I know, usually we deal with what’s here and what’s now, and what’s coming up this week. But we also concern ourselves with all things fantasy while sprinkling in a healthy dose of wagering advice. It’s the latter pursuit of sweaty degenerate cash that has our attention beyond Week 5.
A week from now the Denver Broncos will be preparing to play the Jacksonville Jaguars, which is sort of like a group of flag football all-stars going up against the NFL’s all-time team when each player is in his prime. We all know it won’t end well for the Jags, but that knowledge is meaningless in the business of profiting from game outcomes. We need to know exactly how badly it will end, or thereabouts.
The final spread will fluctuate, as spreads do, but when it settles the number will likely fall at about 28 points in favor of the Broncos for most sports books and wagering sites. That means those who set the lines see giving the Jags four touchdowns as the best way to not take a bloody bath next week, as they have been regularly whenever Denver is involved. As Bloomberg notes, since 1978 only 11 teams have been favored by 20 or more points.
Kevin Bradley, the book manager for Bovada, said this to Bloomberg:
“With how our bettors have been pounding Denver every week and betting against the Jags like it’s free money, this spread is looking closer to four touchdowns,” Bradley said by e-mail. “Barring any injuries or something very dramatic occurring, I would expect this to be the biggest spread we have ever posted.”
The Broncos are an offensive juggernaut. Peyton Manning has set a record through four games by throwing 16 touchdown passes with no interceptions, while leading an offense that’s averaging 44.8 points per game. That’s a special kind of absurdity, as the team in second by that basic metric (Green Bay) is nearly 13 points behind. The comedy continues if we look at average yards per game, a category the Broncos also lead handily at a pace of 483.0 yards weekly, while the Eagles are far in the rear view with 458.8 yards.
The Jaguars, meanwhile, are quite open to not covering obscene spreads after losing by 28 points (45-17) to Seattle two weeks ago during a game in which the Seahawks were favored by 20 points most places. They’ve scored only three offensive touchdowns, which is fewer than the total defensive touchdowns scored by some teams, and the Broncos’ average margin of victory has been 22 points.
At some point, the fact that the Jaguars are still a professional football team — and more importantly, the fact that they still employ Maurice Jones-Drew — will result in at least a moderately respectful outcome, even if they lose. And as much fun as it is to laugh at them and fall down statistical rabbit holes (my favorite is looking up how many players have scored more points individually so far than the Jaguars have as a team), it takes a truly unique level of suck to lose by four touchdowns, regardless of the opponent.
Yet the Jaguars have lost by at least 21 points in three of their four games — all of which were played against teams that aren’t the Broncos — and in total the greatest comedy is how much they’ve been outscored in those four weeks. Ready for it? The cumulative scoreboard in Jags games rests at 129-31, with a field goal or less (a safety!) scored by our tanking for Teddy losers in two games.
We may need at least a week to prepare for the bludgeoning we’re about to witness.
More notes, stray thoughts, and other such randomness
I’m kind of warming up to this idea
That’s the latest effort from the lunatic fringe in Jacksonville, the same one that’s organizing rallies with at least eight people protesting regularly. But you know what? For once maybe giving them what they deserve isn’t such an awful idea.
If tanking isn’t already the Jaguars’ strategy, it certainly will be with a few more losses, and first-year head coach Gus Bradley has at least a one-year grace period. So go ahead, and start the only quarterback who may actually be worse than Blaine Gabbert. At least there will be a reason beyond paycheck wagering to have a passing interest in Jags games.
Also, Pete Prisco might do a few more spastic Tebow imitations, which is always fun.
Weeden is saying the right things, but ultimately the wrong things
The reality of being a marginal quarterback in the NFL is that even the most minor injury which leads to an absence of a few weeks can cripple your career, or at least cause of pretty spectacular temporary derailment. That’s happening to Brandon Weeden, who has now been medically cleared after recovering from his sprained thumb, but he won’t start Thursday night because Brian Hoyer has been effective.
More importantly, with Hoyer the Browns are in the wholly unfamiliar position of not completely sucking, as at 2-2 they’re currently tied atop the AFC North with the Ravens and Bengals. This is happening despite their best efforts to be horrible after trading Trent Richardson.
So, what say you, Weeden?
“I’m treating it like this is still my football team, I’m still involved in the offense. I’m not discouraged.”
Sad trombone is sad.
Hoyer was solid against a depleted but still more imposing Bengals defense than the one he’ll face when the Bills visit Cleveland tomorrow. And although head coach Rob Chudzinski is tossing out coach speak while saying he’ll evaluate the position weekly, Weeden may not even be Hoyer’s backup Thursday.
Be afraid for Doug Martin
This applies to both fantasy and reality, and there’s potential doom from either angle.
As JoeBucsFan notes/fears, the Buccaneers’ general disarray is leading to a troubling pace for Doug Martin. With already 100 carries through a quarter of the season, he’s setting an early pace for 400 carries, and therefore 400 chances this year to be thoroughly abused. Only five running backs in league history have reached or exceeded that mark, and the results have been infamously bad.
Martin is young and in only his sophomore season, so his bones and body can take the punishment. With a rookie quarterback now at the helm, he’ll have little choice, as it’s difficult to see many weeks when he receives less than 25 carries. The problem, of course, is that until Mike Glennon gets comfortable, defenses will keep loading up to pound Martin again and again.
If he reaches that 400 plateau, Martin will have already logged 719 carries over his first two seasons, and right now he’s plugging away with a per carry rushing average that’s significantly lower than last year (3.4, down from 4.6).