By Tim Monk
Hello darkness, my old friend.
The NFC East isn’t synonymous with making profit. You wouldn’t have had many accumulators including teams from this division last year. Well, if you did you’d be in the poor house.
Ante post wise and the division title, its been nearly 2 decades since a team retained the division title (2004), form book usually goes out of the window and is a scrappy division and throw in the injuries, you have yourself a betting nightmare. Washington won the division after going 1-5 last year, hope you all got on. Its always a candidate for worst to first, the only advice usually to heed is to avoid the favourite or last year’s winner.
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Prior to the season, we will have ante post previews on divisions, outrights, team totals, season awards and a whole lot more if ante post is your thing.
That bet is Washington Football Team to retain, yes RETAIN the NFC East. Sitting at around 2/1, they have the best defence on paper, on the field on the stat sheet by a country mile.
I could reel off the heavy investment that front 7 has received over the past couple of years from the NFL draft including Chase Young, Montez Sweat, Daron Payne, Jonathan Allen to name just a couple from the 1st round.
They gave the eventual Super Bowl champs, the Tampa Bay Bucs the biggest scare in the post season last year, and that was with Taylor Heinicke. No disrespect to the guy, especially after his dive to the pylon in said game, but if they have an average Quarterback playing the position in that game, things may be looking a lot different.
It’s the 2nd season for Ron Rivera in Washington, and despite his discontent at the vaccination status of the team, they just have to be a lot shorter than the current 2/1 they find themselves at. They have brought in Ryan Fitzpatrick, who isn’t to be trusted for a whole season and there is a reason why he has never played in a playoff game. They have also acquired the services of WR Curtis Samuel to go with Terry McLaurin. Added to that Adam Humphries is a signing that has gone under the radar and also selected a couple of wideouts from the draft including the potentially exciting Dyami Brown.
The defence is enough to win them a few games this season and can account for any of Fitzpatrick’s erratic episodes. The talented RB Antonio Gibson should continue to produce behind a competent Washington offensive line, backed up by JD McKissic.
For me the reason the prices are how they are is because this screams “bookies dont want to take any money” on Dallas.
Sometimes in gambling, you’ll find what is called “false favourites”. This usually means the bookies cripple the price of a certain selection, not because they think it will win or they think they are the best, it’s because they dont want to be on the wrong side of that selection or they want a “green” line on it, meaning they want the favourite to be a winning selection for the house.
That, for me my friends, is the Dallas Cowboys in 2021. Hard knocks team, hype around the star and now particularly wealthy Quarterback Dak Prescott. Happy to debate whether Dallas are worthy favourites, however i will not have that the Washington Football Team aren’t at least closer in the betting to them.
Dallas are horrendous on defence and there isn’t too much they have done in the offseason to think that they’ll be anything than just below average. The signing of Malik Hooker looks good on paper, but 1st round draft pick Micah Parsons has character questions, the Cornerback group have a lot of question marks and the linebackers have more than a point to prove with Jaylon Smith coming off a poor season, Leighton vander Esch struggling to stay healthy, taking over that mantle from Sean Lee.
Even if they shave a couple of points of the 30 pt average they gave up in 2020, they’ll still struggle to get to double digit wins. You can’t even mark them up confidently for 3-4 divisional wins, let alone 10 for the season.
Do they have the best offence, yes, and it’s by a country mile, especially if the offensive line stays healthy, but even that is a coin flip these days. They had 12 different offensive line combinations in their 16 games last season, #NotGreatBob.
Even with all of the above guaranteed and having a number one scoring offence, it’s hard to cover up all the cracks on a pourous defence. Dallas even with Dak struggled in their first 4 full games last year and were only a successful watermelon kick away from an 0-4 start as they had seemingly more double digit deficits than you have had hot dinners. This is despite averaging 31.5pts through those first 4 games.
The division will likely go down to the wire as it usually does and in all honestly, will likely hinge on the head to head matchups between Dallas and Washington, which come in week 14 and 16. Going head to head, Washington’s defence absolutely mauled Dallas last year including an humiliation on Thanksgiving. Yes, Dak was missing, but you could have had Tom Brady or Peyton Manning behind center and it still would have been a bloodbath.
Dallas have a tough start to the season with the opening kickoff cameras on them at Raymond James Statdium as they face the defending champs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers before travelling to the Chargers in week 2. 3 winnable games follow at home before a potentially pivotal game at New England in week 6 before their bye. They’ll need to be 3-3 going in to that.
Making a case for the other 2 teams in the division. Well, it’s the NFC East.
The Philadelphia Eagles (seemingly) have given the keys to Jalen Hurts for a year. There are continuous rumours swirling that Deshaun Watson could pull on the Eagles jersey in 2021 and if that move comes to fruition, Philadelphia’s odds will come crashing down.
They employ 1st year rookie Head Coach Nick Sirianni and you can expect a lot of “Hey, Siri” jokes plastered across social media. He’ll look to improve on the 4-11-1 record from last season in a season where they waited until week 4 to record their first win and went 1-7 after their bye week.
