Posted on 27 Jul 2012 at 14:14 PM by Big Man with Football
The presence of AFC championship antepost favourites the New England Patriots is as good a reason as any to make the AFC East our first division to look at in advance of the new season, and with no bigger odds than 10/3 out there for the Patriots to retain their AFC crown, certainly any betting focus has to involve looking very closely at the Boston franchise.
They had a lot to spare on their divisional rivals last year, eventually finishing five games clear of the Jets. Another relatively kind schedule means that they are expected my many to win with a few games to spare again this year, which explains divisional betting of 1/4 across the board. Bwin are the exception to this rule as they're laying 3/10 about New England.
Certainly it's hard to find reasons to oppose them. Their offense was dominant in 2011 and the addition of Brandon Lloyd as a receiving threat seems to add even more potency to their lineup. We particularly like this addition because Lloyd had his most productive season in 2010 when Josh McDaniels was his head coach, and McDaniels now joins the team at Foxboro as offensive co-ordinator. This is a match made in heaven, particularly with so many intermediate range threats already in place. Defensively, they don't look fantastic on paper, but then they never did, and yet they've always found the way of making a good unit out of some very ordinary personnel.
If a threat is to come from anywhere, it may surprise you to read that the Betting.com view is that it will most likely come from the Buffalo Bills. The Bills showed great promise in the early stages of last season, but they fell away by going 2-9 in their last eleven games. However the addition of Mario Williams is a huge boost, while Stephen Gilmore is reportedly looking like the real deal at CB in training camp.
A little bit of improvement defensively would go a long way for the Bills. They have a sharp offense with plenty of threats and if they could get themselves into a situation where they needed an average of 21-24 points to win games instead of 30, they could pick up a few more wins very easily. The schedule suggests that they will be favourites in nine games on the handicap betting line, so it wouldn't take that much for them to get up to a 10-6 or maybe even 11-5 record. Certainly the 10/1 divisional betting line available from Ladbrokes looks very big in that context.
The great quarterback circus act at the Jets is attracting plenty of media attention but from a betting point of view, it's very hard to get behind Rex Ryan and his team. No matter what the press releases and the soundbites coming from camp may say, Mark Sanchez does not have the full support of this team, and Tim Tebow will take over sooner rather than later. Sanchez is paranoid and defeatist, and while he might be a better traditional pocket passer than Tebow, the new recruit is infectiously positive and a lot easier to rally around. He will be the starter for this team by the end of the year, the problem is that they might be out of the running before he takes over. Of course some of the wide receivers might stand by Sanchez since their numbers would go through the floor if Tebow took the starter's position, but ultimately players want to win games, and if Tebow will help them to do that, they'll support him.
Finally we have the Miami Dolphins, who look to be as far off the mark as ever. Yes, they rallied through the latter part of the season and they have a lot of good players on their roster, but the likelihood that David Garrard will start under centre is worrying, since he's nothing more than a stop gap at this level. Certainly a year away from football is unlikely to help his sharpness. Reggie Bush is not a consistent performer at tailback and it's asking a lot for a brand new coaching staff to hit the ground running in a very competitive division. Even at 16/1 is spots, they make no appeal.