
Most importantly, I am still not completely sold on the Cardinals offensive line, with D.J. Humphries being signed to a rather expensive deal as a below-average left tackle, third-rounder Josh Jones – while earning a late first-round grade from me – still needing an overhaul on his footwork before he can slide in at right tackle and guard Justin Pugh finally having played a full 16 games for the first time since 2015 last season. NFL coaches had a lot of time to study Kliff Kingsbury’s Air-Raid offense, which when you break it down is pretty simplistic in the amount of schemes they run. Yes, he diversified it a little as last season went along, going under center and running some pro-style rushing plays, but at its core, you can learn how to create some issues for all those mesh concepts and spread sets. As far as the Cardinals defense goes, it is more about pieces than proven commodities. Patrick Peterson is seemingly on the decline, they are thin in the secondary and could Chandler Jones follow soon, after he has been one of the most underrated pass-rushers in the league for a while now? You are staring the reigning NFC champs in the eyes, a team that was a few inches away from earning a playoff bye and another squad that went to the Super Bowl just two years ago. This is probably the best division in the entire league.

Bottom line:
I still believe the 49ers have done enough to repeat as division champs, re-tooling for all the losses they have suffered this offseason. However, I’m feeling pretty good about the Cardinals earning a wildcard spot. While I believe in the Seahawks quarterback and the Rams head coach respectively to not allow their teams to not have throwaway seasons, I also see enough issues with those squads to make me believe the Cardinals could have the second-best year of anybody in the West. To me they are pretty clearly the best of these eight teams, because they have a young phenom at quarterback, stars at pretty much every position, a different type of system around them and what I’d like to call “juice” coming into 2020.


https://preview.redd.it/anrr9erfkf751.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=5655b4452baff2691a0e060e8d70918d58801a4c

2. Detroit Lions


Why they can win the division:
Matt Stafford is back healthy and when he was in the lineup last season, this was a team that defeated the Eagles, Chargers and only didn’t finish the job against the eventual Super Bowl champion Chiefs because of some crazy stuff going on late. The veteran QB stood at 19 touchdowns compared to five picks and was playing at a near-MVP type level. However, Detroit’s identity will be built on the run game with re-investments in the offensive line as well as adding D’Andre Swift to form a dynamic one-two punch with him and Kerryon Johnson. Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones may be the most underrated receiving duo to go with Danny Amendola as a tough guy in the slot and T.J. Hockenson coming into year two as a top-ten pick a year ago, having shown flashes when he was healthy. The defense is finally starting to take shape with third-overall Jeffrey Okudah as an elite corner prospect being added to an underrated secondary, Jamie Collins being a chess piece in the front seven after already having worked well with Matt Patricia and some young guys up front trying to prove themselves to go with the versatile Trey Flowers. Maybe more importantly than the Lions themselves – Nobody else got that much better and none of the other three really stand out to me. Other than the Vikings probably – who had the advantage of making a record-breaking 15 selections – the Lions might have had the best draft within the division. Thanks to that last-place schedule, they get to face the Redskins in the East (instead of Eagles & Cowboys) and Cardinals in the West, who I just talked about taking a step forward, but are still a better draw than the reigning conference champions or possibly having to travel to Seattle. I believe that new regime in Detroit has finally built an identity on both sides of the ball with the heavy investments in the run game and back-seven on defense. Winning ten games might earn you a division title, if everybody plays each other tough.

Why they could finish last again:
Can these guys finally stay healthy? Matt Stafford to my surprise played a full 16 games in eight straight years before last season, but a lot of that had to do with his toughness to fight through pain and he had major issues with that shoulder early on in his career before basically breaking his back after putting the team on it for the last decade. Kerryon Johnson has missed 14 of 32 possible starts and he has never carried the ball more than 118 times a season. Their receiving corp has been banged up quite a bit too. More glaring even – how will all these additions of former Patriots players work out? Can Matt Patricia build a New England 2.0 in Michigan or is he just bringing in players he knows will listen to him and the way he wants things to be done? Detroit could also rely on a lot of rookies to be immediate impact players – possibly two new starting guards on offense, running back D’Andre Swift probably sharing the load with Kerryon, Jeffrey Okudah having to immediately become their CB1 and Julian Okwara being asked to become a much more consistent player if they give him major snaps. And I recently talked about how their uncertainty at punter could be an issue for their ball-control, defense-minded style of play. They also have an early bye (week five), which I’m never a big fan of, after facing the Bears, Packers, Cardinals and Saints, which probably includes three playoff teams. If Chicago can get any competent QB play, all these teams should be highly competitive.

Bottom line:
I don’t think any team in this division wins more than ten games. Unfortunately I don’t see the Lions go over that mark themselves either. The Packers won’t come out victorious in so many close games (8-1 in one-possession affairs), the Vikings have lost a few proven commodities and look for young talent to immediately replace those and the Bears still have a quarterback competition going on. So if Detroit can do any better than just split the season series with those three teams, I see them finishing above .500, but ten wins is the ceiling for me. In terms of the competition inside the division, the Lions may be my number one team in this conversation, but I see a much clearer path to things crashing down for Matt Patricia and them having another disappointing season than I do with the Cardinals. No team in this division may finish below that 8-8 mark.


https://preview.redd.it/7ivo914ikf751.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=d029ddd274b78e78f5bc932d00086b8c697a466e

3. Miami Dolphins


Why they can win the division:
When you ask the general public, the Buffalo Bills right now are the favorites to win the AFC East, but they haven’t done so since 1995 and they still have to prove they really are that team. The Patriots lost several pieces on defense and Tom Brady of course, which probably leads them to starting a quarterback, who over his four career pass attempts has thrown more touchdowns to the opposing team than to his own. The Jets are still building up that roster, with GM Joe Douglas trying to plant seeds on burnt earth, and they face a BRUTAL schedule. So Miami has a lot of things going in their favor for an organization that I believe in what they are trying to build. Depending on what happens at quarterback, you could have a veteran in Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was by far the best inside the division in several key categories last season and/or Tua Tagovailoa, who had one of the most prolific careers we have seen from anybody in the SEC. They added at least two new starters on the O-line, they now have one of the premiere cornerback trios in the league with the all-time highest paid player at the position in Byron Jones and first-round pick Noah Igbinoghene to go with Xavien Howard and with some added beef up front, they are finally looking a lot like what Brian Flores had in New England. DeVante Parker really broke out over the second half of 2019 and Miami should have a much better rushing attack because of the additions up front and two quality committee backs in Jordan Howard and Matt Breida being added. They have two other young pass-catchers ready to break out this upcoming season in tight-end Mike Gesicki and a UDFA receiver from a year ago in Preston Williams. Whenever Tua’s name is called upon, he will be a perfect fit for Chan Gailey’s horizontal passing game.

Why they could finish last again:
As much as I like what I see from this entire organization, it is probably just a year too early for Miami. So many young players could be thrown into the fire and a lot of them I look at as needing that experience – 18th overall pick Austin Jackson (USC) is more of a developmental tackle still with his footwork and hand-placement issues, 30th overall pick Noah Igbinoghene (Auburn) has only played cornerback for two years and was bailed out by his athletic tools at times, third-rounder Brandon Jones has to develop more of a feel in deep coverage and at least one more rookie lineman will likely start for them. Even outside of this year’s draft class, they already had several players on their roster that are still moving towards their prime. Whether you look at last year’s first-rounder Christian Wilkins, a lot of second- and third-year pass-catchers or their young linebackers outside of Kyle Van Noy. The Bills are entering year four of that turn-around under Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane, the Patriots still have the greatest coach of all time and will be a tough matchup solely based on that and the Jets at least have people playing for their jobs, plus a very talented young quarterback I still believe in. As much as I doubt Adam Gase, as long as Sam Darnold doesn’t get mono again, the offense should at least be competent, and the defense could potentially have a top-five player at every level with All-Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adams, an 85-million dollar linebacker in C.J. Mosley and my number one prospect in last year’s draft on the interior D-line with Quinnen Williams.

Bottom line:
As I mentioned before, the Bills are the front-runners in this division for me. As much respect as I have for Bill Belichick, I haven’t seen enough from Jarrett Stidham to make me a believer and he shrunk in some big moments at Auburn. The Jets to me could be a lot better than they were in 2019 and still go 6-10 just because of the type of schedule they are up against. So the Dolphins to me could easily finish anywhere from second to fourth, depending on how some of the players on that roster progress. I wouldn’t bet on them actually making the playoffs, but they could absolutely be a pain in the butt for some of the better teams in the AFC and in 2021 they might be the pick here.


https://preview.redd.it/nme3explkf751.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=3998c6026125c1b9b48438e3fc9afaf9601b116e

4. Los Angeles Chargers


Why they can win the division:
First and foremost, this Chargers defense is absolutely loaded with no real hole that you can point to. Derwin James is back healthy after a first-team All-Pro rookie campaign, Chris Harris Jr. comes in to make this secondary one the elite units in the NFL to go with two more Pro Bowlers among it and they have some guys I expect to break out like Jerry Tillery, Drue Tranquill and Nasir Adderley. In terms of having matchup pieces and a versatile pass rush to challenge Kansas City, nobody in the league may be on the same level as these guys. Offensively, Ihave talked about how the left tackle spot is concern for L.A. with a battle between Sam Tevi and Trey Pipkins for the starting job, but the other four spots are as good as they have been in a while, acquiring Pro Bowl guard Trai Turner via trade, signing a top five right tackle in Bryan Bulaga and getting Mike Pouncey back healthy. Tyrod Taylor can steer the ship and even if Justin Herbert is thrown into the fire – which I wouldn’t recommend – they have the skill-position players and willingness to run the ball to take pressure off those guys. While the Chiefs return 20 of 22 starters from a year ago, this wouldn’t be the first time we saw a Super Bowl champion have some issues the following season and as much as we want to hype up the Broncos and Raiders, both their quarterbacks (and other players of course as well) have a lot to prove still. Outside of KC, the Chargers likely have the smallest changes to what they do other than moving on from Philip Rivers and we saw that formula work the year prior, when they challenged Kansas City until the very end for the division crown and the conference’s top seed potentially. While they probably would have liked to bring in Tom Brady over the offseason, the fact they decided against signing Cam Newton to a roster that is ready to win right now, shows you the confidence they have in that quarterback room.

Why they could finish last again:
I’m not a huge fan of Derek Carr, but the Chargers will probably have the worst quarterback in the division in 2020. And their starting left tackle could be the worst in the entire league. As good as their defense will probably be, you can not consistently win games in which your offense doesn’t put up 20+ points in the league today – especially when all these teams in their division have spent so much on acquiring offensive firepower these last couple of years. I believe all three of their division rivals got better this offseason and the Chargers spent their top draft pick (sixth overall) on a young quarterback, who might not even help them win games this season. As I already mentioned, Kansas City brings back almost their entire starting lineups and they went 12-4 despite Mahomes seemingly having his knee cap facing the sideline while laying on his back. I have uttered my thoughts on Denver several times now, which you can read up on later. As for Las Vegas’ new team, they did start last season 6-4 and just heavily invested into their two major issues – wide receiver and linebacker. And while I don’t like to talk about it – injuries have been a huge issue for this Chargers team in recent years and I don’t really know what it is even, but I can’t assume that they all of a sudden can stay healthy.

