College football is back but will Eagles' Wentz or Foles be back for Week 1?
August 21, 2018 3:07 AM
by Micah Roberts
Oh my goodness, college football kicks off Saturday with two games and I can’t wait.
Wyoming -4 at New Mexico St. (46): I’m looking for a defensive game here with both teams starting new QBs. Wyoming loses QB Josh Allen, but he only completed 56 percent of his passes and the offense averaged just 286 ypg. Their average score was 23-17 and they led the nation in takeaways. The Cowboys have 17 starters returning. New Mexico State made a bowl last season for the first time in 57 years and won. Their defense chopped off 100 yards allowed per game from 2016 and nine of those starters are back. UNDER
Hawaii +14 at Colorado St. (58): Colorado State has won and covered the last five meetings with Hawaii, including last year’s 51-21 road win. The Rainbow Warriors closed 0-10 ATS, return only nine starters and replace all their skill positions. Colorado replaces QB Nick Stevens, but the high powered offense will be in good shape with Washington graduate transfer K.J. Carta-Samuels. COLORADO ST.
Washington senior QB Jake Browning is one of 17 returning starters for Washington this season in what was an amazing class recruited by head coach Chris Peterson. They are stacked and have their sights set on a National Championship. The only problem is the underrated Pac-12 is so tough week-to-week. Westgate has them 3-to-1 to make the Playoffs, 4-to-7 to win the Pac-12 Championship Game, and 15-to-1 to win the National Championship. By the way, the wrong team is favored in their season opener against Auburn.
The Eagles thought they had a nice plan to wait until the end of the preseason and make a Sam Bradford type of deal to a team desperate for QB after all of the bruising and banging preseason. There’s always one or two teams that instantly become desperate. This year it could be the Bills with A.J. McCarron going down. But with Nick Foles hurting his shoulder in Thursday night’s 37-20 loss at New England, the Eagles have to wonder whether they’re going to be the desperate team with Carson Wentz coming off an injury and just being cleared to play non-contact 11-on-11 drills. Do they go shopping for a Teddy Bridgewater-type to ease things up until Wentz returns? Nick Sudfeld is a significant dropoff from Foles. Several books have taken the opening game odds off the board while others have circled the game with the Eagles being -3 after opening -4 against Atlanta.
If knowing Foles or Wentz will be the opening game starter against the Falcons, Eagles -3 is huge value. Let’s call the Super Bowl champs 1.5-points better on a neutral field than Atlanta with a healthy Foles or a rehab start by Wentz and give Philly 2.5 points for home field, making a solid number of the Eagles -4. If for whatever reason Sudfeld starts, the Falcons should be -2.5.
In a recent conversation with Las Vegas oddsmaker Kenny White, we spent a lot of the time talking about the Cleveland Browns who have gone 1-31 in coach Hue Jackson’s first two seasons.
“They’re going to be drastically improved this season,” said White citing new QB Tyrod Taylor as the major reason. “Taylor gives them a conservative veteran to lead the offense and they have all kinds of talent surrounding him with Josh Gordon, Jarvis Landry and maybe even Dez Bryant, and then the running game gets Carlos Hyde, Duke Johnson and rookie Nick Chubb from Georgia. They’ll score some points. The defense allowed only 98 yards rushing per game last season and 328 total.”
Over 6 season wins looks like his lean and it’s been a bet others like because bettors bumped it up from 5.5, but that wasn’t all.
“No, I’m thinking bigger. I think they can win the AFC North and make the playoffs.”
Kenny isn’t crazy, but this is definitely his bold prediction of the preseason and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook is paying 10-to-1 odds if the Browns win the division. To make the playoffs, YES is +375 and NO is -500. First up in Week 1 is a home game with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
I don’t know who is running social media for the DraftKings sportsbook, but the clueless person sent out a tweet on Friday with a graphic saying “Standings vs. Spread” in regards to MLB. It read, “Will the Reds win the National League Pennant? Will the Dodgers avoid finishing with the worst record in MLB? A lot of interesting storylines to follow with six weeks left in the season.”
That was it, and they got several comments attempting to correct like ProSwap, but DraftKings replied with some sort of reasoning that led me to believe it was an English chap who doesn’t follow baseball. The Reds are in last, the Dodgers are a sniff away from first-place. I love my English brothers, but none of them know baseball. They hate it, actually. And in the stat they showed, it was Red Sox of Boston, not the Reds of Cincinnati, who were the tops.
Have no fear my English friends, there are plenty of Americans who have an issue with who the real Reds in the English Premier League are. Is it Liverpool or Manchester United? Go Reds!
By the way, Boston is the MLB leader at +25.7 units if betting all their games through Sunday’s games, Cincinnati is -4.1 units and the Dodgers are -24.8 units.
DraftKings is doing quite well with investors in their floating venture and they’ve found quite a few spots in the U.S. to bump their place in the market. I love it. Keep it up.
Shady info moves
There was some interesting movement in Saturday’s Raiders-Rams preseason action where the Westgate SuperBook opened the home team Rams -2.5 on Monday and went to -3 on Tuesday. The number slowly dropped all the way down to pick ‘em by Friday and more Raiders action came in Saturday afternoon pushing the Raiders all the way up to -3, a 6-point move. They settled at Raiders -2.5 before kickoff. Most of the other Las Vegas sportsbooks were Raiders -3.
“The teams play each other in Week 1 and the total dropped early with the expectation of vanilla offenses,” said Station Casinos sportsbook director Jason McCormick 30 minutes before kickoff.
Most books were offering 39 as the total after off-shore posted 42.5 early. But there’s a couple things I’d like to know about the side. Why were these bettors jumping so quick on the Raiders? It became apparent the Rams weren’t playing their starters either. Preseason limits are low and there are a lot of quick moves to get to the number, but something stunk in the info wars.
“I didn’t have much of a position on the game,” said professional bettor Jeff Whitelaw, “but I did have +1 with the Raiders and +3 with the Rams. I think the early move was because most people believed if most the players would be rested that Connor Cook was a much better QB after a solid Week 1 of preseason while Sean Mannion struggled with a 3-for-13 performance the week prior.”
Five minutes until kickoff the Westgate got a few Rams bets to drop the Raiders to -2 and then down to -1.5. Caesars Palace also made the same drop. The majority of the books won on the game, but I think a few did by default in the information wars. This is why limits on these games stay cautiously low for all bet shops.
Watch out for a similar situation in Week 4 of the preseason when the Colts and Bengals hook up and then have a Week 1 regular season game.
Sweet Roxy tweet
Michael “Roxy” Roxborough doesn’t tweet often, but when the guy who basically set the bookmaking standard in Las Vegas tweets something, we read with eagerness. Saturday night he tweeted, “So horse racing is trying to figure out how to ‘get a cut’ out of sports betting. Wrong Plan. Don’t ask what sports betting can do for you. Ask what you can do for sports betting. Go with the flow not against it.”
Yes, perfect. I love it and Roxy is, and always will be, ahead of his time. The dying horse racing business can thrive again with a rebirth of new gamblers just wanting quick action but never paying attention to the horses. This is just another business trying to lobby for legislation to get their cut in this new world of legal sports betting.