If the football betting public says something is black, it’s probably closer to white. Here are five teams that casual fans are likely to overbet in 2014, including the most public of all the public darlings.
We’ve given you five “follow” candidates for 2014. Now it’s time to look at the “fade” side of the NFL betting coin. There’s plenty of money to be made betting against teams that are overvalued in the marketplace, and they’re quite easy to spot – they’re in the national media every day, getting the VIP treatment. Don’t believe the hype. In terms of NFL Odds, these five teams are not all that, nor do you get a bag of chips.
The Panthers (12-4 SU, 9-6-1 ATS) were a lot of fun last year as NFL picks, especially after head coach “Riverboat Ron” Rivera finally abandoned his conservative ways and started aggressively going for it on fourth down. But that was last year. The tealeaves don’t look so good for 2014; not only did the ‘Cats outperform their 11.0 Estimated Wins in 2013, they also got rid of just about their entire receiving corps, including iconic WR Steve Smith (64 catches). Worse, the offensive line is a shell of what it was last year, and what it was last year was already not very good, finishing No. 14 in run blocking efficiency and No. 25 in pass protection.
Sure, everyone loves the Browns now that they have QB Johnny Manziel – and you can give Browns superfan LeBron James an assist for making people feel good about Cleveland. But this is a tire fire of a franchise. Even if we charitably ignore last year’s 4-12 record (6-10 ATS) and give new head coach Mike Pettine the benefit of the doubt, Manziel isn’t Cleveland’s starting quarterback. Brian Hoyer (77.4 career passer rating) is. And WR Josh Gordon (87 catches) is suspended for the entire season due to left-handed cigarettes. Weed, that is. Panama Gold. Texas Tea.
This is a tough call. On one hand, the Broncos are strong Super Bowl contenders after adding some quality defenders (CB Aqib Talib, safety T.J. Ward, DE DeMarcus Ware, et al.) But Super Bowl favorites at 11/2 on the NFL futures market, ahead of the defending champion Seattle Seahawks (6/1)? Poppycock. The Broncos had a ridiculously good offense last year, one of the best ever, and that’ll be difficult to reproduce in 2014, especially with WR Wes Welker (73 catches) concussed and WR Eric Decker (87 catches) playing for the New York Jets. Watch out for that strength of schedule, too.
New England Patriots
Teams don’t get much more public than the Patriots (12-4 SU, 8-8 ATS). They did lose a few fans last year with TE Rob Gronkowski injured and TE Aaron Hernandez in jail, but we’re still talking about GQ/QB Tom Brady (87.3 passer rating), who looked much more like the game manager that he was back in the day when the Patriots didn’t have a lot of targets for Brady to throw at. By the way, Brady just turned 37. And New England traded away one of his best offensive linemen, LG Logan Mankins, for a replacement tight end in Tim Wright (54 catches for Tampa Bay). Gronk had better be super-healthy this year.
New Orleans Saints
Bookending the success we had betting the Panthers, the Saints recovered from their lost Bountygate season and went 11-5 SU, although they also dropped the cash in five of their last seven games to finish 8-8 ATS. Hope you jumped off the bandwagon at the right time. Most people didn’t; the Saints are even more adored than the Patriots these days, with the more recent Super Bowl victory, plus that whole Hurricane Katrina thing. New Orleans had 10.0 Estimated Wins last year to go with their 11.0 Actual Wins, and one of their key offseason signings, three-time Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd, is starting the season on the PUP list. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.