Sep 6, 2018
By Tony Dunst
It’s a great time to be a sports bettor. The NFL regular season kicks off this week, and following the recent Supreme Court ruling allowing state-by-state legalization of sports betting, more Americans than ever will be betting this Sunday.
The betting lines for this week are already out and generating action, but I’m hesitant to tout any picks when the lines are generally efficient. Of course, if there’s a game you like, the strategy is to shop around for the best price before betting. But for today, I’ll stick to discussing a few season-long bets I’ve placed for the upcoming NFL season.
It’s worth noting that the markets for some of the season-long bets – particularly player-driven bets – are pretty small. In the case of the Offensive Rookie of the Year bets, the most I could get down was about $1,500 per player; and even placing those bets moved the price. But for now, here’s the three season long bets I have.
Of the quarterbacks drafted in the first round, Rosen’s odds were the second longest (roughly tied with Josh Allen at the time of the bet), but word from training camp was that he impressed and learned fast. He’s technically the back-up to Sam Bradford, but that’s hardly relevant when Bradford’s knees will explode in Week 2. Even if they don’t, I’m still doubtful Bradford plays a full season for a losing team that wants to assess their ascending rookie. The Cardinals won’t be good this year, but they have enough talent to put up numbers for whoever’s under center, which is hopefully Rosen for most of the season.
Not only were the long odds tempting on Jackson (the last QB drafted in the first round), but his situation isn’t that dissimilar from Rosen. Both are backing up aging and declining QBs who are “game managers”; the NFL’s polite phrase for quarterbacks who blatantly suck yet manage not to ruin everything. There’s plenty of risk in betting on Jackson’s arm and accuracy, but his athleticism is obvious and creates upside if he sees the field.
The Giants win total opened at 6.5, but bettors pushed the price up to 7. Getting laid +130 was the best price available – it’s already back to +115 in most places – but I might buy more at that price. The Giants are tied for the eighth most difficult strength-of-schedule, and despite the hype over rookie Saquon Barkley and a healthy Odell Beckham, the roster is full of holes and ranked fifth worst in the league by Pro Football Focus. Meanwhile, 37-year-old quarterback Eli Manning still moves in slow motion and has mastered the art of throwing interceptions. After cutting Davis Webb, the back up is… actually, I’ll let coach Pat Shurmur explain the back-up situation: “In my mind, we have Eli, and we haven’t really structured the depth chart beyond that.”