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Market, stats speak volumes on Cutler signing

Jeff Fogle
VSiN.com

Cutler comes back, NFLX ignites, English Premier League kicks off, plus golf’s final major as we prepare you for a HUGE sports betting week in VSiN City…

NFL: Jay Cutler signs with Miami Dolphins for 2017 season
By now, you likely know that Jay Cutler signed a $10 million one-year contract with the Miami Dolphins Sunday. It’s expected he will replace injured Ryan Tannehill as the starting quarterback by the beginning of the 2017 regular season. 

Though the news is a day old now, the multi-pronged debate is just beginning.

  • Should Miami have gone after Colin Kaepernick rather than Cutler?
  • Is Miami a better team with Cutler than with Tannehill?
  • If not, how much worse will Miami be with Cutler? 

Plenty of opinions on those questions were bouncing around the mainstream media and twitter-verse Sunday afternoon and evening. Given Cutler’s knack for inconsistency, these debates may last weeks. 

VSiN wasn’t created to take sides on debates like this, but rather to show you how the market is answering such questions. To the degree VSiN City has carved out a niche, it’s to look at the analytic backdrop for those answers within an analytics-driven market. 

Let’s start with the market…

  • Even though Miami made the playoffs last year…and head coach Adam Gase was given credit for helping Tannehill cut down on mistakes…Miami entered last week with a projected 2017 win total of just 7.5, with the Under a heavy favorite of -135 at the South Point. Before Tannehill’s injury, the South Point had Miami as the #25 team in the NFL within very well-settled lines. The MARKET didn’t see Miami as a playoff caliber team, nor did they it Tannehill as a playoff caliber quarterback. 
  • Jeff Sherman of the Westgate told VSiN City Sunday night that he had re-posted Miami’s win total at 7 (Under -110) after the Cutler signing. So, the initial oddsmaker assessment is that the Dolphins will be fractionally worse with Cutler. There’s not a big difference between 7.5 with heavy under juice (it had been -130 at the Westgate) and 7 with regular vig.

Why are key influences in the market reacting this way, after all you’ve been reading in some circles about how Kaepernick is better than Cutler (on one hand), or that Cutler represents an improvement over Tannehill (on the other)? 

We talked last Thursday about Kaepernick, pointing out that he had struggled badly after losing the protective guidance of former head coach Jim Harbaugh. He was truly a high-impact player under a smart head coach against defenses that didn’t know his tendencies yet. He has NOT been a starting caliber player the past two seasons under other head coaches. Here’s that chart again, showing the ski slope amidst key indicators from ESPN (QBR) and Football Outsiders (DYAR and DVOA)…

Colin Kaepernick
2012: 75.3 QBR, 8.32 YPA, 555 DYAR, 25.8 DVOA
2013: 68.1 QBR, 7.69 YPA, 791 DYAR, 16.6 DVOA
2014: 67.7 QBR, 7.05 YPA,  91 DYAR, -8.4 DVOA
2015: 46.5 QBR, 6.62 YPA, -182 DYAR, -21.5 DVOA
2016: 55.5 QBR, 6.77 YPA, -149 DYAR, -17.7 DVOA

Cutler was never as dynamic as the athletic Kaepernick was under Harbaugh. But two seasons ago, with Gase as his offensive coordinator in Chicago, Cutler posted these numbers in those same indicator stats…

Jay Cutler (with Gase as offensive coordinator)
2015: 60.7 QBR, 7.6 YPA, 659 DYAR, 8.6 DVOA

Yes, we’ve cherry-picked Cutler’s best recent season. (Probably best to exclude stats from his abbreviated 2016 campaign because he was playing with a thumb injury in an offense that wasn’t gelling under a new coordinator.) But you can at least see Miami’s reasoning. “Cutler under Gase” makes more sense than “Kaepernick not under Jim Harbaugh” if you’re trying to pick between those two.

Ryan Tannehill (with Gase as head coach)
2016: 54.6 QBR, 7.7 YPA, 10 DYAR, -10.8 DVOA

We mentioned last Friday that ESPN’s QBR ranked Tannehill behind both Brock Osweiler and Colin Kaepernick last season, and that Football Outsiders had him worse than Blake Bortles in DVOA. Under Gase, he was comparable to Cutler in yard-per-attempt, but noticeably worse in the other stats. Of course, when projecting for what “might” have happened in 2017, you assume improvement from the younger quarterback, and maybe penalize Cutler’s outlook because he’s 34-years old and spent the summer gearing up for a broadcast career. 

There you go. The market has more time to speak before Regular Season Win totals come down in a month. We’ve tried to find the best indicator stats for outlining the dynamics of the debate. 

NFL: First full week of preseason begins Wednesday
The Hall of Fame game is in the books. Now we look forward to all 32 NFL teams taking the field for the first time in 2016.

