The end of August is one of the most difficult times of the year. The pre-season is over, the regular season has yet to start, and the unbearable waiting game between them has made us feel like we’re trapped in quicksand.
In between checking all my favorite sources for updates, I find myself looking at the different markets available to see if I can put any final touches on my future bets. The roll cuts are a good distraction, but they won’t have much effect on any of my bets in the first week. Betting on win totals has been in limbo at this point, so it’s rare that you can spot a big advantage this close to the season.
Surprisingly, one of the teams that made some noise this week was the Arizona Cardinals. After QB Colt McCoy was released, they turned the offense over to either newly acquired QB Joshua Dobbs or rookie Clayton Tune. The move caused the betting market to downgrade the Cardinals further, dropping their win total to 3.5 games in select sportsbooks. The rebuilding Cardinals were already considered one of the lowest-rated rosters in the league, and the move away from McCoy meant less confidence in the team’s chances of staying competitive this season.
Is it guaranteed? Not sure, unless you’re expecting a lot from Colt McCoy at this point in his career. Regardless, there was a shift in possibilities, which provided the opportunity to take advantage of any over- or under-reactions from the books. I wasn’t about to sign up for four months to see if the Cardinals could win four games. However, this process led me to BetMGM Team Support Marketswhere I put some smaller value games on the best and worst teams in the league.
Cultivating a winning culture takes time. There is only so much DeMeco Ryans can do in his first year. He started from rock bottom and inherited one of the worst rosters in the NFL. Houston finished as the underdog in all 17 games in 2022 and tied with Chicago for the fewest wins, with three. The future holds promise, but I wonder if QB CJ Stroud will make an immediate impact behind the still-in-progress forward line. PFF recently made every list heading into this year, and Houston ranked 29th. Even though things look bad in Arizona, I can’t justify the implied odds gap between these two teams.
Arizona at +220 has an implied probability of 31.3%, while Houston at +850 implies only a 10.5% chance of ending up with the fewest wins. The ironic part about this bet is that the Cardinals own Texas’ first-round pick, so they can still end up with the #1 pick overall if they finish first against Texas. Rebuilding rosters don’t go deep enough to overcome injuries, so a few poor rest breaks can easily erode whatever slight talent advantage the Texans have over any other team in the league. This bet is less about the Texans than it is about the idea that Arizona is written in stone as the worst team this year.
You can make a case for Tampa Bay at +700 if Baker Mayfield doesn’t stay healthy the entire season. Normally, there are very thin margins separating the bottom teams, and this bet gives us an opportunity to take advantage of the current betting landscape. I’d rather make a small bet on Houston at +850 than put juice on the Cardinals win total.
Chiefs AFC No. 1 seed +300
Well, I’ll be clean. While shopping at the Item Market, I decided to add more to my bosses. It may be an impulse buy, but there are worse ideas than adding more Patrick Mahomes to your betting portfolio.
No team has been more consistent than Kansas City, who have won seven straight AFC West titles. The scary part about the Andy Reed Patrick Mahomes era is that the floor looks like 12 wins, a number Mahomes has reached in all five seasons as a quarterback. He’s been better in the past three seasons, earning the top seed in the AFC twice while compiling a 40-10 regular season record.
While some might see more value in the Chiefs having the most wins in the regular season at +500, the AFC favored isolation due to the competitive imbalance between the two conferences. NFC powerhouses Philadelphia and San Francisco are expected to have easier overall schedules.
Kansas City has historically been overvalued on a weekly basis during the season (7-10 ATS), but that’s a bet based on the result they should be highly motivated to achieve. Since the league moved to seven playoff teams in each conference, the stakes are much higher for the top teams to secure a first-round pick. When games get more important late in the season, I’ll be happy to get my money’s worth at Mahomes at +300 probability.