Thursday, April 30, 2015

NFL Draft Prop Bet Picks

I have no idea what Chip Kelly has up his sleeve for tonight's first round of the NFL Draft as well as for the other six rounds on Friday and Saturday so I am not even going to attempt to post my final mock draft as originally planned because I happen to truly believe it would be a tremendous waist of time. This will be his third draft as the Eagles' head coach, but his first as a general manager with complete control of all player personnel decisions so anything can happen between now and when Tampa Bay is "on the clock" with the first overall pick.

What I did decide to do is make a few picks on some of the numerous betting props that have been released in conjunction with tonight's opening round.The first set of betting odds deal with the eventual draft position for some of the top prospects in this year's draft. I decided to zero-in on Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper and Georgia running back Todd Gurley as two of my top picks.

The betting odds that Cooper is selected before the sixth overall pick of the first round are set at -120 and they remain the same that he is picked higher than that. Most draft experts are confident that the Oakland Raiders will select Cooper with the fourth overall pick and I happen to agree. The names and faces with this franchise may have changed since the days when owner Al Davis made all of the personnel decisions, but I believe the general philosophy of drafting speedy wide receivers has not. Cooper is widely considered the best prospect at wide receiver in a very deep pool of talent and more than worthy of being a top five pick.

I also took a hard look at the betting odds for Gurley's draft position which were set at -120 for both UNDER or OVER 15.5. Draft guru Todd McShay had him going to the New York Jets on one of his most recent mock drafts, while his counterpart Mel Kiper Jr. has Gurley falling to Cleveland with the 19th pick of the first round. I am not sure what the Jets are going to do with that pick, but I am going to side with McShay that Gurley is "off the board" by the time Houston is "on the clock" with pick No. 16.

Running backs rarely get picked in the first round since many teams feel they can find a quality runner in the later rounds of the draft. While I do think that Gurley breaks the mold in this year's draft, I am going with the UNDER 1.5 at +500 on total running backs taken in the first round. Even though the money line odds on the OVER have skyrocketed to -1000, I still think he will be the only player at that position to go in the first 32 picks. The next best running back on the board is Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon, who is projected by many draft experts to go late in the first round, but I am not buying it. Offensive and defensive linemen are always in high demand and this draft is extremely deep in wide receivers and quality defensive backs. Gordon would be a steal for any team that does draft him, but it will not be in the first round.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Betting on Tim Tebow as an Eagle

Anyone who follows sports betting knows that between the betting odds that the Las Vegas sportsbooks release along with the ones posted on any number of different offshore books, you can pretty much wager on just about anything. A perfect example are the current Tim Tebow prop bet odds that just released concerning his tenure as the newest member of the Philadelphia Eagles.

I am beginning to think that the Birds' head coach Chip Kelly gets bored if he is not the topic of conversation around the NFL at least once a week, so he vaulted is team back into the media spotlight this past Monday by signing former Heisman Trophy winning quarterback and Florida standout to a one year contract.

Tebow has been out of the league since the 2013 preseason and he has not appeared in an NFL regular season game since the 2012 season, but none the less, Kelly believes that he is just the guy to revitalize the career one of the most polarizing players to ever play the position of quarterback in the NFL. I do not get paid to make those kind of decisions so maybe Kelly knows something that has completely escaped the personnel departments of 31 other NFL teams.

Now that Tebow is an Eagle, I will actually root for him to make the team's 53-man roster heading into the 2015 regular season, but I am not sure I am ready to bet on it. The betting odds he gets cut before the team's first preseason game on Aug. 13 have been set at +200 and the odds go up to +280 he actually makes it through the final cuts to earn a regular spot on the team.

Assuming Tebow is available to play come opening day, the betting odds that he records a passing touchdown in the regular season are set at +500, which are the same odds that he runs the ball in for score. The final player prop on the board sets the betting odds at +2500 that he actually gets traded from the Eagles.

Maybe Kelly has some grand scheme to utilize Tebow in some other position in his offensive scheme. You can bet on this as well with odds set for what position he lines up in for his first play in the NFL regular season. The best odds on the board are set at -600 for quarterback. The next best odds are +400 he lines up as a wide receiver or tight end and they go up to +500 he lines up at running back or plays on special teams. The longest odds on the board is that Tebow lines up on the other side of the ball on defense at +2500. I would not rule out any of these options with Kelly pulling the strings on this team.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Is Landon Collins the Eagles' Next First Round Pick?

Chip Kelly has quickly gained a reputation among NFL head coaches as someone that marches to a different beat when it comes to personnel decisions for his team. Last year he had no qualms about releasing wide receiver DeShawn Jackson even though he was coming off his best season as a pro. This year, he has really shaken things up by trading away his starting quarterback and running back while letting his top receiver depart via free agency. Given these past moves, speculation is still running high that Kelly is cooking-up some kind of draft-day trade or trades to land his former quarterback from his coaching days at Oregon, Marcus Mariota.

