- Bills, Jets appear to be battling for second in AFC East
- Titans could be odd team out in difficult AFC South
- Identifying the best value bets in NFL Division final standings odds?
A lot of NFL bettors seem to ascribe to the Ricky Bobby theory of betting; if you ain’t first, you’re last. They focus on picking Super Bowl winners, conference winners, division winners, etc. But there’s a wide variety of finishes possible for every team. And some teams are far better positioned to come third in their division than challenge for that top spot.
Thanks to these final standings props, there’s a whole range of possibilities to profit from. Here’s a couple final standings props I’m eyeing heading into the 2019 NFL season. We’ll start with the most straightforward race.
Buffalo Bills AFC East Standing Odds
*Odds from 10/08/19.
New York Jets AFC East Standing Odds
The Race for Runner Up in AFC East
In every other division, you can talk yourself into a couple teams finishing first, or perhaps a few different options coming last. In the AFC East, first place is a certainty. And thanks to a not-so-subtle tank job by the Dolphins, last is also pretty well decided.
So which second-year quarterback can take his team to silver in the division standings and theoretically, be in the hunt for a wild card?
I’m siding with the Bills here; not as a statement on Josh Allen vs Sam Darnold, but as a testament to their organization. The Jets fired their GM after he spent $125 million in guaranteed money on free agents and the guy they brought in to coach is … odd.
Did Adam Gase just take smelling salts before a preseason game? pic.twitter.com/gVINzrkcjW
— Andrew Perloff (@andrewperloff) August 8, 2019
Under Sean McDermott, the Bills have outperformed their closing Vegas win total in each of the last two seasons, while finishing with the second-best defensive DVOA in 2018. Adding Ed Oliver to that D should be nice, while the offense will play to Allen’s strengths, bringing in John Brown to run only deep routes alongside Robert Foster.
Robert Foster broke out in the later stages of the 2018 season for the Bills – and despite just 44 targets and 282 snaps in route – finished 2nd among receivers in deep receiving yards. pic.twitter.com/1fVJDcdM8A
— PFF (@PFF) April 25, 2019
While the Jets made the splashier addition of LeVeon Bell (among others), it remains to be seen how the running back’s patient style works behind a remade Jets offensive line.
History has taught us to not get your hopes up for either team. But with it seemingly being a 50-50 shot to get the second and third place teams right, it’s worth a roll of the dice here.
Pick: Bills 2nd (+175) and Jets 3rd (+150)
Tennessee Titans AFC South Standing Odds
Trashing the Titans
You would think for an NFL team trapped in a cycle of mediocrity, there are two possible ways to get out of that run of near .500 seasons. Not really.
For average teams, the only way to escape that purgatory is through the basement. After years of 7-9 mediocrity, the Jeff Fisher-led Rams didn’t reverse that trend with a Super Bowl. They bottomed out. And that’s what’s on tap for Tennessee.
Rams are 4-6. Next four games are at NO, at NE, vs. Atl, at Sea. At this point they’ll be lucky to get some 7-9 bullshit.
— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) November 21, 2016
The Titans have the least upside of any AFC South team. If Nick Foles can bring his Philly magic to Jacksonville the Jaguars are a contender. If the Texans can keep Deshaun Watson upright, they’re a contender. Even if Andrew Luck gets hurt, with Jacoby Brissett waiting in the wings, the Colts could still take the South.
Tennessee’s wish list for 2019 is identical to years prior: Can Corey Davis emerge as a no. 1 receiver? Can anyone help Jurrell Casey get after the QB? Can our quarterback(s) stay healthy? By now, we know the answers.
Tennessee Titans receivers https://t.co/Sp165zWSRE
— Austin Todd (@austintodd15) October 13, 2018
Over the last three 9-7 seasons, the Titans total point differential is -12. They’ve never been as good as their record and regression is going to come hard this season.
Of all the “worst teams” in their divisions, Tennessee is the only one on this prop list paying out better than even. Jump on ’em now.
Pick: Titans (+110)
Seattle Seahawks NFC West Standing Odds
The Fall of the Legion?
Not only is this a longshot play I like; it also could prove an interesting case study in the future of NFL football. Because, while no one will argue that Russell Wilson isn’t the top QB in the NFC West, he plays in the most archaic offense. Dragged down by Brian Schottenheimer and Pete Carroll’s insistence on running the ball, even when nothing is there, Wilson often had to wait until fourth quarter to cut loose.
“If you just had what Russell Wilson did in the 4th quarter as what he did throughout the game, he would’ve had a 5,000 yard season rushing, passing combined, 40 TDs, a 109 rating, and nearly 9 yards per attempt.”
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) January 4, 2019
While every other team in the West has a worse player under center, they also have far more inventive minds calling plays. We’ve seen excellent play callers prop up seemingly average QBs pretty often in the modern NFL, and that’s before considering both Jimmy Garappolo and Kyler Murray could end up being well above the mean.
Despite playing with QBs C.J. Beathard & Nick Mullens from weeks 4-17, the 49ers averaged 9.3 YPA on first down passes last year, #1 BEST in the NFL.
And it came vs #12 toughest schedule of pass Ds.
(7th highest play action % on these passes.)
Kyle Shanahan can coach!!
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) July 15, 2019
Just last year, everyone was ready to write the Seahawks off after a slow start and injury to Earl Thomas. Now, we’re right back to calling them division contenders, despite jettisoning their best pass rusher in the offseason? Nope. I certainly wouldn’t bet them any higher than a third place finish, but I’ll take a home run cut in hoping that Murray and the Cards surprise some people.
Pick: Seahawks 4th (+600)
Let's have fun and keep it civil.