A break even week for us in week two with winners at both 21/20 and 20/21. Cleveland looked comfortable as moneyline winners most the way through the game but I must admit I was slightly nervous when the Titans scored a TD with 7 minutes left to make it a one score game. The Browns reacted well though and Johnny Manziel led his offence to a final touchdown to take the win 28-14.
Week 2 roundup
There were some strange results in week two of the season, and no more surprising than in New Orleans, where rookie QB Jameis Winston got his first win as a pro where he was a 10 point underdog. I will be looking into lowering the Saints home field advantage in my power rankings after their sixth loss in a row at the Superdome.
NFL Power Rankings explained
Free NFL Pick for Week 1: Kansas City Chiefs @ Houston Texans
NFL Power Rankings explained
Power rankings are basically a list of every NFL team, the higher the number the better the team.
I assign 100 to the best team in the league, and usually no lower than 85 for the worst rated team. From these numbers I can assign a point spread to each game before seeing the actual line, which gives me an advantage when placing my bets.
For example, Green Bay are my joint second ranked team, and earn a rating of 99. Their opponent, the Chicago Bears are rated a lot lower, and have a number of 89. If you add the home-field advantage to the home team’s score (89+2.5) this gives you a true number for the Bears in this situation as 91.5. If you then do the math (99 – 91.5 = 7.5) this gives you a suggested point spread of Green Bay -7.5. The current available line for this game is Green Bay -6.5, which tells me there may be slight value in taking the road team. I usually look for a bigger disparity than this when making my selections though, anything north of 3 points difference makes me delve into the game some more.
In my opinion it is vital to have a point spread in mind before you have a look at the available lines because as soon as you look at the point spreads, your opinion on the game will instantly change. I see it no different to how you would treat other things in life.
Early College Football Season Handicapping Tips
ALL ODDS QUOTED ARE FROM UK BOOKMAKERS, US LINES MAY VARY
NFL 2015 Futures
AFC North – Baltimore are now clear favourites for this division at 13/8. This is due to the terrible pre-season Pittsburgh have gone through. The Steelers (9/4) have lost their starting center and two kickers, along with an added suspension to their second best WR. Cincinnati are third favourites at around 5/2, and I think they miss the playoffs this year for the first time with Andy Dalton under center. Cleveland prop up the betting for the AFC North, and are available at up to 12/1 in places. I will not be having a bet on this divison, as I have no idea how Pittsburgh are going to perform, particularly in the first 6 weeks of the season. Baltimore should win it, but the price is too short for me.
AFC East – This division took a turn on Thursday, with the suspension of Tom Brady being rescinded. New England were as big as 5/6 in places for the division, but since the news are now as short as 8/13 in places. I really like Miami (9/2) this year and think their defence will be solid and Ryan Tannehill is set to have his best season as a pro. The Dolphins aren’t playing the Patriots in the first four weeks, so were not due to benefit from a Brady-less offence, but Buffalo were. This makes the Bills schedule that bit tougher, and despite their defence being great I couldn’t back them at 11/2 to win the division. The NY Jets are the outsiders for the AFC East, and are available at 12/1, which isn’t big enough in my opinion. I think New England will be dangerous this year, no team plays better with a chip on their shoulder than the Belichick/Brady Patriots, and this year could be a 12 – 13 win season. The price of 8/13 is the biggest New England have been in the past few seasons, and I don’t see this being a more difficult season than previous years. Take the Patriots at 8/13.
AFC South – Indianapolis will win this division, but are un-backable at odds of 1/5. You are only ever one missed assignment away from serious injury, so it makes no sense for me to lock up any bankroll on such a short price. Houston will be more of a contender this year than they have the last two, and them featuring on Hard Knocks keeps the Texans fresh in everyone’s minds. They are available at 9/2, but I think they will fall short for the top spot but maybe could grab a playoff spot. The Jaguars and Tennessee are both available to back at 25/1 and like I have said before, this is nowhere near big enough. Both teams will improve, but are still a class below both Houston and the Colts.
