After our expected wins formula revealed it's regression and progression candidates, it’s time to look at how those totals stack up against the spread.
We’re looking at our sponsor, MyBookie.ag’s over/under's going into the 2016 season. In which there’s been some interesting divergence from our Pythagorean projections.
As with the expected wins, the best outliers are the teams with a differential of over 2-wins from the spread. There are four such teams this year. In this case, matching our numbers against the spread, the odds also factor in heavily as to which lines are potentially the most favorable.
Without further ado, here are the over/under lines that were appealing based off of our projections, starting with the overs.
The Overs, the Numbers like
New York Jets 7.5 wins
At 7-1/2, with even odds (-115 for both the over and under), the over on the Jets is extremely appealing. Our projections suggested little, if any, drop off from the 2015 season when New York won 10 games. The Jets bring back their core, with running back Chris Ivory and left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson being the biggest departures, and have been replaced by Matt Forte and Ryan Clady, respectively.
New York’s talented defense is also going to be in their second season under the tutelage of the gifted mind of Todd Bowles.
Maybe the only drawback here is the schedule, which aside from a strengthened AFC East division, also features the AFC North and NFC West, arguably the two best divisions in football.
With a 2016 win projection of 9.9 wins, the Jets remain a smart bet for the over.
Cincinnati Bengals 9.5 wins
No team is as appealing as the Jets, given numbers and context, but Cincinnati is also looking good. Mind you, the Bengals won 12 games in 2015 with their backup quarterback playing four of those. The numbers suggest less than half-a-win regression for Marvin Lewis’ team.
Cincinnati has lost a great offensive coordinator and two important contributors at wide receiver. However, the core of the team has remained intact and is still young and talented. They also seem to have drafted very well recently, with the roster having lots of depth, and some margin for improvement.
With the line set at 9.5 and -120 odds for the over (vs -110 for the under) I like the chances of another double-digit Bengals season.
Kansas City Chiefs 9.5 wins
After the Jets and Bengals, the odds are a bit slimmer, but there’s still some notable lines out there. For starters, the Chiefs, with the Jets and Detroit Lions are the three teams with the smallest divergence from our projections. If you will, they're the teams that were most truly represented by their records in 2015.
The Chiefs have some concerning injury dilemmas, with big name players like Jamal Charles and Justin Houston. Not to mention, Sean Smith leaving, which might be the biggest blow of all. However, they played without the injured two most of the year, and while Smith is good, he’s not a 1 and a half win difference good. Like the Jets and Bengals, the line for Andy Reid’s squad has them regressing, while our numbers suggest otherwise.
Carolina Panthers 10.5 wins
The Panthers were one of our top regression candidates, being projected to underperform their 15-win 2015 regular season by 2.8 wins. The line, however, is set at 10.5 wins, a full 4.5 victories less than their 2015 record, a much steeper drop off.
Why aren’t we higher on Carolina then? simply because smart money has already taken the over to -130. The Panthers depth and ability to reproduce their high-level o-line play from 2015 worries just enough to say, it’s an interesting line but we’re far from sold.
The Under’s the numbers like
Indianapolis Colts 9.5 wins
It should be said that the unders are a bit riskier here. The Colts were a major regression candidate for 2015, something that shouldn’t be taken lightly, even with the return of a healthy Andrew Luck. However, the line on the Colts under, is already all the way at -150 (in essence you're paying a dollar fifty to win a buck), a steep price.
With our projections giving Indy only 6 wins, the discrepancy between our numbers and the line is certainly intriguing.
Philadelphia Eagles 7.5 wins
Realize that these lines aren’t made with the absence of data or understanding of the latest news and roster moves. So then why is Philly's line so high? The Eagles just recently traded their presumptive starting quarterback, Sam Bradford, and will be starting a rookie who started 23 games at the FCS level. Mind you, the Eagles won 7 games in 2015 and our projections had them at 5.7 victories this season.
Despite that the -145 odds for the Eagles under is a significant gamble, even if a safe one, not one of the juicer bets out there but it does feel like a minor-lock.
Baltimore Ravens 8.5 wins
Like with the Colts, the Ravens seem to be getting lots of respect for being an established winning franchise and ignoring a rough 2015 season. Look, the Ravens undoubtedly had their share of bad luck last year with injuries, they drafted higher than they have in ages and seem to have brought in a nice haul. Our projections, in fact, have them as a candidate to improve on a rough 2015, in which Baltimore won only five times. However, the projection was a one game improvement, even with the injury adjustment the roster looks old and lacking truly elite talent.
With the under odds at -125, the Ravens present some decent, if not great odds, though their ability to win consistently has to worry a bit.
San Francisco 49ers 5.5 wins
The Niners have even odds at -115. While the o/u of 5.5 is quite low, when looking at that roster it’s hard to see where the improvements are going to come from.
Our projections had San Francisco winning 3.8 games this season, down from the 5 last year. A regression candidate who’s already won less than their line the previous year now I like the sound of that. Especially at even odds, of all the unders, this one feels like the most secure.
The one scary factor, Chip Kelly. Despite all the criticism he has been able to exceed his team's Pythagorean formula for wins in his first NFL season by a staggering 6 victories. Kelly’s ability to consistently pump out high-level offensive play has made his teams outplay the projections in two of his three NFL seasons (his teams are 4.03 above the expected win projections in his first three seasons).
Being able to improve this roster by only a few wins could be the difference between the over and under, save your money.
Other interesting plays
The Dallas Cowboys are the one team that does not have a line on MyBookie. With the Tony Romo's injury and uncertain return timeline, it’s understandable why. Our projections of 5.2 wins are also hard to rely on given all the questions at QB and issues last season.
Related to Dallas, the Minnesota Vikings, who’ve also lost their starting quarterback, for the entire season, do have a line. A relatively high one at that (9-1/2). It can absolutely be argued that Teddy Bridgewater’s 2016 performance won’t be the toughest to replicate. It can also be said that an uncertain quarterback situation to start the year and a new signal caller running the show, with zero training camp or offseason snaps, is far from ideal in the most important position on the field.
At 110, the line is extremely interesting, though there are lots of unknowns so it remains a risky play. Might be the biggest boom or bust line of them all. Things could get ugly in Minnesota if they're just throwing unprepared QBs out to the wolves, but you could also see the team playing inspired defense and running just enough to get over .500.
Here's the entire chart with the differential between our numbers and the My Bookie Line
|Team||FORMULA||Expected Wins||2015 Wins||Change||MyBookie Lines||Different between EW|
|New York Giants||0.4697866656||7.516586649||6||1.516586649||8.5||0.9834133511|
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