Similar to Dallas, Philadelphia need an offensive line that is healthy for Hurts to have a chance (less so if Watson comes through the entrance) to make things happen. That being said Hurts is a mobile QB, which is any leveller for poor offensive line play. Drafting his teammate in the 1st round will help too as Devonta Smith, WR from Alabama joins a particularly poor group of players the position.
Zach Ertz seemingly couldn’t find a new home and miraculously is “sorting through” the problems he seemingly had with the Franchise. He was underwhelming in 2020 and Dallas Goedert may still have more playing time in 2021 at the position, but expect both to be on the field for the most part, especially if the aforementioned poor O-line play or injuries rears it’s ugly head.
The much maligned Cornerback group of the Eagles was bolstered by Steven Nelson, who comes over from Pittsburgh and joins Darius Slay, one of the premier corners. Anthony Harris was also added to the secondary of the Eagles which may make them a bit closer to the average. They’ll look to improve the 26th ranked defence in the redzone and 22nd in terms of points allowed per drive on average.
The Eagles probably are in too much tumult to cause a stink but as it always is with the NFC East, they all love playing party poopers when it comes to the divisional games.
Moving over to the New York Giants, already had some fun and games as Daniel Jones found himself at the bottom of a big Giant pile, much to the dismay of Joe Judge who then sent them running for a little while. Kelvin Benjamin and Joe Judge if you believe some reports, have had a few back and forths, leading to Benjamin’s release only after 1 day in New York. Saquon Barkley looks unlikely to be ready for week one. Oh, and Jason Garrett is still around.
A shaky offensive line has not had much attention given to it in the offseason and fully expect that to be part of their troubles again this season.
Kenny Golladay and eyebrow raising 1st round WR selection Kadarius Toney join a middling set of WR in Slayton, Shepard and TE Evan Engram. Golladay has injury troubles in the past year and there are already whispers that Toney has not been the most focused or motivated since being drafted and participating in camp.
The defence should be competent enough after re-signing Leonard Williams and acquiring Adoree Jackson at Cornerback.
That being said, it’s just feels like an absolute mess in New York, something which the New York media should have fun with in 2021 and I do not see them troubling for the division title or a playoff spot.
It’s likely that only 1 team progresses to the post season from this division, so as a Washington backer, i have no interested in any of them at the prices.
Dallas – 1st – 5/4 , 2nd – 2/1 , 3rd – 4/1, 4th – 13/2
Washington- 1st –2/1 , 2nd – 2/1 , 3rd – 11/4 , 4th – 4/1
Philadelphia – 1st – 11/2, 2nd – 4/1, 3rd – 9/4, 4th – 5/4
New York – 1st – 9/2, 2nd – 3/1 , 3rd – 19/10, 4th – 2/1
Selected prop bets:
Just to remind you that there are 17 regular season games this year, which is why you might find the lines a bit higher than you normally would if you are cross referencing previous year’s totals. On first glance, Ryan Fitzpatrick’s number looks quite high. He has only played a full season 3 times and his highest total is 3,905, which was for the Jets. However, i think that they’ll be a defensive side and I am not sure how gunslinger happy he will be in this team. Dak Prescott on the other hand could smash 5,000 yards. he was on course for a million of them through 5 games (had 1875) and still ranked 32nd in passing yards in 2021 despite playing less than a third of the season. The defence is not that much improved and could see the same pattern as last year. Difficult to gauge Jalen Hurts’ line as they’ll likely be behind a lot this year but Hurts, like myself is a leg man. Daniel Jones has barely reached 3,000 in the either of his first 2 seasons. His line of 3,800.5 looks fairly inflated. Of the props below, the absolute standout bet is Dak Prescott over 3.5 rushing TDs. He had 3 last year in just over 4 games. He did have 3 the year before but i would be shocked to see this go under. He had 6 in each of the first 3 seasons in the NFL.
Passing Yard lines: Ryan Fitzpatrick – 3,900.5, Jalen Hurts – 3,650.5, Dak Prescott – 4,795.5, Daniel Jones – 3,800.5
Passing TDs: Fitzpatrick – 23 , Hurts – 20.5, Prescott – 32.5, Jones – 24
Rushing Yard lines: Antonio Gibson – 1,025.5, Ezekiel Elliott – 1100.5, Miles Sanders – 1000.5
Rushing TDs: Gibson – 9.5, Elliott – 9.5,Prescott – 3.5, Hurts – 7.5, Sanders – 7,
Receiving Yard lines: McLaurin – 1,180.5, Cooper – 1,175.5, Lamb – 1,050.5, Golladay – 1000.5
All in all, the division is always a tough one to bet on, however it seems to be a tale of two halves. the top 2 being Washington and Dallas, Philadelphia and New York being the bottom 2. Redzone are offering 7/5 on Dallas and Washington in the top 2 positions come January, which appeals considering the state of the franchises. Is also a nice security blanket of sorts if you are betting Washington to win the division
- Washington Football Team to win NFC East – 23/10 (07/08/21)
- New York Giants under 7 wins – 11/10 (if you can find 7.5 wins line take that)
- Dak Prescott over 3.5 rushing TDs – 10/13
- Dallas / Washington Dual forecast – 7/5
PLEASE GAMBLE RESPONSIBLY.
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“When the fun stops, stop”