Patriots a Virtual Lock to Win AFC East – Again The New England Patriots are –1000 favorites to win the AFC East for the ninth straight year. Even with those fat football odds, the Patriots look like the sharp pick.
Wait a second … Didn’t we just say the New England Patriots were the kind of team you should fade when it comes to the 2017 regular season? You know … too popular, inflated expectations, yadda yadda? Well, sure. But we were talking about NFL regular-season win totals. Now we’re moving on further with the futures market. This is where you bet on who will win the Super Bowl, the two conference titles, and the six division titles. Specifically, we’re looking at the odds for who will win the AFC East. Here’s how the futures market stacks up at Bovada as we go to press:
AFC East – Odds to Win
New England Patriots –1000
Miami Dolphins +1000
Buffalo Bills +1200
New York Jets +5000
As you can see, it’s a one-horse race, and the horse in question is the defending Super Bowl champs. Betting $1000 to win $100 is a big risk, and yes, people are prone to over-valuing the Patriots, but in this cottony-soft division, the reward appears to be well worth it. Here’s how we can tell.
Information Wants to Be Free The most efficient way to tackle the futures market is to find some reliable projections, based on advanced statistics, and compare them to the NFL odds. These projections don’t have to be spot-on; that’s too much to ask of anyone. However, they do have to be based on sound principles. Many top handicappers will have their own proprietary computer algorithms churning away in the background, looking for inconsistencies in the marketplace. But there are a number of solid projections available for free on the interwebs. Free is good. For this article, we’ll use the Football Power Index (FPI) projections at ESPN. These analytics were developed by some of the brightest football minds in the business, and the methodology behind the numbers is rigorous. Again, we’re not expecting perfection, just a better grip on what may happen in the future than most recreational bettors can manage. Here’s how the FPI-based projections for the AFC East race looked on June 1:
Those are some tiny percentages for the non-Patriots. Now let’s use one of our handy tools at Sportsbook Review, the SBR Betting Odds Converter, to turn those percentages into American odds (vigorish not included):
There you have it. According to the FPI projections, the Patriots are undervalued at –1000 to win the AFC East, and the three long shots are all overvalued at these odds. And that’s not taking into consideration what’s been happening on the ground lately – which we’ll do now.
Bienvenidos a Miami
You may have noticed that everything’s going to heck in a handbasket when it comes to the rest of the division. The Dolphins may have lost QB Ryan Tannehill to a partially torn left ACL; they’ve lured Jay Cutler out of retirement to fill in. The Jets have definitely lost WR Quincy Enunwa (bulging disk) for the season. And the Bills are so thin at wideout, they just signed 36-year-old Anquan Boldin to compete for their No. 2 WR position. Yikes. If that weren’t enough, the FPI projections may be selling the Patriots short. Once the NFL Draft was done, Football Outsiders projected New England to go 13-3 this year, with a median projection of 13.4 wins. Those projections are based on DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average), which you’ll probably become quite familiar with as you continue your football betting journey. It’s a big mouthful of chalk to swallow, but the defending champs are clearly the right pick in the AFC East. Will they win the division? Stay tuned.