Back in May 2017, Xavier Cromartie (the world's foremost NFL Draft Mock Drafter) and I had informal chats on where we saw the season headed based on the schedule and the NFL Draft, etc. Over the subsequent months we might have changed our thoughts based on scouting the preseason or a key injury, but we love trying to take advantage of what we know in May/June of NFL seasons before various things come to light and the lines shift, etc.
So, just for a fun look back...not as fun for me as I have to re-read why I thought the Eagles were a bad bet this season (hey, had I known Foles would be starting I would have had them in the Super Bowl!! You know that's true!!)...We're publishing the chats we had as they were in May 2017. One division per day all this week. We'll do it all again May 2018, I'm sure...but let's look back at May 2017 first...
Originally published 5/27/2017...
Twitter @FFMetrics, @xaviercromartie
2017 record-setting national NFL Draft analyst Xavier Cromartie and R.C. Fischer discuss their very early (month of May) 2017 NFL season win-loss and playoff projections from a bettors over/under win total perspective, as we like to do every season.
These are informal chats, and the transcripts are posted below. Excuse any grammatical errors or typos. We will post a division chat per day, covering all eight NFL divisions and then make our official (early) over/under top three best bets with a fictitious $1,000 bankroll.
Bet OnLine 5/14/2017 numbers:
Atlanta = 9.5 wins (-125 over, -105 under)
Carolina = 9.0 wins (-125 over, -105 under)
New Orleans = 8.0 wins (-105 over, -125 under)
Tampa Bay = 8.0 wins (-130 over, +110 under)
Faux 2017 simulations…
Atlanta = XC 10-6, RC 10-6
Carolina = XC 9-7, RC 9-7
New Orleans = XC 8-8, RC 8-8
Tampa Bay = XC 8-8, RC 5-11
RC: We agree exactly on Atlanta, Carolina, and New Orleans…and then a big separation on Tampa Bay. I’m way off from the rest of the world on Tampa Bay.
I don’t trust Jameis Winston, and as goes the QB…so goes the team in most simulations. I don’t see Tampa as a team that can consistently win bigger games with Winston, a shaky O-Line, and a weaker secondary.
I do see they have a lot of weapons. Theirs is some hope with that O-Line. And they have a nice front seven…potentially one of the better ones in the league.
I think TB could be another 8-8 team of talent, but the schedule drags them down 1-2-3 wins to a losing record.
Let’s say they go 3-3 in division. Fair statement.
They have for sure losses at Green Bay and home to New England. So 3-4 needing to go 6-3 their other 9 games to get the ‘over’ on win total bets. The problem with that is they have three 2016 playoff teams (MIA-NYG-DET) among those 9 games, and tough road games at Arizona, Buffalo, Minnesota. The Bucs only have one real gimme game – Week 10 home to the Jets…aside from that it’s 14-15 games with decent or better teams.
I don’t think the schedule will allow them to get over the 8-8 hump. I wouldn’t bet super heavy against them, but my call would be ‘under’ with the schedule layout.
XC: Jameis Winston is in the group of low-end starters. He isn't completely terrible, just a 'meh' like Joe Flacco. The defense is also just an ordinary group that isn't particularly good or bad overall. They looked like a 7-win team to me, they won 8 in the sim, and the number is set at 8. So nothing looks out of place in my view. I give them little chance of winning against NE, @ATL, @GB, and @MIN. The other ones, other than NYJ, are pretty close. It's looking like 6-to-8 wins. I'd lean toward Under 8. I'm guessing that normal people are expecting the offense to improve. If Winston is a little better, I suppose that could push them to 9. They won 9 last season. Since my sim exactly matched the books' projections for the division, it's wise to avoid all of these teams.
RC: We’re pretty spot on in our simulations and what the o/u is…especially yours compared to the o/u. If I gave you a million dollars to bet and we’d split the proceeds on a win and you had to pick any one of these going OVER current win total bets…which one would it be and why?
XC: The Falcons are the clear choice. They have a stud QB. And the defense could be fairly competent. They won 11 last season with a junk defense. Although we can't expect Ryan to repeat the superhuman numbers he put up last season, he should still be on the same level as Drew Brees. But the difference between them is that the Saints haven't shown anything on defense for three straight seasons. (Although I have to say that I am a big fan of 3 of their draft picks: Marshon Lattimore, Marcus Williams, and Trey Hendrickson.) With Dan Quinn and the defenders that the Falcons have, they have potential. Back in the Matt Ryan-Michael Turner-Roddy White days, they were always a dominant team with a solid defense. Then the defense collapsed. Maybe they'll finally get it back with the tweaks they've made.
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