The National Football Post dove into the world of 2014 NFL proposition wagers a couple of weeks ago, but decided to bring on a guest in Spreadapedia.com’s Jason Weingarten to expand upon some additional opportunities. Below are four of Jason’s top plays for the upcoming campaign.
Play 1: Field wins the AFC West (+300) vs. Denver Broncos
The AFC West division title will be decided Week 17 when the Broncos play the Raiders and the Chiefs play the Chargers.
Will Manning and the Broncos lose their grip on the AFC West this season?
Peyton Manning looked every bit of 37-years-old in the Broncos’ Super Bowl loss to the Seahawks, and while Manning’s window for a second Super Bowl is still technically open, I have no reason to believe that the future Hall of Famer will happily ride off into the sunset holding his second Lombardi Trophy.
I am not convinced that this year’s Broncos team is any better than the one that was exposed in the Super Bowl last February. The addition of free agents Aqib Talib and DeMarcus Ware is not a guaranteed recipe for success, either. Most teams that spend money in free agency don't improve, they often drop in the standings. You don't get better with 28+ year-old players that other teams don't want.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs and Chargers possess capable veteran quarterbacks in Alex Smith and Philip Rivers and it would not surprise me to see either team steal the AFC West from the Broncos. The Oakland Raiders exist. That’s about the nicest thing I will say about them.
Play 2: Chicago Bears regular season wins UNDER 8.5 (+145)
In 2014, the Chicago Bears project to have ten Week 1 starters over the age of 30. Last season, the Bears joined the Redskins, Jaguars and Raiders as the only teams to allow opponents to average at least 28 points per game. It is questionable if the addition of defensive ends Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston, as well as the return to health of 33-year-old CB Charles Tillman and 32-year-old LB D.J. Williams, will be enough to fix last season’s defensive woes.
Looking ahead to the second half of the season, notice that the Bears have a very tough post-bye week schedule, with five of six division matchups occurring over the final eight weeks of the 2014 season. I am not convinced the Bears are even the second-best team in the NFC North this season.
Play 3: Minnesota Vikings regular season wins OVER 6 (-125)
The presence of running back Adrian Peterson and the emergence of wide receiver Cordarelle Patterson as a multi-dimensional offensive threat give the Vikings a chance to contend for second place in the NFC North. With rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater unlikely to start from the outset, a Wild Card berth is probably out of the question in 2014, but this team could easily surprise and win more than six games.
Can AP lead the Vikings to more than six wins in 2014?
The loss of long time stalwarts and perennial Pro Bowlers Jared Allen and Kevin Williams will be softened by the emergence of defensive end Everson Griffin, who at 26-years-old is entering his fifth NFL season. A 5-star high school recruit who started at USC as a freshman, Griffin is a freakish athlete who is finally maturing into an all-around defensive force.
First-year Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer comes to Minnesota after six seasons as defensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals. From 2008 to 2013, Zimmer’s Cincy defense was one of only seven teams (49ers, Patriots, Ravens, Seahawks Dolphins, Steelers) to limit regular season opponents to an average score of under 21 points per game. In 2013, the Vikings allowed opponents to average 30 points per game on the way to a 5-10-1 regular season record.
Play 4: Kam Chancellor wins Defensive Player of the Year (+5000)
The Seattle safety participated in 1,006 of 1,042 regular season and 192 of 200 playoff defensive snaps for the Seattle Seahawks last season. Chancellor is the best player on the best defense defending the Vince Lombardi Trophy and he is not even the most recognized defensive back in his own secondary. If not for Malcolm Smith’s second interception, Chancellor could have been chosen as last season’s Super Bowl MVP.
I think 50/1 odds is fantastic value on the best strong safety in the NFL and it is not out of the question for Chancellor to finally get the recognition he deserves.
Follow Jason on Twitter: @spreadapedia
Jason Weingarten is a sports analyst and professional bettor who lives in Los Angeles, CA. He is the co-founder of Steinman-Weingarten, a football analytics company which owns and operates Spreadapedia.com and its databases. He attended the University of California Irvine where they gave him a B.A. in History.
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