2020 Over/Under Win Total Bets/Analyst’s Chat: RC, Xavier, Chris (#2 picks)
INTRO: RC, Bet The Close Podcast's Chris Bilello, and Mock Draft Guru Xavier Cromartie picked their top 3 over/under win total bets and used a fictitious $1,000 stack to bet them with. Of the nine (3x3) bets proposed, only one team/bet did any two people agree on...and you'll see that on the second installment of this series.
They looked at each other's proposed plays only after everyone made their picks, and are going to discuss their #1 best in a chat, then #2 and #3 for three installments to the series.
Here are each of their #2 picks/plays using Betonline for the lines as of early July...followed by a chat discussion/critiquing/debating what they think of each other's picks.
CHRIS: #2 NYG under 6.5 (-140)
($350 to win $250)
Mike Lombardi said “Joe Judge is not an offensive mind or a defensive mind, he’s a special team motivator...has difficulty finishing a sentence without using the F word”...unlike the Cardinals we don’t have an upgraded roster or superstar QB to bail out an inexperienced at least...terrible and inexperienced at most. Getting offensive weapons back should help but this is not the offseason to have Daniel Jones not working with coaches. The schedule goes from easiest in 2019 (if you take opponent record and remove the games they played vs the Giants) to 2nd hardest in 2020 (based on opponent projected win totals). I’d like a little tougher top of the division but also feel good that the Washington Whatever’s can win at least one. If they get close to threatening us...they finish with @SEA, ARI, CLE, @BAL, DAL.
XAVIER: #2) $333 on the New Orleans Saints, Over 10.5, -115 ($623 payout).
This team has been 13-3 the last two seasons, and the roster has not changed much. The offense has never failed during the Sean Payton/Drew Brees era. Payton is established as one of the top coaches in the game. The team is not known as a rushing team, but it is fully capable of doing so. Memorably, the Saints went into Chicago with Teddy Bridgewater and Latavius Murray starting and put up 36 points with a 35-151-2 rushing line. The Saints also have one of the top run defenses.
RC: 2) New York Giants ‘Under’ 6.5 wins (-$140)
Bet $280 to win $200
I’m taking the ‘under’ 6.5 wins on a team that has been over 6.5 wins once since the 2014 season.
I’m taking the ‘under’ on a team with one of the five worst starting QBs in the NFL…a QB with one of the highest turnover rate QBs in the NFL…and his backup (for injury or virus) is Colt McCoy.
I’m taking the ‘under’ on a team that has ranked #27-23-30 on defense/PPG allowed the past three seasons and they enter 2020 with no real pass rush talent adds and a bunch of young DBs and expensive James Bradberry, a great zone corner…now, going to a traditional man-to-man scheme.
I’m taking the ‘under’ on a team that has a so-so O-Line with a (current) starting center who started one game last year.
I’m taking the ‘under’ on a team with arguably one of the three worst WR groups in the NFL.
I’m taking the ‘under’ on a team about to lose it’s starting kicker to suspension/release.
I’m taking the ‘under’ on the 4th best roster/team in the NFC East.
I’m taking the ‘under’ on a team that has one of the league’s worst GMs and an inexplicable hire at head coach…an HC who inexplicably added Jason Garrett as his big plan to run the offense.
NYG starts out with PIT, @CHI, SF, @LAR, @DAL…an 0-5 start is staring them right in the face. @SEA and @BAL loom later in the season. Their easiest game of the year might be Wk12 vs. Cincy…but then it’s at Cincy for extra pressure on it (whatever home field/having to travel means in 2020).
I would be absolutely stunned if this team won 5 games, much less 6…and I may quit betting over/unders forever if they win 7+ games.
RC: The only one team/bet that two people had in common. I had listed it as my #1 but moved it to #2 to keep the discussion contained to one chat. It's a heavy price to pay (-$140) but I'm not sure there is a more obvious team that's going to be an ‘under’ than NYG...if the line were better, I might put all my money here. 6.5 wins...I could see 5.5 or maybe even 6.0 -- but 6.5 wins, meaning 7 wins to beat you...how is this team going to win 7 games? Can anyone make the case for the Giants somehow winning 7 games that doesn’t involve a convoluted 'everyone was quarantined every week they played them’ theory? Xavier you passed on NYG in your top 3...because of the steep price, or because you love the G-Men in the Year of Our Lord 2020?
XC: I'm opposed to the Giants under 6.5 pick, especially at -140. The Giants showed up in my internal numbers as better than market expectations. Daniel Jones is not a bottom-5 QB. I realize that his college metrics projected him to fail at the NFL level, but now with a year of pro data to consider, he looks ok. Jones had a TD rate of 5.2% vs Kyler Murray's 3.7%. Jones had 300+ yards and 4+ TDs in 4 separate games as a rookie (started 13 games). Kyler Murray, with 16 games in the Kliff Kingsbury offense, did it zero times. Cringe.
