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Wiseguy Report: NFC East

CE Manager 0 hours, 24 minutes ago
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Written by: Teddy Covers

I’ve previewed seven of the eight NFL divisions already (click here for the other division reviews), which leaves one last division to dissect before the start of training camps this week – the NFC East.  After this column, I’ll be taking a short break from writing Wiseguy Reports, taking some time to be fresh for the start of football season.  My next report – all about beating preseason NFL – will come in mid- August.

Let’s start with the division favorite Dallas Cowboys, lined at Over/Under 9 wins.  Last year was an unmitigated disaster for Jerry Jones’ squad and their supporters in the betting markets: 4-12 SU, 4-11-1 ATS.  The Cowboys top heavy roster was besieged with key injuries, most notably at quarterback and their defense was an abject disaster.  The Cowboys finished dead last in the NFL with a -22 turnover margin in large part because their defense notched only 11 takeaways all year.  To put that number in perspective, 24 of the 32 NFL teams recorded 21 takeaways or more.

Jason Garrett is 7-22 ATS as a home favorite in his first five years as the Cowboys head coach; a consistent track record of failure.  And the Cowboys are likely to be home favorites at least seven times this season – maybe all eight, with a relatively easy opposing slate of foe.  That stands in sharp contrast to last year when they faced one of the tougher schedules in the NFL.

Dallas is loaded with elite skill position talent.  They’ve arguably got the best offensive line in the league.  They’ll get top CB Orlando Scandrick back after he got hurt in training camp last year and didn’t play.  But with Rolando McClain, Demarcus Lawrence & Randy Gregory all facing league mandated suspensions, there are no shortage of defensive question marks.  And for all of the Cowboys elite talent, quality depth remains a major issue for a roster that has been decimated with injuries in the past.  Tony Romo has missed 24 games over the last five seasons and if he gets hurt again, the Cowboys backup QB situation doesn’t look much better this year than it did in 2015’s debacle.

The New York Giants enter the Ben McAdoo era off three consecutive losing campaigns, without a single playoff appearance since their 2011 Super Bowl title.  The G-men are lined at O/U 8 wins for 2016, coming off a season where their defense was ranked #32 in yardage – dead last in the NFL, behind even the awful Saints stop unit.  Despite those defensive woes, the Giants were actually slight money winners for their supporters last year.

Giants GM Jerry Reese spent $200 million this past offseason – this is not a ‘new coach rebuild’ situation following Tom Coughlin’s dismissal.  Instead it’s a ‘We Have Eli Manning but his prime isn’t going to last much longer’ situation – the Giants are most assuredly in ‘win now’ mode.  With the additions of Oliver Vernon, Janoris Jenkins, Damon Harrison in free agency and Eli Apple with their #1 pick in the draft, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has MUCH more talent to work with in 2016 than he did in 2015.

Manning has done well in McAdoo’s offense for the last two seasons; coming off career high in TD’s and a career best 35-14 TD-INT ratio.  Eli hasn’t missed a game since his rookie season, 11 straight years playing all 16 games.  But the offensive talent surrounding him is very ‘iffy’ .  Odell Beckham Jr is a stud.  But Victor Cruz has been a non-factor, with only 23 catches since 2013.  There’s no #1 RB here.  And the offensive line has some major holes, on paper, heading into training camp.

Like the Giants, the Philadelphia Eagles are publicly stating that they intend to win now, despite firing Chip Kelly in the offseason and trading away a haul of draft picks to move up an nab ‘QB of the future’ Carson Wentz.  The Eagles have a split line with their season wins – some books have a ‘7’, others have 7.5 with juice to the under. 

First year first time head coach Doug Pederson has a pretty thin resume.  His only previous head coaching experience was at the high school level.  He has had only three seasons as an NFL coordinator, handling a Kansas City attack under Andy Reid that did not see off many fireworks.   New defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is switching from 3-4 to 4-3 while replacing four starters, including DeMeco Ryans, Cedric Thornton & Walter Thurmond.  On offense, they’re switching from a zone blocking scheme to a power blocking scheme on the offensive line.  These are not minor changes!