AFC West – As I said in my previous post with updated odds, I cannot touch the Denver Broncos to win the AFC West at 1/2. Peyton Manning is another year older, learning another new offence, and has lost his tight end target, and also WR Wes Welker. Their offence has still looked good in the pre-season, and their defence is set to be great, but 1/2 is too short for me. I look to the Chargers, and have backed them at 7/2 to win the division. The Chargers have locked up Phillip Rivers to a long term contract, and have some real threats in the skill positions. Kanas City are 5/1 for the division, and I think they are limited on what they can do on the offensive side of the ball. The defence will keep them in games, but I don’t think the offence can back them up all that well. Finally the Oakland Raiders are currently 35/1 in places, they have no chance for the division. They will be better though, Derek Carr will be more confident in his second year as a pro, and has a solid offensive line to help him out. The improved targets of Michael Crabtree and rookie Amari Cooper will do no harm either and I think they will win more game than the 3 they managed in 2014.
NFC North – The Packers are 4/9 to win the division, and rightly so. Aaron Rodgers could be the best QB to ever play the game, and as long as he is on the field, Green Bay will win games. The loss of WR Jordy Nelson is a tough break, but as I said in my previous post they have plenty of options to replace him. Detorit are second favourites and can be backed at odds of 5/1. Their defence will have a different look this year with no Fairley of Suh, but they still look like a talented bunch. On the offence, Matt Stafford always gives you yards through the air, and is helped by Golden Tate and Calvin Johnson. Their running game should also be good, rookie sensation Ameer Abdullah arrived on the scene in the pre-season, and will prove to be a good 1-2 punch with starter Joique Bell. The Vikings welcome back star running back Adrian Peterson, this will be a relief to second year QB Teddy Bridgewater. It takes the pressure off slightly, but Peterson is another year older and will have to go some to be near his best. Minnesota (8/1) won’t win the division, but could challenge the Lions to the second spot and a possible wildcard position. Finally, Chicago are as high as 16/1, and this seems to be about right. Alshon Jeffrey is a big threat, but first round pick WR Kevin White, who was set to replace Brandon Marshall, looks like he will miss his rookie season, which is a negative for the offence. QB Jay Cutler is streaky, and can sometimes rub his teammates up the wrong way. To me, the Bears are one of the least exciting teams in 2015, and I think they are in for a rough season.
NFC East – Philadelphia have been outstanding in the pre-season and have averaged over 38 points per game. Pre-season doesn’t mean much though and I think their success has been down to the fact they have played vanilla defences so far. They have added DeMarco Murray to the offence, and have a new quarterback in Sam Bradford. They are favourites to win the divison at odds of 13/8, but I am looking elsewhere. Dallas, also 13/8, have a tough season ahead and I think they take a step backward in 2015. I don’t like Jason Garrett as a head coach, and I think the offensive line over performed in 2014. The Cowboys were also fortunate in turnover margin, which is the single most important stat when finding the winner of any one match. Turnovers are random, and I expect a regression to the mean this season. I think they struggle to 8 games, and will end up missing the playoffs. Before the pre-season started, I loved the NY Giants but I have been slightly put off with what I have seen from the offensive starters. Odell Beckham Jr hasn’t performed anywhere near his 2014 form and the Victor Cruz injury is lingering more than I expected. I still like the Giants though, and would recommend taking them at odds of 4/1 to win the division. They open the season on the road in Dallas and if they win here, which I think they can, they will be a lot shorter than 4/1 to win the divison. Washington are a mess and have now decided to explore the option of Kirk Cousins as the starting QB. RGIII is still on the roster though and if Cousins goes down, he will be the next man up. I don’t like the offence or defence of the Redskins in 2015: they are too short for the division at odds of 16/1.