The Giants aren't especially good, but I don't see how they're bad. Their draft was 100% focused on their needs (OL, LB, DB). They don't have one star receiver, but all five skill players on the field at the same time are reasonably skilled pass catchers with different strengths. Saquon Barkley is the best RB in the world. They have a brick wall DL (against the run) with Dexter Lawrence, Leonard Williams, and Dalvin Tomlinson. They got a real LB instead of their usual no-name replacement players. The formerly terrible secondary is not as terrible now. They're installing a Patriots-style defense. I can see 8 wins.
RC: I'm good with a repeat Daniel Jones in 2020...I'll take a turnover per pass TD rate again and sacked 3.2 times per game on average. That works for me for a season projected with less than 7 wins.
They have a brutal schedule, and I'll be fine with DJones racking all his TDs/big games against the bottom feeding pass defenses on his schedule. He can have at it with Washington 2x, Arizona and Cincy. He's facing three top 8 defenses from last season Weeks 1-2-3 and six very tough opponents in the first 7 games, and if Tampa is real it's seven of the first 8.
NYG has 10 games this season with teams that were in the playoffs 2018 or 2019 or both seasons. They are currently projected underdogs in 14 of their 16 games. It's a rough schedule with a so-so team with a coach that is a big '?'...and if Jones goes down, it's Colt McCoy to the rescue!!!
XC: How often do QBs who started as a rookie show no improvement in year 2? Baker Mayfield comes to mind immediately. But let's go through the list of young established QBs. Mahomes and Jackson exploded in year 2. Prescott and Watson were so good as rookies that there wasn't much room to improve, but they continued playing well. Goff and Wentz vastly improved in year 2 after rough rookie seasons. Darnold and Josh Allen were definitely better than their rookie seasons, although still not great. Even Mitchell Trubisky showed vast improvement in year 2. It doesn't make sense to project no growth in the second year.
Jones had a fairly low interception rate for a rookie. You omitted that many of his turnovers were fumbles, not interceptions. Fumbles are a problem, but the problem is not poor throwing decisions or lack of arm strength. His hand size is fine, if that even matters. Fumbling can be corrected, and it's variable. Do you really want to assume that Jones will fumble 18 times again? He'll probably always be a fumbler to some extent, but it's also true that players like Tony Romo and Alex Smith fumbled more in the early part of their career. I mention them because I know that they both had high Wonderlic scores, as did Mr. Jones. I think that it's the low-IQ QBs that never fix their fumbling problems.
RC: I was hoping after 7 fumbles (5 lost) in his first 6 starts Jones would have been smart enough to make some adjustments...but he fumbled 10 times (lost 5) in his next/final 6 starts. I think he processes everything too slow and is a bit nervous at QB and makes bad decisions easily...I thought he was that way at Duke.
I won't look to Goff-Wentz-Trubisky-Dak-Watson as my guidance for Jones. I would look more at Allen-Darnold-Rosen, and Darnold was slightly better, still weak. Allen from bad to OK-ish. Rosen...yikes. I think Jones's 2019 was more peak Jones than not. He didn't rack 'wow' numbers at Duke. He had 13 TDs/0 INTs/2 lost fumbles in three particular games last season, impressive (against bottom tier pass Ds with their key starting corners all out that week...DET-NYJ-WAS) and 11 TDs/12 INTs/9 lost fumbles/21 total turnovers in his other 9 starts. He wasn't mediocre against good teams/defense, he was near awful. He's not the type of QB that's going to win you games by the sheer force of his passer abilities...but he's competent.
I just think -- competent, low key QB with a track record of turnovers back to Duke + new coaching staff + Jason Garrett as OC + a tough schedule + an iffy defense...it's a hard road to 7 wins this particular year.
If the bad teams have bad/mediocre QBs, and if Jones is in your bottom five QBs for opening day projected starters -- I think a 4-5-6 wins season and a top 10 draft pick spot (again) is where they have to head.
The worst starting QBs in the NFL to me for Week 1 (for this moment/2020 season, not for the future): in whatever order -- Haskins/Allen, Sam Darnold, Daniel Jones, Tyrod Taylor, Drew Lock (anyone that I missed?).
Lock and Taylor have a real defense to help their causes to give more hope. Darnold has a sneaky good/decent D to work with. Washington and NYG/Jones do not, and I'd take Washington's young D talent over NYG and day of the week...Washington might have a shock good defense this year. Jones/NYG has a lot going against them to limp to 7 wins this year...including the rotational draws of @CHI and TB as their two random out of conference matchups based on the order of finish last year. Not easy draws you'd want.
