Bring out the spreadsheet. Summon the hunches. NFL training camps opened this week, prompting NJ sports betting customers to seize some futures values and move the lines.
Here’s a brief look at the league-wide betting picture. We are putting a heavier focus on the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, and New York Jets – New Jersey’s most heavily wagered-upon teams
Eagles are a long shot in BetMGM totals
Kansas City, here they come.
The Bucs also made a strong move, from +1200 to +700.
The Cleveland Browns jumped from +2500 to +1400.
These three teams earned the bulk of the early money. The Eagles garnered less than 1% of the handle, but one bettor put $4,000 on them to win $500,000 at + 12500 (125-1).
How deep is that wagering hoist?
It’s Ron Jaworski to Mike Quick deep, for NJ gamblers recalling that 99-yard scoring strike, longest in Eagles history. Of if you prefer, Randall Cunningham to Fred Barnett, 95 yards and a truly deep throw.
It’s a long shot, but a wager like this hits every year, at some book.
Long odds as NFL training camps open
DraftKings Sportsbook, meanwhile, reflects the notion that Rodney Dangerfield got more respect than the Eagles, Giants, and Jets. Combined, the teams are +33000 (330-1):
- Jets at +15000
- Eagles at +10000
- Giants representing the “chalk” of this group at + 8000 (80-1)
But money can be made on all three teams. Let’s examine them through the lens of a significant prop that could impact their chances.
DraftKings capsule on the Eagles
The Eagles’ odds to win the NFC East are +550 (currently trailing their other three division rivals).
Win total over-under of 6.5. Over is -130, Under is +110
Remember, this team finished 4-11-1 last season.
What are the Birds’ chances of doing a dramatic 360, as in making the playoffs?
Yes is+275, No is-350
The key props involve Heisman trophy winner DeVonta Smith, their top draft pick, and Jalen Hurts, set to open at quarterback.
Smith is considered an immediate impact player.
DraftKings has the yardage prop at 777 yards, with the over and under both at -115.
Based on last year’s numbers, Smith would lead the Eagles with this total. Travis Fulgham had the most, 539 last season. That projects to 572 over the full season. Fulgham was a head-scratcher, going from stud to dud throughout the campaign.
Will Smith step up?
Smith would need 45.1 yards a game to reach this prop. Reasonable.
Some success will be determined by Hurts, who has a low prop bar. This could inspire serious thoughts of betting the over on his season totals.
The DraftKings prop has Hurts at 3,650 yards. That’s below Zach Wilson’s 3,800.5 yards, and Wilson hasn’t even played a down for the Jets.
Hurts is a scrambler, which could reduce his passing total. But he also had two 300-yard plus games for the Eagles last year. The sample size of four games is small, although he produced 896 yards, good for 224 per game and one was in January.
Project that total onto 17 games and he comes out at 3,808. You’ve got some desirable weather in September and October to consider.
But if we break the prop down by NFL weeks, Hurts would only need 215 yards per game to clear this over. So this looks reachable.
He’s also slated for 20.5 over-under for passing touchdowns. His rushing scores could diminish this total, but it’s still less than two per game.
If Hurts and Smith both hit their “overs.” it could enable the Eagles to surpass their modest expectations
A closer look at the New York Giants odds
DraftKings has the Giants’ odds of winning the NFC East at +450 (third behind Dallas and Washington).
New York is coming off a 6-10 season.
Their win total over-under is 7. Over is -130, under is +110
William Hill sportsbook has boosted the Giants from +250 to make the playoffs to +300. Do you believe a second-place team in this division can make the postseason?
It may take 10 wins. But if you think the G-Men have 10 in them, this bet has been boosted.
This could be the year of decision regarding quarterback Daniel Jones and star running back Saquon Barkley.
Jones has a low-bar prop of 3,800.5 yards and 24 touchdowns.
Can “Danny Dimes” rise beyond the stature of wooden nickels for the Giants? The prop requirement, 223 passing yards per game, is not steep. But there’s no perceived edge.
Jones averaged 210 yards per game in 2020 and 232 in 2019.
This projection is part crap-shoot, part anticipation of improvement. Jones has a good arm for a deep ball and has nice new receivers in Kenny Golladay, Kelvin Benjamin, and Kyle Rudolph. If he stops holding the ball too long and spreads the ball well, he hits the over.
A major success factor lies in the next piece of the puzzle: Saquon Barkley.
Glass half-full perspective on Barkley
Barkley returns after missing the last 15 games last season. After Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys (+210), he’s +700 at DraftKings for Comeback Player of the Year along with Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals.
Remember Barkley’s 2,028 passing and receiving yards in 2018 and 1,441 in 2019? He was sorely missed.
The Giants were 6-10 without him last year and almost made the postseason. He could get them over the top.
Glass half-empty perspective on Barkley
He’s back but inspires only mild confidence.
Barkley suffered a torn ACL on a seemingly routine running play against the Chicago Bears in Week 2. He was wrestled out of bounds. That’s it, and was lost for the season.
It wasn’t a crunching hit.
He’s valuable but vulnerable. Maybe even brittle. Barkley is being coy on returning for Week 1. You also can’t trust him with an individual yardage prop, because his total is divided among passing and rushing.
It may be best to incorporate him into team expectations rather than bet as an individual play.
Jets outlook from DraftKings
The New York Jets are facing the biggest uphill battle as their AFC East division odds are+2500.
The win total over-under is 6. Under is -120, Over is +100
This franchise is looking to turn things around from last season’s 2-14 mark
The Jets odds of not making the NFL Playoffs is -800. Yes is +550.
Zach Wilson factor heading into first NFL training camp
So how much will the Zach Wilson attack come into play?
Well, heading into his first NFL training camp, Wilson’s team resembles the Eagles.
Trading Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers mirrors the Birds dispatching Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts. Replacing Darnold, who the Jets No. 3 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, with Wilson resembles the Birds turning to Hurts, a second-round pick in 2020.
Can Wilson get you 223 yards per game to reach the 3,800.5 yards and the over? (Both sides are -115).
The Jets took a lineman, Alijah Vera-Tucker, and receiver, Elijah Moore, to help him.
The Jets took offensive players with the first three picks for the first time since 2009.
If nothing else, the J-E-T-S are going to be aggressive.
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh