Obviously when betting on which team will have lowest score in the the NFL, teams with bad offensive talent attract the most attention, but what can we learn about the average pace that a team plays with?
Bet365 is offering a neat prop this year: lowest scoring team.
My criteria for these picks are very simple: it's all about offensive talent and pace. You all know why offensive talent matters. Pace is simpler: if a team intentionally plays very slowly on offense, trying to run clock, you know that they'll give themselves fewer chances to score points. The Eagles always play fast under head coach Chip Kelly – they won't be appearing in this article.
Not only is Washington projected to have a pretty bad offense, but Jay Gruden also played things very conservatively in his first season. Washington finished 27th in the NFL in seconds per play on offense.
Basically, this is a bet on quarterback Robert Griffin III continuing to not be very good. At this point I think there are a multitude of reasons to believe in that. If Colt McCoy or Kirk Cousins get involved, that only sweetens the pot. Running back Alfred Morris can't overcome the offensive line they've put in front of him.
I think this is the biggest slam dunk underdog pick on the list – on these other two teams, you're relying more on lack of talent than a combination of talent and slow pace.
Houston Texans +2500
Nobody knows when Arian Foster will get back, but this offense was already projected to be fairly poor without him in 2015. Head coach Bill O'Brien has done a masterful job of getting the most out of his quarterbacks by slamming Foster into the line. The Texans led the NFL in rushing attempts in 2014.
But without Foster, that might not be sustainable. Think of last year's Texans as a Jenga puzzle. Removing Foster means the whole thing could come tumbling down. And with Andre Johnson in Indianapolis, the secondary receivers are unimpressive, inexperienced, or both.
Houston's overall pace was middle of the pack last year, so they're not a perfect fit for NFL picks, but if you want to be on them to have the worst talent on offense, I couldn't argue with you.
Buffalo Bills +3000
Matt Cassell. Tyrod Taylor. EJ Manuel. Matt Simms. These are the four horsemen of offensive stagnation.
The Bills are an interesting team to unravel. The rushing attack should be good, on paper. But LeSean McCoy played poorly last season and has plenty of tread on the tires. The offensive line struggled last year and is throwing draft picks at the problem. And, most importantly, none of the quarterbacks have shown much of anything in training camp. To the point where multiple reporters have wondered aloud if Cassel's career is over.
The Jets have traditionally been just about average under new Bills head coach Rex Ryan the last few years as far as seconds per offensive play. It's hard to look at the individual talent on this team – McCoy, Sammy Watkins, and so on – and believe they'll be the worst in the league. But quarterback issues can hold a whole team hostage, and this very well may be another example of that.