Bottom line:
In terms of talent on the roster outside of the quarterback position, you could make a pretty compelling argument that the Chargers are ahead of all the other teams on this list. That’s the reason they have a pretty high floor of finishing around .500 and if everything works out, they could absolutely be a playoff contender. However, for this exercise in particular, I believe their upside is capped by what they have under center. Tyrod Taylor can be a top-20 quarterback in the NFL this season and in terms of upside, Justin Herbert has all the tools to become a difference-maker once he steps on the field, but they don’t have the explosiveness the Chiefs or the Broncos have for that matter. With so much continuity on a team that has the best player in the entire league, I can’t go against the Chiefs and in the end we are evaluating the chances to actually win the division.


https://preview.redd.it/rywropjokf751.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=ed77a7303af810b862abb2100c4f0b86841a2d38

5. Washington Redskins


Why they can win the division:
These guys are very reminiscent of the 49ers with their defensive line, in terms of having invested a lot of high draft picks into the unit these last couple of years and now with that second overall pick bringing in a true stud from Ohio State – this time in Chase Young. When you look at all those guys up front – with the Bama boys patrolling the middle, Matt Ioannidis capable of moving around the front, Montez Sweat looking to break out in year two and Ryan Kerrigan still being there as a productive veteran – they will wreak some havoc this season. Ron Rivera could finally bring some structure to this organization and help them turn it around on defense with the addition of an old companion in Thomas Davis, plus some high-upside players like Reuben Foster and Fabian Moreau looking to prove themselves. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins had a very underwhelming rookie campaign, but he clearly wasn’t ready to be out there and found himself in a bad situation in terms of the support system around him. I like a lot of their young skill-position players the front office has surrounded him with, when you look at Terry McLaurin trying to become a young star in this league, who produced despite shaky quarterback play last season, Kelvin Harmon and Antonio Gandy-Golden being two big-bodied targets I liked these last two drafts, Derrius Guice hopefully finally being able to stay healthy to lead this backfield and this year’s third-round pick Antonio Gibson being a chess piece that you can manufacture touches for. Somebody I forgot to mention in this discussion recently is Steven Sims Jr., who is a jitterbug with the ball in his hands. New offensive coordinator Scott Turner will implement a system that should make life easier on his second-year signal-caller as well, while relying heavily on the run game.

Why they could finish last again:
Haskins is by far the least proven QB of the bunch, with Daniel Jones even being head and shoulders above him in their respective rookie seasons. No pass-catcher outside of Terry McLaurin had any major production to speak. Counting on a 37-year old Thomas Davis to not only be a leader for them, but also make plays on the field, could create issues, and Washington lost some pieces in the secondary. This offseason is a challenge for any team, that is looking to implement a new system on each side of the ball, but I think especially for a motivator like Rivera, who can give his squad a heartbeat and push them to success, not being there in person with those guys will hurt. Most importantly however, this division to me will be a two-man race between the Eagles and Cowboys – as it has been for a while now. They both will likely have top ten quarterbacks, better receiving corps, better offensive lines and more experienced defenses. The Giants may not blow anybody away coming into 2020, but looking at the two matchups from last year between them and the Redskins, Big Blue beat them 24-3 the first time around, when Daniel Jones threw one touchdown compared to two interceptions and then he diced them up for five TDs and no picks in week 16. The one area Washington would have had the clear upper hand was with their front-four, but New York just invested a lot of draft capital into their O-line to prevent that. Just go through the Redskins’ schedule and show me more than six wins. I dare you.

Bottom line:
These last two sentences really say it all. Even if Philly and Dallas split the season series and Washington can get a game off either one of them, it will be tough to turn around this squad as quickly as this season – with reduced practice time and team activities – to a point where they can finish above both of them. Both of them could easily win double-digit games in 2020 and while I think the Redskins are on the right track if Haskins looks more like the Ohio State version of himself, other than their defensive line, no unit for them is ready to compete for the division quite yet. Just going through their schedule in an objective manner, it is tough to find any lay-ups and say Washington has some baseline of wins they count on. To not have them any lower than this is more due to the respect for Riverboat Ron and how high I was on a lot of the guys they drafted recently.


https://preview.redd.it/szpawv9rkf751.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=62ca5fe882d8155d83eb3328e9bf1f1681a17384

6. Jacksonville Jaguars


Why they can win the division:
I was going back and forth between my number six and seven teams, because the Jaguars are projected to pick first overall come next April for a reason – they did lose a lot of pieces. However, to me it came down to the fact that the AFC South might be won at 9-7 or 10-6 and this coaching staff actually has to win to keep their jobs. There is a lot noise about the Colts, but when you go back to last season, Philip Rivers was a turnover machine with serious questions about his arm strength. Bill O’Brien made some very questionable decisions for Houston and Tennessee is counting on a formula that is built on a 250-banger running the ball 25+ times and Ryan Tannehill finally repeating a career year, as they are coming off an AFC title game appearance. As far as Jacksonville goes, Gardner Minshew was the highest-graded rookie quarterback according to PFF and altogether I would have put him second only behind Kyler Murray. D.J. Chark broke out as one of the young star receivers and I had a first-round grade on Colorado’s Laviska Shenault if he can be healthy, because his talent is off the charts. I think the O-line would have benefitted from another tackle to kick Cam Robinson inside to guard, but those guys are some road-graders to make the run game work. Defensively the only real contributor from that Sacksonville group a couple of years ago who actually wants to be there is Myles Jack, but I really like their young duo off the edge in first-rounders Josh Allen last year and now K’Lavon Chaisson (LSU). There are some questions about the back-end, but they were built front-to-back with a lot of zone coverage behind it and depending on the development of ninth overall pick C.J. Henderson, they can roll away from him matching up with the opposing team’s number one receiver. Avoiding some of the better AFC squads altogether is pretty sweet as well, to go with facing no playoff team from last year outside their division until the middle of November.

Why they could finish last again:
I’m just not sure if all of these players are ready to fight for that coaching staff and organization. Two of their remaining veterans (Leonard Fournette and Yannick Ngakoue) have openly talked about how they want to be traded, they only have a few actually proven commodities on that entire roster and with the way they have unloaded big cap numbers, they have set themselves up for a true rebuild potentially, as they are expected to be in the Trevor Lawrence-Justin Fields sweepstakes come next April. Even if they can get a few breaks and the division is up for grabs, does this organization even want to win this season? If not for the injury to Jacoby Brissett in the middle of the season, all three other teams in that division would have almost certainly finished above .500 and the Colts are actually the team that improved by far the most among them. That Texans, who have actually won the South four of the last five years, including last season, may be the smallest challenge and still sweep Jacksonville. Vegas rarely misses completely and the Jaguars right now are the odds-on favorite to pick first overall come next April, with an NFL-low OveUnder of 4.5 wins on the season. And as favorable as the early portion of their schedule looks like right, check out this eight-game stretch after their week seven bye – at Chargers, vs. Texans, at Packers, vs. Steelers, vs. Browns, at Vikings, vs. Titans, at Ravens. Ouch. They might go winless over that period.

Bottom line:
The Jaguars to me are a very interesting team, because I believe they have accumulated a bunch of young talent, which gets lost a little when you see all the names that aren’t there anymore. There is a lot to like about this roster, when you look at what these players could develop into, but that doesn’t mean they will have success this year already. The Colts have the best 53 currently in the division (or 55 now), the Texans have the best quarterback and the Titans are coming off an AFC Championship game appearance. Gardner Minshew could make this kind of a tough decision if they end up picking anywhere after first overall and I think some of those other kids will put up pretty good numbers, but they are still pretty clearly fourth in the South as for now.


https://preview.redd.it/5myv276vkf751.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=7fb25f47d0759e9b5a07876ea01787898c6cc817

7. Carolina Panthers

Why they can win the division:
Nobody knows for sure what Matt Rhule and his new coaching staff will throw at them. Joe Brady gets to work with Teddy Bridgewater once again, who he already coached in New Orleans – so there will be familiarity for him in this system and they already “speak the same language”. That young receiving corp with D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel, free agency addition Robby Anderson and even an up-and-coming tight-end in Ian Thomas is pretty underrated actually, plus of course they have one of the truly elite weapons out of the backfield in Christian McCaffrey, who is probably set to break his own RB reception record once again. The Panthers defense-only draft has brought them a monster in the middle in Derrick Brown (Auburn), a really talented edge rusher in Yetur Gross-Matos (Penn State) on the opposite of last year’s rookie stud Brian Burns, a super-rangy safety with linebacker size in Jeremy Chinn (Southern Illinois), what I think is a starting corner in Troy Pride Jr. (Notre Dame) and some other pieces in the secondary. The talent is clearly there and now you bring in a scheme that is probably going to be unique for the NFL level as well, when you look at that 3-3-5 Baylor ran under Rhule and defensive coordinator Phil Snow. As much as we want to praise our legends of the game, the quarterbacks of the two front-runners in this division will be 41 and 43 years old respectively and let’s not forget that Atlanta started out last season 1-7.

Why they could finish last again:
Especially this offseason, without certainty if there will be anything like training camp or even a real preseason, that completely new staff with new systems they are trying to teach will certainly have some growing pains. Bridgewater has been a top-20 starting QB maybe one year of his career and even when he was applauded for the way he filled in for Drew Brees last season, he finished dead-last in intended air yards among quarterbacks with at least 100 pass attempts. How will that mesh with a lot of vertical targets around him? When he has those guys running free on slants and dig routes, the ball will get there, but will he be willing to throw that deep post or give his guys a chance on go-balls? Defensively they are counting on a lot of young players and they have nobody to even come close to replacing Luke Kuechly, as well as making the switch to an unproven scheme possibly, if they actually use some of those 3-3-5 looks coming over from Baylor. When you look at Rhule’s track-record, it always took him until year two to show improvement and then in that third season is when those teams can really make some noise. And that was in the AAC and Big 12 respectively. Now he is in the NFC South with a team that just went 13-3 in the Saints and a Bucs squad that already was 7-9 and lost six of those games by one score, only because despite finishing fifth in takeaways, they ranked in the bottom five in turnover differential due to easily leading the league with 41 giveaways. That should get a lot better with Tom Brady coming in, who has never even quite thrown half of Jameis Winston’s 30 interceptions in any of his 20 years in the league. Even the Falcons – for as poorly as they started last season – went 6-2 after really coming together and making some changes in their bye week last season.

Bottom line:
The Panthers are clearly the most unproven team in this division. While new systems that haven’t been scouted yet certainly have an advantage in terms of game-planning early on, especially in this offseason with heavily limited live reps most likely, that might equal a net minus. You have to root for a guy like Teddy Bridgewater and the way he has worked his way up to a starting spot again, but I just don’t look at him as a surefire franchise signal-caller. The other three teams in the South all have top ten quarterbacks in the league in my opinion and much more continuity around them. Until the Panthers finally get to their bye week at the start of December, I don’t see them winning more than four of those twelve games. At that point they may have their eyes on a different goal already, if Teddy B isn’t the clear answer under center.


https://preview.redd.it/y7agj2n2lf751.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=221af0a1f689d3b19d5e250fac0b58a35877edad

8. Cincinnati Bengals


Why they can win the division:
We’re not that far away from 2015, when the Bengals won the AFC North with a 12-4 record as the fifth year in a row making the playoffs. Since then this is the first time I feel like there really is change happening with this team. Marvin Lewis was replaced by a young Zac Taylor, trying to prove himself to the league, they drafted Heisman trophy winner Joe Burrow first overall to replace as average a quarterback as we have had over the last decade in Andy Dalton and the front office finally spent some money in free agency. While you would think a quarterback going first overall usually comes into a situation, where he is devoid of talent around him, Cincinnati suddenly has one of the better group of skill-position players in the entire league, assuming A.J. Green is back healthy. Tyler Boyd is a stud in the slot, who will be Burrow’s version of Justin Jefferson, a 50-50 ball specialist in second-round pick Tee Higgins (Clemson) matches perfectly with Burrow’s expertise of winning with ball-placement and if they get anything from former first-rounder John Ross at least as a decoy with his speed, that’s a plus. I expect Joe Mixon to be among the league leader’s in running back receptions and be more effective in space with those receivers around him as well. The signings the Bengals have made on defense gives them a lot more talent and complements very well what they already had. D.J. Reader is one of the most underrated defensive linemen in the league and frees everybody up along the front, they completely overhauled that linebacker group, which was a major issue these last couple of years, they brought in a starting CB2 and nickel from Minnesota to pair up with William Jackson III, who is ready to announce himself as one of the best corners in football, and Von Bell is a great match with the rangy free safety Jessie Bates.

Why they could finish last again:
As talented as all those guys throwing, catching and running the ball may be, it all starts with what’s happening up front and the Bengals offensive line is still in transition. They could have two of the worst starters in the league at both guard spots and right tackle once again, with the prior ones close to reaching that bust status and Bobby Hart still somehow having a starting job. As great as Joe Burrow was last year at LSU and how clean his evaluation was, how much better than Andy Dalton will he be right away, especially going up against those scary defensive fronts inside his division? Defensively they could easily have six new starters, which obviously can be looked at as a positive sign, considering they allowed 20+ points in all but two games last season, but there is also a lack of continuity and reduced time to fit all those pieces together. Cincinnati’s coaching staff hasn’t really proven anything yet and they will be facing a massacre of a schedule, with three occasions of back-to-back road games and while three of their final four games of the season are at home, they will face the Cowboys, Steelers and Ravens, to go with a trip to Houston in-between. If they don’t beat the Chargers in the season-opener, they probably don’t get that first W until week four against the Jaguars and then they have to hope they can sneak out another one until their bye week. Baltimore is tied with Kansas City for the highest projected win total with reigning MVP coming into just his third season, Pittsburgh is favored to make the playoffs with Big Ben back under center and Cleveland was the offseason favorite in 2019, while fielding an even better roster this year.

