A future 17 game season?

By Chris Todd (@ctdk1980)

The NFL prides itself on ensuring parity throughout the league (the Patriots’ constant presence at Championship games notwithstanding), one way the league tries to impose parity is through its schedule, which in theory provides easier fixtures for weaker teams from the previous year.

Outside of divisional games and a rotation of divisions from year to year, teams currently play their remaining games against the other teams in the conference that finished in the same position in the standings the previous season. This helps teams who struggled the year before to bounce back to competitiveness.


While parity is a goal for the NFL, another goal undoubtedly is to maximise revenues and this is where the idea of a 17 game season comes in. Glossing over the undoubted objections the NFLPA will have with the suggestion, how even would a 17 game schedule look?

An issue with the current construction of the schedule is the paucity of intra-conference games, this has lead to a situation where the NFL has generational talents competing against each other infrequently. Long serving legends of the game such as Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers have only battled twice through their long careers, while Brady has come head to head with Peyton Manning a remarkable 17 times.

Adding an extra game to the season would allow the league’s schedule makers led by Senior Vice President Howard Katz a little more flexibility to make regular season ratings winners. Imagine the match ups, Mahomes-Wentz, Watson-Wilson, Jackson-Prescott. Surely, that will have network executives salivating at the incoming advertising revenues!


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The issue then becomes how to deal with the logistics of squeezing another game into the schedule, proponents of an extended regular season often talk of cutting down the preseason, given that starters play very limited snaps during camp, and most coaches say they learn more about their players in intra-squad competitive practices than in actual preseason action.

At the moment there is a 4 game preseason followed by a regular season of 16 games in 17 weeks, for any change to go beyond idle thought there would need to be significant ground given to players. While negotiations are ongoing for the new CBA, this would be the obvious time to start discussions about significant changes to playing conditions.

To add a game to the regular season, how about taking 2 games from the preseason. The league could mandate joint practices between teams (rather than the current system of friendly coaching staffs agreeing to them privately) to add some competitiveness to camp. This would also leave room in the schedule for a 2nd bye week, which would certainly go down well with players and safety chiefs. It would mean the regular season would consist of 17 games in 19 weeks without needing to take up more space in the calendar so playoffs would stay in January and the Super Bowl would stay in its now traditional spot in the first weekend of February.


A bye product of this restructure of the regular season could also help the NFL plans for international growth and further expansion. Currently 5 teams give up a home game to play on neutral venues in London and Mexico, causing frustration for fans of these teams, and could be seen as an area where the NFL lacks its desired parity.

The extended regular season could allow a fairer schedule of 8 home games, 8 away and 1 at a neutral site. This would allow for further expansion of the International Series without requiring a franchise to move in the short term. This would also mean the NFL would be able to develop fanbases in other territories; Germany, Brazil, Netherlands and even China have been mooted as potential sites for future International Series match ups. This could also allow the NFL to present games in US cities that have been marked as potential future bases for expansion franchises down the line, San Diego, Portland, Oakland, San Antonio, St. Louis, Oklahoma City, Birmingham, Salt Lake City among others have all been mentioned as bases in the event of expansion.

Perhaps the NFL could test the water with one or two games each season.

Request-a-bets & other leading stats

By Adam Walford (@TouchdownTips) – 20/7/19

This article I’ll have a look at the Request-a-bets and some of the other player prop markets mainly on Skybet.

Skybet

  • Most Pass yards – Luck, Most rush yards – Zeke, Most receiving yards – TY Hilton – 80/1 (1pt); I recommended Luck and Zeke as bets in the previous post, so to get 80/1 when adding Hilton, who will be the main guy in Indy seems a sensible bet for me personally to take.
  • Regular Season Wins: Bears Under 9.5, Falcons 9+, Cardinals 5+, 49ers 8+, Buccs 7+ – 25/1 (3pts); I think the riskiest one here is 49ers getting to 8 win, although the Buccs is a bit dodgy in a tough division but I like Arians and they should be able to put up points to compete.
  • Regular Season Wins (8pts): Pats, Chiefs & Saints 8+ each, Colts, Browns, Bears, Rams & Cowboys 7+ each – 5/4; Yeah, it should happen. The Browns are the riskiest there but while I’m not on the hype train they should be around there.

All the above are on the request-a-bet sections. Below have been done in order they are found on the Skybet site.