This past weekend, VSiN Senior Editor Matt Youmans posted a very handy guide to the quarterback rotations for every team. We strongly encourage you to print that out so you can use it all through August. Today, we put that same list in schedule rotation order for this week’s action. Let’s be clear that Matt’s list involves the names on the roster. Head coaches may have certain QB’s skip the first game, or may tinker with the order. Online local media reports can be very helpful for pinning down coaching plans on game day. 

Here we go… 

Wednesday
Houston (Savage, Watson, Weeden) at Carolina (Newton, Anderson, Webb, Gilbert)

Thursday
Atlanta (Ryan, Schaub, Simms, Torgersen) at Miami (Cutler, Moore, Doughty, Fales)
Minnesota (Bradford, Keenum, Heinicke) at Buffalo (Taylor, Yates, Peterman)
Washington (Cousins, McCoy, Sudfeld) at Baltimore (Mallett, Vaughn, Woodrum)
Jacksonville (Bortles, Henne, Allen) at New England (Brady, Garoppolo, Brissett)
Denver (Siemian, Lynch, Sloter, Kelly) at Chicago (Glennon, Sanchez, Trubisky, Shaw)
Philadelphia (Wentz, Foles, McGloin, Evans) at Green Bay (Rodgers, Hundley, Callahan, Hill)
New Orleans (Brees, Daniel, Grayson, Nassib) at Cleveland (Kessler, Kizer, Osweiler, Hogan)

Friday
Pittsburgh (Roethlisberger, Jones, Dobbs, Houston) at NY Giants (Manning, G. Smith, Johnson, Webb)
Tampa Bay (Winston, Fitzpatrick, Griffin, Liufau) at Cincinnati (Dalton, McCarron, Driskel)
San Francisco (Hoyer, Barkley, Beathard, Mullins) at Kansas City (A. Smith, Bray, Mahomes, Stave)

Saturday
Tennessee (Mariota, Cassel, Tanney, Ferguson) at NY Jets (McCown, Hackenburg, Petty)
Dallas (Prescott, Moore, McCown, Rush) at LA Rams (Goff, Mannion, Orlovsky)
Oakland (Carr, Manuel, Cook) at Arizona (Palmer, Stanton, Gabbert, Knight)

Sunday
Detroit (Stafford, Rudock, Kaaya) at Indianapolis (Tolzien, Morris, Walker)
Seattle (Wilson, Boykin, Davis) at LA Chargers (Rivers, Clemens, C. Jones, Bercovici)

You can be sure VSiN programming will be all over market angles for this week’s action each afternoon. We’ll post boxscore briefs summarizing results Thursday, Friday, and next Monday here in the newsletter. 

English Premier League: Heads up! The regular season begins this week with Leicester City at Arsenal Friday
A lot going on this week all kinds of football! British soccer has become a much more popular betting sport stateside since the NBC Sports family of networks started televising games live on Saturday and Sunday mornings. This has lengthened the “football” betting window for recreationalists and sharps.

VSiN will dabble with the Premier League through the Fall and Spring, particularly this month before the US college and NFL slates overwhelm the schedule. Here’s a quick look at composite futures odds from offshore for EPL favorites. 

Composite Odds to win the EPL
Manchester City: 7/4
Chelsea: 7/2
Manchester United: 10/3
Tottenham: 9/1
Arsenal: 11/1
Liverpool: 12/1

There are 20 teams in the league, but only those six are given realistic shots to win the title. The seventh best team is currently Everton around 80/1. Former Cinderella Leicester City is among many at 200/1 or worse.  

Because of the response we’ve received for the “market” Power Ratings estimates posted for the NBA, the NFL, and the CFL, we’ve put together something similar for the EPL. Instead of points, we’ll naturally use goals. What you’ll see in a moment is a “goal supremacy” scale that can be used to estimate a line between any two teams. 

After consulting with world football soccer sharps, we went with 0.2 goals for home field advantage. Then, we used this material for guidance:

Goal lines for this week’s matchups from Pinnacle
Projected full season point totals from Sportingindex

(If you’re new to betting soccer, and are interested in learning more, become familiar with those pages!)

Here’s what we came up with…

EPL Estimated “Market Goal Supremacy” Scale
2.5: Manchester City
2.4: Chelsea
2.3: Manchester United
2.1: Tottenham, Arsenal, Liverpool
1.6: Everton
1.4: Southampton
1.2: Leicester City, West Ham United
1.0: Stoke City, Crystal Palace, Bournemouth, West Brom, Newcastle United
0.9: Swansea City, Watford, Brighton and Hove Albion
0.8: Burnley
0.6: Huddersfield Town

For now, we estimate that league favorite Manchester City would be favored by just under half-a-goal on a neutral field against the likes of Tottenham, Arsenal, or Liverpool. That trio would be favored by about half-a-goal on a neutral field over Everton, just under a goal vs. Leicester City and West Ham. 