Bottom line:
I feel bad for putting this team last, because I thought Joe Burrow was the top quarterback and definitely worthy of that number one pick and the Bengals finally spent big money in free agency to retool the defense. To me this is less about them than the Ravens, who just were the number one overall seed in the playoffs at 14-2 and haven’t done anything other than get better themselves, a Steelers team that made a run at the playoffs with the worst quarterback play in the league now getting Ben back and a Browns roster that is among the top ten league-wide in most people’s opinion. Still, there is a lot to like about this team at the skill-positions, which is probably behind only Cleveland in terms all the weapons they have, some young standouts on defense and hope that all of this brings a fresh breath of air.


If you enjoyed this content, I would really appreciate if you could visit the original piece (with video clips) - https://halilsrealfootballtalk.com/2020/06/16/nfl-teams-most-likely-to-go-from-worst-to-first-in-2020/
You can also listen to my breakdown on Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9kCcuPobNU
submitted by hallach_halil to nfl [link] [comments]

Will the Arizona Cardinals win OVER/UNDER 7 games? 2020 season predictions by University Stats Prof!

1. Introduction

From 2013 to 2015, the Cardinals won at least 10 games in each of those seasons. They followed up with a couple of years where they finished close to a .500 record. Things got even worse in the past two seasons, during which the franchise compiled an 8-23-1 record.
Now in year #2 of head coach Kliff Kingsbury and QB Kyler Murray, it’s time for Arizona to make a leap forward.

2. Regular Season Wins

According to sportsbooks, the Arizona Cardinals are expected to win 7 games this season. Should we bet the “over” or the “under”?
Here is the methodology I used in order to answer this vital question:
Here are the results (excluding simulated seasons where they won exactly 7 games, in which case the bet ties):

Estimated prob. Sportsbook Odds ROI
OVER 7 wins 53.1% 10Bet -110 +1.4%
UNDER 7 wins 46.9% William Hill +110 -1.5%

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 (QBs)

Kyler Murray had a very successful rookie campaign as Arizona’s new franchise quarterback.
Despite a suspect surrounding cast, he posted very respectable numbers with 3,722 passing yards, 20 TDs and 12 interceptions. He was also dangerous as a runner, as shown by his 544 rushing yards.
Murray was the victim of 48 sacks, but he was hard to catch. Indeed, he finished in 2nd place in terms of average time from snap-to-sack among all QBs in the NFL.
Now with one full year of experience under his belt, you can expect Murray to take a nice leap and improve his game even more in 2020.
Brett Hundley will once again back up Murray this season. The Cards must hope they won’t need him because he has never shown he could lead a team to success. The former Packer is clearly no more than a #2 QB in this league.

3.2 Running Backs (RBs)

The Cards got a nice bargain last year by trading a sixth-round pick in exchange for Kenyan Drake. He was nothing short of spectacular in his eight appearances in the desert by racking up 643 rushing yards over eight games. He also scored eight touchdowns during that short period.
During the offseason, the Cards re-signed him to a one-year, $8.5 million contract. The team also traded David Johnson to Houston, which clearly puts Drake as the starter.
Chase Edmonds will be the main backup runner. He showed some flashes with a nice 5.1 yards per rush average. The third-year pro is good insurance in case Drake gets hurt.

3.3 Wide Receivers (WRs)

Kyler Murray probably popped a bottle of champagne when he heard about the acquisition of stud wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins from the Texans.
Losing David Johnson in the trade isn’t that big of a deal for the Cards, who already had good depth at the running back position. However, acquiring a big-time WR like Hopkins is HUGE!
Hopkins has played either 15 or 16 games in each of his first seven years in the NFL. He has averaged 1,229 receiving yards and 7.7 TDs during that time span.
He consistently ranks among the top receivers year in and year out. In 2019, he finished with an 87.8 grade from PFF, which had him ranked as the 5th best WR.
Unbelievable: Larry Fitzgerald is coming back for a 17th season! He did better than expected last season by catching 75 passes and finishing 53rd out of 122 qualified wide receivers in the league based on PFF.
Fitzgerald claimed he loved the culture under new head coach Kliff Kingsbury and he wants to help the team both as a player and as a mentor for the younger guys.
Christian Kirk, a former second-round pick in the 2018 draft, had an okay year. His 62.5 grade by PFF had him ranked as the #91 WR (out of 122). With Hopkins drawing a lot of attention from opposing defenses, Kirk must make a leap in 2020. It remains to be seen if he can do it or not.
Arizona lost some depth at the position after seeing Damiere Byrd leave for New England, while Pharoh Cooper signed with Carolina. It’s not a huge blow to the team, but worth mentioning.

3.4 Tight Ends (TEs)

A young QB like Kyler Murray would certainly welcome some help at the tight end position, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.
The top target last year was Charles Clay. He only caught 18 passes and is now a free agent.
All signs point toward Maxx Williams assuming the number one role. You’ll be surprised to hear he ranked as the 7th best tight end in the league according to PFF. His nice 79.1 grade was obtained via outstanding run and pass blocking.
In summary, the team is pretty thin at this position.

3.5 Offensive Line (OL)

One of the team’s biggest weaknesses in 2019 was certainly its offensive line. They allowed the 5th highest number of sacks a year ago, despite Murray being a mobile quarterback.
The only guy who finished above average based on PFF rankings was Justin Pugh (22nd out of 81 among guards). The other four starters were either average or quite bad.
The bad news? The team has not addressed the position in free agency. They did select Josh Jones in the third round of this year’s draft, though. He has a high chance of becoming the team’s starting right guard right away, despite many experts calling him a developmental project who needs work.
I can’t believe D.J. Humphries is going to be the third-highest paid left tackle in the league after signing a hefty contract this offseason. His paycheck is clearly not in line with his production on the field. In five years, he has played 43 games and missed 37 due to numerous injuries. He finally played through a full 16-game season last year, but he PFF gave him the 47th-best grade out of 81 tackles.

2020 VS 2019 OFFENSE

Overall, I expect a nice progression from this unit. Kyler Murray is clearly more likely to improve than to regress based on his young age. The running back position is set. The receiving corps got a gigantic boost with the addition of DeAndre Hopkins.
The tight end and offensive line positions remain problematic. However, if you compare with last year, it can’t get much worse. Building the line should be one of the top priorities for Arizona in the upcoming years.
Final call (2020 vs 2019):
Big downgrade-Moderate downgrade-Small downgrade-Stable-Small upgrade-Moderate upgrade-Big upgrade

4. Defensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

4.1 Defensive Linemen (DLs)

This was not a position of strength for Arizona last year. Out of 114 DLs, here’s the final PFF ranking of the four guys who got the most playing time: Corey Peters 65th, Rodney Gunter 61st, Zach Kerr 42nd and Jonathan Bullard 94th. Ouch.
Now, Gunter and Kerr are both gone. Meanwhile, the team acquired Jordan Phillips from the Bills. He probably won’t be a savior as he finished in 104th place.

4.2 Defensive Ends (DEs) / Edge Rushers (ED)

Chandler Jones had an exceptional years with 19 sacks! Only Shaquil Barrett from the Bucs recorded more sacks.
Outside of Jones, Terrell Suggs played 13 games before being released by the Cards. He still managed to record 5.5 sacks.
Cassius Marsh played 38% of the defensive snaps and finished 70th out of 107 edge defenders. He signed with the Jaguars during the offseason.
In order to compensate for those losses, Arizona signed Devon Kennard, formerly of the Detroit Lions. He played 82% of the snaps in Detroit and finished 44th (out of 107) at the position. He obtained 7 sacks last year (7 more the year before).

4.3 Linebackers (LBs)

Jordan Hicks was a tackling machine with 150; only Bobby Wagner (Seattle) and Blake Martinez (Green Bay) had more in 2019.
However, Hicks didn’t grade particularly well. He finished 43rd out of 89 linebackers.
Haason Reddick and Joe Walker both finished in the bottom: 86th and 79th. Walker left for San Francisco, which is not a big loss.
Arizona signed De’Vondre Campbell who played 89% of the snaps with the Falcons. Can he improve the linebacker play in 2020? I doubt it. His poor 50.1 grade gave him the 70th rank. Here are his grades the previous three seasons: 57.4, 69.1 and 55.7. He is a durable guy, but far from a great player.
DC Vance Joseph declared #8 overall pick Isaiah Simmons would primarily play at linebacker. Simmons was super versatile in college, playing many positions. He will provide good coverage against TEs and pass-catching RBs, while also defending the run efficiently. He clearly has Pro Bowl talent.

4.4 Cornerbacks (CBs)

Patrick Peterson is clearly the leader of this group. He was having a decent season, and was brilliant in the final few games. He finished as the number 39 cornerback out of 112 guys. He missed the first six games of the season because of a suspension.
There is not much depth behind Peterson, though. Byron Murphy played 98% of the snaps, but finished with an awful 48.8 grade. The 2019 second-round pick will need to elevate his game A LOT this season.

4.5 Safeties (S)

Budda Baker and Jalen Thompson provide an adequate duo of safeties. These two guys are still young and we can expect some improvement in 2020. They finished last year as #28 and #57 out of 87 qualified safeties. Baker accumulated 147 tackles, 4th in the NFL.

2020 VS 2019 DEFENSE

No major changes for this unit. Given they’ve allowed the 5th highest number of points last year, that’s not good news.
The lone position where the Cards have improved this offseason is linebacker because of the acquisition of Isaiah Simmons via the draft and De’Vondre Campbell as a free agent from Atlanta.
Or perhaps the couple of young safeties can take a leap? Maybe, maybe not. It may be wishful thinking.
To summarize, the team added Jordan Phillips, Devon Kennard, Isaiah Simmons and De’Vondre Campbell. They lost Rodney Gunter, Zach Kerr, Terrell Suggs, Cassius Marsh and Joe Walker. To me, those changes offset. Perhaps it will turn out to be a small upgrade.
Final call (2020 vs 2019):
Big downgrade-Moderate downgrade-Small downgrade-Stable-Small upgrade-Moderate upgrade-Big upgrade
Thanks for reading!
Professor MJ
submitted by David-MJ to sportsbook [link] [comments]

Will the Tennessee Titans win OVER/UNDER 8.5 games? By University Stats Prof!

1. Introduction

Tennessee’s season completely turned around once they benched quarterback Marcus Mariota in favor of Ryan Tannehill.

After a 2-4 start, the Titans won seven of their final 10 games to sneak into the playoffs as the 6th seed in the AFC. Fun fact: it was the fourth straight season that the Titans finished with a 9-7 record!

In the playoffs, they knocked off the defending Super Bowl champions New England Patriots, as well as the top seed in the conference, the Baltimore Ravens. Derrick Henry ran like a mad man in those games, becoming the first player in NFL history to rack up at least 175 rushing yards in two games in the same postseason.

In the AFC Conference Championship Game, Tennessee grabbed a 17-7 lead in the second quarter, but couldn’t hold off the Chiefs any longer in a 35-to-24 defeat.

2. Offensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

2.1 Quarterbacks (QBs)

Ryan Tannehill was clearly one of the best Cinderella stories in 2019. After taking over as the starting QB over Marcus Mariota, he led the league in QB rating.

He crushed his previous career-high in completion percentage with as astounding 70.3%; his personal best was 66.4% in 2014.

During his first six years in Miami, he posted a 123:75 TD:INT mark. That equates to a 1.64 ratio. In 2019, he threw 22 TD passes versus 6 interceptions, which amounts to a 3.7 ratio. As you can see, once again he obliterated his past numbers.

The team thinks he can keep playing at that level after handing him a hefty contract. I do believe he’ll do a good job in 2020, but not at the 2019 levels, obviously.

