What NFL Handicappers Can Expect from 1st Year Coaches (2015-16)

Doug Upstone

Sunday, July 12, 2015 7:19 PM UTC

Sunday, Jul. 12, 2015 7:19 PM UTC

In seven NFL cities a new regime is taking over and if you follow the betting odds or play fantasy football, there is always joy and trepidation at the same time wondering how Season 1 will turn out.

Most hires bring a level of excitement because the old coach was not getting the job done or had worn out his welcome.

What should anyone expect the first year? It is hard to make a blanket statement that encompasses all facets of that question, thus we will break it down from NFL picks perspective for those -pick the winners pools - and considering NFL odds and point spreads.

A decade ago I wrote a similar article and new coaches with no prior head coaching experience ended winning approximately 45 percent of the time over a four-year period and were at 48 percent against the spread. Coaches with previous experience were just over 50 percent in pure wins and losses and about the same versus the sportsbooks.

In reviewing more recent information the past four years, here is what we have learned, first-year head coaches still have a hard time winning and generally speaking are not good to use for sports picks.


The Problems with New Coaches
In the past four seasons, all head coaches in their initial season were 181-259 SU, which is a 41.1 percent win percentage. We have to understand, for the most these new leaders of men are taking over existing franchises that are not very good and are being brought in to change the culture and win. Trying to change something that is not working to playoff team is a very hard thing to accomplish, especially for a first-time coach, though guys like Jim Harbaugh have accomplished this in recent seasons.

Next, new systems have to be implemented which the players have to learn and they have to get familiar with all new assistant coaches and this normally takes time. This is not to say they are failures, as 16 new coaches showed improvement in the first year, with seven going backwards and two matching the previous record from the year before.


These New Taskmasters are not Good Bets Either
In this timeframe NFL football handicappers like myself have seen them post a 206-224-10 ATS record, which is 47.9 percent winning percentage. And in the world of 11/10 odds, if a somebody wagered $100.00 in each game, they would have lost $4,040.00, which would be very costly.


What to Expect from the New Guys on the Block
History shows us head coaches with previous experience perform somewhat better than those that don't. Gary Kubiak in Denver and Rex Ryan in Buffalo would appear to have the best chances at success. Kubiak has a veteran club built to win this season, which could very well be Peyton Manning's last. There are weaknesses but no team is perfect, especially this time of year. Ryan has a team on the upswing and if he can solve the quarterback situation, Rex and the Bills might be headed to the playoffs.

Not many coaches are let go after three division titles and a 12-4 campaign but this is what happened to John Fox. However, he landed in a pretty good situation in Chicago, with an offense which could be explosive, as long as Jay Cutler does not mess it up. The Bears defense needs a definite upgrade, but that is Fox's specialty. Oakland has been terrible for years, but finally is not making the same ridiculous front office mistakes and Jack Del Rio was a good safe hire and has building blocks to lead the Raiders back at least to .500 in a two or three years.

All the brand new coaches might struggle for different reasons. Jim Tomsula might be liked in San Francisco but with the personnel losses and confusing front office moves, the 49ers are moving backward. Dan Quinn inherits quality skill position players to build around, yet both lines are average at best and owner Arthur Blank need to stop sipping Falcons kool-aid, because the roster is not what he thinks it is. Finally, Todd Bowles walks into an situation with two quarterbacks that have not done the job and trying to win in this league without a field general, good luck Todd.

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