Enda's Bets: Money to be made on Bills, Dolphins, MORE
Our first betting preview of the 2019 season! It'll take some time for these season-long bets to pay out, but getting on them now is going to bank us some of the easiest money all year.
Today we're looking at some over/ unders. Combined, we're looking at a 17.5/1 shot, per Oddchecker. The bets can be made at different bookmakers for around the same price. Look into your own bookie for exact details.
Stay tuned for some longer-odd prop bets that will include previews of our 22/1 Defensive Player of the Year, a 26/1 AFC Championship game prediction and more. That's coming soon.
Buffalo Bills Over 6.5 Wins @ 8/15
Our first look at 2019 starts with a bang. The Bills? THE BILLS? I can imagine what people are thinking.
Buffalo is built the right way. They have a quality head coach in Sean McDermott and one of the league's best defenses (especially in their coverage packages). Quarterback Josh Allen will likely improve in Year 2 of his NFL career and eradicate some silly decision-making. Yet the over/under can’t see this team winning one more game than last year?
If that’s the case, I have an even stronger argument: strength of schedule. There are some rough patches within the Buffulo Bills schedule -- namely Week 13-16 when they play Thanksgiving football in Jerryworld against the Cowboys, and games at the Steelers and Patriots.
But what drew my attention to this bet was the early season schedule. If the Bills stay healthy and get a good start, they will have great momentum going into the tougher second half of their schedule. From their first three games(@ Jets, @ Giants, v Bengals), I think they will have at least two wins.
Buffalo then plays New England at home in Week 4. In case you didn't know, the Patriots are infamous for slow starts before closing the season out well. So if the Bills can win this fourth game, I think the bet is as good as can be. Buffalo has games against the Titans, Redskins, Dolphins (twice) and Broncos after that. From these five games, I think they can easily win four.
I am going with my gut and putting my neck on the line backing a team they usually picks Top 10 in the Draft. But I think Josh Allen will come on leaps and bounds for Year 1 and could be a future star if his decision-making improves. He has the arm talent in abundance and his mobililty - along with a loaded Buffalo backfield - is enough to cause defenses to be wary of the run game.
The one downfall of the roster is the lack of a superstar at wide receiver but with two solid guys in Cole Beasley and John Brown I think they’ll be okay. Especially considering Beasley occupies the slot while Brown takes the top of defenses, giving the offense a new crease in 2019.
Bills Over 6.5 Wins. Lock it in!
SIDENOTE: I think they are way overpriced to win the AFC East. (Don’t read that again --you got it right the first time.) -Enda Smith
Tennessee Under 8 Wins @ 5/7
Much like the Bills, the best way to predict Tennessee's fortunes in 2019 is to look at their schedule. The red-hot Browns are up first in Cleveland. The Titans have one half of our Name the AFC Championship Finalists pick - the Colts - twice. The Saints, Chiefs and Chargers all come to town. Anything more than one win from those games would be over-achieving. Add to that that we're backing losses to Buffalo, Atlanta and Tampa Bay - who we recently discussed as a sleeper team - and it's difficult to see Tennessee covering.
There's obviously wins there for the Titans. Oakland, Jacksonville and Houston could all provide Ws. It's hard to predict whether Denver and Carolina's offences will beat what was a Top 10 defense in 2018. But overall, Tennessee was a surprise 9-7 team last year and being within touching distance of that again is hard to envision.
Why? Tennessee was horrible on offense last year and didn't get much better outside rookie wide receiver AJ Brown - who's currently out with an undisclosed injury - since their last snap. The offensive line was churned in the off-season but left tackle Taylor Lewan is facing suspension while right tackle Jack Conklin is trying to get back from an ACL injury. Not only does a suspect offensive line risk limiting the offense, it could be hazardous seeing as quarterback Marcus Mariota is injury-prone.