As of now, the backup QB is Logan Woodside since Mariota signed with the Raiders. Woodside was drafted in the 7th round of the 2018 draft out of Toledo. During preseason games, he completed 46-of-76 passes (a 60.5% completion rate) for 539 yards with 4 TDs and no interception. It’s hard to tell what he can bring to the table.

2.2 Running Backs (RBs)

Derrick Henry was a true beast last year. He won the rushing title with 1,540 rushing yards and 16 TDs on the ground (he added two more as a receiver). His 5.1 yards-per-carry average is mind-boggling considering the high volume.

He didn’t slow down in the playoffs. After rushing for 182 yards in New England, he single-handedly destroyed the Ravens with 195 rushing yards. He was quieter in K.C. by accumulating 69 yards on the ground.

Few people remember how he finished the previous year on a high note as well. In the final four meetings of the 2018 season, he averaged 146 rushing yards and 1.75 rushing TDs per contest. Obviously, he followed up with a season to remember.

Henry’s numbers have steadily increased every single year since he joined the league in 2016. Now 26 years old, defensive coordinators must be getting up at night to game plan against him.

Dion Lewis was a nice change-of-pace back, even though he didn’t have a great year. At least he had NFL experience, which is not the case of the remaining potential backup backs. Both Dalyn Dawkins and David Fluellen are undrafted guys who have combined for 19 rushing attempts in the league.

Tennessee filled a need by drafting Darrynton Evans in last April’s draft. The third-rounder complements Henry’s skillset well, as Evans can spell him on passing third-down situations (a role that used to be played by Dion Lewis). Also, he isn’t great running inside the tackles due to his small size, but he is more of a change-of-pace runner who has home-run hitting capacities.

2.3 Wide Receivers (WRs)

Rookie A.J. Brown was hyped as a big-play guy, and he did not disappoint. He didn’t catch that many balls, but when he did he made the most of it.

The Mississippi product led all receivers that caught at least 50 passes with a jaw-dropping 20.2 yards-per-catch average. He scored 8 TDs, while also topping the 1,000 receiving-yard mark (he had 1,051).

Will former #5 overall pick Corey Davis live up to his draft status? It seems unlikely after watching his first three years as a pro. He raised hopes by posting a 65-891-4 receiving line in 2018, but he regressed to 43-601-2 last year. Talent and youth play on his side, though. He may not be a true No. 1 wideout, but he can clearly do the job as a number two or three receiver.

Adam Humphries is an efficient, yet not explosive player. He is good to pick up key first downs. He caught more than 70% of his targets in his final two years in Tampa, and he reached that goal once again in his first season in Tennessee.

Was he worth a four-year deal worth $36 million? Probably not, but having him as your slot receiver is a bonus. His numbers were down last year, but he will be a useful tool as a 27-year old this year.

Tajae Sharpe also made a nice contribution last year with 25 receptions, 329 yards and 4 TDs. He was a nice luxury to have on your roster, but he signed with the Vikings during the offseason.

2.4 Tight Ends (TEs)

Jonnu Smith and Delanie Walker received the most playing time at tight end.

Walker did a decent job, but father time seems to have caught up to him. After being very durable for 11 years, he stayed healthy for just one game in 2018 and seven games last year. Accordingly, the team cut ties with him as he was going to enter his age-36 campaign.

Walker’s absence gave more room for Jonnu Smith to shine. The 2017 third-rounder has seen his numbers increase every year. His 35-439-3 receiving line is nothing to write home about. He could make a jump in 2020, but don’t expect huge steps.

Anthony Firkser will be back with the squad. He doesn’t have the size and speed to become a great TE, but he does a fine job for a guy that was never drafted.

MyCole Pruitt will be the #3 TE. He has never caught more than 10 passes in any of his five years in the NFL. Enough said.

2.5 Offensive Line (OL)

Ben Jones has done a great job at the pivot throughout his entire eight-year career. He raised his game to a higher level last year by finishing at the second-best center in the NFL according to PFF grades. He’s been an awesome pickup when acquired from the Texas a few years ago.

Right tackle Jack Conklin broke the bank in Cleveland, which left a glaring hole in Tennessee. He was a very solid player, and Dennis Kelly or Isaiah Wilson will try to fill his shoes.

Kelly has received his two best PFF grades of his seven-year career in 2018 and 2019, which is a good sign. However, he doesn’t play at the same level as Conklin.

The organization figures to have a better chance at replacing Conklin adequately with Isaiah Wilson, who was taken late in the first round of this year’s draft. This guy weighted close to 400 pounds coming out of high school! He is a mauler.

The rookie needs work for both his footwork and technique, which led to uneven play in college. He has exceptional physical traits and high potential, but may not be great right from the start.

At left tackle, Taylor Lewan is a cornerstone of this offensive line. He’s been good his whole career, never receiving a PFF mark below 76.4, which is remarkable!

Rodger Saffold is the starting left guard for the Titans. He ranked as the sixth-best guard in the NFL last year; needless to say he’s been a valuable piece of the puzzle for this franchise.

The weakest link is Nate Davis at right guard. The third-round rookie struggled big-time last year.

2020 VS 2019 OFFENSE

The Titans did not make a single free agent acquisition on offense.

They lost some depth with the departures of RB Dion Lewis and WR Tajae Sharpe. The team hopes 3rd round pick Darrynton Evans can spell Henry appropriately.

The backup QB will also be weaker due to Mariota leaving for Vegas. And despite his advanced age, Delanie Walker was a decent TE, although he only appeared in seven games last year.

The biggest loss occurred on the offensive line. Seeing Jack Conklin go to the Jets hurts the team. Rookie Isaiah Wilson will do his best to hold the fort, but he is unlikely to play at the same level as Conklin in his first year as a pro.

Finally, how could we expect better production out of Ryan Tannehill in 2020 as opposed to his 2019 heroics?

In conclusion, I am tagging the Titans offense with a moderate downgrade in comparison to 2019.

Final call (2020 vs 2019): Moderate downgrade

3. Defensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

3.1 Defensive Linemen (DLs)

Jurrell Casey is a strong run stuffer, while also averaging 5.7 sacks per year over a nine-year period. He was traded to Denver for cap reasons, which will hurt Tennessee’s interior of the line a lot.

With Casey gone, the team will hand a much heavier workload to Jeffery Simmons. After missing the first seven games due to a knee injury, he showed fairly good promise as a #19 overall pick from the 2019 draft. His sophomore year will be critical.

The team will also rely on DaQuan Jones to step up his game. He is an above-average DL, whose main strength is defending the run. He only has seven sacks in six years.

The Titans lost some depth as Austin Johnson went to the Giants.

3.2 Defensive Ends (DEs) / Edge Rushers (ED)

Harold Landry played twice as many snaps in his sophomore year as his rookie season, and he doubled his sack total (going from 4.5 to 9 to lead the team in that category). He graded as the 62nd-best edge defender in the league out of 107 players. He has the potential to take a leap.

The team hopes to improve its pass rush by adding Vic Beasley, formerly of the Falcons. His numbers are a bit puzzling. He led the league with 15.5 sacks in his second season back in 2016. Since then, he has posted 5, 5 and 8 sacks.

Those are not bad numbers, but they are clearly below expectations coming from a fellow that was the 8th overall selection in the 2015 draft. Also, he is a liability in run defense. In other words, he’s been more name than game recently.

Kamalei Correa racked up five sacks despite playing 39% of the snaps. He had just 3.5 sacks over his first three years as a pro. He’s not a game breaker.

Reggie Gilbert is a role player. The undrafted guy has 4.5 sacks in three years is no more than depth.

3.3 Linebackers (LBs)

Jayon Brown and Rashaan Evans are the leaders of this group. Based on draft status, Evans is supposed to be the superior player, but that wasn’t the case at all last year.

Evans received poor marks from PFF with a 47.6 grade; he obtained spot #74 out of 89 LBs. He struggled a lot in coverage and wasn’t that great rushing the passer. He does a fine job defending the run though.

As for Brown, his 68.8 PFF grade allowed him to finish as the 20th-best linebacker in the league. His sack total went from 6 in 2018 down to just one a year ago. The former fifth-rounder will try to bring that number back up this season.

Wesley Woodyard’s career is clearly on the decline. He lost his starting job, his PFF grades are falling, he’s 34 years old and he is now a free agent after the Titans failed to re-sign him.

3.4 Cornerbacks (CBs)

Adoree’ Jackson is the team’s number 1 CB. He was the 18th overall pick from the 2017 draft. Even though he has only two career interceptions, he is still a fairly solid coverage guy. He constantly ranks among the upper tier.

Logan Ryan played almost all defensive snaps last year and he filled the scoresheet more than ever in his seven-year career. He had career-highs in tackles (113), sacks (4.5) and forced fumbles (4). He also picked off four passes, his second-best performance.

Yet, he graded as an average corner by taking the 62nd rank out of 112 CBs because of ordinary run defense and coverage skills. The Titans couldn’t meet his salary demands, so he left via free agency.

Malcolm Butler finished once again in the middle of the pack among all NFL cornerbacks last year. The Super Bowl XLIX hero has seen his PFF grades decrease in each of the past three seasons, but he still manages to intercept 2-4 passes every year. He missed seven games last year with a broken wrist.

LeShaun Sims played 30% of the snaps, while producing poor play on the field. He’s never been a good corner, but he still found a new home in Cincinnati when the Bengals signed him in March.

The Titans took Kristian Fulton late in the 2nd round this year. Many reports suggest he’ll be an average NFL starter. He is best in man coverage due to his physicality. He lost the entire 2017 season when he was caught trying to tamper with a PED test sample, where he submitted a friend’s urine.

3.5 Safeties (S)

Kevin Byard is one of the league’s highest paid safety and he deserves it. He has 17 interceptions over the last three years. In those seasons, his PFF rankings were 4th, 3rd and 10th among close to 90 qualifiers.

Byard turned out to be a huge bargain as a former third-round pick out of Middle Tennessee State. Now 27 years old, there is no reason to believe his play will deteriorate in 2020.

Kenny Vaccaro is well known among fans, even though his play is not great. He probably gets recognition due to his former first-round status, but his best PFF grade was 66.7 back in 2013. Just to give you an idea, such a mark would have yielded him the #48 spot out of 87 safeties last year. And that was his best season.

Amani Hooker played 30% of the snaps last year as a rookie. The Titans had actually traded up to secure his rights during the 2019 draft. He did a decent job, but the jury is still out about the fourth-rounder’s future.

2020 VS 2019 DEFENSE

The Titans allowed the 12th-fewest points in the league last year. Should be expect better or worse play in 2020?

Jurrell Casey’s presence will be missed in a big way on the interior of the line. Also, not getting CB Logan Ryan back is hardly good news. Overall, he was an above-average corner who was constantly on the field and has been very durable in his career.

The only good addition is Vic Beasley. I feel like he’s overrated since his sack numbers are lower than what most people think and due to poor run defense, but he still has valuable pass rushing abilities.

Based on this information, I anticipate a small downgrade from this unit.

Final call (2020 vs 2019): Small downgrade

4. Regular Season Wins

According to sportsbooks, the Titans 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:

Here are the results:

Estimated Probability Sportsbook Odds ROI
OVER 8.5 WINS 50.9% FanDuel -110 -2.8%
UNDER 8.5 WINS 49.1% Pinnacle +129 +12.4%

Tip: Bet UNDER 8.5 wins
Return On Investment (ROI): +12.4%
Rank: 22nd-highest ROI out of 32 teams
Minimum odds required to bet (i.e. ROI = 0%): +104

Here are BetOnline’s point spreads for the Titans’ 16 regular season games:

Note: The “Best odds” from the table above were obtained after looking at 13 well-known online sportsbooks on May 18th, 2020.

I hope you found this article informative, I've got every NFL team covered so check out my other posts! Have a nice day!

Professor MJ
submitted by David-MJ to sportsbook [link] [comments]

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:

Here are the results:

Estimated probability Sportsbook Odds ROI
OVER 6.5 wins 55.9% Sports Interaction -125 +0.6%
UNDER 6.5 wins 44.1% Heritage Sports +130 +1.4%

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
submitted by David-MJ to sportsbook [link] [comments]

Will the New Orleans Saints win OVER/UNDER 10.5 games? By University Stats Prof!