NFC South – New Orleans are favourites for the division and are still available at odds of 2/1. I am unsure how well Drew Brees will play this season, he is another year older and has lost his favourite target in TE Jimmy Graham. Rob Ryan has been slowly improving the defence, but they were still a long way from great in 2014. WR Brandin Cooks has emerged as a major talent, he will be a key part of the offence which will always be exciting. Atlanta are joint favourites at 2/1, and this is who I like for the NFC South. Dan Quinn is the new head coach, bringing in a new system on the offensive line and has adjusting the defence from a 3-4 to a 4-3 front. This should spark some life back into the team, who have had a serious dip in wins over the past two seasons. Their schedule is on the soft side and I like the offensive weapons of Julio Jones and Roddy White. Carolina were also 2/1 a few weeks back, making it a three-way tie for favouritism, but due to injuries have slipped down to 5/2 for the title. The Panthers defence are set to be good again, but Cam Newton will miss Kelvin Benjamin as a target. Second round pick WR Devin Funchess is also side-lined, so we could see Newton’s over-throwing problems creep back into his game. He still has Ted Ginn Jr and Jerricho Cotchery as targets, but neither are as good as Benjamin, so I expect an offensive struggle. Tampa Bay have a chance to be good in 2015, but their poor offensive line will limit QB Jameis Winston in his first season as a pro. The weapons are there, WR duo Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans can rival most 1-2 receiver combinations in the league, but if Winston isn’t kept upright, he will struggle in his rookie season. They are just 8/1 to win the divison, which regularly throws up surprising winners.
NFC West – Seattle are still the class of the division, possible the league, but are too short for me to back at odds of 1/4. They have a new defensive coordinator and will also be missing some important pieces from the famous ‘Legion of Boom’ defensive unit. Arizona (7/1) are primed to make a run at the NFC West, after an impressive start to the 2014 season. The Cardinals were 9-1 when starting QB Carson Palmer went down with injury and despite still making the playoffs, Arizona were nowhere near the team at the start of the season and were knocked out in the wildcard round. I love Head Coach Bruce Arians and think if the offence can tick along nicely, the defence will make this team a threat. St Louis have a new QB in ex Eagle Nick Foles and also selected a star running back in the 2015 draft. Unfortunately, first round pick Todd Gurley is still recovering from a torn ACL, but is expected to feature early in the season. This team have been in a ‘rebuilding’ phase for a few years, is this their time to shine? Available at 9/1 with some bookies, I still think they are a year or two away and I would like to see how well Gurley has recovered before I put my money down. San Francisco are the outsiders this year, and odds of 16/1 still isn’t big enough to tempt me. Last season the team quit on head coach Jim Harbaugh, but are now missing a high number of players from their NFC Championship team of 2013. I am also not convinced with the hiring of Jim Tomsula as the new Head Coach, but at least he has the respect of the team, having been a 49eres coach in one form or another since 2007. If QB Colin Kaepernick can re-find his form, Tomsula could have instant success, but I’m not convinced and think they challenge for third spot in the NFC West with the St Louis Rams.
Divisional Bets: AFC East – New England – 8/13 (Bet Victor)
AFC West – San Diego – 7/2 (Bet Victor)
NFC East – NY Giants – 4/1 (Ladbrokes)
NFC North – Green Bay – 4/9 (Paddy Power)
NFC South – Atlanta – 2/1 (Skybet)
Conference Bets: AFC – Indianapolis – 5/1 (Skybet, each way top two ½ odds) ***
AFC – Miami – 14/1 (Bet Victor)
AFC – San Diego – 14/1 (Bet Victor)
NFC – NY Giants – 20/1 (Skybet, each way top two ½ odds)
Super Bowl 50: Green Bay – 13/2 (Bet365)
Indianapolis – 10/1 (Skybet)
NY Giants – 40/1 (William Hill)
Regular Season Wins: Arizona over 8.5 wins – 6/5 (Bet365) **
Arizona under 8.5 wins – 6/5 (Paddy Power) **
Dallas over 9.5 wins – 11/10 (Ladbrokes) **
Dallas under 9.5 wins – 21/20 (Bet Victor) **
Philadelphia over 9.5 wins – 11/10 (Bet Victor) **
Philadelphia under 9.5 wins – 5/4 (Paddy Power) **
Pittsburgh over 8.5 wins – 11/10 (Bet Victor) **
Pittsburgh under 8.5 wins – 5/4 (Stan James) **
Seattle under 11 wins – evens (William Hill)
Seahawks would have to win 12 games for this bet to be a loser. You will get money back if they win 11.
Below are the current lines for week one of the NFL regular season. You will notice some of the point spreads have moved since my initial post on week 1, found here.
ALL ODDS QUOTED ARE FROM UK BOOKMAKERS, US LINES MAY VARY