As the Browns pinballed deeper into the 2018 season, keeping alive a small sliver of hope that they would make the playoffs, I thought about Ryan Daly.
I met Ryan back in June at the Monmouth racetrack in Oceanport, N.J., on the state’s first day of legal sports betting. He put $100 on the Browns to win the Super Bowl at 75-1 odds, mostly to say he did it. The beauty of throwing down cash in June, though, is that you have no earthy idea what might happen. There was no sense that Hue Jackson would be fired mid-season, or that Baker Mayfield would surge, or that the Browns’ best offensive mind happened to be a running backs coach who never called plays before. Maybe, at least once in November, he had a moment to sit down and think: Wow, my $7,500 gamble might still be alive.
For this morning’s day-after Christmas sleep-in edition of the Morning Huddle, I wanted to go back to the day I first experienced legal sports betting and take a look at the NFL odds through 20/20 hindsight. The Bears pre-Khalil Mack trade, for example, were 75-1 to win the Super Bowl and opened 2018 as an NFC-worst 50-1 to win the conference. The Colts opened 2018 at 60-1, but dropped to 100-1 after the Josh McDaniels debacle. There may not have been a larger indictment of the disrespect Frank Reich got from the public at large than that.
But, for me, the most interesting part of the NFL future odds was the top of the pack. The Patriots at 6/1, the Eagles at 17-2, the Steelers at 12-1, the Vikings at 10-1, the Falcons at 12-1, the 49ers at 10-1 and the Packers at 10-1. Five of those six teams may (or definitely will) miss the postseason altogether.
Meanwhile, Seahawks fans could get in on the post-Legion of Boom era at 50-1, while the Saints were also an attractive 17-1 (and, according to Vegas Insider, are now an NFL-low 11-4). The Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs could be had for 22-1 odds just a few months ago.
What does it say about the whole exercise besides hey, you never know what might happen? Maybe that, in one small way, the preseason odds represent the funneling of groupthink after months of offseason speculation; days worth of commentary on players we have not seen play a single snap yet.
Maybe we should all be like Ryan, and bet with our hearts instead of what we see on television. That, or read the MMQB. Two of us picked the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl, and one had both the Chiefs and Saints in the big game.
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NOW ON THE MMQB: Surge into the New Year with these POWER RANKINGS. … Freddie Kitchens writes for us on the meaning of Christmas. … Jonathan Jones updates his coaching hot seat rankings one more time as we approach Black Monday.
1. It appears the fallout in Miami will center around executive (and former Jets GM) Mike Tannenbaum.
2. Does Aaron Rodgers want Joe Philbin to rise to the top of Green Bay’s resume pile?
3. Tom Brady is not retiring after the 2018 season.
4. A look at the NFC playoff picture through Pro Football Focus’ data lens.
5. Non NFL news: In Mexico, there is a fight to save the traditional tortilla.
Cable Thanos, the Brian Schottenheimer-obsessed king of Seahawks twitter, has dropped his playoff hype video. It is a work of art.
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