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
  1. Introduction
The Saints secured the #2 seed in last year’s playoffs following a great 13-3 season, despite Drew Brees missing five games.
Unfortunately, for the third straight season, the Saints were eliminated in dramatic fashion. After suffering through the “Minneapolis Miracle” in 2018 and the non-call on a critical blatant interference penalty against the Rams in 2019, the Saints lost a 26-20 overtime thriller at home against the Vikings. Once again, officials were questioned when the replay showed Kyle Rudolph possibly pushed P.J. Williams on the game-winning touchdown.
Bad luck just continues to stick to this franchise. Will it be THE year where they shake it all off?

  1. Regular Season Wins
According to sportsbooks, the New Orleans Saints are expected to win 10.5 games this season. Should we bet the “over” or the “under”?
Here is the methodology I used in order to answer this vital question:
Here are the results

Estimated probability Sportsbook Odds ROI
OVER 10.5 Wins 52% Fan Duel +100 +4.0%
UNDER 10.5 Wins 48% William Hill -110 -8.4%
Tip: Bet OVER 10.5 wins
Return On Investment (ROI): +4.0%
Rank: 30th-highest ROI out of 32 teams
Minimum odds required to bet (i.e. ROI = 0%): -108
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
QUARTERBACKS (QB)
Drew Brees is simply unbelievable on the field, and a wonderful human being. He donated $5 million to deliver meals to needy people in the Louisiana state. A great gesture from him and his wife.
Will he ever slow down or what? He is now 41 years old, but his numbers have kept impressing. He has completed at least 70% of his passes in each of his past four seasons, which is jaw-dropping! He led the league in that category last year.
His TD-to-INT ratio has also improved of late. Over the past two years, he has thrown 59 TD passes versus just 9 picks.
Backup QB Teddy Bridgewater left for Carolina during the offseason. Who can blame him? He deserved a chance to be a starter in this league once again. He’s joining a much weaker team, though. He did a very good job when Brees went down to a thumb injury.
For a moment, the backup QB became Taysom Hill, who has been the jack-of-all-trades in this offense. He can throw, he can run, he can catch.
However, it’s unclear who gets the #2 role following the signing of Jameis Winston, also known as “The Turnover Machine.”
Winston threw for 5,109 yards last year, which turned out to be the 8th-most in league history. However, the 30 interceptions (!!!) and five lost fumbles put a big blemish on his 2019 season. A 60.7% completion rate wasn’t all that great, either. He has great weapons to work with, including stud receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.
Playing for the Saints could end up being the best thing that has ever happened to Winston. He will get great tips from Drew Brees who, unlike Winston, doesn’t turn the ball over often. The former Buc has a great arm and he is in his mid-twenties; not all hope is lost for the former #1 overall pick out of Florida State.

RUNNING BACKS (RB)
Alvin Kamara’s numbers have been incredibly steady since entering the league in 2017. He has rushed for 728, 883 and 797 yards during that time frame, while catching exactly 81 balls (!!!) in each of these three seasons. His TD output was his lowest of his career though, as he only scored six total touchdowns in 2019.
It is worth noting, though, that he battled through injuries last year. He had more trouble breaking tackles down the stretch. He will be back at 100% when the 2020 season begins.
Latavius Murray is nice luxury as a backup running back. He picked up almost as many rushing yards as Kamara, while posting a nice 4.4 yards-per-carry average. This figure has never been lower than 3.9 in any of his six years in the NFL, which is remarkable.
Kamara missed two games last year; in those games, Murray racked up 150 and 157 total yards with a couple of touchdowns in each of those contests. The Saints will be in good hands if Kamara gets hurt.

WIDE RECEIVERS (WR)
Michael Thomas broke Marvin Harrison’s single-season record for receptions by catching 149 balls. He caught a minimum of four passes in all games and cleared the 100-receiving yard mark on 10 occasions.
Thomas was truly dominant. What’s even more incredible is he caught 149-of-185, which amounts to a mind-boggling 80.5% catch rate (an unbelievable percentage given the high volume).
With Thomas and Kamara catching so many passes, that didn’t leave many targets to the other receivers. Ted Ginn’s play seemed to drop off quite a bit, as he caught 30-of-56 balls thrown his way. He has his second-worst PFF grade over his 13-year career. At 35 years old, you have to wonder whether he has some gas left in the tank or not. I don’t believe he can rebound in 2020.
Meanwhile, Tre’Quan Smith was a disappointment last year. He did catch 5 TD passes for the second straight year after being selected in the 2nd round of the 2018 draft, but catching 18 passes for 234 yards won’t be anyone very excited.
As if the team needed more playmakers, they went on to get Emmanuel Sanders who started the year in Denver before getting traded to San Francisco.
Sanders suffered a brutal Achilles injury in 2018, but that did not prevent him from having a very nice 2019 season. He totaled 66 receptions for 869 yards and 5 TDs. He’s a nice get considering Ginn is getting older and Smith has yet to pan out.

TIGHT ENDS (TE)
Jared Cook is another aging player who has done surprisingly well. He hauled in 43 passes for 705 yards, which was not that close from being career-highs. However, his 9 TD receptions and his 16.4 yards-per-catch average were his career best. He started the season slowly, but seemed to develop a great chemistry with Drew Brees down the stretch.
Josh Hill is not much of a receiver, but he does the job as a blocker. He’s been with the team for seven years and 2019 was his best season in terms of receptions (25) and receiving yards (226). He is not a threat to take away Cook’s number one role.
The team traded four picks in order to select Adam Trautman out of Dayton in the third round of this year’s draft. His receiving production increased in each of his four years in college; it culminated with a 70-916-14 receiving line in 11 starts. Wow, 14 TDs in 11 games?!?
The only question surrounding Trautman is: can he handle a much higher level of competition than what he faced with Dayton? He could become a starter in 2021, considering Jared Cook’s age.

OFFENSIVE LINE (OL)
This is an exceptional group and all players are returning for the 2020 season, which does not bode well for opposing defenses.
Center Erik McCoy was picked in the second round of the draft last year and he competed with Nick Easton and Cameron Tom during training camp. McCoy won the job and finished as the number 4 center out of 37 guys, based on PFF ratings. I think it’s fair to say it was a great season for him.
Left tackle Terron Armstead made it to the Pro Bowl for the second consecutive year. He has received good marks in each of his seven seasons with the Saints. Drew Brees can rest easy with his blindside being protected by Armstead.
At right tackle the Saints have Ryan Ramczyk. PFF made him the #1 tackle in the entire league with a 90.9 grade last year. He has improved in each of his three seasons and has started all games but one.
At guard, New Orleans has Larry Warford and Andrus Peat. Warford was the 8th-best guard in the NFL according to ProFootballFocus ratings, while Peat was the only guy to struggle on this offensive line. Indeed, he finished at spot #70.
We observe a weird tendency regarding Peat. His PFF grades in his first three seasons were 68.0, 71.5 and 68.3, which is decent. Then, his marks took a huge dip in 2018: an abysmal 39.8. He followed it up with a 48.5 grade last year. The team doesn’t seem too concern about his level of play since they re-signed him to a lucrative five-year, $57.5 million contract.
Taking center Cesar Ruiz in the first round last April was a bit surprising. New Orleans already has a great center with McCoy. Head coach Sean Payton already claimed that right guard Larry Warford will have to compete for his job with either Ruiz or McCoy. Even though Warford played well last year, he is entering the final year of his contract.
For your information, Ruiz did not allow a single sack as a junior with Michigan last year. He also does a good job run blocking.

2020 VS 2019 OFFENSE
My opinion won’t be popular, but I do see a downgrade here. Sure, returning pretty much the entire 2019 lineup is great, but I’m wary of a few things.
First, the age factor. Brees is 41 years old and your body gets hurt more easily when you reach your forties. You can’t deny he has a higher likelihood of getting injured this season. If that happens, losing Teddy Bridgewater is going to hurt the offense, although Winston might pick up the slack if he can cut down on the turnovers.
Jared Cook, Emmanuel Sanders and Ted Ginn are also getting up there in age. Also, how in the world could you expect Michael Thomas to play at a higher level than last year? He is much more likely to regress than to improve upon his 2019 performance.
Finally, the offensive line did not suffer many injuries last season, except Andrus Peat who missed six games, but he was the weakest link on the line anyway. I don’t wish them bad luck, but one of their top four guys could easily get hurt, due to the physical nature of the game.
The Saints scored the third-highest number of points last year, and I’ll cautiously put them in the #5 to #8 spot.
Final call (2020 vs 2019): Small Downgrade


4. Defensive Position-by-Position Breakdown
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (DL)
Signing a contract extension with David Onyemata was a priority for the organization. They did just that during the offseason. The team clearly likes him, despite a mediocre 55.3 PFF grade last year (he finished as the number 97 DL out of 114 qualifiers).
Sheldon Rankins is a former first-round pick who had a breakout 2018 campaign, which included a career-high 8 sacks. He was much quieter last year.
Rankins tore his Achilles’ in early 2019, and landed on injured reserve in December 2019 after coming close to tearing the other one. That’s a major question mark since such injuries are always tricky for football players.
Malcom Brown played close to 50% of the snaps last year. After spending four years in New England as a former first-rounder, he had a decent first year in New Orleans. He’s more effective defending the run than he is rushing the passer (he has recorded just two sacks in the past two years).
Shy Tuttle is more of a rotational player. His rookie season as an undrafted free agent exceeded expectations and he clearly deserves a shot to be back this year.

DEFENSIVE ENDS (DE) / EDGE (ED)
The Saints have a fantastic duo with Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport, two former 1st round picks.
Jordan set a career-high with 15.5 sacks last year, after posting 12 and 13 sacks the previous two seasons. He’s an incredibly tough guy; can you believe he hasn’t missed a single game throughout his nine-year professional career? That’s phenomenal!
Davenport took a nice forward leap in his sophomore year. His PFF grade went up from 69.7 to 84.1. According to this grading system, Davenport was the 18th-best edge defender out of 107 guys.
Trey Hendrickson provides good depth for the Saints. He has shown improvement in each of his first three years in the league. He sacked opposing QBs on 4.5 occasions last year, after racking up just two in his first two years. The 25-year old is primed for another leap in 2020.
After a promising rookie season, Mario Edwards has been released a couple of times. He works as a rotational pass-rusher; he played 28% of the snaps last year. He’s been bothered by neck and hip injuries throughout his first five years in the league.

LINEBACKERS (LB)
Demario Davis was exceptional in all facets of the game last year. He played so well that he earned the #1 spot out of 89 LBs based on the PFF grading system.
He seems unlikely to repeat his 2019 performance, though. His PFF marks never exceeded 63 during his first five years. They went up to 73.7 and 75.1 in 2017 and 2018 before exploding to an astounding 90.4 last year. Entering his age-31 campaign, I find it hard to believe he could duplicate his success.
A.J. Klein’s career has been a roller-coaster ride. He’s had up-and-down years. Most recently, he had horrible 2016, 2017 and 2019 seasons, but above-average years in 2015 and 2018. He signed with Buffalo, so the Saints won’t need to deal with his inconsistencies anymore.
Is Kiko Alonso ready to embrace a bigger role in this defense? The answer is unclear. He played fairly well last year after two straight dreadful seasons in Miami, but his health is an issue. He tore his ACL during the playoff loss to the Vikings. That required the third ACL surgery of his career, which leaves some doubt about whether his quickness will be affected or not.
Considering the lack of depth at the position, drafting Zack Baun in the third round made sense. The former Badger has a high chance of starting right away. He collected 19.5 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks as a senior. He’s a bit undersized for the position, which means he could potentially struggle against the run but he’s a fierce pass rusher. Many mock drafts had him going in Round 2, so it seems like a good value pick that also fits a need.

CORNERBACKS (CB)
Eli Apple was let go during the offseason. He’s been nothing short of a disappointment since being selected as the No. 10 overall pick in 2016. He’s fine against the run, but his covering skills have been below standard.
Strangely enough, Marshon Lattimore’s PFF grades have decreased every year: 86.1 as a rookie first-round pick in 2017, 78.5 in his sophomore season and 65.6 last year. Granted, a hamstring injury limited him in 2019.
Lattimore picked off 5 passes in his rookie season, then just three over the past two years. He does have the potential to make it back among the best corners in the league.
P.J. Williams was primarily used as a slot corner last year, and things didn’t go so well. Just like Lattimore, his PFF grades have dipped every year. He finished as the 100th-bets CB out of 112 players.