The Eagles have more salary cap money tied into the QB position than any team in the league.  Which, of course, means that their starting QB on opening day is likely to be Sam Bradford –the guy who cost Kelly his job last year; the guy who has failed pretty consistently since being taken #1 overall by the Rams.  All of that $$ at QB has led to this quote from GM Howie Roseman, back on the job after getting forced out in a power struggle with Kelly last year: “What we did in free agency was the best that we could to try to fill a bunch of holes.  Nobody’s sitting here thinking we are a completed picture.”   It’s also worth noting that in the middle of the season, Philly plays three consecutive opponents coming off their bye, then Seattle, Green Bay and Cinci al in a seven week span!  Ouch!

The Washington Redskins were the surprise division winner last year after entering the season projected to be the last place team in the NFC East.  But the markets aren’t particularly bullish on the ‘Skins chances to repeat their success, with Washington lined O/U 7.5 wins off last year’s 9-7 SU, 9-7 ATS campaign.

History is not on the Redskins side.  Their last back-to-back winning seasons came in 1996 and 1997.  Their last back-to-back playoff appearances came in 1991 and 1992; when this franchise was still competing for Super Bowls and football fans had never even heard of Daniel Snyder.

Looking back at last year, Washington’s success seemed to be more about their very weak division and one of the weakest slate of opposing foes in the league than any other factor.  Their nine wins came against the Rams, Eagles (twice), Bucs, Saints, Giants, Bears, Bills and Cowboys.  None of those teams finished with a winning record.  When Washington tried to step up in class – vs. the Patriots, Panthers and Green Bay Packers in their home playoff loss – they were non-competitive, losing by a combined margin of 106-34.  Just to clearly illustrate where this team was power rated at even in December, they were +4 at Chicago; +3 at home vs. the Bills the following week.

Kirk Cousins had a career year in 2015 after entering the season with more career INT’s (19) than TD’s (18): 70% completions and a 101.6 QB rating.  He’s got one of the deepest receiving corps in the NFL to throw to, and he’s playing for a long term contract.  But even with the addition of CB Josh Norman in free agency, this defense is loaded with question marks, as is the offensive line and RB corps.  Throw in a MUCH tougher schedule in 2016 and you can understand why the markets are not expecting a Redskins repeat.

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What is Covers Steamwire™?

CE Manager 12 hours, 40 minutes ago
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CFL Monday: Top Cappers & Hot Picks

CE Manager 16 hours, 45 minutes ago
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For all the football fans out there looking for some action before NFL and NCAAF return, the CFL is a great option. It is a wide open game that offers no shortage of excitement and can be very profitable to wager on.

If you are new to the game, let the Covers Experts guide you in the right direction. They know how to spot winning angles north of the border.


Top Cappers through Week 5:

Power Sports: 6-0, (100%), +$6,000 - 10* Game of the Week

Larry Ness: 7-2 (78%), +$4,650 -

Brandon Shively: 5-2 (71%), +$2,775 - 10* Game of the Month

Will Rogers: 7-5 (58%), +$1,560 - ESPN2 CFL Showcase


Monday July 24th 7:30 PM ET Montreal @ Toronto

TOR -6.5 O/U: 46

Favourable Trends:

Montreal

MTL are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games overall.
Under is 26-8 in MTL last 34 vs. East.
Alouettes are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS loss.

Toronto

Under is 11-1 in TOR last 12 Mon. games.
Argonauts are 7-20 ATS in their last 27 home games.
Argonauts are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 vs. East.
Argonauts are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in July.

Head to Head

Under is 5-0 in the last 5 meetings in Toronto.
Under is 13-3 in the last 16 meetings.
Alouettes are 22-6 ATS in their last 28 meetings in Toronto.