  • Josh Allen most INTs thrown – 12/1 (2pts); Unsurprisingly the 2nd year QBs lead this market, Darnold would be the one I was looking at, but at 17/2 probably too short for me. Last season Big ben lead, but had most attempts, I think he’ll be there again without AB to throw too he’s left with Juju, Moncrief and Washington, and he doesn’t like Washington so I can see his figures being high again as he tends not to take sacks. Proportionally Attempts to INTs, Rosen took the crown with 14 from 217 attempts (6.4%), that was behind an atrocious O-Line with poor coaching in Arizona, now in Miami and not guaranteed a starting position he’s a miss. Josh Allen at 12/1 isn’t the worst shout, he was high last year with 12 INTs from 169 attempts (7.1%) and he’ll continue to be aggressive and looking downfield.
  • Most rush TDs; Not entirely sure who I’d be taking on this one, but Skybet have Todd Gurley as the heavy favourite which increases the prices on everyone else, with his knee issue I’m not confident that he’ll be on the field enough to justify the price he’s set at, so if you fancy someone else in this market they’re probably at a decent price. Last year, Gurley 17, Kamara 14, Henry and Connor 12, Barkley 11, Gordon 10. – I like the look of Mack at 22/1 (18/1 EW on Ladbrokes) and DJ at 28/1 (18s EW Lads) for the Cardinals.
  • Most rec. TDs; Another one that’s a bit too hard to really predict. Last year led by Antonio Brown, obviously on a new team, so that’s him ruled out. Eric Ebron was second, that has to be an out-lier for me, Davante Adams is the most likely to repeat his numbers in my eyes but that’s why he’s the 6/1 fav. To be honest, the only minor bet I’ll be having here is 100/1 on Hunter Henry (or 66/1 if you want EW on Ladbrokes)
  • Kyler Murray most QB rush yards – 10/1 (2pts); Obviously Lamar Jackson is the favourite for this at just over evens, but he won’t run as much as last year, he can’t… So I think it’s worth taking a punt on a guy who rushed for over 1,000 yards and 12 TDs in his final year in college, not quite the 1,600 that Jackson went for, but he’s definitely capable with his legs, I think he should be second favourite, not 5th.
  • Sam Darnold most fumbles lost (just QBs) – 80/1 (1pt); Again Lamar heads this market (7/2) as he had 10 from 147 rush attempts last year (6.8%), obviously due to having so many more rush attempts than any other QB, surprisingly (to me) Kirk Cousins and Sam Darnold both had 4 from 44, about 9% and it’s something that he was susceptible to in college as well. As I mentioned above I don’t see Lamar having that many attempts again and teams will be more wise to it now (see the Chargers stopping him in the playoffs)

Ladbrokes only (as far as I know)

  • Total TDs scored – Saquon Barkley – 6/1 (4pts), David Johnson 16/1 EW (2pt EW, 4 total); Total TDs, so it’s more than likely going to be a running back as they get rushing and receiving TDs, and for me Saquon is the most likely to be a figure in both rushing and receiving TDs. IF DJ is fit for the season then I see no reason why he won’t be able to get back near 1000:1000 and 20 TDs as he did in his last full season. My boy Dalvin Cook probably isn’t the worst shout either at 40s, but I’m in on his yards already and I feel he’s more of an injury risk than DJ.

I won’t be tackling most sacks, most tackles and assists, most interceptions made, higher passer rating etc as I feel they’re too random to be putting any money on.

Good Luck if you follow along, I usually do OK on season longs, so hopefully that will continue.

Adam.

Betting: Season long stats leaders preview

By Adam Walford (@touchdowntips) – 9th July 2019

So it’s the start of July, less than a month until football returns! Well, pre-season football, which isn’t really worth it, but, the Falcons and Broncos 3rd stringers take the field in the HOF game on the 1st of August. Yay!

There’s actually a lot of variety already available in the ante-post betting for next season on most of the big sites, so I’ll have a nose at some that have caught my eye a little. I’ll stick to player related bets here, win totals don’t change a whole lot over the summer, and annoyingly you can’t parlay them without using the betting firms’ Request a Bet service which I’ll get to later in the summer. There’s actually quite a lot of player yardage props which I’ll look at later in the summer as well, and of course the Team totals which I love attacking.

Regular Season MVP

Not a fan of MVP betting at this early stage of the season, or frankly during the season, it’s not a market I particularly like. I can practically guarantee it will be a QB, there’s been a couple of RBs who set records, some fella called Jerry Rice is the only WR to have won it and Lawrence Taylor is the only defensive player to have won it.