SAFETIES (S)
Marcus Williams enjoyed a very successful rookie season before being the victim of the sophomore slump. However, he came back super strong last year. PFF ranked him as the third-best safety in the league, only behind Minnesota’s Anthony Harris and Denver’s Justin Simmons. He has a knack for big plays, as shown by his 10 career interceptions, one TD and two forced fumbles.
New Orleans lost its other starting safety, Vonn Bell, in the free agency market. His coverage skills were below-average, but he was one of the best in the business defending the run.
The team figures to replace him with Malcolm Jenkins, formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles. He is seven years older than Bell, but he’s a proven veteran.
After five rocky seasons with the Saints during the 2009-2013 period, Jenkins had six consecutive good seasons in Philly. Now back with the team that drafted him 11 years ago, Saints fans are crossing their fingers he can keep up his nice level of play. Last year, Jenkins was the 32nd-best safety in the NFL based on PFF rankings.
I just don’t understand the length of Jenkins’ deal: a four-year deal with a 32-year old guy? Really?
The Saints traded up during the 2019 draft to secure the rights to Chauncey Gardner-Johnson in the 4th round. He showed promise in his rookie season with very decent grades, especially against the run. He played 51% of the snaps and picked up his first interception and forced fumble of his career.

2020 VS 2019 DEFENSE
The Saints allowed the fourth-fewest rushing yards in the league last year. That seems unlikely to happen again in 2020. Rankins’ health concerns me. I don’t believe Onyemata is that good. And Demario Davis’ play is extremely likely to regress after an unexpected phenomenal 2019 season.
As for the pass defense, I expect similar production as last year. Plugging Malcolm Jenkins instead of Vonn Bell at safety seems like an upgrade to me. However, losing Eli Apple is hardly good news. He was “okay” last season, but he had potential and he still needs to be replaced. Hopefully, plan B is not P.J. Williams because he does not appear to be the answer.
New Orleans finished 13th in points allowed last year. I expect a small drop, perhaps to a spot ranging between 15 and 19.
Final call (2020 vs 2019) : Small downgrade
submitted by David-MJ to sportsbook [link] [comments]

Will the Houston Texans win OVER/UNDER 7.5 games? By University Stats Prof!

1. Introduction

The Texans won the AFC South title for the fourth time in five years. They pulled off a great playoff comeback win over the Bills after being down 16-0 in the third quarter.

However, they were the victim of a huge comeback themselves in the following contest by squandering a 24-0 lead in Kansas City. They were completely overwhelmed in the last 40 minutes of the game at Arrowhead Stadium and ended up losing 51-31.

2. Regular Season Wins

According to sportsbooks, the Houston Texans are expected to win 7.5 games this season. Should we bet the “over” or the “under”?

Here is the methodology I used in order to answer this vital question:

Here are the results:
Estimated Probability Sportsbook Odds ROI
OVER 7.5 wins 50.8% Jazz Sports +105 +4.1%
UNDER 7.5 wins 49.2% MyBookie.ag -105 -3.9%

Here are BetOnline’s point spreads for the Texans’ 16 regular season games:

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

QUARTERBACKS (QB)

DeShaun Watson entrenched his status as a top 10 QB in the league by posting good numbers for a third straight year. He came close from the 4,000-yard mark, while throwing 26 TDs and 12 interceptions. He also added a career-high 7 rushing touchdowns.

There is no doubt he is one of the top signal callers in the league. He now has a good mix of youth and experience. He has a bright future ahead of him.

A.J. McCarron will back up Watson, but the team crosses its fingers they won’t need him on the field. He’s clearly not starter material; he has 6 TDs and 3 interceptions over a five-year period.

RUNNING BACKS (RB)

The Texans had a very nice duo in 2019 with Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson. Still, Houston decided to shuffle things up a little bit.

David Johnson was acquired via a trade, even though the 28-year old has shown signs of declining. After racking up more than 2,000 rushing+receiving yards and 20 TDs in 2016, Johnson played just one game in 2017 after dislocating his left wrist in the season opener.

He simply hasn’t been the same since. His yards per rush average has gone from 4.6 in 2015 to 4.2 in 2016, 3.6 in 2018 and 3.7 last year.

David Johnson will be the lead back since Hyde has not been re-signed. Hyde rushed for more than 1,000 yards for the first time of his career and will need to find work elsewhere.

I really like Duke Johnson. He seems to have enough talent to take a heavier workload, but he’s been stuck behind guys like Isaiah Crowell, Nick Chubb and Carlos Hyde.

He hasn’t missed a single game in five years! He has caught at least 44 balls in each of those seasons, which shows how dangerous he is as a pass catcher. I would love to see what he could do as the workhorse back, but it’s not going to happen this year, unless David Johnson gets hurt.

WIDE RECEIVERS (WR)

I’ll do my best to stay polite: the DeAndre Hopkins trade was bad. That’s the nicest I can be when talking about this trade.

Hopkins is a rare talent. David Johnson isn’t. It’s as simple as that.

Losing Hopkins is a big blow. He is a game changer and often draws double coverage, which leaves more room for his teammates.

Will Fuller is a difference-maker when healthy, but the problem has been just that: health. He has missed between 2 and 7 games in each of his first four years as a pro. And when he’s on the field, he tends to play at less than 100%. He graded as the 25th-best WR last year (out of 122 guys).

Kenny Stills is not a #1 WR in this league, but he can be a competent #2, or a very good #3 wideout. He’s been pretty durable during his first seven years in the NFL, averaging 43 catches, 671 receiving yards and 5.1 TDs.

The team acquired a couple of WRs during the offseason: Randall Cobb and Brandin Cooks. Both graded as a middle-of-the-pack wideout last year, per PFF.

Cobb will be 30 when the 2020 season begins. He had a very respectable season in Dallas last year by posting a 55-828-3 stat line.

Brandin Cooks topped the 1,000-yard mark in each of the 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 seasons. His play took a huge dip last year; he caught 42 passes for 583 yards and just 2 TDs with the Rams.

The big source of concern about Cooks is his injury history: he has suffered at least five concussions in the NFL. Will he bounce back with Watson as his quarterback? It’s hard to tell. If he goes down, at least the team has nice depth with Fuller, Stills and Cobb.

TIGHT ENDS (TE)

Darren Fells used to be viewed as a run blocker throughout his career. He had never caught more than 21 passes in a season. In 2019, he broke out with 34 receptions, but most importantly 7 TDs! Watson made good use of his big 6’7’’ frame.

Jordan Akins went from 17 to 36 receptions in his second year as a pro. Both Akins and Fells aren’t game breakers. They ranked 50th and 48th out of 66 tight ends based on PFF ratings in 2019.

OFFENSIVE LINE (OL)

This has to be the offense’s weakest link. Other than Laremy Tunsil, all starters are either average, or below-average. Tunsil did finish as the #21 tackle out of 81 qualifiers (he wasn’t as good in run blocking). The Texans gave up a lot of draft capital in order to acquire him and Stills, so they need Tunsil to produce.

The other guys on the line, along with their PFF rankings, are as follows: Nick Martin (18th out of 37 centers), Tytus Howard (60th out of 81 tackles), Zach Fulton (61st out of 81 guards) and Max Scharping (48th out of 81 guards). As for backup Roderick Johnson, who was re-signed to a one-year deal, he finished as the #42 tackle.

Last year, the Texans attempted the 20th-most passes in the league, and yet allowed the 8th-most sacks. And that’s despite having a pretty mobile quarterback. Those numbers are not re-assuring.

Since the same guys will be protecting Watson in 2020, you could be concerned about his health. The only good news is continuity is important on the offensive line. Having played a full year together might help improve their play.

2020 VS 2019 OFFENSE

It’s difficult not to downgrade this unit after losing such an impactful player like DeAndre Hopkins. At least they picked up adequate receivers like Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb. Along with Fuller and Stills, that will still provide nice weapons for Watson.

Switching Carlos Hyde for David Johnson isn’t necessarily an upgrade, in my humble opinion. Hyde did well in 2019 by finishing as the 18th-best RB (versus 22nd for Johnson).

The starting tight ends are the same as last year. The OL remains intact.

Overall, I’ll go with a small downgrade. Hopkins not only consistently racked up big numbers, but his presence alone opened things up for his teammates. It won’t be the case anymore.

Final call (2020 vs 2019): Small downgrade


4. Defensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (DL)

The Texans had four guys rotating on the interior of the defensive line. None dominated nearly as much as D.J. Reader. He left for Cincinnati, which is a huge loss for the Texans.

Reader was not much of a quarterback chaser, but he was an animal as a run stuffer. Despite posting just 2.5 sacks, Reader ranked as the 7th-best interior defender out of 114 qualifiers. The Texans were 25th in rushing yards allowed per game, and things are about to get worse following Reader’s departure.

Bill O’Brien tried to compensate for that loss by signing Tim Jernigan away from the Eagles. He is an “okay” player, but not nearly as good as Reader was.

The other three guys obtaining playing time at the position were Charles Omenihu, Angelo Blackson and Brandon Dunn. They all played between 37% and 41% of the snaps last year. Here were their PFF rankings out of 114 interior defenders: 84th, 113th and 97th. Ouch.

The organization hopes second-round rookie Ross Blacklock can provide a spark right away. He played pretty well as a freshman with TCU, then missed the entire 2018 season due to an Achilles injury and came back leaner and faster as a junior. He’s an agile pass rusher who isn’t super strong.

Therefore, we’re talking about a pretty weak and worsened group.

DEFENSIVE ENDS (DE) / EDGE (ED)

J.J. Watt is the heart and soul of this defense. In his first five seasons in the NFL, he hadn’t missed a single game. Since then, he has played 32-of-64 games (i.e. 50% of them).

Now 31 years old, Texans fans have to be concerned by the situation. He did get 16 sacks in 2018, though. The big question revolves around his health because the abilities are still there for sure.

Whitney Mercilus isn’t getting any younger either. He will be 30 years old when the next season begins.

He led the team with 7.5 sacks last year. As a whole, Houston’s defense posted the sixth-fewest sacks, so thank God Mercilus was there.

Unlike Watt, Mercilus has not missed many games throughout his career. He’s been involved in 15 games or more in seven of his eight seasons in the NFL. During those seven years, he has averaged 7 sacks per season.

We do observe a worrisome tendency when watching his PFF grades, though. His marks have gone down quite a bit over the most recent two years. Coupled with his age, I am wary of his 2020 outlook.

LINEBACKERS (LB)

Zach Cunningham did a very fine job at linebacker last season. He had the 6th-most tackles in the league with 142, improving upon his 105 the year before. The former second rounder from the 2017 draft out of Vanderbilt has shown some nice steady progress thus far. He graded as the 21st-best LB out of 89 players.

Benardrick McKinney is another guy that does a good job, despite not receiving much recognition around the league. He’s missed only two games over the past four seasons, while racking up at least 95 tackles in each of them.

McKinney had his worst PFF grade of his career, and yet finished in spot #30 out of 89 linebackers. Not bad! He’s still young at 27 years old, so a bounce back year is likely.

CORNERBACKS (CB)

Bradley Roby was one of the starting corners for the Texans last year, but he missed six games due to a hamstring injury. Prior to this, he had been very durable in five seasons with the Broncos.

As a former first-round pick, he’s had ups-and-downs in his career. Houston just locked him up with a lucrative three-year contract, so they believe he’s one of the building blocks towards a Super Bowl run. He ranked as an average CB last season based on PFF ratings.

Johnathan Joseph is done in Houston. Both sides agreed to part ways. He played almost all games last season, and just like Roby he was marked as an average cornerback.

After getting traded at midseason from the Raiders to the Texans, Gareon Conley significantly improved his play. The former 2017 first-rounder showed some promise and could be Joseph’s replacement.

Another candidate is Lonnie Johnson. Bill O’Brien took him in the second round of the 2019 draft, but he struggled big time in his rookie season. His 29.0 grade in coverage by PFF was abysmal. He finished as the worst of all 112 qualified cornerbacks in the NFL.

SAFETIES (S)

Justin Reid has been a nice pickup so far. In his first two seasons in the NFL, he has received very good marks from PFF. He has intercepted five passes, forced one fumble and recovered three.