At the very least, this will help you pick out which games to watch on TV each week! We’ll do our best to update the scale weekly. Huge thanks to the soccer sharps who helped us on background this past weekend. 

Golf: Oh yeah...the PGA is this week too!
Golf’s final major will be played this week at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina. Look for in-depth previews throughout the week on our daily programming with guests that have been so helpful through the Masters, US Open, and British Open. 

The Westgate updated its PGA odds on twitter Sunday evening:

Rory McIlroy 7/1
Jordan Spieth 8/1
Duston Johnson 12/1
Hideki Matsuyama 12/1 (off a 61 to win Sunday’s WGC-Bridgestone!)
Rickie Fowler 15/1
Jon Rahm 20/1
Jason Day 25/1
Brooks Koepka 25/1

In past majors, we’ve provided you with a link to the Betfair exchange overseas that has the most liquid golf market because of its Yes/No options. Click here and save the link so you can use it all week. As of Sunday evening, Betfair’s prices showed:

Rory McIlroy: plus 740 to win, -760 that he won’t win
Jordan Spieth: plus 900 to win, -950 that he won’t win
Dustin Johnson: plus 1350 to win, -1400 that he won’t win
Hideki Matsuyama: plus 1450 to win, -1500 that he won’t win
Rickie Fowler: plus 1900 to win, -2000 that he won’t win
Jon Rahm: plus 2800 to win, -2900 that he won’t win
Brooks Koepka: plus 2900 to win, -3100 that he won’t win
Jason Day: plus 3500 to win, -3700 that he won’t win
Justin Rose: plus 4100 to win, -4300 that he won’t win

Other Notables
Adam Scott: plus 4300 to win, -4500 that he won’t win
Sergio Garcia: plus 4700 to win, -4900 that he won’t win
Charley Hoffman (from UNLV): plus 6900 to win, -7400 that he won’t win
Phil Mickelson: plus 7400 to win, -7900 that he won’t win
Matt Kuchar: plus 7900 to win, -8900 that he won’t win

CFL Review: West powers Calgary, Edmonton, British Columbia keep winning
Every Monday we review the prior weekend’s boxscores in the CFL. 

Week 7 Stat Summaries 

Calgary (-6) won at Toronto 41-24

  • Total Yards: Calgary 321, Toronto 311
  • Yards-per-Play: Calgary 6.6, Toronto 5.3
  • Pct/Plays Incomplete Passes: Calgary 10%, Toronto 27%
  • New Records: Calgary 5-1-1, Toronto 3-4
  • Against the spread: Calgary 4-3, Toronto 2-4

Total yardage doesn’t really tell the story. Calgary built a big lead then coasted. The Stampeders were up 27-10 at the half, yet still managed a 6.6 to 5.3 edge in yards-per-play even with garbage time. We mentioned last week that the market seemed to be influenced by a tough fatigue spot for Toronto (third game in a week and a half). While the game was being decided, this sure looked like a motivated high-quality team dominating a tired mediocre opponent. We really like how that “percentage of plays that were incomplete passes” stat shows off execution. Really tells the story here. You don’t see a blowout in total yardage. But quality shines through in YPP and that % stat. Calgary still trails Edmonton in the standings…but market Power Ratings and futures prices have the Stampeders as best in the west. 

Winnipeg (plus 3.5) won at Ottawa 33-30

  • Total Yards: Winnipeg 397, Ottawa 382
  • Yards-per-Play: Winnipeg 7.1, Ottawa 6.3
  • Pct/Plays Incomplete Passes: Winnipeg 25%, Ottawa 20%
  • New Records: Winnipeg 4-2, Ottawa 1-5-1
  • Against the spread: Winnipeg 4-2, Ottawa 5-2

Both teams are in the habit of playing coin flip shootouts. Winnipeg finished on top thanks to a fumble return TD. The Blue Bombers did win yardage and YPP, but gave some of that away with sloppiness in pass percentage. Winnipeg’s last three games have ended 33-30, 40-41, 42-45. Their season opener was a 45-42 win at Saskatchewan. Ottawa’s losses this year have been by 4, 1, 2, 3, and 3 points. So, they’re obviously better than their 1-5-1 record suggests. That said, you have to be able to play defense late in close games to win. And, losing a home game off a bye against an opponent that should have been tired off a couple of 80-point track meets is a bad sign going forward. Some mediocrity is going to win the East. Ottawa still has time because Toronto’s lost a couple in a row. 

