How soon is too soon to reevaluate NFL teams? For bettors, the risk may lie in waiting too long rather than not waiting long enough.
NFL teams often don’t match your preseason expectations, so be ready to change your mind based on new information and not be locked into your August assumptions. It’s never too late to look at the offerings throughout the season, even if many of the best prices can be found before the season starts.
The task we face now is somewhat easier than the task we faced in August; we have four weeks of data and we have to forecast only 13 more games, whereas during the off-season and pre-season we tried to forecast 17 weeks mainly using speculation and guesswork.
To evaluate an all-season bet once it has started, you can either rely on projections, either available online or ones you make yourself, or use a simple comparative metric to give you an idea of the strength of a team, preferably one that also fits the strength of the schedule. The projections provide a definitive number to compare to bettor prices, but in some cases a simple comparison between teams will give you all the information you need to make a decision.
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For example, him atlanta falcons He opened with a season win total of 4.5, tied for the lowest in the NFL with the Houston Texans, meaning bettors had to decide whether the Falcons would win more or less than 4.5 games. Atlanta is 2-2 heading into Week 5, when the Falcons are visiting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As of Wednesday morning, the Falcons’ updated winnings total was 5.5 at DraftKings (at -150 odds, meaning you’d bet $150 to win $100). The total, which has since increased, was also 5.5 at Caesars (-169 odds) and 6.5 at FanDuel (-110). Clearly, Atlanta is exceeding preseason expectations, with only a few more wins needed to make it to the end. And the schedule should help the Falcons top the total.
According to Football Outsiders, Atlanta has been the 11th-best team in adjusted value per defense above average, which measures a team’s efficiency by comparing success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent. The Falcons have five games remaining against teams in the bottom six: the Carolina Panthers twice, the Chicago Bears, the Arizona Cardinals and the Washington Commanders. Wins in four of those matchups would cash in the 5.5+ win bet. Atlanta will also face the Pittsburgh Steelers (20th in DVOA) and the New Orleans Saints (22nd), giving them a very good chance of posting more than six and possibly seven wins. I feel comfortable playing 5.5+ wins at -250 or higher odds and 6.5+ wins at -150 or higher odds.
the jacksonville jaguars are another surprise team, thanks in large part to a coaching change (to Super Bowl winner Doug Pederson) and the maturation of second-year quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the first overall pick in 2021. Lawrence has been the 11th-most 2022 valuable player, according to ESPN’s Total Quarterback Rankings (he was 28th last season), and has cut his interception rate nearly in half in a year after leading the league with 17 in 2021.
A quick look at the AFC South shows that Jacksonville has a good chance of winning the division and making the playoffs. Football Outsiders has the Jaguars as the fourth-best team in the league through the first four weeks, behind the Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens. The other AFC South teams, the Tennessee Titans, Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts, rank 20th, 31st and 32nd, suggesting this isn’t expected to be a competitive division down the stretch. However, as of Thursday the Jaguars could still be found at +160 odds ($100 to win $160) to win the division and +110 odds to make the playoffs. I’d put fair prices for those accessories at +110 and -160, respectively, which means there’s value.
One team that has exceeded expectations but might be worth fading away from is the New York Giants. Big Blue is an amazing 3-1, but after looking at their red zone defense, first-quarter offense and second-half performance when the score is close, Football Outsiders reckons they should be 1-3 or 2- two. New York’s net yards per play (minus-0.5, which ranks 25th) and net success rate (rate of drives winning a first down or touchdown, minus-2 percent, 24th) also suggest this team it has more in common with teams in the bottom third of the league than those near the top.
New York’s schedule is also about to get a lot tougher. The Giants will face the Green Bay Packers and Ravens in the next two weeks, and they still have two games left against the Eagles. The Minnesota Vikings and Jaguars should also be tough matchups. I’d estimate there’s a 60 percent chance the Giants don’t finish better than 8-9, so it’s worth taking a look at a bet below 8.5 wins at odds of -150 or more. As of Thursday, DraftKings was offering the Giants fewer than eight wins at +100 odds.