Most of the talk about making such a bold move is based on pure speculation and when you start reading about how the Eagles are going to trade for Johnny Maziel and Cleveland's first-round pick as part of this Mariota scheme it is time to seriously start checking the sources. I personally think that Kelly is going to play things pretty close to the vest on April 30 and select the best available player that fits the biggest need with the 20th overall pick in this year's draft.

Both Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay get paid quite a bit of money as the top two NFL Draft experts in the country. This time of year they are regulars on ESPN with their mock draft projections and football fans all over the country tune-in to see which player their favorite team is going to draft in the first round. Both of these NFL Draft guru's have Philadelphia selecting Alabama safety Landon Collins in the first round.

This makes perfect sense to me given the recent departure of Nate Allen to Oakland via free agency along with the fact that the Eagles do not have someone in place to fill his shoes. Kelly has already given the defensive secondary a complete makeover with the addition of cornerbacks' Byron Maxwell from Seattle and Walter Thurmond III from the New York Giants while also saying goodbye to Bradley Fletcher, who is now in New England. This all combines to make safety the team's top overall need heading into the draft.

Collins is a logical choice given his athleticism and skill set. Another plus would be his ability to immediately fit in perfectly with defensive coordinator Billy Davis's scheme. He stands 6-foot-0, 228 lbs. and with the build of an outside linebacker he can provide both pass coverage as well as help against the run. The Eagles have not had an imposing figure at the safety position since Brian Dawkins roamed the secondary and right now (on paper) Collins appears to fit the bill.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Eagles' 2015 Preseason Breakdown

The NFL recently released the 2015 four-game preseason schedule. While most fans may not pay all that much attention to these exhibition matches, they could be extremely important this year for an Eagles' team that will have to gel quickly on both sides of the ball given all the new faces that have been added through blockbuster trades, free-agent signings and the upcoming college draft. The one constant under third-year head coach Chip Kelly is change.

The Birds will open-up play in Week 1 at home against Indianapolis, which is favored by many to win the AFC this season. This could be a good early test for a rebuilt defensive secondary against one of the best passing teams in the league. Most draft experts still expect Kelly to use the 20th overall pick in this year's NFL Draft on either a cornerback or safety and, if that is the case, the spotlight will shine heavy on whomever that player may be.

Week 2 brings Baltimore to Lincoln Financial Field in what has become a fairly annual preseason matchup between these two inter-conference teams. This game should present a solid test for Sam Bradford; assuming he will still be the Eagles' starting quarterback come this August. I never bought into the conspiracy theory that Kelly traded for Bradford only to use him as a trading pawn to move up the board to get a shot at former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota in the draft. In light of an injury-plagued career, people tend to forget that Bradford was the first overall pick of the 2010 draft.

The Eagles will head on the road to face Green Bay for that all-important third preseason game, which is often used as one final dress rehearsal before the start of the regular season. Given the fact that the Packers are one of the top two favorites to win the NFC in 2015, this game should provide an excellent gauge of how well all of Kelly's new acquisitions actually fit together to form what every Eagles' fan is hoping will be a championship-caliber team.

The final exhibition game pits the Birds on the road against the New York Jets, in what has become another annual preseason tradition. This will be Kelly's final chance to evaluate the players that will fill those last few roster spots. There could be some key battles still raging in the defensive secondary or with the Birds' suddenly crowded receiving corps on offense. The truth of the matter is that this final game is for the type of fans that have nothing better to do on a late-summer Thursday or Friday night.

Friday, April 3, 2015

NFL Offseason Betting Report: Handicapping Some Early Futures Odds

In a previous post on Eagles Lincs, I took a closer look at the Eagles' most up to date futures odds to win Super Bowl 50 on Following an unprecedented offseason of change in the team's roster, it was determined that the betting public appears to be somewhat bullish on head coach Chip Kelly's complete makeover. Philadelphia's overall numbers have moved in the right direction, but it is still just seventh on the list to win the Super Bowl at +1800 and it is a +900 fourth-favorite to win the NFC.

This past week in an NFL offseason betting report for Doc's Sports, I took a closer look at all the futures odds to make a few bold predictions for the 2015 season. Being the homer that I am, I determined that the best value on the board was taking the Eagles to win the NFC. It did come with one major caveat concerning the health of just about everyone of the new players that Kelly just acquired.

The Birds have put themselves in the ultimate "if everything goes right" scenario as far as winning anything next season. If Sam Bradford and DeMarco Murray can both stay healthy for every game on the schedule then I honestly believe that the Eagles' offense will be one of the top two or three in the NFL as far as putting points on the board. Another big "if" as far as health can basically be applied to almost every new addition to the Eagles' roster. Kelly has really decided to roll the dice with a ton of new talent that has had a history of missing quite a bit of time with major injuries in their NFL careers.

The following is a link to my article as previously posted on Doc's Sports.

NFL Offseason Betting Report: Handicapping Some Early Futures Odds