With training camps starting in July, we must turn our attention to what’s happening in the NFL. Check out four things that we can use to handicap the 2019 NFL Offseason. By handicapping the offseason, we’ll get a much better idea of how to play the NFL Regular Season, thus making a better choice in the NFL odds.
How to Handicap the 2019 NFL Offseason
Think Coaching Changes First
The talent-level in the NFL is incredibly high. Although some teams have much more talent than other teams, coaching changes in the NFL can turn a squad from being mediocre into being great.
Think about the coaching changes that happened during the offseason before considering anything else. Kliff Kingsbury became the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals. He will install a system that speeds things up on offense. That should lead to more overs, at least early on, in Cardinals games.
Vic Fangio was an excellent defensive coordinator. He is now the head coach for the Denver Broncos, a team with a solid defense. Fangio can turn the Broncos’ defense from solid to spectacular. Does that mean Denver plays in more under games in the first half of the season? Probably.
Bruce Arians now coaches the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Just because of Arians, Tampa should be a much better team in 2019 than they were in 2018.
Consider Which Teams Improved Through Free Agency or Trades
The biggest trades were Odell Beckham Jr. going to Cleveland from the New York Giants, the Raiders acquiring Antonio Brown, and the Giants trading for guard Kevin Zeitler. Although Odell and AB, the two best wide receivers in the league, changing addresses got the most press, the top trade might have been Zeitler going to the New York Giants.
Zeitler will solidify an offensive line with a second-year running back in Saquon Barkley who rushed for 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns. Barkley also caught 91 passes. The Giants are supposed to be a bad team, but they could play better than their spread lines just because of what Zeitler adds to the offensive line.
Nobody believes Nick Foles going to Jacksonville is a big deal. The Jags upgraded the most important position on the football field for a squad that played in the AFC Championship just two seasons ago. Is that a big deal? How can it not be?
Think About Draft Picks in Terms of Teams that Drafted Them
Kliff Kingsbury drafted quarterback Kyler Murray because he knows Murray’s game. Kingsbury recruited Murray out of high school to play for Texas Tech. Washington not only drafted Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins, they also drafted one of his favorite targets, wide receiver Terry McLaurin.
Don’t just think about the draft picks. Consider to which teams those draft picks went. Will that help the team cover spreads? How will it affect the over/under total?
Don’t Disregard the Consistency Factor
So far, we’ve discussed three things that involve change. Although change for most NFL teams is good, no change can be excellent if the team was great at covering spreads or showed consistent over/under trends in the following season.
Don’t turn your back on consistency. Chicago went 12-4-0 ATS last season. They didn’t make many changes. The Saints, who are perennially a good team, went 10-6 ATS last season. Again, no huge changes except signing tight-end Jared Cook. Seattle went 9-5-2 ATS and both the Chargers and Cowboys went 9-7 ATS. All three teams made few changes.
Consider consistency when handicapping the offseason. Which teams maintained? Was maintaining good enough for them to be as solid against the spread this season as they were last season? Do your homework, and you’ll be ready to make profit for the NFL Regular Season.