What Sharps Think About AFC East
From the Nick Bogdanovich Staff
Contributing Sportsbook Editor
The surprise team of the 2009 season, the New York Jets, take the field for the first time Monday Night in the Preseason. That made it the ideal time to talk about what the sharps are thinking about the AFC East this season.
Will the Jets make it back to the playoffs? Will they avoid a sophomore slump for head coach Rex Ryan and quarterback Mark Sanchez and actually surprise the New England Patriots at the top of the division? Can you believe the media is spending so much time this year talking about the Jets, and hardly any time talking about the Patriots?
Let's see what the betting markets are saying about the division in terms of projected Regular Season victories.
New England 9.5
NY Jets 9.5
Buffalo 5 to 5.5
Favorite juice on the moneylines is being charged to the Over for both New England and the Jets, the Under for Miami, Under 5.5 but Over 5 for Buffalo.
New England is a slight favorite to win the division based on the vigorous you have to pay at most of the stores I'm seeing as I write this (usually about -125 to -130 on the Pats, around -120 on the Jets). It's very close to being a mathematical toss-up depending on how the Darelle Revis situation works itself out. Both teams have come up a lot in discussions I'm having with sharps...mostly because something about the Jets is one of the big screen TV's when I'm talking to them.
Here's what I'm hearing about the division.
Sharps are mostly skeptical about the Jets. They normally love defenses. But, they hate betting on horrible quarterbacks. Mark Sanchez struggled badly most of last season. If he continues to be turnover prone, you won't see sharps laying points with New York. They'll look for 'defensive dog' spots if there are any. Many in the world of gambling expect 'regression to the mean' in situations like this, meaning a team that jumped way up the prior year is likely to fall back to earth.
Sharps are also skeptical about New England though. Many had success last year picking spots against the Pats. Baltimore was a popular sharp bet in the playoff game that sent New England packing earlier than the TV networks and the general public expected. This is a team that's seen as getting older. Hey, sharps were skeptical about New England back when they were crushing everyone on a weekly basis a few years ago! You know they're not all that impressed now that Brady and Belichick aren't making weekly runs at history.
Miami is a team that's getting overlooked so far in media coverage. Sharps are happy about that. They don't think the Dolphins are that far behind the Jets and Pats. You can see the market has them just a game back in the standings. Game day pointspreads may paint a very different picture once the public starts betting heavily. New England and New York will get hit by square money...while the Dolphins won't be. Sharps will be looking for ways to take advantage of that. I'd say they're most interested in that route than playing Over the team total right now.
Buffalo is an afterthought. They were bad last year. They hired a coach in Chan Gailey who the sharps don't really respect that much in terms of his ability to have an impact at the pro level. I saw some early sharp action on the Under when the win totals first went up. Buffalo is not going to be a sharp team this year unless the offense starts moving the ball.
It's not fair to say that sharps think New England or the Jets will be bad. They'll just be overrated because expectations from the media and public are so high. Sharps will need to see some big performances in September before adjusting their thinking in that regard.