One free agent quarterback shoe dropped on Sunday as former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston signed a one-year deal with the division rival Saints. This leaves Cam Newton as the biggest fish remaining in the free-agent QB pond.
Out of nowhere, guess who emerged as the unexpected frontrunner to sign the 2015 NFL MVP?
You guessed it, the New England Patriots.
The Patriots failed to select a quarterback in the draft (though they did sign a pair of undrafted signal-callers), which many prognosticators took as a vote of confidence for second-year QB Jarret Stidham. Maybe the real reason was that Bill Belichick had Newton in his pocket the whole time?
Over the past 24 hours, the odds of Newton joining the Pats have skyrocketed. New England entered Sunday as a +400 longshot to sign Newton at FanDuel, but quickly jumped to a -190 favorite by day’s end. Does someone know something we don’t?
Last week, Stidham was a -270 favorite to be the Patriots’ starting quarterback in Week 1. He has slipped to -160. Meanwhile, Newton has jumped from +750 to +170. Brian Hoyer has fallen from +260 to +550.
Here are the other Week 1 starting quarterback races around the league at FanDuel.
Chargers: Tyrod Taylor -370, Justin Herbert +260
Bears: Nick Foles -150, Mitch Trubisky +117
Dolphins: Ryan Fitzpatrick -270, Tua Tagovailoa +200
For those looking ahead to the 2021 draft, Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence has opened as the odds-on favorite to be taken No. 1 overall. Let the tanking for Trevor begin.
Here are the full odds for the first overall pick at DraftKings.
Justin Fields +300
Penei Sewell +400
D’Eriq King +1600
Micah Parsons +2500
Jamie Newman +3300
Alex Leatherwood +3300
Gregory Rousseau +3000
Ja’Marr Chase +5000
Travis Etienne +5000
Now that the dust has settled on the NFL Draft and free agency is in the rear-view mirror, sportsbooks have a good idea of what each team will be working with roster-wise in 2020. Over the coming days and weeks, savvy bettors can look for subtle movement in the win totals market in order to gain valuable insight into which direction the pros are leaning and how the books are viewing each team.
Win totals, by the way, are popular offseason bets that attract big action from both pro and casual bettors. The sportsbooks will set an over/under for the number of games each team is expected to win in the regular season. One key when looking for sharp action (respected professional smart money) is to search for “juiced up” win totals in which the books are forcing you to pay a heavy price on either the over or the under. This will show you where the liability is and which side the books are worried about.
Without further ado, here are a trio of updated post-draft win totals being targeted by smart money.
Dallas Cowboys Over 9.5 Wins: When it comes to NFL draft grades, it can be an exercise in futility with different experts offering differing opinions. But the industry consensus is that Dallas aced the draft. Jerry Jones picked several winners from his yacht, most notably grabbing Oklahoma stud WR CeeDee Lamb at seventeenth overall to add to an already star-studded offense. The Cowboys’ win total is 9.5 across the board with heavy over juice (-134 at DraftKings and -140 at FanDuel), suggesting smart money likes Dallas to go 10-6 or better after finishing a disappointing 8-8 last season.
Detroit Lions Over 6.5 Wins: The Lions finished a putrid 3-12-1 last season and, at first glance, it seems like you have to bet the under 6.5 here. However, sharp money continues to pour in on the over. Detroit was one of the most active teams during free agency, adding CB Demond Trufant, LB Jamie Collins and OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai among others. Then Detroit drafted CB Jeff Okudah No. 3 overall and added RB D’Andre Swift in round two. Most importantly, the Lions will be buoyed by the return of a healthy Matthew Stafford under center. After opening at 6.5 with even -110 juice on both sides, Detroit’s win total is being juiced up 6.5 over -135 at FanDuel and has even risen from 6.5 to 7 at DraftKings.
Indianapolis Colts Over 8.5 Wins: In a wide-open AFC South, smart money appears to be leaning on the Colts. Last season, Indianapolis was blindsided by Andrew Luck’s retirement but started 5-2 before going 2-7 over its last nine games to finish 7-9. The Colts brought in Philip Rivers through free agency and traded for 49ers DT DeForest Buckner, then drafted WR Michael Pittman and RB Jonathan Taylor while also adding QB Jacob Eason for the future. The Colts’ win total is juiced up over 8.5 (-125) at DraftKings and over 8.5 (-160) at FanDuel. By the looks of it, a jump to 9 seems possible if not probable.
Here are the 2020 Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds at DraftKings:
Joe Burrow +225
Clyde Edwards-Helaire +700
Tua Tagovailoa +700
Jonathan Taylor +1000
D’Andre Swift +1200
Justin Herbert +1400
Jerry Jeudy +1400
J.K. Dobbins +1600
CeeDee Lamb +1800
Henry Ruggs +1800
And here are the 2020 Defensive Rookie of the Year Odds:
Chase Young +200
Isaiah Simmons +500
Patrick Queen +900
Kenneth Murray +1100
Jeff Okudah +1600
K’Lavon Chaisson +2000
Willie Gay +2000
Derrick Brown +2500
Javon Kinlaw +2500
Jordyn Brooks +2500
Thumbnail photo via Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports Images