For NFL Draft enthusiasts and for those of us who make our living discussing the NFL, it feels a little strange to be dissecting the draft fallout in mid-May.
This year, as has been mentioned here a handful of times, the draft was pushed back by two weeks, which left a lot more time for the league and SportsCenter (and admittedly, shows like mine) to numb your minds with draft story lines. For those of you who want the draft moved back to late April (and I am one of you), I wouldn't count on it anytime soon.
According to the ratings data from over the weekend, 45.7 million people took in at least part of the three day draft on ESPN and/or the NFL Network, breaking the previous record of 45.4 million in 2010 (the Tebow Draft, if that helps you).
I don't know how much cause-and-effect there is between the extra two weeks of build-up and the explosive ratings -- probably more of a Manziel Effect than anything -- but the NFL is probably inclined to say, "Ain't broke, don't fix." Just a hunch.
As for my other hunches, thankfully we have revised post-draft odds and prop bets! Let's take a look! (My observations preceded by "SP:")
Odds to win the 2015 Super Bowl XLIX Seattle Seahawks 6/1 Denver Broncos 7/1 New England Patriots 15/2 San Francisco 49ers 15/2 Green Bay Packers 12/1 Chicago Bears 20/1 Indianapolis Colts 20/1 New Orleans Saints 20/1 Philadelphia Eagles 22/1 Carolina Panthers 28/1 Kansas City Chiefs 33/1 Pittsburgh Steelers 33/1 Arizona Cardinals 40/1 Atlanta Falcons 40/1 Baltimore Ravens 40/1 Cincinnati Bengals 40/1 Dallas Cowboys 40/1 Houston Texans 40/1 New York Giants 40/1 San Diego Chargers 40/1 Cleveland Browns 50/1 Detroit Lions 50/1 Miami Dolphins 50/1 Minnesota Vikings 50/1 St. Louis Rams 50/1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 50/1 Washington Redskins 50/1 New York Jets 66/1 Buffalo Bills 75/1 Tennessee Titans 75/1 Jacksonville Jaguars 100/1 Oakland Raiders 100/1
SP: Okay, looking at these odds, I have the following thoughts:
1. Wow, the bottom five teams in the league, from a Super Bowl odds perspective, are all in the AFC, and get this -- the Texans are not one of them!! Wow, is the AFC a steaming pile of dog turds or what? How big a pile is it? Well, if you add up the odds of the teams in each division (not the most intricate scientific technique to gauge, but effective), check it out:
NFC WEST: 103.5 NFC NORTH: 132 NFC SOUTH: 138 NFC EAST: 152 AFC NORTH: 163 AFC WEST: 180 AFC EAST: 198.5 AFC SOUTH: 215
Four best divisions? NFC. Four worst divisions? AFC. Not just that, but look at the worst division, which makes me think....
2. Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson should be able to ride Andrew Luck and have him cover up all his poor salary cap deployment and draft killing trades (Trent Richardson, anyone?) for at least another year or two. Two of the four worst teams on this odds list are in the AFC South, and again, the Texans aren't one of them!!
3. So why does Vegas not totally hate the Texans? Honestly, I have no idea. For some reason, ever since they won ten games and finally made the playoffs in 2011, Vegas has had Texan favorite spreads generally about a field goal higher than they should be and win totals way higher than they should be, and these Super Bowl odds are a head-scratcher. The Texans are 40/1, which ties them with Arizona, Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Dallas, the New York Giants and San Diego. Those teams all have at least competent quarterback play. The Texans have Ryan Fitzpatrick.
4. That said, the Texans play only four games this season against teams with shorter Super Bowl odds than they have -- Indianapolis (twice, 20/1), Philadelphia (22/1) and Pittsburgh (33/1). For anyone hoping for quarterback help in the 2015 draft, this should be a concern, as the Texans may have drafted just well enough and be positioned perfectly schedule-wise to go 8-8. Yay.
2014 Offensive Rookie of the Year - Odds to Win Mike Evans 3/1 Sammy Watkins 4/1 Johnny Manziel 15/2 Kelvin Benjamin 12/1 Teddy Bridgewater 12/1 Marqise Lee 12/1 Bishop Stankey 15/1 Odell Beckham 16/1 Jordan Matthews 16/1 Devante Adams 18/1 Cody Latimer 18/1 Jace Amaro 20/1 Blake Bortles 20/1 Brandin Cooks 20/1 Eric Ebron 20/1 Jeremy Hill 20/1 Jarvis Landry 33/1 Tre Mason 33/1 Charles Sims 33/1
SP: Poor offensive linemen. Two taken in the top six of the draft, and they get no love. My favorite value on the board here? Titans rookie Bishop Sankey at 15/1. I think he could get 250 carries this year, and the rest of the Titans backs are either fairly junky, or specialty backs (Dexter McCluster).
Who will win the 2014 Defensive Rookie of the Year? Jadeveon Clowney 2/1 Khalil Mack 4/1
SP: If there were an option for "FIELD" for like +120, that's what I'd take here.
Johnny Manziel - Total Games Started in the 2014 Regular Season Over/Under 9½
SP: Despite Cleveland trying to put Johnny in a corner and telling him to go get his shine box (any other movie analogies I can use?) by making him the backup, the only thing that keeps him under ten starts is injury.
Who will start more games in the 2014 Regular Season? Teddy Bridgewater -150 Blake Bortles +110
Total Sacks in the 2014 Regular Season Jadeveon Clowney - Over/Under 9 Khalil Mack - Over/Under 8
SP: Over, over.
Total Receiving Yards in the 2014 Regular Season Sammy Watkins - Over/Under 750½ Mike Evans - Over/Under 850½
SP: Over, over.
Total Receiving TD's in the 2014 Regular Season Sammy Watkins - Over/Under 5 Mike Evans - Over/Under 5½
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SP: Over, over.
Will Michael Sam be on the Rams 53 man roster for Game 1 of the 2014 Regular Season? Yes: 2/1, No: 1/3
SP: These odds were clearly formulated before Michael Sam decided to make his journey into the NFL a reality television show on Oprah's network. I can't imagine this ending well, especially considering that reportedly the Rams had no idea this television show was a thing when they drafted Sam. Good luck with that, Mike.