Tennessee's defense is worth some wins but overall the team's roster just doesn't look like it can go over .500. In fact, it makes Tennessee comparable to the 2018 Broncos, and I see a similar 6-10 record here. Well within the 8 games Ladbrokes is offering. Take it. -Mark Hogan
Arizona Over 5.5 Wins @ 11/10
A low win count at a great price. It's like printing money. And there's a few reasons we're extremely confident on this.
Arizona went through a lot last year. They had the NFL's most unattractive offense headlined by the now jobless tandem of quarterback Sam Bradford and offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. The two's mid-season predecessors - Josh Rosen and Byron Leftwich, respectively - never stood a chance of turning such car crash football around and have since found their ways to Florida.
Offensive guru Kliff Kingsbury took over as head coach in the off-season while his protege - and first overall pick - Kyler Murray has taken the quarterback reigns. It's a lot of well-documented change -- and that's partially where we see some wins coming from.
The front office needs to see dividends on the work it put in to correct last year's mistakes. General manager Steve Keim must justify his decision to give up on head coach Steve Wilks and tenth overall pick Rosen after one season. Murray has to be a stud after the team passed up on some incredible defensive power in the draft. There's no way Keim and Co. keep their job if such massive moves end up being disastrous two years in a row. And we set the benchmark for disastrous as anything below six wins. (Can you imagine pushing all your chips in for the sake of just two extra wins?)
Arizona's roster isn't that bad compared to the .500 squad run by head coach Bruce Arians just 18 months ago. On defense in particular it's added the aging-but-productive Terrell Suggs across from sack monster Chandler Jones. Fans see safety Budda Baker as an upgrade over the departed Tyrann Matheiu, as is - injury prone - linebaker Jordan Hicks to Deone Bucannon. The draft saw the team land the highest-rated cornerback, Byron Murphy, who should fill in for the suspended Patrick Peterson. Wilks' 4-3 scheme didn't play to his guys' talent, and an improvement is widely expected in 2019 under new defensive coordinator Vance Joseph.
On offense, the element of surprise can't be under-stated. The new college-style, Air Raid attack is the flashy approach that can see a quick turn-around before opponents catch up to it (think the Michael Vick/ RGIII/ Chip Kelly/ etc. affect). There's no telling how long this style of offense will survive - especially with an unproven wide receiver corps outside Larry Fitzgerald - but we don't need to worry about that seeing as we'll be counting our money by then. - Mark Hogan
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Over 6.5 @ 10/11
Tampa Bay is our most uncertain bet, but at those odds it has a place in our wallet. We wrote about the team's likely rise in 2019 earlier this summer, but for those who want a summary:
1) Bruce Arians runs the perfect offense for what Tampa Bay has. His old buddy - and Buccs GM - Jason Licht knew as much, and coaxed the former broadcaster out of retirement. It's a crucial year for former first overall pick Jameis Winston, and we're going to see what he really has in this offense.
2) Arians was able to enlist the help of some other friends too. He and former Jets head coach Todd Bowles reunite after spending time in Arizona where Bowles lead a Top 5 defense. The roster is perfect for Bowles' scheme too, so despite a couple of down years in New York, we expect opponents to put up less points than in 2018.
3) The new coaching staff are all high impact guys. By that, we mean Year 1 success seems inevitable wherever they go. Arians first won Coach of the Year after an interim stint in Indianapolis. Bowles had his best year in New York in Year 1, going 10-6. Offensive co-coordinator Byron Leftwich went from intern to his current position in four seasons. It all points to a successful campaign in 2019. -Mark Hogan
Miami Dolphins Under 5 @ 4/6
We won't go into this too much because we'll discuss it further in our next betting preview (Prop Bets) but Miami looks like the worst team in football by a long way. The team seems destined to draft quarterback Tua Tagovailoa first overall in next year's draft; and you don't get that by winning five games.
To add to a woeful squad, the team fired offensive line coach Pat Flaherty after just three days at camp.
It's going to be a terribly rocky year for the Fins. Take advantage. -Mark Hogan