With the NFL season around the corner, I know I myself am, and probably whoever is reading this is foaming out the mouth at the thought of waking up Sunday morning hungover and betting the entire board. So, with that in mind, I thought it would be interesting to dive into some betting trends to help us destroy our bookmakers this season. Since the offseason and camps were shortened due to Covid-19, you would assume teams with returning O-Line experience will have more success early on in the season. One trend I want to look at is a team’s stats ATS from last season that will be returning their starting offensive linemen.
Teams I Like:
- Dallas Cowboys – The Cowboys undoubtedly have one of if not the best offensive line in all of football. They are returning four of their five starters as five-time pro bowl center Travis Fredrick decided to abruptly retire in March at the age of 29. With that being said, 2018 starter Joe Looney will step back into man the center of the line which gives the team some familiarity. Dallas was only 9-7 ATS last season while being favorited in fourteen of their sixteen games. Though they were 3-0 ATS to start the season, it all went downhill after that with a 6-7 record ATS in their following 13 games. Dallas did wind up covering in their two games as underdogs which in my opinion, makes this a hard team to follow. My advice would be to test the waters with Dallas ATS the first few weeks and to be wary of Dallas as a betting favorite after that. I also would take advantage of the few opportunities they are being given points this season.
- Atlanta Falcons – After a deep reshuffling of their offensive line including drafting two guys in the first round last year to solidify the trenches, the Falcons will return all five starters from their offensive line last season to start the 2020 season. The Falcons were 8-8 ATS last season while only being favorited in five of those games, which on paper, is a good sign. Personally, things seem to be pointing up for Atlanta as they started the year 1-6 ATS and went on to cover in seven of their last nine games. In my opinion, with Todd Gurley now in the picture and a fully returning offensive line, take the Falcons early and often before their week 10 bye and if it is going well, ride with them the whole season!
- Buffalo Bills – This is an interesting one for me. The Bills overachieved last season, wound up making the playoffs and going 9-6-2 ATS including the postseason while being favorited in seven of their seventeen games. One would assume the Bills will be favorited in the majority of their games in the upcoming season and for a team returning their entire Offensive line from 2019, I would recommend riding with them often and early.
- Indianapolis Colts – Another interesting one here for a team returning their entire offensive line. The Colts somehow salvaged a decent season after Andrew Luck decided to retire two weeks before the season. They started off 5-2, lost seven of their last nine while shuffling between Jacoby Brissett and Brian Hoyer, and still somehow only wound up 7-7-2 ATS. The colts arguably have one of the better offensive lines in football and added eight-time veteran pro bowl quarterback Phillip Rivers. If I were a betting man, which I am, I would say the Colts will approve on that 50% cover clip from last season.
- Los Angeles Rams – This is the most intriguing one to me. The Rams O-Line was not great last year, and they really underachieved by going 9-7 and missing the playoffs. They must of saw enough out of their line to commit to keeping the entire starting five for this season as well. Surprisingly, they were one of the best teams ATS with a record of 10-5-1 while being favorited in thirteen of those games. After losing some key pieces to their team in the offseason, I would assume they start off the season as underdogs in the first few weeks. It is a little tricky because the Rams play the Bills and Cowboys in the first three weeks of the season who we already noted as one of our favorites from the trend. In my opinion, I would avoid the Buffalo and Dallas games and play them the rest of the season.
- Las Vegas Raiders – Another one I love because I am expecting a big year out the Raiders. Whether it be Derek Carr or Marcus Mariota at the helm, this team is returning all five from their rock-solid starting offensive line which should help whoever is running the offense. Who the offensive line experience should really help is second-year stud running back Josh Jacobs, who should run rampant behind a bunch of veterans. The Raiders finished 7-9 last season and 8-8 overall ATS, so the signs are pointing up for Las Vegas. I would expect another positive season out of the Raiders ATS.
- Arizona Cardinals – The Cardinals were cover machines last year. Despite being 5-10-1, the Cardinals finished 9-5-2 ATS while only being favorited in one of their sixteen games. Arizona resigned D.J Humphries to solidify returning four of their five starting linemen from 2019 while adding stud tackle Josh Jones in the draft to round out the trenches. With Deandre Hopkins now in the picture, you would think the Cardinals will be getting better. My advice is to always take the Cardinals as dogs and to pounce on their earlier matchups as favorites against weaker teams.
- Tennessee Titans – The Titans were the biggest surprise of the year last season going on a magical run all the way to the AFC championship game. The Titans finished 9-7 with a 10-8-1 record ATS including the postseason. With Tannehill fully under center and an offensive line returning four of their five starters, expect the Titans to have a big season ATS. I see another big season out of Derrick Henry and with a soft schedule, I would recommend taking the Titans the first few weeks and evaluating from there.
Other teams returning 4 or more starters from their Offensive Line (Texans, Jaguars, Chiefs, Patriots, Ravens, Bears, Eagles, Steelers, Bucs, Saints, Packers, 49ers)
I do like the Ravens, Chiefs, and Packers, as I am sure we all do. Just feel like people are going to play those teams as they please and their returning offensive line will not convince them otherwise.
Teams I will be fading:
- Washington Football Team – The Washington Football team just is not good, plain, and simple. I for one am not a huge Dwayne Haskins fan and their only player of relevance on the offensive side of the ball is second-year wideout Terry McLaurin. Washington is only returning three of their five starters on the offensive line from last season, which might actually be a good thing for them. Aside from that, Washington was 3-13 overall and 6-10 ATS last season which some might see as a positive sign, I for one do not. My advice would be to fade Washington early and very often.
- Los Angeles Chargers – Another big-time fade for me here. The Chargers are only returning two of their five starters on their offensive line from last season. The Chargers are going through sort of a rebuild by taking Oregon QB Justin Herbert with their sixth pick in the 2020 draft. Though they drafted Herbert, Tyrod Taylor has been named the starter to begin the season. The Chargers were 4-9-3 ATS last season and I for one, do not see them approving on that this year. Even when Herbert takes over which who knows if he will, I say fade the Chargers heavy.
- New York Jets – Another team returning only two for their five starting offensive linemen from the previous season, the Jets will be fade central for me. They actually might even have four new starters on their offensive line by the time they play their first game. It is not that I do not trust Sam Darnold, it is just everyone else on that offense and Adam Gase that I do not trust. The Jets actually had the same record and ATS at 7-9 last season, but the stars are aligned to fade them very early. With the reshuffled offensive line and their first three games against three of our favorites in the Colts, 49ers, and Bills, I am pounding on the table for you to fade them the first three weeks.
- Carolina Panthers – The Panthers may be in for a tough season. Personally, I am not a Teddy Bridgewater fan and with the trade of Trai Turner to acquire Russell Okung, I just do not see them competing. They are only returning three of their five starters to their offensive line from 2019 which was not good to begin with. The Panthers were 6-9-1 ATS with a 5-11 record overall. The Panthers lost their last eight games of the season last year with a 1-7 ATS in those contests, which leads me to believe that will carry over to this season. I know as long as McCaffery is in the picture they will always have a chance but I will be fading them pretty heavy early on, especially since they play three of our favorites in Atlanta, Las Vegas, and Arizona in the first five weeks of the season.
Other teams only returning three or fewer starters to their Offensive line (Bengals, Dolphins, Seahawks, Giants, Lions, Broncos, Browns,)
I will most likely be fading the Broncos and Giants as well to start the season.