Handicapping is predicated, not on the actual point spread between the two teams so much as, on a dividing line between bettors. Handicappers create a number that’ll get juice on both sides.
In that way, FAN PERCEPTION becomes important.
Tampa Bay OVER 8.5 wins (-130)
A theory of mine about the HBO show Hard Knocks developed in 2012, when the featured Miami Dolphins finished 7-9. Because the team is featured so heavily, fans want to believe the team is good. They overvalued that team.
As Covers tabulates, the past 11 teams have gone 86-90 straight up. So there’s actually no data to prove my theory.
The odds have funny ways of swaying back and forth. After two straight years of projected winning teams going under (58% over two years,) I look for the oddsmakers to lower expectations and have a big OVER season like 2014 where 10 of 14 projected winning teams reached their mark. I expect Tampa Bay to be a part of that.
New England OVER 12.5 wins (-130)
Purely a numbers game. There’s little data on what to do with a team that’s 12.5 and to complicate it further, over 12.5 is the favorite.
Have to hedge to get action on both sides. Oddsmakers probably think the Patriots are a 13 win team. But at 13, the action is less.
Minnesota OVER 8.5 wins (EVEN)
Another team that will benefit from lowered handicaps. Sam Bradford gets an offseason with the team instead of being traded in week one. They’ve also put him behind a better offensive line.
This is a team that won 11 games two years ago. And the Vikings went 8-8 last season with the 3rd best defense in the NFL. We’re only looking to flip one game, not go 12-4.
Five teams are projected to have 10.0 or more wins. Ten teams finished last season with ten or more wins. Handicappers have set expectations low. Minnesota and Tampa will benefit from that.
New York Jets UNDER 4.5 wins (-200)
Pair this up with another team for a parlay. The Jets not only cut, traded, or lost their entire team from last year’s 5-11 season, they now lose their best wide receiver Quincy Enunwa.
The Jets ranked 27th in team passing last season. Enunwa accounted for 25% of the team’s yards. I’m not ready to give the Jets the indignity of 0-16. But I’m not far.
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