Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cashing In on the NFL

Some guy who runs a gambling site in Vegas was on ESPN this morning talking about Super Bowl odds. It's late August and it is time for those of you so inclined to start paying attention. The Dallas Cowboys were the favorite at 9:1. Are you kidding me? The favorite? I want to run a Super Bowl Odds book. A group of teams including the Saints, Colts, Chargers and Ravens checked in between 10:1 and 13:1. The Jets also were listed at 13:1 and the Patriots at 14:1. The Steelers were an enticing 22:1.

This is were Vegas makes money. One winner, thirty-one losers. You and I can't get on the other side of these bets but if I could, from the list above, I'd love to get some action against the Cowboys, Ravens and Jets.
  • Dallas has offensive weapons, but Tony Romo hasn't done it in the big games. They got absolutely smoked by the Vikings in the playoffs last year and Wade Phillips doesn't exactly elicit the I've-got-it-all-figured-out persona that you want from your head coach. I'm open for business at 9:1.
  • The Ravens are missing Ed Reed for at least the first six games and their starting corners are terrible. Ray Rice is a really good back, but I'm not yet sold on Joe Flacco being the real deal. For this year's biggest disappointment I present the 6-10 Baltimore Ravens.
  • I love Hard Knocks. I'd never seen it before this year. Mistake. It's great. I love Rex Ryan. In fact I love everything about the Jets. The show makes the Jets easy to root for. But the Jets aren't there yet and they have a brutal early season schedule. In fact, if things don't break right out of the shoot, the Jets could be 2-5 when they head to Detroit November 7. Their first three home games are against Baltimore, New England and Minnesota. Going 2-1 in those three would be good. If they go 0-3 the fans' fondness of the team and its new stadium might wear off quickly. Put me down for the Jets not making the playoffs this year.
Who do I like? Well the clown on ESPN didn't list the odds for every team, so let's use's odds. I see value in the Niners, the Texans and the Steelers.
  • My sleeper team this year is San Francisco. I could find fifty guys and put together a team that could compete in their division. The Rams are beyond horrible, the Seahawks are nearly as bad and Arizona is choosing, literally not sure at the moment, between Matt Leinhart and Derek Anderson as their starting QB. Really that's all you need to know. You don't need to know anything about the Niners themselves. Playing in that division should guarantee five wins. Throw in games with Kansas City, Oakland, Tampa, Denver and Carolina and this team is a lock to make the playoffs. That's all you can ask for. At 25:1 put some shekels on the Niners. (And just to go on record, put Niners quarterback Alex Smith down as being the most impactful player in the NFL this year. Not the best, but the most influential on his team's fortunes. If he somehow finds a way to put it together like the guy who runs the next team, the Niners could win the Super Bowl.)
  • Texans quarterback Matt Schaub is the most underrated player in the league. My post on quarterbacks will be out shortly, but let me tease it my saying Schaub sits just outside the top five. Houston's biggest problem the past few years has been getting off to terrible starts and then having to make up too much ground to make the playoffs. Look for this year to be different. They open with division rival Indianapolis at home, but they should win four of their next five before seeing the Colts again. Running back is an issue and so is the secondary, but that's why they are 40:1. A farthing on Houston please.
  • It's never good to be financially involved with the team you support, but the Steelers are a much better team than the oddsmakers think. They blew five fourth quarter leads last year, gave up eight returns for touchdowns and still went 9-7. Having Troy Polamalu and Aaron Smith back in the mix should mean no more late leads lost. The Roethlisberger suspension seems to have delivered a message the QB has taken to heart. He is in the best shape of his life and had a great camp. No question he's on a mission. If the team can win the home opener against Atlanta they should be at least 3-1 when Ben gets back. Installing first round pick Maurkice Pouncey as the starting center will hopefully stabilize the offensive line. I see 11-5 and a division title. At 22:1 you should probably get involved too.

1 comment:

jimmytheitalian said...

agree 100% on dallars, sf, and houston. and that jets are overrated--last year 9-7, the last two wins would have been losses if indy and cinci had anything to play for. but, addition of santonio and cromartie are huge, and sanchez a year better. so they are good, but not as good as advertised.
i disagree on the steelesr though...yes, those odds are enticing, but they are still weak i coverage and on o line, and if wallace is your 2nd best receiver, i dont think you go 11-5. and disagree on flacco..i think he is the real deal, though ravens are not a top 5 team even with that. more like top 10.