Some background links:
- Warren Sharp’s look at the initial futures numbers from Cantor
- My look at implied SRS ratings based on May point spreads
- Andrew Healy’s post on line movements from March to July:
- Andrew’s follow-up post on not-entirely-awful futures bets
Today I want to look at the latest odds from Vegas on NFL futures, this time courtesy of Bovada. While we often focus on the number of wins a team is projected to have, the payouts associated with each bet are also key sources of information. Consider the Bears and the Panthers, two teams Bovada has pegged at 8.5 wins. You might think Chicago projects as a better team than Carolina this year; as it turns out, so does Bovada.
If you want to bet on Chicago winning more than 8.5 games this year, Bovada is requiring you bet $155 just to win $100 in the event the Bears win nine games. Of course, if you’re brave enough to suggest that the Bears will win eight or fewer games, Bovada would pay you $125 for your $100 bet. While Chicago is at -155(o)/+125(u), the Panthers are at +145(o), -175(u). So if you think the Panthers are overvalued at 8.5 wins, well, you need to bet $175 on the under just to win $100 if Carolina falls short of that number. On the other hand, Bovada would pay you $145 if you want to take the Panthers winning nine or more games.
Based on those numbers, we can conclude that Vegas thinks Chicago has a 58.2% chance of going over 8.5 wins1, while Carolina has just a 38.6% chance of going over 8.5 wins.2 The table below shows the number of projected wins for each team in the NFL this year, along with the lines associated with their over and under bets. The final column shows the implied likelihood (by the over/under lines) of the team going over their win total; that column was used to break ties between teams with the same number of projected wins.
|Rk||Team||Wins||Ovr Line||Und Line||Over %|
|2||New England Patriots||11||-140||110||0.554|
|4||New Orleans Saints||10.5||-125||-105||0.522|
|5t||Green Bay Packers||10.5||-115||-115||0.5|
|5t||San Francisco 49ers||10.5||-115||-115||0.5|
|16||San Diego Chargers||8||-150||120||0.573|
|17||New York Giants||8||-125||-105||0.522|
|18||Kansas City Chiefs||8||110||-140||0.446|
|20t||St. Louis Rams||7.5||-150||120||0.573|
|25||New York Jets||7||-150||120||0.573|
|26||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||7||-140||110||0.554|
- Denver is projected to have the most wins this year, but that doesn’t mean Vegas thinks the Broncos are the best team in the NFL. Denver has the highest average points spread in their games, too, but after adjusting for strength of schedule, the Seahawks come out as the top team in Vegas’ ratings.
- How weak is the AFC? The Patriots are second based these rankings, again in part because of the easy schedule. After New England, 5 of the next 6 teams reside in the NFC. The lone AFC team in that group is Indianapolis, also boosted by playing in the worst division in the NFL.
- It appears that Bovada is not very high on either Carolina or Dallas, but is hesitant to lower their projected win totals. Carolina is projected to win 8.5 games, Dallas 7.5, but both have under lines of -175 and over lines of +145.
- The Bills check in as the opposite of Carolina/Dallas. Buffalo’s win total is stuck at just 6.5 wins, but if you want to bet the over on Buffalo, you have to put up $165 just to win $100.
- The general rule is the public loves to bet overs; as a result, for 28 of the teams, you have to pay a premium to bet the over. In addition to Carolina and Dallas, the two other teams where a $100 bet on the over gets you more than $100 are Atlanta and Kansas City. The Chiefs are not too surprising: like Carolina (and perhaps Dallas), I can understand why Vegas would feel the need to entice folks to bet the over. Atlanta doesn’t seem to fit that mold, but then again, the Falcons win total is already pretty high at 8.5.
- When Warren looked at DVOA ratings vs. projected wins, Houston stuck out as unjustifiably high with 8.5 wins; well, the Texans are now down to 7.5 wins. Arizona and St. Louis were teams that DVOA thought should have higher win totals, but Cantor had those teams at 7 and 6.5 wins, respectively. Well, both teams are now up to 7.5 wins.
- Carolina (3.5), Kansas City (3), and Arizona (2.5) are the only teams projected to fall more than two wins shy of their 2013 wins total. On the other side, Houston (5.5), Atlanta (4.5), Washington (4.5), Tampa Bay (3), and Cleveland (2.5) are already projected for at least 2.5 more wins this year.
- For some reason, I can’t find too many sites that have posted recent power rankings. But I did find PFT’s 2014 Power Rankings, and I thought it might serve as a gut check of what Vegas thinks versus the mainstream media. The team Vegas is the lowest on is Arizona (11th in PFT, 19th here), followed by Cleveland (22nd, 29th), and the Jets (19th, 25th). The teams Vegas is highest on (or PFT is lowest on)? Miami (31st in PFT’s rankings, 23rd by Bovada), Detroit (21st, 13th), and Philadelphia (13th, 8th).
- The -155 implies a 60.8% chance of going over 8.5 wins (155/255), while the +125 on the under implies a 55.5% chance of going over 8.5 wins (1 – [100/225]). The average of 0.555 and 0.608 is .582. [↩]
- An over line of +145 implies a 40.8% chance of going over (100/245), while an under of -175 implies just a 36.4% chance of going over (1 – [175/275] [↩]