 

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- Covers Team

MLB Betting Cheat Sheet: July 25th

CE Manager 22 hours, 9 minutes ago
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Interleague Play Takes Center Stage

Of the 15 series that take place in the first half of the week, seven will be of the Interleague variety. The headliner will be the “battle for Chicago” with two games taking place on both the North and South side of the city. There will also be four, short two-game series taking place Tuesday-Wednesday. Those are Seattle-Pittsburgh, Washington-Cleveland, Atlanta-Minnesota (yuck!) and Tampa Bay-Los Angeles. For the record, the American League holds a 106-87 edge in Interleague Games this year. Seattle could be a team to watch in Pittsburgh as the Mariners are 9-3 vs. the National League in 2016. The A.L. has won Interleague Play every year since 2004. The current .549 win percentage is right in line with the average percentage, year to year, over the last decade.

Rocky Road

On paper, you would seem to heavily favor Baltimore this week against Colorado. The Rockies’ offensive numbers (predictably) dip dramatically outside of Coors Field (they do add a designated hitter here) and the Orioles are now a very-strong 36-14 at Camden Yards after an impressive sweep of Cleveland over the weekend. That’s the best home record in all of baseball. But there is one interesting note that I’d like to pass along here. Factoring in only road games, the ERA of the much maligned Colorado staff is 3.83, which is actually seventh best overall! The ERA’s of the respective two starting rotations overall are not that different as Baltimore ranks 25th (4.95) while Colorado ranks 28th (5.04). A big deal here though could be that the Orioles best starter (Chris Tillman) will go Tuesday while the Rockies best starter (Tyler Anderson) won’t be going at all in this series.

Going North

The Blue Jays could use a big boost right now. They just dropped two of three at home to Seattle over the weekend are three games out in the American League East. Still though, they are in Wild Card position. Personally, I think the team is better than its overall record, but its Interleague record (11-6) remains strong. Those 11 Interleague victories are the most of any team in baseball right now. Were it not for a poor record in one-run games (9-18), this team would probably be winning its division. I would not be the least bit surprised to see the Jays hammer the Padres this week even though San Diego has been shockingly competitive against San Francisco, St. Louis and Washington since the All-Star Break (5-5 overall).

Pitching Notes

*One of the biggest stories making the rounds right now is the Chris Sale saga in Chicago. The White Sox ace has been suspended for five games due to apparently tearing up a team uniform that he did not wish to wear Saturday. As a result, he will miss the entire series against the Cubs. Some are saying this could be the final nail in the White Sox coffin, which is too bad for a season that started with so much promise (team was 26-13 at one point!). The Sox will be an underdog in every game in this series.

*In the Rockies-Orioles writeup, I mentioned Chris Tillman being Baltimore’s best pitcher. This statement is not up for debate. Tillman has an 18-3 team start record, making him the best pitcher to have bet on in 2016 (+16.2 units) by a fairly comfortable margin. He’s been especially dominant of late by giving up just one run in seven innings in four straight starts (all wins) with only 16 hits allowed.  

Hitter Notes

*Now isn’t the best time to talking about Cleveland’s exploits as they just got swept in Baltimore. They scored only six runs total in the three-game series. Looking ahead, the Indians’ 28th place ranking in batting average (.238) and 30th place ranking in on base percentage (.297) in road games doesn’t bode well for them. Thankfully then (for them), they are at home this week against Washington. The Tribe offense is fifth in runs scored at home.

*Teams whose overall offensive numbers could decline this week are Seattle and Tampa Bay as both head to National League Parks and thus will be losing the designated hitter from the lineup. Of those two teams, the Mariners are clearly more likely to absorb the loss of the DH as the Rays are only 25th in runs scored to begin with.

Totals Trend

The Over is 9-2 for San Diego in Interleague Play. Incredibly, those games have averaged 15.3 runs per game.

 

Written by: Power Sports

 

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How do you start using Steamwire™?

CE Manager Jul 24, 2016
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