Having said that I don’t usually bet on this market, I will probably have a nibble on Deshaun Watson at 33/1. He’s mobile, he’s got one of the best WRs in the game and if Will Fuller can stay fit, a serious TD threat. The Texans are in a tough division and have a tough schedule, if they come through to win that division then it’s safe to say that a lot will be down to Watson. Annoyingly he was around 60/1 earlier in the off-season, only 33/1 now (PP, Lads) but I think he should be shorter still.

The other I would look at would be Carson Wentz. It’s a risk, but the team obviously have no worries about his injury as they signed him to a big deal and traded away Nick Foles so I don’t have too much worry there either. He was MVP-elect before that injury in his rookie year and if anything his WR corps is better now with Desean Jackson brought in, as well as rookie JJ Arcega-Whiteside who I’ve heard good things, to compliment Jeffrey and Agholar. Add the tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert to the pass catchers and you’ve got a talented offense there.

  • Deshaun Watson – 35/1 (Betfair)
  • Carson Wentz – 25/1 (Skybet)

Most passing yards

Another one that’s dominated mainly by the QBs for obvious reasons… I won’t go into too much depth on this one.

Mahomes is the favourite, I think a lot depends on whether Tyreek Hill is suspended or not, somehow it looks like he’ll have a small suspension at the moment, which is a big boost for Mahomes and his stats. He’s brilliant.

Big Ben won it last year, I doubt that will happen this year without Antonio Brown there. I don’t think it will be Rodgers, it won’t be Brady, Brees or Goff.

Matt Ryan is in with a shout assuming Calvin Ridley takes a step forward which is perfectly believable, and he’s got Julio, which obviously helps.

I usually plump for Phil Rivers EW and he’ll be up there again with Keenan Allen, Mike Williams likely to step up and Hunter Henry hopefully back and fully fit. But I think it could well be Andrew Luck. I was so impressed with him last year coming back off his shoulder injury and I think the Colts will be a good team this year, TY Hilton should do well and I’d imagine he’ll be fairly decent odds in rec. yards, Parris Campbell is a flexible pass catcher, Doyle and Ebron at TE and Nyheim Hines at RB are all adept pass catchers.

I feel it would be a mistake to not mention Deshaun Watson at 40/1 on Ladbrokes after mentioning him for the MVP above, Hopkins, Fuller, Keke Coutee are a good trio to throw the ball to. Jamies Winston is probably in with a shout here as well, he’s a high volume thrower generally and gets Bruce Arians as his HC who loves going with 4 WR sets, so there will be a lot of people on the field for him to target, he’s 20/1 EW on Ladbrokes, which is actually bigger than everywhere else who only got straight up (10/1 at Skybet or example).

Somehow I have completely ignored Baker Mayfield until now (16/1 Skybet) when I originally wrote this lot, I think he’ll be up there, he’s definitely got the players to throw to, Landry, Beckham, Njoku are a good trio and even the secondary guys are decent enough, the kid showed he’s got the talent in his half season last year and with a full year the only thing detracting is possibly a poor offensive line. Not a bad shout at all, and what kind of idiot does a top passer thing and doesn’t mention Aaron Rodgers. Jesus christ, what an amateur I am some times. Plusses, he’ll be in F you mode after finally getting rid of Mike McCarthy, negatives he has some very tough defenses in his division and I’m just not sure he’ll get near 5,000

  • Andrew Luck – 7/1
  • Jameis Winston 20/1 EW- Both Ladbrokes

Most rushing yards

Apologies for the length and the rambling on this one, but wanted to get my thoughts down as to why I’ve picked the guys I have.

The league as a whole has generally gone away from workhorse running backs these days, preferring to use a couple in rotation so while I’d love to be contrarian and give some value here, but it’s basically between about 4 or 5 guys, the same ones you’ll be taking at the top of your fantasy drafts.

