Givin Futures: Before Week 4

Quarterback Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals carries the ball against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on November 21, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Image Credit: Matthew Stockman/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.

Brad let’s start with a team you liked all summer, one that’s 3-0 surprisingly yet is only O/U 8.0 wins, the Carolina Panthers.

Brad: We talked last week it’s a good bet over 7.5 and now it’s a good bet over 8.0. This is my core team. That’s 3-0 when they were expected to win 7.5. So you’re telling me this team has to go 4-10 for me to lose this bet? They could. But their defense is flat-out good. Sam Darnold looks like a decent quarterback at least. And they’re a smart organization, trading for the cornerback in a great deal on paper with the Jaguars for a first-round player just last year to replace their own injured first-round pick this year. I don’t understand how it’s only gone up a half game; Carolina should be at least 8.5.

Next up the 49ers, who are up to 11.5 and you like the UNDER.

Brad: San Francisco’s over under before the year: 10.5 wins. They’ve played three games this year, right? They had about a 60% win share against Philadelphia, about a 60% win share last week against Green Bay. And they had in week one about a 75% win share against Detroit. So they’re supposed to clearly have two wins right now. They have two wins. Has the team looked better than we expected? I would argue they’ve been at best par and  if anything maybe a little worse. So why are they up a game to 11.5? It’s not their division, which if anything is better than we thought. You want to say the Seahawks are worse? Well, they have Russell Wilson so it’s almost impossible for them to not win nine or 10 games. This number should still be 10.5. They want to give me the extra win? I’ll take it.

Here’s a team you liked in the summer but now think is going to be UNDER 8.0, the Washington Football Team.

Brad: How many times does the No. 1 defense stink? That would be like if the Chiefs suddenly had a bad offense barring injury, which is clearly not going to happen. But it happens all the time with defenses and has happened to the WFT.  They started the year 8.5 O/U. Week 1, they were about a 55% win share, they lose. Week 2, they were about a 60% win share. And they win. Week 3, 25%, lose. So they should have 1.5 wins and they have one. They are down. Okay, so they’ve lost a half game. But more importantly, we were expecting a really staunch defensive team, a top seven defense at least, and they are bottom seven. Additionally, no matter what you thought of Ryan Fitzpatrick, I thought he was going to be average and he’s not there and I don’t think they’re average now at QB. So this number should be significantly lower.

Your LSU legacy squad, the Cincinnati Bengals, OVER 6.5….

Brad: We gave this out last week OVER 5.5. So we’re going to take a little bow on that. We’re coming right back and taking OVER 6.5. With their win shares each week, this team should right now be at around 1.2 wins. They should be 1-2, okay. But they’re 2-1.  So they should be theoretically 7.5 juice to the under or 7.0 juice to the over. How could it be 6.5? And when they win this week, they’re a heavy favorite at home against the Jaguars on Thursday, then it will go to 7.5 and we’ll be able to go UNDER next week and get that nice middle.

Next up, the Browns +150 to win the AFC North. 

Brad: Big Ben can’t do it. So we know it won’t be Pittsburgh. I think Cincinnati has a chance to win eight or nine this year, tops. They’re not a great team. And I don’t even think they’re a good team. So this is a two-horse race. If you want to be nasty, if you want to be cruel, you make this minus-110 Baltimore; minus-110 Cleveland, dealer’s choice. I can live with that. But you’re giving me plus-150 then I’d say it must be because the Ravens have looked better. But they have not looked better than we thought. I don’t necessarily have math on my side because both teams are sitting at O/U 10.5. But what I do have is this: you’re giving me plus-150. It’s like the Seinfeld episode where Kramer was going to get like a $10 million settlement and the guy goes, you know, I’ll give you free coffee for a year and before he can get the sentence out, Kramer says, “Sold.” Plus-150? Sold!

The Cowboys you like at minus-185 division, which seems very generous to the chances for the rest of the division. 

Brad: How does Dallas not have at least a 72% chance? The Cowboys should be at least minus-250 here. That’s even if you don’t like Dallas; you think Dallas sucks. You think that this team is nothing. Minus-250 is the floor. Minus-185 is just funny. One of my buddies is a professional handicapper and he says, “Brad, this isn’t handicapping. This is just a donkey number that you’re picking off.” He’s right. It’s a donkey number.  I’m picking up what’s available to everyone at  one of the biggest sports books. It’s not like I found this in some third-world country. That’s the biggest compliment he can give me. I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel. I’m looking to stuff the nerf basketball in the bedroom. I want to make it so easy for everyone.

For Defensive Rookie of the Year, Micah Parsons +600. 

Brad: He’s gotten good publicity. I think right now, as of today, through Week 3, he’s the most likely winner. So they’re saying he has a 1-in-7 chance and I think it’s closer to plus-350. I don’t think he’s going to win it. But I would say that about any player. But I think the most likely winner should be plus-350 now and that’s Parsons so this is a solid bet.

Asante Samuel Jr at 25-to-1 for DROY.

Brad: He’s my second pick. He’s been Defensive Rookie of the Week already. I like that he’s playing for the Chargers, who I think are a very good team. They’re saying Samuel has a 4% chance to win this award. I think he should be more like eight to one. There’s crazy value on that.

Speaking of the Chargers, plus-125 to make playoffs

Brad: You’re saying there’s a four in nine chance this team makes the playoffs? It’s a tough division. I get it. But I think three teams are going to make it out of the AFC West.  I feel like if I have three of those four teams in the playoff, then I should be laying. My honest answer: I think I should be laying minus-140. I think Justin Herbert is the second-best QB in football. And the rest of this Los Angeles team is good. I love their receivers and Austin Ekeler and their defense is even solid. This is a very good football team. They could be in Tampa Bay next week, at the Rams, and I would feel they had a very good chance to win. I love feeling that way at this price with this bet.