Tashaun Gipson secured the number 71 spot out of 87 safeties in PFF rankings last season. His play tailed off significantly compared to his previous two years in Jacksonville. Entering his age-30 campaign, the team released him this offseason.

The #3 safety was Jahleel Addae, but he won’t be re-signed. The guy who is most likely to take Gipson’s job is Eric Murray. His three-year, $20.25 million contract is a bit of a head-scratcher (what else can you expect from Bill O’Brien), but the dollar amount indicates he has a good shot to be a starter.

Murray played his first three seasons with the Chiefs before joining the Browns last year. His PFF grades have been all over the place. As a rookie, his 74.0 mark was awesome! However, he crashed down to an atrocious 49.8 grade in his sophomore year before obtaining 67.5 and 62.5 the most recent two seasons. To me, he looks like a middle-of-the-pack guy (if not below-average).

2020 VS 2019 DEFENSE

In the secondary, the Texans let CB Johnathan Joseph and their #2 and #3 safeties Tashaun Gipson and Jahleel Addae go, but picked up Eric Murray. That’s pretty much a wash. For a team that allowed the fourth-most passing yards in 2019, it does not bode very well for 2020.

Replacing stud DL D.J. Reader with Tim Jernigan is clearly a downgrade. As for the edge rushers and the linebackers, no changes have been made. J.J. Watt missed eight games last year and will be back this year, but his age (and Mercilus’ age) worry me a little bit.

For these reasons, I expect this already fairly weak unit to decrease even more in terms of production.

Final call (2020 vs 2019): Small downgrade

MOST LIKELY RECORD: 8-8

(based on the one-million simulated seasons using BetOnline’s 2020 point spreads)


Thanks for reading, savvy sports bettor!!!

Professor MJ
submitted by David-MJ to sportsbook [link] [comments]

$DKNG Makes No Sense to Me - Lots of Thoughts

DKNG has seen huge gains this week, mostly focused on Tuesday and today, Thursday. Both days saw intraday spikes on sports-world news: on Tuesday afternoon a presser with Gary Bettman was announced and on Thursday it was announced that the Premier League would return in June. Oddly, the stock did not move back down at all after Bettman’s announcement turned out to just be an expanded playoff format, and nothing about a return to the ice. The Premier League news didn’t seem to have much impact on other sports betting stocks either.
Both of these events point towards something that seems obviously clear: DraftKings’ stock is hugely overpriced, but seems to keep being driven up just by trading. I think there are cases to be made for short term bull or bear, and for long term bear. I’m already in on the long term bear case with Nov ‘20, Dec ‘20 and Jan ‘21 Puts that have all taken a beating, but debating what the profitable short term play is.
For some context, I used to trade bonds on one of the biggest desks in NY, but moved to be closer to family a while ago and run my own business. My state is not supported by DraftKings, so keep in mind when reading that I am a bit salty towards the company and their ability to sniff out VPNs. Been a long time lurker here, but this is my first post.
The company’s Q1 earnings was pretty enlightening and quite the spin job. I was shocked to see the stock rise that day after what I read to be a pretty poor outcome. Growth in marketing expenses can be written off as entering new states, but seeing no growth in net revenue despite 30% growth in gross revenue means that the company has a growth problem, in other words almost all the revenue growth was driven by giving away free bets and reducing vig. Let’s look further at revenue growth though.
I found it very interesting that the company led with “30% revenue growth” when, in fact, that was only at Old DraftKings, which makes up about 75% of New DraftKings revenue. SBTech makes up the rest and grew at only 3%, giving the public company a 23% growth rate for the quarter, not 30% - spin job.
The company also gave us an interesting insight into coronavirus’ impact on their business, maybe unintentionally. At Old DraftKings, they noted 60% growth through March 10th. If we assume each day through the quarter is equal, that means the last 21 days of the quarter would have been down 70% vs Q1 ‘19, that’s big. However, we know not all days are created equal in the world of sports, and Q1 included 5 NFL playoff days and the Super Bowl. If we assume NFL betting days are 3x a normal day and the Super Bowl is 3x a normal NFL day, you can see your way to revenue post-March 10th being down 95%. A similar look at SBTech’s drop from +19% to only +3% means revenue post-coronavirus is down at least by half.
Another interesting lens to use in looking at the company is how they pitched themselves when the merger was announced five months ago in December. On slide 22 they compare their valuation to a variety of comps, trying to show that the valuation is fair, probably trying to alleviate the fact that the valuation for DraftKings was about 4x what Paddy Power paid for FanDuel 18 months earlier. I’m going to ignore the “EV / 2021E Revenue – Growth Adjusted” multiple that they highlight, because adjusting a forward looking multiple based on your own forward looking growth projections is absolute garbage, and instead look at EV / TTM 3/31 Revenue for those same comps.
At $39 per share, DraftKings has a market cap a bit over $15 billion on TTM revenue of $451 million, giving them a revenue multiple of 33.7x. For those of you that haven’t been around the block a few times, that is outrageously high. The “High Growth Consumer Internet” category that they selected is at 8.1x and “EU Sportsbook Operators” at 3.6x. Their best comp is probably Flutter, which is Paddy Power + Fanduel + Stars, trades at 7.8x. DraftKings deserves a higher multiple than Flutter given that they are pure-play USA vs Flutter which has a lot of retail european revenue that isn’t high growth, but the two companies currently have the same market cap, despite FanDuel being a direct comp to DraftKings with more market share in the fast growing business segments. Even if you said DraftKings should trade at a 50% premium to Flutter, which is being very generous, that implies a share price of only $13.50.
I know what you’re going to say: “this is all about more states allowing sports betting.” Fine, let’s look at what would need to happen at the state-level to get DraftKings’ current valuation to be reasonable. Going back to the December investor presentation, DraftKings estimates their sports book net revenue at $2.3 billion given 25% market share and 65% of the US having online betting, with a 22% allowance for promos from Gross to Net. That let’s us back into $4.5 billion of gross revenue at 100% of the population. Let’s then give them a 30% bump on that for iGaming. Using the company’s current $15 billion valuation and the same 50% premium to Flutter’s revenue multiple above (11.7x) that means they need $1.28 billion of revenue, or $831 million more than they currently have. $831 million more revenue needed means they need 14% more of the population to legalize in the very short term. Of the big five states, CA, TX, FL, NY and PA, none are going to add any population, with PA already online, NY choosing retail-only and the other three being no where close to legalization and widely considered by researchers and lobbyists to be years away. The remaining 46 states, including DC, average 1.3% of the population each, meaning you need a windfall of states to add 14% of the population.
Don’t get started on nationally legalized sports betting, no one is even pushing for that and it is never going to happen. The SCOTUS repeal of PASPA was as much about taking away the Federal Government’s ability to make national decisions like allowing or disallowing sports betting as it was about sports betting itself. Sports betting will roll out throughout the US, but it is going to be a state-by-state slog.
Another thing to consider is what the company might do with its highly valued stock. As we saw with Tesla a few months ago, a big run up in stock price is a great time to do some financial maneuvering. I think there are two very good options for management right now. The first is obvious: follow-on equity offering. In going public via a reverse merger with a SPAC, DraftKings barely tapped the big institutional investors. A follow-on would be a great way to load up the coffers further - anyone that watched TV in 2015 knows they love to spend money on ads - at a very attractive valuation for the company. The problem with this is that new shares coming in, or the follow-on pricing poorly, could be a big drag on the current share price.
Another option might be a little less obvious, but I think could make a lot of sense for the company: Buy William Hill. William Hill currently has a market cap of about $1.5 billion. They have a huge footprint in Europe, a market that DraftKings previously tried and (largely) failed to enter, are a big threat to DraftKings’ DTC approach in the US and have the tech that powers much of the land-based casinos’ sportsbook operations in the US. DraftKings could buy them with their cheap stock, or issue new equity to raise money for the acquisition. DraftKings would add a ton of revenue, could cut lots of duplicated costs, diversify across geographies and sports to temper their seasonality, and replace WillHill’s outdated tech with their much better apps. The big downside is that the CEOs of the two companies seem to really dislike each other.
One reason that I think the stock could be up so much since the “IPO” is that there are a very small number of liquid shares. Remember that this wasn’t an IPO at all, it was a reverse merger with a SPAC, meaning that a much higher percentage of outstanding shares are currently locked up than would be in a typical IPO. That constraint on supply with big retail demand could be a huge driver in the stock gain.
Circling back to be three cases for what I think could happen: - Short term bull: Sports come back, stock (irrationally) trades up on it - Short term bear: Correction to a more realistic valuation, bulls taking gains, any of NHL, NBA, MLB announce they won’t play again in 2020, financial maneuvering by the company - Long term bear: Correction to a more realistic valuation, bulls taking gains, any of NHL, NBA, MLB announce they won’t play again in 2020, financial maneuvering by the company, Q2 or Q3 earnings disappoint/are eye opening, any blip to the NFL cash cow, NBA or NHL ‘20-’21 season delays, lockup ending in October
Just giving my two cents on how I’m looking at this and trading it, and curious to hear any other thoughts or theories on real reasons why the stock is moving and where it is going.
Last thought: for those of you that like DraftKings at this price, you should LOVE Flutter at this price.
submitted by TheGlove2ReignMan to investing [link] [comments]

Will the Los Angeles Rams win OVER/UNDER 8.5 games? By University Stats Prof!

1. Introduction

The Rams looked almost unstoppable in 2018 when they finished with a 13-3 record and the second-highest scoring offense in the league. They made it to the Super Bowl, and that’s when things started to unravel for them.

New England won Super Bowl LIII by a 13-3 score. The Rams offense was limited to just 260 total yards; they were totally unrecognizable.

Their two biggest stars, Jared Goff and Todd Gurley, have not looked the same since that game. Their level of play took a big hit last year, and it led to a 9-7 season and missing the playoffs.

What will 2020 bring?

2. Offensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

2.1 Quarterbacks (QBs)

Jared Goff was a huge disappointment for fantasy owners. He did rack up 4,638 passing yards, but if you omit his rookie season, he had a career-low in TD passes with 22 and a career-high in interceptions with 16.

Goff graded as the 20th overall QB out of 37 by PFF. A much better production was expected of him, especially with some playmakers around him.

Its offensive line wasn’t as good as it was in the past. When your quarterback is as mobile as a statue, the results are bad. He struggles a lot when pressured; he doesn’t seem to be able to scramble or avoid the rush.

The team would love to upgrade the OL, but it’s an almost impossible task considering the team’s lack of cap space. For this reason, Goff is unlikely to match his 2017 and 2018 numbers, but the team hopes he can fare better than last year.

2.2 Running Backs (RBs)

Todd Gurley had four magnificent seasons with the Rams from 2015 to 2018. He was widely viewed as one of the best non-QB player in the league. He was racking up rushing yards, receiving yards and also a boatload of touchdowns.

Then, his play started to decline towards the end of the 2018 season because of knee and ankle injuries. His 2019 play wasn’t so good, including a pedestrian 3.8 yard-per-rush average.

The team got rid of him even though he’s only 25 years old. His knee issues appear to be chronic, which scared the team. His enormous contract also became a big problem.

Who is set to replace him?

The team pulled the trigger on Cam Akers in the 2nd round of this year’s draft. He was the #1 ranked RB coming out of high school. He had a tough time at Florida State running behind a putrid offensive line.

Akers has a very thick lower body. He has the skillset to become a three-down NFL runner since he showed promise as a pass catcher (albeit not spectacular in that part of the game). He has shown a great understanding at reading defensive fronts.

The Rams invested a 3rd round pick in 2019 on Darrell Henderson, so they are likely to give him all the opportunities to prove his worth. He only rushed 39 times for 147 yards (an ordinary 3.8 yards-per-carry average), while catching just four balls last year. And that was despite Gurley not playing very well, so I don’t recommend holding your breath hoping he can suddenly break out in 2020.

As for Malcolm Brown, he had more rushes and yards than Henderson, but his yards-per-rush average was no better. Brown did get into the end zone on five occasions, though. The undrafted runner from Texas seems unlikely to be a lead back in the NFL.

2.3 Wide Receivers (WRs)

Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods led the team with 94 and 90 receptions, respectively. Both surpassed the 1,100 receiving yard mark. Kupp hauled in 10 TD passes versus just two for Woods. Both are very reliable and well above-average receivers. A very nice duo to have for Goff.

