Friday, June 26, 2015

2015 NFL Season Win Totals Picks: Washington Redskins

I am happy to announce that I will once again be covering the NFC East this season for Doc's Sports. While the start of the 2015 regular season is still over two months away, I wanted to get the ball rolling with a in-depth look at each of the four teams projected win total along with the betting odds for the "over" and the "under".

Starting lowest to highest, the following is a link to my win total preview and prediction for the Washington Redskins as previously posted on Doc's Sports website.

2015 NFL Season Win Totals Picks: Washington Redskins

Friday, June 19, 2015

2015 CFL Futures

My CFL Futures Odds Preview is reprinted by permission of Sports Betting Stats

2015 Canadian Football League Futures Odds

The CFL is gearing up for another season of football “north of the border” and Bovada has recently updated its futures odds to win this season’s championship. The following is a closer look at some of the top contenders to take home a Grey Cup title in 2015.
CFL 2015 Grey Cup Futures Odds

The Calgary Stampeders impressive run to the 2014 Grey Cup title in the CFL has them listed as the favorites to repeat, but teams such as Saskatchewan and Edmonton are also gearing-up for a run at the Grey Cup with a new regular season of action set to kick things off a bit later this month.

The following is a look at my top three teams to win this season’s CFL Grey Cup based on betting odds from Bovada.

Top Valued Favorite

Calgary has been listed as a 10/3 favorite to successfully defend its 2014 Grey Cup title, but Montreal in 2009 and 2010 were the only team to win back-to-back titles since Toronto in the late 90’s so it remains a tall task. I am going with the second team on Bovada’s list as my top-valued favorite with a play on the Saskatchewan Roughriders at 5/1 betting odds. The Roughriders won the Grey Cup in 2013 and they remained in the thick of things last year despite losing their quarterback Darian Durant for a good part of the season due to injury.

The Roughriders will have a pair of new coordinators heading into the 2015 season with Jacques Chapdelaine running the offense and Greg Quick handling things on the defensive side of the ball. With Durant in the lineup, they won eight of 10 games, so the key to another Grey Cup run is still in his hands (and throwing arm).

Top Valued Contender

The West Division remains stacked after sending four teams to last season’s playoffs, but I am going to go with the East’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats as my top-valued contender at 13/2 odds to win the 2015 Grey Cup title. The Tiger-Cats have been to the last two Grey Cup Finals and in 2014 they gave Calgary all it could handle in a tough 20-16 loss as 6.5-point underdogs. The main difference in that game was a Hamilton kick return for a touchdown that was wiped off the board due to a penalty.

Zach Collaros has emerged as one of the most exciting young quarterbacks in the CFL and the versatile Brandon Banks was a duel threat as a receiver and on special teams returning kicks. The key to making the third time a charm could lie in a young defense that was prone to some bad mistakes at times, but still fairly solid overall. The Tiger-Cats are going to have to do a better job at winning on the road after going just 2-7 in nine road games as part of an overall record of 9-9.

Top Valued Longshot

The British Columbia Lions have turned the reins over to Jeff Tedford this season after a very productive run in the college ranks as head coach of the Pac 12’s California Golden Bears. They made in into the postseason last year in the highly competitive West Division with a record of 9-9, but the Lions are counting on Tedford to help this team close the gap with a better performance on both sides of the ball. Bovada’s betting odds that they make the leap all the way to Grey Cup Champions have been set at 6/1 and while they are technically not huge longshots compared to the posted odds for some of the teams in the East, it would be still be quite a feat to take home this year’s title given the level of competition the Lions will face in their division.

One of the concerns has to be the health of quarterback Travis Lulay, who missed time last season with a shoulder injury. If he can quickly return to form, he may be the perfect player to effectively run Tedford’s quick tempo offense where the passing game is the primary means to moving the ball downfield.

Other CFL Futures Odds

The betting odds for the other CFL teams on Bovada’s list start with Calgary at the top at 10/3 odds. Edmonton follows Saskatchewan as an 11/2 third-favorite. Next on the list after BC and Hamilton at 8/1 odds are both Montreal and Toronto. Winnipeg is once again expected to bring up the rear in the West at 17/2 odds to win a title and Ottawa has the longest odds on the board at 20/1 after winning just two games as an expansion team in the East last year.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Betting on the Eagles' Vital Numbers

We are getting to the point of this long and arduous NFL offseason where it is worth taking a closer look at the 2015 NFL futures odds that have already been posted and recently updated for all 32 NFL teams in an effort to try and find some solid value in the numbers. For the sake of this week's post, I have consulted BetOnline sportbook to get the most up-to-date NFL futures for the Philadelphia Eagles to see where the best value lies in all of their particular betting odds for the upcoming season.