Assuming they split 1-1 with Washington...I can't find six reasonable chances at wins on the schedule to go 'over' here. I think they are closer to 2-3 wins and the #1 pick then 7-8 win season.
XC: I think that the Giants' offense should rank in the 15-20 range. That's maybe slightly optimistic but going below 25 seems excessively hateful. There's a cluster of 11 QBs that make up the bottom third of starting QBs: Jarrett Stidham, Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, Drew Lock, Gardner Minshew, Tua Tagovailoa, Joe Burrow, Dwayne Haskins, and Nick Foles.
If the FFM style guide allows it, I'm going to continue to refer to the Washington football team as the Redskins. I don't see anything positive about the Redskins. They look like the worst team in the NFL to me. They have three worthwhile players on the whole team. I see no basis to "assume a 1-1 split." It's possible but it's not something I'd just assume will happen. Furthermore, it does not make sense to assume that opponents with a 55% chance of winning are always going to win. The Giants are unlikely to win at Baltimore or Seattle, but the schedule isn't exceptionally difficult. It may look like it is if you take the perspective that it's a winnable game for every team they face. But if your perspective is that they're a mid-tier team, then it's a bunch of toss-up games and 7 wins is not so unthinkable. Projecting 2 wins with a healthy roster is absurdly low unless there is something seriously wrong with the state of a franchise. The Giants should be moving up out of their low point.
Chris BIlello: In early May, New York Giants beat writer Pat Leonard was on VISN...he said several interesting things. The first is that if you injected the Giants brass with truth serum, they would say D.Jones has potential to be the franchise QB they hope for but needs improvement to get on that trajectory...he’s behind the curve and the fumbles were a result of indecision. Every day they can’t get him in the building to coach him is a huge step backwards. I’ll say that indecision is not a characteristic I want in a QB learning a new offense with reduced prep time.
Pat Leonard also said that while Barkley is great, he was brutal pass protecting. When Deon Lewis did his first press conference, he offered unprompted that the #1 reason he came here was to pass protect. I wonder out loud if the Redskins front seven (and everyone else’s) are going to be able to crack the code of run or pass based on which RB is in the game.
Perhaps a special teams head coach or Jason Garrett will dream up a way to throw teams off their scent, but I don’t like this combo of related issues at all. And we’re not getting a radical new offensive scheme...we’re getting an offense that has been run in this same division for years...just now it will be with worse personnel. I assume a 1-1 split with division rivals unless there is a strong reason one team should dominate the other so hoping for 2-0 vs the Redskins is just that...hope. The schedule is murder...it is the #2 most difficult schedule in the NFL based on projected win totals (last year they had the easiest schedule). If they start slow, which is my concern with the coaching turnover, the back half of the schedule is not kind.
I agree that the division isn’t as tough as I’d like for a 6.5 win total...the Giants certainly can steal a win from DAL or PHI or maybe, but not likely...even both. In my most optimistic scenario (assuming a 3-3 split in the division, I can get to 7 wins)...obviously they can win more but I’m assigning less than 40% chance of landing on 7,8,9,10 wins which is what makes it a bet for me. If my most optimistic thoughts get me to 7 wins...under 6.5 is a bet with both fists. The betting market agrees as this number has been bet down to 6 in many other places.
RC: I'll take the '...unless there is something seriously wrong with the state of the franchise' for the win, Alex!!!
Daniel Jones is not better than Burrow, Bridgewater, or Minshew...but wherever you want to put him in that grouping of 11...I can tell you this -- all of them aren't seeing the playoffs this year except Josh Allen (maybe) and Stidham and Tua won't start as NE makes the playoffs with Cam. Takeaway Stidham and Tua, and Burrow, Minshew and Teddy...and Jones goes in the bottom 7 debate. Bottom 5 or bottom 7 -- wherever you put him at the bottom 5-7, they are then definitely not a playoff team so 8 wins is the peak and 6 or under is where most bottom tier QBs wind up if they do not have a great defense and/or head coach to salvage things.
I'd like to bet the Redskins under but at just 5.5 wins and at a higher money line I don't love it quite as much as the NYG at 6.5, but I'd do them both under.
The basis of a WAS v NYG 1-1 split would be -- both teams are bottom 10 in the NFL and divisional matchups tend to split on the season vs. a sweep, unless a real dominant team destroys all comers.
The Washington defensive talent is way better than the Giants, at nearly every position on defense, for sure the majority...but Haskins/Allen stands in the way of it mattering. I would bet a nickel that Washington has more wins than NYG this season.
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