The 2019 season was one to forget for Brandin Cooks. He had career-lows in receptions (42) and TDs (2), and pretty close to a career-low as well in terms of receiving yards with just 583. His five concussions as a pro and his bad contract enticed the team to trade him to Houston.

That opens the door for Josh Reynolds, who is clearly a huge downgrade compared to Cooks. That being said, second round pick Van Jefferson might push Reynolds for the number three role.

Jefferson is known for his route running prowess, which is something Sean McVay values. However, he doesn’t have extraordinary size, nor speed. His production in college wasn’t very impressive, as he never topped the 700 receiving-yard mark in any college season.

2.4 Tight Ends (TEs)

The Rams have a nice TE duo with Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett. They graded as the 3rd and 10th-best tight ends in the league last year, according to PFF ratings.

Gerald Everett entered 2019 as the #1 tight end for the Rams and he was on his way for a breakout season. In Week #11, he sustained a knee injury and he ended up missing a few games. During that time, Tyler Higbee did an astounding job and the team had no choice but to put Everett in the backseat.

Both of these guys will be back in 2020 and are entering their prime years. The future is bright at this position.

2.5 Offensive Line (OL)

L.A.’s offensive line struggled last year. The only guy who seems to be locked into a spot is left guard Andrew Whitworth. His play dipped last year, but he was still one of the best from this group.

The Rams have signed some bad deals recently, and they might have done another one this offseason. Why sign Whitworth for three years at an average of $10 million, knowing he’s 38 years old? He’s been very durable, but a 38-year-old body is more likely to get hurt. Also, his play might deteriorate even more this year.

Austin Blythe started the second half of the season at center following Brian Allen’s injury. Both had a subpar season and it remains to be seen who get the starting nod when the season opens.

Rob Havenstein was considered as a strong up-and-coming right tackle in the NFL until the wheels came off last year. He eventually got benched in favor of Bobby Evans. Both received marks around 50 from PFF, which is horrible.

David Edwards seems to have a shot to become the starting right guard. He was taken in the 5th round of the 2019 draft and he ended up starting 10 games last year. He finished as the 44th-best guard in the NFL among 81 guards. That’s not great, but it turns out to be a higher rank than most of his teammates.

Joseph Noteboom is another guy whose PFF grade cratered in 2019. It went from 70.7 in 2018 to 39.7 last year. He was overmatched and looked nothing like the promising third-round pick.

Austin Corbett might still be in play as well. He’s been nothing short of bad with the Browns and the Rams. He couldn’t make it into the starting lineup with the OL-desperate Browns.

2020 VS 2019 OFFENSE

The Rams didn’t add any offensive player worth of note via free agency.

However, they lost Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks. Both disappointed a lot last year, but they still had talent and contributed to some level last year.

I’m also worried about the team’s depth, except at the tight end position.

First, the backup WR position is questionable. If either Kupp or Woods get hurt, who will step in at WR? Reynolds isn’t ready to be a #2 receiver. Rookie Van Jefferson isn’t up to the task either.

Next, we don’t even know if the Rams have a #1 running back, let alone a viable backup. They have to hope for Cam Akers to be pro ready. Finally, the offensive line is a mess.

Therefore, it’s hard to envision an upgrade from this offense. They scored the 11th highest number of points in 2019 and I can hardly see them finishing above spot 11. Perhaps 14th-19th is more realistic.

Final call (2020 vs 2019): Moderate downgrade

3. Defensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

3.1 Defensive Linemen (DLs)

The interior of the defensive line is the strength of this defense. Having what may be the best defensive player in the league, Aaron Donald, clearly helps the cause.

Donald has obtained a PFF grade above 90 in each of his first six seasons in the league, which is unbelievable. For clarity purposes, note that just three DLs obtained a mark above 90 last year.

His numbers are staggering. He has averaged 12 sacks and 2.5 forced fumbles per year. He has also missed just two games during this 6-year period. It doesn’t get any better than this!

Michael Brockers agreed to terms with the Ravens, but the deal fell through because he failed a physical exam. Baltimore was too worried about a high-ankle sprain he suffered last year. A few days later, he signed a three-year contract with the Rams.

The team is glad to have him back. He was the 23rd-best DL out of 114 qualifiers, according to PFF. He will soon turn 30, but still has some gas left in the tank.

Los Angeles added some nice depth by acquiring A’Shawn Robinson, formerly of the Lions. He never lived up to his round 2 status and he struggled more last year, but his presence might help.

3.2 Defensive Ends (DEs) / Edge Rushers (ED)

Dante Fowler and Clay Matthews are gone. There goes 11.5 and 8 sacks.

Out of the two, Fowler’s departure hurts the most by far. He’ll be 26 years old when the season begins and he was coming off career highs in tackles, sacks and forced fumbles.

As for Matthews, his eight sacks were deceiving. He still received the lowest PFF grades of his 11-year career; his tackling was particularly horrible.

In order to alleviate those losses, the Rams signed Leonard Floyd. After being selected as the #9 overall pick in the 2016 draft, he posted seven sacks in 12 games during his rookie season. Things were looking up.

However, he picked up just 4.5, 4.0 and 3.0 sacks from 2017 to 2019. At least he defends the run well, which allowed him to finish above-average among all edge defenders in the NFL (based on PFF ratings).

Samson Ebukam has enjoyed three similarly “okay” seasons in the NFL thus far. He’ll be 25 years old so he could improve a little bit. He’s nice depth to have on your team.

3.3 Linebackers (LBs)

Cory Littleton leaving to Las Vegas is a huge blow to this defense. A very big loss. He led the team in tackles both in 2018 and 2019. He was a three-down player and it’s unclear how the team plans to replace him.

Troy Reeder is an undrafted guy who played 27% of the snaps. According to PFF, he finished as the second-worst LB in the league out of 88 guys. Enough said.

3.4 Cornerbacks (CBs)

Last October, the Rams made a lot of big moves.

First, they traded Marcus Peters to the Ravens, whose level of play increased dramatically after the trade. A few hours later, the Rams acquired Jalen Ramsey from the Jaguars, in return of a couple of first-rounders and a 4th round selection. Finally, the Rams shipped Aqib Talib to Miami for cap reasons.

Ramsey played pretty well in his nine games with the Rams. He’s been very good in each of his first four years in the league.

After the trade shuffling, Troy Hill became the starter opposite of Ramsey. He received good marks from PFF, but he seems likely to regress in 2020. He’s an undrafted guy who was used as a fill-in during his first four years in the NFL.

Nickell Robey-Coleman was a slot man for the Rams, and he was good at it. His 74.5 grade from PFF put him in the #16 spot out of 112 CBs. Unfortunately, he left for Philly and he leaves a hole in L.A.’s defense.

3.5 Safeties (S)

Eric Weddle was the most used safety in the team, but he decided to retire after an illustrious 13-year career. Hats off to him for missing just seven games during this time frame!

Last year the team drafted Taylor Rapp out of Washington in the second round. He had a satisfying season with 100 tackles, two interceptions and one TD. Despite such very respectable numbers, he graded as the 57th-best safety out of 87.

Who will fill the void left by Weddle? As of now, the most probable answer is John Johnson.

The former Boston College player enjoyed two very good seasons after being drafted in the third round. Indeed, 81.5 and 83.6 grades from PFF during those years was exceptional. However, he crashed down to a 53.5 mark last year, while also missing 10 games due to a shoulder injury. He really struggled early in the 2019 season.

2020 VS 2019 DEFENSE

The only defensive position where the Rams improved during the offseason is DL via the acquisition of A’Shawn Robinson. And to be honest, that’s not a huge improvement.

On the other hand, the team will be hurt big time from the loss of LB Cory Littleton. At edge, replacing Fowler and Matthews with Leonard Floyd won’t cut it.

More bad news in the secondary. Effective slot corner Nickell Robey-Coleman is gone, while starting safety Eric Weddle decided to hang his cleats. The Rams will be hard-pressed to find suitable replacements.

Thank God they have big-name players like Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey (and perhaps to a lesser level Michael Brockers) because the rest of the roster is pretty weak. If either player gets hurt, it could be catastrophic for this unit.

Last year, Los Angeles ranked 17th in terms of points allowed. I expect a severe downfall into the 24-30 range.

Final call (2020 vs 2019): Big downgrade

4. Regular Season Wins

According to sportsbooks, the Los Angeles Rams 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:


Here are the results:

Estimated Probability Sportsbook Odds ROI
OVER 8.5 WINS 49.3% Bookmaker.eu +116 +6.5%
UNDER 8.5 WINS 50.7% William Hill -110 -3.2%

Here are BetOnline’s point spreads for the Rams’ 16 regular season games:

Note: The “Best odds” from the table above were obtained after looking at 13 well-known online sportsbooks on May 18th, 2020.

This 6.5% ROI is the 28th-highest among the league's 32 teams. Tomorrow, I'll discuss the team whose ROI is 27th in the NFL (and I'll keep going every day with ROI improving each time).

I hope you found this article and in-depth statistical study insightful!

Professor MJ
submitted by David-MJ to sportsbook [link] [comments]

Super Bowl 54 Betting Preview Jonny OddsShark: How to Bet on Super Bowl LII Super Bowl LIII Predictions and Preview (Super Bowl Odds - Sunday, February 3, 2019) Super Bowl Odds Report  Super Bowl 2020 Spread and Total - February 2, 2020 NFL: How to bet on the Super Bowl

The New England Patriots' odds to win Super Bowl 55 have moved from 25-1 to 20-1 after signing Cam Newton to a one-year deal on Sunday night. The Patriots are still well behind both the Chiefs (favorites at 5-1) and Ravens (6-1) in the AFC, however, along with four NFC teams including Tom Brady's Buccaneers (10-1). Early Super Bowl 50 Odds Breakdown: Moneyline (SU), ATS and Total Lines Outlook Now that the Conference games are in the books, the next order of business is the Super Bowl 50 game, where the Panthers have opened the NFL lines as 4-point favorites. In some sportsbooks, the Panthers are already trading as high as 5-point favorites. Find the latest odds for all 32 teams to win the 2021 Super Bowl, and see how each team's Super Bowl 55 odds have changed from opening and through the 2020 NFL season. Upcoming Match-ups. Thursday 10. Sep. 8:20 PM. HOU. KC +10-10. 55. Sunday 13. Sep. 1:00 PM. SEA. ATL Super Bowl: Bet £5 Get £30. New customers only. Min qualifying bet £5 or more to receive 3x£10 Free Bet tokens. Redeemable against single or EW market only. Customer must be new to Sky Betting and Gaming, those with Sky Vegas, Sky Casino, Sky Bingo, Sky Poker are considered to be existing customers. Free bet stake not included in any winnings. The following provides more detail about the Super Bowl futures odds: Betting Odds to win Super Bowl 50. Embed from Getty Images. The top three favorites to win the Super Bowl heading into this weekend’s games were New England (+350), Arizona (+400) and Carolina (+450). The three teams with the longest betting odds to win were Houston (+5000

[index] [3420] [14069] [1063] [538] [12311] [11173] [14668] [5366] [13020] [3506]

Super Bowl 54 Betting Preview

Super Bowl Prop Bets 2019 and Betting Tips (Super Bowl Vegas Odds - Sunday, February 3, 2019) - Duration: 7:41. WagerTalk TV: Sports Picks and Betting Tips 1,949 views 7:41 Bet On It - Super Bowl Opening Odds, Super Bowl Prop Betting Tips, and Weekend Basketball - Duration: 51:08. WagerTalk TV: Sports Picks and Betting Tips 22,064 views 51:08 Super Bowl 2020 predictions, picks, and updated odds direct from the WagerTalk TV Studios in Las Vegas with Kelly Stewart, Marco D'Angelo, and Teddy Covers. The 49ers (13–3) and Chiefs (12–4 ... The opening Super Bowl Odds had the Chiefs PK with a total of 51, and the current spread and total have the Chiefs -1 and 54. 🏈 Printable 2020 Super Bowl Props Party Game https://wt.buzz/pp2020 Super Bowl Prop Bets 2019 and Betting Tips (Super Bowl Vegas Odds - Sunday, February 3, 2019) - Duration: 7:41. WagerTalk TV: Sports Picks and Betting Tips 1,947 views 7:41