Edmonton (-10) beat Hamilton 33-28

  • Total Yards: Hamilton 319, Edmonton 448
  • Yards-per-Play: Hamilton 7.1, Edmonton 6.4
  • Pct/Plays Incomplete Passes: Hamilton 24%, Edmonton 13%
  • New Records: Hamilton 0-6, Edmonton 6-0
  • Against the spread: Hamilton 2-4, Edmonton 2-4

Exciting ending despite Edmonton’s seeming control of the game. The Eskimo’s ran 70 plays, to just 45 for the Tiger-Cats. That’s why yardage was a blowout one way, but YPP went to the other side. Once again efficiency was a key in the passing game. But Hamilton had some passes into the end zone in the final moments that would have snatched an upset. Yes, it was a nice bounce back off the 60-1 loss with June Jones now an assistant head coach. But the offense didn’t really scare until facing a prevent. Hamilton was down 23-11 at the half. Edmonton remains undefeated. Can’t wait until they play Calgary. 

Boston College (-6.5) beat Saskatchewan 30-15

  • Total Yards: Saskatchewan 334, British Columbia 539
  • Yards-per-Play: Saskatchewan 7.4, British Columbia 8.7
  • Pct/Plays Incomplete Passes: Saskatchewan 18%, British Columbia 18%
  • New Records: Saskatchewan 2-4, British Columbia 5-2
  • Against the spread: Saskatchewan 3-3, British Columbia 4-3

You don’t see many halftime shutouts in this league because it’s not THAT hard to score points. Saskatchewan trailed 18-0 at the break here. The only other team to get shut out in the first half this season was also Saskatchewan, and it was also on the road against a good team (17-0 two weeks ago at Calgary). We talked about the possibility that the Roughriders were going to be a “decent-home-lousy-road” squad based on early results and market pricing. More evidence for that here. BC won yardage by more than 200 even with extended garbage time that helped Sasky post some numbers after falling behind 30-0. Still Travis Lulay at quarterback for BC. Profile of a QB who posts big numbers vs. weaklings, but makes big mistakes vs. quality. 

Scoring continues to surge. Games went 3-1 to the Over this past weekend, after 4-0 to the Over the prior week. Could be that defenses are starting to wear down a bit. The dog/favorite dynamic split out 2-2. For the season…

Underdogs: 18-11 ATS
Totals: 16-13 to the Over 

Updating composite offshore odds to win the Grey Cup…

Offshore Odds to Win the Grey Cup
Calgary 11/4
Edmonton 3/1
British Columbia 11/2
Winnipeg 15/2
Toronto 9/1
Montreal 9/1
Ottawa 10/1
Hamilton 14/1
Saskatchewan 16/1

The first four teams are all from the West. Hamilton is the worst team of the nine…but has a better futures price because they’re in the weaker division. The “true” odds for Saskatchewan are probably much worse than you see given how hard it would be to outperform all the powers ahead of them. Helpless Hamilton only has to chase down Toronto and Montreal, which is a less daunting task even if you start in a hole. 

This week’s schedule…

  • Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET): Edmonton at Ottawa 
  • Friday (7:30 p.m. ET): Toronto at Montreal
  • Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET): Winnipeg at Hamilton 
  • Sunday (8 p.m. ET): British Columbia at Saskatchewan

No double-header this week…as it’s one game a night through the weekend. Toronto (3-4) at Montreal (2-4) is huge in the East because those are the two best teams. Alouettes are coming off a bye while Toronto still might be drained. Edmonton at Ottawa could be quite a shootout, with Ottawa hoping to avoid another heartbreaking loss. BC at Saskatchewan is a return engagement from last week. Could get interesting because of the Roughriders extreme home/road performance split, plus the chance that Lulay implodes with defensive familiarity. You can deduce that Calgary gets its first bye of the season. 

We’ll let the early lines settle before coming back Tuesday to post a new estimate of “market” Power Ratings. We’ll continue to follow the CFL through August even with the NFL preseason getting started. 

How crowded is the sports betting landscape? This is already our longest single edition of VSiN City ever…and we didn’t even get to baseball! That’s partly by design…as the most exciting matchups of the new week all begin Tuesday with the LA Dodgers at Arizona in the NL, Boston at Tampa Bay in the AL, and Colorado at Cleveland in Interleague action. We’ll dive into those series Tuesday. 

Time is counting down quickly to SuperContest Weekend. Don’t forget that VSiN will be broadcasting live from the Westgate August 17-19. That special drawing we’ve been talking about for VSiN City subscribers will be held on August 19. The winner gets a free entry into the SuperContest, valued at $1,500. That will give out-of-towners plenty of time to find a proxy if needed. If you haven’t subscribed already, please do so by clicking here so you can be eligible! Any out-of-towners considering entering the SuperContest should check out our sponsor footballcontest.com for details on how YOU can participate in the thrills of contest betting. 

Click here to follow us on twitter. If you have any comments or questions about the VSiN City newsletter or our daily programming, please drop us a note, or post a comment below in the Facebook widget. 

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