Super Bowl 50 Odds to Win: +2000

I am one of the most optimistic Eagles' fans in the world, but unless everything goes this team's way this season, it is still a few players away from being a legitimate Super Bowl-caliber team. Do not get me wrong, I think that head coach Chip Kelly has made some bold personnel moves to make this a very good team that has the potential to overachieve at the highest level, but the value in the risk/reward when it comes to betting on Philly to win a Super Bowl this season is just not there.

NFC Championship Odds to Win: +1000

Winning an NFC Championship is a much more obtainable goal as the fourth-best team on the list behind Seattle (+250), Green Bay (+350) and Dallas (+650); however this could be a stretch as well given the current unknowns with the Eagles' new-look offense and its untested re-tooled defense. This is the same scenario as winning the Super Bowl in that everything would have to go their way in the regular season to earn one of the top two seeds in the conference. I would not rule out a small wager on the Birds winning the NFC this year, but I still do not see all that much value in their current betting odds.

NFC East Division Odds to Win: +150

Most times the betting odds for futures are weighed heavily on the recent past as the betting public has the tendency to form its opinions based on what happened in the previous season. This is the only explanation I can come up with as to why Dallas has been listed as a +140 favorite to repeat as NFC East champs. The Cowboys still have some major holes on a defense that was ranked 19th in the NFL last season in total yards allowed and they lost their best player on offense (DeMarco Murray) to their division rivals. You can talk about the Cowboys' offensive line all you want, but putting the ball back into Tony Romo's hands to try and win games adds-up to another 8-8 record in my book.

The Cowboys' anticipated decline plays right into my rational to go big with a wager on the Eagles' +150 futures odds to reclaim the division title in 2015. I will admit that part of this is wishful thinking, but I honestly do believe that the loss of Murray will have a major impact on the Cowboys' offense in a negative way while he quickly makes Eagles' fans completely forget about Shady McCoy.

Total Projected Wins: 9.5 (-105 OVER & -125 UNDER)

This futures bet goes hand-in-hand in my prediction that Philadelphia win the NFC East. In my "everything goes their way" scenario, I have the Eagles winning 12 or 13 games this season, but a more realistic prediction is a third-straight record of 10-6, which should be more than enough to end-up at the top of the list in this division.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Chip Kelly: Crazy Genius or Just Plain Crazy?

Going back over of few of my posts on this blog earlier in the year when Eagles' head coach Chip Kelly was wheeling and dealer players like Monte Hall, I found that I was rather critical of his moves at the time. After taking time to digest the entire situation, I have come to the conclusion that those early observations and comments were premature, unfounded and actually unfair.

My problem was that I got too caught-up in conventional thinking which has run rampant in the NFL over the past several years. There can only be one Super Bowl winner each season, while there can be any number of NFL head coaches and general managers that start making roster moves with self-preservation of their jobs at the top of their mind. Bold moves are not all that common in this league when it comes to building a winner, but that is basically the equivalent of playing not to lose as opposed to playing to win.

Ever since Kelly decided to leave the college ranks at Oregon to take the head coach position in Philadelphia, nothing he has done has been conventional. Most NFL experts highly questioned whether his fast-paced, up-tempo offensive scheme that turned the Ducks into a national power at the collegiate level would work at the pro level. It went against the time-honored perception that controlling the clock was directly linked to winning in this league. Kelly has not only challenged this theory, he has openly stated that he does not even care about time of possession. To him, it is all about scoring as many points as possible. I think everyone would agree that defense does win championships, but it also helps when your offense can consistently put-up almost 30 points a game.

Another time-honored perception in the NFL is that a 10-win team does not trade away its starting quarterback and running back while letting its top receiver leave via free agency. Kelly has now decided to challenge this theory with offseason moves that have completely changed the complexion of this team. This made more than a few NFL experts scratch their heads in disbelief and I was guilty of joining that school of thought. Kelly has put character ahead of talent in certain cases because he knows you can win most of your games with talent, but you win championships with character.

I am going on record right now as becoming one of the biggest Chip Kelly fans out there. He makes these bold moves in what he honestly believes is in the best interest of his team. The ultimate goal of all 32 NFL teams is to win a Super Bowl, but he is one of the few guys in this league that is willing to put everything on the line to walk the walk to achieve this lofty goal.

Only time will tell if Kelly turns out to be the "Wizard of Broad Street" by bringing home a long awaited title, but the reason I have changed my entire perspective is the fact that he stands tall in his convictions by risking his reputation and career to get the job done. He knows he will eventually be run out of town if he pulls another "Andy Reid Show" by tempting the fans with one winning regular season after another only to come up short in the playoffs. I admire his defiant stance at times to push an unconventional agenda that is strictly designed to build a team that will take that final step to Super Bowl glory.