Ezekiel Elliott, Kamara, McCaffrey, Barkley are the top 4, then you’re looking at the likes of Joe Mixon, James Connor, David Johnson, Lev Bell, Todd Gurley, maybe Dalvin Cook. – Zeke won it last year with 1,434 yards over the season and with no-one else really in the backfield there I see no reason why it won’t be him again especially as the offensive line should be stronger than last year, he is used in the passing game, in fact he was used a lot more than I realised last year, 77 receptions was only a handful behind Kamara. I will, however discard Kamara (883) as while the Saints got rid of Ingram, they replaced him seemingly like-for-like with Latavius Murray who will take more of the ground work with Kamara very adept in the passing game, for the same reason I doubt it will be CmcC (1098), while he was a beast last year and has bulked up over the summer he’s just too good through the air for them to give him enough to rack up the ground yards as well. I believe that Saquon Barkley is probably the only real rival for Zeke for the rushing title; He was pretty much the entire offense for the Giants last year and he handled it all in his stride, over 2,000 all purpose yards, 1,307 on the ground, and his breakout speed was a large part of that, one cut and you’re not gonna catch him. Eli still can’t throw the ball so I’d imagine a lot will be on him again this year.

Unsurprisingly Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley are the two leaders in the betting. 4/1 and 5/1 respectively on Ladbrokes, and 1/4 EW which could come in handy in a minute.

It might be stupid to overlook Todd Gurley who finished 3rd last year despite a small workload for the last few games of the season, and the off-season rumour-mill around him is concerning in regards to his knee. It seems he has mild arthritis there which could lead to less of a workload and they drafted an RB mildly high, or it could mean nothing and they run him into the ground anyway. Personally I’m avoiding him, 16/1 is available on PP if you wanted to go for him though. – Mixon and Connor are basically 3 down backs for their teams, and I believe that the Bengals want to run the ball more this year to set up the play action pass, however the offensive line which was looking improved got knocked back to last years when left tackle Jonah Williams was reported to be out for the season and that’s really dented my confidence in the whole Bengals offense; He did however lead the AFC in rush yards last year behind that line so 12/1 on Lads.

The Steelers always shove the load on one back and it will be Connor again this year, he did well in his first season as the main RB last year and with no Antonio Brown or Lev Bell there they’ll be relying more on Juju and Connor to get the yards, but I just don’t think he’ll get enough yards, it could be my anti-Pitt bias, but I just don’t see it for some reason. David Johnson in Arizona? I love the guy, he’s a brilliant player but I think that team will be too pass heavy (an area he excels in) to give him enough carries to top the table. Leveon Bell, at the Jets now, I don’t believe he’ll be as good without one of the best offensive lines in the league and with a HC who doesn’t like using one guy (Drake/Gore in Miami) and who has come out and said he didn’t want Bell at the cost.

Dalvin Cook was a major talent when he was healthy and I think actually, that he would be my EW bet, available at 22/1 on Ladbrokes and there’s not a lot left in terms of competition in the backfield for him, only really Alex Mattison who they drafted this year, add to that the fact they changed their offensive coordinator to go more run heavy… I think that’s the bet for me at the price.

  • Ezekiel Elliott – 4/1
  • Dalvin Cook EW – 22/1 – Both Ladbrokes.

Most receiving Yards

I’m struggling a bit on this one tbh, there’s a lot of players who I think will be there or there about’s and they’re all generally 20-25s at most. Julio will be up there as he always is, and I mentioned above that I think Ryan will be up there, so of course Julio should be in my thought process here.

Michael Thomas will be around there, but I don’t think he gets enough big plays to win it.

DeAndre Hopkins is another, if I think Watson is going to do as well as I think then theoretically I have to think Nuk will do well this year and the same goes for TY Hilton if I think Andrew Luck will do well, then he should be up near the top of this list as well, at 20/1 on Ladbrokes. 25/1 on Davante Adams isn’t a bad look, he’s the clear WR1 there and Rodgers has essentially said he’ll be looking for him on every single play, but that price is straight up only, a measly 11/1 on Ladbrokes for EW betting. I mean, in fairness at 125/1… Robert Woods isn’t the worst bet in the world but again that’s straight win, only 50/1 on Lads for EW bettors.

Davante Adams – 25/1 – Skybet

Not… That… Long…. Now!

Podcast 62 – Week 13 Preview and Best Bets

Happy weekend everyone and good luck to all those with important fantasy matchups ahead of the post season.

In today’s episode we recap Dallas’s defence masterclass on Thursday Night Football taking down the Saints and then look ahead to the rest of the games in week 13.

Tim and Adam go through their best bets for the week too getting you all prepared for Sunday. Anytime TD scorers not readily available at time of recording.

Check out our pinned tweet for details on the December giveaway, which is a NFL Xmas jumper of your choice (subject to availability).

The November competition has now closed and will be drawn on Tuesday’s podcast.

NB: this was recorded prior to Kareem Hunt’s release…