Givin Futures: Before Week 5

Josh Allen #17 and Stefon Diggs #14 of the Buffalo Bills celebrate after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Highmark Stadium on October 31, 2021 in Orchard Park, New York.
Image Credit: Joshua Bessex/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.

Let’s start this week with the American League playoffs, which are now set. 

Brad: Houston minus-125, White Sox plus-100 — I think that series price makes sense. As for Game 1, I like Chicago plus-130 and also getting a run minus-130 and I’ll tell you why. The game’s in Houston; so Houston only gets eight at-bats in a one-run scenario. I really love taking the underdog when they’re on the road, getting the extra at bat. The bet really is not to lose by two runs. What I’m basically saying here is this:  I think there’s a far better chance that the White Sox win this game instead of losing the game by two runs or more.

Moving to football, we start with the 49ers under 10.5 wins.

Brad: I really hope everyone is listening to this show. We are giving you free money. People are always saying, “Oh, Brad, that’s so obvious!” Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I make my money finding inefficiencies. That’s what Michael writes about. This is an inefficiency. Where do I start? They beat Philadelphia and Detroit. Congratulations. They won two games as a significant favorite. They lose at home as a favorite to Seattle. And they lose as a home favorite to the Packers. They’re over/under coming in the year was 10.5. They should be 4-0 based on the odds. Maybe 3-1. They’re 2-2. They’re still 10.5.  Oh my God! Who is making these numbers? Who’s doing it?

Bills Over 11.5 is now the play, looking at that schedule which if anything is easier than it’s already been. 

Brad: You nailed it. Their schedule. They’re an underdog in two games the rest of the year at Kansas City Monday night, a whopping 2.5-point underdog, at Tampa Bay assuming Brady is healthy, they’ll be a tiny underdog in that game. They’ll be favored in the other 11 games. Their record is 3-1. So on paper they should be at least 12.5 expected win. Have they underachieved? Pittsburgh was a bad loss. They went to Miami as a small favorite and made up a little for losing to Pittsburgh. So they should be 3-1 and they are and their over/under of 11.5 has not changed. But wait a minute. Look at that division. It’s worse than we thought. They play those teams four more times. They play Atlanta, New Orleans, the Colts, the Titans — every one of those teams is worse than what they were supposed to be. I would have them at 12.5. There was a fundamental change because the schedule looks easier.

Browns over 10.5. 

Brad: I think the best teams in the AFC are the Browns, Bills and the Chargers. I thought the most likely outcome on this team now was between two and three wins. They have three but let’s get to the next point. I think they look the part of a real contender. I like the way the defense looks. The running game looks the way I wanted it to. I just think this is a team that’s built for being a really good regular-season team. Yeah, the playoff ceiling is low because of Baker. But they’re better than every team in the AFC North.

Denver under 10.5

Brad: This team was 8.5 before the year. They should really be between 2.5 and 3.0 wins. They’re 3-1. Now you raise their over/under from 8.5 to 10.5? I can’t get there. And I liked Denver. But I think the Broncos are getting too much respect here. They now are down eight starters. If you wanted to make this 9.5, I’d be, “Okay, I can see that.” But (this is a) vicious, vicious, and I’m gonna say it five more times, VICIOUS division. Okay, and they have to play those teams six times. This is a screaming Under. That’s not even an opinion.

The Raiders over 8.5. Why should the Raiders and the Broncos have different over/unders?

Brad: This is why this show is so good because we’re giving you stuff that’s just like that where you don’t have to think about it. This isn’t me and Michael giving you some amazing handicap. We’re finding stuff that’s just a mistake that’s out there in major sports books. Why should the Raiders and Broncos be so different? Exactly!

The Raiders over/under before the year was between 7.0 and 7.5. But they have about 1.5 more wins than expected. So they raise the Raiders a game. That’s fair. But I like what I’ve seen out of this team. I think this team is just good. Now this week they play Chicago at home, which I think is a very good chance for a win. Then they play at Denver — tough game but winnable. Philadelphia at home, clearly they’ll be favored. At the Giants, probably favored, you know. So I think in these next four games, there’s a decent chance you can maybe get to 3-1. And then the Raiders could be 6-2. Then the over/under is 10.5 or 11. So I mean, to me, this is a chance to get a very good price now that you’ll likely be able to middle at Under 10.5 or so later.

Now a double against Miami: Under 8.5 and minus-240 NOT to make the playoffs.

Brad: I think there’s a warning on this team. The fire alarms are on. Get the kids out of the house. I see real issues. You’re saying this is a .500 team at this point? Let’s think about this. They’re 1-3. So that means they need to go 8-5 to beat you. When I see this team, if you made this over 6.5 and said, “Feinberg, you can cure cancer if you pick this one right.” I would pick the under. I think this team goes 6-11. And I  put the chances of Miami making the playoffs around the 16% area, maybe a one-in-six chance of doing it. So minus-500 is the fair price. This is half price!

Saints Under 9.0 and minus-125 NOT to make the playoffs.

Brad: Week 1, we took the Saints Under 10.5. Then we took them under 9.5. Now after Week 4, we’re taking them under 9.0. Look, this is a good coach. But you said to me before the podcast without me saying anything that Jameis Winston has become the “dreaded game manager.”  What’s the point? They would be better with Taysom Hill because at least he can do everything Jameis Winston is doing plus he can run. If Hill were to start playing, I would not be stubborn — I would get off this position.

Dallas at 10-to-1 to win the NFC.

Brad: I prefer this vs. 20-to-1 to win the Super Bowl because I do think the AFC has really strong Super Bowl candidates. With Dallas, look at their division. It’s not gonna be Philly, it’s not going to be the Giants. We know that the Washington Football Team has shown some signs of life, but its defense has underachieved. Dallas has the infrastructure, right? They have the running game. Boom, it’s there. Dak has looked fine at quarterback off the injury. This kid Trevon Diggs (2020 second-round pick at cornerback) would have my vote right now for Defensive Player of the Year.

With Micah Parsons and when Demarcus Lawrence gets back, the Cowboys could have an All-Pro-level player at every level of the defense. 

Brad: Right and so I think they’re right there with anyone. You want to pick Green Bay, Tampa Bay, the Rams, the Cardinals. Fine. But are those teams better than Dallas? No. They’re all equal to Dallas only, at worst. So Dallas should be 5-to-1 to win the NFC, about. Certainly not 10-to-1. The Cowboys have the worst odds of all those teams. Why? The Rams defense has looked shaky. After Week 1, we gave you Arizona 20-1 to win the NFC and that’s a great bet to have in your pocket now. Tampa Bay’s pass defense is a mess. I don’t see any separation between these teams.