Givin Futures: Before Week 6

Ja'Marr Chase #1 of the Cincinnati Bengals lines up for a play in the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium on November 28, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Image Credit: Dylan Buell/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 our Week 6 look at the futures you like with Rams Over 11.5 wins.

Brad: They’re all offense. It’s dynamite. The defense has been disappointing though beyond even expected regression. But the offense is everything they were hoping it would be.  I made their total about 12.5 wins in the summer. So I like Over 11.5 inherently. But here’s why I really like it. I’m looking here at schedules for the next couple games. Because I have found from years of doing this that the linemakers look at the team’s record at the moment rather than at the schedule. The Rams have the Giants this week. I think that’s a win. Detroit, is a win. Texan,  a win. Titans at home —  win. I think it’s pretty safe to say they’ll be 8-1, quite honestly. I would be shocked if they lost two games. And even if they go 7-2, the O/U then is still going to be higher than 11.5. I like to bet on its own merits. But if you’re looking to do a middle, which I love doing, well here you go.

You have Seattle as a “scalp” where you get minus-260 to miss playoffs and +330 to make playoffs. How do you leverage that as a bettor?

Brad: If you make both bets, you’re guaranteed a 17% return on your money. You can’t lose.  Now, what do I think is the bad number of the two? I would lay the minus-260 they don’t make the playoffs. But making both bets is just free money, just at a lower rate of return.

You also like Seattle Under 8.5 wins. 

Brad: They’re 2-3 but they should have been 3-2 based on their preseason number of 9.5. So they are down a game and their 8.5 total now is down a game. So what’s the problem. Well, Russell Wilson is going to be out about six weeks and miss five games (with the bye). Are you kidding me here with this line? Give me the Under. Now maybe Geno Smith has improved. Maybe the Seahawks play surprisingly well. I’m not saying that can’t happen. But what I am saying is, in my opinion, this is a two-out-of-three bet at least that they go 8-9 or worse. My numbers have them 1-2 points better than average with Willson and about four points worse than average with him. (The lookahead line vs. the actual Week 6 line moved even more.) Many games are decided by less than six points.

In your backyard, the Eagles Over 6 wins.

Brad: This is just a bad number. Now Philadelphia is really weird in being basically a three-point underdog in almost every one of their games. They should have 1.7 wins doing the probabilities. They have two. But before the year they were 7.0 O/U wins. So why are they down a game? They certainly have not been below expectations. Now you’re lowering it one game? If they go 3-9 or worse the rest of the year, I lose. I think it’s a much better chance they go 5-7 than 3-9.

Last week, the Eagles upset the Panthers but you like Carolina still Over 7.5.

Brad: The Panthers should have won that game. Philadelphia got very fortunate to win. But here’s the thing: this team is 3-2 and were projected to be closer to 2-3. They are a game better but their preseason number was 7.5; so this has not been adjusted. I actually think that they do deserve to be re-appraised. They have the extra win. They’re getting their best player Christian McCaffrey back. Their defense has actually been good and I think Sam Darnold with his security blanket back (McCaffrey) will be better, too. I look at their games in the schedule: Atlanta twice doesn’t scare me. Giants don’t scare me. Washington doesn’t scare me. Pats don’t scare me. Miami doesn’t scare me. The Vikings at home this week is a 50/50 game. Buffalo is their hardest game by far but that’s Week 17 and I do not think the Bills are going to need that game. So the Panthers may be playing against backups.

Titans under 9.5

Brad: Here’s their upcoming schedule: Bills at home, Kansas City at home, at the Colts and at the Rams. Now I’m going to say this. I really believe they could go 1-3. I think 1-3 is extremely realistic, I think to say they split against the Chiefs and Colts is fair. So that’s at best for this bet 4-5 after this run of games. If that happens, they’re total is going to be 8.0 and then you have another great middle opportunity. But that will be with this win in your pocket because at 4-5 at best, they’re not getting to the 10 wins they need to beat you.

Chiefs to miss playoffs, plus-300.

Brad: Your FiveThirtyEight site (host Michael Salfino chats NFL there every Monday) has them at about 60% to make the playoffs.  I think it’s actually closer to 70%. So I think that we should be around minus-230 to make the playoffs. I just have to take the plus-300 on a team that has shown real warts. Their defense is bad. (Key stat: allowing more yards per play than the best offense in history gained per play.) I don’t see them as a big favorite in any game the rest of the year other than when they play the Giants at home. Maybe they will win them because of the great Patrick Mahomes.  But they still haven’t had any injuries and if they lose not just obviously Mahomes but also Tyreek Hill or Travis Kelce, they’re in big trouble. And I’ll say this, and I don’t want to overreact, but Kelce is 32, as you pointed out in the summer, and watching that game against the Eagles live, Kelce looked old and slow to me.

Ja’Marr Chase for Offensive Rookie of Year, plus-375. A key stat for Chase is he has four receiving touchdowns of over 30 yards in his first five games of the season. Forget about just rookies. He’s the first player period to do that since Marvin Harrison in 2003.

Brad: That’s a great stat. And I like those odds. When you say someone is plus-375 that is implying he has the chance of around 21% to win Rookie of the Year. I think it’s greater than that for Chase. I think honestly right now, I think he’s about a 33% chance. It’s him and who? Maybe two other players? He already has five touchdowns in the bank. Voters like touchdowns and if he gets just five more in 12 games, that’s 10 touchdowns. And 10 is a very big number for a rookie. And I’ll give you another one I like: Kyle Pitts could go on a Justin Jefferson 2020-type of run here after a slow start and he’s 20-to-1, plus-2000. So maybe a bigger bet on Chase and a pizza bet on Pitts to hedge that for a fraction of the cost is the way to play this.