Deciphering Bill Belichick-speak is new for me.
I?ve poured through endless quotes from him over the last two weeks about the New England Patriots quarterback situation and I?m even more confused than when I started.
Everybody in New England has an opinion on whether the Pats should start Cam Newton or Jarrett Stidham on Monday night against the Buffalo Bills, but the head honcho is giving us absolutely nothing.
Funny how that works, isn?t it?
Belichick has dodged and danced around the question for weeks and there?s really no reason for him to divulge anything at this point as we wait for Santa Claus to slide down our chimneys.
As somebody who analyzes sports betting markets for a living, this makes my job extremely difficult in a world where everything has a number.
Cam Newton?s passing completion prop has been in the 16.5 or 17.5 range for most of the season. It?s a bettable prop where you literally have to decide if Cam will go ?Over? or ?Under? the given number.
Newton has landed on nine completions in three different games, but he also completed 26, 27 and 30 passes in three others. It?s really a glorified game of roulette.
Meanwhile, Cam?s rushing yardage prop has generally been in the ballpark of O/U 44.5 yards.
Buffalo is a seven-point favorite in the matchup and odds are good that the Patriots will be trailing in the game. I?ve also talked to several bookmakers who have wondering for weeks why Belichick hasn?t made the switch.
The conversation goes next level when you try and play out the game script. If the Patriots go ahead in the game, it?ll likely be behind success from the running game. So that plays into shorting Cam?s completion prop.
If the Patriots fall behind, they?ll definitely have to throw the ball. And Cam just doesn?t scare me as a passer anymore. I?ve seen better accuracy at the dartboard at Biddy Early?s after midnight. If they?re down two scores in the game, they should go to Stidham to see what he?s got.
?I think there?s a strong possibility that Stidham gets some reps since Belichick has turned to him at the end of games fairly frequently this season,? NESN Patriots beat reporter Doug Kyed told me. ?I still think Newton starts. But if the game gets out of hand, we?d probably see Stidham for at least the fourth quarter.?
No American sportsbooks have their Newton props up yet as we?re still a few days away from Monday?s kickoff.
I don?t hate a strategy where we pop the “under” on Newton?s completions prop right when it hits the board. If they?re winning, he won?t be throwing. And if they?re losing, he likely gets benched.
That?s good enough for me.