Givin Futures: Before Week 2

Dalvin Cook #33 of the Minnesota Vikings carries the ball against the Baltimore Ravens during the first half at M&T Bank Stadium on November 7, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland.
Image Credit: Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Each week, BetPrep Sharp and NBC Sports Betting Analyst Brad Feinberg discusses expected win totals, division odds, Super Bowl favorites, and potential award winners with host and BetPrep Editor Michael Salfino of The Athletic and FiveThirtyEight. It’s the official futures podcast of BetPrep, a free sports betting research site that empowers bettors with the same tools both the sharps and the sportsbooks use.

Here are some highlights from the latest episode of the Givin’ Futures Podcast.

Why don’t we start with the New York Giants in your NFC East backyard where everybody, I guess, is very excited about the Philadelphia Eagles.

Brad: What’s great about these sports books now is now, you can bet season wins after every single week, which I love. The Giants season win total  was seven. They lose their first game. And they were projected to have about a 43% chance in that game. So they lose .43 wins and the line does not move? The right number would be 6.5 or lower. Now why do I say lower? Well, they looked atrocious.  K.J. Hamler dropped a touchdown pass. They also fumbled the ball at the Giants’ the two-yard line plus the Giants score on the last play of the game. So you get the hat trick on that one, my friend again. I learned the Giants are worse than we thought.

They even gave up 420 yards on defense to Teddy Bridgewater.

Brad: You’re giving me the same over/under again, it’s” thank you” and let’s go on to the next one.

The Vikings coming off the week one loss at Cincinnati, you like Over 7.5 wins.

Brad: The Vikings have been a team that I’ve gone back and forth on. I didn’t like the whole Kirk Cousins thing (COVID). But they should have won that game against the Bengals. Dalvin Cook was clearly down in overtime. They played an improved Cincy team. Burrow got sacked five times. Minnesota looked okay in this one. But the Vikings over/under closed at 9.0. It should now be 8.5 clearly. Plus I thought the Vikings deserved to win a close game. So you’re going to make that total an extra win lower? That’s an over-correction.

The Tennessee Titans you now like Under the 9.5 wins.

Brad: These are just common sense bets I’m putting in where I don’t need to be a hero. I don’t need to be a genius. The Titans’ win total before the year was around 9.3, meaning 9.5 with some  juice to the under. Now they lost that 56% win probability or .56 wins. So it should be 8.5,  juice to the over or 9.0. juice to the under Well, they make it 9.5 regular juice each way. So not only do they not get dinged for losing, they get upgraded. I’m not banging my head trying to beat things that are hard to beat. I’m trying to beat things that are easy to beat.

Next is Pittsburgh. upset win at Buffalo and I have a problem with the Bills offensive approach to that game, continuously throwing into a stacked pass defense with all those defensive backs instead of running. But the Steelers are well coached and have a sound defense. And they’re only O/U 8.5 wins. 

Brad: I do give them credit. Their defense was just really good. Here’s what we’re going to talk about. Pittsburgh’s over/under was 8.5. They had a 27% chance to win. So now they should be at least 9.0, juice on the Over. They got the whole win, obviously. Instead, the Steelers get NO credit. “We’re gonna keep it 8.5.” You go ahead and do that, that’s fine. But when you give me three quarters of a freakin’ win for free, whether I liked Pittsburgh or not before, I’m now liking Pittsburgh. I’m not trying to give you any genius expertise here other than it’s an obvious bet.

Sam Donald and the Carolina Panthers Over 7.5 wins.

Brad: This one to me is a little weaker of the bunch. But they were a flat 7.5 before the win, and it’s still a flat 7.5. I get close to a half-win bump. And I thought they should have won the game against the Jets by a lot more.

You’re still Under on the Saints, though the line has moved up. 

Brad: This is  my favorite one. I bet big Under 9.5. They win and should get a bump of about a half a win, or technically .62. Instead they get bumped all the way to 10.5. Because they look so dominant, they got bumped an extra half-win.  Maybe I’m being stubborn here. But  just cannot raise the Saints from an 8.5 where it opened to 11 to win. I think the math is on my side.

To hedge, can you just bet Payton to win Coach of the Year? If he wins 11 games without Brees and with Jameis Winston and after another hurricane disruption, that’s narrative street, right? 

Brad: That’s interesting. It’s costing you barely nothing and then you could cover everything if you’re wrong. Because if they go over 10.5, it means he’s winning anywhere between 11 and 17. This is why I like talking to you, my friend! This Coach of the Year bet could be a very cheap hedge.

Next up we have the 49ers Under 11.5. That’s higher but I took more negative than positive from the Lions game.

Brad: That was a negative game. The Niners just couldn’t get the Lions off the field, which to me was not a great omen. Their season win total before the year was 10.5. Now, they beat Detroit with about an 80% win share. Maybe you want to juice it 10.5 to the over. You can sell me on that. But they raised it 11.5 and minus-110 on both sides? No. That’s too high.

We have the Eagles to win the NFC East. Why do you like the way they’re being priced?

Brad: I knew the strength of the team was going to be the offensive line and the defensive line. And they dominated on both sides of the ball in the trenches. Jalen Hurts has  improved. He worked on his craft. If you like Philly, instead of betting over 7.5 wins, I would bet them to win the division a plus-350. Washington lost Ryan Fitzpatrick, who I thought was going to be huge for them. The Cowboys should have allowed 40 points in their opener.

Now you have the Rams and Seattle to win the Super Bowl or to get to the Super Bowl. Winning or getting there doesn’t matter because you just hedge if they get there, right?

Brad: That’s right. I saw what I wanted to see from these teams. Russell Wilson always wins 10 games. Matthew Stafford looked like I expected.  And I actually also added Arizona, 20-to-1 to win the NFC. Here’s why I took Arizona to win the NFC and not the Super Bowl. But they’re only 34-1 to win the Super Bowl when it should be 40-to-1 (twice the odds to win the conference). That makes the conference bet the better value (it should be 17-to-1, based on the Super Bowl odds). And I have one more for you: Green Bay stays at 10.5 wins despite losing .62 of a win? How could they not get dinged for losing, never mind losing that badly? Remember, I’m trying to get you to say, “Oh, that’s obvious, Brad.” Yeah, exactly.